Parliament proceedings | Lok Sabha passes Budgetary proposals for J&K and Ladakh

A view of the Parliament building in New Delhi on July 15, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Lok Sabha passes supplementary demands for grants for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Rajya Sabha passes bills for setting up national commissions for homoeopathy and Indian systems of medicine.

Here are the live updates:

Lok Sabha | 7.50 p.m.

Lok Sabha finishes voting on supplementary demands for grants for Jammu and Kashmir and passes the proposals on voice vote.

Question Hour begins.

After question hour the House adjourns for the day.

Rajya Sabha | 7.45 p.m.

Rajya Sabha is adjourned till March 19, 11.00 a.m.

Lok Sabha | 7.00 p.m.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says: "The cash supplementary side of the grants includes additional expenditure on account of enhancement in dearness allowances, increase in number of pensions, etc. These are things for which we seek the permission of the House for clearing the grants."

Lok Sabha | 6.40 p.m.

'Arguments presented in LS on J&K are far from reality'

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said before August 5, J&K's life expectancy ranked third among 22 States. He also gives some other data about socio-economic indicators like rural employment rate, doctor-patient ratioi, human development indices, etc.

He says arguments presented in the House are far from reality, and points out that post the move on Article 370, tourism has fallen, there is fear among the people of the State regarding their land, and so on.

Lok Sabha | 6.05 p.m.

Dr. G. Kishan Reddy, Minister of State for Home Affairs, says that under the Narendra Modi government, Jammu and Kashmir has not reported any civilian casualty after the dilution of Article 370.

Lok Sabha | 5.45 pm

LS continues discussion on supplementary discussion on grants (Jammu and Kashmir) discussion and voting on supplementary demands for grants for the state for the year 2019-20 from April 1, 2019 to Oct 31, 2019.

Rajya Sabha | 5.40 pm

The National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2019 as amended is passed after clause by clause consideration.

Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises starts.

Rajya Sabha | 5.10 pm

The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 as amended, is passed after clause by clause consideration.

Lok Sabha | 4.45 pm

K. Subbarayan (CPI) speaks in Tamil. He says, "With Farooq Abdullah's detention, it is clear that J&K administration is hiding something from India. The Indian govt hates the Indian citizens and democracy is being ignored. Why are hundreds of people arrested? This needs to be explained."

Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (BJP) says that Ladakh has reached good heights of reasonable, meaningful, holistic developments. "After PM Modi's abrogation of Article 370, now people refer to the country as 'from Kargil to Kanyakumari'. Before becoming a union territory, we used to get a budget ₹1,172 crore. Now that we have become a union territory, Ladakh gets a budget of ₹10,325 crore due to PM Modi."

Rajya Sabha | 4.30 pm

Shripad Yesso Naik, MoS (IC) AYUSH [Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy] lists the developments in medical science in various states.

Lok Sabha | 3.50 pm

Jugal Kishore Sharma (BJP) says that in J&K, due to Prime Minister Modi, there are many developments and improvements. "This was the first time that a PM was thinking about J&K with a Central Govt Sanctions package of ₹80,000 crore.

Hasnain Masoodi (J&KNC) says that Kashmir is developed better than many states on healthcare. But misinformation was being spread about the state.

Rajya Sabha | 3.30 pm

Sushil Kumar Gupta (AAP) asks if for the UTs chosen by states there could be a nominee and an advisory council for the medical system to get help under the Indian govt.

Dr. D.P. Vats (BJP) says, "Wellness centres are posted at PHC level and WHO requirement is 1 doctor per 1000 people, but only armed forces can afford that. In villages that have a population of 10,000, there are only 1 or 2 doctors. Let us optimise our resources seeing our threat perception, let us march with each other. The MCI was an autonomous body and the responsibility of the delivery of health care is that of the state."

Jairam Ramesh (INC) seeks to bring modern science and modern research into the Indian medical science. "Science has moved on, research keeps moving. Clinical documentation is important. My ears are open, my mind is open. I have a skeptical approach, I am not athiest. I should point out that there are hypocrites. They sing the praises of Indian medicine but they would go to the Western medicine when there is a need," he says.

Lok Sabha | 3.00 pm

Prof. Sougata Roy (AITC) says, "Unemployment is at 45%. The Finance Minister has no clue how she is going to address this. The FM, if she pleases, she can tell about her economic thinking.

The situation in J&K is worse than emergency. There are 400 people arrested under the Public Safety Act. A few thousand people are arrested under another section. There is a calm but the calm is deceptive. One doesn't know what shape it will take. And once it takes shape, Jithendra Singh will not go to J&K. People are humiliated. One or the other terrorist incident takes place. PM Modi thinks that removal of Article 370 will solve all problems."

