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Parliament today: Budgets talks | RS passes Warehousing, Rural Banks bill

PRS Legislative Research Trina Roy reports:

The Minister of Home Affairs replied to the debate on the Demands for Grants his Ministry. The Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh addressed, among other things, issues related to police modernisation, left wing extremism, insurgency in the north east, crimes against women, communal violence and disaster management. The Minister explained the actions taken by the government in the last few months regarding these issues, such as preparing a comprehensive policy on left wing extremism and strengthening the National Disaster Management Authority. The Minister clarified that the overall budget of the Ministry has increased by 12% from 2014-15. However within the overall budget some specific allocations have been decreased, while others have been increased.

Discussion on the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change began in the lower House. Members highlighted major challenges in the sector such as protecting biodiversity, preserving forests and wildlife, and the need to address climate change. Members also discussed the recommendations of the recent High Level Committee to review environmental laws. The Demands for Grants were passed by the house after the Minister, Mr Prakash Javedkar replied to the debate.

The Minister addressed the concerns of the members regarding the reduced allocation to the Ministry. He clarified this was because of the changes in the funding pattern of certain Centrally Sponsored Schemes and shifting of certain schemes to other Ministries. He also stated that the recommendations of the High Level Committee are under review and the government would take action after consulting the states.

It was decided by a sense of the House that the Demand for Grants of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would be taken up tomorrow after which demands would be guillotined. The Finance Bill would be passed subsequently on Thursday.

Rajya Sabha today passed the Warehousing Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The Bill seeks to do away with the central government’s responsibility of being a financial guarantor to the Central Warehousing Corporation. The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha previously during the first half of the Budget Session.

The upper house also passed the Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill, 2014. The Bill amends the Regional Rural Banks Act of 1976. Among other things, the Bill enhances the amount of issued and authorised capital for a regional rural bank, increases the minimum tenure of a director on the board of a regional rural bank, and allows the central government to appoint an official to the board of a regional rural bank. The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha during Winter Session 2014.

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