India’s parliament set to clear bills on agri-reforms, relief from insolvency in monsoon session

Among the top agenda during the monsoon session of the Lok Sabha, the government seems keen on bringing co-operative banks under the central bank regulation and suspension of insolvency proceedings for one year against any fresh default.

It would also expect to convert the agro-reforms ordinance into law.

Management of Covid-19 pandemic and tensions at the border with China are likely to be flash points between the opposition and treasury benches in the likely shorter session of Parliament.

The session will likely be a hybrid one with both physical and virtual attendance by MPs to maintain social distancing to avoid spread of coronavirus.

On June 27, the government notified the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, to bring urban as well as multi-state co-operative banks under the RBI regulation and make it easier for them to access capital.

The idea is to protect the interests of depositors and better scrutinise the affairs of these co-operative banks following the Punjab Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank crisis.

As part of Atmanirbhar package to fight Covid-19, the Centre had issued the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, on June 5 to suspend insolvency proceedings for up to one year against fresh default from March 25.

The move is aimed at providing breather to thousands of firms battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government has to get Parliament’s approval for both the Bills as well as similar other Bills, provisions of which are already in force thanks to the ordinances issued.

On June 5, the government had issued the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, that bars state governments from taxing inter-state farm trade and virtually allows farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country without being impeded by the APMC mandis.

Among other Bills, the government may seek approval of Parliament for three important labour codes – Codes on Industrial Relations, Social Security and Operational Safety, Health & Working Conditions.

The Bills provide reform proposals, including easier hiring and retrenchment freedom for employers and redefining of trade unions’ role, social security and operational safety, health & working conditions. A Bill to ensure minimum wages for workers is also on the cards.

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