New Delhi [India]: Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023 are among three Bills listed for the legislative business in the Rajya Sabha for consideration and passage on Wednesday.
Besides the two Bills, Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 is also listed in the Upper House for its passage. Union Minister of Textiles, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal is to move the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 for its consideration and passage to amend certain enactments for decriminalising and rationalising offences to further enhance trust-based governance for ease of living and doing business. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 27.
The Bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha on December 22 last year. Subsequently, it was referred to the Joint Committee of the Parliament. The Joint Committee on the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 held detailed discussions with all the 19 ministries and departments along with the Legislative Department and the Department of Legal Affairs.
The Committee conducted a clause-by-clause examination of the Bill through a series of nine sittings between January 9 and February 17 this year. The Committee finally adopted its Report in its sitting held on March 13 this year.
The Report of the Committee has been laid before Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on 17th March 17 and March 20 respectively.
The Committee recommended a few more amendments to the Bill while also making 7 general recommendations of which, 6 have been accepted by all the ministries and departments concerned.
Through The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023, a total of 183 provisions are being proposed to be decriminalised in 42 Central Acts administered by 19 ministries and departments.
The Amendment Bill will contribute to rationalising criminal provisions and ensuring that citizens, businesses and the government departments operate without fear of imprisonment for minor, technical or procedural defaults.
The nature of penal consequence of an offence committed should be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence. This Bill establishes a balance between the severity of the offence/violation committed and the gravity of the prescribed punishment.
The proposed amendments ensure the adherence to law by businesses and citizens, without losing the rigor of the law.
Decriminalisation of provisions which affect citizens and certain categories of government employees will help them live without the fear of imprisonment for minor violations.
The enactment of this legislation would be a landmark in the journey of rationalising laws, eliminating barriers and bolstering the growth of businesses. This legislation would serve as a guiding principle for future amendments in various laws.
Consolidated amendments in various laws with a common objective will save time and cost for both Government and Businesses alike.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi is set to move the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha for its consideration and passage to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 28.
The Act regulates the mining sector. For regulation, the Act classifies mining-related activities into reconnaissance, which involves a preliminary survey to determine mineral resources; prospecting, which includes exploring, locating, or proving mineral deposits, and; mining, the commercial activity of extraction of minerals.
The Act defines reconnaissance operations as operations undertaken for preliminary prospecting and includes aerial surveys, geophysical, and geochemical surveys.
It also includes geological mapping. The Act prohibits pitting, trenching, drilling, and sub-surface excavation as part of reconnaissance. The Bill allows these prohibited activities.
Under the Act, the auction of concessions is undertaken by the state governments, except in certain specified cases. The Bill adds that an auction for composite licences and mining leases for specified critical and strategic minerals will be conducted by the central government.
These minerals include lithium, cobalt, nickel, phosphate, potash, tin, phosphate, and potash. However, concessions will still be granted by the state government.
Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, is also expected to move the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 in the House for its consideration and passage to amend the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 26. The Bill is being listed in the House for the last two days but it could not be moved amid the ruckus created by the Opposition MPs on Manipur ethnic violence issue.
The Bill seeks to amend the decades-old Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. It also seeks to address the challenges faced in the implementation of the 1980 statute in view of the Supreme Court’s order dated December 12, 1996, and to make the 1980 Act address new challenges that have arisen post its enactment.
The Bill acknowledges India’s international commitments and the national target set by the country for achieving Net Zero Emission by 2070 by maintaining and enhancing forest carbon stocks.
It seeks to achieve India’s Nationally Determined Contribution target by creating a carbon sink of an additional 2.5 to 3.0 billion tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030 and has the vision of increasing the forest and tree cover to one-third of the land area.