New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8 and gave a 50-day period to deposit or exchange the scrapped currency. Though the banned Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes are no longer valid in the country, it may become legal for a month if the Rajya Sabha passes a Congress-backed resolution ‘disapproving’ the Ordinance introduced by Modi-government to demonetise the old high denomination notes.
The Modi-government replaced the Ordinance to promulgate the note ban the Specified Bank Notes Bill in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday (February 7, 2017). Since the Bill is introduced in the lower house of the Parliament as the Money Bill, the Upper House has no big role to play. When the Bill will be introduced in Rajya Sabha after getting passed in Lok Sabha, in two weeks it is deemed approved even if the upper house doesn’t pass the Bill. In this scenario, Modi-government will not face any hurdle to on the Bill for scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
But here comes a twist. Congress MP T Subbarami Reddy, at the Rajya Sabha Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting, sought time to move a resolution “seeking disapproval” of the Ordinance itself. The BAC has accepted his demand and the resolution is likely to be taken up together with government’s Bill today (Thursday), reported the Economic Times. If the Rajya Sabha passes the resolution. then the replacement bill cannot be introduced even if it’s a Money Bill. This will compel the Modi-government to bring a new Bill.
Since the Parliament will on a month-long recess after Thursday, the government won’t be in position to bring new Bill till the Parliament reconvenes again. If the Ordinance is disapproved by the Rajya Sabha and no new law passed, the demonetised old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes would regain validity for at least a month as the Parliament will reconvene on March 9.
The government has the option of deferring the Rajya Sabha process until the recess and use the intervening period to muster numbers from smaller parties or even get a new bill. But the demonetisation Ordinance lapses on March 13, thus the Modi-government will have a couple of working days to push the bill through.
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