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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Parliament highlights: LS passes Companies Bill, 2020; house adjourned till 3 tomorrow

On the sixth day of the Parliament session, the Rajya Sabha passed The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill 2020. The House also passed The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 22, 2020 9:00:55 am
Parliament had a long peaceful debate that day. The BJP gave up its own time to accommodate others who wanted to speak on the Bills — 33 members from all parties spoke. (File)

Lok Sabha on Saturday passed a taxation bill that seeks to provide various reliefs in terms of compliance requirements for taxpayers amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also passed a bill to further amend the Companies Act and decriminalise various non-compoundable offences and promote ease of doing business.

Discussing the PM-Cares fund, Minister of State, Finance, Anurag Thakur said that it is  transparent and will be audited by the same group that audits the  PM National Relief Fund. During a discussion PM CARES Fund in the Lok Sabha, he said, “PM-Cares Fund is absolutely transparent. It has been set up under the law, registered as Trust under 1908 Act. An independent auditor appointed, it’s the same auditor who audits PM National Relief Fund. Nobody is forced to donate to this fund.”

Earlier today, at a meeting of the business advisory committee of Lok Sabha, most parties reached a consensus on shortening the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. Sources at the meeting said the session is likely to be wound up by Wednesday or Thursday. The Speaker will make the announcement about the last working day of the House.

The move comes after more than 30 MPs, including Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Patel, tested positive for Covid-19 over the past week. The situation prompted stricter protocols and discussions on curtailing the monsoon session.

On the sixth day of the Parliament session, the Rajya Sabha passed The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill 2020. Moving the Bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “IBC is such a critical part of business now. On the NPAs of scheduled commercial banks, I just want to highlight how IBC is actually serving the purpose. The priority is to keep companies to be a going concern rather than liquidate them.”

The House also passed The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 — legislation that provides for up to five years in jail for those attacking doctors and healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak or during any situation akin to the current pandemic.

Live Blog

Parliament Live Updates: Latest news and updates from Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on the sixth day of the monsoon session.

22:12 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 passed in LS

Lok Sabha passes the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the House adjourned till 3 pm tomorrow.

21:07 (IST)19 Sep 2020
LS clears Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020

The Lok Sabha on Saturday passed The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020.  Responding to the queries raised by 21 MPs, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that  the bill was brought in to replace the ordinance which was put in place to help the common man during COVID. "Ordinance needed to provide relief, prevent penalty, prosecution due to late payment non-compliance of some requirements due to COVID," she said.

20:28 (IST)19 Sep 2020
FM Sitharaman responds to opposition on Taxation Amendment Bill

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman starts responding to the queries, thanking all the 21 MPs, who participated in the debate. She says Bill was brought in to replace the ordinance which was put in place to help the common man during COVID.

20:21 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Oppn parties question setting up of PM CARES Fund, allege it lacks transparency

Members of opposition parties like the Congress, DMK and the TMC on Saturday opposed in Lok Sabha the setting up of the PM CARES Fund, alleging that it lacked transparency They were participating in a debate on the bill for giving effect to various compliance relief measures for taxpayers, including extending time limits for filing returns, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and tax benefits for donations to PM CARES Fund. "I can't understand the logic to have a separate fund.

What is the difference between the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund and the PM CARES Fund," said N K Premachandran (RSP), who initiated the debate on The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 "Eight different Acts are being modified means substantial changes took place in eight Acts and one of the major Acts is the Income Tax Act of 1961," he said He alleged the PM CARES Fund "lacks transparency as it is not audited by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

FurtherI is also not applicable" "The question of transparency and accountability is the main issue I want to highlight," he said Opposing the Bill, Manickam Tagore (Congress) also raised the issue of transparency in the PM CARES Fund He wondered if a chief minister of any state can say that he will not disclose the spending under the Chief Minister's Relief Fund But PM CARES Fund is outside the ambit of Parliament and CAG, he said "What was the need of a private trust with the Council of Ministers as trustee indicating a conflict of interest," Tagore said.

19:11 (IST)19 Sep 2020
PM-Cares Fund is absolutely transparent: Union Min Anurag Thakur in Lok Sabha

"PM-Cares Fund is absolutely transparent. It has been set up under the law, registered as Trust under 1908 Act. An independent auditor appointed, it's the same auditor who audits PM National Relief Fund. Nobody is forced to donate to this fund," said Union Min Anurag Thakur in Lok Sabha.  

