The Budget Session, which started 31 January, will hold its final session on Wednesday and is likely to end with a large list of bills remaining pending in both Houses of Parliament. With Congress staging a walk-out on Tuesday in the Lok Sabha over the Rafale deal and the Rajya Sabha being adjourned following an uproar by Samajwadi Party members after party chief Akhilesh Yadav was allegedly stopped at Lucknow airport while on his way to Allahabad, both Houses once again lost valuable time.
At the end of the Winter Session (247th session), the Upper House had 49 government bills and 130 private members bills pending; the Lok Sabha, on the other hand, according to its official website, had 25 government bills and over a thousand private members bills pending. With Wednesday being the last official business day of both Houses of the Parliament, let's take a look at some of the key bills that have been pending in both Houses of the Parliament.
The Upper House has managed to pass just two bills during the Budget Session. The Upper House has the maximum number of bills pending, including key bills such as the Consumers Protection Bill 2018, Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 and the Aaadhar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019: Though passed in the Lok Sabha, the Bill has been in limbo in the Rajya Sabha following the protests in the North East. Though the Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 6 February, it is yet to see any progress. Home Minister Rajnath Singh was expected to table the Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, however, following an uproar by the Samajwadi Party, the Upper House was adjourned for the most part of the day. It's unlikely the Bill will be tabled on the last day of the Budget Session even though the prime minister has thrown his weight behind it, and is an important part of the BJP's agenda to consolidate Hindu votes in the North East ahead of the Lok Sabha Election. The bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who fled religious persecution. It was passed by Lok Sabha on 8 January and is awaiting the nod of Rajya Sabha.
Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019: Introduced by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Lok Sabha on 2 January and passed on 4 January, the Bill is yet to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha. According to PRS India, the Bill seeks to make amendments in the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The Bill seeks crucial changes in the existing acts to put them in line with the Supreme Court order on the Aadhaar Act in September 2018, and ensure targeted delivery of subsidies and benefits to individuals residing in India by assigning them Aadhaar numbers.
Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session seeks to make crucial changes to ensure transparency of businesses registered in India. Aimed to replace a November 2018 Ordinance, the Bill seeks several amendments in the Companies Act, 2013, in areas such as re-categorisation of offences described under the 2013 Act into 16 civil offences, and allowing their resolution in the form of penalties as well as better compliance to taxation rules.
Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018: Passed in the Lok Sabha on 31 December, the bill seeks to set up the Medical Council of India (MCI) and determines the members that will constitute the new regulator of medical education and practice in the country. The Bill, if passed in the Rajya Sabha, will amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, and replaces the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018.
Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018: The Bill seeks to make several amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 to smoothen resolution of domestic as well as international disputes. The Bill seeks to establish an independent body called the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms, according to PRS India. The Act details the composition of the ACI and contains provisions for contains provisions to deal with domestic and international arbitration, and defines the law for conducting conciliation proceedings. The Bill also seeks to ensure the confidentiality of the parties involved in an arbitration proceeding.
New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2018: In line with the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018, the Bill seeks to create the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC), a centre of national importance that will conduct arbitration, mediation, and conciliation proceedings.
Consumer Protection Bill, 2018: Awaiting approval in the Rajya Sabha, the Bill seeks to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumers. The Consumer Protection Bill 2018, which will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, while defining consumer rights also offers protection to consumers from defective products, misleading advertisements as well as seeks to create Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and forums at the district, state and national-levels for adjudicating consumer complaints. The Bill will lapse if the Rajya Sabha fails to clear it Wednesday.
Though the Upper House has managed to clear key bills like the Finance Bill 2019, work in the Lower House of the Parliament has been slow going.
Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018: Introduced in July 2018, the Bill provides for a mechanism to ban unregulated deposit schemes and protect the interests of depositors. It also seeks to amend three laws, including the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992. Apart from creating a separate court to deal with cases of unregulated deposits. The Bill is crucial to ensure the public doesn't lose money through unregulated and illegal Ponzi schemes.
Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2018: Introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of the Parliament by Minister of State for Culture, Mahesh Sharma, the Bill provides for the erection of a National Memorial in memory of those killed or wounded on 13 April, 1919, in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar. Proposing amendments in the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951, the Bill also seeks to create a Trust to manage the National Memorial.
Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2018: Also introduced in the Winter Session of the Parliament, the Bill provides for the establishment of two central universities in Andhra Pradesh to be known as the Central University of Andhra Pradesh and the Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh, according to PRS India. The Central Tribal University will take additional measures to provide higher education and research facilities in tribal art, culture, and customs primarily to the tribal population of India.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2019 08:47:03 IST