Parliament proceedings | September 19, 2020

MoS Finance, Anurag Singh Thakur, speaking at the Lok Sabha on Saturday, September 19.   | Photo Credit: https://loksabhatv.nic.in/

On day six of the monsoon session of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill. The Lok Sabha passed the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 and the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

 

(For a concise report on the daily going-ons in the Parliament, subscribe to our political newsletter. Subscribe here and get it in your inbox.)

Here are the latest updates:

10.15 pm | Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha clears Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responds on the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

She says, this Bill will help companies doing their business easily, will help them in ease of leaving. It will also amend companies law to decriminalise various offences.

The Lok Sabha then passes The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The House is adjourned till 3 p.m. on Sunday.

9.55 pm | Lok Sabha

 Is corporatisation going to generate jobs, asks Gaurav Gogoi

Gaurav Gogoi, Congress MP, says, through this Bill some criminal offences are being transformed into civil.

From 2014 we are seeing a increase of privatisation in every sector. The government is trying to corporatization everything and in return people like Mehul Choksi are only benefitting.

The government should answer if this corporatization is going to generate jobs, says Mr. Gogoi.

9.35 pm | Lok Sabha

YSRCP supports Companies Amendment Bill

YSRCP MP says they support the Bill. He further says that we are supporting the BJP government in every Bill, the  BJP goverment should also provide pending dues to our State.

Where as Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, about the Bill says, Future of country will not depend on investors.

Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena MP, asks, How we are addressing the issue of investors who have invested their money in PAN card? Does the new bill highlight anything about that?

9.20 pm | Lok Sabha

Companies Amendment Bill to benefit investors: BJP MP

Aparajita Sarangi of BJP, says, the new Companies Amendment Bill will benefit investors.

She says, India’s ease of doing business ranking improved to 63 from 142, as per the report of World Bank. This is only possible because of the strong leadership of PM Modi.  And this bill will improve business environment in the country.

 

9.00 pm | Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha clears Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment Bill of certain provisions) Bill, 2020.

The Lok Sabha cleared the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment Bill of certain provisions) Bill, 2020.

Statutory Resolution was withdrawn. Amendments moved by MPs were rejected.

The Companies Amendment Bill, 2020 under consideration now.

8.50 pm | Lok Sabha

PM CARES not giving funds to any private trust: Finance Minister

Finance Minister further says, company laws provide that CSR funds can be given to PMNRF, and other similar fund.

She further adds, PM CARES not giving funds to any private trust or foundation.

8.40 pm | Lok Sabha

Did PM CARES fund provide any special benefit, asks Gaurav Gogoi

Gaurav Gogoi, asks the Finance Minister,  In the 2015 J&K floods, 2017 Bihar floods, funds were sanctioned through the PMNRF, what special benefit did you get by setting up PM CARES?

Funds given through PM CARES were used to purchase ventilator which caught fire. Any action taken?, the Congress MP further adds.

8.20 pm | Lok Sabha

Finance Minister responds  to opposition on Taxation Amendment Bill

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman starts responding to the queries, thanking all the 21 MPs, who participated in the debate.

She says Bill was brought in to replace the ordinance which was put in place to help the common man during COVID.

Ordinance needed to provide relief, prevent penalty, prosecution due to late payment non-compliance of some requirements due to COVID. 

PM CARES fund is registered, PMNRF is not registered, adds Ms. Sitharaman.

7.55 pm | Lok Sabha

How much money has been taken from Chinese firms,  asks Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leader in LS responses,  Why aren’t you putting the members of this family behind bars despite being in power and repeated accusation.

The government has to answer about how much money has been taken from Chinese firms.

If UPA government had fear of anything, we wouldn't have introduced RTI act, adds Mr. Chowdhury.

If CSR funds allowed for PM CARES, why not for CM's relief fund, says the Congress MP.

7.30 pm | Lok Sabha

'No allegations can be made against an MP if that person is not available to defend herself'

Opposition says the rules don’t allow such allegation without prior notice and when the member isn’t present to defend.

If this continues we will be forced to leave the House, says Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Gaurav Gogoi, asks, we had the guts to return the money but when will the central government return money taken from China?

7.20 pm | Lok Sabha

PM CARES doesn’t require CAG audit since a public charitable trust: Anurag Thakur

Mr. Thakur further asks, "What about the various trusts runs by a specific family? Who is doing their audit?"

Not a single  rupee in PM CARES will be misused. This is a public charitable trust and hence doesn’t need CAG audit,  he says.

I want to know if the family will open it’s trust to CAG audit? Five times more fund has been collected for the PM CARES fund as opposed to PM relief fund, the Minister adds.

