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Amid boycott by Oppn, RS clears 7 key Bills, LS passes 3 labour codes

New Delhi: Amid protest and boycott of proceedings by the Opposition over farm Bill, Rajya Sabha on Tuesday cleared seven key Bills in three and half hours while Lok Sabha passed three labour codes. Meanwhile, government sources said that Monsoon Session of Parliament will conclude on Wednesday, eight days before it was scheduled to end. Rajya Sabha is likely to adjourn sine die after taking up five Bills on Wednesday, the sources said on Tuesday. Lok Sabha on Wednesday is likely to be adjourned sine die around 6 pm after taking up an extended Zero Hour, they said

Earlier on Tuesday, the members of opposition parties led by Congress continued their protest over the government's refusal to accept its demand for withdrawal of farm Bills. In Rajya Sabha, with the Opposition deciding to boycott the remaining session of the House, the eight suspended MPs ended their overnight sit-in inside the Parliament House complex and said they would take their fight against the farm Bills to the street.

The government said that it will consider revoking the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha members only after they apologise for their behaviour in the Upper House.

The Opposition parties, including Congress, TMC, TRC and BSP, boycotted the Lok Sabha session over farm Bills and also in solidarity with the eight Rajya Sabha members who were suspended for "misbehaving" with the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman during farm Bills debate on Sunday.

Raising the issue of the farm Bill, Congress MPs raised banners with "don't kill the farmers" slogans and "kisanon par tanashahi nahin chalegi", while Speaker Om Birla urged members to follow the COVID-19 protocols in the House and maintain physical distance.

"You have compelled us to do so," Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in Lok Sabha as the Opposition boycotted the house.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has called a meeting in the Parliament premises with leaders of Opposition, including Congress' Adhir Ranjan Choudhary and NCP's Supriya Sule after the parties boycotted Tuesday's session.

The Lower House was adjourned at 3.13 pm till 4.13 pm after TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said that he was in full support of the issue that was raised by Adhir Ranjan. "We all are one. Please listen as the issue has to be considered," he said amid disruptions.

Amidst the Opposition leaders' boycott and adjournments of the House, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday cleared three Bills on the labour code. Later, Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, who moved the Bill, said that the reforms that are being undertaken by the government will prove to be "milestone for the welfare of workers".

Earlier in the day, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, who is the target of the opposition's anger, went to members of the Upper House sitting on dharna and served them tea but they rebuffed his "chai diplomacy", calling him "anti-farmer". Moreover, Harivansh announced a one-day fast against the "unruly behaviour of the Opposition".

This act of Harivansh was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On this Modi said in his tweet, "To personally serve tea to those who attacked and insulted him a few days ago as well as those sitting on dharna shows that Harivansh ji has been blessed with a humble mind and a big heart. It shows his greatness. I join the people of India in congratulating Harivanshji."

The ruckus continued in Rajya Sabha as the opposition leaders said that they will boycott the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha till three key demands, including revoking of the suspension of eight members, are met.

Amid the protest, Tuesday proved one of the most productive day in Rajya Sabha as the Upper House cleared seven key Bills in three and half hours. Among the passed Bills include one that removes cereals, pulses and onion from the essential commodities list and another that abolishes penalty for certain offences by companies.

First, it passed a bill to declare five newly-established Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) as institutions of national importance.

The crucial Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which removes cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities and removes stockholding limits on them, was passed next.

Rajya Sabha also passed amendments to the Bank Regulation Act to bring cooperative banks under the supervision of the RBI in a bid to protect the interest of depositors.

Thereafter the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which removes the penalty for certain offences, was passed.

The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020 and the Rashtriya Rakash University Bill were passed in quick succession.

Thereafter the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 to relax time limit on compliance with tax laws, GST payment and filing in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bills were passed with the support of members from the ruling BJP and its ally JD-U and those of parties such as AIADMK, BJD, YSR-Congress and TDP, which have been extending support to the Modi government on various issues.

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