Opposition parties were firm in their stand of seeking reinstatement of 12 suspended MPs. This led to adjournment of the upper House without conducting any business. The Dam Safety Bill was introduced and the Minister couldn't complete his speech.
Lok Sabha too witnessed some sloganeering, but the House managed to conduct Question Hour and Zero Hour. Lok Sabha then passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Here are the updates:
Lower House adjourned for the day.
Lok Sabha takes up interventions by the Members on matters of urgent public importance.
Lok Sabha passes Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020.
The Speaker takes consensus of the House on amendments raised to be moved.
Mandaviya speaks about Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill
There are many provisions in the bill to correct the current scenario. In case of the mother's death, there is a provision for insurance, says Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh.
"We respect doctors, but any unethical practice will be punished. Sex of the child cannot be revealed. Some doctors start private business. In many Acts, the punishments are clearly mentioned for unethical practices by doctors."
"Every woman who is above 21 years of age can now become a mother with this Bill. Even for divorces and widows can use the ART Bill.
"We have made sure that this practice will not become a money-making machine, since a woman can give her ovum only once."
"I want clarification regarding producing an ovum. How will the banks be stored in ovum? There should be a proper lab to ensure it. Is there a provision for the same?" asks a member.
Minister replies: "We will make provisions for it soon."
'The Bill is silent on the right of the child'
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, INC, West Bengal: "Certain provisions of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 are discriminatory as many are excluded from surrogacy. The personal data should be safe. The Bill should ensure donors receive enough compensation. There is also an ambiguity that we also have a Surrogacy Bill, we should ensure that there is a comprehensive law to be put in place with the ART Bill. The child should know who the parents are. The child should have the right to seek information about it. The Bill is silent on the right of the child."
"Commercial surrogacy should be rephrased as a comprehensive surrogacy. The women who avail the ART services should be safe, a provision should be there to ensure the same. The cost of ART services should be monitored, the law should also prohibit commercialisation of ART services. Although the Bill regulates surrogacy, ART processes are left undefined. It needs to be synchronised. Surrogacy clinics should report it under national registry. Records have to be maintained for 25 years."
"Surrogacy and Assisted Reproductive Technology should not contradict each other. I thank all members for speaking on the Bill," he adds.
Navneet Ravi Rana, Ind., Amravati (Maharashtra) quotes the movie 'Mimi' says that commercial surrogacy is banned. "We live in a country that is just a little male dominated. The awareness about this Bill should reach every nook and corner of the country. 60 million couples who are trying for a child should be able to know about this Bill and this way we can help anyone who is in need of a child."
A member says: "Infertility is on the rise in India. This Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 will regulate ART services in the country. This Bill provides safe and ethical methods and helps prevent genetic diseases. This Bill will help let go of the stigma. India is a hub for medical tourism and it is a huge opporutnity for India to become a global leader."
Pratima Mondal, AITC, Jaynagar (West Bengal) says: "Unmarried women have now got the opportunity to have a child, which is great, but there is a loophole since only infertile couple have the option to have a child. This law contradicts itself. No discrimination should be made in ART clinics. Discrimination against unmarried women should be a punishable offence. Some provisions are not up to the mark."
'ART services should not become a money-making machine'
N.K. Premachandran (RSP), Kollam (Kerala) asks, "If the other House in their own wisdom are not passing the Bill, then what would be the faith of this Bill? Support if the President is returning the Bill, then what would be the faith of this Bill?"
"I make my reservation at first. I support the Bill, even though there are many defects in the Bill. It is a much needed Bill right now, as something is better than nothing. 10 to 15% of married couples in India are facing infertility. Definitely a regulation is highly required. This ART services is the need of the hour, with certain reservations and objections."
"Only now we are going through all the documents, and India is becoming an country that provides these services. This commercialisation of ART services has to be regulated. It is a humane service to be provided to married couples. It involves medical issues, social issues and legal issues. The committee recommends that the govt should open infertility clinics in all govt colleges. The committee cautions the govt that the ART services should not become a money-making machine."
"There is a loophole in this law that doesn't ensure the right of privacy of the couple who choose the ART service. Commissioning parties should also be provided with a insurance limit, which is not mentioned in the Bill. This Surrogacy Bill is there. Medical termination of Bill is there. And we now have this Bill. Why do we have three Bills? I request to simplify all these Bills."
Hasnain Masoodi, J&K NC, Anantnag: "To be very honest about it, this is a job for experts. There are 60 million people who are in the queue not blessed with a child and who will depend on this reproductive technology. The cost of Assisted Reproductive Technology is a luxury, and will be restricted to only the people who can afford it. This Bill should also give a thought to make the reproductive technology affordable."
