parliament

Singapore High Commissioner called by MEA over remarks by PM Lee during parliamentary debate

               

New Delhi [India] (ANI): The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday called the High Commissioner of Singapore to India, Simon Wong over the remarks made by the Prime Minister of Singapore during a parliamentary debate.

India on Thursday termed as “uncalled for” Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s remarks in which he had referred to “Nehru’s India” and to criminal charges faced by MPs. The matter has been taken up with the Singaporean side, sources said.
The Singapore PM had referred to “Nehru’s India” while talking about India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the context of working of democracies during debate on the report of the committee of privileges of Parliament. He had also referred to media reports about pending cases against Lok Sabha MPs.

“The remarks by the Prime Minister of Singapore were uncalled for. We are taking up the matter with the Singaporean side,” a source said.

“Nehru’s India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder,” Loong said, adding that “it is also said that many of these allegations are politically motivated”.

“Most countries are founded and start off on the basis of high ideals and noble values. But more often than not, beyond the founding leaders and the pioneer generation, over decades and generations, gradually things change,” Lee said.

“Things start off with a passionate intensity. The leaders, who fought for and won independence, are often exceptional individuals of great courage, immense culture, and outstanding ability. They came through the crucible of fire and emerged as leaders of men and nations. They are the David Ben-Gurions, the Jawaharlal Nehrus, and we have our own too,” he added. (ANI)

Indonesian Parliament passes law to declare city of Nusantara as new capital

Moscow [Russia] (ANI/Sputnik): The Indonesian House of Representatives formally passed legislation establishing the country’s new capital of Nusantara in East Kalimantan province at its 13th plenary session on Monday, Indonesian magazine Tempo reported.
According to the magazine, the first article of the bill formalizes the name of the new capital Nusantara and defines the status of the city, which will become the new political center of the country with all embassies and representative offices of foreign organizations transferred there. The magazine added that Nusantara was declared a city of regional significance, thus becoming an independent administrative unit. Tempo noted that administration of Nusantara would become the state body responsible for managing the new capital. The president will appoint and dismiss the head of administration and his deputy, whose term of office is limited to five years.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the planned relocation of the Indonesian capital from the Jakarta metropolitan area to East Kalimantan in 2019. The authorities said a new capital was needed due to the congestion of the current capital, as well as in order to accelerate the economic development of Kalimantan. The project, estimated to cost over $30 billion, has been put on hold due to COVID-19 epidemic. (Image source: Unsplash)

North Macedonia’s Parliament elects new Prime Minister

Skopje [North Macedonia], January 17 (ANI/Sputnik): Members of North Macedonian Parliament late Sunday voted for a new coalition government, with Dimitar Kovacevski, leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), elected as a new prime minister, national media reported on Monday.
On December 30, North Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski nominated Kovacevski as a prime minister, giving him a mandate to form a new cabinet. According to Macedonian Information Agency, the new coalition cabinet headed by Kovacevski was supported by 62 lawmakers of the 120-member Macedonian parliament, with 46 lawmakers voting against.
Kovacevski previously stated that the key objective of his government will be to achieve “higher and more sustainable economic growth.”
He also pledged to address the country’s energy crisis and bring North Macedonia closer to the European Union.
Kovacevski, appointed as deputy minister of finance after the 2020 parliamentary elections, succeeded Zoran Zaev, who resigned as prime minister on December 13, following the SDSM party’s defeat in municipal elections. The leadership of the party then passed to 47-year-old Kovacevski. (Image source: Instagram)

EU parliament president David Sassoli dies at 65

Brussels [Belgium] (ANI): The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has died in Italy due to a dysfunction of his immune system, according to a tweet from his spokesman early Tuesday (local time), reported CNN.
“The @EP_President David Sassoli passed away at 1.15 a.m. on 11 January at the CRO in Aviano (PN), Italy, where he was hospitalized. The date and place of the funeral will be communicated in the next few hours,” spokesman Roberto Cuillo said. Taking to Twitter, Cuillo said that Sassoli, 65, had been in hospital in Italy since December 26 as he was suffering from a serious complication due to a dysfunction of his immune system, reported the news channel.
Notably, in 2009, Sassoli joined Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party.
The European Parliament is an important forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level.
The Members of the European Parliament are directly elected by voters in all Member States to represent people’s interests with regard to EU law-making and to make sure other EU institutions are working democratically. (Image source: Instagram)

South African opposition allege cover-up of graft probe findings behind Parliament fire

Johannesburg [South Africa]: A South African opposition leader has implicated the ruling African National Congress in a fire at the national houses of parliament that erupted two days before the planned release of a damning report on a probe into government corruption.
A commission was set up in 2018 to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the country’s public sector. It submitted its findings to President Cyril Ramaphosa in late December and was to make a part of the report public on Tuesday. “I suspect that information in there shows government corruption… I rise to say government itself led by Ramaphosa and his ministers and people deployed there might want this information to be destroyed,” Willie Madisha, of the Congress of the People, told Sputnik.
The fire erupted early on Sunday in the oldest wing of the sprawling parliament complex in Cape Town, used by the National Council of Provinces as well as for committee meetings. A blaze was later reported in the so-called New Wing, where the lower house National Assembly sits. That fire has not been extinguished yet.
Madisha, who sits on the National Assembly, told Sputnik he was surprised by the fire given that security at the complex was very tight. But he argued that the place was prone to mishaps “whenever serious issues are raised.”
There were copies of the commission’s report locked up in the offices of certain officials in parliament. Madisha told Sputnik he was unable to access his office to retrieve the information.
The cause of the fire is not known, but the police arrested and questioned a suspect. Jermaine Carelse, a spokesperson for the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue, told Sputnik in a text message there were “no casualties.” Investigations continue.

Suspect in South Africa parliament arson appears in court

Cape Town [South Africa]: A 49-year-old man charged with arson in connection with the fire in the South African parliament complex appeared in Cape Town Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The man is facing five charges including arson, possession of an explosive device, theft and housebreaking. The prosecutors are expected to add additional charges in the case, reported DW News. On Sunday morning, a fire broke out in the South African parliament in Cape Town. The National Assembly is situated in what is known as the New Wing, which suffered the worst damage in the blaze.
The lawyer of the accused in the case, advocate Luvuyo Godla said that his client denies all the allegations and rejects all the charges against him. He said his client “denies and rejects those charges”.
The court has remanded the case for seven days for the prosecutors to collect the bail information.
A specialist unit of the SA Police Service suspects that the accused got access to the parliament building by climbing over a fence and breaking a window.
The case proceedings going on in Cape Town Magistrates Court were broadcast live on the South African News channel.
On Monday, Fire in South Africa’s parliament again broke out after a brief respite, the fire brigade said, reported Sputnik News. Currently, the fire is under control, reported DW News.
“Further damages caused at several floors of the building,” Parliament spokesman Moloto Motapo wrote on Twitter.
Host President Cyril Ramaphosa’s annual State of the Nation Address and the budget speech in February was on schedule in the month of February.
As the fire gutted the National Assembly and other parts of parliament alternate venues are considered for the upcoming schedule. National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the Cape Town International Convention Centre and Cape Town’s city hall and municipal council chambers were being considered as alternative venues, reported DW News.

TMC’s Derek O’Brien to join 12 suspended MPs in protest

New Delhi [India]: Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O’Brien joined the dharna of 12 suspended MPs in their protest at Gandhi statue in Parliament on Wednesday.
O’Brien was suspended from Rajya Sabha yesterday for the remaining part of the current Session for ‘unruly behaviour’ in the House. The action was taken against O’Brien for throwing rule book on the reporters’ table during a discussion on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021′.
Biju Janata Dal leader Sasmit Patra, who was Presiding the Chair, made the announcement to suspend O’Brien followed by a motion moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Murleedharan in the Upper House.
The TMC member threw the Rajya Sabha rule book on the reporters’ table as the Chair rejected his point of order saying the matter is explained. The treasury benches then raised the issue to suspend him.
O’Brien then staged a walkout from the House following other members of Opposition parties that included Congress, DMK, TMC, AAP, Shiv Sena, Left, RJD, Samajwadi Party and BSP.
The Opposition parties staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha accusing the Chair of not allowing division sought by them over the ‘Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021’.
The Opposition members strongly opposed the Bill and asked the government to take it back and finally staged a walkout from the House when Deputy Chairman did now allow their demand citing “the members are in the Well and division cannot be given in this situation as per rule”.
The Opposition was seeking division on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that aims to give effect to the long-pending electoral reforms including linking Aadhaar with the voter ID card.
As the Opposition did not get division, all of their members staged walkout from the House.
Meanwhile, with the suspension of Derek from Rajya Sabha, now the total number of suspended MPs from the House is 13.
Earlier, the House had suspended 12 MPs from the House on the first day of the Winter Session on November 29 from the entire proceedings.

Winter session: PM Modi holds meeting with top ministers at Parliament

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with top members of his cabinet in the Parliament on Wednesday to discuss various issues and the government’s strategy.
Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Pralhad Joshi, Piyush Goyal, Kiren Rijiju, Anurag Singh Thakur and Nitin Gadkari were present in the meeting. According to sources, the government may propose sine die adjournment today, a day ahead of schedule.
Since the beginning of the winter session on November 29, both the Houses of Parliament witnessed continuous disruptions by the Opposition’s ruckus over several issues including the suspension of 12 MPs, the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, and others.
The winter session is scheduled to culminate on December 23.

Opposition stages walkout from Rajya Sabha accusing Chair of not listening to their points

New Delhi [India]: Opposition parties including Congress, DMK, RJD, Left, NCP, TMC, Shiv Sena, SP and BSP on Monday staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha accusing the Chair of not listening to their points terming it an “unfair” way.
Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge raised points blaming the Chair of being “unfair” towards Opposition and “condemned” it for not allowing him to speak. Kharge made the remarks soon after the House met at 5 pm after a short adjournment followed by a verbal spat between Bachchan and treasury benches.
“I am a new member in Rajya Sabha. But the rules states that the Leader of Opposition and Leader of House are always given chance to speak whenever they want to speak on any issue. In our case, we have to request and ask again and again,” Kharge said.
“This is very unfortunate and very unfair. I condemn it and walk out from the House.”
Subsequently, all the Opposition walked out of the House.
BJP leader Bhuwanwswar Kalitha, who was Presiding the Chair, told the LoP that he has been given chance to speak but Kharge along with other Opposition party leaders staged a walkout from the House.
Meanwhile, BJP leader GVL Narasimha raised the point of order and said that Kharge condemned the Chair and the word should be expunged from the record. “LoP is condemning the Chair. It should be expunged,” he stated.
From Chair, Kalitha said, “I have heard and taken cognizance”.
Since morning, the Opposition was raising issues to revoke the suspension of 12 MPs, and Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri incident that involved Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s jailed son Ashish Mishra.
In a move that angered the Opposition and set the stage for acrimonious exchanges, a dozen members of Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha were suspended from the winter session on the very first day on Monday following a motion brought in by the government.
The members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.
All the suspended 12 MPs used to sit near Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Parliament premises since they were suspended from the House, and the Opposition parties have been relentlessly disrupting House proceedings every day over the issue barring a few occasions.
The Opposition has been demanding the sacking of MoS Ajay Mishra Teni over his jailed son, who is accused of running over farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri.
Opposition’s demands for Mishra’s sacking from the Union Cabinet have become louder after a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report said the killing of farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 was a “planned conspiracy”.
The farmers were crushed, allegedly by an SUV driven by Ashish Mishra, “with intent to commit murder” and it was “not death by negligence”, the report said.
It also recommended that the charges of rash driving against Ashish Mishra and the others be modified and an attempt to murder charge and the charge of voluntarily causing hurt be added.
Ashish Mishra and others are already facing murder and conspiracy charges.
The SIT on the basis of investigation also moved the court for adding charges of attempt to murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.
On October 3, eight people, including four protesting farmers, died after being mowed down by an SUV allegedly belonging to Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra.

Centre calls meeting of 5 political parties over suspension of MPs today

New Delhi [India]: The Central government has called a meeting of five political parties on Monday whose MPs have been suspended from the Rajya Sabha to break the deadlock between the government and the Opposition in the House.

12 Rajya Sabha MPs were suspended from the House on the first day of the Winter session of Parliament from 5 Political Parties including Congress, TMC, Shivsena, CPI, CPI(M). After the suspension, all 12 MPs have been sitting on Dharna daily basis in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister earlier said that the government was ready to consider revoking the suspension of the MPs if they apologize for their conduct in the House. While the Opposition leaders rejected the government’s proposal for apologizes and said that they would not seek an apology.

Rajya Sabha was adjourned several times due to the ruckus in the Upper House by the Opposition parties demanding to revoke the suspension of MPs in the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

The Winter session of Parliament is scheduled to culminate on 23 December. (ANI)

Both Houses of Parliament adjourned amid Opposition ruckus over Lakhimpur Kheri incident

New Delhi [India]: The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been adjourned till 2 pm on Thursday following the Opposition’s protest in the House over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and their demand for the immediate resignation of Minister Ajay Mishra Teni.
Several Congress MPs in Lok Sabha, including Rahul Gandhi, earlier on Wednesday have moved an adjournment motion in the House over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident demanding the removal of Ajay Kumar Mishra as Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs. Speaking at the Lok Sabha today, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “We should be allowed to speak about the murder that was committed in Lakhimpur Kheri, where there was an involvement of the Minister and about which it has been said that it was a conspiracy.”
“The Minister who killed farmers should resign and be punished,” he added.
Notably, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case on Tuesday termed the Lakhimpur violence that led to the death of eight people as “a pre-planned conspiracy”.
Local farmers had blamed Ajay Kumar Mishra ‘Teni’ and his son Ashish for the violence that claimed the lives of four farmers and a local journalist among others during a farmers’ protest. Allegedly, they were mowed down by a vehicle that was part of the convoy of the minister in Lakhimpur Kheri. Videos were being circulated on social media, where a Mahindra Thar was seen knocking down protesters from behind.
The minister and his son have denied the charges. However, Ashish Mishra and several others have been booked for murder.
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm following the Opposition’s protest in the House over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and their demand for the immediate resignation of Minister Ajay Misra Teni.

