Lok Sabha updates March 31 | Electric vehicle prices will be equal to petrol cars in 2 years, Says Centre

Yesterday, the House had passed the Bill to merge three municipal corporations of Delhi

March 31, 2022 11:01 am | Updated 07:17 pm IST

Parliamentarians in the Lok Sabha during the second part of Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on March 30, 2022.

Parliamentarians in the Lok Sabha during the second part of Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on March 30, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

On the 12th day of the second part of the Budget Session, the lower house passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. This bill seeks to amend The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, to undo the earlier 2011 amendment to the Act by which the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated into separate North, South, and East Delhi Municipal Corporations.

Today, the House undertook a discussion on climate change, which was first raised by member Kanimozhi Karunanidhi on December 8, 2021. A discussion also took place on the promotion of sports in the country.

Arjun Munda will move The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, for consideration and passing.

Here are the latest updates:

6:10 p.m.

Prices of EVs will match that of petrol cars in two years: Nitin Gadkari

Prices of all electric vehicles (EVs) will be equal to the cost of petrol vehicles in the country within two years, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said in the Lok Sabha on March 31.

Mr. Gadkari also said MPs can buy electric vehicles once a charging station is installed in Parliament premises.

“I will assure all the honourable members that within two years the cost of electric two-wheelers, electric three-wheelers and electric four-wheelers will be equivalent to the cost of petrol vehicles and the country will change,” he said during Question Hour.

The Minister said the Government’s policy is import substitute, cost-effectiveness, pollution-free and indigenous production.

“Due to petrol and diesel costs, we are facing crucial problems. Already we have seen the situation. So, this is the only alternative fuel, I mean, green hydrogen, electricity, ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-LNG and bio-CNG. Sir, we will work in that direction,” he said. - PTI

6:02 p.m.

House proceedings adjourned till 11 am on Friday, April 1

5:38 p.m.

NCP’s Supriya Sule appreciates the contribution of former Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju

NCP member from Maharashtra said, “good work must be recognised”, complimenting the working of the Centre on the ‘Khelo India’ games and the contribution of former Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

Talking about the involvement of her family members in national level sports like Cricket, Badminton, Kabaddi and Basketball, she puts forth her apprehension about the Centre’s ‘One District, One Sport’ policy, saying that four members of her family- her mother-in-law, grandfather, sister, and son, play four different sports at the national level and they’re from a single district.

“If this is the case, then how can you have one sport per district?” she asks.

Talking about infrastructure and security in sports as a career, “Why do parents not look at sports as a first option? Because the career issue becomes a problem....some people might become coaches or they may be reservation quota, but it is not seen as a career option,” she says, calling on the government to think over the sports policy.

5:15 p.m.

Former Olympian BJP MP from Rajasthan Rajyavardhan Rathore talks about sports

Forman Army man and olympian, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who represents the BJP from Jaipur Rural Constituency says the Centre’s ‘Khelo India’ games ensure that young, school-going athletes before they go to the Olympic and International level. He said that 1000 athletes are chosen every year to be given funding of Rs. 5 lakh each year for the next eight years so that they can prepare for large scale competitions.

He also said: “Sports is not Centre’s subject but that of States....it is not sufficient to just do Politics over the matter of youth involvement in sports, you (states) have to declare funding and schemes for the youth to prosper in sports.”

4:40 p.m.

Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi asks about Target Olympic Podium scheme

Congress MP from Assam, Gaurav Gogoi, talking about the Olympics, asks what new changes is the government going to bring in its Targeted Olympic Podium Scheme or TOPS; calling for the inclusion of more sports in the scheme and citing that a lot of returning Indian athletes had called from the Beijing Olympics had said that the Government of India and various sports federeations “need to do a lot more”.

Asking the government to increase funding to athletes, Mr. Gogoi mentioned the case of Shiva Keshavan who participates in the sport called Luge, in the Winter Olympics and has become an international star in the sport. “The athlete spent his own money to participate in Luge and became an international superstar but when he started, he had no funding,” says the Opposition MP.

4:35 p.m.

Speaker allows discussion on promotion of sports in the country under Rule 193 of the Lok Sabha, which allows discussions to be had without introducing a formal motion in the House.

MPs had requested this discussion to be held under a ‘Calling Attention’ motion, but the speaker then converted it to a discussion under Rule 193.

4:30 p.m.

Renewable Energy Minister on climate change

In addition to the Environment Minister, the New and Renewable Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh also replies to questions raised by MPs on Climate Change.

“In 2015, we had pledged to the Paris Agreement as an NDC, that 30% of our power generation capacity will be through non-fossil fuels by 2030.. you would be happy to know that we acheived this pledge in Novemer 2021 itslef,” he said.

“India is the only major economy in the world whose energy transition actions and climate change actions are consonant with the sub-2 degree rise in global temperature.”

