The monsoon session of Parliament began on Wednesday with the government gearing to face a no-trust motion moved by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a former ally of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The second crucial challenge for the government would be the election of Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha as P.J. Kurien’s tenure has ended last month. While election was not mentioned in the first half of Monday's session in the Upper House, all parties are keeping their cards close to their chests since the BJP doesn’t enjoy a majority in the House.
Also read: The long list of Bills pending in Parliament
Here are the live updates:
Prakash Javadekar rises to reply and says that there is no plan to remove children from schools. He says that in certain States there is a shortage of teachers, but the number is sufficient in many States.
He says that the midday meal scheme is the world’s most successful scheme.
The motion for consideration of the Bill is adopted, and clause-by-clause consideration is now taken up.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017 has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
After N.K. Premachandran moves that the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance be disapproved, Union Minister Piyush Goyal moves that The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Mallikarjun Kharge accuses the government of introducing Ordinances to bypass the Parliament. House is adjourned till Thursday, July 19, 2018.
Mr. Puri moves that the Bill be passed.
Mr. Roy asks if the Bill contradicts the Supreme Court verdict that a landowner should get double the market price. The Minister assures him that the government will honour the law.
Tiruchi Siva says land mostly belongs to the poor and farmers. When that is the only source of livelihood for them, will the compensation be according to the 2013 Act, the Supreme Court verdict, or this Bill, he asks. He also requests the government to not infringe upon the rights of the States.
The motion to pass the Bill is adopted and clause-by-clause consideration is taken up.
The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Special Mentions are being made now.
House is adjourned till Thursday, July 19, 2018.
Bhairon Prasad Mishra says that in Uttar Pradesh, under the Adityanath government, schools have better infrastructure.
Have you verified what is happening in rural India, asks IUML’s Mohammad Basheer. He says there is no enforcement of the original Act.
Jairam Ramesh of the Congress asks the Minister to take a little time on this Bill. “There seems to be a contradiction between this Bill and the Act that Parliament passed in 2013,” he says. “Even after four years of this government, while other changes have been made to the Land Acquisition Act, no change has been made as far as enhanced compensation is concerned.”
He asks the Minister to clarify that this Bill will not affect the clarification on the compensation that landowners are entitled to get under the 2013 Act. He says he does not support the Bill.
Navaneethakrishnan of the AIADMK says he supports the Bill.
The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri rises to reply to Members. It is not the government’s intention to deprive landowners of fair value. The government does not want the compensation to be manipulated, he says. He also says that land is a State subject and that it falls to States to ensure that landowners get fair value.
In Lok Sabha, discussion on RTE Act continues. Bhagwant Mann, AAP MP from Punjab, says he is son of a teacher and he knows the difference between the teaching style in government schools and private schools. He claims the government schools lack infrastructure.
There is vacancy of 14,000 teachers in Punjab. Many candidates who have passed TET are still waiting for appointment, he says.
Emphasising on the necessity of conducting examination, Mr. Mann says many students are unable to speak in English despite the language being part of the curriculam. He also claims many schools in Punjab are imposing fines on students who speak in Punjabi.
Mr. Mann also says teachers must be freed from non-teaching activities like electoral data checks. Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai is in the Chair.
Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav of the RLD says that irrespective of economic status, everyone must have the right to the same level of education. He says the government needs to concentrate on the infrastructure of rural schools.
Mahesh Joshi, of BJP speaks in favour of the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill allows property owners to get an interest on the compensation payable to them, till the final payment of compensation.
Sukhendu Shekhar Roy speaks next. The Bill only mentions properties acquired for national security or defence purposes, and not those for the railways or highways. He says a general rule should to be applicable to all. Tiruchi Siva is in the Chair. Mr. Roy asks that the Bill be sent to a Standing Committee.
Sushil Kumar Gupta of the AAP says that the government acquiring land for defence is necessary and important, but they should give adequate compensation to landowners.
Shiv Pratap Shukla, MoS Finance, replies to discussion on merger of associated banks with SBI. He says the merger was for the benefit of people. On the question of NPAs, Mr. Shukla blames earlier governments.
The Bill is taken into consideration.
The Bill is taken for clause by clause voting.
The Bill is passed. The Chairperson is happy that a Bill is passed on the first day. This proves whenever we discuss, we take discussion to the next level, he says.
