Lok Sabha discussed and passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 today.  The Bill seeks to grant constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC).  The Bill had been passed by Lok Sabha earlier in April 2017.  It was referred to a Select Committee, which submitted its report in July 2017.  Rajya Sabha had passed the Bill with a key amendment and returned it to Lok Sabha on August 1, 2017.  

Today, Lok Sabha passed the Bill with more amendments.  The list of amendments that were proposed to be moved can be found here.  

Rajya Sabha had amended the Bill to delete the clause granting the NCBC constitutional status.  Lok Sabha amended this, to reinstate the constitutional status to the NCBC.  Members largely supported giving the NCBC a constitutional status.  Some members urged that at least one of the Commission’s members should be a woman.  Some members also noted that the socio-economic caste census (2011) has not been made public yet.  They requested that this be made public so that reservations for backward classes is based on their population size. 

For a summary of the Bill as introduced originally in Lok Sabha, please see here

Rajya Sabha was scheduled to have a discussion on the recent rise in MSPs for Kharif crops.  However, this discussion could not be taken up due to disruptions, and the House was adjourned.  Our blog on the recent hike in MSPs explains how MSPs are determined and their effectiveness, what has been proposed in the hike, and its potential impact.  For more details on agricultural pricing including MSPs, agricultural inputs and outputs, and other broad challenges in the agriculture sector, look at our report on ‘The State of Agriculture in India’

You can also read our Monthly Policy Review to track major policy and legislative developments across all sectors in the past month here.  

Some highlights of this month’s issue are:

  1. Parliament passed five Bills in the ongoing Monsoon Session.  These include the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018, the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2013, the Specific Relief Bill, 2018 and the State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2018.
  2. The Committee constituted to recommend data privacy law (Chair: B.N.Srikrishna) submitted its report.  The Committee studied issues with respect to data protection and made recommendations to address them.  The Committee also suggested a draft Data Protection Bill.
  3. Cabinet approved introduction of DNA Technology (Use and Application) Bill, 2018.  The Bill aims to: (i) expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to strengthen the justice delivery system in the country, and (ii) utilise DNA-based technologies for solving crimes, and identifying missing persons. 
  4. GST Council recommended amendments to the Acts related to GST.  The Council made recommendations on amendments regarding eligibility under the composition scheme and the reverse charge mechanism

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