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Parliament proceedings | Rajya Sabha adjourned till 3.15 pm

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Lok Sabha on Thursday will take up the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, while Rajya Sabha is scheduled to discuss the Insurance (Amendment) Bill.

The Lower House was adjourned for two hours on Wednesday following the sudden demise of BJP MP. Both Houses saw multiple adjournments on all days of last week as the Opposition demanded a discussion on the rising prices of fuel in the country.

Here are the latest updates:

 

Lok Sabha | 3.00 pm

“People need relief from price rise”

Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena) says that high fuel prices are distressing common man. “COVID-19 has led to a few people from taking advantage of the crisis, one such department is railways which has hiked fares on trains terming them special trains with no facilities like water, curtains, pantry. PM Grameen Sadak Yojana has not been funded properly. Monopoly control to one company for running the 108 ambulances in Maharashtra has led to poor service.”

“The Centre has steadily reduced its share of funds from Centre-State sharing scheme. These schemes are therefore not going well.”

He commends Centre and Mr. Modi on abrogation of 370 in J&K and hopes that the UT gets more funds for its better amalgamation. He demands that displaced Kashmiri Pandits be resettled in the Valley. “People need relief from price rise.”

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Margani Bharat (YSRCP) expresses doubt whether fiscal deficit target as postulated by 15th finance could be kept to. He also says reduced allocation to Andhra Pradesh under 15th Finance Commission award. “AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, an assurance of special category for AP was given but up till now nothing has happened. May be reconsidered.”

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Rajya Sabha | 2.40 pm

Repeated adjournments

The Rajya Sabha proceedings adjourned for 10 minutes at 2.30 pm, resumed and adjourned again till 3.00 pm.

At 3.00 pm, the Upper House was adjourned for 15 minutes.

Lok Sabha | 2.40 pm

Saugata Roy of TMC points to the absence of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “Modiji has no time for us, he is in West Bengal even today. ‘Modi hai to mumkin’ nahin hoga Paschim Bangal main. This is a cruel government. Women in the country are stressed out over soaring prices of cooking gas. Even in this budget FM raised a ₹ 2.50 cess on petrol, ₹ 4 cess on diesel. This has had an impact on fuel prices, but both PM and FM on any move to ameliorate the distress. Fiscal deficit has soared with no plans on how to rein it in. This government is a “Bechu Sarkar” interested in selling all government assets. Bankers are on strike. All trains, airports to be sold, to Ambani, Adani. They will sell the whole country.”

“My sadness is that many BJP members who are uncomfortable with this crony capitalism are keeping silent. Most cruel was the exodus of migrant labour on foot to their homes. Modi government gave four hours notice for lockdown and asked us to beat thalis saying COVID-19 will go away. A year on, we are on a second wave. Why didn’t we give cash transfer to the poor as suggested by economists like Amartya Sen.”

Anurag Thakur intervenes, “In opposition times there were no bank accounts. Under Modi we transferred ₹ 31,000 crores to women alone. Apart from widows, pensioners. 9 crore farmers got ₹ 18,000 crore, but West Bengal government refused to give a list of beneficiaries.”

Mr. Roy says West Bengal says state government gives more and after the polls they will give ₹ 10,000 per farmer. “Giving free ration is good, centre gives rice at ₹ 3 per kilo while West Bengal government gives it for ₹ 2 per kilo. But I will not fight West Bengal poll here in Lok Sabha.”

“This government is afraid of farmers who have been protesting against unfair laws for the last 120 days. Therefore they are conceding fertiliser subsidy, MSP but is silent on the unfair laws.”

He appeals to BJP MPs, “You people should also speak within your party and government on behalf of farmers. The FM should have the courage to face the House. Cess on fuel should be withdrawn.”

Anurag Thakur intervenes: “TMC MP made a taunt on FM, being a former minister he should know when both Houses are dealing with departmental issue, one minister is in each House. She is attending the debate on Insurance Bill in Rajya Sabha. We have shown all the spending in the Budget in extraordinary transparency.”

Rajya Sabha | 2.20 pm

Insurance (Amendment) Bill

Speaker says that the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was scheduled for consideration and passing for today.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh rejects Congress MP Shakti Sinh Gohil’s point of order disallowing the introduction of the bill. Mr. Gohill has claimed that due process was not followed before bringing the bill to the house.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moves The Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021 for consideration and passing.

