August 13, 2016 4:09:56 am
The contentious Constitution (122nd Amendment) (Goods and Services Tax) Bill was among the 14 Bills passed in a “glorious” Monsoon Session of Parliament that came to a close Friday.
While the Lok Sabha passed 15 Bills during the session, the Upper House passed 14.
“It was a glorious session,” exclaimed an elated Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, otherwise known as a reticent politician. About the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, which will pave the way for the new tax regime under the GST, Kumar said, “It is a historic tax reform. (Now) we have to take it forward. Assam has already taken the lead (by ratifying the Constitutional Amendment) — the beginning has been made from Ishan (the corner between north and east, considered auspicious).”
Calling the latest session “very successful in recent years”, Kumar pointed out that productivity — or utilisation of time allotted by business advisory committees (BACs) — had been 110.84 per cent in the case of the Lok Sabha, and 99.54 per cent for Rajya Sabha. The session commenced on July 18 and had a total of 20 sittings over 26 days. The Lok Sabha sat for 121 hours and the Rajya Sabha for 112 hours.
The 13 bills passed by both Houses are The Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016; Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016; Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Indian Trust (Amendment) Bill, 2016; National Institutes of Technology Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016; Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2016; Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2016; and The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debt Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Two other Bills — Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and Appropriation (no 3) Bill — passed by the Lok Sabha and transmitted to Rajya Sabha for recommendation are not likely to be returned to the Lower House within 14 days. Therefore, they will be deemed to have been passed under Article 109 of Constitution.
The highlight of the session was, as Upper House Chairman Hamid Ansari called it, “an animated debate” preceding the passage of the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill. The Lok Sabha later put its seal on amendments made by the Upper House.
In Lok Sabha, of 400 starred questions listed, 99 were answered orally. Written replies to the remaining starred questions along with 4,600 unstarred questions were laid on the table. In Rajya Sabha, 300 starred questions were raised and answers to 3,101 unstarred questions were laid on the table.
Kumar said at least one discussion was held every week. Both Houses discussed the ongoing round of violence in Kashmir Valley, atrocities on Dalits, and price-rise.
The Lok Sabha held discussions on the “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)”, price-rise and Sustainable Development Goals. The Rajya Sabha also took up discussions on the status of implementation of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 and the role of governors in light of the recent developments in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as the draft National Education Policy.
Both Houses resolved to refer Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to a joint select panel.
The Lok Sabha took up two Calling Attention motions – the first regarding construction of barrage projects by Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi river and thereby impacting flow of water into Hirakud Dam in Odisha, and the second on spread of encephalitis in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
An important development in the Lower House was Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision to constitute a nine-member inquiry committee to go into the conduct of Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann following his act of filming his journey to Parliament, thereby allegedly putting at risk the security system.
Both Houses resolved to refer Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to a joint select committee. While 59 elected, re-elected and nominated MPs came into Rajya Sabha, BJP member Navjot Singh Sidhu, a Presidential nominee, resigned.
Some crucial Bills passed
— The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016
— The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016
— The National Institutes of Technology Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016
— The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016
— The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016
— The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2016
— The Constitution (122nd Amendment)(GST) Bill, 2016
— The Enforcement of Security interest and Recovery of Debt Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016
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