The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 (ART Bill)
N.K. Premachandran (RSP), Kollam (Kerala) says the Surrogacy Act has not been passed; the Surrogacy Bill has not been passed. "My point is that this Bill cannot be discussed since we are depending on another Act (Surrogacy Act) is still pending in the Rajya Sabha. We are going to pass an Bill which is identically similar to the Surrogacy Act. The other bill has to be passed by both the Houses, then only this Bill can be taken to consideration."
Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya replies: "After discussion, the committee had decided that Surrogacy Bill and this Bill should be discussed together. Surrogacy Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha, not in Lok Sabha."
'Stringent measures are necessary to streamline'
"With the advancement of science, IVF, surrogacy, test tube babies have become a norm. When such facilities are available so easily, there should be a law that determines the way all of this works," Rita Bahuguna Joshi of Allahabad (BJP) says. "It has taken so long for the bill to come to the front. Now we have a standing committee, now let the law come to force. It is highly necessary that the law should make the process easy, as well as it should make sure that it's not taken for granted. Stringent measures are necessary to streamline the whole process. For adoption, there should be a mandate to make sure everything happens as per procedure. A specialised way is needed, I support to pass this Bill," she adds.
Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) continues from where Ms. Sule left. He says this is not a gender issue. Commercial surrogacy should not be criminalised. It is difficult to find a close relative to become a surrogate mother, I also come from a joint family, says Mr. Mohanty.
He says inter-faith and inter-caste couples will be left out if this altruistic surrogacy is followed. He also says ART regulation should not take cue from anti-sex determination laws.
Mr. Mohanty turns emotional and says he though he loves children, he is unable to be become a father yet. He says there should be a separate ministry for child welfare. Over 1.5 lakh children are victims of parental alienation, we have to support them, he says.
Don't bring the Bill in haste. The suggestions of select committee have not been included in the Bill, he adds.
'Bill silent on genetic control'
Supriya Sule (NCP) appreciates Kakoli Ghosh's speech. I am not a doctor but I understand the trauma of a childless couple, she says.
How are surrogacy and ART Bills going to compliment each other? She says rules have to be inclusive and pitches for rethinking the adoption rules.
Why don't you include parliamentarians like Dr. Ghosh, Dr. Gavit, and Dr. Sathyavathi be made part of the committee, she suggests.
Will you allow pre-determination genetic technique, she asks. The Bill seems to be silent on disease control.
She suggests the Minister to look into the imprisonment clause.
Alok Kumar Suman (JD-U) suggests the pricing of ART should also be regularised.
Sangeeta Azad (BSP) also speaks in favour of including LGBT and single men to use ART procudure to become parents. She suggest at least three members are women and four of them are from the SC/ST.
'Govt hospitals should have ART centres'
Sathyavati, YSRCP, is a gynaecologist and speaks in favour of the Bill. She points out the recommendations of the Standing Committee report, especially on the cost regulation.
She says the Bill will ensure ethical practices are followed in ART. She suggests every government hospital should have ART facilities.
Post bifurcation, AP is deprived of Tier 1 cities. SO we don't have many private hospitals. She requests the Health Minister to approve 30 medical colleges in the State.
Kakali Ghosh (TMC) is the third medical practitioner to take part in the debate. She recalls the contribution of the late Subhash Mukhopadhyay who is credited for creating the second test tube baby of the world.
She points out that members of the Board have no knowledge of the procedure will be governing the procedure.
She agrees with Karti on expanding the scope of ART to include LGBT and single men.
On Gamete Banks, she says gynaecology has only one chapter on in-vitro fertilisation. We don't have such specialists here, she adds. She fears the Bill will only support the corporates.
'Federalism, where is it?'
DMK MP Gaoutham Sigamani brings in the federal structure issue. He says the State Boards are powerless. The government could have had branches of National Board in each State.
As a doctor, I oppose the way the Bill projects medicos as someone who conduct ARTs for money, he says.
Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day.
'Vulnerable women became target of rent-a-womb'
Heena Gavit (BJP) points out how the Bill was necessary because of a Supreme Court order. She says India is a major centre for surrogacy. She narrates how foreign nationals come to India for commercial surrogacy. She says it is because it is cheaper here and it was not regulated.
Heena Gavit, a doctor by profession, narrates how unregulated surrogacy made rent a womb a booming business and vulnerable women became victims.
As of 2017, over 80% IVF clinics were not registered with ICMR, she says quoting a report.
She says how ART is not covered by insurance. She says the surrogate mother should be given insurance coverage.
Dr. Gavit cites adoption rule to explain why single men are kept away from surrogacy. A single man can't adopt a girl child, and since sex determination is illegal, they are kept away to avoid confusion, she says.
She has a suggestion: Include a gynecologist or obstetrician in the Board instead of an eminent medical practitioner.