PMNRF, set up in 1948, not registered till 2020, one company kept auditing it for years. People from that company were given posts like Governors, says Mr. Thakur.

He adds, PMNRF got PAN card only in 2012. 

Public fund and government machinery was used to serve one family so far. They have trusts, funds and foundations under their name. They have systematically looted public funds, says Mr. Thakur.

The funds were taken from people like Zakir Naik (50 lakh) in 2011 and was returned only in 2015. Three lakh dollars were taken from China. Funds from PM relief fund were diverted to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation from where it was diverted to various foundation including to Christian missionaries, he adds.

6.55 pm | Lok Sabha

PM CARES will be audited by the same group that audits PMNRF: Anurag Thakur

MoS Finance, Anurag Singh Thakur,  says — "Why is there such dis-trust about PM cares fund? Is there any past experience which has caused it?”

The initial fund was given by PM Modi's mother and other ordinary people. This will be audited by the same group that audits the PM Relief fund. This will be dispensed by a committee and is not person specific. This is a registered trust, says Mr. Thakur.

6.40 pm

Parliament’s monsoon session likely to be curtailed, may end by mid-next week

The ongoing monsoon session of Parliament is likely to be curtailed and may end by the middle of next week in view of the threat of the COVID-19 spread among parliamentarians, official sources said on September 19.

At a meeting of the business advisory committee of Lok Sabha, which has floor leaders of all parties besides the government representatives and is chaired by the Speaker, most political parties favoured curtailment of the session, which started on September 14 and was scheduled to conclude on October 1.

A final decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.

Read more
 

 

6.35 pm | Lok Sabha

 No certainty that PM CARES fund will be used for development of a particular district, says Lavu Krishna

YSRCP MP Lavu Krishna, says, there is no certainty that PM CARES fund will be used for development of a particular district.

 Allow CSR funds to be given to CM Relief Fund, as well give some provisions of funds to MPs, to which corporates can donate as CSR, he says.

6.20 pm | Lok Sabha

Clear GST dues: Arvind Sawant

Arvind Sawant, says, 80G certificate is provided if you donate to PM CARES but why the same is not given for Chief Minister's Relief Fund for COVID 19 for Maharashtra.

The Shiv Sena MP further asks the Centre to clear the GST dues to States, mentioning Maharashtra has the maximum dues pending.

6.05 pm | Lok Sabha

All States are being benefited by PM CARES: BJD MP

BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, on Taxation Amendment Bill, says, Direct Tax Code has not yet been implemented, only some provisions has been applied.

Why the uproar to target a philanthropic fund like PM CARES? It is natural for such funds to be set up in face of calamity to deal with disasters, he says.

All States are being benefited by this fund, he adds.

6.00 pm | Lok Sabha

Government should provide unutilized cess to States if GST compensation falling short : NCP MP

Shriniwas Patil of NCP  says that States have been asked to borrow from market as Centre can't pay GST compensation, but States need to know the timeline in which compensation will come.

Can't government provide unutilized cess to States if compensation falling short? asks Shriniwas Patil.

5.45 pm | Lok Sabha

Why accepting donations from enemy (Chinese) companies for PM CARES, asks Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra

Speaking during discussion on Taxation Amendment Bill, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra says the bill weakens rights and resources available to states.

Government allowed CSR to PM CARES, but disallowed to State relief fund, which is an unfair step.  Also, 38 PSUs donated to PM CARES, but no audit has been done regarding it, she says.

Massive donations were done by Chinese companies to PM CARES - Xiaomi, TikTok, etc. Why accepting donations form our enemy companies, return it, adds the Trinamool MP.

You bought  ventilators through PM CARES, can you provide the list which hospitals were given those? she asks.

She ends her speech by quoting from Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakravarty's poem 'Ulongo Raja' (Naked  King'), "Emperor where are your clothes?"

5.20 pm | Lok Sabha

Inform House on spending of PM CARES: Manickam Tagore

Congress MP Manickam Tagore, says, if you are taking money in name of PM for PM Cares, you have to inform the House for what funds it will be spent on.

Why the need to set up a private trust? Why not form a parliament trust, a defence Trust? Let everything run like this, says Mr. Tagore.

Government appointed a private auditor for PM Cares, without any open tender, how this is possible? How is this auditor connected to BJP? asks the Congress MP.

5.05 pm | Lok Sabha

Nishikant Dubey responds to N. K. Premachandran on PM CARES

Nishikant Dubey of BJP responds to N. K. Premachandran.

 CAG can only do audit of consodilated fund expenses, so it doesn't need to look at PM Cares. The Supreme Court also decided on that , so there is no point in discussing this now, says Mr. Dubey.

