Today’s Parliament session saw Members of the Parliament in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha discuss the Motion of Thanks to the Presidential Address.
In Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah is set to introduce the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This is Mr. Shah’s first legislative business in the Parliament following the 2019 general elections and his subsequent appointment as a Cabinet Minister. The Minister will also speak on reasons for the ‘immediate’ passing of the Bill which was earlier introduced as an ordinance.
Here are the updates:
Rajya Sabha | 6.45 p.m.
Government sanctions 298 projects under clean Ganga drive
“Cleaning of river is a continuous process and the Government of India is supplementing the efforts of the State Governments in addressing the challenges of pollution of river Ganga by providing financial and technical assistance,” Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat says.
The Minister adds that the initiatives include 100% funding under central sector scheme and dedicated allocation to ensure adequate finances to take up comprehensive interventions. So far 98 projects have been made operational while remaining are at different stages of implementation.
Lok Sabha | 6.40 p.m.
P. Raveendranath Kumar of the AIADMK from Theni, Tamil Nadu, highlights the unemployment issue in the country. He speaks on the importance of the development of skills training. He requests that the PM’s various employment schemes should reach the “rock bottom of the society”. He says Tamil Nadu is implementing the Right to Education Act effectively. He highlights the water scarcity crisis in TN. He urges the govt. at the Centre to implement a Bill to make rain water harvesting compulsory, just like late Jayalalithaa had done as CM in Tamil Nadu.
Rajya Sabha | 6.15 p.m.
Manoj Kumar Jha addresses issues of NRC, unemployment and “fictional realities.” He expresses concern over “mob lynching” becoming a daily-vocabulary. He brings up issues affecting insurance-based health model, minimum support price and Swachh Bharat Mission.
He concludes by saying, “Mandate is not a license to decimate constitutional properiety and core governance issues. Mandate is to take everybody along.”
The House decides to sit for an extra hour, till 7 p.m., to accommodate the remaining Motion of Thanks speeches before the Prime Minister’s response speech on June 26, at 2 p.m.
Rajya Sabha | 5.45 p.m.
Taking objection to a line, “the foundation to nation building was laid in 2014,” in the President’s speech, Prasanna Acharya, in his Motion of Thanks asks, “Does this mean nation building started only in 2014? Have all the leaders before 2014 not contributed to nation building?”
He says fixing a favourable Minimum Support Price could be a solution to farmer suicides. He brings up cooperative federalism, unemployment.
He asks the government to grant Special Status to States like Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, concluding with a call to the Centre to take along the path of development,even those States that didn’t vote for them in the elections.
Criticising the Congress for following soft Hindutva and the BJP for hard Hindutva, T.K. Rangarajan said that in this fight between soft and hard Hindutva, other parties like his are affected. “We are reduced to single digits. We will bounce back. Marxism will not die, it is a living ideology,” said the CPI(M) leader.
Other countries do not allow foreign money to reach its elections, unlike our country he says.
“Our President quoted Narayana Guru, Tagore and Gandhi. I would be happy if he quoted Vallalar and Thiruvalluvar also,” he says.
He talks about the breakdown of Centre-State cooperation and increased number of bank frauds. “Instead of addressing these issues, BJP is focusing on one country, one election,” he said.
Rajya Sabha | 4.50 pm
S.R.Balasubramoniyan, from AIADMK, Tamil Nadu, in his Motion of Thanks, says that the 7-phase elections conducted over a period of two months was a laborious process. He suggests that such long-duration elections shuld be avoided in the future.
He expresses concerns over EVMs getting tampered with and reposed faith in the paper ballot system
Regarding simultaneous elections, he says he is not convinced about its feasibility. “Funds that should reach States should reach in time,” he adds that the Central government owes thousands of crores to Tamil Nadu. This money is necessary for implementing development schemes, he says.
Ram Chandra Prasad Singh appreciates the government’s old age pension scheme, but says that farmer pension scheme should be reworked.
Development has not happened evenly in all States, he says. Acknowledging the historical reasons for this, he says the Central government must work towards developing all States.
He suggests that age limit for reservation in education institutions, for SC/STs, creamy layer OBCs and the economically weaker sections, should be kept the same.
