Parliament met for its eighth sitting of the Session today.
Question Hour in Lok Sabha was briefly disrupted today as opposition parties sought a clarification from the Prime Minister on the remarks made by the newly elected Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister about the assembly elections in the state.
Lok Sabha today passed the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015. Opposition parties moved several amendments to the Bill expressing their disagreement to a number of clauses. However these amendments were not accepted by the House after voting.
The Bill stipulates for the auctioning of mining leases for both bulk and ‘notified minerals’ such as iron ore, limestone, bauxite and manganese. The Bill also creates a new category of mining licence i.e. the prospecting licence-cum-mining lease, which is a two stage-concession for the purpose of undertaking prospecting operations (exploring or proving mineral deposits), followed by mining operations. You can read our Bill Summary here to know more details.
The Motor Vehicles(Amendment) Bill was also passed by Lok Sabha today. The Bill brings e carts and e rickshaws under the ambit of the Act of 1988. The Bill also provides for the central government to make Rules on (i) the specifications for e-carts and e-rickshaws, and (ii) the manner and conditions for issuing driving licenses.
The lower house also took up for discussion the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015.
The government introduced the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 after strong protests by the opposition parties. Among other provisions, the Bill raises the limit of foreign holdings to 49% in an Indian insurance company.
Opposition leaders cited Rule 67 of the Lok Sabha Rules of Procedure to support their resistance. The rule states that when a Bill is pending before the House, the notice of an identical Bill brought in before or after the introduction of the pending Bill, will not be admitted in the list of pending notices. The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs defended the government’s stand stating that as per Rule 112 (2) a Bill pending before the House shall be removed from the Register of Bills pending in the House in case a substantially identical Bill is passed by the House. Opposition leaders also called for a division challenging the introduction of the Bill. With 131 ayes and 45 noes, the motion was finally adopted.
In Rajya Sabha discussion on Motion of Thanks for the President’s Address concluded after the Prime Minister replied to the debate. Opposition leader moved an amendment to the Motion on Thanks. With 118 ayes and 57 noes, the amendment was adopted. The motion as passed thanked the President but expressed regret over omission of measures to curb corruption and bring back black money. The motion was discussed for over 14 hours.
Member of the upper house also raised a discussion on the losses suffered by farmers due to recent rains in various parts of the country.