India extends monsoon session of parliament by a week to pass bills

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 26, 2013 9:19 AM
India extends monsoon session of parliament by a week to pass bills

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has extended the monsoon session of parliament by seven days until September 6, government officials said on Monday, giving the Congress party-led ruling coalition more time to pass economic reforms after weeks of disruptions in the house.

Asia's third largest economy is growing at its slowest pace in a decade and the government is keen to pass several bills economists say will help reverse the malaise.

Protests by members on issues as wide-ranging as sex crimes, corruption and the creation of a new state had until Monday virtually paralyzed parliament, but a debate on a $20 billion populist food bill broadly supported across the benches raised hopes the logjam had been cleared.

A Congress party member of parliament and a parliamentary affairs officer told Reuters the session had now been extended by a week. The decision was due to be formalized after a cabinet meeting later on Monday.

The government will try to pass a bill to allow foreign investment in the pension sector during the extended session, a law seen as a first step to building a viable private pension industry in India.

Also up for debate is a bill setting rules for compensation for land acquired for infrastructure projects and industry, a move seen as raising costs but potentially reducing protests that have plagued India's industrialization drive.

In 2012, parliament passed just 22 of the 94 bills listed for consideration. The government aimed to pass 43 bills in the current session.

(Reporting by Nigam Prusty, writing by Anurag Kotoky; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)