On women empowerment, he shows support to the 35% reservation for women.
“In the coming days, we should be the largest economic power in the world, not just the largest democracy in the world,” he says, in conclusion.
Lok Sabha | 4.45 pm
TRS MP from Telangana, Nama Nageswara Rao talks about the growing water crisis, calling it one of the biggest problems of the 21st century. “Traditional methods of conserving water are disappearing,” he says.
He goes on to talk about the water crisis in Telangana and the measures the TRS government has taken so far to combat it.
NCP’s Amol Ramsingh Kolhe talks about the crisis in the farming community
“President’s speech had dream and vision of the central government, but I found that the Speech did not reflect the reality,” he says.
The massive mandate is also a responsibility for the government to keep up their promises. He says the institutions of this country should be independent. “I say this after I have witnessed what has happened in this last five years.”
He says government schemes will be effective only when taken from papers, out of doors and to the intended recepients.
“Eight farmers die by suicide every day,” he says, to shouts of “Shame! Shame!” from the House.
“We need to change the import and export policies set by the government to ease the pain of farmers. We import onions from outside, thereby driving down the prices of onions for our farmers,” he says.
He talks about the plight of the PSUs in the country like ONGC, HAL and BSNL. “Our culture is “jio aur jeene do (live and let live), but BSNL employees are currently saying, “Jio, hame jeene do! (Jio, let us live!),” he says.
He also touches on the health sector and says one should condemn the attacks on doctors.
Lok Sabha | 4.25 pm
BSP MP Danish Ali begins his speech. “I am speaking on behalf of BSP. And being a new MP, I am thankful for this opportunity,” he says.
He criticises the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna program that is aimed at farmers, saying it gives nothing to the farmers. “It only benefits multinational companies. All this government gives the farmers is money after they have died,” he says.
He says they will not let BJP’s vision of a single party democracy come true. “Will you call Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, which was stitched together from many parties, mahamilavati?” he asks.
He says this government is in a hurry to get rid of government jobs. “BSNL has been finished, efforts are on to privatise Railways.
“There has been talk of one nation, one election. Election is reform is important, but why is there such a hurry,” he says. “You have brought the electoral bonds reform through the backdoor. If you are honest, you would have made it a trust through which corporate houses can donate. But that has no happened, because no corporate houses will fund parties like ours who talk about Dalits and farmers rights.”
He says: “BJP talks like nothing had happened before their government came to power. They disregard Pandit Nehru, they disregard the Deve Gowda government. Did you know Babasaheb Ambedkar’s portrait was installed in this House only after Ms. Mayawati entry?”
Mr. Ali keeps talking over the Chair’s assertions that his time is up. “Whatever he says after this will be struck from the House record,” says the Chair, signalling to the next person to begin his speech.
Lok Sabha | 4.10 pm
BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal in the Chair.
BJD MP from Puri, Pinaki Mishra talks about cooperation. “The people of Odisha have elected Naveen Patnaik for the fifth time, but they have also seen fit to give the mandate to Narendra Modi’s government,” he says.
He calls for constructive cooperation between the central and state governments.
He points out that the President’s speech called for cooperative federalism and says that is the only way to go.
He talks about the cooperation between Mr. Patnaik and Mr. Modi. “We fought and fought fiercely. But now, after the election, we will put that behind us and work together,” he says.
We still have a lot of work to do and the President has pointed that out in his speech too, says Mr. Mishra.
He talks about the participation of women in the Parliament and at Odisha’s Assembly and says he wishes the President spoke more about women’s empowerment. “The time for the Women’s Reservation Bill has come,” he says. “If the government is of the mind, this Bill can be passed anytime, even tomorrow. I urge the government on behalf of Biju Janata Dal and this Bill is passed soon.”
Mr. Mishra also asks that the retirement ages of Judges be raised, especially in the High Courts. “The SC has only 30 judges, yes, but the majority of the people find justice in the High Courts across the country,” he explains.
He also asks for special assistance for Odisha, citing the various cyclones that have struck the State.
He promises to give double the revenue from Railways from Odisha, if only the Centre invested more.
