Parliament updates | first Rafale aircraft will be delivered by Sept. 2019, says Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha

A screengrab of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at the Lok Sabha on Friday

A screengrab of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at the Lok Sabha on Friday

In the Lok Sabha on Friday, the following bills are to be considered and passed — Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2018, Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and National Medical Commission Bill, 2017.

Besides these, discussions on issues relating to Rafale Deal, on natural calamities in various parts of the country, particularly in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha with special reference to cyclones like Gaja, Titli, etc. and Private Members' Business are also scheduled.

Rajya Sabha is expected to discuss Private Members' Business.

 

Lok Sabha | 5:50 PM

Ravi Shankar Prasad addresses questions raised:

 

"Cabinet will pass the Bill, I am not passing it. Aadhaar is for the people of the country, we had opposed Aadhaar before because there was no Act, our government has brought in rule. Digital identity confirms the other forms of identity. Through Aadhaar there will be check on corruption.

The middleman is interested in cutting , fitting and setting but with Aadhaar such things will stop. If the 18 year old can secure border and vote then why can't he decide on Aadhaar. And I want to make one thing clear here, UIDAI is not supporting any startup. We have considered all the changes asked by the SC, I request the House to pass the Bill."

Mr. Prasad also requests to allow the government to have a world class arbitration centre. Rattan Lal Kataria of BJP further elaborates on the request about having Arbitration Centre speaks in support of the Bill.

The Bill has been passed.

The House is adjourned till Monday.

Lok Sabha | 5:20 PM

 

Tathagata Satpathy of BJD says: "Aadhaar is not an identity tool. The people today in India are more aware and the development and it has nothing to do with Aadhaar or any government. Look at the farmland, middle man is necessary. You cannot wish him away because middle man is morally present for a reason in farmland.

"What are we trying to do with Aadhaar here? There aren't many speakers here to debate and discuss and yet here I am been asked to conclude so that the Bill is passed. What's the point of discussion and debate when the Bill designed by the Centre is suppose to passed. I request the minister to not create a menace such as Aadhaar because it doesn't help the poor of the country," Mr. Roy eloquently explains his worry and concludes.

Lok Sabha | 5:00 PM

The Companies Amendment Bill is being discussed in Lok Sabha. Minister P.P. Chaudhary replies to the questions raised by members.

If the company fails to go with the business one has to follow the procedure laid out by the new recommendations. With respect to the serious offences punishment and penalty is introduced.

The Bill as amended is passed in the Lok Sabha. Now the House to discuss to Aadhaar Bill amendment. Ravi Shankar Prasad speaks on the bill.

"The new bill takes care of what is asked by the Supreme Court. If teh banking company seeking KYC one need not produce Aadhaar, it isn't mandatory. The proposed amendment are in compliance in accordance with the Srikrishna Committee and SC judgment," he says.

 

Rajya Sabha | 4:40 PM

 

Ramkumar Verma, BJP, speaks about the problems with education system and  reservation. Even today SC and other backward classes are waiting for their rights. What we need is change of thought and mind.

Javed Ali Khan, SP, also discusses adoption of new methods for implementation of reservation benefits. "Whenever reservation is talked about many in the country oppose and it has been happening," he says.

Sanjay Singh, AAP, speaks:

"One can count, there are only members from a few families who are holding chairs in court and other important offices. And Mr. Yogi's party is doing just that trying to divide the society."

Now Minister will answer the questions.

Lok Sabha | 4:25 PM

Ms. Sitharaman answers the questions raised by Rahul Gandhi.

"The flyable aircrafts , which were 18, were also supposed to be got directly from France. The offset partner is selected by the guideline created by the UPA. Two offset contracts were signed with NBDA and Dassault Aviation. The government is not involved in deciding from where the purchase is made by these companies. Officially there is no mention of any private or public sector farm in the IGA or offset contracts. There is still time for them to come and inform me about the company they are going with, a formal proposal is yet to made. the share of Dassault in the total offset is 19.9% and there will be many other Indian offset partners."

"You called me 'jhooti' (liar) and shouted me down. If you have thin skin and have problems with naming your leader, then one should know, no one has the right to call PM a thief and shout me down. We might come from ordinary family, but we have self respect. You cannot insult us and never care to apologise," a visibly upset Defence Minister concludes by taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi.

