New Delhi: The Winter Session of Parliament will be held from November 18 to December 13 and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has communicated it to the secretariats of both Houses. During the Winter Session, several key bills are expected to be taken up. The government is also likely to bring bills to replace two ordinances on corporate tax rate cuts and ban on e-cigarettes.
Among other bills expected to be taken up are those on regularizing unauthorised colonies in Delhi and punishment for assault on doctors. The session, which will end on December 13, will see a total of 20 sittings.
Here, we take a look at the bills that the central government will take up during the Winter Session:
Taxation Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019
The Taxation Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 introduces important fiscal reliefs for domestic companies with an aim to boost the economy and promote investment. Reduction in corporate tax rates, minimum alternate tax and withdrawal of enhanced surcharge for domestic companies are some of the key changes introduced.
The Government has amended the income tax rates applicable to domestic companies through the promulgation of the Taxation Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 (Ordinance) on September 20, 2019. The Ordinance allows existing domestic companies and new domestic manufacturing companies (set up and registered on or after 1 October 2019 and commencing manufacturing on or before 31 March 2023) to opt for concessional tax rates of 22% and 15% respectively with effect from assessment year (AY) 2020-21. The effective tax rate including applicable surcharge and cess for existing domestic companies and new domestic manufacturing companies opting for the concessional rates will be 25.17% and 17.16% respectively.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
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. There has been strong opposition to the bill in Assam and other northeastern states.
Personal Data Protection Bill
The Personal Data Protection Bill deals with handling and processing of consumer data by corporate entities while introducing restrictions and penalties. The proposals are based on a report submitted by Justice B.N. Srikrishna in July 2018. The draft Bill has gone through two updates based on inputs received from the industry.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 this year by Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot, and passed by the Lower House on August 5.
The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as 'kinnar' and 'hijra'.
The Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in any way, including education, employment, healthcare, right to reside among others.
Prohibition of e-cigarettes Bill
The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, would replace an Ordinance that was promulgated in September 2019.
The Ordinance prohibits the manufacture, trade, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. Any person who contravenes these provisions will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both. No person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes. If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both.
Some of the other important bills to come up are: The Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019, which amalgamates the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to replace an ordinance; The Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 — to amend the Companies Act, 2013 to decriminalise certain offences and facilitate ease of doing business; the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 facilitating orderly development of the chit fund industry introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2019.
National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill
The others are the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019, which repeals the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, and sets up a National Commission to regulate the education and practice of Indian systems of Medicine. It was introduced January 7, 2019 in Rajya Sabha.
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill
Also included are the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 prohibiting commercial surrogacy; the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It removes the president of the Indian National Congress as a trustee and empowers the central government to remove nominated members.