“What is debatable here is whether you will finish your argument in time,” jokes Ravi Shankar Prasad, to laughter from all, including Mr. Mishra.
Rajya Sabha | 4.00 pm
Ram Gopal Yadav in his Motion of Thanks asks why there are constant infractions at the border, when BJP says the country is safe and secure.
Religion and caste based discrimination has increased and, “The Prime Minister is our country’s PM, not the BJP’s PM, so discrimination against other party members should stop.”
Mr. Yadav talks about failure of lake restoration projects, breakdown of cooperative federalism in the country, problems of marginal farmers and agriculture reforms.
He also attacks the BJP’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, Ujwala scheme, Swachh Bharat Mission and Jan Dhan scheme as ineffective.
Lok Sabha | 3.50 pm
Dr. (Prof.) Kirit Premjibhai Solanki in the chair.
JD(U) MP from Bihar, Rajiv Ranjan Singh, commences his speech.
“There is one very nice thing from the President’s speech. The expansion of NARA. NA stands for National Aspiration,” says Mr. Singh. He congratulates Mr. Modi for his attempt to bring back black money. He says he hails the work Mr. Modi has put in to eradicate corruption in the last five years.
He says attempts have been made to bring back Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya. “People from Congress kept saying they have fled the country. During who’s time were they given crores of rupees? Mr. Adhir Choudhary, when he was talking about this issue, forgot about this fact,” says Mr. Singh.
Lok Sabha | 3.20 pm
YSRCP MP from Andhra Pradesh, Midhun Reddy, welcomes the President’s speech.
He brings up the plight of the farmers, especially in light of the numerous cyclones the Andhra Pradesh region has seen recently.
The % of indebtedness of farmers in AP, it is 77%, much higher than the national average, says Mr. Reddy. “The farmers are in a downward spiral. we need more initiatives for the farmers. Doubling of farmers’ income is not possible with the current measures,” he says.
Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut delivers his speech next. His speech touches problems about pension plans, climate change and more. “Cannot depend upon monsoon for water any more,” he says.
Rajya Sabha | 3.00 pm
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition congratulates the ruling party for coming back to power. He also congratulates Thawarchand Gehlot for taking over as Leader of House of Rajya Sabha.
Responding to Jagat Prakash Nadda’s speech, Mr. Azad says, “We will not take up their (BJP’s) ways like Naddaji asked us to. We will stay in the opposition for a 1000 years but not take up BJP’s ways.”
He expressed regret that BJP did not disassociate itself from its candidate who called Gandhi’s asssasin a patriot, while the some members in the House to chanted “Shame! Shame!”
“The government has come up with schemes for women empowerment, but crimes against women has increased manifold, he says. Even the schemes that are rolled out havent been implemented well he says, illustrating that 50% of the budget for ‘Beti Bachchao, Beti padhao’ scheme was used for publicity and 20% was left unused.”
For true women empowerment, pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament, he urges.
Referring to the leaked NSSO report that pegged the country’s unemployment at a 45-year high, Mr. Azad said not only were jobs scarce, but BJP’s demonetisation and GST also hurt the country.
Addressing lynchings, hate politics and violence against minorities, he says unless BJP acts against the wrong-doers in the party and punish them, their ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas’ will remain a distant dream.
“We don’t want the ‘New India’ that you (BJP) promise. We want the old India where there was love, peace and harmony,” he says, adding that in “old India” Dalits and Muslims did not live in fear.
Where are the equal opportunities that you promise, when the top one percent hold 73% of the country’s wealth, he asks.
He brings up issues of defections in favour of the BJP in State assemblies, economic offenders still at large in other countries and the Triple Talak Bill.
He seeks an end to President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
He ends his Motion of Thanks with “I hope the BJP will work less on publicity and more on the ground.”
Lok Sabha | 3.00 pm
President’s address does not reflect the reality of this country: Saugata Roy
TMC MP Saugata Roy quotes from Tulsi Das, saying he opposes the Motion of Thanks and wants the suggested amendments made.
BJP MP Rama Devi, currently in the Chair, wants Mr. Roy’s quote to be struck from the record.