Lok Sabha | 4:00 PM

This has been a ploy of the Opposition to cook up a story to defame the party because the Congress party cannot believe that we managed a full term without any corruption charges.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi clarifies on the accusation made by the Defence Minister. Mr. Macron had said the price is not part of the secrecy.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses media regarding the alleged scam in Rafale deal during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Jan 4, 2019.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses media regarding the alleged scam in Rafale deal during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Jan 4, 2019.

 

"Other than trying to defend a lie you have done nothing in the Rafale scam," Mr. Gandhi says. "Largest offset deal is with Mr Ambani and you don't mention even once why the deal was taken away from HAL. You said new contract was created, so now Mr. Hollande said Mr. Modi got Anil Ambani in the picture. What do you have to say about this?"

The emergency deal, as mentioned by the Defence Minister, was done by the PM.  Now did the Defence Ministry interrupt PM? Please answer the question with yes, or no.

Lok Sabha | 3:35 PM

 

Ms. Sitharaman continues to answer related to the Rafale deal. She says the government has not mislead the apex court, and that they are aware of the fact the pricing details were not disclosed due to security reasons.

“An application for correction regarding the facts was sent to the SC. We have also gone to the court regrading misinterpretation stated before. If we had anything to hide why would we seek correction on our own?

The price we have got for basic aircraft is 9% less than previous deal; besides, the delivery time is reduced. The initial performance-based logistics support is now five years for two squadrons, according to our deal, unlike the previous deal.

Our deal is better because it will support us for 50 years,” she says. Opposition interrupts, says it's against the law, quoting SC statement. However the Deputy Speaker rules out.  Qatar had a cheaper deal, that has been a question. A comparison is difficult and misleading. All the details about pricing, and other detailed reports have been placed in front of the House.

Rajya Sabha | 3:10 PM

A committee to look into direct transfer of fertiliser subsidy to farmers has been set up by NITI Aayog and its report is awaited, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Rao Inderjit Singh said in Rajya Sabha.

Replying to a query whether the procedure for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has been changed from disbursement of subsidy from receipt of fertilisers in district to sale of fertilisers through point of sale machines, the minister said the subsidy policy was conceived and implemented as pilot project in 2016.

Lok Sabha | 3:00 PM

 

Rahul Gandhi interrupts the discussion says, "I have been named, I have a right to seek clarification."  The Speaker ensures that time will be allotted, however Opposition causes ruckus. Ms. Sitharaman resumes speaking.

"This entire campaign has been built on falsehood, country is been mislead. By asking the weapon details and other details, the details of which are covered under secrecy law, aren't you putting the country in danger.

People were taking photographs and throwing paper made aeroplanes at Finance Minister when he was answering to the questions. If you were so serious about the debate you would have behaved.

How many times the prices are being discussed by Congress, and every time the prices mentioned by them have been inconsistent. The party should do their homework before raising questions.

We have got a better deal, because the basic price they had is higher than ours. There was an escalation cost which is put on and exchange rate variation also needs to be incorporated."

Now let's talk about processes. The negotiation with the French side that we conducted, deputy chief of Air Force, Joint Sect Defence among other people, 74 meetings were held. At the end of the meetings better deal was reached.

No bank guarantee was provided for any military sale, when aircrafts were bought from Russia it was not sovereign deal as well. It has been a misleading campaign of the Congress.

Answering to Congress leader Mr. Kharge, Ms. Sitharaman reads from the SC statement.

SC stated that personal point of view cannot be the only basis to probe and it did not find any substantial flaw in the deal, she says. She also mentions that SC stated in the statement that the deal is a confidential matter. The government has not disclosed other than the basic prices, because of the security reason, and this was stated by the SC, Ms. Sitharaman says.

 

Lok Sabha | 2:40 PM

 

Nirmala Sitharaman continues to speak.

They need not have crocodile tears for HAL, given they themselves did not come to a deal. They themselves couldn't sought the deal themselves. The standing committee said in its report, 'even after three decades ADA couldn't make a combat aircraft.' The Opposition in power did not really do anything to improve the condition, capacity and performance of HAL and rather gave them waivers. If you really care about the PSU, you would have rather improved the condition.