4.55 pm | Lok Sabha

PM CARES Fund lacks transparency, says N. K. Premachandran

Loksabha now takes up discussion on Taxation Amendment Bill

RSP MP N. K. Premachandran asks the logic behind having a separate fund when PM National Relief Fund existed. What is the difference between PM CARES fund and Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF)?

PM CARES fund lacks transparency as not audited by Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Even RTI is also not apllicable, says Mr. Premachandran.

Also, if companies donating to PM CARES, considered as part of mandatory corporate social responsibility contribution, get double tax benefit, but that is not not the case with PMNRF.

4.40 pm | Lok Sabha

J&K should have same rights as rest of the country, says Farooq Abdullah

Dr. Farooq Abdullah says J&K should have the same rights as the rest of the country to progress.

Children today aren’t getting the education they should.

I also demand adequate compensation for the three youth killed recently, says Mr. Abdullah.

4.35 pm | Lok Sabha

Finance Minister responds to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's queries

Nirmala Sitharaman responds to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's queries.

 PM Modi on June 20 announced a scheme for 125 days for migrant worker returning home. But West Bengal did not give information during the stipulated period...so how do we include the districts? she says.

4.25 pm | Lok Sabha

Bengal not included in PMGKY: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says, migrant labourers in West Bengal, as well as in other parts of India suffered a lot due to the lockdown.

116 districts throughout India selected for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), but so far no district in Bengal has been chosen for the yojana. In my district there alone are 1.5 lakh migrant workers alone, but nothing has been done for them so far. I have also written to the PM, regarding that, he says.

Therefore I want to ask the Finance Minister, Why Bengal is not included in the yojana, asks Mr. Chowdhury

4.10 pm | Lok Sabha

Release political leaders in detention in J&K: Sougata Ray

Sougata Ray, AITC, West Bengal  says the situation in Kashmir is a cause of concern more than a year since the abrogation of Article 370 — political leaders are still not released, journalists are being harassed, State human rights commissions are closed, education of children is adversely hit, jails have become COVID hot-spots.

We demand that political leaders  be released immediately, he says. The situation even after one year of abrogation of Article 370, is causing concern. All 230 political leaders who are still in detention in J&K should be released.

3.50 pm | Lok Sabha

 

Sumalatha Ambrish (Mandya) speaks against imposition of Hindi. Karnataka has embraced people from all over the country. Kannada has a rich heritage. If Hindi is imposed, it might lead to the decline of regional languages, she says. In fact several govt. schemes aren’t able to reach the common man because of the Hindi language barrier. We love Hindi language but we love our mother tongue more, she concludes.

3.40 pm | Lok Sabha

3 Bills introduced

All the 3 Bills have been introduced. They are The Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020, The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, The Code On Social Security, 2020.

3.25 pm | Lok Sabha

 

MoS (Ind.), Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar seeks – introduction of  Bills  -- The Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020, The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, The Code On Social Security, 2020.

Manish Tewari, INC — opposes the move saying that this should have been done taken into consideration voices of all stakeholders as the Bills have undergone changes suggested by the previous standing committee.

Also these "new" bills have been brought to the House without adequate public voice.

Many sectors have been left out in these Bills. Every Bill has to be put in public domain for at least 30 days. Code on Social Security is discriminatory, he says. He adds that labour rights are intertwined with fundamental rights. There are definitional mistakes in the Bill.

Shashi Tharoor, INC, opposes the introduction stating that they are discriminatory  to women, migrant workers, unorganised sectors. He too says it is unfair to expect anyone to go through 151 pages of a Bill in a matter of hours and thus leaves it open to challenge in court.

3.15 pm | Lok Sabha

 

Minister of State, Ministry of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar moves to withdraw the 3 Bills — occupational safety, health and working condition code 2019; industrial relations code, 2019 and code on social security, 2019.

This is opposed by MP N.K Premachandran, of Revolutionary Socialist Party — stating that these have been referred to the Standing Committee and the withdrawal may have a negative  impact on the workers. Mr Premachandran also requests a hard copy of the Bill as it is difficut to keep track of over 150 pages.

The Bills are withdrawn after the Minister assures that the government is duty bound to work for the welfare of common workers.

Speaker Om Birla says there is no technical violation for withdrawal of these bills as suggested by N.K Premchandran.

3 pm | Lok Sabha

Bills for consideration and passing:

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill,2020

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020

The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020

The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020

The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

1.30 pm | Rajya Sabha

Harsh Vardha moves the motion that the Bill be passed.

The Rajya Sabha passes the The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill.

The House is adjourned till 9 a.m. on September 20, 2020.