Karti Chidambaram during a discussion on ART Bill, points out lacuna in the BIll. If donor is anonymous why take their Aadhaar number? Will there be a contact tracing if the child wishes to do so after turning adult? What about pricing regulation? When surrogacy Bill is yet to be passed, why is this based on that Bill, he asks.
He says how the Hinduism taught by his grandmother was liberal but the one preached by this government is regressive.
ART Bill is not Hindu liberal tradition but comes from colonial regressive Victorian mindset: Karti Chidambaram
Karti Chidambaram (Congress) is the first speaker. He says it is essential that the technology is available and should be regulated.
He draws parallel with Amar Chitra Katha comics and scientific temper. We draw inspiration from our Puranas. He explains how assisted reproduction finds place in Mahabharata. He goes on to explain how Hinduism has many instances of unconventional birth. He says the law is not Hindu liberal tradition but comes from colonial regressive Victorian mindset.
He says the law deprives LGBT couple and single men from using this technology. A BJP member says something in Hindi, Mr. Karti responds in Tamil saying he doesn't know Hindi.
Every Indian who is physically and financially fit to parent a child should be able to be a parent, he says.
He accuses the Bill is patriarchial. Why only married women who had a child should be a donor? He fears the Bill can promote eugenics.
Lok Sabha takes up Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020. Health Minister Mansukh Mandviya introduces the Bill. The Bill was sent to Standing Committee and the suggestions of the committee have been considered, says Mr. Mandviya.
ART Bill seeks to regulate fertility clinics. All such clinics will have to be registered under the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India.
Rajya Sabha takes up Dam Safety Bill
Water Resources Minister Gajesndra Shekawat moves Dam Safety Bill for discussion and passing. He introduces to Bill. LOP Mallikarjun Kharge intervenes and raises the issue of suspension of MPs. He is not allowed to speak.
The Minister continues, he goes on the highlight the importance of water in our lives. We have more than 5,000 dams and many of them are more than 25 years old, he says.
House is adjourned till 3 pm
Lok Sabha adjourned till 2:35pm
Lok Sabha adjourned till 2:35 pm, after which the zero hour is likely to continue.
Sangeeta Azad, Lalganj MP, requests the govt. to fill the vacancies in the govt. departments.
Syed Imtiaz Jaleel, Aurangabad MP, says that farmers are dying by suicide because of losses faced by farmers due to untimely rains. He requests the govt. to provide compensation.
Geeta Kora, Singhbhum MP, requests the Railways Ministry to resume trains in Singhbhum constituency.
Maddila Gurumoorthy, Tirupati MP, requests the Aviation Ministry to implement Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul of the Tirupati airport, and increase the connectivity under the UDAN Scheme.
Uday Pratap Singh, Hoshangabad MP, requests the Railways Ministry to resume trains that were stopped during the pandemic.
Sunita Duggal, Sirsa MP, requests the Railways Ministry to resume trains in her constituency.
Hasnain Masoodi Anantnag MP, says that daily wage labourers in Jammu and Kashmir do not have regularised payment, and all the workers are underpaid, he requests the govt. to regularise and increase payment.
Pratima Mondal, Jaynagar (WB) says that it is difficult for UPSC aspirants from dental background to choose optional subjects because dentistry is not one of the subjects listed. She says that dental education has been neglected, and urges the govt. to include dentistry in the list of optional subjects.
Number of persons under targeted PDS in Andhra Pradesh comprise of 61% of rural population, and 41% of urban population. Vanga Geethaviswanath, Kakinada MP, urges the union govt. to cover the needy population of A.P. under the PDS system.
To a question if the The Ministry of Electronics and IT has taken cognisance of the law proposed in other countries to make platforms like Google and Facebook pay for news, the ministry informed the Lok Sabha that there is no proposal before the Ministry to enact a law to make global digital companies pay for local news content.
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor requests the union govt. to increase the quota of non-subsidized kerosene to Kerala, to help the fishing community.
Krishna Devarayalu Lavu, Narasaropet MP, requests to provide fertilizers at subsidized prices from the union govt.
Dilip Saikia, Magaldoi MP, requests for a railway line in Magaldoi in Assam.
Saptagiri Sankar Ulaka, Koratput requests for Vista Dome coaches to be introduced from Koratput to increase tourism.
Gopal Chinayya Shetty, Mumbai North, MP says that union government should make sure that people in Mumbai North constituency get the benefit of the house scheme started by the Narendra Modi government.
Satyadev Pachauri, Kanpur MP, requests that the judgments given in the Supreme Court should be in Hindi, and not in English. He further says that farmers and other common people who take their issues to the court don't understand English, and it's imperative that the judgments are given out in Hindi.