HAL's capacity for Tejas production has been doubled. The government has scaled up the production from eight to 16. Repeatedly we are being told about the made in India deal, which wasn't finalised.

You are misleading the country about the deal, we in fact have increased numbers of the aircraft through the current deal from 18 to 36, i.e. the first squadron, in flyable condition and it is coming to the country this year.

In case of emergency purchase, the Air Force advises the number bought to be 36, which is two squadrons.

Why did you go to AgustaWestland for helicopters? Why did you not give the deal to HAL then?

Congress' media person told the media when Congress chief was visiting France, the party will not discuss a defence deal with the media or the country. Later Mr. Gandhi said, 'I ask the French President about the secret deal and the French President said he can disucss the issue.' Now what's the truth here?

 

Lok Sabha  | 2:05 pm

 

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Defence, for the first time replies.

She begins thanking all the members who spoke on the issue. The Opposition causes uproar however, asks "why is the PM not speaking."

Ms Sitharaman says "fats are frightening to the Congress. National security demands transparency but one should recognise that timeliness in getting the equipments to secure the borders, given our neighbours, should be our priority.

China added 400 aircrafts been addded. Pakistan increased their aircrafts by double, they have added 43 Chinese fighter planes. By the time 2013, we have rather reduced the number of fighter planes.

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Jan 4, 2019.

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Jan 4, 2019.

 

What is the constant debate about money? Have they got any finalised deal? NO."

"There is a minimum such period required for the production of any such complex platform. The assumption that these fighters are available off the shelf is mistaken. None of this is available on the shelf. The IGA was signed on Sept. 23., 2016 and the first aircraft will be delivered in thre years and the last one will come in 2022. "

Commotion prevails in Lok Sabha.

"The first aircraft will be delivered in 2019 September. The 36th will  be available in 2022. In the IGA considering the necessity of the process of negotiation was done in 14 months.  Facts are frightening them.  I have one question:The then RM said to the media 'where is the money'. I want to ask what money, which money.  Because the Raksha Mantri prepares a detailed schedule as to how the payment should be made once the agreement is signed. The timeline for the payment, quantum, percentage of total cost of the payment for the aircraft are all well prepared and kept in the Ministry.

"There is a difference between defence dealings and dealing with defence. We deal with defence with national security as a priority."

"During their time, the plane didn't come. During our time, the planes will arrive this September. The independent monitor appointed by the Defence Minister cleared the process of acquisition. In June 2012, even after this they did not buy it. Why? The commercial negotiation by the CNC may proceed to complete its deliberation with L1 vendor and finalise its report. After the CNC report has been finalised, the entire issue of approaches and methodology may be re-examined by MoD Finance that it is reasonable, appropriate, was what was said."

"The Congress should reply to all these question.s Who was it that did not settle with you that you couldnt conclude this deal. National security was thrown away. I allege and charge they did not even intend buying. They kept the motions going. Their treasury's security was important. Not national security."

 

Lok Sabha | 2:00 pm

N.K. Premachnadran of RSP counters Nishikant Dubey, says:

 

"Rafale deal is a fit case for JPC. What is the relation between Sanjay Bhandhari to one of the BJP leaders, we need to know even that.

Lack in transparency. How can PM make an arbitrary decision on his own and why were they number of aircraft reduced? The SC has never gone indeatils about the pricing, the apex court was mislead bu the Centre. Mr. Jaitley should clarify."

Lok Sabha | 1:50 pm

 

Nishikant Dubey of BJP speaks on Rafale deal.

"The Congress party seems to have nothing to do with farmer's issue, unemployment but the only thing they have been talking about since six-seven months other than Rafale deal.

We have got our hands on document that says OIS, owner of Sanjay Bhandari, who was also one of the contenders along with Anil Ambani. Now this Bhandari is associated with Robert Vadra.

Why is everyone named under corruption is related to Congress party. IF the Euro fighter has to come instead of Rafale, it will benefit people supported by the Congress. 

Congress is accusing PM, who has dedicated his life to wellfare."

Lok Sabha | 1:40 pm

Prem Singh Chandumajra of SAD speaks:

The pricing issue has already been answered. The new deal involves evolved aircraft. If the deal was done from Italy instead of France then the Opposition would have been fine. And speaking about patriotism, the Opposition only cares about money and not armed force, let's not forget 1984 attack. JPC is not needed here.