19:04 (IST)19 Sep 2020
PM CARES will be audited by the same group that audits PMNRF: Anurag Thakur

MoS Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said PM CARES is a registered trust and it will be audited by the same group that audits the PM Relief fund.

"Why is there such dis-trust about PM cares fund? Is there any past experience which has caused it," asked Thakur.

"The initial fund was given by PM Modi's mother and other ordinary people. This will be audited by the same group that audits the PM Relief fund. This will be dispensed by a committee and is not person specific," he added.

18:55 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Govt examining next version of PMKVY: R K Singh

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 2.0 (2016-20) will come to an end on March 31 next year and the government is examining the next version, Parliament was informed on Saturday. Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship R K Singh said there is no proposal under examination for setting up a National Institute of Skill Development. The government launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) in 2015 and revamped it in 2016 to impart skills to one crore persons by 2020. "The PMKVY 2.0 (2016-20) is coming to an end on 31st March, 2021, and the government is examining the next version of PMKVY taking into account the lessons learnt during the implementation of PMKVY 2.0," he said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. In a separate reply, he said as at end-August, 98,370 persons have been trained as yoga instructors and trainers under the Skill India Mission.

18:40 (IST)19 Sep 2020
MTNL working on monetising certain assets in Mumbai, Parliament informed

State-run MTNL has submitted a set of assets, including land, staff quarters and telephone exchange in Mumbai, for monetisation, Parliament was informed on Saturday. Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said International Property Consultants has been appointed for end-to-end transaction advice on monetization of these properties.

"MTNL has submitted a set of assets for monetization through the DIPAM Framework. The assets include land, staff quarters and telephone exchange in Mumbai," Thakur said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

He said no property in Delhi is presently under monetization through the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management Framework (DIPAM) framework.

18:11 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Consensus formed on curtailing Monsoon session

A consensus was formed to curtail the ongoing Monsoon session as most parties favoured this at Lok Sabha’s business advisory committee meeting on Saturday. Sources at the BAC meeting said that the session will be cut short by Wednesday or Thursday and the Speaker will make the announcement, said sources.

17:52 (IST)19 Sep 2020
TRS to oppose agriculture bills

Alleging that the agriculture bills brought in by the NDA government would cause great injustice to farmers in the country, TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday asked his party MPs to vote against them in the Rajya Sabha. Observing that the bills would hurt farmers and benefit corporates, Rao told the TRS parliamentary party leader K Keshav Rao to strongly oppose them in parliament.

'Chief Minister Sri K Chandrasekhar Rao said that the Farmers and farming related Bills introduced by the Centre in Parliament would do a lot of injustices to the farm sector in the country.

The CM has instructed TRSPP Leader Dr K Keshav Rao to oppose the Bills tooth and nail in the Parliament, as it would benefit the Corporates and adversely impact the farmers, an official release said. The bills, for public consumption, say that the farmers can sell their produce anywhere in the country, but, in reality, thebills would enable the traders to go anywhere in the country to buy the produce, Rao said. Though the NDA government says that the farmers can sell their produce anywhere in the country, is it possible for farmers to take their small produce to other places, bearing heavy transport charges, he asked.

'These Bills are nothing but a sugar coated pill. This should be opposed at all costs,' the CM said.

17:50 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Taxation Amendment bill weakens rights & resources available to states: TMC MP Mahua Moitra

Opposing the The Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation & Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, TMC MP Mahua Moitra in Lok Sabha said that the bill is deeply problematic because it further weakens the rights & resources available to states by taking away statutory promises made under the new GST regime.

"The Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation & Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 corners the public funds for PM-CARES to the direct detriment of state relief funds," she said. 

17:16 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Discussion on Taxation Amendment Bill begins in LS

Loksabha now takes up discussion on Taxation Amendment Bill

17:07 (IST)19 Sep 2020
PM CARES Fund lacks transparency, says N. K. Premachandran

PM CARES fund lacks transparency as not audited by Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Even RTI is also not apllicable, said RSP MP N. K. Premachandran. "What is the logic of having separate fund when PM National Relief Fund existed. What is the difference between PM CARES fund and Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF)," he asked.

