Andhra special status Bill stalled, Congress, government face off on CAMPA, GST

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Scuttling of the private member’s Bill of Congress MP KVP Ramchandra Rao on special category status to Andhra Pradesh

last Friday brought the main Opposition and the treasury back on the path of confrontation in Rajya Sabha on Monday, particularly on CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority) and GST (Goods and Services Taxes), two key pending legislations.

The immediate casualty was the day’s proceedings in the Upper House. The Congress demanded the disrupted voting on the AP private member’s Bill have to be taken up before any other business.

With TDP, CPI, CPM and DMK supporting, voting on the Bill would have become a cause for embarrassment for the government. Besides, the designated day for private members’ business is Friday.

As Leader of Opposition Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sat stone-faced ignoring the Congress demand, the legislation business went for a toss. Worse still, the opposition party vowed it would continue to raise the issue in the Upper House until voting was allowed.

“We don’t want any discussion on it as discussion has already taken place. It’s just the voting that is to be done, we will continue to demand for it,’’ said senior Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, who’s got a privilege motion moved against him as a fallout of the confrontation on the private member’s Bill on Friday.

“Government deliberately did not allow Rajya Sabha to take up voting on the Bill as it would have been a political defeat for it,” Ramesh said, adding that he has been a member of the Upper House for the last 12 years but had to witness a scene where a government has scuttled a Bill in this manner. On a warpath again, the former Environment and Forest Minister also asserted that he will certainly be moving an amendment to the CAMPA — a Bill on which the treasury and the main opposition had reached an agreement.

Passage of CAMPA would ensure a windfall for the State governments.

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