23/09/2020 12:12 PM IST | Updated 23/09/2020 3:29 PM IST

Opposition Absent, Govt Rams Controversial Labour Codes, FCRA Bill Through Parliament

On Wednesday, the trend continued with the Rajya Sabha approving the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020.

A Mahatma Gandhi statue overlooks the Parliament building as law makers arrive in New Delhi, Sept.14, 2020. 

As the Opposition boycott of the Parliament session continues, the government has been ramming bills through the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in their absence.

On Tuesday, the Rajya Sabha passed seven bills with minimal discussion while the Lok Sabha passed three controversial labour codes.

The labour codes were passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after which the House adjourned for the rest of the session.

Hindustan Times reported that this was the second-shortest monsoon session of the Upper House since 1952. “Instead of the scheduled 18 sittings, only 10 sittings were held between September 14 and 23. The House was scheduled to wind up on October 1,” the report said.

Opposition parties are boycotting the remaining session of the Parliament over the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha MPs on Sunday. The MPs were suspended for protesting the passage of the farm bills through a voice note.

The Opposition will reportedly meet the President at 5 pm today over the way the farm bills were passed.

On Wednesday, the trend continued with the Rajya Sabha approving the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020.

The bill makes it mandatory for office bearers of NGOs to provide their Aadhaar numbers at the time of registration and also bring various other changes.

It reduces the use of foreign funds to meet administrative expenses of any NGO from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of annual funds. It also enables the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

In the Lok Sabha, the government passed a Bill that seeks to provide a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman termed the Bill as critical for financial stability in the country, and said it brings in a firm legal basis for bilateral netting for two counter parties.

Bilateral contracts constitute 40 per cent of total financial contracts while multilateral contracts constitute 60 per cent, she added.

On Tuesday evening, the Lok Sabha had passed three labour codes amid boycott of the House proceedings by several Opposition parties.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, and the Code on Social Security, 2020 were passed by the Lower House.

The codes have been sharply criticised for being anti-labour.

The Aajeevika Bureau said that the three labour codes had been publicly available for only two days.

The non-profit organisation posted several detailed Twitter threads on how the codes weakened labour protection.

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said the objective of these laws was to provide all kinds of facilities and healthy environment to workers. 

Over 29 labour laws have been merged into four codes and one of them — Code on Wages Bill, 2019 — had already been passed.