Mr. Roy quotes from Tulsi Das yet again, saying till Home Minister Amit Shah keeps issuing advisories asking them to attend meetings, they will not attend. “Let him stop issuing advisories.”
There is a minor commotion as members take offense at the mention of Mr. Shah. “What’s wrong with bringing up Mr. Shah’s name?” Mr. Roy asks.
My. Roy asks that ballot papers be brought back in the election process, saying there is an issue with the re-election of Narendra Modi. Members of the House take offense at this, saying Mr. Roy is doubting the decision of the Election Commission.
“I am totally opposed to the EVMs,” says Mr. Roy, as shouting begins in the House.
Ms. Devi tries to keep peace in vain.
Mr. Roy goes on to say that nothing about the Rafael deal was mentioned in the President’s speech, saying that government is destroying the country’s institutions. “Nothing is mentioned in this President’s address about Gauri Lankesh’s murder, about the Kashmir unrest, about the unemployment rate, which is the highest in recent years. The PM has announced that 30 PSUs have been sold. The President has not mentioned any of this. The President’s address does not reflect the reality of this country,” says Mr. Roy.
He reads from a report from a US organisation, touching incidents of cow vigilantes, attacks on Muslims and more.
National Register of Citizens
Mr. Roy talks about the impact of the NRC on Indian citizens and says hundreds of thousands have lost their citizenship. “And the Home Minister wants to now implement it in West Bengal?”
Wholeheartedly opposed to the concept of NRC, says Mr. Roy.
“This government has questionable priorities and there is a lack of legislative clarity,” says Mr. Roy. “Farmers are killing themselves, PSUs are dying, the economy is in doldrums. What is this government doing? The govt brought in the draconian Aadhaar and made an attempt to deprive the citizens of their Right to Privacy.”
“In this Presidential speech, there is no mention of secularism, no mention of Jawaharlal Nehru,” says Mr. Roy.
Lok Sabha | 2.40 pm
DMK MP from Sriperumbudur T.R. Baalu commences his speech by congratulating PM Modi on his recent win.
He says the aspirations of the dalits and other oppressed communities have not been fulfilled.
“Two million jobs are vacant even today,” he says. “Mr. Modi has not filled up any jobs.”
DMK MP T.R. Baalu
He also touches upon the NEET issue, saying they are being conducted unnecessarily. “Plus two exams are being conducted in the State Board syllabus, but NEET is being conducted in the CBSE syllabus. There are a lot of people suffering due to this.”
He also points out that large number of students who passed NEET this year are from the forward class. “Ordinary people like the Dalits and those from Backward Classes were not able to get admissions into medical colleges,” he says.
“Dozens and dozens of young people are being deprived of admission into medical colleges are committing suicide,” says Mr. Baalu, who then goes on to read the list of students who had died by suicide.
“It’s high time the government comes forward to abolish the NEET exams,” he says.
Mr. Baalu begins to speak about the lack of water down south and the plight of farmers who are “suffering without water”.
Twenty-five members of Parliament have requested the TN Governor to interevene in this matter of the Cauvery Management Board, says Mr. Baalu.
He also says the government should come forward and waive farm loans without any further delay.
The Tamil Language
Mr. Baalu asks for Tamil to be made the official language in the State of Tamil Nadu. “The government should come forward and make the State language the official language in that State,” he says.
Rajya Sabha | 2.30 pm
“We agree in democracy. We agree to disagree…But there shouldn’t be opposition for the sake of opposition,” says Jagat Prakash Nadda in his Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address.
BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh, Sampatiya Uikey, in her Motion of Thanks, speaks about the manifestations of women’s empowerment in the functioning of Self-Help Groups and in the number of women members elected to the Parliament. She credits this progress to the Prime Minister.
Ms. Uikey lists the Ujwala scheme, Jan Dhan yojana, Swachch Bharat Mission, etc to illustrate this. She lauds the government for working towards youth and adivasi empowerment.
Lok Sabha | 1.50 pm
Our PM is a great salesman: MP Adhir Ranjan
Congress MP from West Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury replies to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
“Our President usually leans towards the government of the country, we all know this ― it’s a product of the English model of governance that we adopted,” says Mr. Chowdhury, as he begins his response.
