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Parliament session to take up Citizenship Bill, 34 others

The bill is a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries.

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Parliament

New Delhi, Nov 16 : The nearly month-long winter session of Parliament beginning November 18 will see over 35 legislations taken up, including the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which amends the definition of illegal migrant, and the Personal Data Protection Bill.

The session, which will end on December 13, will see a total of 20 sittings.

Currently, there are 43 bills pending in Parliament. Of these, 12 Bills are listed for consideration and passing and seven are listed for withdrawal. Twenty-seven Bills are listed for introduction, consideration, and passing.

The Central government is likely to push for passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to amend The Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship of India.

The bill is a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries.

Under The Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship was that the applicant must have resided in India in the last 12 months, as well as for 11 of the previous 14 years.

Now the amendment relaxes the second requirement — Afrom 11 years to six years.

The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties. The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.

The Bill is likely to be introduced afresh in the winter session. It will have to be passed by both Houses in order to become a law.

There has been strong opposition to the bill in Assam and other northeastern states.

The Personal Data Protection Bill deals with handling and processing of consumer data by corporate entities, while introducing restrictions and penalties.

The proposals are based on a report submitted by Justice B.N. Srikrishna in July 2018. The draft Bill has gone through two updates based on inputs received from industry.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 this year by Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot, and passed by the Lower House on August 5.

The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as ‘kinnar’ and ‘hijra’.

The Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in any way, including education, employment, healthcare, right to reside among others.

The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, would replace an Ordinance that was promulgated in September 2019.

The Ordinance prohibits the manufacture, trade, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India.A Any person who contravenes these provisions will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both.

No person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes. If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both.

Some of the other important bills to come up are: The Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019, which amalgamates the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to replace an ordinance; The Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 — to amend the Companies Act, 2013 to decriminalise certain offences and facilitate ease of doing business; the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 facilitating orderly development of the chit fund industry introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2019.

The others are The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019, which repeals the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, and sets up a National Commission to regulate the education and practice of Indian systems of Medicine. It was introduced on Jan 7, 2019 in Rajya Sabha.

Also included are the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 prohibiting commercial surrogacy; the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It removes the president of the Indian National Congress as a trustee and empowers the central government to remove nominated members.

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India

Bombay HC confirms life sentence for mafia don Arun Gawli

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Arun Gawli

Mumbai, Dec 9 : The Bombay High Court has confirmed the life imprisonment awarded to mafia don Arun G. Gawli under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) by a trial court in 2012 for the murder of a Shiv Sena municipal corporator, here on Monday.

A division bench comprising Justice B.P. Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi confirmed the sentence on Gawli – a former MLA – and some other associates involved in the crime.

In a sensational operation, some assailants sent by Gawli had barged into the Ghatkopar home of the Sena corporator, Kamlakar Jamsandekar in March 2008 and killed him.

After two months, Gawli – who had taken the contract to kill Jamsandekar – was arrested and a Special Court awarded him a life sentence in 2012, which has now been confirmed by the Bombay High Court.

The mafia don has been imprisoned since then and is currently lodged in Nagpur Central Jail.

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India

Delhi police shuts all JNU gates to stop students’ march

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Delhi Police JNU Gate

New Delhi, Dec 9 : With barricadings set up and security forces deployed on every gate of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the students’ planned march to the President’s house has been contained in the varsity.

The students are though trying to convince the security forces to let them go ahead with the march.

A march from JNU to President’s house was called by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) after their month long protest failed to bear fruits as the administration rejected their demand of complete rollback of proposed hike in hostel charges.

The JNUSU has though emailed a letter of their demands to the President.

In the letter, the students have demanded complete rollback of proposed fee hike, resignation of the Vice-Chancellor, withdrawal of police cases on the agitating students.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi police along with other security forces sealed all gates of the varsity which could have been used by students to march to the President’s house to present their demands.

Heavy deployment of forces was seen outside the varsity gates as water cannons, forces with lathi and tear gases guarded the roads outside.

Meanwhile inside the campus, students scuffled with a section of teachers who the students alleged were supporting the university administration on the proposed fee hike issue.

A hostel draft manual, introduced by the varsity, has become a bone of contention between students and varsity administration since October 28 when the administration didn’t allow the JNUSU to attend the IHA committee meeting that was to clear it.

The varsity administration argued the JNUSU had not been notified due to flouting of election rules. The draft hostel manual proposed to hike hostel charges from Rs 10 for double occupancy to Rs 300, and Rs 600 for single occupancy from the earlier Rs 20.

However, after student protests, the varsity administration announced a 50 per cent concession for the BPL category students, but it failed to pacify students. The issue is being handled by a MHRD’s high-powered committee, which has given its recommendations to the varsity administration after several meetings with students and their representatives.

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Onion prices ease in Delhi amid increased arrivals

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People buy onion

New Delhi, Dec 9 : Wholesale prices of onion eased in Delhi on Monday after an increase in local produce arrivals as well as the bulb sourced from the overseas.

“Around 24,000 bags of onion, each containing 55 kg of the crop, arrived at the Azadpur Mandi that brought down the prices as compared to the previous week,” Rajendra Sharma, President Onion Merchant Association told IANS.

Azadpur Mandi is the biggest vegetable market in the country.

Apart from domestic produce, around 200 tonnes of imported onion also arrived at the Mandi on Monday, he added.

Wholesale prices of onion were quoted in between Rs 50-75 per kg at the mandi on Monday. Hence, prices were down by Rs 5 per kg against the previous week, a source said.

Onion from Afghanistan and Turkey was also arrived here, the source said.

“Over 80 trucks of onion came from Afghanistan in past two days. A large quantity of Afghani onion is being supplied in the border state of Punjab,” the source said.

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