In parliament: crypto and bank privatization laws postponed

Before the winter session, the government had listed 26 new bills, including the three above-mentioned bills. However, all three bills, as well as the bill on reforms in the electricity distribution business, appear to be off the table. there

With the recurring disruption in parliament and the upcoming general election in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, three key financial bills slated for the winter session are unlikely to be tabled before the end of next week’s session. The session can now end prematurely either on Monday or Tuesday and not on Thursday as originally planned. These bills are one that “bans all private cryptocurrencies,” the other is to amend banking laws to facilitate privatization of public sector banks, and the third is to amend pension laws to give the affected regulator more investment flexibility of the post-retirement corpus.

Before the winter session, the government had listed 26 new bills, including the three above-mentioned bills. However, all three bills, as well as the bill on reforms in the electricity distribution business, appear to be off the table. there

It is only a “distant opportunity” to bring these bills into the current session, sources knowledgeable told FE. Due to the riot by the opposition in parliament, approval of an additional call for grants for additional gross spending of 3.74 lakh crore has been delayed and is expected to begin on Monday or Tuesday.

“Friday was the last day, so to speak, for the introduction of bills,” said one official. Three more bills were tabled at Lok Sabha on Friday, including the auditors, cost and labor accountants, and the Company Secretaries’ Amendment 2021, which aims to reform and speed up the disciplinary mechanism for professionals in these areas.

On the first day of the meeting, November 29, the government presented and passed a draft law to repeal the three agricultural marketing laws, despite determined and sustained protests by large sections of the farmers.

The government seems to be gaining more time with the law banning private cryptocurrencies that are still unregulated in India. The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, aims to provide a facilitating framework for the creation of the official digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The bill also provides certain exemptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its use in the private sector. The government is also reportedly planning to amend income tax laws to bring cryptocurrencies under the tax net, with some changes expected in the next budget. The watchdog for the stock and commodity markets, Sebi, could oversee cryptocurrencies and regulate the affairs of the exchanges trading them as the government is considering classifying cryptos as financial assets, according to industry sources.

Given that bank workers’ unions are watching two-day strikes from December 16-17 and more such protests are planned in the run-up to the upcoming general election, the government appears to be planning to propose a bill to amend the law on banking operations (acquisition and transfer of corporations), 1970 and 1980, and occasional amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 to allow the privatization of two public sector banks. According to sources, NITI Aayog has already recommended the sell-off of Indian Overseas Bank and Central Bank of India to the core group of secretaries on divestment led by the cabinet secretary.

The draft law of the regulator and development authority for pension funds (amendment) aims to make PFRDA the regulator for pension funds, which are administered by corporate houses for their employees, in order to close the regulatory loophole. The bill also suggests relaxing rules to allow more products than pension products for the mandatory investment of 40% of a subscriber’s capital at the time of exit from the National Pension Scheme (NPS). With retirement yields falling (now around 5% / year), the proposed change would involve investing the 40% corpus (after 60% receive a lump sum on exit) in other products such as systematic withdrawal plans in NPS. enable or inflation-linked annuity products.

The government intended to introduce the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism through amendments to the Electricity Act to prevent power distribution companies (discoms) from making arbitrary subsidy claims to reclaim the amount from their respective state governments. The Union’s Department of Energy has dropped the plan to distribute electricity subsidies to eligible consumers such as farmers and households through the DBT system for fear of setbacks. The bill could be taken up next year.

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