Chaos in the Parliament as the ruling party takes offence at some of Mr. Chowdhury’s comments, which are then expunged from record.
“In one of his speeches, PM Modi said that only after he came into power do people feel proud of their Indian heritage. Which means that Vajpayee was not true Indian,” he says, as his colleagues mutter “only Modi is true Indian apparently!”
“Our PM is an excellent salesman, and he should be – after all, that is why he won and Congress lost. congress failed in selling the product, but BJP succeeded, regardless of the quality of what is being sold,” says Mr. Chowdhury. “What you are saying is only Modi baba can help us,” he adds.
‘This is a compliment-addicted government’
We might have lost, but we will still work for the common people, he says responding to the taunts of the Opposition, and goes on to recollect the achievements of the Congress rule in terms of economy, coal production, GDP growth and such. He goes to reminisce about green and blue revolution. But our current government is trying to steal credit for it, because it is a compliment-addicted government, he says.
“You ask ‘are you not happy about Modi’s victory?’ We say ‘Modi is just a citizen of the country.’ The difference between you and me is that you are happy in Modi’s victories, I am happy in India’s victories,” says Mr. Chowdhury.
“How many PSUs have you started?” he asks, and goes on to say that the point of listing all the achievements of Congress government in various sectors like nuclear power, space techgnology, education, and such, is to say that PM Modi’s victory does not exist in vaccum.
Artificial intelligence, robotics, advance in telecom sectors ― all these were former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s achievements, says Mr. Chowdhury.
“MNREGA, Right to Information, Food Security Act, Right to Education… numerous landmark and important laws were brought in by the Congress. And what has this government done? Renamed all these scheme,” he says, citing examples. This government is showing the symptom of a disease called political plagiarism, he adds.
Confusion in the House as Meenakshi Lekhi, who is in the Chair, looks up rules.
Rajya Sabha | 1.40 pm
On plastic waste maintanence
Congress MP from Assam Bhubaneshwar Kalita asks what efforts the government is taking to implement the Plastic Waste Maintenance rules, 2016 effectively. He also asks what concrete steps the Ministry is taking to conserve the environment, apart from celebrating World Environment Day, to involve people and create a mass movement.
Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change says that planting and growing trees has to be a public movement. Programmes like school nurseries and urban forestry, that the Ministry is undertaking, will inculcate this spirit in people, he says.
On tackling air pollution
Manas Ranjan Bhuniya asks what steps are being taken to tackle air pollution in the country. Calling it a global phenomenon, Mr. Javadekar says that BS VI compliant vehicles will be mandated from 2020, to reduce pollution through vehicles. He also says that road infrastructure and connectivity in Delhi, under Mr. Gadkari, has developed.
Jaya Bachchan points out that trees are cut for building these bridges and roads. She asks how those States violating environment norms and cutting trees will be penalised.
Lok Sabha | 1.30 pm
First pro-incumbency government in our country is ours: Dr. Heena Gavit
Seconding the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address, Dr. Heena V. Gavit starts her speech with an anecdote about how she was writing her MD exams in Mumbai when PM Modi first stepped into the Parliament after his victory in 2014. But in 2019, she could witness that moment as she too was a part of the ruling party.
Dr. Heena V. Gavit
She says that many Congress leaders are still wondering why they lost. As the youngest elected MP from a constituency which has traditionally always voted for Congress, she says she’ll help them figure it out. Dr. Heena goes on to cite instances of poverty, ill health and hopelessness that she had seen and been resigned to before Mr. Modi came to power.
Also read: Dr. Heena Gavit’s win from Nandurbar
Usually, all governments lose due to anti-incumbencies; ours is the first government to win due to pro-incumbency, she says.
Proved all ‘experts’ wrong with the win: Dr. Gavit
“Many pundits who considered themselves experts in politics had predicted that we would lose, but they were proved wrong spectacularly. They was a leader who abused pur PM Modi, but what happened? My sister gave him such a competition that though he and his sister tried their best,he had to leave the seat and run south,” says Dr. Gavit.
