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Government urged to address drought situation

The Congress on Wednesday sought a discussion on the AgustaWestland helicoper deal in the Lok Sabha, saying allegations have been levelled against its leadership.

As soon as the House took up question hour, Congress leader of the House Mallikarjun Kharge said all newspapers have the news item on the VVIP helicopter deal and allegations have been levelled against party leaders.

“Names have appeared. We will have to think about it. We should discuss,” he said without naming AgustaWestland.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the issue could be raised after question hour.

The Congress has maintained that the UPA government had taken action once reports of wrongdoings and allegations of corrupt practices surfaced in 2013.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also rejected allegations linking her and her party leaders in the AgustaWestland chopper deal bribes. "I am not afraid, accusations they are levelling at us are false," she said.

Besides cancelling the deal, the UPA had blacklisted AgustaWestland and confiscated the guarantee money. But the NDA government, the party said, had now removed the Italian company from the blacklist.

Live updates:

7.40 pm: The House stands adjourned till 11 a.m. tomorrow.

7.30 pm: The House passes The Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015 & The Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015.

7.26 pm: I thank all the members and the chair, for supporting The Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, said D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Law and Justice.





7.18 pm: Sadananda Gowda wishes to become the repeal minister and we support him, said Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu, INC, Telangana.

7.12 pm: We aren't satisfied with the minister's reply on drought, says Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and walks out of the House.

7.00 pm: Jharkand has been given enough amount to face the drought situation, says the Agriculture Minister in Rajya Sabha.

6.40 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned till 11 a.m. tomorrow.

6.38 pm: "With regard to MGNREGA, we cannot deny that the rich became richer and the poor became poorer," says Radha Mohan Singh, Agriculture Minister in Rajya Sabha.

6.13 pm: In the lower house, Jitendra Singh MoS (Ind Charge), Development of North Easter Region said that the air connectivity within the northeastern states is less than the other areas.

6.02 pm: Radha Mohan Singh, Minister of Agriculture said in the Upper House that the drought situation has always been monitored and many states have been sanctioned money to face such a situation.

6.00 pm: Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati said in Rajya Sabha while replying on drought debate that country will not suffer from drought in future as govt is working to join all rivers in the country and also launching various schemes to save ground water. "It was Baba Sahib Ambedkar's dream to make India drought free. Prime minister Narendra Modi will fulfill this dream of Centre Water Ways Irrigation and Navigation Commission."

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

5.45 pm: In Rajya Sabha, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti says that Rs. 10,364 crores have been given to Maharashtra. "The govt now has been working towards development," she added.

5.29 pm: Sikkim is now an organic State. The government can do a lot by supporting this venture, said Prem Das Rai, SDF, Sikkim, in the Lok Sabha.

5.14 pm: "Our State needs help during the drought situation," says Balwinder Singh Bunder, SAD, Punjab, in the Rajya Sabha.

5.12 pm: For many years, Northeast has been discriminated, says Rajesh Ranjan (Pappu Yadav), RJD, Madhepura (Bihar) in Lok Sabha.

5.00 pm: Northeast is rich in resources but Nagaland remains backward, says Neiphiu Rio, NPF, Nagaland in Lok Sabha.

4.27 pm: In the Rajya Sabha, CPI member D. Raja says Centre govt failed to anticipate the drought situation and had no plans to mitigate the situation. It was after Supreme court intervention that the govt responded. The Govt should have a proactive approach towards dealing drought, than waiting and watching for monsoon.

4.22 pm: "Tripura is the most peaceful and the most corruption-free place in India. BJP govt is trying its best to develop the northeast," said Ram Prasad Sarmah.

4.15 pm: "Air connectivity to Northeast has been enhanced. Road connectivity has now been taken up," said Ram Prasad Sarmah, BJP Tezpur (Assam) in the Lok Sabha.

3.45 pm: "I feel that a minister should go to Northeast and develop these areas," said Saugata Roy, Trinamool Congress, in the Lok Sabha. "Development is the need of this country. Northeast is not the place for political manipulation," he added.

3.40 pm: CPI(M) member Tapan Kumar Sen of the Rajya Sabha asks the Centre to respond quickly to demands from States and address issues surrounding drought.

3.29 pm: BSP member Rajpal Singh Saini asks the govt to waive of farmers loan while participating in the drought debate in the Rajya Sabha.

3.16 pm: JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav says the government should fulfil its promise to provide irrigation urgently across the country during the ongoing debate on current situation in the country arisen out of drought, in the Rajya Sabha.

3.00 pm: BJD leader Tathagata Satpathy said in the Lok Sabha that Indians were lucky in a way that colonialism gave them Northeast, calling it "a beautiful part of the world." "But for 50 years we have had AFSPA there. We have killed several thousand people there. AFSPA has been a biggest deterrent for integrating the youth of northeast with the rest of India." He demands the revocation of AFSPA from the Northeast.

2.59 pm: Ajay Sancheti, BJP, Maharashtra, says in the Rajya Sabha that irrigation and river-linking have gained momentum.

2.47 pm: Marathwada is being called as 'Tankerwada' since we've been using tankers for water, says Ranjani Patil, INC, Maharashtra, in the Rajya Sabha.

