The Budget Session of the Parliament of India resume d on Monday.
Here are the latest updates:
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moves the Appropriation Bill, 2020. The House passes the Bill.
House is adjourned till March 17.
House is adjourned till 11 am, 17th March.
Prahalad Singh Patel, MoS (Independent), Tourism addresses the House.
Amar Patnaik of the BJD (Odisha) speaks about operational issues in the Railways. He says that numerous Committees have made recommendations to improve operation, but they have either remained on paper or been implemented in a piecemeal manner.
Vijila Satyanath, AIADMK (Tamil Nadu) thanks the Prime Minister for allowing the change of the Chennai Central railway station to Puratchi Tahalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station. She says the station, with 57 letters, now holds the record for the second longest name of a railway station, behind a station in the Wales with 58 letters, she says.
She says that Tamil Nadu faces high internal migration and people pin their hopes on the completion of doubling projects. While long pending new lines have hardly received funds in the Union Budget, the absence of announcement on doubling of some lines that V. Vaithilingam also brought up, is concerning, she said.
Members continue putting before the House for consideration, their demands for grants under the Ministry of Tourism 2020-21. The Tourism Minister will give his reply after the Members have spoken.
G.V.L. Narasimha Rao of the BJP (Uttar Pradesh) leads the discussion on the working of the Ministry of Railways.
He details some projects taken up by different States and the respective outlays. He says the current government recognises that railways and connectivity can give a huge push to the economy.
Naranbhai J. Rathwa of the INC speaks next. He brings up the delay in implementation and completion of railways infrastructure works across the country.
A.M. Arif (CPI-M) says Kerala has submitted many tourism proposals to the Centre, but the Centre is not considering it.
HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank replies to Members.
Clause-by-Clause consideration is taken up now.
The Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 is passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Next, the House takes up a discussion on the working on the Ministry of Railways.
N.K. Premachandran is in the Chair.
Contribution of tourism to the GDP has come down, says a Gaddam Ranjith Reddy (TRS).
Francisco Sardinha (Congress) says Goa is a big contributor to tourism. He wants Air India to start chartered flights to Goa.
P.L. Punia (Congress) says only three Universities are being made as central universities. He says central universities have a lot of issues as regards reservation, teaching staff etc.
A. Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) says he supports the Bill. He also wants HRD Minister to visit the Tamil university in Thanjavur, Keezhadi and Adichanallur.
L. Hanumanthaiah (Congress) speaks about the Kannada language and that autonomy has not been granted. In many universities, in the Sanskrit department, there are two students and twenty professors.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy (BJP) supports the Bill. He reads out Article 343 of the Constitution. He says those who say Sanskrit is a dead language are themselves intellectually dead. He cites a paper by NASA that Sanskrit is the best language for artificial intelligence. Other Members interrupt his speech but are asked not to by the Chair. He also speaks about a school in London where Sanskrit is being taught compulsorily. This is something that Congress men should learn, he says. Your brain will improve if you learn Sanskrit shlokas.
He says 40% of words in Tamil and Sanskrit are common.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy concludes his speech with a quote of Buddha's: It is better to travel well than to arrive.
Bhartruhari Mahtab is in the Chair.
Satabdi Roy (Trinamool) speaks about how Switzerland is known for tourism and India is not. She says the allocation in the Budget fails to show the potential of the sector. She says medical tourism should not be termed as such.
She says the State government in West Bengal manages tourism hotspots well, but specific promotions have to be done by the Centre.
Now that Article 370 has been removed, why don't you promote tourism in J&K? She also speaks about making locations in states free for film shootings and encouraging destination weddings.
C.N. Annadurai (DMK) says Tamil Nadu pays the 2nd highest GST. He says temples managed by the Centre are not well-maintained.
Beesetti Venkata Satyavathi (YSR Congress) points out areas in Andhra Pradesh that can be developed as tourism sites.
Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) says that the Sanskrit University in Varanasi is in bad shape.
Prashanta Nanda (BJD) speaks in Sanskrit. He speaks about the greatness of Sanskrit. He says it holds a place of pride in history and mythology. He supports the Bill.
Kahkashan Parween speaks in support of the Bill. She also wants the Urdu, Farsi universities in Patna to be converted into central universities.
Lakshmikantha Rao (TRS) highlights a village near Shivamogga where everyone speaks Sanskrit.
K.K. Ragesh (CPI-M) says Sanskrit was known only to a few. Why is the government doing so much for sanskrit, and not other languages, he asks. He says Kendriya Vidyalaya in Kerala does not teach Malayalam.
M. Shanmugam (DMK) says the Centre spent ₹643 crore for Sanskrit but only ₹22 crore for Tamil. He opposes the Bill.
V. Vijaysai Reddy (YSR Congress) speaks in support of the Bill.
Binoy Viswam (CPI) speaks about the heritage of the language. He opposes the Bill. Sanskrit was never the language of the people.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP) speaks about the history of tourism. He goes on a cruise every year.
He says festivals can be renamed as carnivals to attract international tourists. He also highlights how different kinds of tourism that can be promoted in the country.
Jairam Ramesh speaks about the amount of money the government is spending on Sanskrit. He says the government needs to look at other languages too, he says.
He also says one institution should be named after Panini, the Sanskrit grammarian. The other name is Patanjali, but if you name a university as Patanjali today, it will send the wrong signal. He also asks the government to consider Amarasimha as another name.
He also says the Minister should not be Chancellor for Central universities and instead the position can be given to a Sanskrit scholar.