1.15 pm | Rajya Sabha

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan begins his reply

The Health Minister says the government is working on national public health act for the past 3-4 years. Law department has given us specific opinion that States should be consulted. Only M.P., Goa, Tripura have given their replies, ten more States have given suggestions- so far, 14 States have given suggestions. "All issues not included under Epidemic Act or National Disaster Management Act will be included in the Public Health Act."

The Deputy Chairman asks the Minister to keep his reply brief to allow for sanitisation before the Lok Sabha begins proceedings.

The Minister continues, "Issues were raised on charges by private hospitals. Centre gave support to States, synchronised Ayushman Bharat rates, drug controller has taken action. In Mumbai and Surat, legal action was taken against black marketeers. ASHA workers were taken care of, the salary and other issues raised- States were given funds under NDRF. Many States have been given PPEs, ventilators etc., many States do not have space to keep them now."

"I had tears in my eyes when I saw the photos of dead corona warriors juxtaposed on a map when i went to attend a function on August 14. States have to give the exact numbers of those doctors who died, it is not that we do not have the data," he says in reply to a member seeking the data.

1.00 pm | Rajya Sabha

The sitting hours of the House is extended until the Bill has been voted on

P.L Punia of Congress says, "Dearness allowance was not give to doctors, their salary was cut. Government doesn't have data on death of doctors but IMA said that 342 doctors died. What about compensation to them after their death? The lockdown was done without any thought and planning. Crores of migrants were on the road and government says it doesn't have any data. On February 12, Rahul Gandhi warned the Centre but it did not pay any heed."

Dr. Anil Jain of BJP, speaking in support of the Bill, says the Opposition made fun of our taali and thaali gesture. "While we tried to motivate our healthcare workers with these actions, the Opposition twisted it to mean taali-thaali would eradicate the virus."

Anand Sharma of the Congress says the protection should be expanded to a lot more services than just doctors. "Police and civilians who help in management of quarantine facilities, etc., should be included in the extended list of those affected by the pandemic." He asks the Health Minister to constitute a national task force in this regard, for a comprehensive review and amendment of the Epidemic Act. He also seeks that the Centre consult the State governments as an important stakeholder in decisions.

12.55 pm | Rajya Sabha

Dr. Sasmit Patra of BJD says the Bill leaves out policemen, panchayat workers and sanitation workers.

Jharna Das Baidya of CPI (M): "We offer our support to the government on each measure in regard to COVID-19.  we welcome any legal protection for police, ASHA workers and nurses."

12.50 pm | Rajya Sabha

Vandana Chavan of NCP points out that inot just the doctors but the allied workers are also affected by the pandemic. "What about ASHA workers," she asks, adding, "they have not been paid or given any kind of protection."

She says we must try and understand why the relatives of the patients are getting agitated.

Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena supports the Bill, but says, "our responsibility doesn't end here."Healthcare workers should be given PPEs, work hours should be regulated and salaries should be disbursed on time. Policemen, safai karamcharis and ASHA workers should be taken care of." Hospitals turned this crisis into an opportunity, she says, seeking some check against them.

Veer Singh of the BSP says the government should have taken care of migrant workers.

12.40 pm | Rajya Sabha

Subhash Chandra Bose Pilli of YSRCP says the Act should also cover sanitation workers. "They are also facing stigma and unwarranted violence."

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh of JD(U) says, "Centre announced insurance for healthcare workers. In Bihar, an additional month's salary was also given. The Act has a provision of time bound investigation. If the trial is not completed in a year, then the judge will have to spell out the reasons."

Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD: In Bihar, labourers were called corona carriers... The poison in the society that was spread, I am not sure how that will be addressed. The Act does not define epidemic or dangerous epidemic. For months, healthcare workers have not been paid salaries, nurses and doctors are on strike. Taali, Thaali and flowers are symbolic, but other measures are needed. Recall what was being played on TV channels in April and May? We were fighting against our own people - a thelewala (cart puller) was attacked. We are not fighting the disease, but our own people."

12.30 pm | Rajya Sabha

Ram Gopal Yadav of SP says, there must be a provision to take action against those who sold PPE kits to States at an inflated price, causing loss to the exchequer. "What about those black marketers who hoarded medicines claiming to cure coronavirus and fooled people? There should be provisions in the Bill to address these issues. Moreover, if the sole bread winner of a family has died due to COVID, he should be compensated and protected by the government."

M. Shanmugam of DMK asks, "what action are you going to take against contractors who brought migrant labourers to cities and left them to die? Labourers cannot be treated as a commodity."