Rajya Sabha | 2.50 pm

Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi (BJP) says, "Only Ayurveda has the property to improve a person's immunity. There are no Western medicinal thoughts regarding improving immunity other than providing vitamins and minerals. But now suddenly they are talking about natural medicines. Sushruth's medicinal practices included surgeries even then. Now Harappa civilisation's surgical instruments are in demand. Now surgeries are being considered as a major achievement. A magazine in London had an article about a Ayurvedic surgery that was done in Pune in 17th century, to re-fix a person's nose that got cut off, by a person of the Kumar sect, which now belongs under the OBC category."

Lok Sabha | 2.15 pm

MoS Jitendra Singh, also MP from Jammu says the region has changed after Article 370 was abrogated. He lauds Prime Minister Modi. He responds to Mr. Raja, saying for the first time every festival was celebrated in the region without having to worry about militants.

"Please don't underestimate the students of Jammu and Kashmir. Infiltration has come down by 40%. The decision to create a union territory was done with due diligence. I am not uttering a single sentence without evidence. Self rule has to come from the grass roots, not from the 'family'": Jitendra Singh.

He says that 19 lakh metric tonnes of apples were bought from apple growers and they received money through DBT.

He adds, "There's a beeline of investors lined up for J&K. I agree Congress is very old but they aren't older than Shankaracharya. We have not followed the policy of appeasement. GST collection and excise collections are up. There are new pension cases now, but they could have been there earlier too. There are new developments in fund utilisation, Ujwala Yojana, toilets. This is the first time there was a process to eradicate terrorism. There is a provision to start start-up loans up to ₹1-2 lakh without collaterals."

"No period in J-K during militancy as peaceful as it is now"

He said that there has not been a more peaceful eight-month period in the militancy-hit region than the one since August last when Article 370 was nullified. He cited development figures to assert that new dreams and aspirations have emerged in the region after it was brought under the Centre’s direct rule.

Amid opposition members’ attack on the Modi government over the detention of former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, now released, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, Mr. Singh hit out at them, saying they are not worried about over 40,000 people who have lost their lives in the last 30 years of militancy there but only bothered about two-three families.

The number of detainees in the union territory is the least right now in the last 30 years, the Udhampur MP said.

Some people say, Mr. Singh claimed, that things remained under control in the erstwhile state after Article 370, which gave it special status, was rolled back and it was brought under the Centre’s direct rule by being turned into a union territory because they were detained, in a reference to the former CMs.

As the opposition objected, he said he was only airing the view of a section of people who considered these leaders as “potential troublemakers".

“Prophets of doom have been proved wrong. That is their agony. It was said earthquake will follow and volcano will erupt,” he said.

The GST collection from Jammu and Kashmir has since then gone up by 13% and excise duty by 7.5% while 60,000 new pensioners have been enrolled into various schemes, he said.

While only 1,008 new houses were built under the PM Awas Yojna in 2008, 18,534 were built in 2019, he said, adding that fund utilisation there has gone up by 48%.

If this according to the opposition is “bad condition” as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, then let such a condition remain there, Mr. Singh said in a jibe at the opposition, adding that over 50,000 new jobs have been created.

“The unemployment of youths will go away soon but I cannot make this guarantee about a few families,” he said.

Some UTs do not have single AIIMS but Jammu and Kashmir has two AIIMS and eight to nine medical colleges, he said.

“New dreams, new hopes and new aspirations have taken birth there under the leadership of Modi,” he said, noting that the prime minister spent his Diwali after coming to power in 2014 in Kashmir with flood victims and is going to be in Ladakh, which was part of the erstwhile state and is now a UT, on International Yoga Day in June.

He said disinformation about security clampdown was spread but even in the worst of times broadband, landline and wifi connections were on in the region, and only mobile Internet was blocked to target terrorists.

Not curfew but Section 144, which restricts assembly of more than four people, was imposed there after Article 370 was revoked, he said, asserting that when Section 144 can be imposed to tackle coronavirus than why not for dealing with militants.

Local recruitment of militants and infiltration have gone down, he said, adding that a record 90 lakh metric tonne of apples was sold this season following the “personal intervention” of Home Minister Amit Shah.

Over 520 central laws have been applied there now and, for the first time, block development council polls were held.

The Jammu and Kashmir budget is more than what it was for the erstwhile state, which had included Ladakh, and 38% of it is capital fund, Mr. Singh said.

Corruption has been curbed there, he added.

Attacking Mr. Singh’s speech, TMC’s Saugata Roy said he had never heard a lame reason for turning a state into UT, something which had never happened, demanded that it be granted statehood and elections be held there.

He demanded the release of former chief ministers.