Pre-budget consultation starts with agriculture and agro-processing industry

New Delhi [India]: Finance Ministry started the pre-budget consultation on Wednesday. The first consultation was held with the representatives of the agriculture and agro-processing industry.
Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary and Minister of State for New & Renewable Energy, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Bhagwanth Khuba jointly held the consultation through video conferencing. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was unable to attend the meeting due to her engagement in Parliament. Ramesh Chand, Member, Niti Aayog, Ajay Vir Jhakar, Chairman, Krushak Samaj, and other representatives from Agriculture and Agro-processing industry gave their valuable suggestions for the Union Budget 2022-23.
Jakhar said the Government needs to design a robust pre-budget consultation process and system to have beneficiaries assess programmes to enable departments to tweak and reset their own programmes for more positive outcomes.
He said the Green Revolution ensured India’s food security in its most difficult decades. “It’s now time for the central Government to fund a transition in green revolution states to ensure India’s nutrition security. Do note, states are in no condition to share the cost of the transition.”
According to Jakhar, the government designs agri-policy, food policy, environment policy, health policy, etc. But now need Food Systems policy which considers the health of people and planet as one. “The Government lacks the capacity to design such policy. Need funds to build the capacity of Government and farmer organisations to lead change,” he said.
Finance Secretary & Secretary Expenditure T.V. Somanathan; Secretary, DEA, Ajay Seth; Secretary, Revenue, Tarun Bajaj and Secretary MCA Rajesh Verma, besides other senior officials, were also present in the meeting.

Opposition not allowed to raise issues in Parliament, says Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday termed the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs as the “symbol of the crushing of the voice of people of India” and said that the Opposition is not allowed to raise any issue of national importance in the Parliament.
Speaking to the media at the Vijay Chowk, the Wayanad MP said, “Suspension of 12 MPs is a symbol of the crushing of the voice of people of India. Their voices have been crushed. They have done nothing wrong. We are not allowed to discuss important issues in Parliament.” “Bill after Bill is being passed in Parliament in the din. This is not the way to run the Parliament. The Prime Minister doesn’t come to House. We are not allowed to raise any issue of national importance. It is the unfortunate killing of democracy,” he said.
The Congress leader further called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rajya Sabha Chairman “just implementors” of a power that wants to steal farmers’ income.
“A minister killed farmers. The Prime Minister is aware of it. Truth is that 2-3 capitalists are against farmers… These MPs were not suspended by the Rajya Sabha chairman or the Prime Minister but by the power that wants to steal farmers’ income. The Prime Minister and the chairman are just implementors,” he added.
The Opposition leaders in both the Houses held a march from Parliament to Vijay Chowk demanding to revoke the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Meanwhile, The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm on Tuesday as the Opposition parties disrupted proceedings of the House seeking revocation of suspension of 12 MPs from the House. The Upper House has witnessed continuous adjournment since the first day of the ongoing Winter Session over the suspension of the 12 members.
The winter session of Parliament began on November 29 and will continue till December 23.

Rajya Sabha adjourned following ruckus by Opposition

New Delhi [India]: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm on Tuesday following sloganeering by the Opposition demanding to revoke the suspension of 12 MPs.
As the sloganeering continued, the Chairman of the House said, “Let’s maintain decency and decorum in the House. Unruly and unparliamentary behaviour is not going to work at all.” The winter session of Parliament began on November 29 and will continue till December 23.

Vice President, Defence Minister, other MPs pay tributes to victims of 2001 Parliament attack

New Delhi [India]: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla paid their tribute to the security personnel who lost their lives in the 2001 Parliament attack on the occasion of its 20th anniversary.
Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other parliamentarians also paid tributes on the occasion.
Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had remembered the security personnel who lost their lives in the attack and said that the nation shall forever remain grateful to them for their supreme sacrifice.

“I pay my tributes to all those security personnel who were martyred in the line of duty during the Parliament attack in 2001. Their service to the nation and supreme sacrifice continues to inspire every citizen,” PM Modi said in his tweet.
On December 13, 2001, five heavily-armed terrorists belonging to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), stormed the Parliament complex in New Delhi and opened fire indiscriminately.
Around 14 people, including security personnel and one civilian, were killed in the attack. The terror strike took place around 40 minutes after Parliament was adjourned and about 100 members were present in the building.

German parliament passes resolution on deepening ties with Taiwan amid tensions with China

Berlin [Germany] The German parliament has passed a resolution on deepening ties with Taiwan amid rising tensions between Taipei and Beijing, local media reported on Sunday.
The Petitions Committee of Germany’s new parliament, which met for the first time in October following a federal election in September, passed a resolution on December 9, urging the government to deepen exchanges with Taiwan, reported Focus Taiwan. The committee also decided to refer an earlier motion on establishing formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan to the foreign ministry and each parliamentary caucus.
The resolution said that since Germany and China established diplomatic relations in 1972, the country has adhered to the so-called “one-China” policy which excludes the possibility of forging diplomatic ties with Taiwan, reported Focus Taiwan.
The resolution further said that Germany is supportive of conducting close political, economic and social engagement with Taiwan and expanded cooperation with Taipei is in the interest of Germany and Europe.
According to Focus Taiwan, the motion asking Germany to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan was initiated by German national Michael Kreuzberg in May 2019 and received more than 50,000 signatures in October that year, which required that it be advanced to parliament for discussion.
The Petitions Committee of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, held a public hearing in December 2019 on the motion.
During the public hearing, Petra Sigmund, the director-general for Asia and the Pacific at the German Federal Foreign Office, said Taiwan and Germany share values, such as democracy and freedom, and conduct frequent exchanges in the economic, cultural and academic spheres. Germany plans to expand ties with Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s representative office in Germany welcomed the passage of the December 9 resolution and thanked German lawmakers for supporting stronger relations with Taiwan, saying it looks forward to seeing the German government’s response to the motion, reported Focus Taiwan.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. Despite being governed separately for more than seven decades, Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan. China has also threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.

LS passes bill to extend tenures of CBI, ED chiefs; opposition parties slam government

New Delhi [India]: Opposition parties in Lok Sabha on Thursday slammed the government over the bills to extend the tenures of Directors of CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) up to a maximum of five years saying that the extensions will be given on the “whims and fancies of the political executive” and will undermine the autonomy of the two institutions.
The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were passed with a voice vote by the House after a reply by Minister of State of Department of Personnel and Training Jitendra Singh. Moving the bills for passage in the House, the minister said that if an official or chief of a probe agency is investigating a case, it requires “a certain amount of continuity besides institutional continuity”.
He said the bills only have enabling provision particularly when the FATF has also suggested to different nations to improve their law enforcement authorities.
RSP’s NK Premchandran slammed the government for bringing ordinances for extending tenures of chiefs of CBI and ED.
He said that the ordinances were brought days before the start of the winter session.
The member said that the bill entails extension by a year at a time after completion of two years of the chiefs of the two organisations and it will be done “on the whims and fancies of the political executive of the government”.
“Definitely the political executive will decide, who shall be given extension, and who shall not be given extension,” he said.
Congress MP Manish Tewari said the minister had tried to pass off the bills as “ordinary amendment” but it is not a fixed tenure of five years.
“It is a drip tenure on extension. Secondly, the ripple effect of such a move down the line is going to completely and absolutely undermine the autonomy and the independence of these institutions. I would like to request the government, I would like to request the minister to please take these two bills back. Please restore the position to the status quo ante. Let the Director of CBI and the Director of Enforcement Directorate have a fixed tenure. You want to have a tenure of five years, there is no difficulty with that. You want to have a fixed tenure of three years, there is absolutely no difficulty with that,” he said.
Tewari said the CBI and ED chiefs should be “insulated, autonomous and not at the beck and call of the government, which is the problem with these two bills”.
He also referred to a pending matter in Supreme Court and urged the minister to look into the larger issues about the legality of the CBI.
“One day, it will come back to haunt us collectively. Please file an application in the Supreme Court and please ask them to once for all determine whether the CBI is a legal organisation or the CBI is an illegal organisation,” he said.
Members of several other opposition parties including DMK and TMC also opposed the bills.
The bills provide that the tenure of the Director may be extended by up to one year at a time, till the completion of five years from the initial appointment.

Swiss Parliament names top diplomat Cassis Federal President

Zurich [Switzerland]: The Swiss parliament voted on Wednesday to appoint foreign minister Ignazio Cassis as the confederation’s new president for what is a largely symbolic 12-month tenure.
The 60-year-old was elected with 156 of 197 valid votes. He will take office on January 1 after his term as vice president under outgoing Guy Parmelin expires. The Swiss parliament picks a new president every December from among seven federal councilors. A president in Switzerland does not head the state but is considered to be first among equals.
Cassis has been on the Federal Council, the country’s executive body, since 2017 as the councilor in charge of the nation’s foreign affairs. He has a degree in medicine and a post-graduate diploma in public health.

PM Modi holds meeting with top ministers in Parliament

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a meeting with the senior ministers in the Parliament.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman were among the attendees. The winter session of Parliament began on November 29 and will continue till December 23. Both houses of Parliament have witnessed repeated adjournments over the Opposition’s demand for revocation of suspension of 12 MPs from the Rajya Sabha. The MPs were suspended over alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August.
Earlier today, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi expressed solidarity with the suspended 12 members of Parliament and said that the move by the Rajya Sabha Chairman is “unprecedented and unacceptable.”
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.
Since their suspension, all the 12 MPs regularly visit the Parliament and keep sitting outside Mahatma Gandhi Statue in Parliament premises.
The members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.

Winter Session of Parliament: Rajya Sabha adjourned till Monday

New Delhi [India]: Rajya Sabha was adjourned till Monday, on Friday, the fifth day of the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
Earlier today, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs staged a protest in Parliament against the ‘unruly’ behaviour of the Opposition parties. Meanwhile, Opposition MPs protested at the Gandhi statue in Parliament against the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Since the commencement of the winter session of the Parliament on Monday, there have been continuous disruptions in the functioning of both Houses.
In a move that angered the Opposition and set the stage for acrimonious exchanges, a dozen members of Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha were suspended from the winter session on the very first day on Monday following a motion brought in by the government.
The members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.
The winter session is likely to conclude on December 23.

Centre has to realize that other voices deserve to be heard: Tharoor

New Delhi [India] : Slamming the Central government over the suspension of 12 Opposition MPs, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said the Centre has to realize that other voices in the country deserve to be heard.
“The Centre has to realize that in this country other voices deserve to be heard. Parliament is for debate and discussion. You have to allow people to express their views, only then can you truly run a democratic Parliament,” Tharoor told ANI. Suspended Rajya Sabha MPs on Wednesday sat on a protest near Gandhi statue inside Parliament premises against their suspension from the House for the remaining part of the winter session.
Opposition party leaders including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also staged a protest at the Gandhi statue inside Parliament premises on Wednesday demanding revocation of suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha members.
As many as 12 MPs from the opposition parties were suspended from Parliament’s winter session for allegedly creating ruckus on the last day of the Monsoon Session.
The suspended MPs include six from Congress, two each from TMC and Shiv Sena and one each from CPM and CPI.
The suspended MPs are Elamaram Kareem (CPM), Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, R Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of the Congress, Binoy Viswam of CPI, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai of Shiv Sena.

Stalemate likely to end in Rajya Sabha today as Opposition parties plan to take part in proceedings

New Delhi [India]: The stalemate in the Rajya Sabha is likely to end as the opposition parties plan to take part in House proceedings today, sources said.
Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has called the meeting of like-minded opposition parties at 10 am in his office to chalk out the strategy for the floor of the house. Opposition is demanding that the suspension of 12 opposition MPs should be revoked, terming the decision of the chair as “illegal”. Kharge has also written a letter to the Rajya Sabha chairman giving his views and mentioning provisions of the Constitution in this regard.
In his letter, Kharge has requested him to reconsider the matter of suspension of 12 MPs “in the larger interest of Parliamentary democracy” and revoke the suspensions.
“The Monsoon Session of the House concluded on August 11 and was prorogued by the President on August 31. If the House had only been adjourned and then reconvened without any prorogation, the argument of continuity would merit any justification.”
While on the other hand, 12 suspended MPs of Rajya Sabha will be sitting on dharna in front of the Gandhi statue inside the Parliament premises.
According to sources, opposition parties will take part in the proceedings of the House and will raise the demand regarding the suspension of MPs, as the opposition feels that House is functioning and is giving an easier path to the government while opposition parties are boycotting the proceedings of the house. But the final decision will be taken after the meeting of opposition floor leaders.
On Monday, 12 members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.

