The fourth sitting of the monsoon session of Parliament and the second last session before the Lok Sabha elections 2019 saw the government giving a push to its legislative agenda with six bills introduced and two passed in the lower house while three bills were taken up for passage in the upper house.
The Lok Sabha did not witness any adjournment while the Upper House saw one over demands related to special category status for Andhra Pradesh and Congress allegations on misuse of Central agencies.
Unlike the second half of the Budget session which was washed out, this session has seen smooth functioning with members from both the ruling NDA and the Opposition eagerly taking part in discussions.
Five of the six bills introduced in the Lok Sabha will replace the ordinances brought by the Narendra Modi government earlier this year.
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These bill are the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018, Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, National Sports University Bill, 2017, Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
Apart from these five bills, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was also introduced in the Lok Sabha.
During the introduction of amendments to the insolvency law, Opposition members targeted the government over its intentions. They alleged that some changes had been brought to "help one industry". interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal rebutted their charge saying the amendment had been brought on the recommendations of a committee, and that the Bill was initially introduced as the banking sector was going through a crisis due to "indiscriminate lending" during the UPA rule. The Bill allows home buyers to be recognised as financial creditors.
The Lok Sabha passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 following brief discussions.
The Negotiable Instruments Bill allows payment of an interim compensation in cheque dishonour cases to prevent holding of payments pending a long trial.
The Bill on teacher education seeks to grant retrospective recognition to the Central and state universities which have conducted teacher education courses without the permission of the National Council for Teacher Education.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which sets out remedies for parties whose contractual or civil rights have been violated. The amendments propose that if a party breaks an agreed contract, the affected party will have the freedom to get it executed by a third party. The Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
The Upper House saw discussion on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which provides for a steep increase in penalty for traffic violations. Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari is expected to reply to the debate on Tuesday.
The House also took up The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Several Opposition members said the Bill should be sent to a select committee. Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asked the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to discuss the issue with all parties and come back to the House.
The monsoon session has been productive for the government. The first day of the session on July 18 saw three bills being introduced in the Lok Sabha. The House passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill last Thursday and the Rajya Sabha passed amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Lok Sabha had witnessed a lively debate during the no-confidence motion on Friday.
It is pertinent to mention here that before the Lok Sabha elections 2019 which is most likely to take place in the months of April-May next year, both-the ruling government and the opposition-are trying to make most it.
Compared to monsoon session, winter session will have less days for discussion.
(With IANS inputs)