The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022 were introduced in the Lok Sabha today. The former makes multiple amendments to its 2002 parent Act. These include broadening the scope of anti-competitive agreements and inclusion of a party facilitating an anti-competitive horizontal agreement under such agreements, and provisions for “value of transaction” as another criteria for notifying mergers and acquisitions to the Competition Commission of India. The Arbitration Bill changes the name of the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre to India International Arbitration Centre.
The House then took up the discussion on the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. Introduced this week, the Bill empowers the Centre to specify energy consumption standards. The government can specify designated consumers such as industries and commercial buildings to meet a minimum share of energy consumption from non-fossil sources. The Bill also incentivises the use of clean energy by providing carbon credits and increases the scope of the 2001 Act to include larger residential buildings under energy conservation standards.
In Lok Sabha, discussion concluded on a private members' Bill on compulsory voting. The Bill proposes a penalty of Rs 500, among other things, for not voting. Speaking on the Bill, the MoS for Law and Justice pointed out that imposing such an economic cost on people for not voting would be unjust. Instead, he suggested that there’s a need to foster faith in the political process. The Bill was subsequently withdrawn.
The Private Members' Bill guaranteeing right to health was discussed in Rajya Sabha. The Health Minister also took part in the discussion and noted the government’s effort to upgrade PHCs into Health and Wellness Centres to improve healthcare access. He said that 142,000 Health and Wellness Centres have been established and the government is on schedule to meet the target of 150,000 by December 2022. He also added that the affordability of medicines has increased with the introduction of Jan Aushadi Kendras. The discussion did not conclude.
During Special Mentions, one Member urged the government to release the consumer expenditure survey data and another Member asked the government to pass a legislation reserving 33% seats for women in Parliament and State Assemblies.
Numbers to note
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution informed Rajya Sabha today that it expects that even after meeting out the requirement of PMGKAY (up to September 2022) and PDS, the projected wheat stock as on April 1, 2023 would be 134 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) against the stocking norms of 74.6 LMT.