Live Parliament budget session, March 15, 2017

The Lok Sabha discusses Agriculture Ministry’s demands for grants and passes that of the Rail Ministry.

March 15, 2017 10:49 am | Updated 08:34 pm IST

BJP MP Hukmdev Narayan Yadav speaks during the discussion for demands of Agriculture Ministry, in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

BJP MP Hukmdev Narayan Yadav speaks during the discussion for demands of Agriculture Ministry, in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Disruptions by the Congress benches on Wednesday led to the non-functioning of the Rajya Sabha. Opposition Members had a productive discussion on the suicide of Muthukrishnan, the JNU scholar, with the government committing itself to action.

But, slogans were raised against the formation of BJP governments in Goa and Manipur, leading to repeated adjournments. The Treasury benches too shouted slogans in response. The Lok Sabha, on the other hand, has seen discussions on the demand for grants of the Railway and Agriculture Ministries.

Here are the updates:

8 p.m.: After Mr. Dhotre’s speech, Speaker adjourns the House for the day.

7.42 p.m.: Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre (BJP, Akola, Maharashtra) says soil testing is as important as we do our CT scan and x-ray. Lok Sabha TV takes its time to display the name of the participant and makes it very difficult to look for background and other details. U.P. election is an endorsement of the government's good schemes, he says. "Note ban has become vote ban for Opposition."

7.40 p.m.: Since Lok Sabha TV provides no translation from Telugu, or for that matter from any other regional language, we regret we are unable to provide the update on a TDP member's Telugu speech. 

7.15 p.m.: Arvind Ganpat Sawant (Shiv Sena, Mumbai-South) asks why farmers commit suicide in Maharashtra, and Telangana, despite the good schemes of the Centre. He cites the farmer not getting the right price for his produce, land dispossession and urbanisation as reasons.

Mr. Sawant moves on to climate change and chemical fertilisers and their effect on agriculture. Arsenic is present in Ganga's water and will enter food chain also, he says.

When reminded by the Speaker about the time, Mr. Sawant tells he he's the only speaker to raise the impact of climate change on agriculture.

7.10 p.m.: BJD MP Nagendra Kumar Pradhan highlights the gap between planning and implementation by quoting a statistic on an irrigation project: " It started in 1978, Rs. 9,000 crore has been spent and still not completed. Now, it will need another Rs. 3000 crore."

 

6.45 p.m.: Tapas Mandal (Trinamool, Ranaghat, WB) says demonetisation hit farmers hard and criticises the Centre for talking high about schemes when no steps are taken to reach a majority of the farmers.  Farmer suicides account for over 11% of all suicides he says adding we are undergoing a huge agricultural crisis. 

Dr. Mandal's reeling out statistics with is no surprise as he holds a PhD in Horticulture.

You are saying sabka saath, sabka vikas. But in this vikas WB is not present," he says. Concludes his well-researched speech with a Bengali quote telling the Treasury benches to be humble while riding the high horse (of victory).

6.35 p.m.: J. Jayavardhan (AIADMK, Chennai South), son of Tamil  Nadu Finance and Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, seeks to draw attention to the drought situation in his home State. Puts blame on non-release of water by Karnataka. Surprise to see no protests.  The young MP seeks immediate relief from the Centre.

Dr. Jayavardhan, India's youngest MP, concludes immediate release of funds for Agriculture and Fisheries as demanded by Tamil Nadu.

6.30 p.m.: The BJP member praises Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for implementing prohibition. 

6.15 p.m.: Hukmdev Narayan Yadav, BJP MP from Bihar’s Madhubani and two-time MoS for Agriculture, quoting statistics asks where have our farmers gone? He says farmers became farm workers and other labourers in the previous regimes.

6.10 p.m.: Speaker extends sitting till 8 p.m. despite LOP Mallikarjun Kharge’s request that it would be good if it's extended till 7 p.m. Speaker, however, says sitting will end early if members desire so.

5.41 p.m.: Discussion begins on demands for grants of the Agriculture Ministry.

5.40 p.m.: Lok Sabha passes demands for grants relating to Railways Ministry.

5.39 p.m.: Speaker is now putting cut motions to vote and they were rejected.