They are wasting time discussing this instead of talking about farmer's issue.

Lok Sabha| 1:30 pm

Jyotiraditya Scindia interrupts that according to the procedure if the undignified words used in Parliament it should be addressed. Speaker however says she will take a decision if she thinks if the rules are not followed.

Mr. Thakur begins attack says, "if people sitting here for 15 years don't know the rules I cannot help it."

Speaker interrupts requests Anurag Thakur to conclude and stick to the topic.

"Why was the deal stalled in 2012? The country is aware of what's happening in the aprty then. The Force, the court and the people of the country are satisfied but the people who are corrupt seems to have problem," Mr. Thakur concludes his speech.

Lok Sabha | 1:20 pm

Anurag Thakur attacks Rahul Gandhi, says "it took forever for the Opposition to prepare for the debate. And finally when they came, they got a corrupt leader who himself is out on bail."

Mr. Thakur talks about ANI editor Smita Prakash says, "the female journalist asked every related question that the country needs to know. What was the leader Opposition wanted to know, domestic life related questions."

Mr. Thakur deviates from the issue, constantly attacks the Opposition says, "the Congress never made a Defence deal without making a deal." He brings back Bofors and attacks Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi calling them "corrupt."

Lok Sabha | 1:05 pm

 

We demand JPC and Mr. Modi should come and address the issue. Mr. Kharge concludes, after being interrupted by BJP leaders as well as the Speaker requesting to conclude.

"Many of the questions raised are directly to the PM and he should be here to participate and answer the questions. There is something fishy about this, given he is speaking about every other issue in interviews," an opposition leader discusses.

 

Rajya Sabha | 1:00 pm

 

Bubaneswar Kalita of INC asks the Railway Minister if the announcements made on new trains and about the new generation coaches will be implemented?

The Minister answers says, the new generation coaches allotted for Northeastern Railway will be implemented and infact the coaches will be replaced with the LHP coaches to make teh journey smooth.

The Speaker adjourns the House till 2:30 pm.

Lok Sabha | 12:50 pm

 

Mallikarjun Kharge takes a jibe at Arun Jaitley, says "because I studied in municipality school I need to re-read documents and it looks the government is teaching grammar lessons to the court as well.

"The price of the aircraft that we read and know are made public. Now suddenly teh government says there is an inter-government secrecy law, but when you initially made a public statement about price of the aircraft, wasn't there any secrecy law?"

Rajya Sabha | 12:45 pm

 

Ravi Shankar Prasad replies to Rakesh Sinha's question on social media and data protection, says: "Data Protection law is almost ready and we are soon going to introduce to the Parliament. One has to recognise the stregth of India's IT industry and we are doing everything to boost it further."

He also talks about better cyber training to tackle cases related to cyber crime.

 

Lok Sabha | 12:40 pm

 

Discussions related to Rafale deal continues in Lok Sabha. Mallikarjun Kharge of INC questions PM's presence, demands JPC. "The issue can only be resolved here in Parliament. Supre Court isn't the investigating team or an investigating isntitution. According to the SC statement, it isn't clear that you got a clean-chit, but the government goes on behaving as if SC says everything is fine." 

 

Rajya Sabha | 12.30 p.m.

Q: Mechanism to control prices of patented medicines. Are there any changes in the mechanism, if so why?

Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister answers:  The price has been capped and fixed for a long list of essential medicines, in keeping with our Prime Minister's vision that no poor person in the country should suffer because he does not have the money to buy medicine. Price of medicine keeps fluctuating based on demand. Health ministry decides which is essential medicine and which is not, and on the basis of this, we fix the prices.

Lok Sabha | 12.25 p.m.

TRS MP Jitendra Reddy says that he is absolutely disappointed with the functioning of the Winter Session.  It's all to create a certain optics, he says. He mentions the party's landslide victory in Telangana.

The Minister goes on about how his party has helped the people of Telangana.

Lok Sabha | 12.10 p.m.

 

M. Thambidurai moves a request that the suspended AIADMK and TDP members be taken back. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan says that they will discuss it and take a decision later.

