In the second week of the Winter Session of Parliament, Lok Sabha discussed and passed the first supplementary budget, allowing the government to spend an additional Rs. 3,25,767 crore. During the discussion, several members raised the issue of India’s rising fertiliser import bill. Stating that there has been a nearly 8% hike in fertiliser imports between 2018-19 and 2020-21, a Member asked the government about the status of revival of central public sector fertiliser units. In her reply, the Finance Minister assured the House that efforts were on to lower import bills and that the demand for Rs. 1,09,289 crore for fertiliser subsidy covers both indigenious suppliers and importers of fertilisers.
Rajya Sabha passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022 was also passed in Rajya Sabha. It shifts the Gond community from the SC to the ST list in four districts of Uttar Pradesh.
In Lok Sabha, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Third Amendment) Bill, 2022 were passed. The Bills seeks to revise the list of Scheduled Tribes in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, respectively.
Apart from the legislative business, a discussion on the serious effects of global warming and the need for remedial steps to tackle it was taken up in Rajya Sabha. Moving the discussion, a Member said that the timelines for climate action, including India's target of net zero carbon emissions by 2070, are inadequate and more urgent action is required. Several Members raised concern over the increasing frequency of extreme weather events across the country. The discussion did not conclude and is expected to be taken up again on Monday.
The Standing Committee on Finance submitted its report on the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The Bill seeks to amend the Competition Act, 2002, to regulate mergers and acquisitions based on the value of transactions. The Bill also proposes to reduce the timeline for the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to pass an order on such transactions from 210 days to 150 days. In the report, the Committee noted that some provisions of the Bill are undefined and recommended the government to define the method of calculation of value of transaction and certain other terms through regulations. The Report also recommended continuing with the current timelines, noting that CCI is already understaffed.
Earlier in the week, the Defence Minister made a statement regarding the Arunachal Pradesh incident. Following the statement, Members sought to raise clarifications in both Houses. In Lok Sabha, the Speaker stated that there is no rule or procedure to raise such clarifications. In Rajya Sabha, the Deputy Chairman cited precedents to state that queries cannot be raised due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
Numbers to Note
A Private Members' Resolution on the Welfare of Anganwadi Workers was discussed in Lok Sabha for 5 sessions. The Resolution was moved in the 2020 Budget Session. Since then, it was taken up on 6 days and 20 Members participated in the discussion. The Minister of Women and Child Development responded to the discussion yesterday and the motion to adopt the resolution was negated.