Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Bill with amendments by Lok Sabha

March 20, 2017 10:53 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:58 pm IST

Shiv Sena MP climbing a ladder for paying homage to Chatrapati Shivaji on his birth anniversary on March 15 at the Parliament House in New Delhi.

Shiv Sena MP climbing a ladder for paying homage to Chatrapati Shivaji on his birth anniversary on March 15 at the Parliament House in New Delhi.

After the ruling BJP chose and swore in Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the Parliament reconvenes on Monday to a Cabinet meeting on the GST legislation.

Friday saw the Lok Sabha passing the Demands for Grants under the Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry, while the Rajya Sabha took up a private Member's Bill — Tiruchi Siva's resolution to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which he later withdrew after reassurance from the Centre.

Here are the latest updates:

6.00 p.m. Lok Sabha: Zero Hour concludes without disruption. The House is adjourned till tomorrow.

6.00 p.m. Rajya Sabha: The House is adjourned till 11 a.m.

“People of America as well as the Congressmen have come out condemning the incidents (hate crimes). Our first priority is safety of Indians living abroad,” Ms. Swaraj replies to the questions.

"Are we treating these attacks on Indians in U.S. as mere incidents or are these a going trend of hate crimes. If it is growing trends then what will the government do, to save the lives of young Indians?" asks CPIM's SitaramYechury.

Mr. Yechury and Sharad Yadav expresses happiness and wishes best to the External Affairs Minister for better health.

6.00 p.m. Lok Sabha: Zero hour continues. Members of Parliament take up different issues , which includes having separate certificate board in Andhra Pradesh, rail bridge in Uttar Pradesh, wages of employees in MP and so on.

5.30 p.m. Rajya Sabha: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj speaks on the cases of violence against Indians in U.S.

"We had meetings with American officials to take action. The issue was also raised in the House in Kansas," Ms. Swaraj says.

5.30 p.m. Lok Sabha: Lok Sabha takes up zero hour notices. BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab takes up issue of mobile towers near schools and hospitals. He mentions the case study done by AIIMS which points out the health hazards of the mobile towers.

BJP Ram Prasad Sarmah from Assam requests government to take up the condition of roads in the State.

5.00 p.m.: Rajya Sabha AIADMK’s Navaneethakrishnan requests HRD ministry to provide the State with sufficient fund to continue running “Amma canteen”. He points out how the formula has been replicated in neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. He further requests everyone to visit Tamil Nadu and have full meal for Rs.2 in the canteen. HRD minister Prakash Javdekar replies, says he visited the canteen and he will see to it. 

5.00 p.m.: Lok Sabha Arjun Ram Meghwal moves the House to pass the Appropriation Bills (general), which is passed by the House.

4.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Mohammed Faizal of the NCP, from Lakshadweep speaks now. He speaks about the needs for funds for harbour development.

N.K. Premachandran of the RSP speaks next followed by Tamradhwaj Sahu of the Congress.

4.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Mr. Poddar says that with this Budget, the idea of considering Budget as a time-bound commitment has changed. He says that all villages will be electrified by 2019.

4 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Mr. Thakur asks the government to remove charges on digital payments. Ninong Ering of the Congress speaks next. He says the North East is waiting for the government to make announcements for smart cities in the region.

P.R. Sundaram of the AIADMK thanks the government for solving the jallikattu issue. He speaks about the issues faced by fishermen. "The government may say that Neduvasal is safe, but that scheme should be stopped."

Rajesh Pandey of the BJP speaks next. He says the government has been doing a lot for farmers.

Jayprakash Narayan Yadav of the RJD speaks now. "Ambedkar spoke for the marginalised, but they still remain so."

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is back in the Chair.

4 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

"The money allocated for SC/ST students' scholarships is meagre," says Mr. Siva. "In his Budget speech, the Finance Minister said a model law on contract farming would be prepared and circulated. This has historical references, like the contract system imposed on indigo farmers during the time of the East India Company. Individuals will benefit, farmers will be vicitmised and consumers will be penalised."

M.V. Rajeev Gowda of the Congress speaks next. He voices concerns about the system of electoral bonds, stating that anonymity will not help. "The reduction in the cash contributions will help convert black money to white." He cites the Anti-Defection Law and says that some laws need to be looked at again.

Mahesh Poddar of the BJP speaks now.

