Why the Monsoon Session, beginning today, is all set to be a stormy one?

The Opposition is geared to corner the Centre on issues such as the Agnipath recruitment scheme, price rise and the list of ‘unparliamentary’ words. The government, on the other hand, hopes to introduce 32 bills in the session that will run until 12 August

A fiery Monsoon session is set to begin today during which issues such as the Agnipath recruitment scheme, price rise, alleged attacks on federalism, and the list of unparliamentary words is set to be raised by the Opposition to corner the government.

The Centre, on the other hand, seeks to pass 32 bills, including the important Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2022, the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022, the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2022, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

The first day of the Monsoon session, which will run until 12 August, will also see MPs vote for the 15th President of India — a race to Rashtrapati Bhavan between Droupadi Murmu, the candidate for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the Opposition’s Yashwant Sinha.

Here’s a sneak peek into what’s expected this session and why it looks like it’s going to be one with protests and chaos.

Legislation seeking passage

The government, on Sunday, said 32 bills have been indicated by various departments for presentation in two houses of which 14 are ready.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “Thirty-two bills have been indicated by various departments for being presented in this session of Parliament, of which 14 bills are ready, but we will not pass the bills without discussion.

“All we are saying is that 14 bills are ready and we can consider even more. More importantly, we believe in democratically discussing all the bills. We believe in democracy and we are open for discussions on all matters.”

A look at official documents reveal that legislation such as the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2022, the Cantonment Bill, Trafficking of Persons (Protection, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2022 and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill have all been listed for discussion among others.

The ‘Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill’ seeks to replace the 155-year-old ‘Press and Registration of Books Act’ with a simplified version that decriminalises various provisions and brings digital media under its ambit.

The Cantonment Bill aims to work on administration of cantonments to achieve greater developmental objectives in alignment with municipalities across the country. It also intends to facilitate ‘ease of living’ in cantonments.

The main change in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill is to replace the provision which allows a 100-metre prohibited area for construction activity around centrally-protected monuments with site-specific limits to be decided by an expert committee.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022 aims to strengthen the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 by introducing provisions on cross-border insolvency, and by carrying out certain other amendments for time bound resolution of stressed assets while maximising its value.

The Centre also hopes to pass the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2022.

Additionally, the Centre wants to pass the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022 which will see a revision of list of Scheduled Tribes in Tamil Nadu, and revision of list of Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes of Chhattisgarh.

There’s also the Trafficking of Persons (Protection, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2022 which seeks to prevent and combat trafficking, especially of women and children. It also seeks to provide for care, protection, assistance and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them, and ensuring the prosecution of offenders.

Other bills that are likely to be introduced:

>> The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022

>> The Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022

>> The Development of Enterprises and Services Hubs (DESH) Bill, 2022

>> Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2022

>> The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) (Amendment) Bill, 2022

>> The Warehousing (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2022

>> The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022

>> The Kalakshetra Foundation (Amendment) Bill, 2022

>> The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022

>> The Old Grant (Regulation) Bill, 2022

>> The National Dental Commission Bill, 2022

>> The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022

>> The National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill, 2022

>> The Indian Institute of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2022

>> Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2022

Issues to be raised by Opposition

Members of the Opposition during the all-party meet on Sunday said that they would push for a discussion on issues related to the Agnipath scheme, economy and unemployment.

Opposition leaders want an immediate withdrawal of the recruitment scheme for the Armed Forces, announced by the Narendra Modi government on 14 June.

When asked about the demand for withdrawal of the scheme, Joshi said “We are open to discussion on all issues under the rules and procedures of Parliament.”

The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) is also going to try to corner the Centre on the issue of the updated list of unparliamentary words.

A huge furore broke out recently when a new booklet by the Lok Sabha Secretariat stated that words such as jumlajeevi, baal buddhi, Covid spreader and Snoopgate and even commonly used words like ashamed, abused, betrayed, corrupt, drama, hypocrisy and incompetent would be considered unparliamentary in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The updated list of words were seen by the Opposition as a ‘gag order’.

The Centre has, however, stated that this was a non-issue and that the compilation of unparliamentary phrases is done every year for a long time.

The Opposition has also raised the matter of the short duration of time to discuss the bills being introduced in Parliament.

Opposition members were of the opinion that the 14-day window was too short to discuss all the issues.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge wondered how 32 bills will get passed in 14 days. “We raised 13 issues including price rise, Agnipath, attack on the federal structure of the country, and misuse of investigative agencies such as ED and CBI,” he said.

With inputs from agencies

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