The nearly month-long Winter session of the Parliament which is scheduled to begin from 18 November, will see 39 legislations being taken up for passage including the much-anticipated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to amend the definition of ‘illegal migrant’.
Reportedly, there are 43 bills pending in Parliament currently. Out of them, 12 Bills are listed for consideration and passing and seven are listed for withdrawal. Twenty-seven bills are listed for introduction, consideration, and passing. The session will see a total of 20 sittings, which will end on December 13.
The Narendra Modi government will be introducing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship of India.
The Citizenship Act, 1955 mandates that the applicant must have previously resided in India in the last 12 months, as well as for eleven of the previous 14 years. The new amendment relaxes the second requirement from eleven years to six years.
The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure but could not pass it due to repeated disruptions and protests by opposition parties. The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha. Addition to that, the NDA has favourable numbers in both the houses currently for the easier passage of crucial bills.
In the Rajya Sabha, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 105 members, while in the Lok Sabha, it has close to 360 seats. The BJP leaders are confident that the CAB will pass through both the Houses similar to the passage of bills that abrogated Article 370.
Apart from the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Personal Data Protection Bill will also be introduced in the Parliament during the winter session. The bill deals with handling and processing of consumer data by corporate entities while introducing restrictions and penalties. The proposals are based on a report submitted by Justice BN Srikrishna committee in July 2018.
Another bill – The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 19 this year will also be taken up the upper house in the Parliament session. The Bill seeks to define a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as ”kinnar” and ”hijra”.
The Bill also prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in any way, including education, employment, healthcare, right to reside among others.
The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, will replace an ordinance that was promulgated in September 2019. The Ordinance prohibits the manufacture, trade, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India.
The other important bills that are likely to come up are – The Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019, which amalgamates the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will replace the ordinance of the same.
The Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 which seeks to amend the Companies Act, 2013 to decriminalise certain offences and facilitate ease of doing business will also be tabled. The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 facilitating the orderly development of the chit fund industry introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2019 will be taken up by the Rajya Sabha.
The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019, which repeals the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, and sets up a National Commission to regulate the education and practice of Indian systems of Medicine is also likely to come up in the current session. It was introduced on Jan 7, 2019, in Rajya Sabha.
Also included are the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 prohibiting commercial surrogacy; the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It removes the president of the Indian National Congress as a trustee and empowers the central government to remove nominated members.
On Sunday, leaders of various parties from both the ruling and opposition camp attended an all-party meeting called by Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi ahead of the winter session of Parliament.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, senior ministers Thawarchand Gehlot and Arjun Ram Meghwal arrived for the meeting at the Parliament Library Building in Delhi. BSP lawmaker Satish Chandra Mishra, Trinamool Congress MPs Derek O’Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag Paswan and Congress Member of Parliament Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were also present at the meeting.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had on Saturday had also appealed to all political parties for cooperation for ensuring smooth functioning of the House.