K. Shanmuga Sundaram, DMK MP, Pollachi, requests that trains to start between Pollachi and Coimbatore. Trains were stopped after the pandemic struck in 2020. He says that, this service after being discontinued has inconvenienced a lot of people, and now that electrification process is complete, requests Railways Ministry to restart the service.
The Oppostion MPs have reached the well of the house.
FRPM fixed by the AP govt is in violation of Article 293, says Raghu Ram Krishna, YSRCP, MP, and adds the banks would collapse. He asks the union government should intervene and make sure that banks don't go bankrupt.
Rajendra Agarwal, in the chair requests all protesting MPs to go back to their seats. He asks all the protesting MPs to talk during the Zero Hour.
Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm
Deputy Chairman adjourns Rajya Sabha till 2 pm over protests from Opposition MPs
Rajya Sabha proceedings begin
Deputy Chairman refuses to discuss on the issue of suspension of 12 MPs. Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge rose to speak for the suspended MPs but was disallowed by the Deputy Chairman Harivansh. Soon after Congress, DMK and TRS MPs trooped into the well of the House. It ran for 3 minutes in total.
Minor fire in Parliament room
A minor fire broke out on Wednesday morning inside Parliament room number 59.
According to fire officials, the Parliament fire post received a call at 8.05 am regarding fire at room number 59, opposite press room in Parliament house.
The firemen rushed to the spot. The fire was in computer set, chair and table in room number 59 and no casualty was reported.
It was brought under control and the firemen returned at 8:50 am, a senior fire official said.
Lok Sabha adjourned till 12 noon
The Speaker adjourns the House till 12 noon over protests from the Opposition MPs.
The Speaker asks the MPs to stop protesting, asks them to maintain dignity in the parliament. He urges them to stop protesting, and whatever they are doing is unparliamentary.
On Chinese imports
Indian Railways does not manufacture containers, and private producers procure these containers. Ashwini Vaishnav says that orders are placed to manufacture and try to procure as much as possible from Indian manufacturers.
T R Balu, DMK MP, Sriperumbudur, says that India imports 10,000 containers every year from China, and he says that India should intervene and start manufacturing containers in the country itself since India has the capacity to do that.
To this, the Railways Minister says that orders have been placed on six Indian companies, and any Indian manufacturer is open to participation, and the government encourages Indian containers manufacturers to come forward and do it.
Kotagiri Shridhar, YSRCP, asks what is the government doing to prevent unsubsidised cylinder sale. He asks what is the government doing to bring down the cylinder prices
Minister Piyush Goyal says that it's because of international oil prices, and the government cannot do anything about it.
Electrification of rail lines
Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena) asks about electrification of Konkan Railways. This section is maintained by Konkan Railway Corporation, and not Indian Railways.
N.K.K.P. Premachandram (RSP) requests Punaloor to Sengottai line to be electrified. The Minister says the Railway Board has sanctioned electrification in this line.
The speaker asks the MP to visit the site.
Ashwini Vaishnaw replies to another question on electrification, says that the work on the electrification is going on as per the schedule.
72% of the target has been electrified, 6000km more than last year have been electrified, he says.
Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12 pm
Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12pm because of the protests by the Opposition MPs against the suspension of the 12 opposition MPs. Congress, DMK, and Left parties storm the well of the House.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu says there is no remorse of the members who have insulted the parliamentary system. He calls it unparliamentary and undemocratic.
Rail connectivity to northeast
Debasree Chaudhuri (BJP) asks a question on electrification of rail lines in the northeast region. Electrification of railway tracks have been commissioned upto Guwahati. All other projects in the region are also in progress, says Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw.
Mongolian delegation in the parliament
The Speaker says a delegation from Mongolian Parliament is in the Parliament premises to look at the vibrant democracy in the country. The team will view the proceedings today from the gallery.
LS proceedings begin
Lok Sabha assembles. Question Hour is in progress. DMK MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian asks a question on digital literacy mission in rural region.
IT Minister Ashwani Vaishnav gives the details. Ms. Thangapandian asks about the status of Tamil Nadu in this scheme. The Minister says Tamil Nadu has its own digital literacy programme and it is already higher in the State.
Saugata Roy (TMC) says the DMK MP asked a question in English, but the minister is replying in Hindi. He objects to it.
Legislative Business for December 1, 2021 is as follows:
1. Questions entered in separate list to be asked and answers given.
2. Dr. Mansukh Mandviya to move the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020.
Jose K. Mani (Kerala) to take oath as a member
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to move that the Dam Protection Bill
Day 2 recap
Union Minister of Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju introduced the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, in the Lok Sabha amid din.
Rajya Sabha decided to adjourn the House in the afternoon as opposition members walked out protesting the suspension of 12 MPs.