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Laws made by UPA & NDA-A Comparative Analysis

Anurag Chakraborty

Legal Intern

Source: Getty Images

With 8 Rajya Sabha Members on strike over the recent Agricultural Reforms Bill, here is Anurag who compares the laws made by UPA & NDA in simple language

The article throws some light on the laws and amendments that were made during the UPA and NDA era that changed the country in many ways. This article provides a variety of views as to how both the governments have dealt with the adverse situations that were there during this time period of 16 years and counting. With one of the governments completing their term and taking full responsibility of the consequences of certain amendments that were made during this period, and another one still due of its second term. It is also to be noticed that both the governments had won their respective elections by a landslide and although they were opposing each other side by side, the ruling governments in both the tenures were at toes with each other, with the latter seeing considerable development on its part as being a change of fortune or one may call the tables turned towards the govt. i.e. NDA government. The UPA government though much criticized, has had its fare share of amendments which includes the ‘big eight’ changes, had its boon and ban but certainly not futile. The NDA govt. on the counterpart can certainly argue that it brought into action many significant amendments including the controversial CAA act, which had practical implementations and the many ideas that has not yet gone to vain, but it has to be kept in mind the implementation of this sugar coated laws which may have the potential to change the legal system of India.

Keywords: NDA, UPA, Amendments, Big eight, Laws, Criticism.

The UPA Government under prime minister Manmohan Singh (2004-2014)

These acts are often considered as the most influential change that was brought by the NDA government. It created a stir in the legal system of India as it had critics as well as appraisers.

The Right to Information act 2005­- This right allowed the citizen to question the government and keep a check on the power of the State. People can ask their government questions and no government can deny them an answer. The RTI Act, 2005 also allows public authorities to make disclosures on different aspects of their organization and operation. This includes: I disclosure of their organization, functions and structure, (ii) powers and responsibilities of their officers and staff, and (iii) financial information. The purpose of these Suo moto reports is that such information can be accessed by the public with limited recourse under the Act. When this material is not made public, people have the right to petition the Authority about it. These can involve material under the jurisdiction of the public authorities in the form of books, archives, or electronic records.

The Right to education act 2009- On 4 August 2009 the Parliament of India passed the Right to Education Act 2009, also known as the RTE Act 2009. It describes modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children aged 6-14 years in India according to Article 21(A) of the Indian Constitution. This act entered into force on April 1, 2010, making India one of the 135 countries that has made education a fundamental right for every child. This prescribes uniform requirements for primary schools, forbids the operation in unrecognized institutions and campaigns against contribution payments and children's interviews at the point in enrollment.. Several provisions have fallen short of achieving their intended effect of substantially improving the learning quality. Although some laws have struggled because of obstacles in execution, some are failing because of a lack of organization and shortage of funds or delay in allocation. In addition, the Act has since undergone some amendments which appear to run counter to the spirit of the law.

Indian companies act,2013- The 2013 Indian Companies Act superseded the 1956 Indian Companies Act. The Companies Act 2013 requires detailed rules covering all the companies listed and not listed in the country. The Companies Act 2013 introduced many new sections and repealed corresponding sections of the 1956 Companies Act. This is a landmark law, with far-reaching implications for all companies incorporated in India.On 12 September 2013, following a notice from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, some of the provisions of the Companies Act 2013 which did not include any new laws or legislation for their operation were put into effect. These clauses, however, covered only 98 of the 470 sections of the Companies Act, which created confusion as corporations would have to look at both the old Companies Act and the modern Companies Act to understand the existing law. Some have suggested that the Companies Act as a whole would have been put into effect at one time, although some agree that a step-by - step strategy allows companies flexibility to address new reforms.

Other acts include:

Food Security Act - The implementation of the National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013 on 5 July 2013 marks a paradigm change from welfare-based approach to food security to rights-based approach. Under the Targeted Public Distribution System, the Act legally entitles up to 75 percent of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains. Therefore, nearly two thirds of the population was bound by the Act to provide heavily subsidized food grains. The National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013 is enforced on an all-India basis in all States / UTs. Out of a potential coverage of 81,35 million, nearly 80 million people are currently covered by NFSA for heavily subsidized food.State / UT registration of beneficiaries is acontinuing mechanism involving the exclusion of invalid / fake / duplicate ration cards as well as exclusion due to death, relocation etc. and inclusion due to birth as well as legitimate left-out households.

