This is Not a Weak Government, Says Minister Over 'Ordinance Raj' Criticism

This is Not a Weak Government, Says Minister Over 'Ordinance Raj' Criticism

The government uses the ordinances to ensure that development is not stalled, said Power Minister Piyush Goyal.

New Delhi:  The ruling NDA government has strongly hit back at the Opposition for terming the Narendra Modi-led central government as "one that believes in Ordinance Raj".

Since the winter session of Parliament wrapped up on December 23, the Modi government has brought in several key ordinances. The government has introduced nine ordinances in the past seven months.

Reports in a section of the media today claimed that three Cabinet ministers had opposed the ordinance route on important issues like land acquisition, hiking the cap on foreign investment in the insurance sector and regulating the process of allocating coal blocks.

"This information is wrong. I was also in the Cabinet. If anyone says this, it is wrong," said Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who also holds charge of the coal ministry.

Mr Goyal added, "This government is not a weak government. If any group wants to bring obstacles and stall development, then the government uses the ordinances to ensure that development is not stalled."

But the Congress retorted by pointing out that the BJP had also stalled several sessions of Parliament when it was in the Opposition.

"Look who's talking," said Anand Sharma, Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha.

"The BJP has the worst track record of being an obstructionist; it carries the dubious distinction of destroying session after session. Mr (Arun) Jaitley (Union Finance Minister), as Leader of the Opposition, had opposed the Food Security Ordinance," said Mr Sharma.

Soon after the ordinance on insurance was passed, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury had written to President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to not sign the ordinances and turn them into laws.

Ordinances are an emergency provision in the Constitution, Mr Yechury said in his letter, and argued that such a provision should be sparingly used.

President Mukherjee summoned senior ministers, including Arun Jaitley and (Road Transport Minister) Nitin Gadkari, to find out what the urgency was behind promulgating an ordinance to make changes to the Land Acquisition Act in December.

In an interview to NDTV earlier this week, Mr Jaitley had explained that the Modi government faced a deadline of December 31, by when it either had to make changes to the Land Acquisition Bill or go with UPA's bill.

"It's only after satisfying himself, that the President agreed to endorse that ordinance," Mr Jaitley told NDTV.

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