3.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Renuka Butta of the YSR Congress speaks next. "Farmers have not received drought relief in many states. MSP increases for various crops were insignificant. I request the government to make loan waivers for our state too." Ms. Butta represents Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh.

Anurag Thakur of the BJP speaks now. He says the current government fulfilled the OROP demand. He also claims the government's 'Act East' policy has enabled them to win elections in Manipur.

Hukum Singh is in the Chair.

3.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Jharna Das Baidya of the CPI(M) speaks next. She too brings up the reduced allocation for SC/STs. She also speaks about the cut in resources for the Nirbhaya Fund. Satyanarayan Jatiya is in the Chair.

Tiruchi Siva of the DMK speaks next. He says that shadow economies exist in every country. "But no country has taken so severe a step. If you say that it will curtail black money, and reduce counterfeit currency, wouldn't it be easier to store black money in Rs. 2,000 notes?"

He then brings up the move to disinvest PSUs.

3 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Murali Mohan of the TDP speaks next. "More than 20,000 farmers who gave their land for pooling will benefit from this Budget," he says, referring to Amaravati. He turns to issues faced by his constituency Rajahmundry. He supports the Finance Bill.

A.P. Jithender Reddy of the TRS speaks now. He says India's spending on health is very low.

P. Karunakaran of the CPI(M) says the unemployment rate has increased. "Can we say it is a sign of growth?" He also says that allocations for SC/STs in this Budget is very low when compared to their population.

3 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

The South is more educated, says Mr. Agarwal.

Chair asks him to conclude.

R. Vaithilingam of the AIADMK rises to make his maiden speech. He speaks about inter-linking of rivers, and the early formation of the Cauvery Management Board. He also brings up the issue of attacks on fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

"I request the Centre to look again at the proposal to use Tamil in the High Court."

2.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Mr. Mahtab says that all four speakers before him have spoken about agriculture, and everybody has mentioned the pauperisation of farmers. "This is the challenge before the nation today." He says low productivity is the main problem in the country. "The suicides will continue. We will try to explain certain things, you will try to explain certain things. But the crux of the problem is how to mitigate the woes of the farmer."

2.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

"What will happen of unemployment?" asks Mr. Agarwal.

He says the government knows who holds black money. "You said the first step in UP would be to waive farm loans. But how can a state government waive the loans granted by nationalised banks?"

"We have won the mandate for 40 years. You have won it just now."

2.05 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha takes up the discussion on Demands for Supplementary Grants (General).Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai is in the Chair. Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress cites demonetisation as the reason behind the plight of farmers and artisans in the country. "Tamil Nadu is reeling under drought. Thanjavur is dry. Kerala, a green belt, is hit by drought. Where has the government granted money for these aread affected by drought?"

"We do not know how much black money was recovered. This remains a dark spot in our economy. The banking sector is rotting. Rs. eight lakh crore of NPAs are there."

Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD speaks next.

2 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes.

Chair (Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien) announces that Sushma Swaraj will make a statement in the House.

Maternity Benefits Bill is taken up. Minister Bandaru Dattatreya moves a motion to pass amendments made by the Lok Sabha. The Bill is passed.

The House takes up discussion on the Union Budget 2017-18. Naresh Agarwal of the SP speaks now. Chair says the Finance Minister is unwell and will come back to the House to reply to the discussion.

Mr. Agarwal begins the discussion. He says 19% of the country's GDP is going away in paying interest on loans.

1 p.m.: Lok Sabha

G. Hari of the AIADMK speaks next. "It is disappointing that the Budget has not made any announcements for reducing taxation on MSMEs."

He says TN is reeling under severe drought this year.

House is adjourned till 2.05 p.m.

12.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Mr. Venugopal also speaks about high NPA rates and asks the government what action is being taken to address this issue.

He tries to take up the Goa issue, but Speaker says it will not go on the record. Kirit Somaiya of the BJP speaks next.

Mr. Somaiya says that the Opposition said demonetisation will lower GDP. "Whose GDP has fallen? India's or the Congress'?"

12.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Minister Rao Inderjit Singh cites numbers from the Budget for allocations to SC/STs. He also says that grants are given to States. Digvijaya Singh says students have stopped receiving post-matric scholarships for the last three years.

The next question is on filling up of SC/ST job quotas. Minister replies that OBC vacancies are the highest and STs have the least vacancies.

