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Important Bills, passed by Houses of Parliament in the Monsson Session 2020

The Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shri Prahlad Joshi in a statement on the Monsoon Session, 2020 issued here today informed that the productivity of Lok Sabha was approx. 167% and that of Rajya Sabha was approx. 100.47% during the Monsoon Session, 2020.

Important Bills, passed by Houses of Parliament in the Monsson Session 2020
Indian Parliament Building Delhi India, Photo Source: Wiki

AGRICULTURAL REFORMS:

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 provides for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels; to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations;  and to provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Prices Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 provides for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will boost immediate investment in Agriculture sector, increase competition and enhance farmers' income.

EDUCATION SECTOR:

The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020 provides to establish and declare an institution to be known as the National Forensic Sciences University as an institution of national importance to facilitate and promote studies and research and to achieve excellence in the field of forensic science in conjunction with applied behavioural science studies, law, criminology and other allied areas and technology and other related fields.

The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020 proposes to establish the Rashtriya Raksha University and to declare it as an institution of national importance and to provide for its incorporation; University is proposed to be a multi-disciplinary University to create new knowledge through research and collaboration with different stakeholders and help to fulfil the need for a pool of trained professionals with specialised knowledge and new skill sets in various wings of policing, the criminal justice system and correctional administration. The University will have linkage with world class universities in other countries, which will be need based, for the purpose of exchange of contemporary research, academic collaboration, course design, technical know-how and training and skill development.

LABOUR SECTOR REFORMS:

Three landmark Labour sector reform Bills were passed during the current session.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020 provides to amalgamate, simplify and rationalise the relevant provisions the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of the persons employed in an establishment.

The Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 provides to amend and consolidate the laws relating to social security with the goal to extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organised or unorganised or any other sectors. 

The Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020 provides to consolidate and amend the laws relating to Trade Unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishment or undertaking, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes

COVID-19 RELATED LEGISLATIONS:

Some Ordinances were promulgated to mitigate the effects arising out of Covid-19 pandemic though legislative means.

The Salary, Allowance and Pensions of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 reduce the salary payable to Members of Parliament by 30% for a period of one year commencing 01.04.2020.  

The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020 reduces the sumptuary allowance payable to each Minister by thirty per cent. for a period of one year commencing from the 1.4.2020.

The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020  intends to curb unprecedented acts of violence, including physical and mental harassment and damage to property during COVID-19 pandemic and provides protection to healthcare service personnel.

The Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 provides to temporarily suspend initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process under the Code, initially for a period of six months or such further period, not exceeding one year from 25th  March, 2020, to provide relief to companies affected by COVID-19 to recover from the financial stress without facing the immediate threat of being pushed to insolvency proceedings.

HEALTH SECTOR:

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020 proposes to merge three Ayurveda institutes namely (i) the Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, (ii) Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Jamnagar, and, (iii) the Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jamnagar into one institution by the name of Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda. The Bill declares the Institute to be an institution of National Importance.

The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2020 will repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and provide for a medical education system which ensures: (i) availability of adequate and high-quality medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine, (ii) adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine, (iii) periodic assessment of medical institutions, and (iv) an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

The National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2020  will repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and provide for a medical education system which ensures: (i) availability of adequate and high quality homoeopathic medical professionals, (ii) adoption of the latest medical research by homoeopathic medical professionals, (iii) periodic assessment of medical institutions, and (iv) an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

ECONOMIC SECTOR/EASE OF DOING BUSINESS MEASURES:

Some important legislations to address the economic requirements of the country were passed during the current session.

The Banking Regulation (Amendment)Bill, 2020 proposes to expand RBI’s regulatory control over co-operative banks in terms of management, capital, audit and liquidation so as to provide for better management and proper regulation of co-operative banks and to ensure that the affairs of the co-operative banks are conducted in a manner that protects the interests of the depositors, by increasing professionalism, enabling access to capital, improving governance and ensuring sound banking through the Reserve Bank of India.

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 proposes to decriminalise minor procedural or technical lapses under the provisions of the  Companies Act, 2013, into civil wrong; and considering the overall pendency of the courts, remove criminality in case of defaults, which can be determined objectively and which otherwise lack any element of fraud or do not involve larger public interest. In addition, to provide greater ease of living to corporates.

The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020 facilitates to ensure financial stability and promote competitiveness in Indian financial markets by providing enforceability of bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts.

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 provides for relaxation of certain provisions of the specified Acts relating to direct taxes, indirect taxes and prohibition of Benami property transactions.


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