Such acts diminish the democratic spirit of Parliament, says Stalin

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India] : Just after Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday suspended 12 Members of Parliament, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said that such acts diminish the democratic spirit of the house.
Stalin further urged the Centre, on behalf of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), to revoke the suspension immediately. “The suspension of 12 Opposition MPs on the very first day of the winter session is highly condemnable. Such acts diminish the democratic spirit of the Parliament. I demand, on behalf of the DMK to revoke the suspension immediately,” Stalin wrote in a tweet.
Rajya Sabha on the first day of its business for the Winter Session on Monday suspended 12 of its members for the rest of the current session on account of ‘unruly and violent behaviour’ during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
The suspended MPs include six from Congress, two each from TMC and Shiv Sena and one each from CPM and CPI.
The action has been taken against them for the ‘indiscipline’ in the monsoon session of the house.
The suspended MPs are Elamaram Kareem (CPM), Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, R Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of the Congress, Binoy Viswam of CPI, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai of Shiv Sena.

No Omicron case detected yet, taking all precautions: Mansukh Mandaviya

New Delhi [India] : Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said that no case of new coronavirus variant Omicron has been detected in India so far. Answering a question on Omicron in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister said, “This new variant has been found in 14 countries. There is no case of Omicron in India yet.” The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia INSACOG is closely monitoring the situation and expediting the results of genomic analysis of positive samples of international travellers. The Minister added that the government is taking all precautions and doing genome sequencing as well. Meanwhile, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday advised states and UTs to ramp up testing for early identification and management of cases amid mounting concerns over Omicron spreading to many countries. While underlining that the new variant doesn’t escape RT-PCR and RAT tests, Bhushan asked states and UTs to ensure adequate infrastructure and supervised home isolation. The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a ‘variant of concern’, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants. Meanwhile, the government has introduced stricter guidelines for people travelling from or transiting through ‘at-risk’ countries. The countries designated as ‘at-risk’ (updated as of November 26) include European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

Bill To Cancel Farm Laws Passed In Parliament, No Discussion

New Delhi [India] : The 25-day Winter Session of parliament, during which over 30 bills are expected to be passed, began today. A crucial bill to cancel farm laws was passed in Lok Sabha in the fastest repeal in recent years amid protests by the opposition. The bill to cancel farm laws was passed in Lok Sabha within four minutes – it was tabled at 12:06 pm and passed by 12:10 pm even as the opposition demanded a discussion. The government, critics claimed, evaded a discussion on the minimum support price for farmers’ produce, which has been a key demand during their year-long agitation. Minutes after the Winter Session began, slogans disrupted proceedings in Lok Sabha this morning, which resumed about an hour later; the house has been adjourned now. The crucial Farm Laws Repeal Bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha “today itself,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government is ready to reply to all questions as he underlined, “Whatever voices are raised against the government or government policies – the dignity of parliament and the Speaker’s Chair should be upheld.” In the 19 sittings of the Winter Session, the government is expected to introduce over 30 legislative Bills and one Finance Bill. The Farm Laws Repeal Bill was introduced by the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress had issued whips to their MPs to be present on the first day. The other bills to be passed in the session include the crucial Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill. The Prime Minister skipped the all party meeting. Denying it was a break in tradition, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said, “There was no tradition of Prime Minister attending the all-party meeting. It was started by Modi ji”. Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, said they were expecting the Prime Minister to attend. “We wanted to ask more about the farm laws as there are some apprehensions that these three laws may again come in some other form,” he said. On Sunday, 31 parties attended the meeting, but the Aam Aadmi Party walked out in the middle of it. Sanjay Singh, who was representing the party, said he was not allowed to speak. The Trinamool Congress expanding rapidly at the cost of the Congress on Sunday assured that it will remain a part of the united opposition, allaying concerns of rift ahead of the winter session.

Farm Law Protests Disrupt Start Of Parliament Session

New Delhi [India] : The 25-day Winter Session of parliament, during which 36 bills are expected to be passed including one to cancel the farm laws, will begin today. The opposition is likely to corner the government on issues including the Pegasus row and price rise. Minutes after parliament convened for the Winter Session, Lok Sabha was adjourned amid slogans over the contentious farm laws. In Rajya Sabha, however, the session was disrupted to pay tributes to senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government is ready to reply all questions as he underlined, “Whatever voices are raised against the government or government policies – the dignity of parliament and the Speaker’s Chair should be upheld.” In the 19 sittings of the Winter Session, the government is expected to introduce 36 legislative Bills and one Finance Bill. The Farm Laws Repeal Bill has been listed for introduction and passage in the Lok Sabha on the first day. It will be introduced by the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress have issued whips to their MP’s to be present on the day. The other bills to be passed in the session include the crucial Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill. Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday skipped the all-party meeting. Denying it was a break in tradition, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said, “There was no tradition of Prime Minister attending the all-party meeting. It was started by Modi ji“. Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, said they were expecting the Prime Minister to attend. “We wanted to ask more about the farm laws as there are some apprehensions that these three laws may again come in some other form,” he said. On Sunday, 31 parties attended the meeting, but the Aam Aadmi Party walked out in the middle of it. Sanjay Singh, who was representing the party, said he was not allowed to speak. The National People’s Party’s Agatha Sangma, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Meghalaya, requested the government to repeal Citizenship Amendment Act in the upcoming session of Parliament. The Trinamool Congress – expanding rapidly at the cost of the Congress — on Sunday assured that it will remain a part of the united opposition, allaying concerns of rift ahead of the winter session. Senior party leader Derek O’Brien, however, said, “There is a distinction between the RJD, DMK, RJD and the CPM- they are all electoral allies of the Congress. The NCP-Shiv Sena and JMM run a government with the Congress…The Congress is not our electoral ally nor are we running a government with them. That’s the difference”.

Govt ready to answer every question: PM Modi

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the government is ready to discuss all issues in the Parliament as he called for meaningful debates and discussions. Addressing the media outside the Parliament, he said that the government will answer all questions asked in the Parliament. He said that citizens want Parliament to debate on issues of national interest and find ways for the development of the country. “This is an important session of the Parliament. The citizens of the country want a productive session. They are fulfilling their responsibilities for a brighter future,” the Prime Minister said. “Our government is ready to answer all questions during the Winter Session of the Parliament. We should debate in the Parliament, and maintain the decorum of the proceedings,” he said. He said that the government wants questions in Parliament and also peace. “Whatever voices are raised against the government or government policies, the dignity of Parliament and the Speaker’s Chair should be upheld. We should maintain the sort of conduct that will inspire younger generations,” PM Modi said. “Voices against government policies should be forceful but the dignity of Parliament and the Chair should be upheld,” he said. “Benchmark should be how House functions and not how it was disrupted.” He also urged people to stay alert in the wake of the new variant of COVID-19.

Parliament’s winter session: 26 bills on agenda

New Delhi [India]: The winter session of the Parliament is set to begin on Monday. The BJP-led government has a heavy agenda for the winter session with its legislative business including 26 new bills.
The government has indicated that the bill to repeal three farm laws will also be taken up on priority. The bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet last week. Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur had told reporters after the meeting that it will be the government’s priority to get the three farm laws repealed in the winter session of Parliament.
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 seeks to repeal the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Farmers have been protesting against the three central farm laws on various borders of Delhi since November 2020.
The government’s agenda also includes the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021.
The bills on the government’s agenda include the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotic Substances (Amendment) Bill, Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Second Amendment) Bill, Cantonment Bill, Inter-Services Organizations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, Indian Antarctica Bill, Indian Antarctica Bill and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (Amendment) Bill.
Other bills include the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, Indian Maritime Fisheries Bill, National Dental Commission Bill, National Nursing Midwifery Commission Bill, Metro Rail (Construction, Operation and Maintenance) Bill, High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, Electricity (Amendment) Bill, Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, National Transport University Bill, Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, National AntiDoping Bill and Mediation Bill.
Three bills, which had been referred to standing committees, are also on the agenda of the government for passage.
These are Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill and Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill.
Lok Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) is scheduled to meet at 10:30 am on Monday as the winter session of Parliament commences today. A meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Rajya Sabha is also scheduled to be held today at 10 am.
Meanwhile, Congress has issued a three-line whip to its MPs asking them to be present in both the Houses of the Parliament on November 29. The Bharatiya Janata Party has also issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs asking them to be present in the House on November 29.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has called on a meeting on Monday of all the Opposition parties to create consensus over the issues to be raised in the Parliament.
However, as per Kharge, the Trinamool Congress will not attend the meeting.
The winter session is scheduled to conclude on December 23.

TMC raises 10 issues including women’s reservation bill in all-party meet

New Delhi [India] : In an all-party meet convened ahead of the winter session of Parliament, the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) raised ten issues including the Women’s reservation bill to be brought in this session of parliament.
Sources told ANI that the TMC leader demanded from centre to “bring women’s reservation bill in this winter session of Parliament and not bulldoze bills without screening by the opposition.” “Issues like Unemployment, Price Rise of Essentials/Fuel Prices, the law on MSP, weakening of the federal structure and stop disinvestment of profitable PSUs were raised by TMC in the meet,” said the source.
“TMC Leader also raised the issue of BSF jurisdiction that is increased in West Bengal, Pegasus Issue, disrupted Monsoon session and Covid-19 situation in Country” source added.
TMC’S floor leaders of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien respectively were present at the meet.
At the all-party meeting was called by the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Sunday ahead of the winter session of Parliament, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among the leaders who attended.
The BJP-led government has a heavy agenda for the winter session with its legislative business including 26 new bills.
The winter session will commence on November 29 and is scheduled to conclude on December 23.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh boycotts all-party meeting

New Delhi [India] : Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Sunday boycotted the all-party meeting alleging that the government never allows anyone to speak during the meet.
“They (Government) don’t let any member speak during the all-party meeting. I raised the issue of bringing a law on the MSP guarantee in this session of the Parliament and other issues including the extension of Border Security Force’s jurisdiction, among others. They don’t let us speak in all-party meet and Parliament,” said Singh. “The government is busy with Jinnah and other issues, ignoring the core issues related to farmers and common man,” he added.
An all-party meeting was called by the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Sunday ahead of the winter session of Parliament.
Leaders of various political parties including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury arrived at the Parliament for the all-party meeting.
The BJP-led government has a heavy agenda for the winter session with its legislative business including 26 new bills.
The winter session will commence on November 29 and is scheduled to conclude on December 23.

PM Modi to participate in Constitution Day celebrations on Friday at Parliament’s Central Hall

New Delhi [India]: As a part of the Constitution Day celebrations on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the programmes that will be organised in Parliament and Vigyan Bhawan.
The programme organized in Parliament will begin at 11 am and will be held in the Central Hall of Parliament. It will be addressed by the President, Vice President, and Lok Sabha Speaker. After the speech of the President, the nation will join him Live, in reading the Preamble of the Constitution.
The President will also release the digital version of Constituent Assembly Debates, a digital version of a calligraphed copy of the Constitution of India and an updated version of the Constitution of India that will include all amendments to date. He will also inaugurate ‘Online Quiz on Constitutional Democracy’, as per the official statement.
Prime Minister will also inaugurate the two day Constitution Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court, at 5:30 PM in Plenary Hall, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, according to the statement.
Prime Minister will also address the distinguished gathering at the central hall of the Parliament.
All Judges of the Supreme Court, Chief Justices of all High Courts and senior-most puisne Judges, Solicitor General of India, and other members of the legal fraternity will be present on the occasion.
The nation will celebrate Constitution Day on November 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India by the Constituent Assembly in 1949.
The observation of Constitution Day started in 2015, based on the vision of the Prime Minister to give due recognition to the significance of this historic date.
The roots of this vision can also be traced back to the “Samvidhan Gaurav Yatra” organised by the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2010.

Centre completes formalities to repeal 3 farm laws

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur on Wednesday informed that the Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has completed the formalities to repeal three farm laws.
Addressing the cabinet briefing today, Thakur said, “Today, the Union Cabinet led by PM completed formalities to repeal the three Farm Laws. During the upcoming session of the Parliament, it will be our priority to take back these three laws.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had earlier on Friday, announced that the Centre will repeal the three farm laws and bring necessary bills in the winter session of Parliament beginning later this month.
The Prime Minister had also announced that the government will constitute a committee to work on a new framework for Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Farmers have been protesting against the government’s three farm laws since the Centre had passed the laws in 2020.
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 seeks to repeal the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 has been listed for introduction and passage. It is among 26 new bills on the agenda of the government.

India to ban private cryptocurrencies, bill to be tabled in Parliament

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi

New Delhi [India]: The government would introduce a bill to ban all private cryptocurrencies in India while providing certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency.
The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021′ is among 26 new bills on the agenda of the government for the winter session of parliament beginning November 29. The bill seeks to create a facilitative framework for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
While seeking to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, the bill “allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier this month chaired a meeting on the way forward for cryptocurrency and related issues.
According to sources, the meeting strongly felt that attempts to mislead the youth through over-promising and non-transparent advertising be stopped.
It was also discussed that unregulated crypto markets cannot be allowed to become avenues for money laundering and terror financing.
The meeting was an outcome of a consultative process as RBI, Finance Ministry, Home Ministry had done an elaborate exercise on it as well as consulted experts from across the country and the world.
The new bills will be introduced in Parliament before being taken up for passage.
Apart from the 26 new bills, three bills referred to the standing committees, are also on the agenda of the government for consideration and passage.