In our government, women’s development has changed to women-led development, she says citing the increase in number of women leaders in the party. Our manifesto had paid special attention to women and we’ll make sure that all these promises are fulfilled, she adds.
Dr. Gavit also refers to the Pulwama attack, Balakot strike and the success in fighting terrorism.
Rajya Sabha | 1.20 pm
On increase in import of coal
“It appears from the figures given in the reply that domestic production of coal in the country is declining whereas supply of imported coal is rising, despite steps claimed to have been taken by the government,” says TMC MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray. He asks what the reasons for this decline in production are.
Pralhad Joshi, Minister of Coal says that coal production has considerably increased when CAGR (Compunded Average Growth rate) figures are considered. But because of overall growth of economy, demand has also increased.
Mr. Ray asks if any action plan has been charted by Coal India limited in consultation with the coal-producing States to stop illegal mining of coal. To this, Mr. Joshi says that since law and order is a State government issue, the State governments should also take action.
Digvijay Singh asks how many greenfield projects have begun production of coal.
On Ganga clean-up drive
Answering a question by Rewati Raman Singh on the success of the Ganga river clean-up drive, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti said that the process of cleaning the river is a continuous one, and pilgrims who visit the river are experiencing the effect of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, started in 2015.
Lok Sabha | 1.05 pm
Continuing with the Motion of Thanks on President’s Address, Minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi says:
“We have shown the majesty of our nation, shown our power to our neighbours under the leadership of PM Modi. Under which other leader could something like Balakot strikes be carried out? Who else could have gotten Wing Cmdr Abhinandan back so soon? And yet, why do you hesitate to appreciate that?,” asks Mr. Sarangi.
“To accept that your father as such, do you need DNA test from your mother,” asks the Minister, as ruling party members thump the desks in mirth. Do people who refuse to accept Vande Matharam have a right to live in India? They do not care about our country, he adds.
On India’s international image
He also points out that the image of India has gotten a boost under PM Modi’s leadeship, cites the awards Mr. Modi has been conferred with, including the one known as UN’s highest environmental honour. When the Opposition protests, he says “do you not feel pride for the achievements of your country? What a sad life you have, if that is not so.”
‘Bharat mata above everything else’
Support our government, or you know what the citizens will do, Mr. Sarangi says to the Opposition.
“We want to take everyone along with us in this journey to make a better nation, regardless of party or religion, but if any one stands against the Bharat Mata, they will not be forgiven. Bharat mata is above everything else. This nation was divided once because of a mistake, we will not let that happen again. The tukde tukde gang will not be tolerated here,” says Mr. Sarangi, winding up his speech.
Rajya Sabha | 12.55 pm
The Deputy Chairman presides over the Question Hour in the Upper House.
On Defence budget
Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma asks if the Defence Minister will assure the House that the requirements of the armed forces for capital acquisition will be fully met to which Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence, reiterates that he will not compromise of the defence preparedness at any cost.
To a question by DMK’s T.K.S. Elangovan on modernisation of defence equipment, the Minister answers that necessary steps are being taken.
Lok Sabha | 12.45 pm
Minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi continues with the Motion of Thanks on President’s Address
Our Prime Minister does unprecedented work, but our Opposition never appreciates them, says the BJP MP from Odisha.
Pratap Chandra Sarangi
“I remember former PM Vajpayee had praised former PM Indira Gandhi whenever she had done good work. This too is an intergral duty of the Opposition. But our current Opposition never does that — why, I wonder,” he says.
Also read: Who is Pratap Chandra Sarangi?
Mr. Sarangi says that our Opposition has not understood even now that the people do not like dynastic entitlement. When will you realise this, he asks, adding that perhaps it is because life, a drama by God, needs both good and evil for it to be interesting.
PM Modi laughs, as Mr. Sarangi narrates a story about Lord Rama to illustrate his point.
Ask Modi for forgiveness: Sarangi tells Congress
Mr. Sarangi taunts Congress on their loss in the election, says they were not even able to form an Opposition leader. Smriti Irani chased former party chief Rahul Gandhi from his comfortable seat in Amethi — made him run till Kerala, says the Minister.
“At least start introspecting now,” he says, adding that they should ask PM Modi for forgiveness.
