Cabinet clears Nuclear Liability Bill

     The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the Nuclear Liability Bill after the contentious word 'and' was removed from its text. The Bill will now be introduced in Parliament. The report of Standing Committee on Science and Technology proposed that the Clause 17(A) may end with the word 'and'. It also proposed modification of Clause 17(b) to say "the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of latent or patent defect, supply of sub-standard material, defective equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services". The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contended the "efficacy and utility of Clause 17 (b) on the supplier is completely destroyed by the supplier not agreeing to an agreement in writing. The 31-member parliamentary Standing Committee on Science And Technology had tabled its report in both houses of Parliament on Wednesday. The report was finalised after the government agreed to accommodate most of the concerns of the opposition BJP, including raising the compensation cap to Rs 1500 crores from Rs 500 crore. The passage of the Bill is considered important for starting nuclear commerce between India and the international community. Earlier, the government had listed the Bill for introduction on March 15, but had to defer it at the last moment after it realised that it did not have the requisite numbers to see its introduction in the Lok Sabha. In the present form, the Bill limits liability to the operator for each nuclear accident at Rs 500 crore.

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