Leader of Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge says: “This is a bill that will have far reaching impact on the lives of the general public. This is the 3rd amendment in the 1938 bill. One of the amendments was done during Vajpayee government when 26 % of FDI was allowed. Now that limit has been increased to 74 %. Mr. Kharge requests the government to send the bill to a standing committee so that all possible errors can be removed from the bill.

Bhupendra Yadav, BJP says: “This bill has already gone to standing committee, select committee. There has been due consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny. If they are protesting now then it is only to stop the progress of the nation.”

The opposition parties march into the well of the house and raise slogans.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh says that for point of order, the house has to be in order. “You didn’t move a motion to send the bill to a select committee. Let the discussion continue and later you can vote on the bill.”

The opposition refuses to relent and returns to the well of the house. Rajya Sabha adjourned for 10 minutes at 2.30 pm.

The Insurance Amendment Bill 2021 seeks to increase the maximum foreign investment allowed in an Indian insurance company.  The Bill increases the limit on foreign investment in an Indian insurance company from 49% to 74%, and removes restrictions on ownership and control.

Lok Sabha | 2.00 pm

Lok Sabha resumes

Supplementary Demands for Grants is discussed.

Congress MP Jasbir Singh Gill talks about how funds are allocated in poll bound States and demands Punjab gets its shares. He talks about Punjab farmers who have their land across the border fencing. They can go to till their farms between 10am and 5pm. Supreme Court had ordered a compensation of ₹ 10,000 per acre per farmers to compensate such farmers. But no money has come after 2019.

He also talks about better compensation for people who give their land for national highways. Now, he is talking about reducing duties on components for manufacturers who make Electric Vehicles. He urges the government to give more importance to the Amritsar airport as it is a strategic place.

He talks about religious tourism, create facilities that can make tourists spend more than a day in Amritsar, it will help in improving the economy. He talks about tax holidays for a landlocked State like Punjab to push for industrialization like machine tools, cycles, high end clothing like jackets by Louis Vuitton and Zara, mentions Ludhiana as the Manchester of the East.

He mentioned the need of a cancer hospital.

Tapir Gao of BJP from Arunachal Pradesh says, “One year back, we were worried about saving 130 crore lives when other more advanced countries were struggling. In six months, we started exporting PPE kits. When Covid happened, our Finance Minister provided for ₹ 15,000 crore immediately.”

“Now, we have allocated ₹ 35,000 crore for vaccination.

Sometimes, it becomes difficult to even describe Mr. Modi by name as he seems to be a reincarnation of someone. If Modi ji was not there, Arunachal Pradesh wouldn’t have seen four lane. We need a road until Demchok.”

Mr. Gao says: “In West Bengal and Tripura tea workers were committing suicide but Modi government raised wages and saved them. It’s like divine intervention. Modiji enhanced rail connectivity in the north east, ₹ 1,10,000 crore allocation done for it. Under Gadkari, waterways are being set up even in places with no water.

Defence is a major ministry, 18.8% increase in allocation. If there had been a PM like Modi just after 1947, the India-China situation would not have been the way it is.” He demands a high court in each of the North Eastern states rather than the Guwahati high court affiliated high courts, stresses again on “avatar” like qualities of Mr. Modi.

Rajya Sabha | 2.00 pm

Rajya Sabha resumes

Vehicles scrapping policy

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari gives a statement regarding vehicles scrapping policy.

“Vehicle scrapping policy will be ‘win-win’ policy; it will help reduce pollution. The policy will benefit scrapping centres, automobile industry, component industry and common man. India will become world no.1 manufacturing hub of all the brands that are being manufactured here. Scrap material that will be manufactured, will be useful in the production of electric vehicles. New vehicles will be light weight and the maintenance will also cost less. All the interest of stake holders will be kept safe.”

“Electric vehicles’ fuel efficiency is high, so it will help the common man as well. It will reduce the import of petrol and diesel and will help the economy.”

Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD requests discount of 5% could be made 15 to 20% on electric vehicles.

Tiruchi Siva of DMK says, “If we buy a refrigerator for ₹ 20,000, sometimes it can be sold only for ₹ 500. Middle class people cannot upgrade to a new vehicle. I appreciate the scrapping policy. The scrap value is 4 to 6%, the Minister could consider enhancing that.”

Minister Mr. Gadkari, replying to members, says that there is more saving these days with new products, new mileages and breaking systems. He says that accidents take more lives than COVID-19.

