Parliament proceedings | Uproar over SC verdict on reservation in promotions

The Parliament house in New Delhi. File

The Parliament house in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

The Parliament session resumes on February 10.

In the Lok Sabha, The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020, is to be introduced. The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020, is to be undertaken for consideration and passing.

General discussion on the Union Budget 2020-21 is to be undertaken in both Houses.

Here are the latest updates:

Rajya Sabha | 5:30 p.m.

A.K. Selvaraj (AIADMK) says Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palanisamy have welcomed the budget and the various provisions made in it for agriculture and fisheries industry.

He requested the Centre to increase funding towards State projects including the national police university to maintain the performance of law and order officials, the expansion of airport at Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli, upliftment of  the real estate sector and the Godavari-Cauvery link project that has been in a limbo.

He welcomed the government's move to invest Rs.100 lakh cr. in infrastructure investment as well as the sanctioning of 11 medical colleges in the State.

He added that the education sector has been given higher priority by the CM and to further the cause, education be loan simplified.

Lok Sabha | 5 p.m.

Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan (BJP) says that the Prime Minister has taken a few difficult, but important steps- like GST, which faced opposition at first, but was later appreciated. The Modi government will continue doing work for the greater good, even if it is criticised by the opposition.

The government's welfare schemes like Swachh Bharat Mission has made a tangible difference in the common man's life, he says. Provisions for women and children's healthcare has been made. There are also provisions for ST/SC and OBCs in the budget, he adds.

The Modi government has also taken care of the tribals and agriculturalists through various schemes. However, there has been a problem in implementation of a few schemes, especially the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, Mr. Chauhan says.

Rajya Sabha | 4:30 p.m.

Jairam Ramesh (INC) says that over the past few years the importance of budget is slowly declining. In last few years, the three big announcements – de-monitisation, GST and corporate tax cuts - have been outside the budget, he adds.

He says that the Finance Minister's position is tricky, because the 'Prime Minister has been taking her thunder away.'

The fundamental problems of India are the decline of GDP growth rate and the rate of investments, Mr. Ramesh says, adding "Growth comes from investment."

He flags the falling of household saving rates, as a central trend of the economy, and links it with the fall in investments leading to the fall of GDP growth rate.

He says that the budget is not 'aspirational' but 'perspirational' because it is based on assumptions, the biggest of them being disinvestment.

Mr. Ramesh says that the Finance Minister has made valid assumptions in the budget, but asks if they are realistic. He questions the credibility of the assumptions.

He also says that the use of nominal GDP as a quantitative measure is a cause for concern. "Real GDP is more important because it takes into account inflation," he says.

The government's decision of disinvestment in LIC could have big implications, he adds.

Rajya Sabha | 4 p.m.

Praful Patel (NCP) says he does not see a single new industry coming up in the country.

Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) says the Budget addresses unemployment and other such issues very poorly.

Lok Sabha | 3.30 p.m.

Praneet Kaur (INC) says India should not fall into the middle-income trap. She says she hopes the govt will equip the country with the right economic policies for the country to grow.

Aparajita Sarangi (BJP) says the Budget has vision and action.

Hasnain Masoodi (NC) says Jammu & Kashmir has been reduced to a municipality.

Rajya Sabha | 3 p.m.

T.K. Rangarajan [CPI(M)] says the country needs 14.4% GDP in the next few years to achieve a $5 trillion economy.

T.K.S. Elangovan (DMK) speaks against the idea of ‘faceless assessment’. He says the entire Budget is a propaganda mechanism. He asks why there are so many schemes reliant on the PPP model to function. Why can't the government do it, he asks.

Lok Sabha | 2.30 p.m.

Supriya Sule (NCP) says seven people die everyday in Mumbai suburban trains.

The market crashed 1200 points when the Budget speech was made, she says.

Dayanidhi Maran (DMK) says to understand the new tax laws, one has to spend more money paying the auditor to figure out which bracket one falls into. Why can't you come up with a single tax system, he asks.

Rajya Sabha | 2 p.m.

Ravi Prakash Verma (SP) says that demonetisation and compulsive digitisation has created ‘policy shock’ in the country. He says the ‘new world order’ as mentioned in the Budget doesn't speak about farmers or workers or the poor, but only about profit.

Lok Sabha | 2 p.m.

Bhatruhari Mahtab (BJD) continues the general discussion on the Budget. He says government should not lose sight of wider reforms in public sector banks.

Thaawar Chand Gehlot makes a statement on the SC/ST Act. This prompts slogans from the Opposition and they walk out when Speaker refuses to hold a discussion on the statement.

Rajya Sabha | 1:00 p.m.

