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Stormy Winter Session Likely With 26 Bills on Agenda & Oppn Eyeing MSP, Pegasus to Corner Govt

The ruling BJP and main opposition party Congress have issued whips to their MPs to be present on the first day of the winter session of parliament. (Image: ANI/File)

The ruling BJP and main opposition party Congress have issued whips to their MPs to be present on the first day of the winter session of parliament. (Image: ANI/File)

The bill to repeal farm laws will be introduced on the first day of the winter session, with the opposition set on a law for MSP, and compensation for farmers who died during protests.

The winter session of parliament is expected to begin on a stormy note with contentious issues in focus, even as it was preceded by a tense all-party meeting on Sunday with the AAP staging a walkout. Opposition parties criticised the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was unable to attend the meeting.

ALSO READ | Not a Tradition: Govt as Modi Skips All-Party Meet Before Winter Session; Oppn Eyes Pegasus, Price Rise

The first day of the winter session could see discussion and debate over MSP and power bills for farmers, as well as compensation for those who died of Covid-19. The opposition is also planning to corner the government over Pegasus, China’s aggression and rising fuel prices. The bill to repeal the three contentious farm laws will also be introduced on the day.

The ruling BJP and main opposition party Congress have issued whips to their MPs to be present on the day. “The government is is ready for discussion and debate on any topic (in the winter session of parliament). There should be positive discussions," said minister of state for parliamentary affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal.

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The winter session will go on till December 23 with 20 sittings amid strict Covid-19 protocols. It is likely to witness the introduction of 26 bills, including major ones regarding cryptocurrency regulation, data protection, extension of tenure of ED and CBI directors for up to five years among others.

ALSO READ | BJP’s Parleys, Cong-TMC’s Game of One-upmanship: How Parties Are Prepping for Parl’s Winter Session

With the opposition poised to attack the Centre on different issues, it may not just be pandemonium inside. Outside, too, it will be a charged atmosphere with a section of farmer leaders planning a march to parliament. The timing of the winter session coincides with the first anniversary of the farmers’ protests.

HERE’S A CLOSE LOOK AT THE BILLS LIKELY TO MAKE SOME NOISE IN PARLIAMENT:

Farm Laws Repeal Bill

With the first anniversary of the farmers’ protests in sight and ahead of assembly elections in key states, the BJP-led central government is introducing the bill to repeal the three new farm laws, after Prime Minister Modi announced their withdrawal on November 19.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting over the past year to repeal the three legislations. The bill states that though “only a small group of farmers are protesting", the need of the hour is “inclusive growth".

The opposition has set its sight on demanding a legal backing for minimum support price for farmers. The Congress has also demanded compensation for farmers who died during the year-long protests.

Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill

The bill came a week after a parliamentary panel, chaired by BJP leader Jayant Sinha, discussed the pros and cons of crypto finance with different stakeholders, and an agreement was reached that digital currencies cannot be stopped but must be regulated. The bill has the provision to ban all but some private cryptocurrencies while allowing an official digital currency by Reserve Bank of India.

Data Protection Bill

A report of the joint committee of parliament on the data protection bill, 2019, will also be tabled in the two houses during the session. The much-awaited report took several rounds of meetings and much deliberation. The committee has proposed over 200 amendments, 170 of which have been proposed by chairperson PP Chaudhary, Lok Sabha MP. The bill is now being called data protection bill instead of personal data protection bill, as data refers to personal as well as non-personal. It also involves issues of national security, sovereignty and integrity of the country.

The bill seeks to provide for the protection of personal data of individuals and establish a data protection authority for the same. The main objection of the opposition was granting “unbridled powers" to the central government to exempt any of its probe agencies, including Enforcement Directorate and CBI, from the purview of the entire act.

Bills listed to replace ordinances

Three bills have also been listed to replace as many ordinances — narcotics drug and psychotic substances bill to amend the act, central vigilance commission (amendment) bill and Delhi special police establishment (amendment) bill.

The central vigilance commission and Delhi special police establishment amendment bills propose to extend the tenure of directors of the Central Vigilance Commission and Central Bureau of Investigation.

Constitution (scheduled castes and scheduled tribes) order (amendment) bill

Politically significant bill for poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the constitution (scheduled castes and scheduled tribes) order (amendment) bill, to amend the SC and ST list of UP, will also be introduced. This move comes just ahead of the assembly election that will be held early next year. Similarly, there is another bill to amend the SC and ST list of Tripura, which goes to polls in 2023.

SOME OTHER BILLS TO BE INTRODUCED DURING WINTER SESSION:

The High Court and Supreme Court judges (salaries and conditions of service) amendment bill will amend the salaries act of judges of the higher judiciary. The list of businesses also includes the insolvency and bankruptcy code (second amendment) bill, pension fund regulatory development authority (amendment) bill.

Other listed bills include inter-services organisations (command, control and discipline) bill, 2021, which seeks to “empower the commander-in-chief or the officer-in-command of inter-services organisations in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957, and the Air Force Act, 1950, who are serving under or attached to his command, for maintaining of discipline and proper discharge of their duties".

The emigration bill, 2021, will replace the Emigration Act, 1983, to establish a robust, transparent and comprehensive emigration management framework that facilitates safe and orderly migration.

The national anti-doping bill, 2021, aims to provide a legislative framework to the NADA for meeting obligations of India under the convention and the obligations of NADA as a signatory of the WADA Code, as amended from time to time.

The trafficking of persons (prevention, protection and rehabilitation) bill, 2021, seeks to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children, as well as to provide care, protection, assistance and rehabilitation infrastructure.

(With PTI inputs)

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first published:November 28, 2021, 19:59 IST