Cabinet likely to clear changes in n-liability bill


New Delhi : The amendments suggested by a parliamentary panel on the civil nuclear liability bill, which include hiking the accident compensation cap to Rs 1,500 crore ($322 million), are expected to be considered and cleared by the union cabinet Thursday.

Support TwoCircles

After the cabinet’s approval, the proposed legislation is expected to be passed during the ongoing monsoon session of parliament that concludes Aug 31.

The government is keen to get the legislation through before US President Barack Obama visits India in November as it is a prerequisite for implementing the 2008 India-US civil nuclear deal.

The 31-member parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, which examined Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 for over nine weeks, tabled its report in both houses of parliament Wednesday.

A section of the opposition has accused the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of striking a deal to get the legislation through parliament.

The panel recommended that while the government may increase the compensation cap, it should not decrease it under any circumstances. It also recommended doubling the period for victims’ claims to 20 years.

Relenting to key demands of the opposition, the panel proposed to triple the liability cap in case of a nuclear accident to Rs 1,500 crore and also sought to make suppliers of atomic equipment accountable if it is found defective or if the accident resulted from gross negligence.

The proposed changes in the legislation that earlier faced hostility from the opposition parties have brightened the chances of the contentious legislation during the monsoon session of parliament.