Parliament monsoon session: What to expect today

Fireworks are expected in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the second day of Parliament’s monsoon session as the government wants to push two contentious legislation to replace ordinances. Also, defence minister Rajnath Singh will make a statement on the “developments on our borders in Ladakh”, a key area of concern for the Opposition.

It was not immediately clear if Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla would allow a debate on the issue after Singh makes the statement. The Congress and other Opposition parties have been critical of the government’s stand on the border conflict that escalated after the clash in the Galwan Valley in June that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

Singh will make the statement as top Indian and Chinese military commanders are likely to meet along the contested Line of Actual Control this week to reduce tensions in Ladakh, where the situation remains tense after a series of recent manoeuvres by the two armies in the Pangong Tso area.

The expected meeting this week will be their first after the Indian Army swiftly moved and occupied key heights to prevent the People’s Liberation Army from grabbing Indian territory on the southern bank of Pangong Tso in a stealthy midnight move on August 29.

The legislative business is likely to trigger protests over the two bills that have been brought to replace ordinances. The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued to reduce the salaries of lawmakers by 30% in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme fund, too, has been cancelled for two years (2020-2022).

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill to be introduced on Tuesday in the Lok Sabha is another bone of contention between the Opposition and the ruling side. The Congress has raised five major objections to the proposed law. It has said cooperative banks are part of the structure of cooperatives and ought to be regulated by the state governments, not by the Centre. “If the ordinance becomes law, all key financial intermediaries will come under the control of the Central government, there will be more centralisation. Congress Party stands for decentralisation and for empowering states,” the party said in a statement.

In Rajya Sabha, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will introduce a bill to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

In Rajya Sabha, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan will introduce a Bill to provide for regulation and maintenance of standards of education and services by allied and healthcare professionals, assessment of institutions, maintenance of a Central Register and State Register, and creation of a system to improve access, research and development and adoption of latest scientific advancement.

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