Opinion: Paralysed Parliament may scuttle discussion on critical public interest Bills

The government has listed Consumer Protection and Whistle Blowers Bill, among others, for introduction in Parliament today

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With only four days left in the Monsoon session, the NDA government is now trying to ensure that at least some serious legislative work takes place if it is difficult to move forward on the contentious Land Acquisition Bill and also the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will introduce The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, in the Lok Sabha, which seeks to provide, “for adequate protection of the interests of consumers and for prevention of unfair trade practices and for the said purposes to make provisions for the establishment of the Consumer Protection Councils and other authorities for better administration and for timely effective settlement of consumers’ disputes and for matters connected therewith”.

The Bill assumes significance in the backdrop of the Maggi controversy and also the expanding e-commerce domain which requires a robust consumer protection and a grievance redressal mechanism in the emerging technology-driven product promotion and delivery systems adopted by the companies.

There is a need to modernise the current regulatory system in place for ensuring safety and protection of consumers and it will be a pity if there is no discussion or movement even on this Bill due to the ongoing tussle on Lalitgate and Vyapam scam in Parliament.

Another important Bill slated for introduction today is The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The Bill to amend the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011, as passed by the Lok Sabha, is listed for introduction and passage in the Rajya Sabha.

Considering that the Bill has been opposed by the activists saying that it dilutes the existing protections available to the whistleblowers, it will be difficult for the government to get it passed in the upper house in this session.

But, the focus in the remaining days of the session would obviously be on whether the NDA government tries to get the GST Bill and also even a diluted Land Acquisition Bill passed or not.

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First published on: 10-08-2015 at 09:30 IST