The Rajya Sabha is adjourned till 2 p.m.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of Opposition in the House, alleges that almost no work has been done to develop institutions for disabled persons, preventing manual scavenging and uplifting of sanitation workers.
The Budget had promised a 'caring' society, he says, adding that 71% of the elderly in the country are subjected to torture. Mr. Chowdhury also speaks on the issue of children being engaged in begging. India has become notorious for being drug-afflicted. An individual from Punjab sent a memorandum to PM Modi. He asks Mr. Gehlot what steps will be taken to prevent drug abuse in the country.
Nishikant Dubey, BJP, says the number of beggars in the country has reduced.
Mr. Gehlot continues to respond to Members' concerns. He says 28 zillas in Punjab have developed de-addiction centres. He also cites data on work done for the development of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes.
The Opposition attempts to raise the issue of petrol and diesel prices. The House is adjourned till 2 p.m.
Rajya Sabha discusses coronavirus outbreak
Members raise the issue of Coronavirus outbreak. TMC leader Derek O'Brien says it is time to rise above politics. He demonstrates how to wash one's hands. The Chair says "you can speak, not demonstrate". So Mr. O'Brien folds his hands and speaks.
Raj Gopal Yadav suggests screening at Parliament gates, while S R Balasubramoniyan of AIADMK wants to know from government if it is willing to adjourn the session from tomorrow.
Sasmit Patra (BJD) urges the need to increase the testing facilities. He also seeks a sensitisation session for MPs.
The Chairman says that a lot of rumour is being spread, for which government and ICMR should issue clarifications.
Vikas Mahatme (BJP) says rumours like that of chicken spreading the virus must be tackled. "It is good that all of us pray. But let us do it at home," he says.
After the discussion, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, answers Members' questions on road accidents and traffic rules violations.
Mr. Gadkari responds to concerns regarding the closure of industrial units in SME sector.
He says the U.K. Sinha committee report is being implemented. Six lakh industries have been restructured, he adds.
Mr. Gadkari says because of the coronavirus outbreak, India's exports have increased. Whichever industry is facing issues, is already being restructured, he says, adding that MSMEs are being supported.
Rahul Gandhi speaks on failing economy
Opening of new schools is being discussed.
Ritesh Pandey, BSP, says male students are sent to private schools which are considered better than government schools, and hence female students' percentage in government schools might look greater.
Rahul Gandhi, INC, speaks on the failing economy. "Who are the top 50 wilful defaulters in India," Mr. Gandhi asks. He alleges that he has received no answer from the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister.
Anurag Singh Thakur, MoS, Finance, says the CIC website lists names of all wilful defaulters. He makes a sarcastic remark on the "selling of paintings". The Opposition erupts into chants of 'We want justice' as Mr. Gandhi is not allowed to ask a second supplementary on the question.
Rajendra Agrwal is in the Chair.
Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Minister, Social Justice and Empowerment, says it was a historic step to have granted 10% reservation to Economically Backward Classes. He says work is underway to benefit senior citizens as well as 'divyang' individuals.
Chairman asks govt. to consider waiving railway, air ticket cancellation charges
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks the government to consider waiver of ticket cancellation charges by railway and airlines in view of coronavirus, after a Member raises the issue.
P.L. Punia, INC, says students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other minority communities are being deprived of post matric scholarships.
M.V. Rajeev Gowda, INC, speaks on the need to educate families on proper nutrition. There is a coincidence of malnutrition and obesity among school-going children for the first time, he says.
G.C. Chandrashekar, INC, says there should be a suburban train project implemented in Bengaluru as it faces severe traffic congestion.
Vijay Goel, BJP, speaks on losses encountered by farmers due to hailstorms in the northern parts of the country.
Speaker Om Birla is in the Chair.
Question Hour begins. The first question is on registered unemployed persons.
MSc Mathematics student gets sweeper’s post: LS Member on jobs
An MSc Mathematics student is getting job of a sweeper at the Madras Municipal Corporation, a member said as he sought to know steps taken by the government to deal with the unemployment situation.
During the Question Hour, DMK leader A Raja also mentioned that a person who is a mechanical engineer and a MBA is getting job of a ‘Khalasi’ job in railways.
‘Khalasi’ is generally a helper.
Many Opposition members asked supplementaries related to the employment situation in the country when the House took up a question on ‘Registerd Unemployment Persons’
While mentioning that unemployment rate is at a 45-year- high, Mr. Raja said that an MSc Mathematics student from the Madras University is getting a sweeper’s post in the Madras Municipal Corporation.
Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said there are various central government schemes for employment and steps are being taken to tackle unemployment.
Congress member Adoor Prakash wanted to know whether there is a large increase in the number of registered unemployed persons in the country.
”... the number of job seekers, all of whom may not necessarily be unemployed, registered on live register of employment exchanges in the country to the extent available were 4.35 crore, 4.34 crore and 4.24 crore during 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively,” Mr. Gangwar said in a written reply.
The minister gave details based on information received from states and Union Territories.
In April 2016, the Labour Bureau initiated Revamped Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) by extending scope and coverage with the objective of measure relative change in employment situation over successive quarters in sizeable segment of non-farm industrial economy covering eight sectors.
These sectors are manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education, health, accommodation and restaurants and IT/BPO having 10 or more workers.
Mr. Gangwar also said there has been a “total positive change in employment from April 2016 to October 2017 to the tune of 6.16 lakh workers in the selected eight sectors of the economy,” he said.