Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2017 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2017 preparation for various examinations.

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Lok Sabha passes Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Lok Sabha has passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to enable employers to pay wages to workers through cheque or directly crediting to their accounts.

The bill will replace the Ordinance promulgated by the President in December 2016 to amend the Payment of Wages Act, 1936.

Key Provisions of the Bill
  • Method of payment of wages: Earlier, under the parent Act employer can pay his employee’s wages either by cheque or by crediting it into his bank account after obtaining his written authorisation.
  • Permit the employer to pay an employee’s wages: (i) by cheque; or (ii) by crediting them into his bank account or (iii) in coin or currency notes. It removes the requirement of obtaining prior written authorization for payment of wages by cheque or through a bank account.
  • It empowers Union or state government to specify certain industrial or other establishments where the employer should pay his employees only by: (i) cheque; or (ii) crediting the wages in his bank account.
Background

The Union Government had decided to take the ordinance route amend the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 because after demonetisation of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes in November 2016 had led to a cash crunch, and employers were finding it tough to pay workers in cash.

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Union Cabinet gives nod to modify Scheduled Castes list in Odisha

The Union Cabinet had approved the amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 to modify the list of SC in Odisha.

It also approved amending the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964 to change the name of the Union territory to Puducherry from Pondicherry.

In this regard, The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017, incorporating the above changes, will be introduced in the parliament.

The amendment of SC list in Odisha makes inclusion of Sualgiri/Swalgiri caste in the list as it is Sabakhia caste which is already in the list of SC in Odisha.

Background

The Constitution provides certain privileges and concessions to the members of Scheduled Castes, notified under the provisions of Article 341 of the Constitution. Under the provision of Article 341, first list of SCs in relation to a states/UT is to be issued by a notified Order of the President after consulting concerned state Government. But the clause (2) of Article 341 envisages that, any subsequent inclusion in or exclusion from the list of Scheduled Castes can be effected through an Act of Parliament. So far, six Presidential Orders have been issued between 1950 and 1978 for specifying SC in respect of various States/Union territories. These Orders have been amended from time to time by Acts of Parliament enacted as per Article 341(2) of the Constitution between 1956 and 2016.

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Union Cabinet approves Indian Institute of Management Bill, 2017

The Union Cabinet has approved the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bill, 2017, under which the IIMs will be declared as Institutions of National Importance.

It will also enable IIMs to grant degrees rather than diplomas to their students. At present IIMs are not authorised to award degrees as they registered as societies. Hence, they are awarding Post Graduate Diploma and Fellow Programme in Management.

Salient features of the Bill
  • Allow IIMs to grant degrees to their students.
  • Grant complete autonomy to IIMs, combined with adequate accountability. Coordination Forum of IIMs as an advisory body will be established.
  • Board of an IIM will drive the management of the institution. It will select Chairperson and Director of IIM.
  • Board will have greater participation of experts and alumni. It will also include women and members from Scheduled Castes/Tribes.
  • Periodic review of the performance of IIM will be conducted by independent agencies and their results will be placed in public domain.
  • The Annual Report of the IIMs will be placed in the Parliament and CAG (Comptroller and auditor general of India) will audit their accounts. 
Background

Indian Institutes of Managements (IIMs) are the country’s premier institutions imparting best quality education in management and are recognized as world-class management Institutions and Centres of Excellence. All IIMs are separate autonomous bodies registered under the Societies Act and are not authorized to award degrees. These awards are treated as equivalent to MBAs and Ph.D, respectively, but their equivalence is not universally acceptable, especially for the Fellow Programme.

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