The Rajya Sabha now takes up move to withdraw The Armed Forces Tribunal (Amendment) Bill, 2012. Mr. Ahir moves the Bill on behalf of the Defence Minister.
The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017, is now taken up.
K.K. Ragesh of the CPI(M) says that the government claims to generate employement, but it is not secure employment. “How many branches have already been closed?” he asks. He demands to know the reason for this merger. He claims that it is to address the crisis faced by public sector banks.
“All these associate banks are treated as the banks of the concerned States. State Bank of Travancore was playing a vital role in the development of Kerala. Now, farmers and students cannot access SBI. SBI focusses on richer sections. You are penalising the poor. The crisis in the banking sector is not because of the poor. If we look SBI’s NPA alone, it is ₹1.85 lakh crore, and 90% is made by corporates.” He accuses the government of trying to resolve the crisis at the expense of the poor.
Shiv Pratap Shukla, the MoS Finance, rises to reply to Members’ concerns.
Prahlad Joshi is in the Chair.
Mahesh Poddar of the BJP speaks next. Anil Agarwal of the BJP rises next to make his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha.
A.P. Jithender Reddy of the TRS speaks next. Hukmdeo Narayan Yadav is in the Chair. Mr. reddy also supports the ‘no detention policy.’
Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD speaks on the RTE Amendment Bill next. “When the RTE Bill was debated in this House, this provision was hotly debated,” he says referring to the fact that there is no examination in the elementary stage.
Rajya Sabha continues to discuss merger of associated banks with the State Bank of India.
Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena speaks in support of the Bill.
CPI’s D. Raja asks what was achieved in merging profit-making banks like State Bank of Trivancore with the SBI. He accuses the government for repeatedly coming to the Parliament for gratification after making decisions. “Why don't you take the Parliament into confidence,” he asks.
Sukhendu Shekar Roy says the rising NPAs are creating severe impact on the economy. He also says the House has no other option but to only make suggestions since the merger is already published in the gazette.
Ramkumar Verma says the SBI has become the largest bank in the country and has made it to the top 50 banks in the world.
A Trinamool Congress Member asks the Speaker to move the date of the no-confidence motion to July 23, but Speaker refuses.
Congress Member K.C. Venugopal rises to introduce the RTE Amendment Bill. He says some State governments are not implementing the RTE Act.
He also mentions the issuance of Eminence status to Jio Institute, “which is not even registered... which doesn’t exist.”
The House takes up the State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017 for consideration and passing.
Ramkumar Verma of the BJP speaks in support of the Bill. The Lok Sabha had passed this Bill on August 10, 2017. The Bill seeks to amend the State Bank of India Act, 1955 to remove references related to subsidiary banks.
N. Gokulakrishnan of the AIADMK rises to speak next. “By virtue of being the country’s largest lender, SBI is bound to have bad loans on its books. SBI would have more capital base.”
He says that the proposed merger of smaller banks with SBI will give access to customers of smaller banks to a wider range of services. He urges the government to provide adequate compensation and benefits for employees of associate banks.
Harivansh of the JD(U) speaks now.
Javadekar moves RTE Amendment Bill
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar moves amendments to Right to Education Act. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017 proposes to bring back detention policy of schoolchildren in Classes V and VIII. The children will be given chance to reappear and if the students fail in the second chance too, they would be detained.
Mr. Javadekar says 25 States are supporting the Bill, while Tamil Nadu and Kerala are against it and these States may choose to continue the existing practice.
No trust motion on July 20
Lok Sabha reconvenes.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan informs the House that the no-trust motion brought by TDP member Kesineni Srinivas and others will be taken up on July 20.
Question Hours and discussion on Private Member Bills will not be taken up on July 20, instead the whole day will be utilised to discuss the no-confidence motion.
This is the first time the ruling government is facing no-confidence motion in the last four years.
Merger of associated banks with SBI
Union Minister Shiv Pratap Shukla moves Bill to repeal the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959, the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956 and further to amend the State Bank of India Act, 1955.
Congress member Jairam Ramesh says the House is discussing the issue after the merger is done. He points out that the J&K Bank is the only bank started by a Maharaja and continues to function.
Mr. Ramesh says the merger of associated banks with the State Bank of India was more a reorganisation. He highlights the net losses of these five banks were Rs. 11,800 crore, while the net profit of SBI was Rs. 10,800 crores. For the first time in 20 years, the SBI reported a quarterly loss. The bank continued to post losses.
