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7 Bills passed in 3.5 hrs in Rajya Sabha Without the Opposition

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed 7 bills in 3 and a half hours after opposition leaders boycotted parliament to protest the suspension of 7 members of parliament.

pc: RSTV

The Congress and a few other Opposition parties on Tuesday boycotted the proceedings of Rajya Sabha, demanding that the suspensions of eight of its members be revoked. Meanwhile, opposition parties, including Congress, TMC, TRC, and BSP, walked out of the Lok Sabha in solidarity with its members of Rajya Sabha, according to a PTI report.

Meanwhile, after nearly an hour of discussion over the conduct of opposition MPs during the passage of two agriculture reform bills on Sunday, the Rajya Sabha, in a record-breaking session, passed 7 key bills in a matter of three and half hours. This includes one that removes cereals, pulses, and onion from the essential commodities list and another that abolishes penalty for certain offences by companies

Only members from the ruling BJP and its ally JD-U and those of parties such as AIADMK, BJD, YSR-Congress and TDP, which have been extending support to the Modi government on various issues, participated in the debates on the bills.

Here’s all you need to know about the 7 bills passed today:

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill:

The Bill allows the central government to regulate the supply of certain food items only under extraordinary circumstances such as war and famine. It removes cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion, and potatoes from the list of essential commodities and removes stock holding limits on them. They believe that the bill will promote the local for the vocal initiative started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and will provide freedom to farmers to sell their products as per their choice and create balance in demand and supply chain.

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020:

Aims to relax the time limit on compliance with tax laws, GST payment and filing in view of the coronavirus pandemic was also passed. Among others, the bill seeks to give tax exemption for contributions made to the PM-CARES Fund, which was set up in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the finance minister, to ensure transparency in tax administration, the bill will make faceless assessments applicable to at least eight processes under the I-T Act, including for collection and recovery of tax and gathering of information.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 as well as the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 will replace emergency ordinances.

Amendments to the Bank Regulation Act:

The Upper House also passed amendments to the Bank Regulation Act to bring cooperative banks under the supervision of the RBI in a bid to protect the interest of depositors.

Companies Amendment Bill 2020:

In a bid to promote ease of doing business in India, the Parliament passed Companies Amendment Bill 2020, which will decriminalize various offences under 48 sections of the companies act 2013. A new chapter on producer organizations will also be introduced in the legislation to help especially those in the agriculture sector. The bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Corporate Affairs Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on March 17, 2020, will also give authority to the central government to allow specific public companies to list certain classes of securities in foreign stock exchanges to raise capital. Also, in case of corporate social responsibility or CSR, the bill proposes that the companies having CSR spending obligations of up to Rs 50 lakh need not constitute a CSR committee

Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Bill seeks to declare five Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) set up under the Public-Private Partnership model in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutions of national importance.

The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020:

This bill was suggested in the Union Budget 2020 to further strengthen the technological infrastructure in the country. The National Forensics Sciences University would entail up-gradation of the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University.

The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill:

This establishes the Raksha Shakti University, Gujarat (established under the Raksha Shakti University Act, 2009) as a University called the Rashtriya Raksha University in Gujarat. The Bill declares the University to be an institution of national importance.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also demanded that the government introduce a bill mandating that private companies and even the Food Corporation of India (FCI) will not purchase farm produce below the minimum support price (MSP).

“The government should introduce another bill which ensures that private players do not purchase beneath the MSP. On this, farmers can move court. MSPs should be announced using the Swaminathan formula. The state corporations and FCI should not purchase below MSPs. Our colleagues who have been suspended—their suspension should be revoked. Till the time the government does not take it back, we will boycott the proceedings of the House,” Azad said

The government has also committed in the Rajya Sabha that it is ready for the extension of time to further discuss farm-related bills and also the division of votes on condition that the suspended members express regret about their conduct.

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