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Plan to extend House session

New Delhi, Aug. 12: A sudden adrenaline rush in the Narendra Modi government has pushed it to consider extending Parliament’s session by “three or four” days to get “at least” six bills passed.

The session was to have ended on August 14, a day before Independence Day, to enable MPs to return to their constituencies and keep their date with August 15.

M. Venkaiah Naidu, the parliamentary affairs minister, indicated this evening that the session may resume on August 18 for another “three or four days” to enable the government to push through certain listed bills.

Naidu said a final call on the extension would be taken by the cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs tomorrow after “taking a sense” of what the MPs feel.

Among the bills Prime Minister Modi was said to be keen on getting through are three labour-related ones. These are:

The Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which seeks to regulate training of apprentices and make the arrangement more responsive to youth and industry

The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014, to ring in changes based on new manufacturing practices and technologies, ratification of ILO conventions, judicial decisions and the recommendations of various committees

The Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill. It tweaks the definition of “small establishment” to cover those employing between 10 and 40 persons and exempts them from furnishing returns and maintaining registers under labour laws.

Among other legislation, the government is keen to see through the Constitutional (Scheduled Castes) Orders Amendment Bill, 2014, the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014, and amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

Political sources said the “frenetic” initiatives by the government towards the fag end of a long-drawn budget-cum-monsoon session, which started on July 7, were meant to rectify a perception that “little” was accomplished as legislative business other than the passage of the railway budget and the Finance Bill.

The government had planned to showcase The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill — which seeks to hike the FDI ceiling from 26 to 49 per cent in the sector — as the start of a slew of big-ticket reforms.

But confronted with opposition from rivals, the government is expected to refer the amendments to a select committee that will work to a time-line. Once the panel returns the amendments, the government either hopes to convene a special sitting to get the amended bill passed or take it up on a priority in the winter session.

Sources said Modi had looked forward to “tangible” achievements in Parliament so he could incorporate them in his first Independence Day as Prime Minister.