'Data is the new oil': LS debates the Statistics Amendment Bill

LS functions smoothly, RS plagued by multiple adjournments. Both Houses adjourned till 11 am on March 29.

March 28, 2017 10:50 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:58 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh and other BJP MPs, at a parliamentary party meeting in Parliament House, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh and other BJP MPs, at a parliamentary party meeting in Parliament House, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

After a heated discussion on The Finance Bill, 2017 on Monday, the Rajya Sabha resumed discussion on it today in the midst of protests and multiple adjournments.

The Lok Sabha, meanwhile, passed the The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 as amended and discussed the Collection of Statistics Amendment Bill till adjournment. The discussion was not concluded and Deputy Speaker Dr. Thambi Durai promised it would continue tomorrow.

Here are the latest updates:

6.00 p.m.: Lok Sabha adjourned till 11 am on March 29, 2017.

5.45 p.m.: Lok Sabha

BJD MP from Dhenkanal, Odisha, Thathagata Satpathy says he has some serious reservations about this Bill. He refers to section 5(i) which authorises officers to use information "as prescribed". "Who will prescribe it?!", he asks.

"Data is the new oil," says Mr. Satpathy. "Who understands how much wealth lies there? Many of us, even so many in our Parliament here, are unable to comprehend just how important the data you are collecting under the guise of Aadhaar details," he says.

Dr. Thambi Durai suggests this discussion be postponed to tomorrow. "Tomorrow is GST Bill. Ye nahi ho payega (this will not happen)," Mr. Satpathy says. 

" Aadhaar is a deadly thing that you are dumping upon the people of this country. I'm against this since beginning," he says. "So far I have resisted getting an Aadhaar card but I don't know how long I can resist."

"The House must oppose the Collection of Statistics Bill as it allows data to be misused," concludes Mr. Satpathy.

5.05. p.m.: Lok Sabha

The LS now takes up for consideration and passing, the Collection of Statistics Amendment Bill, 2017, introduced by Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

This bill aims to amend the Collection of Statistics Bill, 2008. According to PRS India, "The 2008 Act facilitates the collection of statistics related to social, economic, demographic, scientific and environmental aspects, by central, state and local governments.  It allows the appointment of statistics officers to collect information, and contains provisions to ensure security of information."

The 2008 Act says that the information collected under the Act can only be used for statistical purposes. The amendment introduced does away with this, saying the manner in which the information can be used can be determined by the Central government.

INC MP from Rohtak, Deepender Hooda has objections. He says the Bill has three provisions: Collection of data in J&K, the appointment of nodal officers and how the information collected is used. He doesn't object to the first two provisions but says the wording is vague for the third provision.

"The data is authorised to be used by whom? This Bill is turning out like the Finance Bill. We are still debating about Aadhaar. These are the times of big data. The government and agencies want to take a lot of data from the people but not tell them how it will be used."

Mr. Hooda talks about data privacy: "We have no data privacy law. The government needs to answer regarding data protection. The government needs to bring in a new law for data classification."

He also requests a strong law for data privacy.

5.00 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Deputy Speaker Dr. M. Thambi Durai moves the Bill for consideration and the 'ayes' have it. The Bill is now being taken up clause by clause.

The Lok Sabha passes the The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 as amended.

4.30 p.m.: Lok sabha

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar speaks:

"Very happy that so many speakers have spoken their mind and have given valuable suggestions," he says.

He announces several initiatives improving the quality of higher education.

1. A higher education finance agency

2. An exchange programme with foreign professors and academicians

3. To procure more equipment for research, to be funded by industries.

4. To encourage startups right from the hostel rooms of universities.

He also promises to fill up the vacancies in the universities. "Capacity building of faculty will be taken up," he says.

"World class institutes don't become world class by saying they are world class. They don't become world class in overnight. We are asking for a 10, 20-year road map to make these existing institutes into institutes of national eminence."

