By Ruma Dubey
It is raining like there is no tomorrow and in the midst of hot tea and some fries, it is full entertainment to see the Parliament get back into session. Amidst these rains and grey clouds, it could not have been anything else but the Monsoon session.
The session began today but because of the death of sitting members both Rajya as well as Lok Sabha Houses, today’s session was adjourned and proceedings will begin from tomorrow. It holds the promise of a storm what with China standoff in Sikkim, farmer protests, the unrest in Kashmir, increasing cow vigilantism, opposition leaders being chased by CBI for alleged corruption. Political issues apart, the Opposition also plans to take up the increasing problem of unemployment. See, there is lot of action.
But on the ‘serious’ proceedings front, this is a relatively smaller session – it ends on 11th August and there will be a total of 18 sittings now. The Parliament has its agenda set out – 18 Bills for consideration and passing; 16 Bills for introduction and three Bills for withdrawal.
So lets take a quick look at some of the important Bills which may or may not see the light of the day in the monsoon session:
- The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017 – setting up of something like an IIT for those seeking education/research in footwear.
- The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 - to set up Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Tirupati and Berhampur
- The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017- give it national importance where it can award degrees.
- The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017 – increase authorized capital of NABARD from Rs.5,000 crore to Rs.30,000 crore and transfers RBI’s equity in NABARD to the govt.
- The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Amends the Companies Act, 2013 to address difficulties in implementation with respect to compliance requirement.
- The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 - specifies grounds under which disclosures related to corruption may not be made.
- The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Enhances the limit of overtime work hours
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 – proposes that illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan from specified religious groups will be eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
- The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 - to address issues related to road safety, motor vehicle insurance, and increases penalties under the Act.
- The Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017 - Extends the jurisdiction of the 2008 Act to Jammu and Kashmir in respect of statistical matters falling in the Union List and Concurrent List applicable to the state.
- The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 - Makes giving a bribe an offence and modifies the definition of taking a bribe; requires prior sanction to investigate officials.
And how was the performance of the previous session? That was the Budget session and it was pretty productive.
- 19 Bills were introduced during the Session and 13 were passed other than the Finance and Appropriation Bills.
- Lok Sabha worked for 108% of the scheduled hours and Rajya Sabha for 86%.
- 34% of total expenditure discussed in Lok Sabha; second highest since 2004
- Both Houses sat for a larger proportion of their scheduled time during this session than the average for the 16th Lok Sabha. Since 2014, the average productivity of Lok Sabha was 95% and Rajya Sabha was 73%.
- In comparison, during the first three years of the 15th Lok Sabha, the average productivity of Lok Sabha was 74% and Rajya Sabha was 76%.
- An important finding - Members of Parliament had limited opportunity to conduct detailed scrutiny and obtain feedback from experts and stakeholders before passing these Bills.
The market might not pay too much attention to the Parliament because, there is no real big Bill from the market point of view. For the markets, it will be all about number tracking and thus we will see stock based activity – typical of earnings season.
Monsoon has been good so far, in fact too good in many parts. Thus good rains will mean bountiful harvest and that will mean a flourishing country. At least from the monsoon perspective, things look good.
The Govt will deposit the 7th Pay Commission cheques this month and this is sure to make Govt employees very happy and companies are expecting sales and productivity to pick up.
We have the credit policy on the 2nd of August and as usual, rate cut will keep all guessing and the markets buoyed.
If we thus decide to look, we can find reasons to be happy or else, we have to contend with a long monsoon….