Centre plans to bring bill to ban private cryptocurrency, 25 other bills in Winter Session

The highlight in the 'tentative' list of Bills and Financial Business for the Winter Session is the Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021

A view of the Parliament building in new Delhi. Credit: AFP Photo

Bills to ban private cryptocurrency and create a framework for official digital currency, repeal contentious farm laws and replace ordinances extending tenures of the Directors of CBI and Enforcement Directorate are among 26 new bills that the Narendra Modi government intends to bring during the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.

The new bills, likely to be introduced during the session that starts next Monday and ends on December 23, includes the Electricity Amendment Bill, which the protesting farmers are against.

The highlight in the 'tentative' list of bills and Financial Business -- 26 new bills and three bills that were introduced in the Parliament during earlier sessions -- for the Winter Session, shared with Parliament and published in the Lok Sabha Bulletin on Tuesday, is the Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced through a televised address to the nation that the government has decided to withdraw the laws.

However, the inclusion of the Electricity Amendment Bill, which its critics claim would lead to complete privatisation of electricity distribution among other things, in the tentative list and its possible introduction in the Parliament could further raise the temper, as farmers have already included its omission as one of their demands.

The government had earlier mentioned the Electricity Amendment Bill for introduction in its tentative list.

Several Opposition parties have also earlier raised concerns over the Bill when the government expressed its intention to bring it. However, the government had so far not brought the Bill in Parliament and it is to be seen whether the government would move forward ahead of Assembly elections.

Amid concerns over cryptocurrency, the government also intends to bring The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021, which is aimed at creating a "facilitative framework" for creation of the "official digital currency to be issued by the RBI".

"The Bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses," an official document said.

There are at least four bills, including the one on cryptocurrency, that deals with finance. It also includes The Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Second Amendment) Bill 2021, The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill 2021 and the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Bills to replace two controversial ordinances on extension of tenures of ED and CBI chiefs will also generate heat when it is brought in the Parliament with Congress and Trinamool Congress already approaching the Supreme Court against it.

With Uttar Pradesh all set to go to Assembly elections early next year, the Modi government also plans to bring The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to amend the List of Scheduled Tribes of the state. A similar bill for Tripura will also be placed before the Parliament.

Another legislation -- The Emigration Bill, 2021 -- aims to replace the Emigration Act, 1983 and establish a "robust, transparent and comprehensive" emigration management framework that facilitates safe and orderly migration.

The government also plans to bring The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeking to provide for "enhanced new and additional financial, technological and capacity building support" to meet the Paris commitments and fully implement the country's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in a timely manner.

The Metro Rail (Construction, Operation and Maintenance) Bill, 2021 is intended to replace the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002 and the Metro
Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978 and to provide legal framework for construction, operation and maintenance of metro rail projects, including those under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. 

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