Rajya Sabha passes Appropriation Bills

March 23, 2017 10:49 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:58 pm IST

Congress members walk out from the Rajya Sabha during Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s reply to a discussion on electoral reforms.

Congress members walk out from the Rajya Sabha during Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s reply to a discussion on electoral reforms.

The lower House took up the Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016 for consideration and passing as the upper House passed the The Appropriation (Railways) Bill and The Appropriation (Railways) No. 2 Bill, 2017.

Here are the latest updates:

6 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House adjourned till 11 a.m. Friday.

A member lays paper on table about preserving indigenous cattle breeds.

Rajasthan INC MP Narendra Budania: If someone sits in a train, he prays to God to keep him alive. This is a reason to worry. Accidents are on the rise.

6 p.m.: Lok Sabha

House adjourned till 11 a.m. Friday.

5.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Samajwadi Party MP from UP, Javed Ali Khan: Railways aren't safe for the people. ZRTI exists even now at Chandausi, UP. Regarding rail accidents, the govt doesn't trust NCRB data on the injured or dead passengers.

5.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

West Bengal INC MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury: The proposal in the resolution is an appropriate one. The govt should come forward to make this bill a reality. A major portion of the budget this year is for the pension scheme, however, the allocation is insufficient as there is an arrear to EPFO from the govt side.

Uttar Pradesh BJP MP Ajay Misra praises Narendra Modi's Jan Dhan Yojana and demonetisation measures.

5 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Railways Minister MP Suresh Prabhu moves to discuss The Appropriation (Railways) Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return) and The Appropriation (Railways) No. 2 Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return).

Praful Patel: The coming elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are round the corner. We need to advice the EC to reaffirm the faith in the election process. Please moot it with the EC. We need to make a beginning somewhere. The number of machines available, are enough for these two states.

Tamil Nadu DMK MP Tiruchi Siva asks a question about simultaneous elections.

Tamil Nadu CPI MP D. Raja: Will the govt consider to move to proportional system? When we talk of elections, there are NRIs living in other countries. What are the steps to exercise their right to vote? Then migrant labourers, 25 crores of our population, how can they vote? When we talk of electoral reforms, can we have a measure for all this?

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad: We are not satisfied with Minister's answer. We are walking out.

5 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Speaker Anandrao Assul asks members if we can extend the time to discuss the Private Members resolution by 2 hours. Members agree.

INC MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury: We came to talk about pensions but Nishikant Dubey talks about all other issues.

We should consider our elder generation as our asset. We have come to a nuclear family, running towards our own earnings. We don't have time for our elders. The population of elderly would increase by a hopping 270% soon. 72% of the workforce in the informal sector is not eligible for any scheme.

I am personally concerned for the workers of the unorganised sector. 93% remain in the unorganised sector. The need of the hour is to revisit the social security schemes to extend to the 93% of the workers.

4.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Ravi Shankar Prasad: On the issue of paid news, the law commission has said that this needs to be discussed.

Ghulam Nabi Azad tries to ask a question, as Ravi Shankar Prasad says, "I'm not running away from here. I'm going to cover all those points."

Commotion covers the Upper House, as members seek answers. Chair Kurien asks members to let Ravi Shankar Prasad talk.

4.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

BJP MP from Godda, Jharkand Nishikant Dubey talks about youth going to other countries and other cities, leaving their parents alone. Crores of us are dependent on farmers. We are now moving towards a pension scheme. Till 2012, UPA's own Bill couldn't come up.

RSP MP from Kollam, Kerala N.K. Premachandran: The country wants to know regarding the decision on pension on full salary. Please clarify my doubt if this order can be availed by EPFO pensioners.

Nishikant Dubey: The central govt pension liability is in unsustainable proportion. It has risen. Pension will also be available on a voluntary basis, shared equally.

In UK, I saw that there has been a lot of change that youth are now staying with their parents so that they can use their parents' pension and save their own earnings.

 

4 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology: talks about the debate on electoral reforms. Indira Gandhi didn't win any seats in UP & Bihar where they once had a majority.

Uttar Pradesh's poor have joined hands with Narendra Modi, be it Fasal Bheema yojana, be it Ujjwala yojana, Jan Dhan yojana. This country's people are coming to BJP. 

Regarding EVMs, it has only reduced crimes. Corruption has come down.