Lokpal and Lokayukta Act,2013 -The 2013 Lokpal and Lokayukta Act required that Lokpal be established at Union level and Lokayukta be established at State level. Lokpal and Lokayuktas are legislative bodies and have no political standing at all. These organizations carry out the purpose and task of a "ombudsman" (an official assigned to investigate allegations by persons against a corporation or agency, in particular a public authority). They investigate complaints of misconduct in respect of other governmental bodies / organizations and certain similar matters. The Lokpal Act says all anti-corruption enquiries will be conducted within 60 days, and the enquiry must be finished within six months. Besides this, the Lokpal may initiate litigation before the Special Court through its litigation arm, and the trial must be completed within two years. This Act will play a crucial role in combating corruption.

The NDA Government under prime minister Narendra Modi (2014-2020)

The NDA government, popularly known as the Modi govt. had equally significant impact, specifically on certain basic thing. These laws and amendment are often considered as the modern pillars of the legal system and the judiciary.

Since 2014, 103 Bills have been passed in the Lok Sabha. We discuss the top 10 Bills of the 103 passed by Parliament during the past 30 months which have a strong bearing on the economy. Given the enormous potential impact of each of these Bills, the structural reform effort of the NDA govt. can hardly be denied. The 122ndamendment of the Constitution to introduce the goods and services tax (GST)- An ideal GST regime will create a harmonized system of taxation subsuming all indirect taxes. Though the provisions of this Bill do not fully conform to an ideal GST regime, it is a step in the right direction to systematize Indian tax regime for smoother functioning of the economy. Goods and Services Tax is a multi-phase, systematic, destination-based tax assessed at each value-added point. Having replaced numerous indirect taxes in the region, it has helped the Indian government effectively pursue its 'One Country One Tax' policy. The tax is charged on the goods and services provided for sale within India's domestic boundaries. Implemented with respective customizations by a number of nations around the world, the tax has been effective in simplifying India's indirect taxation system. GST is based on the overall selling price of the locally produced products and services, thus representing the actual retail price.

Insolvency and the bankruptcy code act, 2016- The Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code 2016 ("IBC"), adopted to resolve and put under one umbrella the alarming flaws in current phased insolvency laws in India, is expected to face a monumental challenge and similarly monumental demands. Currently, insolvency settlement in India takes around 4.3 years on average, according to statistics available with the World Bank in 2016, relative to United Kingdom (1 year), the USA (1.5 years) and South Africa (2 years). India has been listed 135th/190 countries in the 2015 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report on the ease of insolvency resolution. This is also evident that the Code can be one of the most important laws adopted. The 2016 Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which was adopted to radically change the insolvency resolution process in India, is closely monitored by economists and lawyers as well as businessmen and investors because each aspect of law enforcement has the potential to have a critical impact on business facility in India.

The citizenship amendment act-The bill gives citizenship from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to the ethnic minorities. The administration, headed by the Hindu nationalist (NDA) claims that this would give people fleeing religious persecution sanctuary. Critics say the bill is part of a BJP push for Muslims to be persecuted. On 11 December the Citizenship Reform Bill (CAB) passed the upper parliament chamber, where the BJP lacks a majority, by 125 votes to 105. Two days ago, he had cleared the lower chamber. The bill has also triggered massive demonstrations in the country's north-east bordering Bangladesh, as many residents there believe immigrants over the border are going to "overrun".

These are some of the key amendments made by the NDA

Conclusion and comparison

The ideas behind these laws and their approach toward them are something that is debatable. However, the fact that both the governments had enough time to prove themselves in amending or introducing various bills for legislation says something different on their implementations. The amendment ordinance are always based on extensive consultations where State Government of most political parties supported these changes. Those who are opposed to it can certainly mandate their party’s State Governments not to use the provisions of the ordinance. History will judge how these States will lose out in the era of competitive federalism. There are many controversial bills and amendments that the present government (NDA) has restructured and given new life to. One of the examples is the Land acquisition bill 2013, and its flaws. This 2013 Act had over 50 drafting errors. The recent Citizenship amendment act saw the country burst out in rage against the govt. Many said that the NDA was using religion as a political weapon in instrumentalizing the hearts of the people and thus creating a ruckus between the two religions which are a key part in India’s history.

To conclude, it can be said that every party has its own set of problems and dilemmas but ultimately it is seen that who can deal with them better in both, internally and externally. The minds of this generation is slowly moving towards liberalization which is again a much-discussed topic. The UPA government did make significant changes and amendments but was unable to implement those to its full extent. Whereas the NDA which is still ruling can be generalized among those who know what they are doing and though the country has seen significant changes in the field of law, it should be noted that there is many yet to come.

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