Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed three contentious Bills — Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill — even as the Opposition walked out seeking a debate on the Manipur violence issue.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023, that the government claims to promote ease of business by decriminalising minor offences through amendments in 183 provisions of 42 Acts.
Section 42 of the Pharmacy Act states that no person other than a registered pharmacist shall compound, prepare, mix, or dispense any medicine on the prescription of a medical practitioner.
“This Bill fulfills a long standing wish list list of the industry that if you suffer bodily harm from substandard medicine, no one will be held punitively accountable,” Public health activist and author Dinesh S Thakur responded on social media.
Introducing the bill in the Upper House, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal claimed it will promote the ease of doing business and said a working group has been formed to take this forward.
Among the Acts which will be amended through the Bill are the Press and Registration of Books Act, the Boilers Act, the Indian Forest Act, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, Indian Express reported.
The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, which exempts land within 100 kilometres of India’s borders from the purview of conservation laws and permits the setting up of zoos, safaris and eco-tourism facilities in forest areas was passed with little debate.
The law was opposed by several conversationalists and civil servants. Conservation scientists fear more than one-quarter of forests in India could lose legal protection under controversial legislation.
Experts have said the bill violates provisions of the Forest Rights Act as it does not clearly speak of prior informed consent of village councils on forest clearances.
The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on July 26.
The Rajya Sabha also cleared the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023 which seeks to allow the private sector to mine six out of 12 atomic minerals, including lithium.
This bill proposes to empower the Central government to exclusively auction mining leases and composite licences for 26 critical minerals in the country. The Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.