Kerala INC member K.C. Venugopal talks about the Sabarimala issue - he says that the women's entry has disturbed the feelings of the devotees in Kerala. He says he want a legislative intervention for the issue, and that the State government is promoting violence in the State.

CPIM's K. Karunakaran responds saying the SC has given a historic judgment - according to our constitution, every citizen is equal. The govt of Kerala is solely interested in keeping up from the SC verdict, he says.

BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi says that this claim is coming from people who do not understand Hinduism or rituals. There is a condition prevailing in the country now that men are made to fear and be branded anti-feminists if they pass laws that are logical, she says. Ritualistic practises need to left alone, that's what tolerance is all about, she says.

Chaos persist in the House as members jostle for opportunity to speak on Sabarimala

Rajya Sabha | 12.00 p.m.

Question Hour in on in Rajya Sabha. An MP ask if we have enough reserves of coal .

Minister Piyush Goyal says we have sufficient supply of thermal coal, but not enough coking coal, so the latter will continue to be imported. Till 2014, our thermal coal production was insufficient due to delay in issuing licenses. This has been picked up and fasttracked, says the Minister.

Lok Sabha | 11.55 a.m.

Health Minister answers questions on malaria and health services to combat it in the House during the Question Hour.

 

Minister answers, saying the World Malaria Report has acknowledged that the number of deaths has plummeted considerably. We are constantly trying to reduce the occurrences of communicable diseases and even the few cases that exist, maximum effort is taken to minimize loss of life.

Question Hour winds up.

Lok Sabha | 11.40 a.m.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley continues answering queries in the House during the Question Hour.

He responds to a question about the state of State Bank of India's finances , and says that the RBI is trying to recover the losses it suffered in 2008-2014 period. Many of the NPAs were hidden below the carpet - so the loss of the banks is not because they are not functioning normally but because provision has been made to get the health of the banks to normal.

Q: Many bank employees are unhappy with the merger, saying they will lose jobs. Like the demonetisation caused a lot of loss to our economy, would this also not cause a mess in the banking jobs?

Jaitley assures that no one will loss their jobs. In the earlier days, banks were being looted, now banks are being saved, he says as members of the house protest against the implication.

 

Glimpses from protests outside the Parliament

AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs who are suspended along with party's Rajya Sabha MPs protesting at Parliament.

AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs who are suspended along with party's Rajya Sabha MPs protesting at Parliament.

 

 

BJP MPs from south India protesting at Parliament.

BJP MPs from south India protesting at Parliament.

 

 

Sandeep Saxena

Left party MPs protesting at Parliament against the BJP-Congress violence against Supreme Court Verdict on allowing entry women of all ages in to Sabarimala Temple.

 

 

Rajya Sabha | 11.30 a.m.

 

DMK MP Kanimozhi speaks on the Women's reservation bill. Throughout life, women have to live with the decisions of men, she says. In the Parliament too, they have been doing this, it's time we changed this, she adds.

DMK is for women, and we support the bill, she adds.

Viplov Thakur, INC Himachal Pradesh, reminiscences Rajiv Gandhi's initiative in implementing the 33% reservation for women at local bodies. She says it is important that the House pass this bill so that women can stand shoulder to shoulder with men in the Parliament.

Lok Sabha | 11 20 a.m.

 

Continuing with the questions on distribution of resources among States, M. Thambi Durai says that our country has moved from socialism to capitalism, so Ambani's and Adani's are given a chance to develop the country as you deem they are best fit for the job. But you are not ready to extend the same courtesy to southern States. He also brings up the point that the Centre owes Tamil Nadu a large amount to compensate for the implementation of GST.

 

Rajya Sabha | 11.10 a.m.

 

AIADMK members walkout as a protest against the construction of dam across Cauvery, as Chairman Venkaiah Naidu says this is the proper way to conduct things, if you can't talk things out in the Parliament then best you walk out. She says that

Jaya Bachchan talks about women's reservation bill. The bill in the present form is cosmetic and favours only rich and urban women, she says.

Telugu Desham Party extends its full support for the bill.

Lok Sabha | 11.00 a.m.

 

Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spar on the use of the 2011 population census by the 15th Finance Commission as a basis for the devolution of taxes from the Central government to the States

 

 


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 4:54:37 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-live-winter-session-aiadmk-members-walk-out-of-rajya-sabha/article25907744.ece