Taking a dig at Mr. Modi, he said Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee knew nothing and the prime minister thinks only he knows. - PTI

Rajya Sabha | 2.10 pm

Rajya Sabha is discussing National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 and National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2019.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) who is part of the parliamentary committee that scrutinised the Bill, says most of the suggestions have been ignored. It is an important Bill. Most of the poor and rural population go to Indian medicine and we should remember that will framing the Bill, he says.

Lok Sabha | 2.00 p.m.

J&K, Ladakh budget is ceremonial: Raja

Lok Sabha continues its discussion on Demand for Grant for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. More members from BJP want to speak but the Chair says time alloted cannot be changed.

DMK's A. Raja targets BJP. It's been seven months since Article 370 was abrogated. What tangible measures have you taken, he asks. We are discussing budget after all political leaders are in prison and over 45,000 troops are stationed there, he says.

The fears raised by Opposition were not removed. The State Assembly (of J&K) is not able to discuss. But the Parliament is discussing. This is just ceremonial. We are not Kashmiris. They should be discussing it, he says.

He says the Home Minister earlier painted a picture that the erstwhile State was suffering due to Article 370. In reality, it had better parameters than BIMARU states.

Lok Sabha | 1.15 p.m.

Manish Tewari says we still don't know how many people from J&K have been detained in different prisons across the country after August 5. Three former Chief Ministers were arrested and PSA was slapped on them. He asks why this was done. He asks the Centre to immediately release Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and remove all charges against them.

He says the access to internet was a fundamental right and this was taken away from the people of J&K.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Telecom Minister, says that the Supreme Court's order on access to internet is for freedom of speech and expression and not for terror networks.

Mr. Tewari says this is a convenient excuse to shut down internet for seven months. He says schools were shut for seven months. 459 habeas corpus petitions were filed after August 5 and 6, says the Congress Member. J&K lost $2.4 billion in just four months, he says. These are figures from the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, says Mr. Tewari.

The tourism industry has also been hit, he says.

Lok Sabha | 1 pm

Navneet Ravi Rana (Independent) says medical students from India are stranded in Philippines.

M.K. Raghavan (Congress) says the agricultural areas in his constituency of Kozhikode need to be protected from mining. He wants it to be denoted as an eco-sensitive area.

House takes up Supplementary Demands for Grants - Second Batch for discussion and voting.

Manish Tewari (Congress) speaks on the J&K and Ladakh budget. He says this discussion should happen in the J&K Assembly. He says what happened on August 5 and 6 was shameful. He says the Centre wants the land of J&K and not the people.

Lok Sabha | 12.45 p.m.

Protest at Shaheen Bagh affects over 5 lakh people: Ramesh Bidhuri

Benny Behanan (Congress) speaks about the prevalence of kidney failure in the country. He wants those patients to be categorised as disabled.

Ramesh Bidhuri (BJP) says the protest at Shaheen Bagh affects over 5 lakh people.

Rajashree Mallick (BJD) wants the Minister to develop water storage solutions for her constituency.

Ramulu Pothuganti (TRS) asks for a mega footpath in Nagarkurnool, Telangana.

Rajmohan Unnithan (Congress) says Kerala government is classifying wild boar as vermin. This will lead to it being culled, he says. He wants the Centre to classify it as a wild animal.

Arjunlal Meena (BJP) says the tribals in his constituency do not get the funds allocated to them in the Union Budget, because the State government takes away those funds.

Lok Sabha | 12.30 p.m.

Mathura should come under Delhi-NCR: Hema Malini

Dr. Alok Kumar Suman (JD-U) says that farmers in his constituency have been affected by the economic slowdown.

Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan (BJP) says the allocation made under the PM Fasal Bima Yojana is not reaching the farmers in his constituency.

Dean Kuriakose (Congress) says earthquakes have affected his constituency, and he wants the Ministry of Earth Sciences to study the area.

Hema Malini (BJP) speaks about tourism in Mathura. She says the public areas are not well maintained. She wants Mathura to come under Delhi-NCR, so more funds can be allocated for the development of the constituency.

Lok Sabha | 12.15 p.m.

C.R. Patil (BJP) says the diamond industry has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Suresh Kodikunnil is in the Chair.

Devusinh Chauhan (BJP) says there is sale of medicines online without prescriptions. He wants the government to clamp down on these sites.

Krishna Pal Singh (BJP) says Kendriya Vidyalayas in his constituency (Gunah) need to be renovated.

T.N. Prathapan (Congress) speaks about the Thrissur Pooram.

Rajya Sabha | 12.15 p.m.

House has been adjourned till 2 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 12 noon

'Govt should give land to farmers in Andaman & Nicobar Islands'

Slogan shouting is on in the House. All adjournment notices have been rejected by the Speaker.

Papers are laid on the table.

Suresh Angadi reads out a statement on the demands for grants for the Ministry of Railways.

