Parliament passes key Pension Bill

Parliament passes key Pension Bill

Parliament passes key Pension Bill

After repeated disruptions in the monsoon session, Parliament on Friday was busy debating crucial legislation to make up for the lost time.

Five bills, including one that allows those in jail to contest polls and the pension bill that aims to create a regulator for the sector was passed by Parliament.

Negating a Supreme Court order, the Lok Sabha (LS) on Friday passed a bill that maintains the right of those in jail to contest elections.

The government said the court verdict was wrong and the legislature has Constitutional duty to correct it.

The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, was rushed through in the LS and passed within 15 minutes after a brief discussion.

Though some members wanted an elaborate debate, it was pushed for passage with an overwhelming majority. Leader of the Opposition in the LS Sushma Swaraj also backed the bill.

The bill negates a July 10 apex court order which held that those in jail cannot vote as per Representation of the People Act and hence cannot qualify for contesting elections to Parliament or state legislatures. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha (RS) on August 27.

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, 2011, was passed in the RS with 115 MPs voting in favour and 25 against, including members form Left parties and the Trinamool Congress. The bill was passed in the LS on September 4.

The bill would make the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority a statutory body, unlike its present non-statutory status. The bill provides subscribers a wide choice to invest their funds including assured returns by opting for government bonds as well as in other funds depending on their capacity to take risk, a provision that came from opponents of the legislation.

It pegs the FDI in pension sector at 26 per cent or such percentage as may be approved for the insurance sector, whichever is higher.

Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, seeking to protect the rights of urban street vendors, Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill that aims at setting up an institution at Raebarelli, Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill was passed in the LS.

Other bills passed by the lower House was Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill that keeps chairpersons of National Commissions for the SC/ST out of the purview of the office of profit.