5.36 p.m.: Functional autonomy of the railways is maintained without any dilution, Mr. Prabhu says. Concludes speech with thumping of desks from the Treasury and protests from the Opposition.

5.34 p.m.: Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai intervenes and reminds the Minister that such tabling of each and every document is unncessary.

5.08 p.m.: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu responds to the discussion. Says he's fortunate to have a former Rail Minister in the Chair. He was MoS during UPA-II. We have plans to invest Rs. 3,50,000 crore in railways, he says. "But where to invest," he asks. 16% network handles 60% of freight traffic he says, adding investment will be made in doubling and trebling in such routes. Till 2014 only 15,000 km new route added, but we have plans to add over 12,000 km, he says. We are using drones to monitor dedicated freight corridor, Mr. Prabhu says as he reels out statistics. Our major problem is we are not investing where it is needed and steps are being taken to mitigate this, he says. He tables studies on railway infra growth and strategy in the House.

He's back to quoting China's numbers while talking about rail reforms.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu replies to the discussion on the demands for grants in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu replies to the discussion on the demands for grants in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

 

“We have scaled up to issue 15,000 tickets a minute from 2,000," the Rail Minister says. Concrete plan has been devised to significantly to save on energy spending, he adds.

Perhaps he's taking the opportunity to talk about his Ministry's exhaustive plans in the absence of a separate Rail Budget. 

 

5.03 p.m.: K.C. Venugopal (Congress, Alappuzha), as Member, Railway Convention Committee, raises the issue of railway safety. There should be sufficient fund for railway safety and the Finance Ministry should provide it, he says. He quotes numbers to draw attention to the amount spent for development of railways in his home State of Kerala.

4.59 p.m.: Barring very exceptions, speakers refuse to conclude in time and keep on tabling demands. Very understandable as they can score their brownie points back in their home turfs.

4.55 p.m.: Shailesh Kumar Urph Bulo Mandal, RJD MP from Bhagalpur, refuses to budge and keeps on speaking even after the chair calls the next speaker. Mr. Kumar forcefully asks why the Rail division in Bhagalpur was shelved even after bhumi puja by Lalu Prasad during his reign as Rail Minister.

4.50 p.m.: TDP's Srikakulam MP Rammohan Naidu Kinjarapu, son of late TDP leader K. Yerran Naidu, reiterates the "long-pending" demand for a separate railway zone with HQ in Vizag. He also demands a direct train from Vizag to Varanasi.

4.45 p.m.: Ravindra Kumar Pandey (BJP, Giridih) praises the move to merge the rail budget with general one.

4.35 p.m.: Ratlam MP Kanthilal Bhuria of the Congress , CPI(M) member Badaruddoza Khan from Murshidabad speak during the discussion on grants for the Railway Ministry. Like many other members they raise rail issues linked to their constituencies. Mr. Bhuria was cut short by K.H. Muniyappa, who is on the chair, as the former went on speak even after repeated reminders.

4 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Mr. Rai says Sikkim is the only state that doesn't have the railways yet, and that must be corrected soon.

Dharam Vira Gandhi of the AAP speaks next.

"Sealdah and Howrah Duranto should stop at Gaya as it attracts many tourists," says Sushil Kumar Singh of the BJP.

K.H. Muniyappa, who is in the Chair says the time allotted, which was eight hours is now over. Dushyant Chautala of the INLD speaks next. He says that the Dimu and Humsafar trains should cover Hisar.

Jose K. Mani of the Kerala Congress (M) speaks now.

3.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

N.K. Premachandran says the Ministry is relying too much on external budgetary resources like joint ventures and FDI. "The resources of the profit-making PSUs can be used for enhancing the Indian Railways." Bhairon Prasad Mishra of the BJP is up next.

Shiv Sena's Shrirang Appa Barne speaks about the needs of his constituency Maval in Maharashtra. P.C. Mohan, the BJP MP from Bangalore Central speaks next. Prem Das Rai of the Sikkim Democratic Front congratulates the ruling party on their win in the Assembly elections.

3 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Slogan shouting commences almost immediately. House adjourned till tomorrow.

