The Chairman of Rajya Sabha addressed the Upper House today on the role of Parliamentary Committees in providing legislative scrutiny. In his address, he stated that in the last five sessions, out of the 10 Bills introduced in Rajya Sabha, 8 Bills were referred to Committees. 

Parliamentary committees increase the efficiency and expertise of Parliament. Given the volume of work and the limited time at their disposal, legislators are unable to scrutinise every matter in detail on the floor of the House. Some of this work is entrusted to Committees, which are composed of groups of Members of Parliament (MPs). These Committees review proposed laws, oversee activities of the executive branch, and scrutinise government expenditure. Their reports allow for informed debate in Parliament. Committees also provide a forum to build consensus across party lines, help develop expertise in subjects, and enable consultation with independent experts and stakeholders. 

The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019 was passed in Rajya Sabha today. The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha last week. The Bill provides for a mechanism to ban unregulated deposit schemes and protect the interests of depositors. It also seeks to amend three laws, i.e., the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 and the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002.

Further, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in Rajya Sabha. The Bill amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.  The Code provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals.  Insolvency is a situation where individuals or companies are unable to repay their outstanding debt.

The Bill addresses 3 issues: 

(i) it strengthens provisions related to time-limits. The Code states that the insolvency resolution process must be completed within 180 days, extendable by a period of up to 90 days.  The Bill adds that the resolution process must be completed within 330 days.

 (ii) it specifies the minimum payouts to operational creditors in any resolution plan. The Bill states that the amounts to be paid to the operational creditor should be the higher of: (a) amounts receivable under liquidation, and (b) the amount receivable under a resolution plan if such amounts were distributed under the same order of priority (as for liquidation).

(iii) it specifies the manner in which the representative of a group of financial creditors (such as home-buyers) should vote. 

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 was passed in Lok Sabha. The Bill repeals the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.  It sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC). Functions of the NMC include: (i) framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals, (ii) assessing the requirements of healthcare-related human resources and infrastructure, and (iii) framing guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50% of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities which are regulated as per the Bill.  

To understand how the National Medical Commission will regulate medical education and practice and address issues of medical misconduct, please read our blog on the Bill here

The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to repeal 68 Acts in whole and makes minor amendments to two Acts: i) the Income Tax Act, 1961, and (ii) the India Institutes of Management Act, 2017.

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