K. Keshava Rao of TRS: A hospital in Hyderabad overcharged and billed Rs. 90 lakhs. We need protection from such hospitals. Dead bodies were piling up when i went to a hospital. We need a mechanism for that. When labourers from other States were leaving, you stopped trains and asked State governments to stop inter-State buses. Let the Centre, before interfering with States, consult the States and help them, as it is you who owe us a lot of money."

12.10 pm | Rajya Sabha

Saroj Pandey of the BJP, speaking in support of the Bill, says, the ordinance was brought out because of the attacks on healthcare professionals. "We showered flowers on them, the healthcare workers couldn't even meet their families for months as they wanted to protect them from infection."

Derek O Brien of the AITC says the Bill gives unqualified power to the Centre to interfere into affairs of the State. "You cannot cross constitutional bars. There are sinister provisions in the Bill. The States must be authorised to take decisions."

Mr. O Brien says, "BJP is telling us no politics, that is why we have not given any amendments. We want to recommend some suggestions. We have health insurance in Bengal for allied workers also, include that. Include the mental wellness of healthcare workers. The State is paying 40%, but when it comes to taking credit, the Centre takes all credit."

"West Bengal brought in what the Ayushman Bharat brings in, two years ago. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Features like card being registered in the name of the woman of the house we already had."

"The Centre cannot impose its will on the State, he says. "There are only 3 parliamentary democracies in the world in which this ordinance raj is still possible - India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The emergency ordinance route is dangerous. Root of all ordinances is a 1935 Act, the Viceroy era is gone but the attitude remains."

12.00 pm | Rajya Sabha

Neeraj Dangi of Congress says, Rahul Gandhi had forewarned the Centre, but the Centre did not take it seriously." It was the time when Assembly elections in Delhi were being held. The Centre was busy in CAA, NRC and NPR. It was busy in welcoming U.S. President Donald Trump. While Rahul Gandhi warned, the Centre was busy breaking State governments. They were successful in M.P., but not in Rajasthan."

"They imposed a lockdown without consulting anyone, just like demonetisation. Congress kept suggesting but they were not ready to listen. From June 8, the Centre was not ready for unlockdown. The country saw the biggest migration since Independence. So many businesses destroyed. 6.38 crore MSMEs were shut, migrant labourers walked on foot, many died on the way. Pregnant women gave birth on the road, many died on train tracks. The Centre was mum, they didn't have the money to pay for train tickets, but had the money to install RS 144 crore LED screens for elections in Bihar."

"The Centre is using COVID as an excuse to gloss over economic losses due to demonetisation and GST. 80 lakh people were forced to withdraw their EPF contributions, people are asking for jobs."

11.45 am | Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha begins discussing The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan moves the Bill.

Opening remarks by the Minister: In 1897, following cases of plague in Mandavi, the British government framed this Act. One objective was to empower the States, so that they can further empower people. Infected people could be shifted to quarantine centres. It gave powers to the central government to shift people entering from ports.

We got affected by the coronavirus early this year. It was a new virus, there were many misunderstandings and stigma attached to the virus. Many medical professionals associated with healthcare were either insulted or hurt, after doing their duty with dedication when they returned to their homes. They were not allowed to enter societies. When they went for surveillance, they were beaten. All this had reduced the morale of the healthcare workers.

That was the time the Centre acted on the situation. There was a need for a legislation at the central level so that there is a prohibitory mechanism to put an end to such activities. 22nd April, this ordinance was brought out and the Act was amended. Attacking medical professionals was made non-bailable and cognisable offence, attracting imprisonment up to seven years. After that, there has been a dramatic decrease in violence against medical professionals. Any investigation has to be done in 30 days and verdict given in one year.

11.35 am | Rajya Sabha

Nirmala Sitharaman seeks the House's cooperation to pass the IBC Bill

K.K. Ragesh, who moved a resolution against the Bill, says why no initiative for farmers? In waiving loans of farmers, why no moratorium to them? If you make 52% haircut, naturally NPAs will come down.

Vivek Tankha of Congress asks about the proviso of corporate debtor.

The resolution moved by K.K. Ragesh is negative, says Deputy Chairman Harivansh.

The Finance Minister moves that the Bill may be passed

The Bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha.

11.30 am | Rajya Sabha

Ms. Sitharaman, continuing the reply, says, the code balances the rights of debtors and creditors. "Is it a blanket ban which is being imposed? I would like to say we are confining it to only those defaults which may arise in the COVID period. It will not affect the applications filed before."

The ordinance and the bill doesn't provide any protection to frauds. Section 166 of the Companies Act, 2013, remains intact.

If the company is pushed into insolvency, when it is recovering from losses, the objective of ordinance will be lost. The IBC is not a recovery law. Saving lives of companies is important, more than recovery of loans which may be utilised through other options.