The SBI is the crown jewel of the banking industry but the merger has created financial resolution and the government should support the bank, he opines.
Mr. Ramesh says the SBI has become the fifth largest employer post merger. Over 2,70,000 people are now employed in the bank. The government should focus on human resources merger than the balance sheet merger.
Mr. Ramesh says the bank branches must be rationalised. We are used to brick and mortar bank in this country despite rise of digital banking. This is like thirth yatra for us, he says.
Rajya Sabha reconvenes.
Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot introduces The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
Congress member Anand Sharma requests the government to pass the Bill in the current session itself, to which the Treasury Bench agrees.
In Rajya Sabha Textiles Minister Smriti Irani is replying to questions pertaining to her ministry. Her speech is curtailed as the House breaks for lunch. Rajya Sabha will reassemble at 2 pm.
Racing against time, the Chair is trying to allow Lok Sabha members to raise issues in Zero Hour. He allots one minute time to each member.
A member asks if the government is trying to alter the reservation policy after UGC issued a circular recently on reservation in the appointment of faculty. Home Minister Rajnath Singh assures the House reservation will continue.
Mr. Rajnath Singh informs the House that Centre is willing to help the States in case of calamities. He says this as a response to a member who raised the issue of unprecedented rains in various areas.
Lok Sabha adjourned till 2:10 pm
"Why show bike stunts to sell vests?"
Rajendra Agrawal, Meerut MP, says advertisements are increasingly showing bike stunts and youth try to imitate them. The country is already witnessing many road accidents and encouraging such activities will only increasing accidents, he warns. "Why show bike stunts to sell vests?" he asks
Shashi Tharoor on mobocracy
Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai is in Chair.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tells the House that his constituency office was attacked in Thiruvananthapuram. He goes on to speak against mob violence and lynchings reported across the country.
"Those who are carrying out mob lynching and mob killings are attacking the ground rules of our democracy. The ground rule of our democracy is that we can disagree with each other without harming or killing one another,” he says.
He asks the Prime Minister to rein in people who try to abridge the freedom of speech and democracy.
He mentions names of political party, which Union Minister Ananth Kumar objects. He accuses another political party. The Chair expunges the references of political parties and assures Mr. Tharoor that his concerns will be addressed.
Kirron Kher says the armed forces personnel recruited under Short Service Commission are exempted from medical benefits. This demoralising to officers who have served the Army in their prime years, she says making a pitch to extend the facility to them.
Preferred seats in airlines
Rajya Sabha discusses preferred seating in airlines during Question Hour. Chhattisgarh member Chhaya Verma claims seats are deliberately left vacant in the airlines in order to get higher fare. DMK member Tiruchi Siva says this system of preferential seating is discriminatory and should be done away with.
MoS for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha says the charges will be investigated.
Lok Sabha takes up Zero Hour, where members raise matters of urgent public importance.
A member wants to rename the Kings Circle railway station, while a Delhi MP seeks immediate attention on garbage piling up in Delhi's dump yards.
Lok Sabha congratulates Hima Das for winning gold in World Athletics championship.
Ministers are laying statements and papers pertaining to their ministries.
Speaker says she has received notices of no-confidence motions from several members, including Mallikharjun Kharge and NKKP Premachandran. TDP MP Kesineni Srinivas seeks permission to move no-trust motion. Opposition parties, including Congress support him. More than 50 members support him.
Speaker says it will be taken up and the time and date will be decided soon.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar says the government is ready for a discussion on no-confidence motion.
Rajya Sabha reconvenes. Chairperson takes up Question Hour. Mr. Ramesh raises the issue again. Mr. Naidu tells him it will be taken up later.
First question Sukhram Singh asks the government on decline in employment growth rate. MoS Santosh Kumar Gangwar says the unemployment rate of the country is lesser than many other countries. He goes on to give an elaborate answer.
Ramesh Bidhuri, the South Delhi MP rises to ask question. It's his birthday today and the Speaker wishes him. Mr. Bidhuri asks about thunderstorm warning. He cites the recent unprecedented rain in Delhi that resulted water stagnation. Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan says warning centres are in place in six regions.
Rajya Sabha adjourned
In Rajya Sabha, Andhra Pradesh members attempt to show banners asking for Special Category Status to their State.
