The Lokpal and
Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill was introduced and passed in Lok Sabha today.  The Bill replaces Section 44 of the Act,
which required disclosures of assets by public servants. Further, it   detailed
the manner and timelines of such disclosures (such as disclosures to include
that of spouse and dependent children, to be made by July 31 each year,
ministry to publish on website by Aug 31 etc.). 
This provision is applicable to all public servants as defined under the
Act, including Ministers, MPs and certain
NGOs
(a June notification specified that NGOs receiving government funds over Rs 1
crore or FCRA funds over Rs 10 lakh
would be covered).

While the
Bill also requires public servants to declare their assets, it does not specify
the details of how and when this must be done. These details will be prescribed
by the central government- as per the bill.

There was no
discussion on the Bill in the Lower House.

The table below highlights time spent by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on discussing
Bills:

 

Time spent on discussing Bills

Lok Sabha

Rajya Sabha

No. of Bills

% of Total Time

No. of Bills

% of Total Time

Up to 30
mins

5

7%

18

30%

30 mins to
2 hours

23

31%

22

37%

Above 2
hours

47

63%

20

33%

Total

75

100%

60

100%


The
table  does not include the time spent on discussing the Benami Bill that
was passed by the Lower House today.  

Lok Sabha also passed the
Benami Transactions Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to amend the Benami
Transactions Prohibition Act, 1988 to: (i) amend the definition of benami
transactions, (ii) establish adjudicating authorities and an Appellate Tribunal
to deal with benami transactions, and (iii) specify the penalty for entering
into benami transactions.

The government had proposed amendments to the Bill.
A
comparison of the Benami Transactions Bill 2015, recommendations of the
Standing Committee, and amendments circulated can be found here.  

Rajya Sabha took up discussion on price rise. Members raised
concerns regarding the prices of commodities such as pulses, sugar and
vegetables. The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr.
Ramvilas Paswan replied at the end of the debate. In his reply, he stated that
inadequate supply of commodities owing to issues such as hoarding are leading to increase in prices. He also added that
there is a need to examine the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act.

Rajya
Sabha also took up discussion on the Compensatory Afforestation Fund
Bill. The Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund
under the Public Account of India and a State Compensatory Afforestation
fund under the Public Account of each state. Detailed analysis with features and related issues of the bill can be found here.

Rajya Sabha was sitting
as the time of sending this diary. 

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