Lok Sabha passed the Banking Regulation Amendment Bill. The Minister of Finance, Mr. Arun Jaitley while replying to the debate stated that after the passage of the SARFAESI Act, from 2001, NPAs came down from 13% to 2% by 2007. However, global recession, increasing debts of state discoms resulted in an increase in stressed assets.  He informed the House that the RBI using the power given to it by the ordinance has filed petitions for 12 cases already. Further, he added that the government is preparing a draft law for regulating chit funds.

The Lower House also passed the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Bill. Previously, the central government had the power to levy Entertainment Tax and Entertainment Duty for Chandigarh.  The Bill transfers these powers from the central government to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. This amendment is consequent to the GST which subsumes Entertainment Tax within the ambit of GST, except where it is levied by a panchayat or a municipality.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill was also taken up in Lok Sabha.  Currently, NABARD may have a capital of Rs 100 crore.  This capital can be further increased to Rs 5,000 crore by the central government in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Bill allows the central government to increase this capital to Rs 30,000 crore.  The capital may be increased to more than Rs 30,000 crore by the central government in consultation with the RBI, if necessary. During the debate members spoke on a range of issues related to the sector like the volatility of the agricultural growth, need for increase in allocations to irrigation projects and water management, accessibility to credit, among other things.

Rajya Sabha took up discussion on India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners. During the debate, member discussed the outcomes of the Prime Ministers visits to various countries like Israel, Japan, among others. Members raised questions regarding India’s assessment and response to developments in Dokhlam and its overall policy towards China.  Concerns about NSG membership, maritime boundaries, relations with neighbouring countries were also raised.The houses were sitting at the time of sending this report.

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