16:45 (IST)19 Sep 2020
No 4G facility, no progress in J&K: NC MP Farooq Abdullah

Former J&K Chief Minister and National Conference MP in Lok Sabha Farooq Abdullah raised concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Indicating that there has been no progress in the UT, he said, " People there do not have access to 4G facility, how are they going to grow in the present time when the rest of the country has access to every facility on the internet." 

16:14 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Release all 230 political leaders in detention in J&K: TMC MP Saugata Ray in Lok Sabha

"The situation in Jammu & Kashmir, even after one year of abrogation of Article 370, is causing concern. We demand the release of all 230 political leaders who are still in detention in J&K," said TMC MP Saugata Ray in Lok Sabha.  

16:10 (IST)19 Sep 2020
If Hindi is imposed, it might lead to the decline of regional languages: Karnataka MP Sumalatha Ambrish

Karnataka MP Sumalatha Ambrish spoke against imposition of Hindi. "Karnataka has embraced people from all over the country. Kannada has a rich heritage. If Hindi is imposed, it might lead to the decline of regional languages," she said. 

15:45 (IST)19 Sep 2020
New Labour Code introduced in Lok Sabha

Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar introduces New Labour Code in Lok Sabha. This includes three bills-- The Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020, The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, The Code On Social Security, 2020.

15:35 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Three bills — occupational safety, industrial relations and social security withdrawn

Three  Bills — occupational safety, health and working condition code 2019; industrial relations code, 2019 and code on social security, 2019 withdrawn. This was opposed by by MP N.K Premachandran, MP Manish Tewari and MP Shashi Tharoor. 

Manish Tewari opposed the move saying that this should have been done taken into consideration voices of all stakeholders as the Bills have undergone changes suggested by the previous standing committee.

Shashi Tharoor opposed the introduction stating that they are discriminatory to women, migrant workers, unorganised sectors. He too says it is unfair to expect anyone to go through 151 pages of a Bill in a matter of hours and thus leaves it open to challenge in court.

15:32 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Bills for consideration and passing in the Lok Sabha

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill,2020

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020

The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020

The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020

The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

15:20 (IST)19 Sep 2020
Curtailment of Monsoon session likely to be discussed today at BAC meeting

In today's BAC meeting called by the Speaker at 5 PM,  sources said that curtailment of the monsoon session is likely to be taken up for discussion. This comes after over  30 MPs, including Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Patel, testing positive over the last week, there is a palpable sense of concern and apprehension in Parliament over the spread of Covid. The situation has prompted stricter protocol and raised the possibility of the ongoing Monsoon Session being wound up next week.

parliament, parliament live, parliament live updates, parliament monsoon session, farm bill, farmers bill, parliament monsoon session 2020 live, parliament today, parliament today live, parliament live news, parliament news, rajya sabha, india china, rajya sabha today live, lok sabha, lok sabha live, lok sabha live news, lok sabha live news updates, coronavirus Parliament LIVE updates: The Monsoon Session is being held amid strict protocols and precautions due to Covid-19. (PTI Photo)

Parliament LIVE updates

On the fifth day of Parliament’s truncated monsoon session, Lok Sabha approved the supplementary demands for additional spending of Rs 2.35 lakh crore, which include a cash outgo of Rs 1.66 lakh crore, primarily to meet expenses for combating the Covid pandemic.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that probably for the first time the government has sought such a huge amount in the first batch of the supplementary demands for grants. She said the government has sought Rs 40,000 crore towards MGNREGA, thus taking the total outgo towards Rs 1 lakh crore, the highest so far. The budget for 2020-21 has earmarked about Rs 61,500 crore for MGNREGA. She also said the allocations are being increased for people-centric schemes like PM Garib Kalyan Yojana and other social welfare schemes.

Sitharaman also said that the GST Council will arrive at a common ground on ways to compensate states for loss of revenue, amid opposition charge that the Centre is reneging on its promise of paying compensation. She said she will honour the commitments made by her predecessor Arun Jaitley with regard to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation payout. “Even if we are in an act of God situation, but we will discuss in the Council how to give compensation to the states… The Council will take a call on how to borrow to meet the (revenue) gap,” she said. The minister, however, ruled out funding the revenue shortfall from the consolidated fund of India, saying the amount has to be paid from the compensation cess kitty.

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