The Winter Session of Parliament, which is all set to start on Monday, is likely to witness heated discussions as the Opposition looks to raise issues of economic slowdown, job crisis and the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir as the Modi dispensation seeks to push through the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Among the key issues that are likely to emerge as flashpoints between the Opposition and the treasury benches are the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, economic slowdown, unemployment and the government's plan to bring the Citizenship Bill.
The 250th Rajya Sabha Session, slated to commence today, will have 20 sittings between November 18 and December 13.
This is the second Parliament session of the BJP-led NDA government which returned to power with a greater mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The first session of the government was very productive which saw both Houses passing key legislations such as the one to penalise the practice of instant triple talaq and the UAPA law that gave more power to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
In the most momentous move of the last session, the two Houses passed a resolution to scrap the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
What to expect from winter session:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attended an all-party meeting in Delhi wherein leaders from all major political parties were present to put forth their views on the upcoming session of Parliament.
Prime Minister Modi said that special events and activities were being planned to mark the 250th session of the Rajya Sabha. He emphasized that the 250th session provided a unique opportunity for highlighting the unique strengths of the Indian Parliament as well as the Indian Constitution.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the meeting, complimented the Presiding Officers of the two Houses for the smooth running of the last session of Parliament and observed that this had helped to create a positive impact among the people about the functioning of the legislative arm of government.
Details of the Winter Session
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi on Sunday said that 27 bills will be taken up for introduction and consideration in the Winter Session.
Prahlad Joshi also informed that two bills, replacing ordinances, namely (i) Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Ordinance, 2019 and (ii) Taxation of Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, are required to be passed in the ensuing Winter Session.
Important legislations required to be considered and passed
Some important pending legislation that will be considered and passed in this session are:
1) The National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019
2) The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019
3) The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019
4) The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment), Bill, 2019
5) The Dam Safety Bill, 2019
6) The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019
7) The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019
8) The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019
9) The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019.
Important new Bills likely to be introduced considered and passed
Some important new Bills likely to be introduced, considered and passed during this session apart from the 2 Bills replacing Ordinances are:
1) The Pesticides Management Bill, 2019
2) The Insolvency & Bankruptcy (Second) Amendment Bill, 2019
3) The International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019
4) The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2019
5) The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019
6) The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019
6) The Arms Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Bills pending in Rajya Sabha
1) The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 as passed by Lok Sabha;
2) The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment), Bill, 2019 as passed by Lok Sabha;
3) The Dam Safety Bill, 2019 as passed by Lok Sabha;
4) The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 as passed by Lok Sabha;
5) The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 as passed by Lok Sabha;
6) The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019;
7) The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019;
8) The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCIM) Bill, 2019;
9) The National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) Bill, 2019; and
10) The National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019.
Bills for withdrawal in Rajya Sabha
1) The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 1987;
2) The Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy Pharmacy Bill, 2005;
3) The Pesticides Management Bill, 2008;
4) The National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill, 2011;
5) The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013;
6) The International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019; and
7) The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019
The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019:
The central government is likely to push for passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to amend The Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship of India.
The bill is a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries.
Under The Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship was that the applicant must have resided in India in the last 12 months as well as for 11 of the previous 14 years.
The amendment proposes to relax the second requirement - from 11 years to six years.
The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties. The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.
The bill is likely to be introduced afresh in the Winter Session. It will have to be passed by both Houses in order to become a law.
Opposition's plan to corner BJP over key issues
After the high drama in Maharashtra Assembly that led Shiv Sena to jump ship and tie-up with BJP's rivals - Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the BJP-led NDA, which managed to push its key bills in previous parliamentary sessions, may face difficulties in achieving the same success rate in the upcoming session.
The government now faces a new hurdle after its fallout with one of its oldest allies, Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena MPs would be sitting with the opposition MPs as they broke ties with the BJP a few days ago over government formation in Maharashtra.
Leaders of Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, who expressed dissatisfaction over the BJP's recent stance in Maharashtra, did not even attend the key NDA meeting convened on Sunday.
It seems that the Sena will be joining forces with the Opposition to question the Centre of key issues.
From the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to the economic slowdown, a lot of debate is expected on the first day of the Winter Session. The Opposition is likely to attempt cornering the Centre over the economic slowdown, the J&K situation, unemployment and the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.