New Delhi: The nearly month-long winter session of Parliament beginning November 18 will see over 35 legislations taken up, including the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which amends the definition of illegal migrant, and the Personal Data Protection Bill.
The session, which will end on December 13, will see a total of 20 sittings.
43 bills pending in Parliament
Currently, there are 43 bills pending in Parliament. Of these, 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 Central government is likely to push for passage of 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 bill is a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries.
Under The Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship was that the applicant must have resided in India in the last 12 months, as well as for 11 of the previous 14 years.
Now the amendment relaxes the second requirement — Afrom 11 years to six years.
The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties. The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.
The Bill is likely to be introduced afresh in the winter session. It will have to be passed by both Houses in order to become a law.
There has been strong opposition to the bill in Assam and other northeastern states.
Personal Data Protection Bill
The Personal Data Protection 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 B.N. Srikrishna in July 2018. The draft Bill has gone through two updates based on inputs received from industry.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 this year by Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot, and passed by the Lower House on August 5.
The Bill defines 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 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, would replace an Ordinance that was promulgated in September 2019.
The Ordinance prohibits the manufacture, trade, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India.A Any person who contravenes these provisions will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both.
No person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes. If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both.
Some of the other important bills 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 to replace an ordinance; The Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 — to amend the Companies Act, 2013 to decriminalise certain offences and facilitate ease of doing business; the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 facilitating orderly development of the chit fund industry introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2019.
The others are 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. 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.