2.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

It's Deputy Speaker Thambidurai's birthday and Members wish him. Kaushalendra Kumar of the JD(U) speaks now. "Under Nitish Kumar, the Railways were successful. Under Lalu Prasad, the Railways did so well that Harvard referred to it."

M.K. Raghavan of the Congress speaks next. He speaks about cleanliness, food safety and women's safety. He also speaks of lack of sufficient staff for track maintenance.

Darshana Vikram Jardosh of the BJP takes her turn to speak.

2.15 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Rajesh Ranjan asks for a special coach for women in every train. Sharad Tripathi of the BJP speaks next. "More than Rs. 8,500 crore has been allocated for new lines in this Budget."

2 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Ghulam Nabi Azad says nothing has been done in places where they (BJP) got a majority to form a government, but in places where the Congress got the majority they have moved fast.

Leader of the House Arun Jaitley replies that there are two options in front of the Governor — to either invite the single largest party or call anyone who can claim to form a coalition.

"This is clear in the President's communique in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's time in 1998 as well. These arguments were disallowed by the Supreme Court yesterday."

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien takes the Chair. Slogan shouting commences. House is adjourned till 3 p.m.

1.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Karimganj MP Radheshyam Biswas speaks about the issues Assam and the North-East faces. The BJP's Kamakhya Prasad Tasa speaks next. Kerala Congress' Anto Antony registers his concern about the Railway Budget being merged with the Union Budget.

He goes on to list Kerala's railway-specific demands. Chandra Prakash Joshi of the BJP speaks next, followed by Ram Kumar Sharma Kushwaha of the RLSP.

1 p.m.: Lok Sabha

AIADMK MP G. Hari speaks next. "Tamil Nadu has been making a request to create a dedicated freight corridor between Chennai and Thoothukudi." He continues to speak about Tamil Nadu's demands and needs.

Rvindra Kumar Ray of the BJP is up next. "Jharkhand's railway lines have been developed only for transporting the minerals, not people."

12.45 p.m.: Lok Sabha

"The combining of the Budget has been seen by many as belittling the importance of the Railways in India," says Mr. Anwar. He speaks about the needs of Katihar, his constituency. "Railways does not have the resources to implement the pay commission recommendations."

12.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Dr. Meinya speaks about no proper rail connectivity in Manipur and Goa. Ganesh Singh of the BJP rises to speak next, followed by Tariq Anwar of the NCP.

12.20 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

The House reconvenes. Slogans are raised again. House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

12.20 p.m.: Lok Sabha

The issue of Muthukrishnan's suicide is taken up. Ananth Kumar responds to the Members' concerns. "Now the postmortem is on and the Delhi Police is investigating into the matter. Suitable action will be taken."

Demand for grants under Railway Ministry is taken up by Raman Deka. He begins speaking on issues that Assam faces. M. Thambidurai, Deputy Speaker is in the Chair. Manipur Congress MP Thokchom Meinya speaks next.

12 noon: Lok Sabha

Sushma Swaraj is back in the House. Mallikarjun Kharge welcomes her back and wishes her a healthy and long life. Papers are laid on the table.

She speaks about hate crimes against Indians in the U.S. "We haven't issued a travel advisory yet."

Speaker disallows all notices of adjournment. There will be no Zero Hour today. Matters under rule 377 to be raised now.

12 noon: Rajya Sabha

Chairman Hamid Ansari takes the Chair. Question Hour begins.

Ghulam Nabi Azad trues to raise the issue of government formation in Goa and Manipur. Treasury Benches agitate. House is adjourned for 15 minutes.

11.45 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

Mr. Yechury also says the HRD Minister should make a statement. "Why are Dalit students committing suicide? Crimes against Dalits has increased under this government."

Nirmala Sitharaman responds. "This is a very sensitive issue. I met with the father and the guardian of the boy. I also spoke to student leaders. We have directed the police that the FIR should be filed by 12 noon and copies should be handed out. The students and well-wishers asked us why the SC/ST Act could not be invoked. We asked the police why abetment to suicide has not been included. The police has said unless there is a doubtful statement, they won't be able to include it."

"We have asked them to invoke these sections without naming any names. Thorat committee recommendations were not considered for improving the conditions of these students."

"I have reported to the Home Minister. We are committed to make universities better places for students."

