Saturday, September 18, 2021

Review of proceedings in Parliament

The second week of Parliament’s Monsoon Session began on a stormy note even as Opposition members continued with their protests over a host of issues, including the alleged Pegasus snooping case and farm laws. However, the government succeeded in getting two bills passed in Lok Sabha on Monday. The Lok Sabha passed the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021 amid uproar by the Opposition.

Moving the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, the changes have been made in the interests of MSME sector. She said, it simplifies the definition of factoring business in which the Banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies or involvement of any business entity. Ms Sitharaman said, the bill widens the scope for entities to involve in factoring business. She said, the process of sale and acquirement of factors from one entity to another is simplified in this bill. The bill seeks to amend the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011 to widen the scope of entities which can engage in factoring business.

The Lok Sabha also passed the National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021 moved by Food Processing and Industries Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras. It lays down the provision for certain institutes of food technology, entrepreneurship and management like National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management at Kundli and the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology at Thanjavur as institutions of national importance.

The bills were passed without discussion in the house as Opposition members continued to stage protests demanding discussion on the Pegasus snooping allegations and the farmers’ demand of repealing the three new farming laws.

Earlier in the day, the house witnessed repeated adjournments and when it met at 2 p.m. and ran for a few minutes, papers were laid on the table and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

As soon as the house met in the morning, Speaker Om Birla paid tributes to personnel of the Armed Forces for their valour and sacrifice during the 1999 Kargil War. On the 22nd Anniversary of ‘Operation Vijay’, mounted to flush out Pakistani troops from the heights of Kargil, Speaker Birla also expressed his gratitude to the family members of the heroes of the war. Members observed silence for those who made the supreme sacrifice.

The Speaker congratulated Mirabai Chanu for winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Soon thereafter, Opposition members again trooped to the well of the house raising slogans and disrupting the proceedings.

The Rajya Sabha failed to transact any business on Monday as it witnessed repeated adjournments with the Opposition continued to create uproar over the farmers and Pegasus snooping issues. The house witnessed five adjournments during the day till it was adjourned finally for the day amid continued disruption by the Opposition.

On Tuesday, both the houses of Parliament continued to face disruptions over Pegasus snooping, farm laws and other issues.

Amid the ruckus, Rajya Sabha passed the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021. The bill was passed after a brief discussion amid din. The Lok Sabha has already passed the legislation.

The bill seeks to provide a framework for the development, maintenance and management of aids to navigation in India. It defines aid to navigation as a device, system, or service, external to the vessels designed and operated to enhance the safety and efficiency of navigation of vessels and vessel traffic.

On Wednesday, both the houses also witnessed continued adjournments due to the uproar created by the Opposition parties over the Pegasus snooping and other issues. Amid the din, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day after repeated adjournments.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha passed Supplementary Demands for Grants First Batch 2021-22 and Demands for Excess Grants for 2017-18 along with Appropriation Bills, 2021. The house also passed Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 without any discussion.

On Thursday, the Lok Sabha passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 without any discussion. Amidst protests of Opposition members in the well, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia moved the bill. He said, the bill thrusts upon increase of air traffic and related economic activities across the country including tier-two and tier-three cities.

The Minister said, after the launch of regional air connectivity scheme UDAN, aviation activities have been increased manifold in the country. Mr Scindia said, several small airports like Darbhanga, Belgaum and Jharsuguda were rejuvenated after the inception of UDAN scheme. Amid pandemonium, the bill was passed.

Even though the house was witnessing protests from agitating members, the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 was taken up and was also passed without discussion. The bill replaces the Inland Vessels Act, 1917.

Moving the bill in the house, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said, the 1917 Act was obsolete in emerging scenario. He said, the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 seeks fast, safe and economical inter-state movement of vessels through inland waterways. Mr. Sonowal said, it will help in boosting commerce and economic activities and national integration besides bringing uniformity in application of law relating to inland waterways and navigation within the country. The Minister said, it will help in catalyzing a new regime of inland vessels movement. He said, the bill also aims to bring transparency and accountability of administration of inland water transportation.

Parliament passed the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 with the Rajya Sabha approving it on Thursday amid din. The bill was already passed by the Lok Sabha. Factoring business is a business where an entity acquires the receivables of another entity for an amount. Factor can be a bank, a registered non-banking financial company or any company registered under the Companies Act.

Speaking on the bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam said, it will benefit the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of the country. She said, MSMEs are facing difficulty due to delay in receivables and this bill will help in ensuring smoother working capital cycle and healthier cash flow. She said, MSMEs will get the easier liquidity which will help in their operation. The house had a brief discussion on the bill.

On Friday, both the houses were adjourned for the day following disruptions by the Opposition over Pegasus snooping, farm laws and other issues. Amid pandemonium, The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 and The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 were introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The scene was no different in the Rajya Sabha. Amidst the ruckus, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh introduced the Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021 while Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad introduced the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Rajya Sabha. After the introduction of these two bills, the Rajya Sabha passed the Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021 without discussion. The Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was moved by Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar. As the pandemonium continued in the house, the Deputy Chairman finally adjourned the house for the day.

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