Two Bills were introduced in Lok Sabha today.  These were:

A] Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018

The Bill seeks to address the issue of economic offenders [such as money launderers], who evade the law by remaining out of the country. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states that the current legislative framework is inadequate to deal with the severity of the problem.

Key features of the Bill include:

§ A fugitive economic offender has been defined as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued and he: (i) has left the country, or (ii) refuses to come back to the country to face criminal prosecution.

§ An application may be filed before a Special Court (designated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) to declare an individual a fugitive economic offender. The individual’s property may be provisionally attached for a period of 180 days.

§ If the person is declared an offender, his property will be confiscated.  Upon confiscation, all rights and title in the confiscated property will vest in the Central Government, free from all encumbrances

B] Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018

The Bill seeks to amend the Chit Funds Act, 1982.The 1982 Act regulates chit funds, and prohibits a fund from being created without the prior sanction of the state government. Under a chit fund, people agree to pay a certain amount from time to time into a fund. Periodically, one of the subscribers is chosen by drawing a chit to receive the prize amount from the fund.

Key features of the Bill are:

§ The Bill seeks to use the words ‘Fraternity Fund’ under the 1982 Act for a chit business.

§ The Act specifies that a chit will be drawn in the presence of at least two subscribers. The Bill seeks to allow these subscribers to join via video-conferencing.

§ Under the Act, the ‘foreman’ is responsible for conducting the chit. He is entitled to a maximum commission of 5% of the chit amount. The Bill seeks to increase the commission to 7%.

The House adjourned soon after the introduction of these bills.

Rajya Sabha also saw repeated disruptions and scheduled business was not taken up.

With the first week of the second half of the session over, the productivity of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stand at 3% and 7% respectively. 

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Lok Sabha is expected to discuss the Demand for Grants of the Railways Ministry.  In this context, we analyse the finances of the Indian Railways in our blog.  The post can be accessed here.

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