Chair asks the Minister if there is discrimination against SC/ST students in universities. "The government should also look into this aspect."

K.K. Ragesh of the CPI(M) raises the issue of an RSS leader offering Rs. one crore to kill Pinarayi Vijayan. "He also threatened to kill CPI(M) activists from Kerala. Three months back the Kerala CM was to speak in Bhopal and due to protests by the saffron brigade, the state government asked the CM not attend the programme. In Mangaluru too, the saffron brigade had called for a hartal, but the people of Mangaluru did not allow that. In Hyderabad too on March 19, the CM has an event and there are saffron leaders saying they will not allow it. Who are they to allow it?"

11.30 a.m.: Lok Sabha

Next Question is on skill development of women. Ranjeet Ranjan of the Congress asks, "In Bihar, how many are women reached by PMKVY?"

Mr. Rudy says, "We have not done specific skill gap assessment for women but overall for Bihar we've floated a tender to assess the gap."

General V.K. Singh answers a question on the government's contribution to the UN Budget. "Our contribution has increased because it's dependent on GNI and the GNI has increased."

11.30 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Slogan shouting continues. "Honourable shouting Members," Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien addresses the slogan shouters.

Sitaram Yechury says he agrees with Anand Sharma. Chair asks them to move a motion of they want a discussion on the issue.

D. Raja continues. "There should be order."

"A Dalit scholar studying in JNU died in a pathetic manner. How could he take such an extreme step? Why is there discrimination in our central universities? I appeal to the government to undertake a thorough probe. We have to look at long-term issues too, like the admission policy."

Tiruchi Siva of the DMK says, "Rohith Vemula committed suicide. Muthukrishnan was found dead hanging from a ceiling fan. Dalit students have economic deprivation and social discrimination. There was no suicide note and no reason for this untimely death."

Ram Gopal Yadav says the HRD Minister should be in the House to explain this issue.

Kanimozhi speaks next. "Why would a young man, who got into JNU after struggling for a year, end up like this?" She quotes Umar Khalid. Ali Anwar Ansari of the JD(U) says there is discrimination in universities.

11.20 a.m.: Lok Sabha

Rajiv Pratap Rudy asnwers a question on banks giving loans to MSMEs. Raksha Nikhil Khadase of the BJP next asks a question on skill development.

11.15 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

D. Raja asks, "Where is the order in the House? There is discrimination against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in our central universities."

House is adjourned until 11.30 a.m.

11 a.m.: Lok Sabha

Question Hour resumes in Lok Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the House. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan makes obituary reference to B.V.N. Reddy.

The first question is on the Bharat Net project in collaboration with the AP fibre net project.

11 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

The Upper House reconvenes after a long weekend. Papers are laid on the table.

Congress leaders protest. Anand Sharma calls it a blatant violation of democratic principles. Another member Satyavrat raises the issue of fishermen captured by Pakistan. "Home Minister should make a statement here."

Zero Hour begins.

P.L. Punia says that Ambedkar had said social and economic equality is a challenge. "In 1980, Indira Gandhi brought SC sub plan and ST sub-plan. In this Budget, that has been ended. It should be non-lapsable and non-divertable."

Anand Sharma congratulates the BJP for winning in UP. "In elections, the mandate is accepted and respected by all. In Manipur too, the Congress won. In Goa, the Congress emerged as the single largest party in Goa. Under law and under the Constitution, there is a position that if there is no clear majority, the Governor is obliged to first invite the leader of the largest party. The second largest party will be given an opportunity only after that. A party which has won a big state is stealing MLAs."

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says the Congress does not have the grace required in a loss. D. Raja tries to raise the issue of Muthukrishnan's suicide. Congress Members crowd the well of the House  shouting slogans. Treasury Benches too raise slogans.

10.45 a.m.:Listed business for the day

Rajya Sabha

- Discussion on the Union Budget 2017-18 - Discussion on the working of the Railway Ministry - Members to seek clarification on statements made by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on incidents in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh on March 7 and 8, respectively - Hansraj Gangaram Ahir to make a statement on the Sukma attack

Lok Sabha

- Discussion on the Union Budget 2017-18 - Discussion and voting on demand for grants under the Agriculture Ministry

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