It has been a week since the government announced its decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. While this has the potential to curb the nuisance of black money in India, the move has created complete chaos, with people thronging banks to get rid of their demonetised notes.
As the winter session of Parliament begins today, the Opposition has closed ranks on the issue of demonetisation. This session is scheduled to end on December 16, 2016, and will see over 22 sittings. The other issues that are likely to heat up the winter session are cross-LoC surgical strikes the Kashmir issue and the upcoming elections.
But, more importantly, the agenda for legislation includes nine bills for introduction, consideration, and passing; while two bills are listed for withdrawal. There are ten bills that are listed for consideration and passing, according to the PRS. These include –
The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013
Introduced in the Lok Sabha on Aug 19, 2013, this bill mandates the process of giving bribe as an offence and thereby modifies the definition of taking a bribe. The amendment bill demands prior sanction to prosecute former officials. The Standing Committee Report is submitted on February 6, 2014 and the Rajya Sabha Standing Committee Report has been submitted on August 12, 2016.
The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill
This bill explains the grounds under which disclosures related to corruption may not be made. The bill has been introduced on May 11, 2015 at the Lok Sabha and has been passed but it is pending in Rajya Sabha.
The Consumer Protection bill, 2015
Introduced in August 2015 in Lok Sabha, this bill replaces the 1986 act and provides compensation of consumer complaints, recall of goods, action against misleading advertisements, and product liability claims.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
This bill proposes that illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan from specified religious groups (Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian) will be eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. On July 19, 2016 Lok Sabha referred the case to Joint Committee .
The Employee's Compensation Amendment Bill
Introduced on August 5, 2016, this bill asks an employer to inform the employee of his right to compensation under the 1923 Act and imposes a penalty for failure to inform. Though the bill was passed by Lok Sabha on August 9, 2016 it is still pending in Rajya Sabha.
Factories Amendment Bill
On August 9, 2016, this bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha to improve the limit of overtime working hours and empower the Central government to make exempting rules related to overtime hours. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on August 10, 2016 but is pending in Rajya Sabha.
The Maternity Benefits Amendment Bill, 2016
Increases the maternity leave to 26 weeks, grants leave to adopting and commissioning mothers and requires establishments with 50 employees to provide crèche facilities. It was passed by Rajya Sabha on August 11, 2016, and is pending before Lok Sabha.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016
Introduced on March 8, 2015 at Lok Sabha, this bill overlooks the power of all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in an office of the Central government. The Rajya Sabha Select Committee report has been submitted on May 6, 2016, and is pending before Rajya Sabha. Those who migrated to Pakistan come under this act.
Prevention and Control Bill, 2014 (The Human Immuno-deficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
Submitted at Rajya Sabha on February 11, 2014, this health bill seeks to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS. It also takes a firm stand on the discrimination against the affected. The standing committee report has been shared on April 19, 2015.
The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013
Passed by Rajya Sabha on August 8, 2016 and ending in Lok Sabha this bill replaces Mental Health Act of 1987. The act protects the rights of persons with mental illness and promotes their access to mental healthcare. Introduced on August 19, 2013, the Rajya Sabha Standing Committee report has been submitted on November 20, 2013.
The winter session started with the Lok Sabha session being adjourned after the obituary references given by the speaker Sumitra Mahajan, while the Rajya Sabha observed a tough exchange of opinions on the recent demonetization. In all, the winter session of Lok sabha will expect a lot of heat in the days to follow.