House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 12:30 p.m.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of Opposition in the House, raises the issue of the Supreme Court verdict that said reservation in promotions in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right.

The judgment was based in a batch of appeals pertaining to the reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions in the posts of Assistant Engineer (Civil) in Public Works Department of Uttarakhand.

He says the step perpetuates 'Manuvad'.

There is uproar in the House.

Chirag Paswan, LJSP, rejects the Supreme Court verdict and demands that the central government intervene. He also insists that the NDA is not anti-reservation.

Pralhad Joshi, BJP, says in 2012, the Congress was in power in Uttarakhand and the decision was initiated by the Congress.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh, JD(U), says such sensitive matters should not be politicised.

The Opposition raises slogans against the Modi government.

Ritesh Pandey, BSP, says the government is anti-Dalit and anti-SC/ST.

Anupriya Patel, Apna Dal, calls the Supreme Court decision "unfortunate" and an assault on the rights of minorities. Representation of SCs, STs and OBCs should be increased in the Supreme Court, she says.

Supriya Sule, NCP, demands immediate intervention by the government.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reiterates that Social Justice Minister will make a statement, adding that in 2012, the Congress had been in power in Uttarakhand.

House is adjourned tilll 2 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 12:00 p.m.

The Speaker says he has received adjournment motions on some issues.

Papers are laid on the table.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan delivers a statement on the steps taken by the government to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

There have been three positive cases reported from Kerala, the patients having been quarantined. A panel of Ministers has been constituted to monitor the situation in the country, he says.

He speaks on the visa ban measures and travel advisory issued on travel to China. Universal thermal screening measures have been implemented.

Indian students were evacuated from Wuhan. He thanks Air India and the medical staff who were involved in the procedure.

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020, is being discussed.

Shashi Tharoor, INC, opposes the Bill.

Rajya Sabha | 11:15 a.m.

Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram speaks on the state of the economy.

He says the current government has a penchant for not admitting its mistakes. "The goverment believes that the problems are cyclical and not structured," he says.

He adds that the government is predisposed towards protectionism and against bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, he adds.

Not even a single idea from the Economic Survey was discussed during the Budget speech, he says.

Citing data, he says every industry that keeps the economy robust is not functioning.

For the last 8 months, import growth has been negative, he states.

On the management of economy, he says the government claimed that it had inherited the poor economy. "How long can you blame the previous managers? Can the UPA turn around and blame Mr. Vajpayee's government?"

Fiscal deficit will compress by about 0.3% over the next year but the revenue deficit will rise, he says. "Going forward, just as you compress fiscal deficit, should you not compress the revenue deficit?" Otherwise, the capital expenditure would be less next year, he says.

"Look at the shortfalls in tax collections," he says, citing data on corporate tax, income tax and GST collections. He says it is popularly called "tax terrorism".

He says the two problems with the economy are that it is demand-constrained and investment-starved. He cites the Periodic Labour Force Report, 2018, which found that the unemployment rate was at its highest in 45 years, at the end of 2017-18. The 74th round of NSSO survey on consumer expenditure found significant fall in consumption between 2011-12 and 2017-18. The report was not released, he says.

He accuses the government of living in an echo-chamber of administrative data while it suppresses NSSO data.

Ministers pounced upon Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee for stating that the economy is doing poorly, he alleges. He adds that the government does not consult the Opposition and considers the Congress "untouchable".

The obvious solution is to revive aggregate demand, he says. The solution would be to "put money in the hands of the masses and not in the hands of the classes."

The second step is to revive investement. He says almost "everything is criminal" and officers have been vested with extraordinary power.

He states that the government spent significantly less on key sectors: Rs 1,08,000 crore instead of the promised Rs 1,84,000 crore on food, Rs 1,21,000 crore instead of the promised Rs 1,61,000 crore in agriculture, Rs 9,900 crore instead of the promised Rs 11,000 crore on the mid-day meal scheme.

Arun Singh, BJP, speaks in support of the Union Budget 2020. He says fiscal deficit is at 3.8%, which was 5.1% under the UPA government. He cites similar data on GDP and CAD. Repo rate was 8% under the UPA but is at 5.15% under the current government, he says.

Lok Sabha | 11:00 a.m.

Speaker Om Birla is in the Chair. Question Hour is underway.

Review of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is undertaken.

The Opposition demands to hold a discussion on the Supreme Court verdict that said reservation in promotions in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right.

The Speaker dismisses the demand and says the issue can be raised during Zero Hour. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot will make a statement on the issue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informs the House.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:16:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-proceedings-live-budget-session-february-10-2020/article30780625.ece

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