Parliament met for the 20th Sitting of the Budget Session today.
Lok Sabha continued its discussion on the flood and drought situation in the country. As of 1st August, 88 MPs had already spoken on the issue.
The Rajya Sabha today undertook a discussion on the Working of the Ministry of Power.
In both Houses today, Nirmala Sitharaman made a statement regarding India's stand in the WTO in which she stated that India would find it difficult to join the Trade Facilitation Agreement until there is an assurance of commitment to find a permanent solution on public stockholding and on all other Bali deliverables, including those for the Least Developed Countries.
The Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014
The Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014 was taken up for consideration and passing in Lok Sabha today. The Bill, as introduced in Lok Sabha yesterday, can be seen here.
The Bill amends the SEBI Act, and makes consequential changes to the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act and the Depositories Act. It widens the definition of collective investment schemes to include all pooling of funds of Rs 100 crore or above which are not regulated by any law; these will now be regulated by SEBI. The Bill also provides SEBI with powers to order disgorgement of unfair gains; SEBI can also attach bank accounts and property and arrest and detain a person for failure to comply with disgorgement orders. The Bill establishes special courts to try offences under the Act. Two provisions are being enacted by the retrospective effect: SEBI can settle non-criminal proceedings by consent orders, and it may sign agreements for exchange of information with foreign financial regulators.
Changes between the 2013 and the 2014 Bill
The 2013 Bill as well as three Ordinances issued in the last year provided the SEBI Chairman with powers to authorise search and seizure of documents relevant to an investigation, without the need of a warrant from a magistrate. This provision has been omitted from the new 2014 Bill introduced yesterday.
The Act also specified maximum monetary penalties for a number of offences. The new 2014 Bill incorporates a minimum fine for some of these offences.