Highlights of Monsoon Session 2020: Indian Parliament

On September 23, 2020, the Monsoon Session of the Parliament concluded. It concluded a week ahead of their schedule, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The session commenced on September 14, 2020.

A total of 25 Bills were cleared by the Parliament, including 11 bills to replace the ordinances promulgated between April and June, this year. Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Prahlad Joshi said that the productivity of Lok Sabha was approximately 167% and that of Rajya Sabha was approximately 100.47%.

The vital legislative actions during the Monsoon session are discussed below

Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020

The legislation was passed by the Rajya Sabha on September 19, 2020, and by the Lok Sabha on September 21, 2020. It was notified by the Central Government on September 29, 2020.

Farmers’ Bills

  1. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
  2. Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
  3. Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

All the three Acts received Presidential assent on 24th September 2020. It was passed by the Lok Sabha in Monsoon Session

Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The legislation was signed by the President on September 28, 2020. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on September 19, 2020, and by the Rajya Sabha on September 22, 2020, in Monsoon Session

Labour Codes

  1. Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020
  2. Industrial Relations Code, 2020
  3. Code on Social Security, 2020

The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019

The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha during this year’s Budget Session on March 19, 2020 and by the Lok Sabha on 14th September 2020.

The Bill seeks to repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and to establish a National Commission for Homoeopathy.  The objective of the bill is to provide a periodic and transparent assessment of medical institutions as well as ease maintenance of a Homoeopathy medical register for India and to implement high ethical standards in all facets of medical services.

Salient Features of the Bill

  • The Bill provides medical education systems that improve access to quality and reasonable medical education, guarantee the accessibility of adequate plus high-quality Homoeopathy medical professionals across the country. It aims to sponsor universal healthcare that promotes community health perception and makes services of Homoeopathy medical professionals available to all the citizens.

Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Act, 2020

The legislation was cleared by the Lok Sabha on September 20, 2020, and by the Rajya Sabha on September 23, 2020, in Monsoon Session. It was signed by the President on September 28, 2020.

National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019

It was passed in the Rajya Sabha during this year’s Budget Session on March 19, 2020 and by the Lok Sabha on 14th September 2020.

The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, and establish a National Commission to standardize the education and practice of Indian systems of Medicine. It imposes high ethical standards in all facets of medical services.

 It provides for a medical education system that improves access to medical education, guarantying the accessibility of medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine across the country. It also promotes medical professionals to adopt the latest medical research in their work and to contribute to research.

Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2020

The legislation was passed by the Parliament on September 21, 2020 and received Presidential assent on September 28, 2020.

The Act amends the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. The 1973 Act was amended in 2018 to provide for the supersession of the Central Council of Homoeopathy and it was required to be reconstituted within one year. This period was amended in 2019 to require the reconstitution of the Central Council in two years. In the interim period, the Central Government constituted a Board of Governors, to exercise the powers of the Central Council. The Act extends the tenure of Board of Governors for a period of one more year, with effect from April 24.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020

The legislation was passed in Lok Sabha on 21 September 2020 and by Rajya Sabha on 23 September 2020.

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The legislation was passed by the Parliament on 22nd September 2020 and was notified by the Central Government on September 29, 2020.

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Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2020

The legislation was passed by the Parliament on September 21, 2020 and received Presidential assent on September 28, 2020.

The Act provides that the Central Council of Indian Medicine will stand superseded from April 24, 2020 by a Board of Governors appointed by the Central Government, which will exercise the powers of the Central Council for a period of one year.

The Council was first superseded in the year 2018, for a period of one year. This period was extended for another year in 2019 and the present Act extends the tenure of the Board for one more year, to reconstitute the Council.

 Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020

It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on September 18, 2020 and by the Lok Sabha on September 21, 2020.

This Bill seeks to amend the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952 and reduce the salaries and sumptuary allowances of Ministers by 30% for a period of one year (starting from April 1, 2020), to supplement the financial resources of the centre to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020

It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on September 18, 2020 and by the Lok Sabha on September 15, 2020.

The Bill seeks to reduce the salaries of Members of Parliament by 30% for one year, to supplement the financial resources of the centre to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. It also proposes to amend certain Rules under the Members of Parliament Act, 1954 to reduce allowances for constituency and office expenses.

The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

It was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2020 during this year’s budget session and by the Rajya Sabha on September 15, 2020.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 

It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on September 19, 2020 and by the Lok Sabha on 21st September 2020.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 limits initiation of CIRP, whether voluntary or by the creditors, for defaults that occurs throughout the six months from March 25, 2020. This period may however be extended by the Central Government to one year, through notification.

The Bill as well proscribes the Resolution Professional from filing an application before the NCLT to contribute personal assets of the director or a partner of the corporate debtor to the company assets.

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

The legislation was passed in the Lok Sabha September 19, 2020 and was returned by the Rajya Sabha on September 22, 2020

This Act authorizes the Government to extend time limits for compliance or completion of:

  • Issuing notices and notifications, completing proceedings, and passing orders by authorities and tribunals
  • Filing of appeals, replies, and applications, and furnishing documents
  • Making any investment or payment for claiming certain deductions or allowances under the IT Act.

The Act amends eight legislations

  • The Wealth-tax Act, 1957,
  • Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act),
  • Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988,
  • Three Finance Acts, the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and
  • Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, and the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020.

The Rashtriya Raksha University Act, 2020

It was passed by the Parliament on September 22, 2020 and notified by the Central Government on September 28, 2020.

The Act seeks to set up the Raksha Shakti University, Gujarat (established under the Raksha Shakti University Act, 2009) as a University called the Rashtriya Raksha University in Gujarat. It shall have the rank of an institution of national importance.

The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020

It was cleared by the Parliament on September 22, 2020, Monsoon Session and notified by the Central Government on September 28, 2020.

The Act amends Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017.

The Bill makes the following educational institutions as institutes of National Importance:

  • Institutes of Information Technology, Surat
  • Institutes of Information Technology, Bhopal
  • Institutes of Information Technology, Bhagalpur
  • Institutes of Information Technology, Agartala
  • Institutes of Information Technology, Raichur
  • National Forensic Sciences University, Gujarat (also having campus at Delhi)
  • Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat

Until now, these institutes were registered as Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and did not have the power to grant degrees or diplomas. However now, the five institutes shall have the power to grant degrees.

The National Forensic Sciences University Act, 2020

It was passed by the Parliament on September 22, 2020, in Monsoon Session and notified by the Central Government on September 28, 2020.

The Act merges the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar and the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences, New Delhi, and form an institute of national importance.

The newly formed University will be known as the National Forensic Sciences University, with its campuses both in Delhi and Gujarat.

 The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020

It was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 19, 2020, during this year’s Budget Session and by the Rajya Sabha on 16th September 2020.

The Bill seeks to merge three Ayurveda institutes, that is, Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar;Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Jamnagar; and Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jamnagar; into one institution of National Importance. The proposed Institute that will go by the name Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, will be situated in the campus of Gujarat Ayurveda University, Jamnagar.

 Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Act, 2020

This legislation was passed by the Parliament on 23rd September 2020 and it came into force on September 29, 2020.

It notifies Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi in the list of official languages in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to the existing Urdu and English.

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