The Monsoon Session of the Parliament continued to be disruptive on the sixth day on Monday as the Opposition continues to demand discussion on rising cases of mob lynching and farmers’ crises. While the Lok Sabha saw little action apart from presentation of Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Rajya Sabha managed to pass a couple of bills before adjournment till Tuesday.
With two of the 19 sittings scheduled in this session already a near washout, the government is trying hard to push through key bills, from a total 34 bills lined up for passing in the Monsoon Session.
A bill to authorise the RBI to direct banking companies to resolve the problem of stressed assets was today introduced in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, which was promulgated in May this year.
The measure allows the RBI to initiate insolvency resolution process on specific stressed assets.
The RBI would also be empowered to issue other directions for resolution, appoint or approve for appointment, authorities or committees to advise the banking companies for stressed asset resolution.
Jaitley introduced the Bill amid protests in the House by opposition members protesting over the alleged incidents of lynching by cow vigilantes in different parts of the country.
Just before the bill was introduced, Trinamool Congress member Sougata Ray said he was opposed to the banking regulation ordinance and said it was a “desperate step by a desperate government”.
Non-performing assets of banks have risen to over Rs 9 lakh crore and now RBI is being given power to refer the cases to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board, he said.
“It is the same RBI which had not been able to count notes (since demonetisation). Giving such powers to RBI will detract it from macro-economic to micro-economic issues and render the bank management useless,” Roy saidHe demanded that the bill be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
When Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked Jaitley if he has to say anything on Roy’s remarks, the Finance Minister said the issues does not relate to the introduction and would be dealt with when the bill comes up for a discussion.
Moving on fast-track, the RBI had in June identified 12 large loan defaulters who account for 25 per cent of the total bad loans in the banking sector.Action under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has already begun in certain cases, including Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel and Bhushan Power & Steel.
Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017 passed
The Upper House passed the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017. D Raja, while supporting the Bill, raised the issue of a recently passed Sri Lankan law that would affect Indian fishermen. D Bandhopadhyay (Trinamool Congress) also spoke in favour of the Bill. He however pointed out that the jurisdiction of territorial waters must be clearly demarcation.
Bill to raise footwear standard to international level passed
Parliament also approved a bill which aims at promoting the footwear industry and raise its standard to the international level.
The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017 provides for establising and declaring the Footwear Design and Development Institute as an institute of national importance for promotion and development of quality and excellence in education in this area.
Through the bill which was passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote, the government intends to upgrade the Footwear Design and Development Institute to deal with international standards and address the shortage of trained human resource in the sector.
It had been passed by the Lok Sabha in April.
Govt withdraws Architects (amendment) bill 2010 from RS
The governent on Monday withdrew from the Rajya Sabha a bill to amend the Architects Act, 1972 which provides for registration of architects. The bill has been withdrawn as the government seeks to redraft it with further amendments to the Act, junior HRD Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey said while withdrawing the legislation in the Upper House.
The bill was first introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the previous government in 2010, which was later referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development. The panel is yet to submit its report.
The Act empowers the government to set up a Council of Architecture, which may prescribe the minimum standards of architectural education in India and maintain the register of architects.
(With Inputs from PTI)