4 p.m.: Lok Sabha

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017 is passed by Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha discusses Private Members' Business — Steps to ensure welfare of Employees Provident Fund pensioners, resolution initiated by N.K.Premachandran.

Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot: You want the reservation limit to go up. But there's a process based on population and other factors.

 

Karnataka INC MP Muniyappa: Residential schools for SC/STs will be more useful as quality education will be provided.

3.45 p.m.: Rajya Sabha: Appropriation Bills approved.

The Appropriation Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return) considered and returned.

Arun Jaitley moves to return The Appropriation No. 2 Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return). The ayes have it, the Bill is returned.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman Kurien wishes Smriti Irani a happy birthday.

 

3.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Even after 70 years of independence, there is caste discrimination. Govt is responsible for this, says an MP.

Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot: Many MPs are talking about injustice towards minorities. Last year a law was created for this purpose.

Many scholarships and financial aid are being made for betterment of students from backward communities.

3.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Arun Jaitley: Transactions are going to be tracked by IT backbone. Tax evasion is going to be become difficult. All income tax returns go into a common criteria when the return is filed online. Some unexplained factor comes in the way of the software which shows a red alert.

Privatisation creates jobs. The 14th Finance commission has spoken about northeast and hill states. The other states, the commission has dealt in terms of revenue.

3 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Tripura CPI(M) MP Jitendra Choudhury: I'd like to suggest a legislation for welfare schemes for Scheduled caste and tribes.

Bihar RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan (Pappu Yadav) stresses importance of Dalit education and economic freedom to stop suicides like the ones at JNU. Include Savitribai Phule and Periyar in curriculum.

3 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Arun Jaitley: With regard to electoral references, the outline is that political funding can be done. If clean money comes, there will be enough transparency.

M.V. Rajeev Gowda: We never get to know details of contributions. This is something that the FM must change, going forward.

2.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Pratima Mondal of the Trinamool Congress says that it is sad that after 70 years of independence, the reservation policy has done little to uplift people of SC/ST communities.

TDP MP Dr. Ravindra Babu: We support this Bill. But the percentage of reservations whether scheduled caste or tribe, is always fixed. My first demand would be to increase the percentage with respect to the population. The country has to be united inspite of the caste system.

2.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

"A shock was necessary to the system," says Mr. Jaitley referring to demonetisation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the House.

Arun Jaitley says GST is a joint initiative of the whole country. GST Council in India's first federal decision making body.

96% companies have a turnover of less than 50 crore. We brought taxes down to 25%.

2 p.m.: Lok Sabha

The House reconvenes to take up legislative business. Thawar Chand Gehlot introduces The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

The Bill adds the Sabakhia community to Scheduled Castes and changes 'Pondicherry' to 'Puducherry.' Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai is in the Chair.

Mr. Kharge says that increasingly, the SC list is being determined by political pressures. He refers to the Poona Pact between B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi.

What is the Poona Pact?

This refers to an agreement signed by B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi  at the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune in 1932 that seats in provincial legislatures shall be reserved for 'depressed classes.'

2 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Ghulam Nabi Azad begins speaking about Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Ritabrata Banerjee reiterates that the Chandigarh airport should be named after the freedom fighter. Read more

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

The House takes up further discussion on the Union Budget.

Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena speaks about loan waivers for farmers in Maharashtra. He also says that stringent steps need to be taken for recovering loans from major defaulters.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

 

Arun Jaitley begins his response to the debate on the Budget.

"We have become a largely tax non-compliant society. If tax compliant were proper, imagine how much tax would be collected. We must ask ourselves if cash is a facilitator of crime, and if it is, must we keep adding to that component, particularly when there are alternate means available."

12.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Rajnath Singh says the BJP governments in the States, including UP, does not discriminate on any basis. "The Chief Minister had in his first press conference also said that the government's objective is " Sabka saath sabka vikas."   If there is any specific incident, bring that to our notice, and we will get it examined," he says responding to member Ranjeet Ranjan.

Hema Malini asks for an Indian consulate in Georgia.

Smriti Irani says the government has responded to the member on the issue, on a member raising the issue of a jute mill in Katihar.

P.R. Sundaram of the AIADMK speaks about uniform tax on petrol and diesel.

M.B. Rajesh wants Chandigarh airport named after Bhagat Singh.

