Over the last few months, this country's gone through a multitude of changes. Bills have been passed, amended, and repealed - leading to a seismic shift in how citizens view India. 35 bills were passed in 37 sittings, and it is being touted as the most productive Lok Sabha session in 20 years.
1. Scrapping of Article 370.
Article 370 granted special autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which meant Parliament needed the state government's approval for applying any laws. It was repealed amidst a crackdown in the state which involved placing local political leaders under house arrest, invoking section 144, shutting down all internet and phone services, and announcing curfew.
2. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill.
Crucial amendments were made to the UAPA Act recently, allowing the Centre and states to designate individuals as terrorists and seize their property. This can be done without an FIR, chargesheet, or trial.
3. Updating the NRC in Assam.
This year, an exclusion list with over 1.2 lakh names was released in relation to the NRC in Assam. The names were excluded in the register of citizens as they were found ineligible to be in the final draft. Those excluded would have the opportunity to file counterclaims, however, the time frame given was extremely short.
4. The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill.
The effectiveness of the original 2005 RTI Act hinged on the independence of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and its equivalents in the states. However, the amendment allows the Centre to decide the tenure as well as the salary of the CIC and ICs. It would effectively nullify the independence of the state legislatures, and put total power in the Centre in terms of dismissals as well.
5. The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill.
The amendment to the NIA Act 2008 gave more teeth to the agency. The bill, which originally allowed for investigations into terror attacks on Indians and Indian interests abroad, will now also let the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking.
6. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill.
The bill, which passed on August 5th, seeks to provide a mechanism for social, economic and educational empowerment of transgender people.
While the ruling government has been hailing the passage of these bills as a success, the opposition has claimed that they have been bulldozed through without adequate scrutiny.