The matter of the suspended MPs was discussed today in Rajya Sabha. The Leader of Opposition asked the House to revoke the suspension and the Chairman offered more clarification on the decision. After an impasse between the treasury benches and the Opposition, the LOP and many other Members walked out. 

Rajya Sabha continued with the legislative business. Six Bills were passed. These included the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, being a money bill, was returned after consideration.  

In the Lok Sabha too, many Opposition Members walked out. The three 2020 Labour Codes, on industrial relations, occupational safety and health, and social security were then taken up for consideration and subsequently passed.

These Bills were introduced after the 2019 bills were withdrawn. We discuss some issues for consideration in our note here. Some issues that are common to all three Codes are: 

  • The Bills delegate various essential aspects of the laws to the government through rule-making. These include setting thresholds for applicability and specifying safety standards. The Standing Committee on Labour (for the 2019 Bills) had suggested that the Ministry review all such instances of delegation.
  • The government has powers to exempt new establishments from the provisions of the Code on Industrial Relations in public interest, and from provisions of the Code on Occupational Safety in the interest of more economic activity and employment. This gives the Centre and States wide discretion in providing exemptions.
  • The Industrial Relations Code applies to all establishments, with separate thresholds for layoffs, retrenchment, and closure, and with regard to standing orders. The Code on Social Security and the Code on Occupational Safety apply to establishments over a certain size. This raises the question of the extent to which establishments should be covered.

Lok Sabha proceedings were ongoing at the time of uploading this note.


Numbers to Note

~ 3 hours 

The three 2020 labour codes were discussed and passed in about three hours in Lok Sabha. Together, they have 411 clauses and 13 schedules and come to 350 pages.

Time spent on consideration and passing of the Code on Wages, 2019 last year in Lok Sabha: 4 hours and 1 minute

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