Union Cabinet likely to officially repeal farm laws

Parliament of India

New Delhi [India]: The Union Cabinet is likely to approve the proposal to withdraw the three farm laws in the meeting on Wednesday, sources said.
“Union Cabinet is likely to take up on Wednesday, November 24 the withdrawal of the three Farm laws for approval. The Bills for withdrawal of the laws shall then be introduced in the forthcoming Parliament session,” sources in the government told ANI. The Government of India has listed ‘The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021’ in the legislative business to be taken up in Lok Sabha during the winter session of Parliament beginning November 29.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier on Friday, announced that the Centre will repeal the three farm laws and bring necessary bills in the winter session of Parliament beginning later this month.
The Prime Minister had also announced that the government will constitute a committee to work on a new framework for Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Farmers have been protesting against the government’s three farm laws since the Centre had passed the laws in 2020.
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 seeks to repeal the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 has been listed for introduction and passage. It is among 26 new bills on the agenda of the government.

Priyanka Gandhi Plans Congress Rally During Parliament Session to put BJP on backfoot

This Congress rally will conclude the party’s two-week Jana Jagran Abhiyan against inflation under the Narendra Modi government. The Centre is yet to clear the Congress’s request for Ramleela ground.

KSHVID DESK TEAM with Inputs from agencies

To push BJP and PM Modi on backfoot, the Congress has planned a mega Delhi rally to protest against fuel price rise, inflation during the first week of December, which coincides with the winter session of parliament. This will be its first big outreach since 2019. The rally will conclude the grand old party’s two-week Jana Jagran Abhiyan against inflation under the Narendra Modi government. General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met key party leaders to plan the rally in Delhi.

Priyanka Gandhi addressing a rally in UP recently

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Sidhu, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda, general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal, party leader Sachin Pilot, among others, were present in the meeting.

Delhi Police is yet to clear the Congress’s request for the Ramleela ground for the rally. If the permission does not come through, the Congress plans to move to Dwarka grounds for its big rally.

Fuel prices remained unchanged for the 19th straight day on Tuesday. Earlier this month, on the eve of Diwali, the government had slashed excise duty on petrol and diesel to bring rates slightly down from the record-high level. After the roll back on farm laws announcement by PM Modi, congress has understood that if they want to take on BJP in parliament, they also need to step out and gather peoples support on basic issues.

Congress parliamentary strategy group to meet on Nov 25 ahead of winter session

New Delhi [India]: Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group will hold a meeting on November 25 to finalise the strategy for the upcoming winter session.
“We will raise the issue of inflation in the upcoming session of Parliament. Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group will meet in New Delhi on November 25 to finalize the strategy for the upcoming Parliament session,” Congress general secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal told ANI. Meanwhile, the Centre has called an all-party meet on November 28 ahead of Parliament’s winter session, informed the sources.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi may also attend the meet,” sources said.
The winter session of Parliament is scheduled to commence from November 29.

Parliament must formally repeal farm laws on 1st day of winter session: TN CM Stalin

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India] : After Prime Minister announced the repeal of farm laws, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday said that Parliament must take action on the first day of the winter session to formally repeal all the three laws.
He also demanded the repeal of other laws, including the Citizenship Amendment Act. In a press release, the CM said, “The Prime Minister said that all the three agricultural laws will be withdrawn. I wholeheartedly welcome what Narendra Modi announced this morning. This is a great victory for the agrarian masses and the democratic forces who have fought against these three laws for the past one year.”
He further said, “It was the relentless struggle across India that persuaded the Union Government, which had said that there was no room for talk of withdrawing all three laws, to come down.”
When these laws were introduced, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) opposed them from the outset. Raised the voice in Parliament. Voted against them in the Lok Sabha and the state legislatures. We also filed a case in the Supreme Court, the CM said.
He further said, “Parliament must take action on the first day of the session to formally repeal all three laws. The Union government should bring in the struggling peasants and negotiate. We have to listen to the demands of the farmers. We need to provide financial assistance to all the farmers who lost their lives in the struggle and withdraw all cases. We need to build confidence in the farmers by accepting and implementing these demands. If Indian agriculture is to prosper it must prosper through farmers.”
He added, “I urge the Union government to come forward and implement the constructive agenda underlying it, and to repeal laws that other people do not want, including the Citizenship Amendment Act.” 

“Parliament is not for tearing papers”

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India]: Ahead of the Winter session of the Parliament, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur lashed out at the Opposition over instances of disruption in Parliament and condemned the unruly behaviour hampering an open discussion in the House.
Speaking at the valedictory session of the All India Presiding Officers Conference (AIPOC), the Union Minister said, “Any issue should be discussed openly in the House. When people run out of facts, they tear the paper and dance on the table. Papers can be torn on streets too…. the House is for discussion.” Parliament witnessed unruly scenes in previous sessions over farm laws, Pegasus and discussion on various other issues due to which the proceedings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned repeatedly.
Emphasizing on better research for a qualitative discussion in parliament, Thakur said, “The better the research system, the better will be the quality of the debate.”
The minister also recalled his maiden speech in Lok Sabha when the then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee gave him confidence and ensured that there was a cordial atmosphere in the House.
The Winter Session of Parliament will commence from November 29 and is likely to continue till December 23.

Pakistan Parliament passes bill to give Kulbhushan Jadhav right to appeal against conviction

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan Parliament, in a joint sitting on Wednesday, passed a bill that will give Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to appeal against his conviction.
The International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020, was moved by Law Minister Farogh Nasim. It was passed with a majority vote, Dawn reported. Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April 2017. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its judgment on July 17, 2019, observed that Pakistan was under an obligation to provide by means of its own choosing effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav.
The ICJ had ruled that Pakistan was in breach of its international obligations because of the failure to provide consular access to Jadhav.
Pakistan claims that Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 on charges of espionage. India has rejected Pakistan’s allegations and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar.
The Pakistan National Assembly had on June 10 this year adopted a bill to give the right of appeal to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
The bill seeks to provide a further right of review and reconsideration in giving effect to the judgment of the International Court of Justice, Ary News reported.
It was adopted by the National Assembly after approval from the 21-member standing committee.
According to the bill, the High Court has the power to review and reconsider where the ICJ, in relation to a foreign national, passes an order in respect of rights under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations or a foreign national is aggrieved in respect of the rights available under the same.

TMC nominates former Goa CM Luizinho Faleiro for Rajya Sabha

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India] : The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) on Saturday nominated Luizinho Faleiro to the Rajya Sabha, more than a month after former Goa Chief Minister left the Congress to join the party.
“We are extremely pleased to nominate @luizinhofaleiro to the Upper House of the Parliament. We are confident that his efforts towards serving the nation shall be appreciated widely by our people!” tweeted the official account of AITC. In a huge setback to Congress ahead of Goa Assembly elections next year, Faleiro joined Trinamool Congress on September 29 after quitting the Congress party and resigning as a member of the Goa Legislative Assembly.
At the time of joining TMC, Faleiro said, “Mamata Banerjee has fought and succeeded in stopping Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from entering Bengal. She symbolises woman empowerment – she can bring the country back on the track of development and progress.”
TMC nominated Faleiro’s name for the vacancy created in the Upper House after the exit of TMC member Arpita Ghosh.

Culture, religion at stake in Tibet under Chinese regime, says Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) [India]: Culture, religion, and the way of life which is based on Buddhism are at the stake in Tibet under the Chinese regime, said Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Dolma Tsering.
This comes after Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Wednesday slammed the Chinese leadership, saying they “don’t understand the variety of different cultures.” “Chinese say that they have 56 minorities in altogether but they are not ready to give the traditional sanctity of those minorities. In Tibet, the culture itself is at stake, the religion is at stake, the way of life which is based on Buddhism is also stake,” Dolma Tsering told ANI on Thursday.
She also said that the Chinese want everything to be melted into the communist style. “So be it Buddhism or anything they want everything to be changed into them.”
Speaking over the so-called freedom in Tibet, the Deputy Speaker said: “If there is any freedom in Tibet, why don’t the Chinese let world media go there and see for themselves.
“When they shy away from world media that shows that they are hiding something. Why do they have to give all the time white paper on Tibet? This shows that all is not well there,” she said.
Tenzin Lekshay, spokesperson of Tibetan government-in-exile said that China oppressed many nationalists including Tibetian, Uyghurs, and Mongolians, over the 60-70 years under the party regime.
“Chinese leaders always believe that the hunt rules, and then all the other people (minorities) are the ones who should serve, therefore they look at Tibentian as well,” he said.

Talking about the leadership for the Tibetans, he said: “If you see, all the official websites do not even have Tibetan language scripts. All are written in Chinese, so for whom they are working. Are they working for Tibetan?”
He added that the Chinese need to be more compassionate, they need to look into the aspirations of those people. “It is the issue of six million Tibetan, therefore the China-Tibet conflict needs to be resolved pending for over 50 60 years,” he said. (ANI)
The Dalai Lama, along with his followers, fled to India from Tibet in 1959 during an invasion by the Chinese forces. China calls the Buddhist monk a ‘separatist’, seeking to secede Tibet from China.

Imran Khan govt’s talks with Pakistani Taliban called into question in Senate

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The opposition in the senate in Pakistan has called into question Imran Khan government’s talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban, reported local media.
Mian Raza Rabbani, former Senate Chairman and Pakistan People’s Party’s stalwart, underlined that it was the mandate of the Parliament to decide on negotiations with a banned outfit. Stressing that it would be better to lock the parliament if is to be treated this way, the PPP Senator emphasised that all the decisions on national security are neither being taken from the platform of parliament nor is the Senate being taken into confidence.
Pakistan Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary had earlier said that the government has reached the deal with the TTP and a ceasefire was agreed upon.
TTP has been active in several parts of Pakistan since 2007 and is responsible for carrying out several attacks and blasts in the country.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha to hold daily tractor march to Parliament during Winter Session

New Delhi [India]: To observe one year of the famers’ movement against the Central governments’ three agrarian laws, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Tuesday announced that 500 farmers will participate in a peaceful tractor march to Parliament every day during Winter Session starting November 29.
The umbrella body of farmer unions, which is leading the protest announced the tractor march after it held a meeting here today. In a statement, the SKM said that it will observe one year of the movement on and after November 26 in a “massive way” at the borders of Delhi and all over India. November 26 also known as the Constitution Day, marks the day when the Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, said a press release from the SKM.
“November 26 also marks one year of the All India Strike by the working class last year. On November 26, there will be huge mobilisations from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan at all the Delhi borders. Large meetings will be held there,” the statement said.
SKM has also called for massive joint statewide actions by farmers, workers, employees, agricultural labourers, women, youth and students on November 26, in all state capitals of India, except the states mentioned above which will mobilise at the Delhi borders.
“On November 29, the Winter Session of Parliament will begin in Delhi. The SKM decided that on and from November 29 until the end of this Parliament session, 500 selected farmer volunteers will move every day to Parliament in tractor trollies peacefully and with full discipline, in order to increase the pressure manifold on this obstinate, insensitive, anti-people and pro-corporate BJP central government, to force it to concede the demands for which farmers across the country have launched a historic struggle for one year,” it said.
On November 28, a massive Kisan-Mazdoor Mahapanchayat will be held at Azad Maidan in Mumbai, the SKM said.
“The event will be jointly hosted by over 100 organizations under the banner of Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM) to mark the completion of one year of the historic farmers’ struggle,” it said.
November 28 marks the death anniversary of great reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. “The Mahapanchayat will denounce the Modi-led BJP government on all fronts and will raise several burning issues of the working people, including the repeal of the Farm Laws and the Labour Codes, a central law to guarantee a fair MSP, halving the price of diesel, petrol and cooking gas, and a halt to privatization and selling off the country for a pittance,” the SKM said.

“Will sell crops at Parliament”

Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : Reacting to Delhi Police removing barricades from Ghazipur border where farmers have been protesting against Centre’s farm laws, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait on Friday said that they will go to Parliament to sell their crops.
“If roads are open we will go to Delhi, we will go to Parliament to sell our crop,” said Rakesh Tikait. “PM had said that farmers can sell crops anywhere. Now we will tell the farmers where to sell the crops whose harvest remains unsold,” he added.
He further said that Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation of various farmer unions protesting against the three farm laws, will decide the future course of the protest.
“They had put up the barriers they are now removing it. Saukta Morch will take a decision and then we will proceed accordingly. We were sitting here for the last 11 months asking to go to Delhi. We were not being allowed. We will now go to Delhi to sell our harvest. First, our tractors will go to Delhi,” BKU spokesperson said.
Earlier from Thursday night, Delhi Police have started removing barricades placed at the Tikri and Ghazipur borders where farmers were protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws.
As per the visuals, JCB machines were seen removing blockades placed by the Delhi Police at the farmers’ protest at Delhi’s Tikri border amid a Supreme Court hearing that has highlighted how traffic in the area had been stopped by authorities and not by the demonstrators.
The police had placed elaborate barricades on the roads, along with giant nails and huge concrete blocks, when farmers converged on various border crossing points around the capital in November last year to protest against the Centre’s three agricultural laws.
On October 21, the Supreme Court said that farmers have the right to protest but roads cannot be blocked indefinitely. This came while hearing a plea against the blockade of roads between Delhi to Noida due to farmers’ protests against the three agriculture laws.
Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the three enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.

Ukrainian lawmakers dismiss parliament speaker

Kiev [Ukraine]: Ukrainian lawmakers on Thursday voted to dismiss parliament speaker Dmytro Razumkov, said the parliament press service.
The move was supported with 284 votes in favour, surpassing the minimum votes of 226 required, according to a parliament statement. While addressing the assembly, lawmaker Olexandr Kornienko, who initiated the dismissal of the speaker, said that Razumkov “deviated from general principles” of the ruling party Servant of the People and can not represent the party at the high level anymore.
Razumkov, 37 years old, was appointed as Ukraine’s parliament speaker on August 29, 2019.

