7 bills passed in RS amid Oppn boycott over MPs’ suspension

These include Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill and Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill

Rajya Sabha
The Bill has already cleared the Lok Sabha and is now in the Rajya Sabha (above). Photo: Screengrab

Using the Opposition’s boycott to its advantage, the government passed seven bills in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday (September 22), including last of the three proposed laws related to the agriculture sector that had triggered strong protests among the farmers.

The seven bills passed today by the Upper House are:
– The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill
– The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill
– The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill
– The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill
– The Companies (Amendment) Bill
– The National Forensic Sciences University Bill
– The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill

The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws Bill seeks to declare five new IIITs in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutes of national importance. The Essential Commodities Bill will remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the essential commodities list.

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Related news: Shawad Pawar to fast for a day in solidarity with 8 suspended RS MPs

The taxation bill seeks to provide various reliefs in terms of compliance requirements for taxpayers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Companies Bill will amend the Companies Act and decriminalise various compoundable offences as well as promote ease of doing business in the country.

While the National Forensic Sciences University Bill seeks to establish a National Forensic Sciences University by upgrading the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, the Rashtriya Raksha University Bill aims at establishing the Rashtriya Raksha University in the state.

The Banking Regulation Bill will amend the Banking Regulation Act to bring cooperative banks under the supervision of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), a move aimed at protecting the interest of depositors.

Related news: Snubbed over tea by suspended MPs, RS dy chairman on hunger strike

The passage of the bills comes amid a walkout of Opposition MPs demanding that the suspension of eight members be revoked. Congress was the first to walkout along with members of the AAP, TMC and Left parties. Some parties like the NCP, SP, Shiv Sena and RJD also staged a walkout later.

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu made a fresh appeal to the opposition members to rethink their decision of boycotting House proceedings and participate in the discussions of the House. “I appeal to all members to rethink their decision of boycott and participate in the discussion,” Naidu said in the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the government is not hell-bent upon keeping the suspended MPs out of the House and “if they express regret, the government will look into it.”

Related news: Opposition to boycott RS till suspension of 8 MPs is revoked: Azad

Earlier Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the opposition will boycott the proceedings of the House till the suspension of eight members is revoked. Azad also demanded that the government brings a bill which should ensure private players don’t procure food grains below the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government.

As many as eight Rajya Sabha members were suspended on Monday after the government brought a motion in this regard which was passed by the House by voice vote. These eight members were suspended for “unruly behaviour” during the passage of the two key farm bills on Sunday by Rajya Sabha amid chaos.

(With inputs from agencies)

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