Bills and Acts in Current Affairs

Union Government notifies Aadhaar Act, 2016

The Union Government has notified the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016.

The Act will provide statutory backing for transfer of subsidies and benefits to eligible people having Aadhaar (UID) number.

Key facts

  • Aadhaar Act seeks to provide efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers (UID) or Aadhaar number.
  • It will be used for all benefit that will be linked to consolidated fund of India or the expenditure incurred from it.
  • Both central and state government can use Aadhaar for disbursal for benefits and subsidies. However the Aadhaar number cannot be used as a proof of citizenship or domicile.
  • The Act gives statutory for establishment of the Unique Identification Authority of India consisting of a Chairperson (part time or full time) and two Members (part time).
  • Those individuals not having Aadhaar number shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidies, benefits or service.

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Punjab Assembly passes Agriculture Indebtedness Bill, 2016

Punjab Legislative Assembly has passed Punjab Settlement of Agriculture Indebtedness Bill, 2016.

The Bill seeks to provide relief to agriculturists, labourers and others dependent on agriculture by providing them fair settlement of their debt related disputes. It also deals with expeditious determination and settlement of non-institutional agricultural debt.

Key features of bill

  • It establishes district-level agricultural debt settlement forums and a state-level agricultural debt settlement tribunal to help farmers reconcile and settle their non-institutional debts.
  • Government will prescribe a maximum rate of interest which can be charged by the creditors on non-institutional loans provided by them.
  • Jurisdiction of civil courts has been barred and all pending disputes in the civil courts will be transferred to these forums from the date the Act is notified.
  • Each creditor will issue an authenticated passbook to the debtor and the proceedings before the forum and the tribunal will be judicial proceedings.
  • The forum will decide the dispute within three months. Both the forum and tribunal will have a three-year term.
  • Any debtor or creditor of agricultural loan can file a petition before the district-level forum for settlement of their debt.
  • If they are aggrieved with the order of the forum, then they can file an appeal before the state-level tribunal. The forum can settle agricultural loans up to 15 lakh rupees.

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Rajya Sabha passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Rajya Sabha has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 without any discussion.

The Bill proposes to amend the some provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 retrospectively with effect from October, 2003.

Key facts

  • The amendment bill removes exception given to Sahjdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the parent Act.
  • The proposed amendment was carried out by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Notification dating October 2003 that had debarred Sahjdhari Sikhs voting rights.
  • The notification was issued in exercise of the powers conferred by the Parliament under section 72 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966.

The Bill was proposed after the MHA’s notification was quashed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Since 1949, Sehajdhari Sikhs are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

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