As Opposition MPs decided to boycott the remaining session of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, the government moved and passed seven bills in the House as of 2.15 pm on Tuesday
Maadhyam, a Twitter account that monitors the workings of the Parliament, pointed out that the Upper House had brought up five bills for discussion within two hours.
Eight suspended Opposition Rajya Sabha MPs had earlier on Tuesday ended their overnight sit-in inside the Parliament House complex after the Opposition decided to boycott the remainder of the Monsoon Session until its demands regarding the Farm Bills were met.
Following this, the Rajya Sabha passed a bill to further amend the Companies Act and decriminalise various compoundable offences as well as promote ease of doing business in the country. The Lok Sabha had given its approval to the bill on September 19.
The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to decriminalise various penal provisions, permit direct overseas listing of Indian corporates and introduce a new chapter related to producer organisations in the legislation.
Reduction in penalties for certain offences as well as in timeline for rights issues, relaxation in CSR compliance requirements and creation of separate benches at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) are also among the proposed changes, PTI reported.
The Rajya Sabha then passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities. The Bill, which was approved by the Lok Sabha on September 15, replaces an ordinance promulgated in June.
Replying to a short debate, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said the stock limit conditions imposed through the law were hindering investment in the agriculture infrastructure.
The amendments to the six-and-half-decade law provides that stock holding limit on commodities will only be imposed under exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with a surge in prices, the minister said.
The Rajya Sabha also passed amendments to the Banking Regulation Act to bring cooperative banks under the supervision of the RBI.
This bill, which replaces an ordinance that was promulgated on June 26, was passed by the Lok Sabha on September 16.
The bill, which comes in the backdrop of the PMC Bank scam, seeks to strengthen cooperative banks by increasing their professionalism, enabling access to capital, improving governance and ensuring sound banking through the RBI.
Replying to a short debate on the bill in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the amendments have been brought to completely protect the interest of depositors.
She clarified this amendment is only for cooperative societies engaged in banking activities.
“During the COVID period many cooperative banks have come under stress. Their finances are being closely monitored by the regulator RBI,” Sitharaman said.
Justifying the need for the amendments, the minister said the government was able to quickly resolve the troubled Yes Bank as it was governed by commercial bank rules, but the resolution to the PMC Bank crisis is yet to be found.
The Rajya Sabha also passed the The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to declare five newly established Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) as institutions of national importance.
The five new IIITs set up under the Public Private Partnership mode are in ― Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur.
The bill had been passed by Lok Sabha in the previous session on March 20, 2020.
The 5 IIITs along with 15 other IIITs, which are also built on public private partnership (PPP) mode will now be able to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (BTech) or Master of Technology (MTech) or PhD degree.
The three other bills passed by the Upper House include the National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020, the Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020 and the Taxation & Other Laws (Relaxation & Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020.
Meanwhile, the government said it would consider revoking the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha members only after they apologise for their behaviour in the Upper House, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Prasad claimed the government had a clear majority in the Rajya Sabha for the passing of the farm Bills on Sunday.