He talks about creating a walk-in interview system for researchers and teachers. "We are taking all steps to reverse braindrain."


4.15 p.m.: Lok Sabha

AIUDF MP from Barpeta, Assam pitches for more NITs in Assam. "We need more institutes in rural India. Many students from Assam discontinue higher education because of distance or cost."

4.00 p.m.: Lok Sabha

BJP MP Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, Hukum Singh talks about the lack of infrastructure surrounding the Kendriya Vidyalayas.

"We need to see how many KVs do not have hostels or living arrangements. In my area, the KV is in a small town. There are no hostels."

He also talks about private colleges: There are no labs, teachers or equipments in so many of these private colleges. They just collect fees and give bad degrees, he says.

Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai South-Central says NIT has a total of 30 colleges but not a single one in Mumbai.

3.45 p.m.: Lok Sabha

RSP MP N.K. Premachandran from Kollam, Kerala questions the need to three different organisations.

"We have the NIT, ICSR and IIECT - would like to know having three schedules and these three different institutes, what is the difference between these three? The very concept of these institutions is teaching engineering science and technology. Why multiplicity of institutions instead of one organisation of high standard?"

He lays out a couple of suggestions:

- Number of graduate and under-graduate institutions be increased

- There is disparity in access to education on these terms - economic class, gender and ethinicity. The state of higher education is pitiable. Downtrodden are deprived of high quality education because of commercialisation. The expansion of private, self-financing institutions maybe one of the reasons why. This disparity needs to be addressed. Public institutions must be expanded. Uncontrolled growth will be curse to the nation and needs to be curtailed.

3.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Next up is Renuka Butta, YSR Congress Party MP from Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. She starts off by thanking the government for fulfilling promises made during the bifurcation of Andhra and Telangana.

She stresses on the fact that investment in scientific research is very low and asks for government investment in this area.

She finishes her speech by reminding the government about the one promise that has not been fulfilled yet: Special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Manoj Tiwari, BJP MP of Delhi (North-East) speaks about a lack of schools in Delhi. "In Delhi's schools kids study only for three days. Because for the rest of the week, other kids study. There are no schools!"

Mr. Tiwari lapses into song!

3.10 p.m.: Lok Sabha

The LS is currently debating the The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 introduced by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The Bill amends the The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research Act, 2007.

P.K Biju, CPI-M MP from Alathur, Kerala, questions the state of the new IITs that were started. "95% of our money goes to these institutions but they constitute only 2-3% of populations. State universities do not get anything."

"We have not fulfilled the teaching vacancies in our IITs and IIMs", he says.

3.10 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Deputy Chairman P.J Kurien gives one final entreaty but to no avail. Rajya Sabha adjourned till 11 am on March 29, 2017.

3.00 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

RS back after multiple adjournments earlier in the day, but the ruckus continues. MPs troop into the well of the House and raise slogans. "Joot bolna bandh karo, bandh karo"  (Stop lying, stop lying)

"Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar, nahi chalegi... pichada varg yeh sarkar nahi chalegi" (This government is against Dalits and the backward castes, this will not do)

Deputy Chaiman of Rajya Sabha, P.J. Kurien asks MPs present to lay their papers on the table, but the protesting MPs carry on sloganeering.

"I will repeat my suggestion, that if you want, we can have discussion tomorrow at 2 pm on the issue on which you are agitating. I suggest we finish the discussion on the Finance Bill today and finish it off."

1 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Anju Bala of the BJP wants a Kendriya Vidyalaya established in her constituency Misrikh.

House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

12.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Pralhad Joshi speaks about a Railway Board announcement on jobs for people who lose their land in railway projects.

Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD speaks about issuing fresh licenses to traders in Cuttack on leasehold land from the Railways.

Pralhad Joshi is in the Chair.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress raises the issue of conflict between the NCSN(IM) and the Centre.

12.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Ruckus begins almost immediately.

House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

12 noon: Lok Sabha

Papers are laid on the table.