There is a distinction between small and large borrowers.  The IBC cannot be initiated for companies below 1 crore, so MSMEs are not going to be affected.

On haircuts, the Minister says, it may be called IBC, but the emphasis has been on keeping companies as going concerns. Intention is to keep companies happy. Haircut depends on the value when the companies go into insolvency proceedings.

"What about employment? 258 companies were rescued, roughly one-third were defunct companies; 965 companies proceeded for liquidation, three-fourth were defunct; loss of employment is minimal even after liquidation, 965 companies had assets of 38,000 crore. So, in value times the asset saved is more than liquidated.

Each category gets a unique solution and the needs are separated. Given that provisions of insolvency will impact a large number of people, the corporate debtors often has guarantors.

11.30 am | Rajya Sabha

The Finance Minister adduces data and says, "In 2018-19, 5.3% Lok Adalat recoveries, DRT recovered 3.5% and IBC has ensured 42.5% recovery or Rs. 17,819 crore - this figure only pertains to NPAs of scheduled commercial banks."

IBC is helping people to resolve the disputes, much before it is entering NCLT. This is due to the ecosystem created because of the IBC.

The number of disposed cases even before admission in NCLT, as of July 31, 2020 - Section 7 related - 2,789 company cases, amount is over 1.96 lakh crores; under Section 9- 11,581 cases disposed of; under Section 10- 140 cases disposed of,  amounting to 1.53 lakh crores.

"Not exceeding one year"- These words have become the bone of contention. "If this is removed, it would naturally and directly mean excessive delegation to the executive. If i remove those words now, it would mean that I could extend it by executive order any time."

11.25 am | Rajya Sabha

Ms. Sitharaman continues: It is better to suspend sections 7, 9 and 10 of IBC so that we can prevent businesses from getting pushed into insolvency and with that intention an ordinance was brought out. With this intention, Section 10A of the ordinance was brought in.

Our intention of initiating corporate insolvency for matters that occurred during lockdown, was to give immunity during this period. This is only for those which arrive during COVID period, amendment of section 66 that no obligation shall be filed by a resolution professional.

IBC is such a critical part of business now.

On the NPAs of scheduled commercial banks, i just want to highlight how IBC is actually serving the purpose. The priority is to keep companies as a going concern rather than liquidate them.

11.15 am | Rajya Sabha

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman begins her reply

16 speakers have given their valuable inputs, she says, acknowledging the debate.

"We are quite ready and keen to hear from all sides of the House, so, Prof. Manoj Jha, I want to assure you that I will personally sit and listen to all comments as a duty."

She says, "What made us bring out an ordinance? We repeatedly hear that this government comes out with an ordinance. That is to ensure the emerging situations are addressed and we come back to the House and get the Bills passed. It is a responsive government's duty is to show that we are with the people of India."

"The situation before us in March was clearly of putting lives before livelihood. When PM announced the Janta curfew, he said it was a preventive remedy and did not know for how long it would last. Naturally, lockdown impacted business and financial market, did we just sit and watch? No."

11.00 am | Rajya Sabha

Veer Singh of BSP says companies affected even before the pandemic should be protected.

Praful Patel of NCP says the Bill has limited objective and "we support it". We will need to think out of the box to solve the problem in future, must look at interest subvention scheme to support some businesses struggling to get on feet even post COVID. Travel, airline and tourism industry will bleed heavily in future. The professionals involved in resolution in the IBC are not yet fully equipped to handle the cases, lot of corruption cases where resolution professionals collude with management of defaulting companies. NCLT benches should be filled up, the IBC will otherwise not succeed. The business environment requires a lot of hand holding. With this pandemic, the clock has been pushed back.

Binoy Viswam of CPI says, policy wise, FM is going on a wrong path. "Economy is in a bad shape. She is saying these are all acts of God. Don't accuse the Gods, God is not the culprit. Culprit is the man- greedy people are eating away the economy. IBC is not touching upon the real issues. Banks have come up with a list of 2,400 wilful defaulters, who have a responsibility to pay back more than 200 crore rupees each, this money is people's money. Get back that money.  The country needs 65,000 crore rupees. If that money is given, the economy can be stimulated. The government is not thinking, think of the poor people."

10.50 am | Rajya Sabha

Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD asks how many people have lost their jobs? "Look at the thali of underprivileged people. Only Rs. 33 is given to people per day as subsistence, that much money is spent on three coffees in Parliament's central hall."

Anil Desai of Shiv Sena says IBC may lead to intentional default by corporates. Unscrupulous elements should not take undue advantage of the pandemic situation, he says.