P. Bhattacharya of the Congress asks a question on the identification of the marginalised poor in rural areas. Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of the SP asks a supplementary question.

The next question is on the use of plastic goods. "We have already notified new rules to manage plastic waste," says Mr. Javadekar.

No Minister is present in the House, as the next few questions are taken up. House is adjourned till 2 p.m. 

12 noon: Lok Sabha

Papers are laid on the table. All notices of adjournment have been disallowed by the Speaker. Statements are laid on the table.

The Business Advisory Committee report is adopted by the House.

Sadananda Gowda introduces a Bill to amend the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008. The Bill is introduced. The Guillotine as specified by the Business Advisory Committee will be taken up at 5 p.m., says the Speaker. Zero Hour will be after the Guillotine.

What does 'Guillotine' mean?

On the last of the allotted days at the appointed time, the Speaker puts every question necessary to dispose of all the outstanding matters in connection with the Demands for Grants. The Guillotine concludes the discussion on Demands for Grants.

K.C. Venugopal raises the issue of an Indian Catholic Priest being attacked in Australia in an apparent hate crime. Minister Ananth Kumar says the government will take corrective measures.

Demands for Excess Grants and Supplementary Grants under the Railway Ministry are passed.

Suresh Prabhu introduces Bills for Appropriations (Railways). Clause by clause voting on the Bill begins. The Bill is passed.

The House takes up clause by clause voting of the Maternity Benefits Bill as amended by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill is passed.

Lok Sabha takes up discussion on the Supplementary Demands for Grants under the Union Budget 2017-18. Mr. Venugopal raises a question on the GDP figures. "How did we achieve 7% GDP growth? Does the PM have Aladdin's magic lamp?" He also raises the issue of farmer suicides across the country. "How can UP farmers alone get loan waivers? Our demand is that all farmers' loans should be waived."

12 noon: Rajya Sabha - Question Hour

Chairman Hamid Ansari is in the Chair.

Prakash Javadekar answers a question on illegal mining, asked by Chhaya Verma of the Congress. "Sand mining areas are now being mapped by satellite."

Piyush Goyal, Power Minister answers a question on free LPG connections for BPL families. Vijaysai Reddy of the YSR Congress asks if the government has any plans to subsidise the cost of refilling of LPG for households which find it unaffordable. "Does the government has any plans to supply 2kg and 5kg cylinders?"

C.P. Narayanan of the CPI(M) says that contract labour is being employed in PSUs, where SC/STs should be employed. Rao Inderjit Singh answers.

11.30 a.m.: Lok Sabha - Question Hour

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Trade and Commerce answers a question on H1B visas and illegal immigration. "We  don't have anything to fear."

Answering another question, Ms. Sitharaman says, "We are engaging with the U.S. administration to make sure there is no significant policy change in the approach."

Pralhad Joshi from the BJP asks a question on bilateral trade between India and the U.S. Minister answers that India does not recognise the U.S.' authority to put India on any watchlist.

The next question is on vacancies in Universities, asked by Badaruddoza Khan of the CPI(M). "I think there is a conspiracy to give the upper hand to private players."

"In Central Universities, there are 20% vacancies," says Prakash Javadekar, HRD Minister. "We don't have part-time posts as part of our policy. We have taken many measures to fill all vacancies within one year."

Elumalai Vellaigounder of the AIADMK asks the government to improve the student-teacher ratio and bring it down further. Minister says it is a continuous process and that the government is monitoring it strictly.

K.C. Venugopal of the Congress speaks about absence of teaching staff. "Vacancies in DU is 60.78%, JNU is 30%, in Tamil Nadu it is 62%, and in Odisha it is 85%."

Minister says that the age of superannuation of teachers has been increased to 65 years. "Retired teachers who are experienced are re-employed on contract basis up to 70 years. We have instructed all Universities to continuously open the process of vacancy filling. We are taking M.Phil and PhD students to become good teachers. Those who are applying are interviewed and recruited."

Yashwant Singh of the BJP also asks a question about vacancies in central Universities.

Nominated MP Richard Hay asks a question on MSMEs. "Would defence procurement from MSMEs increase with time to catch up with the PM's Make in India, so more employment can be generated?" Giriraj Singh, the MSME Minister answers.