Pandora Papers: Opposition calls Imran Khan’s investigation cell ‘hoax’

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s opposition parties on Monday termed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to establish a cell to investigate the Pakistani nationals whose names appeared in the Pandora Papers “a hoax” and called for an inquiry through a judicial commission or an independent commission like that of Panama Papers.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) said that the investigation cell established by Khan was nothing but a “hoax” and a move to protect the ministers and other people associated with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies, Dawn reported. Pandora Papers were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday.
The rejection from opposition comes after Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday announced that a high-level commission would be set up to investigate Pakistanis named in the Pandora Papers.
“The high-level cell under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission will investigate all individuals mentioned in the Pandora Papers and will present facts before the nation,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter, The Express Tribune reported.
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb on Twitter said that the investigation of the Pandora Papers was not possible, as long as Khan remained the prime minister, Dawn reported.
She suggested that Khan should “First resign and then order investigations,” and termed the formation of the cell, a ‘joke’ with Pakistan.
PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bokhari while talking to Dawn said that the investigation cell was of no use if it would function under Khan. He further said that if the cell reported back to Khan, instead of the judiciary, its fate would be the same as the commissions set up previously by the government to probe the wheat, sugar and petrol scams.
Bokhari also said that just like the Panama Papers case, the Pandora Papers case should also be investigated through a judicial forum.

Pakistan: Journalists, lawyers, activists protest outside parliament against new media laws

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Hundreds of journalists in Pakistan gathered outside the Parliament House on Sunday to protest against the proposed ‘Pakistan Media Development Authority’ (PMDA) law.
The call for the sit-in was given by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and a number of scribe groups, opposition parties, lawyers and the representatives of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan participated in it, Express Tribune reported. “The government intended to bring PMDA and electronic voting machines to rig the elections,” and now “media martial law is being slapped on the media through the PMDA,” Shazia Atta Marri, who is the Central Information Secretary of Pakistan People Party said during the sit-in.
Meanwhile, the journalists affiliated with different news organisations and press associations have termed the law against article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression to the people.
They also informed that “the proposed legislation would not only deprive journalists and media organizations of the press freedom but would also deprive civil society, students, lawyers, teachers, law-makers, trade unions, political, religious activists and in fact 220 million population of the country of their basic rights,” The News International reported.
Despite being a democratic state, Pakistan continues to suppress free speech in digital spaces, stopping its citizens from participating in the working of the state by depriving them of a resourceful channel for vocalizing their concerns.
Writer Mehmil Khalid cites an assessment report ‘Pakistan Freedom of Expression Report 2020’ by Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) to say that the country performed poorly in all the indicators that determine free speech and that the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the digital censorship in Pakistan.
Pakistan scored 30 points out of 100 on the assessment report index, which analysts say proves the fact that the government has placed curbs on free speech and disallowed people to talk especially about the pandemic and the related information.

Om Birla to lead Delegation

New Delhi [India]: An Indian Parliamentary delegation led by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will attend the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (5WCSP) on September 7-8 and the first global Parliamentary summit on countering terrorism on September 9 in Vienna.
The Lok Sabha secretariat in a press release on Saturday said that the delegation comprises Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh and Lok Sabha Secretary-General Utpal Kumar Singh. The conference is being organized jointly by the inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU), Geneva and the Parliament of Austria with the support of the United Nations, the statement added.
Lok Sabha Secretariat’s Joint Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar is Secretary to the delegation.
It will be the first physically attended global parliamentary event post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lok Sabha Speaker Birla will participate in the Interactive General Debate of 5WCSP during the discussions following motions.
He will participate in the Panel Discussion on the theme “Parliaments and Global governance: The unfinished agenda”. Harivansh will also participate in this Panel.
A high-level declaration on the overall theme of the 5WCSP “parliamentary leadership for more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet”, highlighting the solidarity of all Parliaments of the world amidst the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic will be adopted at the end of the conference.
The Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (5WCSP) is being held in the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its catastrophic impact on the people and economy of the world. The conference is envisaged to strengthen multilateralism and international cooperation to rebuild a better world ahead.
On the sidelines of the events, Lok Sabha Speaker Birla will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts of Member Parliaments of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

“Disagreements part of democracy”

Gulmarg (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: Expressing his anguish over the uproar in the Parliament during the recently concluded Monsoon session, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday said that the members of the Houses must maintain the dignity while sharing their views.
Birla, who was on the visit to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, said that agreements and disagreements are a part of the democracy but the members should maintain certain decency while debating over an issue. “The members of Parliament have the privilege to express their views. I always try that they get extra time in the Parliament to share their opinions,” he said.
“India’s democracy is a democracy of free expressions, a democracy of elected institutions of the people. Agreements and disagreements are part of the democracy but I expect the members to maintain certain decency in the Parliament.”
“Parliament should work ethically, our conduct should be such that we can play the guiding role for other democratic institutions,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on August 11 bringing an end to a month-long Monsoon Session. The session began on July 19 and was slated to go on till August 13. The lower house was adjourned for an indefinite period by Om Birla, who was in the chair.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, earlier today, met with the representatives of District Development Councils (DDCs), Block Development Councils (BDCs) and Panchayats at Gulmarg.
“Representatives of Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) are working towards the development of the union territory. Jammu and Kashmir has now moved towards peace and prosperity,” Birla said after the meeting.
Birla assured public representatives not to be worried about their safety as the Central government and security agencies are committed to provide complete security to every public representative and the common citizens.
Referring to the changes seen in the Valley after the scrapping of Article 370, he said: “The way people took an active part in the elections, voted in large numbers shows that they want development.”
Birla arrived in the valley to inaugurate and participate in the Parliamentary Outreach Programme for the empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the Union Territory. He arrived in Srinagar on August 29.

Pegasus probe among 11 demands raised by opposition parties, to hold joint protests between September 20-30

New Delhi [India]: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of 18 other political parties on Friday launched a strong attack on the Narendra Modi government accusing it of “destruction of economy” and demanded Supreme Court-monitored judicial probe into the use of Pegasus Spyware, speeding up of COVID-19 vaccination, free cash transfers of Rs.7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket, repeal of three farm laws and compulsory guarantee of MSP to farmers.
In a joint statement after meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi, the leaders said they will jointly organize protest actions all over the country from September 20 to 30. The leaders condemned the manner in which the Central government and the ruling party disrupted the monsoon session of Parliament and said unprecedented scenes were witnessed “where MPs, including women MPs, were injured by Marshalls deployed to disrupt Opposition protests”.
The leaders demanded “withdraw of unprecedented hikes in central excise duties on petrol and diesel, “reversal of the unbridled privatisation of the public sector”.
Seeking release all political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir, the leaders sought restoration of full statehood including Jammu and Kashmir cadre of central services and free and fair election at the earliest.
They demanded the release of all political prisoners, including those under draconian UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case and anti-CAA protests.
The leaders also sought a probe into Rafale deal, asking why the old deal made during the UPA government was cancelled.
Noting that the government will not be able to achieve full vaccination against COVID-19 by the end of the year, the opposition leaders asked the government to “augment all vaccine production capabilities in India, procure vaccines globally and speed up the free universal mass vaccination drive immediately”.
The said adequate compensation should be provided for those who lost their lives due to COVID-19 and the public health care system should be expanded vastly.
“Central Government must implement free cash transfers of Rs 7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket. Distribute free food kits containing all essential commodities of daily consumption to all the needy. Withdraw unprecedented hikes in central excise duties on petrol and diesel, reduce prices of cooking gas and essential commodities, particularly cooking oil and control galloping inflation,” the statement said.
They called for repeal of the labour codes which dilute the rights of the labour and the working class.
” Repeal the three anti-agriculture Laws and compulsorily guarantee MSP to farmers. Stop and reverse the unbridled privatisation of the public sector, repeal the labour codes which dilute the rights of the labour and the working class and restore the rights of the working people to protest and for wage bargaining,” the statement said.
The leaders called for the implementation of monetary stimulus packages for the revival of MSMEs, not the provision of loans.
” Increase public investments to build our economic and social infrastructure generating jobs and boosting domestic demand. Fill up the vacancies in government jobs.”
They called for vastly enlarging MGNREGA with increasing guarantee for 200 days with at least doubling of wages.
They also demanded an urban employment guarantee programme on similar lines.
The leaders said vaccination of teachers, staff and students should be prioritised to ensure early re-opening of educational institutions.
“Hold immediate Supreme Court-monitored judicial enquiry into the use of Pegasus Spyware for surveillance of people. High-level investigation into the Rafale deal – the cancellation of the earlier order and placing of a new order at a higher cost,” the statement said.
“Stop using other draconian laws like sedition/NSA to violate democratic rights and civil liberties of the people. Release all media personnel detained for exercising their fundamental right of freedom of expression,” it added.
The leaders said that forms of the public protest actions against the BJP-led government will be decided by the respective state units of their parties depending on the concrete conditions of the COVID regulations and protocols existing in the state.
These forms may include dharnas, protest demonstrations and strikes, they said.
“We, the leaders of 19 Opposition Parties, call upon the people of India to rise to the occasion to defend our secular, democratic Republican order with all our might. Save India today, so that we can change it for a better tomorrow,” the statement said.
It said that Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav wrote a letter and expressed his inability to join the meeting as he was in the interior of the State. This statement was, however, sent to him.
They said the government “steamrolled legislations through the din of the disruption caused by its handling of both Houses of Parliament.”
The statement said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day address, “did not focus on a single-issue concerning people’s miseries”.
“The speech was full of rhetoric, empty slogans and disinformation. In fact, it was a repackaging of earlier speeches given in 2019 and 2020. This speech is an ominous warning that lives of our people will continue to be ruined further.”
The opposition leaders accused the government of “massive mismanagement in handling the COVID-19 pandemic” saying it has resulted in imposing severe pain on a large number of people, particularly families who have lost their beloved members.
” The instances of under-reporting, both the number of infections and the deaths, have been noted by many international and national agencies, who estimate that the actual figures are at least five times more than what is being officially stated.”
The statement said that only 11.3 per cent of adult population has received both doses and 40 per cent (including this 11.3 per cent) have received a single dose.
“The destruction of the Indian economy, with deepening recession, is pushing crores of our people into joblessness, escalating the levels of poverty and hunger. The run-away inflation and price rise is adding to people’s woes and destroying livelihoods,” it said.
Noting that the “historic struggle” by farmers against three farm laws continues into the ninth month now, the leaders accused the government of being “obdurate”.
“We reiterate our support to the struggle launched by the farmers under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha,” the statement said.
It said the procuring of “Pegasus Military Spyware for surveillance of people by Government of India is extremely alarming”.
“The government refuses to answer one straight question – has it, or any of its agencies purchased the Pegasus Spyware from the Israeli firm – NSO, known for cyber military surveillance? The government must answer and come clean. Such surveillance is not only a gross violation of people’s fundamental right to privacy but is an attack on Indian democracy and democratic institutions,” the statement said.
It said the “list of those under surveillance include political leaders, journalists, a former Supreme Court Judge and officers of the judiciary, a former Prime Minister, a former CBI Chief, a former Election Commissioner, two former Chief Ministers and others. This is ominous. Global media exposures show that such surveillance was rampant in 2019 on the eve of the general elections to Parliament.”
The leaders said that the destruction of the economy is accompanied “by a mega loot of our national assets, large-scale privatization of the public sector, including banks and financial services the privatization of our mineral resources and public utilities to benefit the cronies of Prime Minister”.
“This will be strongly resisted,” they said.
In her opening remarks, Sonia Gandhi said that the ultimate goal is defeating the BJP-led government in 2024 Lok Sabha elections and called for systematic planning and working with the single-minded objective for the purpose.
She called for collectively rising to the challenge of opposition unity, saying there is no alternative to working cohesively and the time has come for rising above compulsions in the national interest.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and RJD’ Tejashwi Yadav were among those who attended the meeting.

Standing Committee to visit J-K, Ladakh

New Delhi [India]: Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development will visit Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from August 20 to 25 for a detailed examination of matters relating to urban development and some welfare projects in the two union territories.
The committee, chaired by BJP MP Jagdambika Pal, will arrive in Srinagar on August 20. According to the schedule, on the first day of the tour, the committee will meet officials from different departments and examine various projects.
Members of the committee will review Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Swachchh Bharat Mission-Urban, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna-Urban, Implementation of Metro Projects of Srinagar and Jammu, DAY-NULM (Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission) and functioning of CPWD.
On the second day, before departure to Pahalgam, the committee will visit to project sites of Smart City, AMRUT, Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
After Pahalgam, the panel will visit Gulmarg and hold review meetings with officials and local authorities and evaluate the projects of the Urban Development Mission at two places.
In the last phase of the tour, the committee will arrive at Leh and take review meetings related to Atal Bharat Mission-Urban, PM SVANidhi, PMAY-Urban, DAY-NULM and CPWD.
The visit comes almost two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met leaders of all mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir the first such interaction after the abrogation of Article 370.
The Standing Committee on Urban Development comprises 30 members from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

“Opposition’s aggression justified”

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday said that the “aggression” by the Opposition parties in the Monsoon session of Parliament was just because the ruling BJP did not allow any discussion over the issues like Pegasus.
Briefing media persons, Owaisi said, “It becomes very tough when the parliament does not work in the way it should work. Being an MP, it feels like we are unable to expose the mistakes of the government, despite having the responsibility to expose and bring in front of the government their mistakes. The government itself is happy when the Parliament does not work in the way it should work.” He alleged that instead of conducting a debate over the issue, the Centre, using its majoritarian power in the House had only ensured that the government bills are passed.
“The aggression of the Opposition in this Parliamentary Session is just because the BJP is not ready to discuss issues like Pegasus,” stated the AIMIM chief.
Owaisi further said that during the passing of the NCBC bill, both the Opposition and the government joined hands just because of the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh. He questioned why are the other issues that have been raised in the parliament are ignored.
“Is the development of the country lies only in the elections and not on the healthy debates in the Parliament where the opposition can question the ruling party about their deeds. BJP has forgotten the base purpose of the parliamentary sessions. Instead of conducting debates on important issues, BJP is only running the parliament as per their will,” alleged the AIMIM chief.
He further alleged that since BJP came to power, it has set aside the separation of powers in the Parliament. “The government is not ready to listen to the criticism by the Opposition in the House,” added Owaisi.