K. Ravindra Kumar of TDP says the recovery amount is 44% which stresses the public sector banks. "Pay attention to MSMEs, there is no clarity on payment of interest."

Narayan Dass Gupta of AAP says this suggests that by the end of March 2021 this pandemic will end, that this may be amended, otherwise again in March 2021 there will be an ordinance. "There is a big difference here for small and big borrowers, interest should be waived for small borrowers. Benefit of moratorium should be passed to small borrowers too."

10.30 am | Rajya Sabha

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh of JD (U) says financially stressed companies will get an opportunity to work in a better ecosystem.

K.K. Ragesh of CPI (M) says, as per the ordinance, all the insolvency proceedings are prohibited for one year, and that would push the banking sector into a crisis. the IBC has become a bonanza for corporate frauds. Huge concessions to corporates, NPAs accumulated in banks, more than 3 lakh crore rupees has already been written off as NPAs in various banks through book adjustments, what is the total concession or haircuts been provided to these defaulting companies? 57% haircuts for companies last years, only 17% of admitted claims being realised, only 26% of the claims being realised, what is the responsibility of he corporate director or promoter?

10.20 am | Rajya Sabha

Ravi Prakash Verma adds that the insolvency process has been delayed by six months, and after this deadline is over, there will be a surge in such cases. He says high profile individuals work as mediators, the fees of processing is so high that it is cornered by middlemen, strict timeline has resulted in distress sale of companies. Corporate sharks are nibbling away small companies. Public companies should not be sold to private players, raise money through stocks. many companies raised money through stocks from public and have disappeared, he says, adding, "where is SEBI?"

P. Wilson of DMK: "Why are individuals and proprietors being discriminated against? Is this government only for corporate cronies? "I request the government to issue directions to RBI to waive interest rate on loans to common people. I request the Finance Minister for complete waiver of agriculture, retail and term loans... common man has to go to court, while corporates are protected by the government."

10.10 am | Rajya Sabha

Amar Patnaik of BJD says it has been linked to a time frame. 260 such cases were initiated by corporate debtors, Section 10 A will only lead to erosion of value going into resolution process.

"What happens to people who are dependent on global business?" he asks. the IBC has been fairly successful since 2016, 40% recovery, what was the need for three ordinances rather than bringing in changes as it is an evolving law.

Ravi Prakash Verma of BSP says the lockdown period saw a 70% jump in insolvency and bankruptcy cases. He says, many wilful defaulters have fled the country. When companies were suffering losses, one company from India was included in the top five companies of the world, the policies are to help business houses.

10.00 am | Rajya Sabha

Dinesh Trivedi of TMC says there are unscrupulous people who will take advantage of this, people with personal guarantee are at a disadvantage. We have a record level of food stock, oil prices are historical low, enough foreign exchange, need of the hour is perhaps to print notes if you want, put 10-20,000 in the accounts of needy people. Demand will be created and there will be more jobs, which will give the government more taxes, and when government gets more taxes, then the GST due to taxes will be given to States. Please reconsider.

A Vijayakumar of AIADMK says cooperatives should not be automatically brought under the code.

9.50 am | Rajya Sabha

BJP MP Arun Singh says the amendment to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 was a remarkable and bold step.

Parliament proceedings | September 19, 2020
 

He cites statistics, including ease of doing business ranking, that has improved under the NDA government, says that it is testament to the sucess of the Bill.

He praises PM Modi and former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for introducing the Bill. He paises the BJP workers for the good work done during the pandemic, and praises PM Modi numerous times.

9.40 am | Rajya Sabha

Protects corporations, affects MSME traders, says Congress MP

Vivek Tankha of Congress speaks on the Bill.

He says that the ordinance came on March 25. "Madhya Pradesh lost its government and a new CM was sworn in. Following this, a 21-day lockdown was imposed. In this lockdown, some ordinances were hurriedly issued and this was one of them," says Mr. Tankha.

Parliament proceedings | September 19, 2020
 

He says the enactment of 10A will be counterproductive as there is no certainty in how long the pandemic will continue. So I have moved an amendment to remove the cap, he says.

Mr. Tankha says that small traders will be affected by this ordinance, and that the government is trying to protect big corporates. MSMEs must be allowed to initiate CIRB proceedings irrespective of the provisions, he says.

He asks: Do we want to protect COVID category of industries or all industries based on their performance in the past? Section 10A does not draw a distinction between COVID and other defaults, so suitably amend Section 7 and 9 by protecting COVID-related defaults on case to case basis, says the Congress MP.

9.35 am | Rajya Sabha

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moves  that the Bill to further amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, be taken into consideration.