Zero Hour begins.

Kapil Moreshwar Patil of the BJP raises the issue of a lack of a train route between Karjat and Kasara. P.V. Midhun Reddy of the YSR Congress asks for a CBI inquiry into the Agri Gold scam.

Kulamani Samal of the BJD asks for government investment in the coastal regions of Odisha.

Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress raises the issue of a communal clash in Gujarat. Speaker says it is a state issue.

Rabindra Kumar Jena raises the issue of cyclone in Balasore, Odisha.

Gopal Chinnayya Shetty of the BJP says Chattrapati Shivati Terminal should be renamed to Chattrapati Shivati Maharaj Terminal.

Thokchom Meinya of the Congress wants two National Highways passing through Manipur — NH2 and NH37 — to be converted to highways with more lanes.

Mullapilly Ramachandran of the Congress brings up the issue of an increase in crimes against women and girls in Kerala.

12 noon: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Question Hour begins.

Chairman Hamid Ansari is in the Chair. Sharad Yadav tries to bring up the Commissions issue again. Slogan shouting begins as Members troop into the Well for the third time.

House is adjourned till 12.30 p.m.

11.30 a.m.: Lok Sabha

Jagdambika Pal of the BJP asks a supplementary question on whether CISF will provide security for the Buddhist circuit too.

Om Birla of the BJP asks the next question on the death of security personnel during protests. Hansraj Ahir says that such personnel are considered martyrs.

Sultan Ahmed of the Trinamool Congress asks what protective measures the government has taken to people in 'red zones.'

Hemant Tukaram Godse asks the next question on the allocation for Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme. He wants to know if the government is taking any steps for early interventions in illnesses.

Tathagatha Satpathy of the BJD asks a question on contraband being brought in through the Odisha coast and immigration from Bangladesh. "Does the government have any concrete plans to keep a watch along the Odisha coastline?"

Mr. Rijiju says the Centre will seek the support of the state government to take measures relating to coastal security.

Question Hour comes to a close.

11.30 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

Opposition Members march to the Well. Treasury benches too join in.

Chair reads out a welcome message to Namibian parliamentarians who will observe the proceedings. Slogan shouting resumes.

House is adjourned till noon.

11 a.m.: Lok Sabha

House reconvenes. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair.

Ms. Mahajan welcomes the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Namibia and Members of the Namibian Parliament. The delegates will watch the proceedings today.

She also greets the people for Ugadi and Gudi Padwa.

Question Hour begins. Ram Vilas Paswan answers a question on the impact of demonetisation on prices. Minister C.R. Chaudhary answers a supplementary question.

Shashi Tharoor speaks about the plight of fishermen in Thiruvananthapuram. "We can't ask them to go digital when the rental of a credit card machine will cost more than a week's earnings."

Virendra Singh of the BJP asks a question on crops being sold in the place it is produced.

Heena Gavit of the BJP asks a question on airport security being provided by CISF. Minister Kiren Rijiju says that till date CISF has taken over 59 airports in the country.

11 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien is in the Chair.

Papers are laid on the table. Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP once again brings up the issue of OBC reservations.

Mayawati asks why vacancies in Commissions have not been filled until now. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi suggests a discussion on vacancies in the Opposition's period. Interruptions abound.

Members troop into the Well to shout slogans.

House is adjourned for 10 minutes.

House reconvenes at 11.25 a.m. Chair tries to explain that the Minister said all Commissions' vacancies will be immediately filled up.

Ruckus begins again.

10.45 a.m.:Listed business for the day

Rajya Sabha

- Bills for consideration and return   > The Finance Bill, 2017   > The Appropriation (Railways) Bill, 2017   > The Appropriation (Railways) No. 2 Bill, 2017

- Bill for consideration and passing   > The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016

- Discussions   > Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Railways   > Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions   > Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises   > Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

Lok Sabha

- Bills for consideration and passing   > The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016   > The Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017   > The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2017

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