4:05 p.m.

Environment Minister replies to questions

Responding to the issue raised by DMK’s Kanimozhi, Environment Minister Bhupinder Yadav says that Carbon emissions are the historic responsibility of developed countries on the global level, but India is making all its efforts to deal with climate change on the nationl level.

Answering Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on India’s designation on the World Climate Action Tracker, Mr. Yadav says that International climate trackers don’t not the carbon emission that has already been done over the years globally, “that is why, if you check a climate tracker made by Indian scientists in the Chennai and Bengaluru base, you will realise that monitoring should be transparent.”

“Do global trackers take in to account the historical responsibility of developed countries? “ he asked.

4:00 p.m.

BJP’s Nishikant Dubey asks about flooding and environmental impact of rivers encroached by big cities

The MP said that all big cities were built on the banks of rivers, “today, because of the big cities, those rivers have shrunk or been encroached, for instance, Mumbai faces floods due to the Mithi River…..so my question is: what is the government doing about the rivers that were encroached by big cities, which now leads to floods and environmental threats?” 

3:55 p.m.

Gaurav Gogoi asks how various departments are ensuring to reduce emissions in their infra projects 

The Congress MP from Assam asks what directions is the Environment Ministry giving to the Railways, Road Construction, Highways, Rural Development, and Shipping departments so that they keep the emissions as low as possible while carrying out their construction and infrastructure building projects. 

3:50 p.m.

Speaker praises India for representing environmental issues on global platform 

As BSP MP Danish Ali starts to talk about India’s ability to talk about climate on global platforms, Speaker Om Birla interrupts him and says: “I shouldn’t say this but I attended the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in 2021, where India submitted a proposal on the matter of environment, most of the countries supported us and I was happy to see that India is leading in this issue.”

“There were some developed countries who did vote against the proposal but India is leading on the global platform on the issue of environment and this is the pride of our country, this is worthy of appreciation, rising above politics.”

Danish Ali then continued with his address,, stat3; that developed countries pledged 2050 for zero carbon emission, China pledged 2060, and India pledged 2070. “Can we take action to achieve zero-emissions before 2070?” he asked the Environment Minister.

3:40 p.m.

Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury talks on abnormal climate deaths

Quoting the Lancet Planetary Health Journal, the Congress MP from Baharampur said that 7,40,000 deaths take place in India every year due to abnormal hot and cold climate conditions; he adds that India was designated as ‘insufficient’ on the Climate Action Tracker 2021.

“What action will you be talking with regard to these issues in the future?” he asks the Environment Minister.

3:30 p.m.

DMK’s Kanimozhi Karunanidhi on climate change

DMK member from Tamil Nadu Karunanidhi Kanimozhi quotes the Environment Minister, who spoke before her. She says if the Minister said that climate change is not confined to borders, then he cannot say that it is the responsibility of developed nations alone, “because we are going to get affected as much as anybody else will.”

Talking about migration hotspots that would be created due to climate change, the opposition MP says in India, the Gangetic plains, Delhi-Lahore corridor and coastal cities like Chennai, “all these areas are going to be affected because of climate change, very badly affected, and there is going to be migration, it’s going to be that bad, what are the plans you have for that?”

2:50 p.m.

Environment Minister replies to discussion on climate change

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav says this year marks the 50th anniversary of the First Earth Summit or the UN Scientific Conference of 1972. “In the past 50 years, India has played the role of a solution-oriented country in the global environment sector,” he says.

Talking about the five-year Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) declared by India during the Paris Climate Agreement 2015, the Environment Minister stated, “I am happy to declare that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India became one of the select nations of the world who did not just declare their NDCs but completed them before time, setting a global example.”

According to the United Nations, “Nationally Determined Contribution is a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Each Party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years.”

Mr. Yadav also spoke about Climate Justice, “The Prime Minister always makes the point that when we talk about climate change we should also talk about climate justice...when we talk about climate justice we say that the developed countries of the world which have been responsible for historic carbon emissions should accept their responsibility.”

He said that while accepting their historic responsibility in the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, developed countries had pledged to give $100 billion dollars to developing nations. “But if the climate change battle has to be fought hand-in-hand by developed and developing countries, then developed nations should definitely give two things to developing countries- climate finance and technology transfer.”

Stating India’s achievements vis-a-vis the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, the Minister said the world is accepting India as the voice of developing nations on the issue of climate action and as a strong voice that can secure equality for developing nations on climate action.

He stated another such achievement, saying that India’s economy is now getting ready to face the impact of climate change and India has made efforts in every economic sector, be it environment or farming, to combat climate change.

2:00 p.m.

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Ganpat Sawant speaks on battery waste

During the discussion on climate change, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Ganpat Sawant that electric batteries are hazardous for they contain lithium which bears the potential to let out carbon emissions, which lasts in the air for 600-100 years. He stated the lack of realisation on this aspect could trigger a sudden alarm in the future. Mr Sawant asked the Govt to put forth a policy in this aspect.