House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

12.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

K.K. Ragesh says there are complaints regarding fellowship and scholarship disbursements for students. "The amount is also meagre."

Minister Mahendra Pandey says UGC has started a student grievances portal.

Prabhakar Kore says we are behind Pakistan and Bangladesh in PhDs. "The numbers are falling. The quality and quantity of PhD holders is coming down in India."

The issue of vacancies in universities is being spoken about.

D. Raja of the CPI says that India has a moral obligation to question Sri Lanka as to what they have done. Ms. Swaraj says, "All concerns are there in the report and Sri Lanka has been asked to fulfil all commitments till 2017."

Mr. Raja says there has been no punishment for war crimes. "Nothing has happened. I appeal the government to morally speak out against Sri Lankan authorities." Ms. Swaraj says that this issue has been taken up in every meeting with Sri Lanka.

House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

12 noon: Lok Sabha

Zero Hour begins.

Mallikarjun Kharge brings up the issue of poor salaries paid to anganwadi workers. "The Women and Children Affairs Minister should respond," says Mohammad Salim. "Anganwadi workers include the downtrodden."

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar says, "The Centre gives Rs. 3,000 and the State governments can increase their share for anganwadi workers. In Karnataka, the state government is not giving its share, so there is an agitation is there. Mr. Kharge has twisted the facts. "

"In 2015-16, Rs. 362 crore was released for Karnataka, but the State government in its expenditure statement showed Rs. 201 crore as Centre funds. Centre sought answers asking expenditure details for the rest of the Rs. 150 crore. They have not given the details so far."

"Uttarakhand, Goa, TN, Telangana and Tripura — such states have given more than their share for anganwadi workers. If Karnataka government is sensitive towards their plight, they should take measures. They could have given 50%, but they have not made any such provisions in the budget. In all 65,000 sanctioned posts in Karnataka, have you filled all vacancies? 2,700 posts are still vacant," says the Minister.

Kerala MP N.K. Premchandran raises the issue of constituting the Wage Board for journalists and non-journalists in print media. "16 years ago, the last Board was constituted," he says, asking for immediate constitution and inclusion of visual and electronic media in the Working Journalists Act. He also raises issue of large scale retrenchment of journalists.

BJP member Sharad Tripathi raises the issue of a biological research centre that is not working in his area. "It should be revived for employment of youth," he says. Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai is in the Chair.

12 noon: Rajya Sabha

Question Hour begins.

Sushma Swaraj answers a question on the state of illegal Indian immigrants in the U.S. "We are saying Indians are not stealing your jobs. They are developing your economy." Chairman Hamid Ansari is in the Chair.

Anand Sharma says four Bills have been placed before U.S. Congress. "There are bills for curbing H1B visas. There are two Bills on anti-outsourcing. Have we made the distinction to the U.S. government that temporary movement of professionals to the U.S. is not the same as immigration?"

Ms. Swaraj says, "We are trying hard that these Bills are not passed this way. When we say undocumented Indians, we don't have clear evidence as they don't contact the embassy. We haven't accepted the U.S.' 2.6 lakh figure."

Ram Jethmalani says all legal Indians have protection here.

Vijaysai Reddy asks about caste discrimination faced by SC entrepreneurs. Ashok Gehlot says the government is helping them by facilitating SC/ST hubs.

11.30 a.m.: Lok Sabha

Mr. Goyal says, "Earlier, wind power was very costly. The costs of renewable energy have been levelled. It is a more efficient way of discovering lower tariffs."

Shrikant Shinde of the Shiv Sena asks if the government plans to make any study in Maharashtra's coastline for renewable energy. The Minister answers that as yet technology is in offshore wind power generation is not mature. "We plan to pioneer the tech. A pilot project will be taken up in two regions. Once the cost becomes viable, Maharashtra can also join in."

P. Venugopal of the AIADMK says Tamil Nadu has a long coastline which can facilitate wind energy projects. Mr. Goyal says Tamil Nadu has made rapid strides in wind energy. "This is in our zone of consideration. As the costs keep falling, we will expand upon it."

Kirit Solanki of the BJP asks the next question on education of weavers and says he is the son of a weaver himself.

