Budget Session of Parliament 2013: 10 Most Controversial and Important Bills Expected to be Passed

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 25, 2013 4:44 AM EST

The Parliament Budget session, which began on Thursday, is likely to be disrupted at regular intervals despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal for a productive and constructive session of Parliament, as the Opposition would try to nail the Congress-led UPA government over various corruption, scams and inflation.

The Budget session faced first adjournment in both the houses (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) on Friday over the twin blasts in Hyderabad that killed at least 16 people and injured over 100.

The government has a long list of bills, 71 in all, to be passed in the ongoing budget session. It will be a herculean task for the government to get approval from both the Houses of the Parliament as some are controversial.

Here are ten most important and controversial bills expected to be passed in the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament 2013:

1)      The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013

Following public outcry for a stringent punishment for offenders of crime against women after a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped and murdered in Delhi on Dec. 16, 2012, the government recently passed an ordinance based on the recommendations of Justice JS Verma committee.

The ordinance passed by the Cabinet suggested harsh punishment for a rapist - a minimum of 20 years imprisonment for rapists and even death penalty in extreme cases.

2)      Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011

The controversial Land Acquisition Bill is to provide a fair compensation and rehabilitation to land owners in both rural and urban areas for the land acquired for developmental projects. It was introduced in Lok Sabha on Sept 7, 2011, and will be tabled in the parliament in the budget session.

The bill proposes compensation of four times the market value of the land acquired to the owner in rural areas and twice the market value in urban areas.

"My Government has recently introduced important official amendments to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill. I am confident that the law will be enacted," said President Pranab Mukherjee in his address to Parliament at the Budget session.

3)      Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011

The Union Cabinet has cleared the revised Lokpal Bill, meant to check corruption in the country. The move came after anti-corruption activist led by Anna Hazare held a series of protests to force the government pass a strong bill to check corruption.

The revised bill has incorporated 14 of the 16 amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee, which was constituted after the draft bill failed to gather support in the Upper House of the Parliament.

According to the amended draft, every state should have a Lokayukta within a year from the day the government passes the bill. The appointment of the Lokayukta has been left to the states and and people affiliated with political parties can't be a part of the Lokpal panel. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been kept out of the Lokpal ambit but it will be under the Lokpal supervision.

The amended bill will now be put to vote in the Rajya Sabha. It will be placed before the Lok Sabha for fresh approval once the Upper House clears it.

4)      National Food Security Bill

Following a finding by the National Family Health Survey 2005-06 that 22 percent of India's population is undernourished, National Advisory Council (NAC) proposed National Food Security Bill.

The government introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha in the winter session with an aim to provide food and nutritional security to the citizens by making sure that the poor and needy have access to food at affordable prices. It aims to cover up to 75 percent of rural and 50 percent urban population.

"Our foodgrains position is, therefore, comfortable. The total stock of foodgrains with the public sector agencies was 662 lakh tons on 1st February 2013, including 307 lakh tons of wheat and over 353 lakh tons of rice. My Government is committed to enacting the National Food Security Bill, having received the recommendations of the Standing Committee," said the President in his Budget session address.

5)      The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011

The bill is to provide a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption, willful misuse of power and discretion against any public servant, and to ensure that any person or public servant, who make a disclosure is not victimised. Disclosure of the identities of whistle blowers is prohibited under the bill.

A whistle blower can seek redress in the matter from the Competent Authority if he or she is being victimised or likely to be victimised. The Competent Authority should take action on the offender and ensure that the whistle blower is not victimised.

6)      Women's Reservation Bill

 Women's Reservation Bill or the the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill proposes amendment of the Constitution to reserve 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women.

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 1996 and the Rajya Sabha passed it in 2010. It has been introduced in Parliament several times but has failed to get political consensus due to stiff opposition from some political parties.

7)      Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010

Educational Tribunal Bill seeks to set up national and state level tribunals to look into the disputes related to higher educational institutions, students and the faculty. It was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010.

The Bill is to set up educational tribunals for effective adjudication of disputes involving teachers and other employees of higher educational institutions and students. It is also to adjudicate penalties for indulging in unfair practices in higher education.

8)      The Constitution (One Hundred and Seventeenth Amendment) Bill, 2012

The Constitution (One Hundred and Seventeenth Amendment) Bill, 2012or Bill to make provision for quota in promotions for SC and ST, is to make provision for quota in promotions for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). It is perhaps the most controversial bill to be placed before the parliament in the Budget session.

The Union Cabinet has approved the amendments to Article 16(4) of the Constitution to allow the states to provide quota in promotion for SCs and STs without assessing the data to show their backwardness, despite the Supreme Court's ruling that reservation in promotion should be carried out only if there is a compelling reason.

9)      Finance Bill, 2013

The most important business of budget session is Finance Bill. The government will table proposals including new taxes, change in the present tax structure and several others before the Parliament for approval. It will become Finance Act once it is passed by the Parliament.

Finance Minister is expected to present a budget that will help revive the slowing economy. The government might target a 4.8 percent fiscal deficit for the next financial year. A few bold steps have been taken of late, including cut in subsidy for LPG gas cylinders and diesel in order to cut down fiscal deficit, so the common man will now expect base tax exemption slab to be raised from the present ₹2 lakh. Raise in the base tax exemption limit will help common man deal with extra spending due to oil price hike.

10)   Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010

The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill in the Parliament in 2010. It is to ensure a safe environment for women at work places, both in public and private sectors whether organised or unorganized. The measure will help in achieving gender empowerment and equality.

The proposed Bill, if enacted, will ensure that women are protected against sexual harassment at all the work places. The sense of security at the workplace will improve women's participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth. 

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