Mr Sawant also raised concerns about disposal of waste material into water bodies. He added that disposal strategies too must be accorded importance when discussing strategies to combat climate change.

1:35 p.m.

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi asks Govt to consider structural reforms to address climate change concerns

Congress MP from Assam Gaurav Gogoi, during his Zero Hour address on climate change, asked the Govt to put forth if they are considering to put in place a mechanism for annual evaluation of climatic goals and relevant laws as per contemporary conditions.

He added that mere pursuit of solar and electric energy would not solve the issue at large. He stated, while the country has undertaken production of solar energy, transmission and distribution lines were inadequate and thus restricted its use among the populace. Further, distribution and adoption of electrice vehicles too were not happening at a satisfactory pace.

Raising his concerns on the coal sector, Mr Gogoi pointed out that transition away from coal would be disruptive for the engaged low-skilled workers. He proposed the Govt to put forth adult education and skilling schemes to ensure a “just transition”.

Mr Gogoi stated that farmers are primarily at the receiving end of the climate change owing to irregular weather cycles. He asked the Govt to ensure their interests are taken care of by means of crop insurance, among other measures.

The Congress leader stated India must lead the initiative in scaling climatic goals and initiatives, and not look up to the West.

12:25 p.m.

Ministers Giriraj Singh and Anurag Thakur state there was incomplete utilisation of the allocated budget of the MNREGA during UPA rule

Union Minister Giriraj Singh told the house that MNREGA allocation rose from ₹ 33,000 crore in 2013-14 to ₹ 1 lakh crore and subsequently ₹ 1.12 lakh crore during the Prime Minister Modi’s regime.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting stated the erstwhile UPA Govt did not spend the entire allocated budget for MNREGA. He added that the Central Govt led by Prime Minister Modi allocated more than ₹ 1 lakh crore during the pandemic for the scheme. Mr Thakur told the house that workers under the scheme are now paid at the press of a button owing to the Jan Dhan Scheme.

12:20 p.m.

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi speaks on reduced budget allocation to MNREGA: Sonia Gandhi

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, during the Zero Hour, raised concerns with regards to the recurrent reduction in budget allocation to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). She stated this has resulted in lower work opportunities and deprivation of timely payments to the workers. Ms Gandhi informed the house that Supreme Court had referred to the scenario as ‘forced labour’.

“The budget allocation this year (to MNREGA) is 35% lower compared to the previous year even as unemployment is on the rise,” she told the house.

Ms Gandhi informed that as on March 26, several states have put forth negative balance in their MNREGA accounts. She added that records stated that ₹ 5,000 crore is due to workers under the scheme.

She asked the Govt to allocate adequate budget to the scheme, timely payment to workers within 15 days, provide compensation for late payment and immediate disbursal of amount to states for the annual development activities.

12:00 p.m.

Rama Devi in the chair. Zero Hour commences.

11:40 a.m.

House discusses Drone Technology and training

In response to a question by Kadapa MP Y.S. Avinash Reddy, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia informed the house that, to date, there are 18 remote pilot training centres licensed by the DGCA. He added that 71 companies have resumed manufacturing in the country.

Mr Scindia stated that number of pilots for drone operations and training centres to facilitate the same would go up in the coming years.

11:25 a.m.

More than 10 lakh registered electric vehicles in India as of March 13, 2022: Minister for Road Transport & Highways: Nitin Gadkari

According to Mr Gadkari, as of March 13 this year, 10,95,746 electric vehicles were registered in India with 1,742 charging stations operable quoting figures from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

He added that on a year-over-year basis, overall electric vehicle sales had risen 162%. Category-wise, two-wheeler sales had increased more than five times (at 423%), three-wheelers by 75%, four-wheelers by 238% and Buses by 1,250%.

11:10 a.m.

House discusses flight operability in India

Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia informed the house that domestic players are operating 1,465 whilst international players are operating 1,733 flights per since the Govt opted to resume international flights at full strength.

In response to a question on transferring the capacity accorded to now shut Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways for operating international flights from Mumbai, the Civil Aviation Minister stated the operational logistics have been transferred to domestic airlines.

11:05 a.m.

Opposition benches continue to raise slogans against the recent fuel price hikes

11:00 a.m.

Proceedings resume at Lok Sabha. Question Hour in progress.

10.30 a.m.

List of Business

1. Arjun Munda to move The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, for consideration and passing.

2. Further discussion on climate change raised by Kanimozhi Karunanidhi on the December 8, 2021.

3. Papers and Reports to be laid on the Table

4. Question Hour

10.00 a.m.

Day 12 recap

The Lok Sabha passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, to merge three municipal corporations of Delhi.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responded to the discussion on The Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

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