Zero Hour and Question Hour were dispensed with in Rajya Sabha today to allow for more time to transact financial and legislative business. The House directly took up the discussion on the Finance Bill, 2021.
During the debate, a Member pointed out that several non-money bill provisions have been included in the Finance Bill. In our 2021 Budget analysis, we’ve listed some items in the Finance Bill that may not meet the Money Bill definition.
In her reply, the Finance Minister clarified that it was necessary to have provisions related to the Securities Contract Regulation Act and the SEBI Act in the Finance Bill because pooled investment vehicles such as REITS and InvITs are used for monetizing public assets and generating revenues for the government. The Bill was then returned to Lok Sabha.
This was followed by the consideration of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Members opposed the introduction of the bill and the Leader of the Opposition asked for the bill to be sent to a Select Committee.
In Lok Sabha, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced. Later, the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021 was discussed and passed. The Bill regulates and standardizes the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals such as technicians and therapists.
The House then took up the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 for consideration and passing. The bill mainly allows the District Magistrate (instead of the courts) to issue orders for adoption of children. During the debate, Members questioned if putting more onus on an overburdened system will yield the desired results.
The WCD Minister was replying to the debate in Lok Sabha at the time of sending this email. Discussion was ongoing in Rajya Sabha on the GNCTD Amendment Bill, 2021.
Numbers to note
The Law and Justice Ministry informed Lok Sabha that the Supreme Court of India has held more than 59,309 virtual hearings (as on February 15, 2021). Meanwhile, the High Courts held 27.6 lakh hearings and the Subordinate Courts held 54.5 lakh hearings (till February 28, 2021).
In the same reply, the Ministry said 11 Virtual courts have been set up in 9 States which tried 55.4 lakh traffic offences including online realization of Rs 150 crore as fines.