TDP member C.M. Ramesh moves suspension motion and seeks discussion on SCS to Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Naidu says after discussion with the concerned minister a short duration discussion will be taken up in the current session.
Mr. Ramesh urges the discussion should start immediately. As more members join the issue, Mr. Naidu adjourns the House till 12 noon.
In Lok Sabha Question Hour continues amid sloganeering.
A member asks if Post Offices will be used for any other allied services, like how it is being used for applying and renewing passports.
MoS for Communication Manoj Sinha says Post Offices are used for other services too.
Whether the revenue deficit of India Post due to e-commerce delivery? Will India Post do anything to tap its rural penetration, Congress member Shashi Tharoor asks.
India Post is tapping rural penetration by pushing India Post Bank, the minister says. We are working on increasing revenue through parcel services, he adds.
A. Sampath, Attingal MP, says India Post is sitting on gold mine. It has lots of land that is being encroached by vested people. Will the ministry take up the issue, he asks.
Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu informs the House that members can speak in any of the 22 schduled languages. "I encourage members to speak in their mother tongue," Mr. Naidu says.
He goes on to say this in several languages including Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Gujarati, Tamil and Malayalam, and gives a word of caution. This is a new arrangement , there may be some short comings, so please bear in mind, Mr. Naidu says.
Nominated member Subramanian Swamy suggests the vocabulary should have more Sanskrit words, to which some members object to it.
Nuclear plants and environment concerns
The second question during Question Hour is on nuclear power plants. A member wants to know if the government is taking any steps to employ local people in such power plants, especially those who are affected due to the plant.
MoS Jithendra Singh says local people are given preferences in such projects. In Jaitapur, Rs. 5 lakh is being provided as job compensation.
Rahul Ramesh Shivalay asks if environmental concerns are addressed and monitored in places where nuclear plants are set up. The appraisal of environmental concerns is mandatory for every five years, says the minister.
Wi-fi in Lok Sabha
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announces the House that the premises now has wi-fi services and members can utilise the facility. This will enable us to go paperless, the Speaker says.
She proceeds to Question Hour. Questions on monsoon prediction is being taken up. Opposition members rise slogans.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan reads obituary reference. Former members Bahadur Singh, Sanat Kumar Mandal, and Kandala Subrahmanyam passed away recently. The Speaker also condoles the deaths of several Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan.
Chairperson of Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu, reads the obituary reference. Former members Vishwasrao Ramrao Patil, Mohammed Amin, Ashok Mitra, Balkavi Bairagi, Kameshwar Paswan, Shantaram Naik, Surinder Kumar Singla and M.M. Jacob passed away recently.
Both Houses convene. New members are taking oath.
In Rajya Sabha, Kerala member Binoy Viswom and nominated member Raghunath Mohapatra took oath in their mother tongue Malayalam and Odiya. The Rajya Sabha now allows members to speak in any of the 22 scheduled languages.
Govt ready for discussion on any issue in Parliament, says Narendra Modi
Calling for extensive discussion in Parliament’s Monsoon session which began in New Delhi on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that his government was ready for debate on any issue raised by political parties.
Mr. Modi told reporters that discussion on several issues is necessary in national interest and urged political parties to make maximum use of the time available in the session, which will continue till August 10.
A Sampath, CPI(M) member has given an adjournment notice in Lok Sabha for a debate on mob lynching. The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to frame a separate law to tackle lynching after nearly 40 people lost their lives since 2015 due to mob violence.
Four members will be taking oath as Lok Sabha members today. They are M.Y Kukade from Bhandara-Gondiya, Rajendra Gavit from Palghar, Tokheho from Nagaland, and Tabassum Begum from Kairana.
Twenty-five members including Elamaram Kareem, Jose K. Mani, Binoy Viswom and four nominated members will be taking oath as members of Rajya Sabha.
PM seeks cooperation while Opposition wants no trust motion
Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought the cooperation of all parties for the smooth functioning of Parliament, and told an all-party meeting that issues raised by the Opposition gave the government an opportunity to re-evaluate its policy decisions.
But soon after the meeting, the Congress announced that over a dozen parties are keen on bringing a no-confidence motion against the Modi government.
Beginning Wednesday, the monsoon session will have 18 working days before ending on August 10. And the government has listed as many as 45 Bills, including pending Bills for introduction and passage.
The government hopes to replace six Ordinances with Bills, and introduce three key Bills on dam safety, DNA profiling, and higher education reforms .