"30% of members in weavers families have never been to school. We found that they cannot afford education. We have made arrangements with institutions to ensure that they are educated at home. Sculptors are also included in the scheme bearing 75% of the education cost," says Minister Smriti Irani.

Prabhat Singh brings up the issue of duplication of the Sambhalpuri weave. Ms. Irani says weavers can connect themselves to the Indian Handloom brand.

Question Hour comes to a close. Papers are laid on the table.

11.30 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

P.L. Punia raises the issue of Rohith Vemula's suicide. "Justice Roopanwal Commission was appointed to look at the reasons and what can be done for Dalit students. The committee just said he was not a Dalit, to expel him from the hostel. He did not get justice but his family was harassed."

Prabhat Jha says that the government must reduce India's dependence on Chinese raw material in medicine production. Chair asks Treasury benches why 90% of raw material is imported. Nirmala Sitharaman says the Cabinet is seized of the matter and they are working on it.

Naresh Agarwal says 10 lakh people are dying every year due to air pollution.

K.C. Ramamurthy of the Congress speaks about poor salaries paid to anganwadi workers.

D.P. Tripathi of the NCP speaks about the World Happiness Report brought out by the UN. "It is a matter of shame for the government. Even terror-stricken Pakistan is at a much higher position than us."

Nominated MP Suresh Gopi wants a portion of National Highway 766 renamed after a tribal chieftain of the Maniya community in Kerala, who was beheaded by the British. Ritabrata Banerjee raises the issue of the Chandigarh airport not being named after Bhagat Singh. Pratap Singh Bajwa says two minutes silence should be made mandatory for Bhagat Singh's martyrdom.

11 a.m.: Lok Sabha

House reconvenes. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair.

Ms. Mahajan offers tributes to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, and makes a statement on the Westminster attack. The House stands up in memory of the departed.

Question Hour begins.

The first question is on the Swachch Bharat scheme. Sunil Kumar Singh of the BJP wants to know the number of open defecation free villages in Jharkhand. Kerala has been declared Open Defecation Free, says government.

Konda Reddy raises the issue of a gap in the policy of solid and liquid waste management. "In the past, the governments have tried different methods for waste management. A committee has been set up for recommendations. Tamil Nadu has done commendable work," says the Minister for Drinking Water Narendra Singh Tomar.

Dr. Pritam Munde says that Rs. 12,000 not enough for building toilets under the Swachhta scheme at various places. Jitendra Reddy of the TRS asks for extra funds to states for drinking water. "It is our priority to arrange drinking water to all States. We are in constant touch with the State authorities," says the Minister.

Piyush Goyal, Power Minister answers a question on procurement of power projects.

11 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

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

Papers are laid on the table.

Naresh Agarwal of the SP raises a point of order that the media should report positive happenings in the House too , not only negative occurrences.

Anand Sharma of the Congress says that the media has a privilege in the form of freedom of speech. Chair quotes a Malayalam saying that if a dog bites a man, it isn't news, but if a man bites a dog, it is news. "If everything functions well, it is not news. Only when we misbehave, does it make it to news."

Chair says that true reporting should be adhered to by the media.

Jairam Ramesh says he read a news report that 80% of all ex-MPs are crorepatis and was astonished. Arun Jaitley says it is constitutionally clear that Parliament alone can determine how public money is spent. "Who is allowed pension is something that Parliament will have to decide," says Mr. Jaitley.

Zero Hour begins.

Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP speaks about minimum support price for agricultural produce. "Wheat import duties were zero till 2015," says Ram Vilas Paswan. "We increased it to 25%, then 10%. This year there will be bumper crop. It is in our consideration to increase import duty on wheat if needed."

T.K. Rangarajan of the CPI(M) brings up the plight of coconut cultivators in the southern States.

10.45 a.m.:Listed business for the day

Rajya Sabha

- Further discussion on the Union Budget - Short duration discussion on electoral reforms - The Appropriation (Railways) Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return) - The Appropriation (Railways) No. 2 Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return) - The Appropriation Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return) - The Appropriation No. 2 Bill, 2017 (for consideration and return) - 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

- The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017 - The Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016 - Private Members' Business   > Steps to ensure welfare of Employees Provident Fund pensioners   > Steps to facilitate freedom of speech and expression of jawans   > Minimum support price to farmers for their agricultural produce   > Steps to ensure the welfare of fishermen and conservation of fish resources in Kerala

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