A discussion took place in Rajya Sabha on the statement made by the Health Minister regarding COVID-19. Dr. Harshvardhan had briefed the Parliament on Monday and Tuesday on the steps that the government had taken to respond to the pandemic. 

Members highlighted the imposition of the lockdown without adequate warning and the plight of the migrant workers trying to return to their home states. One Member demanded that a national database of migrant workers be created. Some Members sought more details on plasma therapy as a treatment for COVID-19 and on the BCG vaccine. 

The Minister is expected to reply to the debate tomorrow. 

Before the discussion, the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020 was passed in the House.  

In Lok Sabha, the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed. 

Co-operative banks are exempted from several provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. The Bill applies some of these provisions to them, making their regulation under the Act similar to that of commercial banks. Now, the co-operative banks may raise equity or unsecured debt capital from the public subject to prior RBI approval. Further, the Bill allows RBI to undertake reconstruction or amalgamation of a bank without imposing a moratorium.

While some Members welcomed the bill as the amendments will lead to better management of co-operative banks and will protect depositors, some other Members expressed concerns about the Parliament legislating on a subject that’s on the State List ( Incorporation, regulation and winding up of co-operative societies). In her response to the debate on the Bill, the Finance Minister reiterated that Parliament is competent to legislate on the matter as it falls under item 45 of the Union List (Banking). 

Numbers to Note

328 UCBs

While moving that the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 be taken up for consideration, the Finance Minister highlighted the weak financial condition of Cooperative Banks. She noted that 277 Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) are reporting losses, 105 UCBs are unable to meet the minimum regulatory capital requirements, 47 UCBs have negative net worth, and 328 UCBs have more than 15% gross NPA ratio (as of March 2019). 

Rs. 2,381 crore

IRCTC refunded 1,77,59,579 passenger tickets totalling Rs. 2,381.03 crore between 22nd March 2020 and 30th June 2020, the Ministry of Railways said in an answer to an unstarred question

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