Rajya Sabha | 12.30 pm
MP from Tamil Nadu Dr. V. Maitreyan stresses the urgent need to release funds to Tamil Nadu by the Centre to reduce its burden of revenue deficit.
“The Union government has to pay over Rs. 13,000 crore to TN under various heads such as mandatory devolution of funds to local bodies, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, IGST and GST compensation…,” he says.
Ghaggar river clean-up
Speaking about the pollution of the Ghaggar river, Sardar Balwinder Singh Bhunder asks for the pollution control board to pay attention to its clean-up. The Ghaggar originates in Himachal Pradesh and passes through Haryana and Punjab, ending in Rajasthan.
The NEET exam has deprived students from economically weaker sections, says Tiruchi Diva.
“The 6 lakh students who have passed the exams, have been successful because they have gone to coaching centres. Five students have committed suicide in Tamil Nadu because of their performance in the NEET exam,” he says.
He asks the government to expedite the process of bringing the two Bills, passed by TN seeking exemption of the State from NEET, in front of the President.
Lok Sabha | 12.20 pm
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal seeks permission to introduce The Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019, and is granted it. He lays on table an explanatory statement showing reasons for immediate legislation by promulgation of the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.
Motion of Thanks to President’s Address
Deeply grateful to President for his Motion of Thanks, says Minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi. He is a BJP MP from Odisha. He thanks PM Modi and Speaker for providing him, a first-timer, an opportunity to deliver this speech.
As Mr. Sarangi goes on to praise PM Modi multiple times, opposition heckle and ruling party members heckle back.
Never heard of Skill Development in 10 years of UPA rule and 55 years of Congress rule, says Mr. Sarangi. But PM Modi brought it to the backward areas of Odisha that I come from.
Mr. Sarangi pauses to sing a poem. More chaos as he refers to corruption scandals, “Accidental Prime Minister” and such. He goes on to call Congress anti-women, anti-poor, anti-development etc.
Mr. Sarangi continues: People have voted for BJP which does what it says, and says only what it can do. Our PM says, don’t call me the Prime Minister, I am your Pradhan Sevak. We coined a term too, considering this “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.
Lok Sabha | 12.10 pm
Motions for elections to committees are being moved now.
Moving on to Legislative business, permission sought from to introduce Bills, including The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by Home Minister Amit Shah.
PM Narendra Modi is in the House.
When Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rises to reintroduce The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, MP N.K. Premachandran says that reintroducing Aadhaar Bill would be a violation of the historic Supreme Court judgment on the right to privacy. The Bill will allow private entities to hold the Aadhaar data which the SC has explicity opposed. He says he strongly opposes the introduction of the Bill and suggests the govt to bring in the Personal Data Protection Bill.
Law Minister responds to this, says Aadhaar is in the national interest. He goes on to say that the people have accepted Aadhaar, I can’t satisfy Premachandran if he feels otherwise.
Speaker allows the introduction of the Bill after division.
Rajya Sabha | 12.05 pm
BJP MP Shwait Malik says 20,000 cases of cheque-bounce, which have huge social ramifications for the victim, are pending in the courts. He asks the Finance Ministry to legislate stringent laws against this offence.
Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena gets a special mention. He brings up the issue of deportation of illegal Rohingya Muslims, calling them a security threat and compares the situation to the exodus of “lakhs of Bangladeshi Muslims into India.”
Lok Sabha | 11.52 am
Dr. Pritam Munde, BJP MP from Maharashtra, asks on the New Education Policy.
Will the New Education Policy’s three-language proposal have space for Urdu, along with English and Hindi?
HRD Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokriyal responds, saying that that the Kasturi Rangan Committee was constituted 2 years ago to discuss this. No other issue has been debated as hotly as this particular policy has been, says the Minister as other MPs try to interrupt him. All Indian languages will be respected, because I believe that will strengthen our nation. Urdu, Tamil and every other language will be accorded full respect, he says.
Asaduddin Owaisi, President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, responds to this, heatedly:
The answer given by the Minister is not to the point – the question asked was are you going to be make Hindi compulsoruy. Is the Minister aware of his own policy?, asks Mr. Owaisi.
