Parliament monsoon session: What to expect today

Nirmala Sitharaman will also move The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 202 and The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage

Finance-related bills will come up for passage and introduction in Parliament on Friday, amid rising Covid-19 cases within the Parliament complex, posing new challenges before the monsoon session.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will introduce The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020. The bill will replace an ordinance that was promulgated on March 31 to provide certain relaxations related to compliance, such as extension of time limit and waiver of penalty, in relation to the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act), some Finance Acts, the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Customs Act, 1962, and the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.

The Parliament will quickly clear the supplementary demand for grants and the related appropriation bills in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The appropriation bills or additional budgetary support to some ministries are raised if some ministries need extra money to tackle excess expenses.

Sitharaman will also move The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 202 and The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage.

In the Rajya Sabha, the government will try to pass The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Ayush ministry will also move the bill to amend the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 for passage. The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020 — that was brought to reduce MPs’ salaries by 30% — will also be passed in the Upper House. The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will also be passed.

The Parliament complex will also kickstart a tightened health safety protocol under which MPs would be encouraged to undergo a fresh round of RT-PCR tests even as sanitisation of the chambers and Parliament building has been intensified following the recent Covid cases.

“No formal direction has been issued for MPs yet as we saw many of them are already taking a repeat RT-PCR test on their own. Speaker’s office has already clarified that any lawmaker is free to take as many tests as he wants,” said a senior official involved in the safety planning.

An internal circular of the Lok Sabha, accessed by HT, said that any ministry officials who want to come to the Officials Gallery will have to show RT-PCR negative report. “The officials issued with ‘official gallery’ passes must carry/show their RT-PCR (negative) report for Covid-19 not more than 72 hours before their visit to Parliament House.

The official gallery is right next to the first row of the ruling benches and various ministry officials sit there to assist their ministers as and when there is a debate related to their sector.

Both Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla hurriedly consulted various experts and lawmakers before tightening the current Covid safety protocols. The three new cases involving MPs left both the presiding officers worried and resulted in a new, tight set of norms.

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