Government is open to extending the first half of the ongoing Budget session by two days if need be and Parliament can meet on March 23 and 24 to pass key reform bills on coal and mines and minerals. The first half of the session is otherwise slated to end on March 20.
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which met here on decided to hold two additional sittings on Monday and Tuesday "if required" to pass the two bills. Government, official sources said, is hopeful that the two bills will be passed by Rajya Sabha.
If government accepts amendments as recommended by the respective Select Committees which scrutinised the measures, then the bills will have to travel back to the Lok Sabha for approval of the amendments.
The sources said the issue of proroguing the session did not come up in the meeting. There is a view within the government that if the Land, Coal and Mines and Minerals Ordinances, passed by the Lok Sabha as bills, fail to clear the Rajya Sabha test, then the session can be prorogued to enable repromulgation of the ordinances.
The ordinances will lapse on April 5 -- 42 days from the day the session began on February 23 -- as per the provisions if the executive orders are not passed as bills by Parliament. After a month-long recess, Parliament will meet again on April 20. The ongoing session is slated to end on May 8, as per the present schedule.
Sources admitted that there is little hope that the Land Acquisition Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha, will be cleared by the Upper House "at least" in the first half of the session. They said any decision to prorogue the session when it is in recess to enable government repromulgate the ordinance will be taken at a later date.