Bills passed without any debate in monsoon session, only 11% of legislations being sent for scrutiny, says TMC

New Delhi, [India]: Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday accused the government of passing the bills without discussion in the monsoon session of parliament and said the average time spent on the bills was 10 minutes.
Addressing a press conference a day after the conclusion of the monsoon session of parliament, party leaders Derek O’Brien and Saugata Roy said “39 bills were passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha without any debate”. “This is not how a democratic country works. The average time of passing a bill was 10 minutes and then you say that the opposition is disrupting the session?” Derek O’Brien said.
“Even in 2014, 60-70 per cent of the bills were sent to a parliamentary committee for review. However, now only 11 per cent of the bills are sent to the standing committees for scrutiny,” he added.
He said important issues including of Pegasus surveillance and new farm laws were not taken up for discussion despite continuous demand from the opposition. While many bills were passed without discussion, the two Houses discussed the constitution amendment bill to enable the states to have their list of socially and educationally backward classes.
Answering a query, Trinamool Congress leaders said the party fully supports opposition unity even as the party’s participation in a meeting is decided by its leadership.
Sugata Roy said the Trinamool Congress worked for opposition unity throughout the monsoon session.
“Our leader Mamta Banerjee came to Delhi. She met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. We left nobody in doubt about our intention for opposition unity but one must understand our position. Trinamool Congress faced the BJP alone in the West Bengal election. We are running the government alone our position is slightly different from other opposition parties,” he said.
“In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena NCP and Congress are running a government together. In Tamil Nadu, DMK, CPI and CPM are part of the ruling coalition. We have no such compulsions. We are totally for opposition unity,” he added.
The Rajya Sabha witnessed unruly scenes on Wednesday when the House took up the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 for passage.
The Opposition resorted to vociferous protests. They came to the well of the House and some of them were seen tearing papers.
They accused the government of not following the parliamentary norms and “bulldozing” the legislation.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar later alleged that “women MPs were attacked” and “more than 40 men and women were brought into the House from outside to control the MPs”.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that opposition members “manhandled marshals” in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and said their behaviour during the session was a “black spot in the history of Indian democracy”.

‘Opposition’s misbehaviour disgraceful’

New Delhi [India]: The Centre on Thursday slammed the Opposition for its unruly behaviour in the Rajya Sabha, terming it as an assault on the dignity of the institution, adding that their misbehaviour is a shameful disgrace in the Parliamentary History of India.
The remarks came at a press conference today in New Delhi which was attended by Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prahlad Joshi, Bhupendra Yadav, Anurag Singh Thakur, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan. The ministers stated that it is rather unfortunate that the opposition MPs are not even apologetic about their actions. Rather they are considering these shameful actions as acts of valour, they said.
They further said, “Deplorable actions by opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have become a norm. Their actions in this session were not an exception but a continuation. From tearing of the rule book last year to the opposition indulging in most unparliamentary conducts ever witnessed by this House, the conduct of opposition is becoming shameful day by day.”
The Ministers pointed out that the opposition had publicly stated that the session should be washed out, adding that their intention was to not let the house conduct business. In fact, the Government had offered discussions on several occasions. However, appeals for discussions fell on deaf ears and they even took papers from the hands of the Minister and tore them, said the ministers. Even the Prime Minister was not allowed to introduce the Newly sworn In Council of Ministers, they added.
According to the ministers, some Opposition members desecrated the sanctity of the House by climbing the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagriha), namely the table located at the well of the House and threw the Rule Book at the Chair.
They stated that the Member of Parliament who stood on the table in the Parliament was not only standing on the table but was trampling upon Parliamentary ethics. He was not only throwing a book at the chair but was also throwing Parliamentary conduct out of the House, informed the Union Ministers.
“Such behaviour is unprecedented in our House and the opposition has done grievous harm to the reputation of the house,” they said.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal while briefing the media today said that opposition has misbehaved throughout the session only because they do not want issues of public welfare to be discussed.
“It is demanded that strict action should be taken on the shameful and obstructive behaviour of the Opposition. They wanted to create Opposition unity to foster national disunity. They owe answers to the nation,” said Goyal.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs said, “The Opposition questions over bills being passed in din. However, it is their refusal to allow parliamentary debate that has left no choice. From merely shouting, they have shifted to violence and manhandling staff to disrupt the parliamentary process. Also, where was this concern about passage without discussion when numerous bills were passed in din during the UPA rule? Between 2006 and 2014, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA 1 and 2) government passed a total of 18 Bills in a hasty manner.”
The Ministry stated that despite the highest disruption since 2014, the number of bills passed per day during this session in Rajya Sabha was the 2nd highest since 2014 (i.e. 1.1 bills per day passed).
The time lost due to interruptions/adjournments (till Aug 11) was 76 Hours 26 Minutes and the highest average time per day lost due to interruptions/adjournments since the 231st session of Rajya Sabha in 201 was 4 Hours 30 Minutes, it said.
The ministry stated that despite all the chaos and disruption, 19 Bills were passed in Rajya Sabha (including the Constitutional Amendment on OBC reservation), which are in the national interest and will benefit the poor, OBCs, workers, entrepreneurs, and all sections of our society.
This reflects the commitment, productivity and ability of the Govt to drive the legislative agenda in the Parliament, which aims to fulfil the aspirations of its citizens, said the ministry, adding that it will shape the future of our country. The government successfully carried out the government business during the session, it added.

Opposition not allowed to speak in Parliament, their voice crushed: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday slammed the Central government alleging that the Opposition was not allowed to speak in the Parliament during the recently-concluded monsoon session and termed it as “murder of democracy”.

New Delhi [India], August 12 : He said the voice of 60 per cent of the people in the country was “crushed and humiliated”. Speaking to reporters at the Vijay Chowk during a protest by the Opposition over the demand to repeal the three farm laws, the Wayanad MP said, “Today, we had to come out here to speak to you (media) as we (Opposition) are not allowed to speak in the Parliament. This is the murder of democracy.”
“The Parliament session is over. As far as 60 per cent of the country is concerned there has been no Parliament session. The voice of 60 per cent of the country has been crushed, humiliated and yesterday in the Rajya Sabha physically beaten,” he said.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the Opposition did not get a chance to present their views in the Parliament and added that the alleged attack on women MPs in Rajya Sabha was against democracy.

“The opposition did not get a chance to present their views in Parliament. Yesterday’s incident against women MPs was against democracy. It felt like we were standing at the Pakistan border,” Raut said.
Hitting out at the Central government, RJP leader Manoj Jha said that the Insurance Bill was passed by the ‘Martial law’, and not the Parliament.
“We had heard about the Martial law in our neighbouring country but we witnessed the situation like Martial law in the Parliament yesterday. The Insurance Bill was not passed by the Parliament, but was passed by the Martial law,” Jha said.

“We wanted to discuss the farmers’ agitation, Pegasus report, unemployment, and other issues in the Parliament but we were not given the chance to do so. The people will break the ego of the government,” he said.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that the Centre does not want to run the Parliament proceedings properly. “The government is passing laws without discussions. There should be a discussion on COVID-19 vaccination, current economic situation, unemployment, farm laws but the government is running away,” he said.

Opposition parties on Thursday held a protest march against the Central government’s decision to adjourn the Parliament sine die on Wednesday, two days before the scheduled conclusion. They also demanded to repeal the three farm laws. The protest march began from Parliament and concluded at Vijay Chowk.
The Opposition MPs were seen carrying the placards saying ‘black farm laws’.
Ahead of the protest march, Opposition leaders also held a meeting at the office of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to discuss the alleged manhandling of women members in the Upper House yesterday.
During the recently-concluded monsoon session of Parliament, the Opposition forced adjournments in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over their twin demands including repeal of three farm laws and probe into allegations of surveillance using Pegasus spyware.

Protest in front of Gandhi Statue

New Delhi [India]: The MPs of Opposition parties will hold a protest against the alleged manhandling of women members in Rajya Sabha in front of the Mahatma Gandhi Statue at Parliament today.
Before the protest, the floor leaders of Opposition parties in both the Houses will hold a meeting in the Chamber of Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha at 10 am to discuss the incidents that happened in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Opposition members in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday slammed the government over the incidents in the House when a bill related to insurance businesses was taken up for passage with NCP leader Sharad Pawar alleging that “women MPs were attacked” and “more than 40 men and women were brought into the house from outside to control the MPs”.
Pawar termed the incidents as “painful” and an “attack on democracy” and said he has never seen such an incident in his 55 years of parliamentary life.
Several other opposition members including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Derek O’ Brien also slammed the government.
“In my 55 years of parliamentary career, I never saw the way the women MPs were attacked today in Rajya Sabha. More than 40 men and women were brought into the house from outside to control the MPs. It is painful. It is an attack on democracy,” Pawar said.
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi criticised the government alleging that the government talks of ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Padhao’ but attempts to crush the voice of women.
She alleged that MPs were manhandled.
“The way the Insurance Bill was passed was not right. We all were protesting because it is an anti-people bill. This will lead to privatisation. The way women MPs were manhandled and MPs were treated like goons, they were pushed and they were threatened to remain silent, is shameful. This is my first term. I was hoping to raise people’s voices in Parliament, but the Government made attempts to crush that too. On one hand, you say Beti Padhao, Beti Padhao and on the other hand, they make attempts to crush their voices,” Chaturvedi said.
Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said marshals were used and Opposition women members were “manhandled”.He said if women are not safe in the Parliament, it raises questions on the way this government functions.
“Today the government’s behaviour in the Rajya Sabha was inappropriate. It was decided that the bill will be discussed tomorrow and today we will focus on the OBC reservation Bill and pass Constitutional Amendment Bill. Unfortunately, they did not keep their promise and they moved the Insurance Bill today. All the Opposition parties protested because it will take away the jobs of many people and increase unemployment. Also, the money with the government’s insurance companies is going somewhere else and they are planning to divert that money,” Kharge said.
“When the MPs were protesting, marshals were used and our women members were physically manhandled. You can yourself take an idea that if the women are not safe in the Parliament, then how this government might be functioning,” he added.
Derek O’Brien accused the government of “bulldozing” 36 bills without any discussion or scrutiny.
“Sharad Pawarji has said that in his 55 years of experience as a Parliamentarian, both in Opposition and in government, he has never witnessed something like this. Today’s incident was shameful. Only one bill was discussed. It’s a shame,” he said.
The Opposition resorted to vociferous protests on Wednesday as the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 was taken up for consideration in the upper House after it passed a constitution amendment bill unanimously.
The bill was moved for consideration and passing by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Protesting opposition members came to the well of the House and some of them were seen tearing papers.
They accused the government of not following parliamentary norms and “bulldozing” the legislation. The Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill was taken up after the upper House unanimously passed the constitution amendment bill to enable states to prepare their own OBC lists.
The opposition has also been protesting and forcing adjournments on their other demands including a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware and repeal of new farm laws.
Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before the scheduled conclusion of the upper House of Parliament. Lok Sabha has adjourned sine die earlier in the day.

Monsoon session: Despite continuous disruption, Rajya Sabha passes 2nd highest number of bills since 2014

New Delhi [India]: Despite the highest disruption in the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament in the last seven years, the number of bills passed per day during this session of Rajya Sabha was the second-highest since 2014, said sources.
With over 74 hours and 26 minutes lost due to protests by the Opposition on various issues, the Upper House passed 1.1 bills per day in 17 days sitting. In 2020, when the nation was reeling under the effect of COVID-19, the Rajya Sabha passed 2.5 bills per day, the highest since 2014, during the monsoon session.
A total of 19 Bills were passed during the monsoon session in the Upper House, including the Constitutional Amendment 127th Amendment Bill, Tribunals Reforms Bill, Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, Inland Vessels Bill, among others.
As per sources, the Central government successfully carried out its business during the session. This reflects the commitment, productivity and ability of the government to drive the legislative agenda in the Parliament, which aims to fulfil the aspirations of its citizens.
However, this session saw a lot of disruption by opposition parties over issues including farm laws, Pegasus spyware, COVID-19, and inflation.
The highest average time lost per day due to interruptions or adjournments since the 231st session of Rajya Sabha in 2014 is 4 hours 30 minutes.
The sources said that the unruly behaviour of some members was totally unacceptable.
“Disruption of House pre-planned, washing out the session was their ultimate goal. Some Opposition members desecrated the sanctity of the House by climbing the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagriha), namely the table located at the well of the House and threw the Rule Book at the Chair. This behaviour is highly condemnable,” they added.
Sources said the House has been a forum for debate but such instances have resulted in lowering the dignity of this great institution Opposition should apologise to the Chairman and people of the country.
A special committee should be constituted to look into these incidents, they said.
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before the scheduled conclusion of the monsoon session of parliament. The session commenced on July 19.