The Minister replies that this is just a draft. Please read it and give suggestions – it is not a law, there is no need to get worked up.
Chaos ensue, even as Speaker says that the issue will be discussed during a designated time later, if required.
Question hour ends.
Lok Sabha | 11.44 am
About repatriation of artefacts:
DMK MP Kanimozhi says that many idols in TN have been stolen, but since there is no record on what was available in the first place, the lists may be incomplete.
When the temples are reopened after many years, we are not able to understand what is available and what is not because of lack of record – what is the govt during with regard to this, asks Ms. Kanimozhi.
To this, MoS of Culture Prahlad Singh Patel responds saying that the temples have trusts which are under State govts, so they should have a record of it.
Rajya Sabha | 11.20 am
Lighter moment in the Upper House as Chairman tells the newly elected Members to learn how to conduct themselves from 91-year-old Motilal Vora, ex-Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.
Mr. Vora raises the issue of pendency of cases in the judiciary and legal reforms.
Dr. Kirodi Lal Meena requests the Central government and the National Green Tribunal to take notice of the numerous deaths that occur every year in Rajasthan due to contaminated drinking water and seeks a remedy for the problem.
On BSNL woes
“…PSUs MTNL and BSNL are going to be shut down by the wrong policies of the government,” says Ripun Bora and that salaries of 45,000 employees of MTNL and 1,74,312 employees of BSNL haven’t been paid regularly for months now. He blames this on private companies being allowed to operate 4G and 5G spectrums, while these PSUs are still operating on 3G. He suggests the goverment bail out these PSUs with a recapitalisation package.
Lok Sabha | 11.10 am
On the EPF-based questions:
West Bengal’s Saugata Roy (AITC) says that the wants a declaration on how much the pension will be increased from the current ₹1,000 and when?
The Minister replies to this with an explanation on the additional amount that will be required if the pension is increased by ₹1,500 as suggested, and says that the House will discuss whether this is possible.
Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha | 11.00 am
In both Houses, Ministers lay Paper and Questions on the table.
In Lok Sabha, many questions pertain to GST, and is being answered by MoS Finance Anurag Thakur.
In Rajya Sabha, the paper being laid on table include ‘Status of Unaccounted Income /Wealth both Inside and Outside the Country – A Critical Analysis (A Preliminary Report)’ and ‘Rationalisation of Creamy Layer in Employment for OBCs in Services and Posts under the control of Government of India including Union Territories, PSUs etc.’
No EVM, bring back ballot paper: TMC MPs
TMC MPs are holding a sit-in in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the Parliament’s premises, demanding election be held by ballot paper instead of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The party, which has been crying foul over the use of EVMs in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls, said their agenda for the protest was – “No to EVMs, Yes to paper ballots.”
TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier raised questions over the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the polls and urged opposition parties to unitedly demand the return of ballot papers.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said a fact-finding committee should be constituted to find out the details about the EVMs used in the recent polls.
List of business
– Home Minister Amit Shah is set to introduce the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, meant to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004.
– Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is set to introduce The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, a Bill to amend the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and further to amend the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
– Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal will introduce the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
– Will discuss Motion of Thanks to the Presidential Address.
Meenakshi Lekhi pens debut novel, to release on July 8
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi has written her debut novel, which talks of undercurrents of Delhi’s political landscape and attempts to lay bare what is influencing the course of the nation’s political trajectory.
The New Delhi Conspiracy, co-authored with Krishna Kumar and published by HarperCollins India, is slated for release on July 8.
According to the publishers, the book, which is set amid the current sociopolitical context, has an unusual storyline, full of intrigue and adventure that shifts from Hong Kong to Delhi.
Speaking about her book, Ms. Lekhi says: “This is my first foray into writing fiction and I’m very excited about it. Fiction is a format that reaches a much wider readership, and with my busy work schedule, collaboration was the natural direction to take for the book. I’m happy that, with Krishna as my co-author, it has truly shaped up the way that I wanted it to.”
Ms. Lekhi, a Lok Sabha member from Delhi and a Supreme Court lawyer, says she’s a little restive to see how her book is received by the reader.