The parliament, convening on July 19 for its monsoon session for the year 2021, with COVID-19 protocol in place for members of both Houses, is set to propose its bills. Recent data indicate that 444 Lok Sabha members and 218 Rajya Sabha members have been vaccinated with at least one dose. While the session has had a rocky start, with the prime minister alleging opposition’s hullabaloo as a mark of protest against the introduction of women and those belonging to backward classes as MPs, 19 sittings have been slated to happen between July 19 and August 13. The parliament is currently considering 38 bills, according to PRS Legislative. Nine of these are slated for consideration and passing, while 17 are slated for introduction, consideration, and passing. Meanwhile, BJP MPs are expected to introduce bills on civil code uniformity and population control.
Bills listed for introduction, consideration and passing
The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020: The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha on September 14, 2020. The bill seeks to amend the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011, to widen the scope of entities that can engage in the factoring business.
DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019: This bill regulates the use of DNA information for establishing a person’s identity. The profiles are then used to guide law enforcement agencies in their investigations. The committee has stressed that it is important that state-of-the-art technology be used in the criminal justice system, but it must do so without infringing on constitutional rights, especially the right to privacy.
The Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021: It empowered the central government to notify rules on qualifications of members, terms and conditions of their service, and composition of search-cum-selection committees for 19 tribunals (such as Customs, Excise, and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal).
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019: This bill seeks to bring step-children, adoptive children, children-in-law, and legal guardians of minor children under the definition of children for the purpose of Senior Citizens Act, 2007. It also provides that children and relatives may also appeal decisions of the Tribunal apart from senior citizens. This will clear the cloud that was formed in view of conflicting decisions rendered by a few High Courts on this aspect.
The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2019 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment on December 23, 2019. The Committee’s report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on January 29, 2021.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021: The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed in Lok Sabha on March 24, 2021. The bill amends the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The act consists of provisions related to children in conflict with the law and in need of care and protection.
The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020: This bill seeks to regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) services in the country by regulating ART clinics and banks, prescribing conditions for gamete donation and supply, prescribing rights of a child born through ART, etc. It proposes to criminalise (i) abandoning/ exploiting children born through ART, (ii) trading/ importing human embryos, (iii) using intermediates to obtain donors, and (iv) transferring human embryos into a male or an animal.
The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021: This bill seeks to declare certain institutes of food technology, entrepreneurship, and management as institutions of national importance. These institutes are: (i) the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Kundli, and (ii) the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 15, 2021 during the 2021 Budget Session and was put up for discussion in the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2021.
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021: This bill proposes pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for corporate debtors classified as micro, small or medium enterprises under the MSME Development Act, 2006. As per the government, this will ensure “quicker, cost-effective and value maximising outcomes for all the stakeholders, in a manner which is least disruptive to the continuity of their businesses and which preserves jobs”.
The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021: The bill proposes to amend the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 to decriminalise twelve compoundable offences that deal with procedural and technical violations. Omission of two provisions is also proposed.
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021: This bill seeks to amend the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 2013, to fulfil the Budget Announcement 2019 regarding the separation of NPS Trust from PFRDA and Budget Announcement 2020 for ensuring universal pension coverage, as well as strengthening PFRDA.
The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021: This bill shall enable easy and time-bound access for depositors to their hard-earned money and is proposed to introduce amendments to the DICGC Act, 1961 to further instil confidence in depositors about the safety of their money. The objective is to enable access for depositors to their savings through deposit insurance in a time bound manner in case there is suspension of banking business of the insured bank under various provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
The Essential Defence Service Bill, 2021 – Replaces an Ordinance: This bill has been proposed with an aim to bring out a central Act for Essential Defence Services. An ordinance for the same was promulgated on June 30, 2021. The bill empowers the central government to regulate uninterrupted supply of arms, ammunitions and other goods and services to the Armed Forces in case of strike against the decision to corporatise the ordnance factories.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 – Replaces an Ordinance: The bill seeks to provide a permanent solution and establish a self-regulated, democratically monitored mechanism for tackling air pollution in the NCR and adjoining areas, rather than limited ad-hoc measures. It also seeks to set-up a Commission for Air Quality Management in order to streamline public participation, inter-state cooperation, expert involvement and persistent research and innovation. In the past few years, the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court have issued a slew of directions to tackle Delhi NCR’s persistent problem of air pollution. Based on the Centre’s assurance that it was coming up with such a legislative exercise, the apex court had kept in abeyance its earlier order appointing retired SC Justice M.B. Lokur as the head of a committee to monitor the situation. Following this, an ordinance in this regard was promulgated by the President on October 28, 2020. The instant bill will replace this ordinance.
The Cantonment Bill, 2021: This bill aims at greater democratisation, modernisation and overall improvement in the governance structure of Cantonment Boards.
The Indian Antarctica Bill, 2021: This bill seeks to provide harmonious policy and regulatory framework for India’s Antarctic activities and to provide national measures for protecting the Antarctic’s environment and dependent and associated ecosystem as per the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and Protocol on the Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
The Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants, and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2021: This bill proposes to reform and speed up the disciplinary mechanism of Chartered Accountancy institutes.
The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021: This bill proposes to establish a Central University in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
The Indian Institute of Forest Management Bill, 2021: This bill seeks to declare the existing Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal a premier and the only forestry management educational institute in the country, and an institution of national importance. It will confer on it the power to grant degrees as well.
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021: This bill proposes to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to provide for care, protection, assistance and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them, and also to ensure prosecution of offenders, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021: This bill proposes to replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917 in view of chronological changes and other changes that have taken place since then.
The Indian Marine Fisheries Bill, 2021: This bill proposes to repeal the Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act, 1981 and provide for sustainable development of fisheries resources in the exclusive economic zone of India. It also provides for responsible harnessing of fisheries in the high seas by the Indian Fishing Vessel and promotion of livelihoods of small-scale and artisanal fishers and related matters.
The Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Amendment Bill, 2021: This bill proposes to make provisions for leasing of land and coal mining rights vested under the CBA Act, to any company (including the private sector) that has become a successful bidder in the auction of coal blocks conducted under the MMDR Act or the CMSP Act. For this purpose, it is proposed to provide for vesting of the land and coal mining rights in the state for further leasing to the successful bidder. It also proposes that the land acquired under the Act shall be utilised for coal mining operations and allied or ancillary activities as may be prescribed by the central government. Further, it will also provide for utilisation of the acquired land where coal has been mined out or lands are not economically viable or are practically unsuitable for coal development related activities and other public purposes.
The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021: The bill proposes: (i) de-licensing of the distribution business for increased competition, (ii) appointment of members from law background in every Commission for strengthening of APTEL (iii) penalty for non-compliance of RPO, (iv) Rights and Duties of Consumers. The bill will primarily privatise power distribution to enable the consumers to choose from multiple service providers (like the Telecom sector).
It has not been received well by the power engineers and employees, who will boycott work on August 10 as a sign of protest.
The Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Amendment) Bill, 2021: This bill seeks to make the system of laying of pipelines for transportation of Petroleum and Minerals robust.