Parliament today reconvened for a new session.

The first part of Budget Session was adjourned on March 16 to meet again on April 25. However, the session was formally closed at the end of March, to enable the passage of the Uttarakhand Budget through an executive order. This was necessary as President’s Rule was imposed in the state.

Rajya Sabha today could not take scheduled business due to continued protests by the opposition regarding the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand.

Lok Sabha passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill. The Bill seeks to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925. The Act regulates administration of Sikh Gurdwaras in Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

The Act provides that every Sikh who is above 21 years of age and is registered as a voter, will be entitled to vote in the elections to the SGPC (Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee) and management committees.  However, no person who trims or shaves his beard or hair will be entitled to vote in these elections.  The Act creates an exception for Sehjdhari Sikhs who trim or shave their beard or hair, and allows them to vote.  The Bill removes this exception, disentitling Sehjdhari Sikhs from voting if they carry out these activities.

The Regional Center for Biotechnology Bill was also passed by the Lower House.  

The Bill gives effect to the agreement entered into by the central government with UNESCO in 2006 to establish the Regional Centre of Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana.  It also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance.  An institution of national importance is an institute which imparts scientific or technical education, and is empowered to grant degrees.

During the debate, while supporting the Bill, members  pointed out the need for better infrastructure in the biotechnology sector alongside an adequate regulatory framework.

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