Rajya Sabha | 12.50 pm

Online learning

Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ says during the pandemic lockdown, the govt didn’t let down the students’ from learning, and that they took all the steps for education to strive. He also lists the availability of teachers for every student, in reply to a member’s question.

As members discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on poor children, AAP member Sushil Kumar Gupta asks if along with free books, uniforms, will the poor children get free mobile phones or laptops for continuing their education online.

Minister Mr. Pokhriyal said that even during the lockdown, for those students who do not have phones or computers, could continue their education with TVs and radios, depending on their demographic and the availability of such devices.

Mr. Gupta says AAP govt helps even private school children for books and other necessities. He asks if the govt does anything of that sort. Minister replies, but his time is cut short.

House adjourned till 2p.m.

Lok Sabha | 12.35 pm

Zero Hour

Congress MP Ravneet Bittu asks why Delhi is being reduced to a municipal corporation. Why are the people of Delhi being punished for Arvind Kejriwal’s faults? he asks.

Sushil Kumar Singh of BJP raises the issue of people committing petty offences languishing in jails despite getting bails or because they are unable to produce surety or collateral.

He said the government should think of changing the law to make it easy for poor people to come out of jail in bailable offences.

Dr. Alok Kumar Suman, Janata Dal United MP from Bihar, raises the issue of violence against doctors and asks for a new law on violence against doctors.

Agatha Sangma, National People’s Party MP representing Tura Lok Sabha seat in Meghalaya, raises the issue of Garo and Khasi language to be included into the 8th schedule.

Lok Sabha adjourned until 2p.m. for lunch.

Rajya Sabha | 12.25 pm

Crime against children and women

MP Vandana Chavan (Congress) asks a query on vacancies in central govt. institutions that are involved in combating crimes against women and children, and what are the steps being taken to fill these vacancies.

Union Minister Smriti Irani replies that this is a serious issue, and that related agencies are being fiscally supported, and cites data to support her point. In Tamil Nadu and Chennai, for instance, CCTV cameras were given for safety purposes. In Chennai, there are over 1,37,000 CCTV cameras operational, she says.

Parliament proceedings | Rajya Sabha adjourned till 3.15 pm

 

Be it establishment of CCTV cameras or fast track courts, or even child protection agencies, we periodically take it up with State govts, she says.

Lok Sabha | 12.15 pm

Now, papers are bding laid on the floor of the House.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari reads a statement on the Vehicles Scrapping Policy.

He says that a new vehicle scrapping policy is being started which will not only help vehicle owners to scrap their old cars but also get help them buy new vehicles. Scrapping centres on the lines of ship breaking yards will be put up.

The scrapping policy will help in reducing auto components price by 40% as old cars from smaller countries will come into India, he says.

The Minister asks MPs to use biofuel and electric vehicles as it will help reduce pollution.The notification for the new vehicle scrap policy will be notified in 30 days, and there will be an incentive for registration, he says.

If a vehicle fails fitness test, an end-of-life certificate will be issued. If any vehicle after 20 years is found unfit, it will be de-registered, he says.

Lok Sabha | 12.10 pm

Nama Nageswar Rao of TRS raises the issue of helping girls from poor families. Minister Naqvi replied that the Modi government has abolished practices like Triple Talaq for this.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari talks about creating world record of building 24 kms of metalled tar road in Maharashtra in 24 hours. He talks about giving priority to preventing accidents in every MP’s constituencies.

Mr. Gadkari says that COVID-19 has claimed 1,46,000 lives while accidents have claimed more 1,50,000 lives. More than 65 % of them were young lives, he says. He cites the example of Tamil Nadu which has reduced accidents in the State by 52% with the help of World Bank. The Minister urges the MPs to strive for Zero Accident Districts in their constituencies.

Rajya Sabha | 12.10 pm

Regulation of online content

G.C. Chandrashekhar (Congress, Karnataka) brings up the issue of Disha Ravi’s arrest in the toolkit case. “If the govt. isn’t supressing the voice of the citizens, then what is the reason for ordering such a ban on Twitter accounts,” he asks.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says that India has over 140 crore online users on Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn etc. They are free to do business in India.

The govt. welcomes dissent, claims Mr. Prasad, and says that the issue is not of use of social media, but of misuse and abuse of the same.

Internet should not become monopoly of few, he says, and adds that the govt. has taken a position that any attempt to create imperialism of internet by few companies is not acceptable.

He says that Disha Ravi’s case is under judicial consideration, but the House should consider whether some people should be allowed to misuse social media to defame India on the global front.

