Context: Amid a boycott of House proceedings by many Opposition parties, Rajya Sabha passed seven key bills in three-and-a-half hours.

About the Bills passed:

  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020
    • It removes cereals, pulses and onion from the Essential Commodities list. 
    • The Bill removes the clause that compelled traders to stock food grains as prescribed by the government, in order to boost investments in the sector. 
    • The power to reimpose stock limits lies with the government and it could be invoked in times of emergencies such as drought or war.
  • The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020
    • It brings 1,482 urban and 58 multi-state cooperative banks under the supervision of the RBI.
    • The Bill allows the central bank to initiate a scheme for reconstruction or amalgamation of a bank without placing it under moratorium
    • The changes will not affect the existing powers of the state registrars of co-operative societies under state laws
    • The Banking Regulation Amendment Bill, 2020 will not be applicable to 
      • a) Primary agricultural credit societies, 
      • b) Cooperative societies whose principal business is long term financing for agricultural development.
      • These two societies must not: a) use the term ‘bank’, ‘banker’ or ‘banking’ in their name or in connection with their business, b) Act as an entity that clears cheque.
  • Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020
    • It seeks to declare five Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) set up under the public-private partnership mode in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutions of national importance.
  • The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020
    • It amended 13 sections and added one chapter for ease of living.
    • It abolishes penalties for certain offences by companies.
  • The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020
    • Through this Bill, the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University is being upgraded to a national university.
  • The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020
    • The Bill aims to upgrade the Gandhinagar police training university to a national university.

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 — was returned by Rajya Sabha.