Before the winter session of the parliament sets in motion, 12 members of the opposition have already been suspended from the Upper House for their unruly behavior in the last session. During the end of the monsoon session, the members of the opposition entered the well of the house during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021, and the presiding chair was forced to call the marshals to take them out of the house.
Thus, the very day the winter session started, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to suspend these MPs and it was passed with a voice vote.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.
The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 245 with the ruling NDA having a strength of 118 while the opposition UPA has 109. Others, which include parties like AITC, BJD, and TRS, have the strength of 63. With the suspension of 12 opposition members, the ruling dispensation will need only 117 (on strength of 233) to pass the kind of bills listed for this session and NDA has the strength of 118. So, the Modi government will not face any difficulty in passing the bills in both houses of the parliament.
Even earlier, the Modi government had been able to pass most of the bills with the help of parties like YSRCP but now it will be easier.
Reading the motion, parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi said “this House takes cognizance and strongly condemns the utter disregard to the authority of the Chair, complete abuse of the rules of the House persistently, thereby wilfully obstructing the business of the House through their unprecedented acts of misconduct, contemptuous, unruly and violent behaviour and intentional attacks on security personnel on the last day of the 254th session… thereby lowering the dignity of and bringing disrepute to this august House.”
Yesterday, the farm bills (the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020) repeal act was passed in both houses of the parliament.
The other important legislation that the government seeks to pass is the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotic Substances (Amendment) Bill, Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill.
A total of 26 bills including Electricity (Amendment) Bill, Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, National Transport University Bill, Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, National Anti Doping Bill and Mediation Bill are listed for this session.
Among these, Electricity (Amendment) Bill is probably going to be most controversial given the fact many opposition parties are already opposing the reforms proposed under this. The Electricity (Amendment) Bill is expected to reform the electricity sector in India, just like the Telecom Bill of Atal Bihar Vajpayee government did with the telecom sector. The electricity is expected to become cheaper as cross-subsidization ends and this will help the commercial establishment, general consumers (especially urban ones) while tightening the scrutiny on electricity theft and consumption by farmers who get heavily subsidized electricity.
The other bills on which a good debate can be expected are the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, Antarctica Bill because these bills seek to regulate and enable emerging sectors. As far as the passing of these bills is concerned, the Modi government would easily get the favorable strength given the party’s numbers in both houses.