Lok Sabha | 12 pm

Next is the turn of Ministry of Minorities Affairs to face questions from the members of the House.

Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says the government follows development with dignity and empowerment without appeasement.

He gives out figures of beneficiaries under different schemes. For example, the beneficiaries under education empowerment rose from 3 crore before NDA government came to power to 4 crore after Modi government came to power, he says.

Thomas Chazhikadan, MP from Kerala Congress (M), asks to form a separate commission on the lines of Sachar Committee for Christians. Mr. Naqvi replies that 60 % of Kerala districts are covered by benefits of the Minorities Affairs Ministry.

Ravneet Bittu of Congress asks the Minister to take care of Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir as they are the second largest minority in J&K. Minister Naqvi assures the member Sikh community are covered under notified minorties in J&K.

Rajya Sabha | 11.50 am

LPG connections

Vandana Chavan (NCP, Maharashtra) raises issues regarding LPG connections.

“According to a Lancet report, household air pollution claims lives of half a million Indians and is cause for major lethal diseases,” she says.

She appreciates the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’s aim to distribute LPG connections and promote clean cooking fuel. She says it’s heartening to see the govt. claim 98% coverage in a short duration but many reports, including those commissioned by the govt., shows only 20% increase in the actual usage of clean cooking fuel from 2015-2020.

Lok Sabha | 11.40 am

Manish Tewari of Congress raises the issue of a pending project in Punjab. Biju Janata Dal MP Achyut Samanta asks a question on Bharatmala Project and its connectivity with Odisha.

BJP MP Rajeev Pratap Rudy raises queries about a road project and inland water project, and says he has written 17 letters between ministries. He asked the government to set up a monitoring cell for projects that are approved.

Dushyant Singh of BJP MP from Jhalawar asks if the government will devise a scheme for installing solar lights and pump for farmers.

Power Minister R.K. Singh says adequate funds have been provided to Rajasthan under different schemes to instal solar pump, and in production of solar energy by installing solar system in the fields of farmers. These solar panels can produce energy upto 2 megawatts and can be sold to power companies.

He says the government is aware that farmers are facing some problems in getting loans for these solar plants.

Rajya Sabha | 11.30 am

Special Mentions begin in Rajya Sabha

Dr. Amee Yajnik (Congress, Gujarat) speaks on the need for special arrangements for differently abled persons in educational institutions. They need special arrangements for mobility and independent functioning. Colleges should ensure that facilities like ramps and special toilets are available, and should make changes necessary to suit differently abled persons.

Lok Sabha | 11.20 am

Deepak Baij of the Congress asks about a road project to connect Raipur to Odisha and Vishakhapatnam. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari informs the House that a new ₹26,000 crore project is ready. The Minister adds that he has asked PM Narendra Modi to give time for Bhoomi Pooja.

Danish Ali of BSP raises the issue of toll booths in the middle of a municipal town at Garh Mukteshwar and Braj Ghat in U.P. that forces local people to pay toll. Mr Gadkari replies that some such tolls existed earlier as governments used to grant permission for them as “sweetener”. He says that all such tolls will be removed and GPS would be installed in vehicles that will automatically deduct the toll.

Rajya Sabha | 11.10 am

In the Upper House, matters are being raised with the permission of the Chair. 

On reservation in Anna University

P. Wilson of DMK says that the Central govt. is intervening in the reservation system in education, thus violating the federal structure guaranteed in the Constitution of India.

“In TN, we have 69% reservation in educational institutions by virtue of 1993 Act and is preserved in 9th Schedule. Anna University, which is a State university is bound by State reservation,” he says. He raises the issue that the biotechnology course in the University, which is being funded by the Central govt., has reduced the reservation from 69% to 27% from academic year 2020.

Lok Sabha | 11 am

Question Hour begins in the Lower House.

Congress MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla kicks off the session with the issue of heavy traffic on national highways to Amritsar-Pathankot section.

Responding to Mr. Aujla’s observation of heavy traffic in this area, Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari says a new expressway between Delhi-Amritsar-Katra that is being built will reduce the traffic load.

Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference asks a supplementary question with regard to Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

Agenda

Lok Sabha

Bill for Consideration and Passing

  • Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Discussion and Voting: Supplementary Demands for Grants

Rajya Sabha

Bill for Consideration and Passing

  • Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Discussion and Voting: Working of the Ministy

  • Ministry of Tourism
  • Ministry of Food Processing Industries

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