The monsoon session of the parliament commenced from July 18. There are about 18 bills that the government would table during the session which goes on till August 10. The first day of the monsoon session took off rather smoothly after having witnessed major disruptions in the previous sessions.
Some of the important issues discussed were that of mob lynching, cow vigilantism, alleged illegal conversions and forced adoption by Christian missionaries and alleged dilution of Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act.
- Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, passed
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, was passed after the Lok Sabha took up the question hour in the morning. However, the Human Resource Development (HRD) minister said that the decision to continue with the detention policy would lie with the state. This amendment aims to do away with the no-detention policy mentioned in the law. The present law prohibits schools from detaining student until they complete class 8.
- Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, introduced
A bill to ban unregulated deposit schemes and protect the interest of depositors was introduced in Lok Sabha. This bill aims to prevent unregulated deposit schemes at their inception. It also provides for a punishment to be taken against those who solicit deposits related to an unregulated deposit scheme. In cases of default by the deposit-taking company, the bill provides for the concerned authority of the state government to ensure repayment of deposits.
- Bill to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) introduced
A bill named Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India was introduced by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha. This bill is aimed at changing the definition of “major airports” and help regulator function more efficiently. Once the amendment comes to effect, only those aerodromes handling more than 3.5 million passengers annually would be classified as major airports. As per the current definition, those handling more than 1.5 million passengers annually are considered to be major airports. The bill’s statement of objects and reasons said, “… if too many airports come under the purview of the authority, it will be difficult on the part of the authority to efficiently determine the tariffs and monitor the service standards of major airports with the limited resources available.”
- Trafficking of Persons (prevention, protection and rehabilitation), introduced
Bill to check the menace of human trafficking was introduced by the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi in the House. The Trafficking of Persons (prevention, protection and rehabilitation) seeks to prevent the trafficking of persons, to prosecute offenders as well as to provide protection and rehabilitation of the victims of human trafficking.
- Rajya Sabha clears State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017
The State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017 was cleared by Rajya Sabha. This gave Parliament’s nod to the merger of six subsidiary banks with State Bank of India. It seeks to repeal the two Acts, State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959, and State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956 and amending the State Bank of India (SBI) Act, 1955. The State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore were constituted under the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959. The State Bank of Hyderabad and the State Bank of Patiala were owned by the SBI. The SBI had 90% shareholding in the State Bank of Mysore, 75.07% shareholding in the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur and 79.09% shareholding in the State Bank of Travancore.
No confidence motion against PM Modi’s government
Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan accepted a no-confidence motion against Narendra Modi government by the Opposition. This issue was taken up by Mahajan after the question hour saying that she had received notices from Opposition MPs expressing lack of confidence. Kesineni Srinivas of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was the first one to give his no-confidence motion which was then supported by over 50 members. The speaker then announced that the discussion and voting on this will be on July 20.
It is to be noted that since the present government was voted to power four years back, this is the first time a no-confidence motion has been passed against it. It is also the first time in 15 years that a no-confidence motion has been moved and accepted in Lok Sabha. Also, the Speaker had not accepted the notices for no-confidence motion against the Modi government in the last budget session which was washed out due to protests by TDP, TRS and AIADMK.