9.30 am | Rajya Sabha

Special Mentions by MPs begin

Ruckus follows as Opposition demands discussion on Agriculture Bills passed in Lok Sabha. Chairman Naidu says that Bills are to be taken next day, and the discussion can take place then.

DMK MP P. Wilson says that there is a decline in representation of all communities in appointment of judges to the Supreme Court. He asks that the government look into this matter.

MPs K.K. Ragesh, Elamaram Kareem, Binoy Viswam and K.C. Venugopal move the resolution: “That this House disapproves the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 (No. 9 of 2020) promulgated by the President of India on 5th June, 2020.”

CPI(M) MP K.K. Ragesh demands to know how many ordinances have been promulgated in the past six years.

9.25 am | Rajya Sabha

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi raises the request for awarding age relaxation to economically weaker sections of unreserved category. Many children have to delay education due to lack of support, but no age relaxation provision is provided in the Bill passed last year, she says. Extend age relaxation to children in the EWS category, she requests the government.

BJP MP K.J. Alphons says that tuberculosis awareness programmes have taken a hit during COVID-19. India has over 24  lakh TB patients. Our entire health mechanism is busy fighting COVID, thus slowing down the one against TB. He requests the Centre to pay attention to the TB patients' suffering.

BJP MP Y.S. Chowdary raises the issue of water scarcity in the country. He says that 182 cities require immediate attention in regard to water management, and that most of the rain water goes into the sea. He adds that 80% of discharge from households is untreated, and the government should take suitable measures to address this issue.

9.20 am | Rajya Sabha

BJP MP Neeraj Shekhar raises the demand that Bhojpuri be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. He says that this issue has been raised for past 50 years. Nepal and Mauritius has given it constitutional strength, he says. "Previous Home Minister in UPA who did not even speak Hindi, spoke in Bhojpuri and said he understood our feelings, but nothing came of it," he says.

Congress MP Ahmed Patel brings up the woes of students ill-equipped to handle online classes during COVID-19. "Schools have been shut for six months now. Students who are poor and without access to laptops or smartphones are unable to participate in online classes. This is putting stress on both the students and their parents. Digital India should not increase the barrier between students. Some students have also died by suicide. According to a survey, only 9% students in rural India have access to Internet. A task force should be constituted to find the impact online education is having on children," he says.

9.15 am | Rajya Sabha

BSP MP Raja Ram raises the issue of OBC reservation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Only 2% reservation for OBCs, and 8% reservation for SCs, he says. Mayawati supported the revocation of Article 370 on the grounds that they will be given reservation, but this has not been followed, says Mr. Ram.

TMC's Derek O Brien points out that the All India Handicraft Board in Kolkata has been abolished by the Centre. He adds that All India Handloom and Powerloom board has also faced the same fate, and appeals that they be reopened.

BJD MP Subhash Chandra Singh says MGNREGA working days should be increased to 200 days.

SP's Chandra Pal Singh Yadav says that when the 97th Constitutional amendment (right of the people to form cooperative societies) was brought in 2011, 16 States made changes. However, it was stayed because of a petition by one person from Gujarat. It has been nearly 10 years now, and the amendment is yet to be implemented. He says that the Centre should appeal in the SC in this regard.

9.10 am | Rajya Sabha

Zero Hour mentions by members begin

BJD MP Sambit Patra raises the issue of terrorism, with regard to Pakistan. He asks the government to escalate the issue with international media organisations. "We do not see India's version in BBC, CNN, Washington Post etc," he says. He says that the Indian media has stated that Dawood Ibrahim lives in Pakistan, but international media has not raised it, and hence India should push such narratives.

9 am | Rajya Sabha

The Upper House proceedings begin with an obituary reference.

Papers laid on table. Chairman Venkaiah Naidu reminds members of the facilities available, and safeguards and precautions to be taken for COVID-19 containment.

The Chairman says: "COVID-19 testing facility is available everyday in Parliament, members are requested to undergo tests at their convenience. Yesterday a meeting was held with Union Home Secretary, health ministry and ICMR. They told me that the best safeguard against COVID-19 is wearing face masks. Whenever you meet outside your house, wear mask. Second is safe distance, third is hygiene- washing and cleaning hands, and fourth is healthy food habits and exercise (whatever you like-yoga or exercise). I am concerned about the people. I am concerned about my members as well."

Rajya Sabha

Bills for Consideration and Passing

  • Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020
Lok Sabha

Bills to be introduced

  • The Industrial Relations Code, 2020
  • The Code On Social Security, 2020

Bills for consideration and passing

  • The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020
  • The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020

Bills to be withdrawn

  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019
  • The Industrial Relations Code, 2019
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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:02:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-proceedings-live-updates-september-19-2020/article32646311.ece

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