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Bankruptcy Bill in LS, FM says country can’t wait for reforms

Lok Sabha on Tuesday took up the Bankruptcy Code bill amid demand by some parties for referring it to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asserting that economic legislation has to go on and the country cannot wait in the “critical” times.

The bill, which proposes to make it easier for insolvent companies to exit business, was taken up after resistance by some opposition parties like Trinamool Congress and BJD whose members argued that they had not got enough time to study the proposed legislation. 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while moving the ‘Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 Bill’ for consideration and passage, said the country is going through a “critical” phase and “economic legislation has to go on”.

Underlining that the bill was an important legislation, he said it should not “go from committee to committee” as the “country cannot wait” for reforms. When leaders of Trinamool and BJD resisted, Jaitley said he was willing to refer it to a Joint Committee of Parliament if the opposition could come to any agreement on that but in the meanwhile it should be taken up for discussion.

“We can play these Parliamentary tactics but the world is not going to wait, this country is not going to wait, the economic legislation has to go on,” Jaitley said.

“What is the quick way out by which we can consult everybody, have the wisdom of all the sections and then legislate. Or, is it only an obstacle race where there is one party which wants to create obstacles and my only job is to jump over those obstacles? That is not how a legislation is framed in this country,” he said. 

LS passes Bonus Bill; benefits to accrue from April 2014
The Lok Sabha passed a bill allowing doubling of wage ceiling for calculating bonus to Rs 7,000 per month for factory workers with establishments with 20 or more workers, with the benefits being applicable retrospectively from April 2014.

The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015, was passed by a voice vote, with some members objecting to the raising of eligibility limit for payment of bonus from a salary of Rs 10,000 per month to Rs 21,000.

Replying to a debate on the legislation, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the Government has ensured that the interest of workers are protected and there is no infringement on their rights.

“Because of Bihar Elections this bill got delayed... The Prime Minister spoke to me and asked why should the benefits of this Act should accrue to workers from 2015. It should be made available from the April 2014,” he said while moving an official amendment to the Bill.

The official amendment provides that the benefits of the Act would be deemed to have come into force on April 1, 2014, instead of April 1, 2015.

Dattatreya said the Ministry has held 21 tripartite meetings with all central trade unions while arriving at a decision. The Bill provides for enhancing monthly bonus calculation ceiling to Rs 7,000 per month from the existing Rs 3,500. It also seeks to enhance the eligibility limit for payment of bonus from Rs 10,000 per month to Rs 21,000 per month.
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