Zero Hour begins. Kuldeep Rai Sharma (Congress) speaks about Andaman & Nicobar islands, and says that settlers don't have any land left. He also says that a lot of farmers also lost their lands after the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Another Member says the House should pass a resolution to thank all those who are working on the frontlines to bring down incidence of COVID-19.

A. Chellakumar (Congress) says Indians have been stranded in Philippines and Malaysia. He says students are struggling without proper food and adequate water.

N.K. Premachandran (RSP) says hundreds of Indians are stranded in Italy and in Malaysia. He urges the government to resolve this issue.

Rajya Sabha | 11.45 a.m.

'Women in PSU banks, insurance companies don't get child care leave'

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) D.P. Vats (BJP) says that women working in PSU banks, insurance companies do not get child care leave up to two years to take care of their minor children.

Chair says that Members who have given notice and are absent in the House, will not get an opportunity to speak for a week. Special mentions are being made now.

Sanjay Singh (AAP) says that more testing centres should be opened for COVID-19.

Chhaya Verma (Congress) speaks about celebrating Chhattisgarh Day.

Gokulakrishnan (AIADMK) says students of Pondicherry University have been demanding the rights of indigenous people, for reservation.

A Member wants to speak, but Chair does not allow him. This leads to a commotion. Chair is unwilling to relent.

Lok Sabha | 11.30 a.m.

No plan to shut down BSNL: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Telecom Minister, says that there is no scheme to shut down BSNL or pass it on to a private player.

Saugata Roy (Trinamool) says BSNL was not overstaffed. He says the government's position that all those who took VRS, their posts will be abolished, is wrong. He says these posts have to be filled in three months.

Mr. Prasad says this workload cannot be established.

A Member says that BSNL has not paid salaries to contract workers. Mr. Prasad says this is under the purview of contractors.

Dayanidhi Maran (DMK) says employees have come down by 33% and asks how many subscribers moved to private operators. Mr. Prasad says he doesn't want to go into the legacy of BSNL.

The next question is on the construction of the Imphal-Tupul-Jiribam railway project. Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (BJP) says the project is getting continuously delayed. Suresh Angadi, MoS, Railways, says 80% of the work is underway. It will completed as early as possible, he says.

Dr. Singh, who represents Inner Manipur, says there is no quality control. Mr. Angadi says Railway Board officials are working day and night to complete this project. 12 km has been completed, he says. Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister, says that some projects are delayed because of contractors delaying smaller projects.

Rajendra Gavit (Shiv Sena) says 1.5 lakh companies in Maharashtra have shut down. Mr. Goyal, who is also the Commerce and Industry Minister, says this should be viewed on an international level, where there is an international economic slowdown.

Rajya Sabha | 11.10 a.m.

'Indians stranded in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia'

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says MPs should set an example by functioning in the House. Chair asks those wearing masks to remove them, again.

P. Chidambaram (Congress) says this is a matter that should be left to the judgment of the individual as some people may feel vulnerable. Many others associate with his statement.

Nadimul Haque (Trinamool), wearing a mask, speaks about Indians left stranded in Saudi Arabia, and other countries where flights to India have been stopped.

Mohammad Ali Khan (Congress) says people from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are stranded in Malaysia.

Shwait Malik (BJP) speaks about the number of people affected by kidney failure. He wants blood relations to be allowed to donate kidneys.

Vijila Satyananth (AIADMK) brings up the issue of salaries being included in the gross income of people belonging to OBCs. She says this affects the children of people working in PSUs, for whom this goes into the determination of the creamy layer.

Dr. Banda Prakash (TRS) speaks about orphaned children in India. He says orphanages take a charity-centric approach and do not concentrate on empowerment.

Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar (TDP) raises the issue of the price of crude oil.

Lok Sabha | 11.10 a.m.

We need to produce more coal: Pralhad Joshi

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (INC) says that the areas between Jharkhand and West Bengal are becoming polluted.

Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi says that as far as West Bengal is concerned, rehabilitation of households has already begun.

29,000 non-ECE households (Coal India subsidiary) have to be relocated, says the Minister. He says this comes under the West Bengal government and asks the State to take appropriate action.

Nishikant Dubey (BJP) asks about the Supreme Court asking thermal power plants to be shut down. He asks if the government has any policies to improve and expand these plants or renewable energy. Mr. Joshi says that as far as renewable energy is concerned, he hasn't come up with a plan. He says we are producing more power and the economy should grow. We need to produce more coal, he says.

11.00 am

Question Hour in progress in Lok Sabha. Coal minister Pralhad Joshi is responding to queries.

In Rajya Sabha, some members wear masks. Vice President asks members to remove the masks.

Rajeev Gowda and Anand Sharma suggest the parliament can be postponed. "The virus doesn't know if we are MPs or not," Mr. Gowda says.

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