Bills and Acts Current Affairs - 2019

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Parliament passes Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Parliament has passed Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to allow trusts to establish units in Special Economic Zone (SEZs). It was first legislation to be passed by newly-constituted 17th Lok Sabha. It replaces Special Economic Zone (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 promulgated March 2019 and amends SEZ Act 2005.

Salient features of Bill

It amends definition of “person” under Section 2(v) of the SEZ Act 2005 to include ‘trusts’. Apart from trusts, it also includes any entity that central government may notify from time to time in the definition of ‘person’.

Section 3(2) of SEZ Act, 2005

The proposal for establishment of SEZ can be made by any “person”. Currently,  person under Section 2(v) of the SEZ Act 2005 is defined as individual, whether resident in India or outside India, Hindu undivided family, co-operative society, company (whether incorporated in India or outside India), proprietary, firm, concern, or association of persons or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, local authority and any agency, office or branch owned or controlled by such individual.

West Bengal Assembly passes Bill to give land rights to enclave dwellers in north Bengal

West Bengal Assembly unanimously passed West Bengal Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to give land rights to enclave dwellers in north Bengal. The bill will end era of uncertain future for the people residing in those enclaves as it will help them to get full-fledged status as citizens of India, along with all civic amenities and rights. It will also help in distribution of land rights documents people of enclaves in border district of Cooch Behar. The process will result in creation of 13 ‘mouzas’ (administrative district), while rest of area will be amalgamated with existing 31 ‘mouzas’. Plot-to-plot verification has been undertaken to ascertain the ownership status of the land to the dwellers.

Background

Bangladesh and India had exchanged total of 162 enclaves in August 2015 as per historic 1974 Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), ending one of the world’s most-complex border disputes that had lingered for seven decades since Independence. In Cooch Behar, 111 Indian enclaves, spread across 17,160 acres, became part of Bangladesh territory and 51 Bangladesh enclaves, comprising 7,110 acres, joined India. The enclave residents were allowed to either reside at their present location or move to the other country. Around 37,334 people residing in enclaves in Indian side refused to go to Bangladesh, whereas 922 enclave dwellers from Bangladesh side preferred to be in India.