11.30 a.m.: Rajya Sabha - Zero Hour

T. Subbarami Reddy of the Congress raises the issue of forest fires across the country. "We need a national policy on forest fires." Chair terms it very important for the country in an age of climate change, citing fires in Kerala where it is usually rare. Minister agrees to take it up.

Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress speaks about terrorism in the border villages of Punjab. "Let us recruit village volunteers. Let the Army and the BSF train young men and arm them as a second line of defence. We can pay them an honorarium."

Maitreyan of the BJP says that the Sri Lankan Army is occupying Tamil areas. "In her last letter to the PM, former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had requested Mr. Modi that India take measures in the UNHRC."

D. Raja of the CPI asks what the government's stand on Sri Lankan Tamils is.

Rajani Patil of the Congress wants farm loans waived, not only for those in UP, but for farmers in Maharashtra too. Sambhaji Shahu Chattrapati says that the forts of Chattrapati Shivaji are being neglected by the ASI.

Trinamool Congress' Vivek Gupta raises the issue of Uber drivers' allowances going down. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi responds that the government will look into the issue.

Special Mentions are laid on the table.

11 a.m.: Lok Sabha

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair. Capt. Amarinder Singh's replacement, Gurjeet Singh Aulia takes oath as the MP from Amritsar.

Question Hour begins.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan answers a question on old and closed oil wells in Barmer. "Earlier, we had to take fresh permission, but now process is being expedited. After 25 years, exploration work is almost closed." He says Kutch too is being looked at for exploration now.

A question on the Neduvasal project is asked by P.R. Sundaram of the AIADMK. Mr. Pradhan says proper Environmental Impact Assessment has been done for Neduvasal. "I respect the sentiments of the locals, but there shouldn't be any apprehension."

BJP member Sharad Tripathi asks about possible monopolisation in gas extraction.

"Until now 28,000 million metric tonne oil equivalent natural reserve, 10,973 million properly detected, 30 to 35% recoverable resources has been explored. 450 million metric tonne has been produced so far," says the Minister. "Those who bring new tech for exploration and extraction of gas will be given priority. There is no question of monopoly."

"Assam and Gujarat has a large number of non-functioning oil wells. They are not working. It is wastage of natural resources," says Saugata Roy.

The Minister concedes that the Wells are not working, but hydrocarbon industry is coming up with new technology. "It is estimated that most of the production takes please through aged wells the world over."

BJP's Daggan Mishra asks if consumers are being taken for a ride by private companies. Mr. Pradhan says the government is developing a mechanism where the consumer would be the boss. "He can choose and pick as per the price on offer."

"India is third is the world in terms of oil consumption," says Mr. Pradhan in response to a question on the supposed reduction in oil production. "Keeping that in mind, in the near future we intend to reduce dependence on imports. Today it is 80% by 2022. We intend to reduce it through augmenting production, conservation, bio-energy, clean energy, and create self sufficiency in long run."

The Minister also says there is no conflict between gas, oil extraction and local farming, answering another question about the Neduvasal project.

11 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

Chairman Hamid Ansari is in the Chair. A new Member from West Bengal, Manish Gupta of the Trinamool Congress takes oath and is welcomed to the House.

An obituary reference is made to Pyarimohan Mohapatra of the Odisha Jana Morcha. Papers are laid on the table.

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

Digvijaya Singh of the Congress says he has moved a substantive motion under rule 168 on the conduct of the Goa Governor, but it has not been listed. The Chair expunges comments by the Members.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad says the discussion should take place after 2 p.m.

Zero Hour begins.

K.K. Ragesh raises the issue of State Bank of India charging for non-maintenance of monthly deposit average.

Pramod Tiwari of the Congress speaks about farmer suicides in Maharashtra.

10.45 a.m.: Cabinet approves draft GST Bill.

10.30 a.m.: Listed business for the day

Rajya Sabha

- Amendments to the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill - The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 - Discussion on the Union Budget 2017-18 - 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 - Sushma Swaraj to make a statement on hate crimes against Indians and persons of Indian-origin in the U.S.

Lok Sabha

- The Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017 - Discussion and voting on supplementary Demands for Grants under the Railway Ministry - Discussion and voting on excess Demands for Grants under the Railway Ministry - The Appropriation (Railways) No.2 Bill, 2017 - Discussion and voting on supplementary Demands for Grants (General) - Voting on Demands for Grants under the Union Budget 2017-18

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