This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ankita Marwaha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Six Crucial Bills Passed By The Parliament In 2020

More from Ankita Marwaha

The pandemic experienced a slowdown in almost every aspect of our lives, except for the Parliament sessions. Otherwise known for their leisurely working, both the Summer and Monsoon sessions observed multiple Bills hurriedly passed. The public was locked in their homes and couldn’t afford to protest against the Bills (there have been a few delightful exceptions though), save for occasional Twitter storms. Here’s a look at six most crucial Bills that were passed during the financial year beset by the pandemic and how they will impact us in future.

1) The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was passed by the Rajya Sabha in September 2020 to propose changes to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957. Aimed at promoting ease of doing business in the coal and mining sector, the amendment allows companies with no prior experience in coal/mineral mining to bid for mines in India. This is expected to increase investment of more domestic and global companies in the second largest coal producing sector. Not only this, the amendment also allows successful bidders to begin operation without having to update their clearances and licences. Earlier, every successful bidder was required to renew over 20 statutory approvals before starting their mining operation.

The amendment has provided even more leniency to practice coal and mineral mining in India. This is going to be counterproductive to India’s target of cleaning up coal and reducing its consumption by 2030.

The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, aims to promote ease of doing business in the coal and mining sector. Representative image/ Image Source: Flickr

2) The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020

The current financial year started amid the coronavirus lockdown, and one of the first ordinances, which was later brought to the floor of the Parliament in September, was related to taxation. The taxation ordinance announced in March 2020 aimed to provide relief to taxpayers by deferring deadlines as per the GST and IT Act. The last date to file income tax returns for FY 2019-20 was extended from July 31, 2020, to November 30, 2020. Furthermore, the Bill provided a 100% tax deduction for any contribution made to PM CARES Fund.

Although the extension aided taxpayers amid the lockdown, the PM CARES exemption raised many eyebrows. PM CARES is not a public authority, and hence, not obliged to reveal to the citizens the total amount donated or how the donation is being utilised. The law is thus a convenient scheme of transferring public money to the ginormous kitty of the politicians.

3) Three Labour Codes

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed three labour code Bills —  Industrial Relations Code, 2020,  Code on Social Security, 2020, and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 — on September 19, 2020, when the Opposition was absent from the two Houses to protest against the three farm Bills. Twenty nine central laws were codified into these four Bills, with the argument that it will ensure compliance and uniformity.

  1. The Industrial Relations Code, 2020: The code proposes that companies with up to 300 workers will not be required to take prior approval by the government to fire employees or shut down its plant or factory. Prior to the amendment, government’s approval wasn’t required for companies up to 100 workers. This gives more companies to function on a ‘hire-and-fire’ policy, with no obligation to provide employment security. The Centre lends support to this amendment by adding another clause, i.e. employees working in an establishment are required to provide a 60 days’ notice to the company before going on strike. No flash strikes will be allowed.
  2. Code on Social Security, 2020: For the first time, the government has extended social security benefits, such as health insurance, maternity leave, gratuity, disability insurance and old age protection to workers in the unorganised sector. Under this Code, companies will have to make a contribution of 5% of the worker’s wage or 1-2% of the turnover towards the social security fund.
  3. Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020: The Code aims to extend regulation of safety, health and working conditions of inter-state workers, sales promotion employees and audio-visual workers. Under this, inter-state migrant workers will be able to avail benefits of the Public Distribution System in either of the states. However, the code specifies no further norms for health and safety standards or conditions.
Twenty nine central laws were codified into these four Bills, with the argument that it will ensure compliance and uniformity. Image credit: Pixabay

4) Three Farm Bills

The three ‘anti-farmer’ farm Bills first got popular due to the manner in which they were passed in the Rajya Sabha. The Bills were passed when some Opposition leaders had left the session in protest against the Bills while others were raising their voice during the voice vote. Since the Bills were passed almost three months ago, farmers from across the country have been protesting against them, demanding the government to withdraw them.

  1. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: The Bill gives farmers the freedom to sell their produce outside the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) market to private companies. Such a transaction will require no tax and give a higher price to the farmers.
  2. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: Earlier, the government used to put a stock limit for traders on essential commodities. With the implementation of this Bill, traders will be free to store commodities such as onions, potato and pulses. This will allow traders to hoard the produce to manipulate the market price.
  3. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: The Bill has created a framework for farmers to come into an agreement with a company for their farm produce  before sowing. This will again allow farmers to negotiate a price with the companies and receive high quality inputs from them.

The three black laws, as the agitating farmers are calling them, essentially propose to decentralise and de-regularise the agriculture sector, which was protected by the government so far, leaving farmers at the mercy of corporate interest.

5) The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019

Passed in 2019 in the Lok Sabha, the Bill got passed in the Rajya Sabha only in March 2020. The Bill proposes to replace the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, with a new commission that will frame policies in the Indian System of Medicine and assess requirements of healthcare professionals and infrastructure.

The Bill has been criticised for not including yoga and naturopathy. Many analysts have also claimed that the Bill lacks vision.

6) Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020

In yet another step towards privatisation, the Centre passed the Major Port Authorities Bill in September 2020. The infrastructure of all 12 major ports of India will be leased to private operators to bring professionalism in port operation and take them to the competitive market.

The Centre took advantage of the crisis and passed Bills that would not have passed as easily in an ordinary, no-lockdown year. Now, with the government announcing a cancellation of this year’s Winter session at the Parliament, is there more left for the Indian democracy to be seen?

You must be to comment.

More from Ankita Marwaha

Similar Posts

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By Vansh Chaudhary

By Nakul Kumar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below