The winter session of the parliament is anticipated to start on a stormy note with controversial issues in focus, even as it started by a tense all-party meeting with the AAP walking out on Sunday. The absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he was unable to attend the meeting was highly criticised by the opposition parties.
The first day of the session could solely witness the discussion and argument over MSP and power bills for farmers, even compensation for people who died of Covid-19. The opposition is even thinking to corner the government over other issues like Pegasus, rising fuel prices, and China’s aggression. The bill to repeal the three contentious farm laws shall even be introduced on the first day itself.
BJP, the ruling party, and Congress, the main opposition party issued whips to their respective MPs to be present on the day itself. “The government is ready for discussion and debate on any topic (in the winter session of parliament). There should be positive discussions,” stated by Arjun Ram Meghwal, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs.
The winter session is likely to go on till 23rd December with 20 sittings amid firm Covid-19 protocols. It is likely to see the introduction of 26 Bills which includes crucial ones regarding cryptocurrency regulation, protection of data, extension of tenure of ED and CBI directors for a tenure of five years among others.
It may not be pandemonium inside as the opposition is certainly ready to attack the Centre on several issues. Whereas outside too, it will be a charged environment with many farmer leaders planning to march to parliament. The timing of the session certainly clashes with the first anniversary of the protests of the farmers.
Farm laws repeal bill
As it is the first anniversary of the farmers’ protests which is ahead of assembly elections, the central government which is BJP-led is launching the bill to repeal 3 new farm laws, after Modi stated their withdrawal on 19th November.
More than thousands of farmers have been protesting since last year to repeal the 3 legislations. The bill affirms that though “only a small group of farmers are protesting”, the concern of the hour is “inclusive growth”.
Cryptocurrency and regulation of official digital currency bill
The bill came after a week of the parliamentary panel which was chaired by Jayant Sinha, a BJP leader who discussed the positive and negative impact of crypto finance with several stakeholders, and a decision and agreement was reached that digital currencies cannot be certainly stopped but it should be highly regulated. The bill has the power to ban all but few private cryptocurrencies while permitting an official digital currency by Reserve Bank of India.
Data protection bill
A report of the joint committee of parliament on the data protection bill, 2019, will even be presented in the two houses while the session is on. The report took many rounds of meeting and many discussions. The committee has proposed for more than 200 amendments, of which 170 have been proposed by PP Chaudhary who is the chairperson and Lok Sabha MP. The bill is currently called date protection bill instead of personal data protection bill, as because data means personal and also non-personal. It even involves issues of national security, integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
Bills listed to replace ordinances
3 bills have even been listed to take place as many ordinances- narcotics drug and psychotic substances bill to amend the act, central vigilance commission (amendment) bill, and Delhi special police establishment (amendment) bill.
The central vigilance commission and Delhi special police establishment amendment bills seeks to extend the tenure of directors of the Central Vigilance Commission and Central Bureau of Investigation.
Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill
Politically important bill for poll bound UP, the constitution (scheduled castes and scheduled tribes) order (amendment) bill, to amend the SC and ST list of UP, will also be launched. This certain move come just before the assembly election that will take place next year. There is another bill which is same to amend the SC and ST list of Tripura, which will go to polls in 2023.
Some other bills to be introduced during winter session:
The High Court and Supreme Court judges (salaries and conditions of service) amendment bill will revise the salaries act of judges of those who are in higher judiciary. The list that has been made of businesses also includes the insolvency and bankruptcy code (second amendment) bill, pension fund regulatory development authority (amendment) bill.
Other several bills are inter-services organisations (command, control and discipline) bill, 2021, which looks to “empower the commander-in-chief or the officer-in-command of inter-services organisations in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957, and the Air Force Act, 1950, who are serving under or attached to his command, for maintaining of discipline and proper discharge of their duties”.
The Emigration Act, 1983 will soon be replaced by the emigration bill, 2021, to establish a transparent, robust, and comprehensive management framework for emigration which will facilitate safe and orderly migration.
The national anti-doping bill, 2021 that aims to provide ‘a legislative framework to the NADA for meeting obligations of India under the convention and the obligations of NADA as a signatory of the WADA Code, as amended from time to time.’
The trafficking of persons (prevention, protection and rehabilitation) bill, 2021, looks to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, specifically women and children, also to provide care, protection, assistance and rehabilitation infrastructure.