Bill for greater private participation

New Delhi [India]: Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill to provide greater private participation in the public sector insurance companies.
The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid vociferous protests by the opposition parties who demanded that the bill should be referred to a select committee of the House. The bill had been passed by Lok Sabha on August 3.
The bill was moved for consideration and passing by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Protesting opposition members came to the well of the House and some of them were seen tearing papers.
They accused the government of not following parliamentary norms and “bulldozing” the legislation.
The Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill was taken up after the upper House unanimously passed the constitution amendment bill to enable states to prepare their own OBC lists.
The bill seeks to amend General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 to “provide for greater private participation in the public sector insurance companies”.
It seeks to enhance insurance penetration and social protection and “better secure the interests of policyholders and contribute to faster growth of the economy”.
The bill seeks to remove proviso of the Act to remove the requirement that the Central Government holds not less than 51 per cent of the equity capital in a specified insurer.
The opposition has been protesting and forcing adjournments over various issues since the beginning of the monsoon session including demand for a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware.

Lok Sabha functioned for 21 hrs

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday clarified that the Lower House functioned only for 21 hours and 14 minutes during the Monsoon Session which ended today.

New Delhi [India], August 11 : The LS Speaker also mentioned that out of the 96 hours fixed for the sitting of the Lower House, it was not able to function for 74 hours and 46 minutes. Speaking at a press conference after the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha Speaker said, “The sixth session of the 17th Lok Sabha concluded today. It is sad that the session was not as per expectations. I urged all the MPs, that the House be run in accordance with Parliamentary traditions and its dignity maintained. Sloganeering and raising of banners are not a part of our Parliamentary traditions. They (MPs) should have expressed themselves from their seats.”
“The House was not able to function for 74 hours and 46 minutes. The total productivity was 22 per cent. A total of 20 Bills were passed, including the OBC Bill which was passed with the unanimous consent of all parties,” he said.
“I am hurt by the fact that the proceedings of the House did not take place as per expectations in this Session. I always make an effort to see that maximum Business takes place in the House and discussions are held over issues related to the public,” the Speaker said.
“But there was continuous obstruction this time. This could not be resolved. The last two years were more productive, as far as Busines in the House is concerned. The proceedings had continued till late in the night and MPs had made active contribution even during COVID,” the LS Speaker said.
“I always expect the MPs to maintain the dignity of the House. There have been debates, agreements, and disagreements in the House but its dignity was never lowered,” Birla added.
Soon after Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die, Congress MP Manickam Tagore hit out at Centre and said that Parliament is for Opposition’s voice while questioning the Speaker for not hearing the voices of the Opposition.
He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leaders of all the parties for their contribution to the House.
The Lok Sabha has been adjourned sine die today bringing an end to a month-long Monsoon Session.
The session began on July 19 and was slated to go on till August 13. The Lower House was adjourned for an indefinite period by Om Birla, who was in the chair.

Monsoon Session: Lok Sabha adjourned sine die

New Delhi [India], August 11 : The Lok Sabha has been adjourned sine die on Wednesday bringing an end to the Monsoon Session.
The session began on July 19 and was scheduled to go on till August 13. The lower house was adjourned sine die by Speaker Om Birla. Government sources had earlier informed that the government is mulling adjournment as there is no point in running the House when business is sought to be disrupted and the opposition is not letting others debate or discussion on issues of public importance.
“Almost all of our bills are through and the rest will be cleared in Rajya Sabha tomorrow as well. We will see how business goes. We expect the opposition to remain adamant about stalling the parliament. We may wrap up the work and the parliament may be adjourned sine die on Wednesday,” the source said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Lok Sabha passed the 127th Constitution amendment bill to restore the state’s power to make their own other backward classes (OBC) list after the participation of all political parties in the debate for the first time during this monsoon session.
Monsoon Session began on a stormy note on July 19 amidst uproar from Opposition parties who did not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce newly-inducted Union ministers to the Parliament.

Lok Sabha passes constitution amendment bill to enable states to maintain list of socially and educationally backward classes

New Delhi [India]: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to restore the power of states and union territories to prepare and maintain their own list of socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs).
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed by the House with 385 members voting in its favour and none against in the final division. The opposition parties decided to “cooperate” with the government in passing the bill and suspend their protest in the House for the bill to be passed.
The opposition parties have been protesting and forcing adjournments since the beginning of the monsoon session over their demand for a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware and repeal of farm laws.
Replying to the debate on the bill, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar said the bill seeks to clarify that the state government and Union territories are empowered to prepare and maintain their own list of SEBCs.
The division took place through voting slips as the House has a special seating arrangement as part of precautions against COVID-19 and the automatic vote recorder could not be used.
The process of providing voting slips to members and collecting them took time.
Responding to the demands for increasing reservation beyond 50 per cent, the minister said the government understands the feelings of members. He said the courts have repeatedly emphasised this ceiling and there is a need to give attention to the constitutional aspects.
The bill was passed by a majority of the total membership of the House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.
The Parliament had in August 2018 passed a constitution amendment bill to give constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury initiated the discussion on the bill and alleged that the government has brought it with an eye on the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand early next year.
He said if the government had heeded to opposition suggestions when Constitution (One Hundred and Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed, there would have been no need to bring this bill now.
The Congress leader said that the party has always been at the forefront of the uplifting OBC community.
He said several countries had started a probe into alleged surveillance concerning Pegasus spyware and accused the government of “running away from a debate”.
The statement of objects and reasons of the bill states that there always existed separate lists of Central Government and that of the state governments and Union territories pertaining to SEBCs since 1993.
It said that a question has arisen after enactment of the Constitution (One Hundred and Second Amendment) Act, 2018 as to whether the amendments mandated for a single Central List of SEBCs specifying the SEBCs for each state and had taken away the powers of the states to prepare and maintain a separate state list.

Criminal cases against MPs, MLAs can’t be withdrawn without HC’s order: SC

New Delhi [India], August 10 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that no criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs can be withdrawn by state governments, without prior orders from the state High Courts, while hearing a petition filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking a direction to debar those convicted MLAs and MPs from contesting elections for life.
“No criminal case against sitting (former) MPs and MLAs can be withdrawn by the State Govts without prior orders from the State High Court,” a three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Vineet Saran said today. The CJI Ramama also slammed the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) for not filing the status report in the case.
“Why the report has not been filed? When this matter started, we are assured that the Government is very serious about this issue and wanted to do something. But nothing has happened. No progress so far. When you (CBI) are reluctant to even file the status reports, what can you expect us to say?” the CJI observed this, after expressing its displeasure over the way the CBI failed to file its status report today.
The Apex Court was hearing the petition filed by lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking a direction to debar convicted MLAs and MPs from contesting elections for life and setting up of special courts and speedy disposal of cases against them.
Senior lawyer, Vijay Hansaria, who is the Amicus Curiae (A friend of the Court) in the case, submitted to the Apex Court that he had received the status report from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) but not from CBI.
To this, the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, clarified that he has not filed the report yet, and sought more time to file the same.
The SG said that “My lord we filed a report yesterday on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). I emphasized the need for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director to immediately place before your lordships.”
The CJI said that this way, it does not work. Something has to be presumed.
The CJI also hinted that a special bench has to be constituted to monitor these cases.
The SG Mehta pleaded to the Apex Court for granting him another “last opportunity”, in the case and said that we will comply if you grant us the last opportunity.
Hansaria, showing his concern, said that the issue of withdrawal of cases against MPs/ MLAs by the order of the Karnataka state government against 61 such leaders, has to be considered by this Apex Court and he pleaded that the Supreme Court must pass orders that without the order of the concerned State High Courts, the state government cannot pass any order for withdrawal of any cases against the convicted MPs and MLAs.
Many other state governments, including that of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, have passed some sort of orders too to withdraw cases against their respective public representatives, who were convicted of cases, Hansaria said.
The CJI said to let the matter be adjourned for two weeks on the request of SG Mehta.
The Apex Court also said that the State High Courts are requested to examine the withdrawal of cases against MP MLAs since September 2020, while citing the judgment of the case of the Kerala government against K Ajith.
The CJI also said that the Registrar General of all High Courts are required to submit a chart of judges, pending cases, disposed off cases etc before this court.
The Top Court also said that the judges hearing such cases, in CBI courts, special courts hearing, will continue till further orders, and listed the matter for further hearing to August 25, 2021.

PM Modi upset over BJP MPs

PM Narendra Modi has sought the list of MPs who were absent from the Rajya Sabha on Monday when the Opposition had moved a statutory resolution.

New Delhi, India, August 10 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought the list of MPs who were absent from the Rajya Sabha on Monday when the Opposition had moved a statutory resolution against the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.

Speaking at the BJP’s Parliamentary Party meeting, PM Modi asked Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi to submit the details of those who were not present in the House. He said that although the Opposition’s resolution was defeated, the number of ruling MPs were low, saying “this is the only way left now” as he sought the list of absentees.

The statutory resolution demanded that the Tribunals Reforms Bill be sent to the select committee of the House, however, it got negated. The Bill was approved by the House with a voice vote. The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021, was approved by Lok Sabha on August 3. The bill seeks to lay down terms and conditions for the service and tenure of members of various tribunals.

Notably, as many as 20 ruling party MPs were not present in the House when the Opposition MPs had demanded a division. Sources said that the missing MPs have been asked to explain the reason why they skipped the session.

The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on February 13, 2021, proposing to abolish certain more tribunals and authorities and to provide for a mechanism to file an appeal directly to the Commercial Court or the High Courts, as the case may be. However, as the bill could not be passed in the Budget Session of Parliament and there was an immediate need for legislation, the President promulgated the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021 on April 4, 2021.

The BJP parliamentary party led by PM Modi also gave a standing ovation to the Olympic medal winners. The Prime Minister suggested the party MPs to encourage more people in their constituencies to participate in sports and also promote Poshan Abhiyaan and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.

Opposition to support OBC Bill in rajyasabh

Monsoon Session: 127th Constitution Amendment Bill giving power to States in identifying OBCs

New Delhi [India], August 9 : Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that all Opposition parties will support The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021 being introduced in Parliament today to give back power to States to identify social and economic backward classes.
At a strategy meeting, opposition parties decided to co-operate with the Centre in passing the Bill to restore states’ power to identify backward classes. Kharge said, “The amendment is to give back power to States to identify social and economic backward classes. The Supreme Court, in May 2021, had ruled that only Centre can do so. “
“More than half of the population in the country belongs to the backward class. The bill will be introduced, will be considered on and will be passed on the same day,” Kharge said.
With the Monsoon Session of the Parliament entering its final week, the opposition leaders on Monday met at the Chamber of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to chalk out a strategy to target the Central government over various issues including farmers’ protest, Pegasus spyware row, COVID-19 and inflation.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was also present at the meeting.
The members of Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and other opposition parties’ atttended the meeting.
Earlier on Wednesday, six TMC MPs were suspended from the Rajya Sabha after they created ruckus in the morning over the Pegasus spying issue.
Farmer unions and Opposition leaders have held demonstrations outside the Parliament demanding to scrap three farm laws.
Due to the uproar, both houses have been facing several adjournments.
Meanwhile, Congress MP Manish Tewari on Monday moved an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over the Pegasus report, an issue among others that has led to repeated adjournments of both the Houses of Parliament since the Monsoon Session commenced.
Monsoon Session began on a stormy note on July 19 amidst uproar from Opposition parties who did not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce newly-inducted Union ministers to the Parliament.

TMC opposes Centre’s Electricity Bill

Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], August 8 : Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to refrain from placing the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in Parliament and called the Bill as “anti-people”.
Goutam Deb, Chairman of Board of Administrators, Siliguri Municipal Corporation, said that chief minister Mamata Banerjee is rightly opposing the Centre’s move as it will hike electricity bills and will prove to be disastrous for the people. “The bill will create price hikes in the electricity and power sector and it will be disastrous. So this bill should be withdrawn immediately,” he said while attending a cultural programme on the occasion of Rabindranath Tagore’s 80th death anniversary on Saturday.
The bill will hit the economy of the country as electricity is the major component for the development, he said, ” The central government is taking strict action against people in all sectors. Electricity is the most important component for the development of the country. There are several components like domestic electricity, rural village electrification and commercial electricity for industrialisation. The bill will create price hikes in the electricity and power sector and it will be disastrous. So this bill should be withdrawn immediately.”
Banerjee had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 12 last year, expressing outrage over the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, which, she, said, was an attempt by the Centre to “destroy” the country’s federal structure.

Raise voice of ‘Annadatas’ from Parliament to streets: Priyanka Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Extending support to farmers’ protest and demanding repeal of the Centre’s farm laws, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday said it is the duty of the public to raise the voice of Annadatas from Parliament to the streets.


“Annadatas are the soul of our country. The people sitting in Parliament are in Parliament today because of these Annadatas. It is the duty of all of us to raise the voice of Annadatas from Parliament to the streets. We are with the farmers. Repeal the black law,” tweeted Vadra in Hindi. Earlier on Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders joined farmers at Jantar Mantar, Delhi to extend support in their protest against farm laws by raising slogans with a placard ‘Save Farmers, Save India’.


Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Ambika Soni, Gourav Gogoi and others were present at the protest at Jantar Mantar. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, RJD’s Manoj Jha, DMK’s T Siva also participated in the protest.


“Today all opposition parties have gathered here at Jantar Mantar to extend their support against ‘Kala Kanoon’ (farm laws)… We want a discussion over Pegasus, but they (Centre) are not letting it happen. Narendra Modi has intercepted every Indian’s phone,” Rahul Gandhi told.
Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar slammed the Opposition alleging that they want to be in the media’s limelight.


“If the Opposition is really concerned about farmers, then govt is ready to discuss the issues in both Houses. Why is the opposition not ready to talk? This shows they just want to be in the media’s limelight,” Tomar told.


The opposition parties have been forcing adjournments in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over their twin demands including repeal of three farm laws and probe into the allegations of surveillance.
The two Houses have been witnessing protests from the Opposition since the start of the monsoon session on July 19.


Farmers have been protesting on different borders on the National Capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farms Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Monsoon Session: Suspended TMC MP breaks glass pane in RS while trying to enter forcibly

New Delhi [India], August 5 : A Parliament Security Services (PSS) officer suffered minor injuries on Wednesday when Arpita Ghosh, one of the suspended Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs, broke the glass pane of a wooden door of the Rajya Sabha by smashing her mobile phone in a bid to forcibly enter the Upper House of Parliament.
The incident took place when the six suspended TMC MPs tried to forcibly enter the Rajya Sabha chamber after the House was adjourned at 3:15 p.m. According to a statement issued by the Parliament Security Service of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, the six TMC MPs, who were suspended on Wednesday including Bola Sen, Md. Nadimul Haque, Abir Ranjan Biswas, Shanta Chhetri, Arpita Ghosh and Mausam Noor, continued to raise anti-government slogans standing outside the Rajya Sabha chamber surrounded by the security personnel who were preventing them from entering the House.
The statement read, “When the Rajya Sabha House resumed at 2 pm, the afore-mentioned members gathered at the Snacks Counter near 30 Lobby of Rajya Sabha and tried to enter into the Rajya Sabha Chamber. Accordingly, when the PSS officials tried to stop them from entering the lobby of the Rajya Sabha, they started shouting slogans and kept themselves positioned at the Snacks counter during the remaining proceedings of the House.”
It further stated that after the adjournment of the House for the day, they immediately tried to enter into the Rajya Sabha Chamber. As per laid down procedures PSS was waiting for the members to vacate the Chamber so that requisite security checks of the Chamber could be done before allowing Sanitation staff to clean up the Chamber and sanitise the premises.
As a result, there was a heavy rush of the dispersing Members at the Lobby Gates, it said.
The statement mentioned that when the PSS officials tried to restrict them to enter the Chamber, the Members started creating ruckus and forcefully tried to enter into the Rajya Sabha Chamber.
It read, “While trying to gain forceful entry inside the Chamber, Arpita Ghosh, Hon’ble Member, broke the glass pane of the wooden door of Inner lobby (3rd Gate) of Rajya Sabha by smashing her mobile phone causing minor bruises/abrasions to Chander Kala, Assistant Section Officer (ASO).”
Thereafter, the ASO was immediately taken to the First Aid Post in the Central hall for necessary medical treatment, added the statement.
The Rajya Sabha was on Wednesday adjourned thrice, first till 2 pm, second for 15 minutes and finally, it was adjourned till Thursday 11 am.
The business of both the Houses of the Parliament remained majorly disrupted due to the continuous ruckus created by the Opposition over the issues including farmers’ protest, Pegasus spyware, COVID-19 and inflation.
The Monsoon Session commenced on July 19 and is scheduled to continue till August 13.

RS Opposition leaders to meet

New Delhi [India]: Rajya Sabha Floor leaders of “like-minded” Opposition parties will meet today at senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Mallikarjun Kharge’s office in Parliament at 10 am to chalk out floor strategy.
Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were adjourned repeatedly on Tuesday amid ruckus by Opposition members over several key issues. Earlier on Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called a breakfast meeting to discuss the strategy to take on the BJP-led government in the remaining part of the monsoon session of parliament on issues being raised by opposition including alleged surveillance through Pegasus spyware.
Amid the continuous ruckus created by the Opposition over the ‘Pegasus Project’ issue, both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been facing repeated adjournments during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament.
The two Houses have been witnessing protests from the Opposition since the start of the monsoon session on July 19.

Pegasus row: After breakfast meeting, Rahul Gandhi, Opposition leaders ride bicycles to Parliament

The Opposition has been demanding a discussion in Parliament on the Pegasus row and its leaders have been giving adjournment notices every day.

New Delhi, india, August 3 : Amid the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, the Opposition has signalled that it will harden its position and is drawing up plans to step up its offensive against the government over the Pegasus snooping issue. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is currently holding a meeting with opposition leaders over breakfast at the Constitution Club to chalk out a joint strategy on the Pegasus snooping issue.

At least 100 Opposition MPs are present at the Constitution Club. This includes NCP, National Conference, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, RJD, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPM, IUML, RSP, KCM, JMM and DMK. Aam Aadmi Party and BSP MPs have skipped the meet.

The meeting is being held to forge unity among the opposition ranks on the issue. Rahul Gandhi’s breakfast invitation assumes significance as it is seen as part of conscious efforts by him to engage non-NDA leaders and lead the front.

After the breakfast meeting, Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders rode bicycles to the Parliament.

The Opposition has been demanding a discussion in Parliament on the Pegasus row and its leaders have been giving adjournment notices every day. The government has been saying that the opposition is creating a “non-issue” and the IT minister has already given a reply in both Houses of Parliament.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday spoke to Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and sought his cooperation to end the impasse in the Parliament. 

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have failed to transact any significant business, except passage of some bills, amid continued protests by Opposition parties over the Pegasus since the Monsoon session of Parliament commenced on July 19. 

Bill to provide greater private participation in public sector insurance companies passed in Lok Sabha

New Delhi [India]: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill to provide greater private participation in the public sector insurance companies and to enhance insurance penetration and social protection.
The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed amid opposition protests over various issues including demand for a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who briefly spoke on the bill amid protests, termed it “anti-people and anti-national legislation.”
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman strongly refuted the charges and said the government was not snatching any rights.
“If they are serious, they should sit down, debate and ask questions. Since you are afraid that truth will come out, you don’t want discussion,” she said.
The bill seeks to amend General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 to “provide for greater private participation in the public sector insurance companies”.
It seeks to enhance insurance penetration and social protection and better secure the interests of policyholders and contribute to faster growth of the economy.
The bill seeks to remove proviso of the Act to remove the requirement that the Central Government holds not less than 51 per cent of the equity capital in a specified insurer.
Earlier, the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 was introduced in the House. It seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfers their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
The Rajya Sabha, which also witnessed protests by the opposition, passed the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021. It was earlier passed by Lok Sabha.
The Bill seeks to incorporate unified law for the country, instead of separate rules framed by the states. The registration certificate under the new law will be considered valid all over the country, and separate permissions from states shall not be required.

‘Opposition trying to hijack Proceedings’

New Delhi [India]: Slamming the Opposition parties, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday alleged that they are trying to hijack the proceedings of Parliament on the basis of fake and fabricated tales.
Speaking to ANI, Naqvi said, “There has been no rush in passing bills. Discussions have taken place in the Business Advisory Committee. Bills are circulated…Circulars are issued 48 hours in advance…It goes to all the members, which comes after writing in the business. But the problem is if you (Opposition party members) stay in the well instead of discussing or participating in the debate. May God give wisdom to the Opposition.” “We want the Opposition to debate or discuss the bills or any issue they want. But if you are in the well, then how will the bills get passed. The Opposition’s attempt to hijack the proceedings of Parliament is wrong. You should abide by the complete system of Parliament and participate in the debate and discussions,” added the union minister.
The BJP leader alleged that the Opposition is trying to disrupt the proceedings of the House on the basis of fake and fabricated tales.
Asked about TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen’s suspension for the remaining period of the Monsoon session, Naqvi said, “The Chairman will take his decision. The issue on which you have been creating a ruckus for so long when the IT Minister Ashwini ji was giving a statement on the matter… then there was the opportunity to raise questions. Instead, the TMC MP tore the papers. It is clear that their issue is far away from logic and facts. They are trying to disrupt the proceedings of the House on the basis of fake and fabricated tales.”
TMC MP Santanu Sen on July 23 snatched the statement on Pegasus matter from Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Rajya Sabha and tore it into pieces.
Following this, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had suspended TMC MP Santanu Sen for the remaining period of the ongoing Monsoon session.

“Khela Hobe” Across India!

Kolkata (West Bengal): The ‘Khela Hobe’ slogan will reverberate across India in the coming days, said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday.


Speaking at the launch of Khela Hobe programme at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Banerjee said, “Khela Hobe has become very popular. The slogan was raised in Parliament too. In the coming days, it will reverberate across India. We will celebrate August 16 as Khela Hobe Diwas.” During the event, Banerjee dribbled a football. She said, “We had granted Rs 5 lakh each to 25,000 clubs. We have done community development programs to take sports forward. I believe to take forward Khela Hobe we have to take it through sports. We will give one lakh footballs to the clubs in districts.”


The chief minister also launched ‘Swastha Ingit’ telemedicine services in all districts. She handed over appointment letters to Maoists who surrendered before the police.


Notably, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) poll slogan for the 2011 West Bengal elections “Khela
Hobe” became immensely popular and unofficially became the theme of the poll battle between Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party.


The West Bengal chief minister was in the national capital last week. She held meetings with the Opposition parties for forming a united front for the 2024 general elections. Banerjee also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.


Lyricist-poet Javed Akhtar and actor Shabana Azmi also met Banerjee in the national capital. West Bengal Chief Minister also had requested Javed Akhtar to write a song on ‘Khela Hobe’.


Aiming for 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee had said, “Poore desh me khela hoga (Now, the game is on across the country). It is a continuous process…When general elections come (2024), it will be Modi vs country.”

Rajnath reaches out to Opposition

New Delhi [India], August 2 : Amid repeated adjournments in the House, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called up the Leaders of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and sought their cooperation in running the House, sources informed on Monday.
“This morning, Rajnath Singh had called up the Leaders of Opposition in Rajya Sabha floor leaders and sought his cooperation in running the House. To which Opposition leaders said the government should discuss the issue raised by the Opposition, the Opposition is ready to cooperate with the government,” sources said. Further sources informed that the Opposition parties have given three agendas to the government, which is part of the discussion in both houses.
“The agenda includes, repealing of three agricultural laws, rise in inflation, prices of petrol diesel and essential commodities and discussion on issues of national security which is Pegasus snoop gate in the presence of Amit Shah and Prime Minister,” sources said.
Recently Piyush Goyal and Prahlad Joshi also met Opposition parties and asked to support the functioning of the House.
Meanwhile, the business of both the Houses of the Parliament has been disrupted due to the continuous ruckus created by the Opposition over the issues including farmers’ protest, Pegasus spyware, COVID-19, and inflation. 

Congress moves adjournment motion notice in LS over Pegasus issue

New Delhi [India]: Congress MP Manish Tewari on Monday gave adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha to discuss the ‘Pegasus Project’ issue.
Tewari in its notice said, “I hereby give notice of my intention to ask for leave to move a motion for the adjournment of the business of the house for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent importance, namely:- Reports have pointed out that the Government of India has procured the surveillance tool Pegasus developed by Israeli company NSO Group for surveillance of Journalists, Civil Society Activists, Politicians and Supreme Court Judges. Since the NSO Group’s policy is that clients are confined to “vetted governments” only it suggests that the spyware was used by the GoI and not any other private body. Reputed agencies like Citizen Lab have found traces of spyware on some of the devices that were attacked.” Congress MP further said, “it should be noted that this kind of surveillance classifies as hacking, which is what spyware does and it would very much qualify as “unauthorised interception” or hacking as per Information Technology Act, 2000.”
“The fact is that the government has not categorically denied that Pegasus has been used officially. Sir this is a matter of grave concern and therefore I wish to raise the same,” he added.
The Opposition has alleged that names of several Indian politicians, journalists, lawyers, and activists have appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware. This comes following reports published in The Wire.
The business of both the Houses of the Parliament remained majorly disrupted due to the continuous ruckus created by the Opposition over the issues including farmers’ protest, Pegasus spyware, COVID-19 and inflation.
The Monsoon Session commenced on July 19 and is scheduled to continue till August 13.

Cabinet Committees reorganised

New Delhi, Jul 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reorganised the Cabinet Committees by including new ministers, as per a notification issued by Cabinet Secretariat.

The development comes against the backdrop of a massive Cabinet rejig by Mr Modi last week.

According to the notification on Monday, Minister of Textile Arjun Munda, Dr Virendra Kumar, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kiren Rijiju, Minister of Law and Justice and Anurag Thakur, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, have found a place in Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.

Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development, Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways; Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of Health and Family Welfare; Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Labour and Employment, have been included in Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth will also have Narayan Tatu Rane, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation and Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Education; Mr Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways and Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Labour and Employment, are now a part of the Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development.

Mr Modi, however, kept the composition of the Cabinet Committee on Security and Appointments Committee of the Cabinet unchanged.

The cabinet committees come under the Union Cabinet to discuss, debate and take decisions on certain issues including security, appointments, economy and parliamentary affairs.

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