2.40 pm: “Right now, 11 states are facing drought-like conditions. Whether in states or at the Centre, where there are different political parties, we must face the situation. We must rise above political lines and face the situation together,” former Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar said during a short debate on drought in the Upper House.

2.20 pm: Rajya Sabha proceedings resume.

BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy addressing the media in Parliament. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

1:55 pm: Concessional credit of up to Rs 30 lakh is extended to notified minorities by the National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) under the term loan scheme for economically viable venture, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

“Skilling, re-skilling, up-skilling of the target group is also undertaken under the vocational training scheme of NMDFC leading to employment of trainees,” Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said during Question Hour.

1.05 pm: Congress members object to Thakur's statement. The Lok Sabha adjourned till 2.05 p.m.

1.03 pm: 2007 UPSC question was on contributions of "revolutionary terrorists" in freedom struggle. There should be discussion on distortion of history: Thakur

1.00 pm: The Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm >Read more

12.52 pm: BJP MP Anurag Thakur raises issue of a Delhi University book mentioning freedom fighter Bhagat Singh as "revolutionary terrorist".

12.50 pm: BJP member raises issue of Chinese string used to fly kites, citing one recent death in Meerut due to electrocution. Despite restrictions, owing to ambiguous definition of standards, the Chinese item being allowed.

12.47 pm: BJP member Shared Bansode address LS in Marathi, raises issue of bidi industry, plight of women and other workers.

12.45 pm: Maharashtra Class 7 book does not reflect the true contributions by Chhatrapati Shivaji, only five sentences on him: alleges MP Baburao

12.39 pm: LS speaker on adjournment motion moved by Congress Member Kharge:The issue already discussed, so denied. Congress Members protest.

12.36 pm: U.S. and UK government conducting probe into investments by Sequoia Capital in those countries: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey.

12.33 pm: ED is probing suspected foreign exchange violation against Vasan Group.

12.32 pm: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey raises issue of Vasan Healthcare issue alleging there was illegal transaction of Rs.223 crore.



Congress leader Ahmed Patel addressing the media on the Augusta Westland issue. Photo: R.V Moorthy


12.25 pm: Would like to know whether a meeting took place between 2 PMs as cited in a newspaper, was a deal struck?, asks Ghulam Nabi Azad.





12.20 pm: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has rejected allegations linking her and her party leaders in the AgustaWestland chopper deal bribes. "I am not afraid, accusations they are levelling at us are false," says Ms. Gandhi (PTI)

12.14 pm: BJP MP Ajay Mishra raises issues of unavailability of pharmacy in rural areas.

12.05 pm: Those who moved adjournment motions raise objections to speaker's statement.

12.04 pm: Adjournment motions by several members on different issues do not warrant interruption of important proceedings: LS speaker

12.03 pm: Owaisi objects to the Minister's statement that his wife could also take loan under the scheme. She clarifies she did not mean any disrespect.

12.00: Lok Sabha's Question Hour wraps up.

11.58 am: Handloom and weaving industry to benefit from the Standup India scheme: government

11.56 am: BJP mp Kirit Somaiya also raises the issue of problems faced by minorities in availing benefits under National Minorities Development Scheme.

11.55 am: Under this scheme, whatever new innovations happen, will be promoted. Innovation in any area and by whoever, irrespective of any religion, to be promoted Government.

11.50 am: Government: the policies have been launched recently, all data not received. Objection by MP Owaisi and some other members removed.

11.49 am: AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi: Is government launching schemes for Muslims and minorities under Startup India, Stand-up India policy ?

11.47 am: Three moving towers installed by PSU inside parliament, user base increasing gradually:Telecom Minister

11.46 am: Telecom Minister: Declining trend, because of losses, market share declined. In 2015, it has increased and hope to touch 10 per cent market share.



Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar addressing the media on the Augusta Westland Issue inside Parliament complex. Photo: R.V. Moorthy


11.45 am: Rajya Sabha adjourns again till noon as Cong uproar continues over Swamy's remarks. (PTI)

11.40 am: MTNL which registered huge profits, in one decade recorded huge losses. In 2015 it recorded profit: Telecom Minister

11.37 am: What caused losses in PSU MTNL between 2008-14, asks BJP leader. For the first time in five years, BSNL profit at Rs.672 crore, user base increased significantly.

11.35 am: The Natural Resources Data Management system (for analysis of data to address various kinds of natural disasters and effective use of resources) to be implemented at national level, right now it covers 160 districts. States will have to adopt new technology and share data: Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Minister

11.27 am: Rajya Sabha adjourned following Congress uproar over certain remarks by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy.

11.25 am: Uproar in Rajya Sabha by Congress, house adjourned till 11:35 am. (ANI)

11.24 am: High speed train Tejas to be launched in six months. Bullet train will bring along new technology: Suresh Prabhu

11.11 am: Government policy is to promote nuclear power: MOS Jitendra Singh

11.10 am: Issue of March 11 coolant leakage at Kakrapar atomic power station raised by Opposition members, government says was a minor incident

11.00 am: Lok Sabha proceedings begin. PM Modi present in Lok Sabha.

Following is today’s business in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha:



Lok Sabha:

Rajya Sabha:

The Budget (General) Second stage:

Bill for consideration and passing:

Discussion and voting on Demands for Grants of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.

The Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015.

Discussion and voting on Demands for Grants of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

The Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015.



The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016.



The Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015


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