Rajya Sabha passes Disabilities Bill

Top Developments
  1. There are only three days remaining in the winter session.
  2. Rajya Sabha takes up the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill.
  3. Ruckus in the Lok Sabha leads to adjournment till tomorrow.
  4. MoS Kiren Rijiju is greeted with shouts from Opposition benches when he rises to lay a paper.
  5. Standing Committee report on the Land Acquisition Bill has been postponed to the last day of Budget session

Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day following ruckus. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned due to Opposition uproar over controversy involving Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and the Lok Sabha was adjourned by the Speaker following uproar over demonetisation issue.

Only three days (including Wednesday) remain for the winter session of Parliament to end and almost no business has been conducted so far. The Income Tax amendment Bill alone was passed in the Lok Sabha as a money Bill, barring which a number of Bills were only tabled and not taken up for discussion.

Discussion on demonetisation was listed almost everyday in the Rajya Sabha, only to face disruptions every time the topic was taken up.

But this session has been remarkable for four reasons. Here is why.

Here are the updates of the day:

Rajya Sabha | 2.44 p.m.

Congress leader Anand Sharma rises to speak about the allegations against Minister Kiren Rijiju. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien asks him to go according to rules for making allegations. "You cannot suo moto raise an allegation," he says.

Shouting of slogans begins. Minister Arun Jaitley says the government has examined every allegation and challenges the Opposition for a debate.

Chair quotes the rules: "No allegation can be made against a member without prior intimation to the Chairman. If it is not given, it cannot be raised."

Mr. Sharma says that this is not an allegation. "This has come out in national media."

"Both sides are indulging in indiscipline," says Mr Kurien.

The House is adjourned till tomorrow.

Rajya Sabha | 2.30 p.m.

Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) raises the issue of definition of certain disabilities. "Who is the competent authority to judge what is a disability?" he asks.

Thawar Chand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, replies that the Medical Board will decide on that.

Members rise to ask for clarifications.

Mr. Gehlot moves that the Bill as amended be passed. The Bill is passed.

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Rajya Sabha | 2 p.m.

House reconvenes. Clause by clause consideration and voting of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill continues.

"Every clause, you have an amendment," says the Deputy Chairman. Voting continues.

Lok Sabha | 12 noon

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallows all adjournment notices by Opposition. Papers are laid on the table. Presentation of the standing committee report on the Land Acquisition Bill postponed.

Loud shouts emerge from the Opposition as Minister Kiren Rijiju lays a report on Home Affairs.

Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD raises the issue of arrest in the Agusta Westland case. "This government is politically victimising the Air Marshall," he says.

Ruckus ensues in the House. Shouting of slogans intensifies even as members speak.

The House is adjourned till tomorrow.

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Rajya Sabha | 12 noon

Question hour begins. Vice President takes the Chair. Interruptions begin. "Please don't introduce a Jekyll and Hyde personality in the House. We have been functioning well. Let us continue," says Mr. Ansari.

"All that will happen is that the Chair will adjourn the House. Is that of any benefit to you?" he asks.

"It seems they don't want anything else except that Bill to happen," says Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

The House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

Rajya Sabha | 11.45 a.m.

Discussion on amendments to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill begins.

"Remove the clause that this does not apply to posts that require people who aren't disabled," says Mr. Yechury. Minister ensures that Rules will make sure that this is diluted. Clause by clause consideration continues.

"Reservation should be based on cadre strength, not on number of vacancies meant to be filled," says Mr. yechury. Mr. Gehlot says he will try to ensure this in the Rules. The rest of the amendments will be taken up at 2 p.m. says the Chair.

Rajya Sabha | 11.30 a.m.

The House takes up the Disabilities Bill, moved by Mr. Gehlot. "Fifty-nine suggestions from the standing commitee have been accepted. The number of categories of disabled are to be increased for physical as well as mental disabilities. I thank the House for agreeing to pass it even without discussion," says Mr. Gehlot.

"We are fulfilling a national and global commitment. I myself have lived with a locomotive disability," says Karan Singh of the Congress. "People should realise that the disabled need to be treated with special courtesy."

Naresh Agrawal of the Samajwadi Party says, "Simplify the definition of disabled. It should be easier to attain the certificate. I support the Bill."

Nadimul Haque of the Trinamool Congress, "We welcome the number of disabled categories being increased from seven to 21. We support the Bill."

C.P. Narayanan of the CPI(M) says, "Though the conditions of the Bill are good, the government seems to have brought in clauses that may curtail the rights of the disabled. That is my fear."

Narendra Kumar Swain of the BJD says he supports the Bill. Satish Mishra of the BSP says that the term should be "differently abled" and not "disabled." The Mayawati government in U.P., he says, was the first to give 50 per cent reservation for persons with disabilities at Shakuntala Mishra University. He supports the Bill.

Vijaysai Reddy of the YSR Congress says reservation should be increased to five per cent from four per cent.

Mr. Gehlot replies that 12,672 of 15,691 vacancies for persons with disabilities have been filled since 2014. "We are making universal identity cards for them. They will get their rights. We have given four per cent reservation, up from three per cent."

Clause by clause consideration and voting of the Bill begins.

Rajya Sabha | 11.15 a.m.

The Deputy Chairman says the cyclone issue can be taken up now. The Disabilities Bill may be taken up after that.

CPI's D. Raja speaks about the devastation caused by cyclone Vardah. "Chennai city and several districts remain in darkness. At a time when people are suffering due to demonetisation, this has added to their miseries."

DMK's Tiruchi Siva says the commercial loss due to the cyclone is estimated to be about Rs. 8,000 crore. "The Centre has to send an expert team to assess the losses."

Subramanian Swamy agrees. P. Chidambaram says, "I compliment for positioning the NDRF in advance and making available Army columns. They should respond to the TN government's request for aid."

"Make sure ATMs and bank branches are replenished in Tamil Nadu so people can draw their own money," says Mr. Chidambaram.

Arun Jaitley says, "The government shares their concerns. Whatever needs to be done immediately, I will have a discussion with the government and take a decision."

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Rajya Sabha | 11 a.m.

Proceedings begin. Mr. Ansari takes the Chair. The House begins with an obituary reference to Shiv Lal Valmiki, MP from 1981-82.

Papers are laid on the table. Mr. Kurien takes the Chair.

Shouting of slogans begins every time Mr. Rijiju rises to lay a paper on the table.

Opposition members ask for the Disabilities Bill to be taken up immediately. LoP Ghulam Nabi Azad wants it to be passed today without discussion.

Lok Sabha | 11 a.m.

House reconvenes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is present in the House. Opposition members begin raising slogans. Question hour begins.

The House is adjourned till noon.

Today's list of business

Rajya Sabha

- Discussion on demonetisation of currency.

- The Appropriation (No. 4) Bill, 2016.

- The Appropriation (No. 5) Bill, 2016.

- The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014.

- The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014.

- The Employee's Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

- The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016.

- The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Lok Sabha

- The report of the joint committee on the Land Acquisition Bill may be presented only on the last day of the Budget session. In July, the presentation was pushed to the last day of the winter session.

- The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

- The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

- The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016.

- The Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016.

- The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016.

- Discussion under rule 193 on demonetisation of currency.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:12:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Rajya-Sabha-passes-Disabilities-Bill/article16803919.ece

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