The winter session of Indian Parliament will begin from November 18 and continue till December 13. A number of bills are likely to be taken up during the Winter Session. Further, two crucial ordinances are on the list to be converted into law during the session. The upcoming session will be crucial for three key factors – Policy Push, Productivity and political consensus on issues of vital National Interest. The Winter Session of Parliament is expected to be tumultuous, as the Opposition is expected to corner the Centre over various socio-political and economic issues. In the last two years, winter sessions have been convened on November 21st and ended in the first week of January.
While the previous Monsoon session this year saw the passage of landmark bills such Triple Talaq, Motor Vehicles Act, and amendments to the National Investigation Agency Act, the hallmark of the session was the revocation of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, that were impeding the integration of J&K into the national mainstream completely. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had tabled the Citizenship Amendment Bill on 8 January 2019 during its first term in office, is likely to bring the Bill back this session, following the announcement of the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in August.
At the same time, two ordinances which were cleared by the Union Cabinet – one on reducing corporate tax rates for new and domestic manufacturing companies to arrest slowdown in the economy and boost growth. It was issued in September this year to give effect to amendments in the Income Tax Act amendments in 1961 and Finance Act in 2019.The second ordinance was also issued in September after the electoral success projected in Maharashtra and Haryana. The other being banning sale, manufacture and storage of e-cigarettes in India – are also likely to be tabled in Parliament this session.
On its part, senior leaders of the Opposition indicated that the two key issues they would raise in the winter session is the state of economy and situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during an interaction in Mumbai last week had also said the issue of Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank may also come up in the next session of Parliament.
Chairman of the Upper House (Rajya Sabha), M. Venkiah Naidu had convened an All- Party meeting last Sunday ahead of the winter session. High on the agenda could be an issue that may come up for discussion is President’s Rule in Maharashtra. This is the first time in several years that the ruling alliance has a comfortable majority in the Upper House. It is pertinent to note that the BJP had got issue-based support from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).
Plans are also afoot to introduce amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in the upcoming winter session to incorporate provisions for cross-border insolvency. These provisions for cross – border insolvency would enable Indian firms to claim their dues from foreign; while allowing foreign creditors to recover loans from Indian companies. Apart from Foreign creditors, this would help foreign branches of Indian banks to recover their dues in India. While introduction of cross- border insolvency provisions within the IBC would enable lenders in pursuing resolution in cases where assets of the borrowers are spread across the World.
The Centre is planning to notify section 227 under the Code to enable resolution of financial service providers such as non- banking finance companies (NBFCs). These measures will help in effective resolution of cases that are currently struck because the insolvency law does not provide clear mandate for resolving such complex cases. The duty of the opposition should be to engage the government and participate in debates rather than making noise and walking out. There was a time when Parliament had several articulate parliamentarians from all parties and now it has the chance to build such a team for new India.
Script: Yogesh Sood, Journalist