The winter session of Parliament is slated to begin on Monday and is expected to witness much heat as the Opposition looks to corner the Union government over issues like economic slowdown and situation in Kashmir while the Modi dispensation seeks to push through the contentious Citizenship (amendment) Bill, a key part of the BJP's ideological agenda. The government is ready to discuss every issue , Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted in his customary remarks at a session eve all-party meeting held on Sunday and exhorted everyone to make the Winter session as productive as the last one, when Parliament gave its nod to the bifurcation of the then state of Jammu and Kashmir and nullifying Article 370, besides several other important bills.
The 18 Sena MPs in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha have now been allotted seats in the opposition rows after the party severed ties with its longtime ally BJP and is in talks with the Congress-NCP alliance to form government in Maharashtra.
- The nearly month-long winter session of Parliament will see over 35 legislations taken up, including the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which amends the definition of illegal migrant, and the Personal Data Protection Bill.
- The session, which will end on December 13, will see a total of 20 sittings.
- Currently, there are 43 bills pending in Parliament. Of these, 12 Bills are listed for consideration and passing and seven are listed for withdrawal. Twenty-seven bills are listed for introduction, consideration, and passing.
- The Central government is likely to push for passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to amend The Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship of India.
- Under The Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship was that the applicant must have resided in India in the last 12 months, as well as for 11 of the previous 14 years. Now the amendment relaxes the second requirement -- Afrom 11 years to six years. The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties. The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.
- The Bill is likely to be introduced afresh in the winter session. It will have to be passed by both Houses in order to become a law.
- The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, would replace an Ordinance that was promulgated in September 2019. The Ordinance prohibits the manufacture, trade, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. Any person who contravenes these provisions will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both.
- Some of the other important bills to come up are: The Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019, which amalgamates the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to replace an ordinance; The Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 -- to amend the Companies Act, 2013 to decriminalise certain offences and facilitate ease of doing business; the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 facilitating orderly development of the chit fund industry introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2019.
- The others are The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019, which repeals the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, and sets up a National Commission to regulate the education and practice of Indian systems of Medicine. It was introduced on Jan 7, 2019 in Rajya Sabha.
- Also included are the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 prohibiting commercial surrogacy; the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It removes the president of the Indian National Congress as a trustee and empowers the central government to remove nominated members.
PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah in all-party meet
Ahead of Parliament's winter session, an all-party meeting was held in Delhi, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and several senior opposition leaders. The meeting was also attended by Union minister Thawarchand Gehlot, Congress' leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma.
TMC leader Derek O Brien, LJP leader Chirag Paswan and Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, Telugu Desam Party Jayadev Galla and V Vijaysai Reddy were among those present at the meeting.
The meeting was called by the government and moderated by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had on Saturday appealed to all political parties for cooperation for ensuring the smooth functioning of the House.
After an all-party meeting, which was also attended by PM Modi, the Speaker said floor leaders of different parties mentioned various issues that they wished to be discussed during the winter session, beginning November 18 till December 13.