Parliament proceedings | Parliament adopts Motion of Thanks to the President's address

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

The Parliament budget session 2020 resumed on Thursday. On Wednesday, some of the talking points were the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register of Citizens and the linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar. Debate on these issues, in addition to the Budget 2020 and the economic situation in the country, continued through today's session.

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adopted the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address to the joint sitting of the Parliament at the start of the Budget Session, through a voice vote.

Here are the latest updates:

Rajya Sabha | 6.45 p.m.

The Motion of Thanks to the President's address is adopted by the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote.

House is adjourned till February 7, 11 a.m.

Rajya Sabha | 6.40 p.m.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad replies to the PM's arguments and says that the Opposition is not against granting citizenship to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But it opposes exclusion of Hindus from Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan, and thus formulating a law on religious lines.

While Congress was for the welfare of people, BJP misleads the country for votes, he adds.

He is interrupted by the Chair and the House moves forward with the amendments to Motion of Thanks.

Rajya Sabha | 6.20 p.m.

Opposition misleading the country on NPR for vote-bank politics, says Modi

NPR is a general administrative activity and the UPA itself had introduced it. But due to vote-bank politics, the Opposition is now misleading the country, says the PM.

His comments trigger protests by Opposition members.

Mother-tongue and migration were not major issues in the country in the past, but they are now, and that necessitates steps like NPR now, he adds.

After the PM concludes his speech, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu says that any comment made in the House that is unparliamentary shall not be put on record.

Lok Sabha | 6.00 p.m.

Lok Sabha is adjourned till February 7, 11 a.m.

Rajya Sabha | 6.00 p.m.

Constitution being invoked to cover up undemocratic activities: Modi

PM Modi says that violence was perpetrated in many States in the name of anti-CAA protests. Constitution was invoked to cover up undemocratic activities, he says.

He refers to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's alleged comments in the Assembly that demonstrations in the State were being triggered by extremist elements. "How can you support such protests across the country when you oppose them in your own State," he says.

The PM cites statements by Lal Bahadur Shastri: "East Pakistan, as an Islamic state, is removing Buddhists, Christians and non-Muslims."

He then refers to a statement by Shastri given when he was the Prime Minister : "All our State governments have accepted the resettlement of refugees. We thank the States for this ..."

The PM then takes a swipe at the Opposition and says it will now term Shastri too a Hindu-Muslim divider. 

Rajya Sabha | 5.20 p.m.

'Northeast finally a part of India's journey towards development'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins speaking.

Countering the claims made by the Opposition, he says that there have been many firsts for Jammu and Kashmir under the BJP government's rule, including extending reservation for the underprivileged, establishment of an anti-corruption bureau in the State, control on cross-border funding to separatists, improved curbs on terrorism, more benefits to central government workers that are on par with the rest of the country, peaceful BDC and gram panchayat elections, and so on.

He further says that under the NDA's rule, the northeastern states have 'joined the rest of India on a developmental journey', which was 'unprecedented in the last 40-50 years.'

Referring to the GST tax regime, he says that India is a federal country and each State has its own needs. He adds that the issues he had taken up as a Chief Minister, he has resolved now as a Prime Minister.

The PM adds that though many in the House had made fun of digital transactions in the past, they are now being used extensively in tier 2 and 3 cities.

This government has set up 100 operational airports, as compared to 65 earlier, he says.

Some regions in the country remained under-developed due to vote-bank politics in the past, but this government has identified over 100 aspirational districts to improve governance. "This is a good example of cooperative federalism," he says.


Lok Sabha | 5.00 p.m.

AITC MP Abhishek Banerjee from West Bengal says, "The centre owes a huge amount of money to the states. The bugdet 2020 murder was brutal, barbaric, harsh and heinous. There are failed flagship schemes like Khelo India, Fit India and so on. Now the govt's new flagship scheme is 'Becho India' [Sell India].

"I appeal to every member of this House, you talk about Desh Bhakti, patriotism, country's pride but if you have the spine, stand up for your country and save LIC from privatisation. You start with BSNL, Indian Railways, Air India, IDBI and now LIC. LIC has so many agents and full-time employees. The country that voted for the current ruling party voted with optimism in their hearts. LIC supported on your lows and look what you have done. Soon FCI will also be in line. The funding to FCI is not enough to feed Indians. What can be a bigger shame? The govt's unfit bill for FCI is around ₹2 lakh crores. This will hurt the lower-income and the poor the most.

"Fertiliser subsidy has been down and BJP govt has failed to pay its farmers. The govt takes pride of raising the insurance cover to ₹5 lakh rupees. A lot of people save their life earning just to ensure their child gets a good education, marriage or their parents' future medical expenses. Now, the govt says that you'll get only ₹5 lakh. The govt can't give safety or stability. There is a systematic murder of federalism.

"When Mamata Banerjee was Railway Minister, she launched many long-distance trains. But now West Bengal has got ₹1,000 in this budget when it comes to Railways in every scheme," he says and shows two 500 rupee notes in the House.

"When MGNREGA is not in good shape, it is distressing that BJP govt is wasting money on policies like NPR and NRC.

He lists a number of achievements by Bengal and says that the state is performing better and investment in many sectors is up.

Rajya Sabha | 5.00 p.m.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar says that India has brought back even Maldivians from Wuhan along with Indians. "This is the reality of this country taking high steps for this world. I used to work in banks. When we took stock in 2014, when DBT was launched when Manmohan Singh was in power, there were no bank accounts only. Now PM Modi has let people open bank accounts and made sure there is a good financial inclusion.

Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi used to remark that only 15 paise of every rupee meant for welfare of downtrodden reaches them. Now PM Modi has ensured that when ₹100 is sent under the Direct Benefit Transfer, the poor get the entire ₹100."

Lok Sabha | 4.00 p.m.

BJP MP Jayant Sinha from Jharkhand says that we have left the billionaire rule and have moved towards rule of the people. "This was a feel-good budget and I'd like to thank on behalf of the country. While driving a car, we need to look through the windshield, not through the rear view mirror. We need to see what has to be done in the way forward. Manufacturing, services are on the rise. These aren't just told by the Economic Survey, but also mentioned by the IMF. GST's collections tell us that the economy is becoming better."

"Do we have the ability to finance the $5 trillion economy. We have to intermediate $1.5 trillion and equity financing. We are establishing long-term pillars with the budget. Many cases have been brought through the insolvency and bankruptcy code. The fear of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully. When you see that, that forces creditors and everyone to resolve matters. Because of the code, the resolution is happening at a far faster pace than before. There's a lot of global data on the haircut. Our recovery is absolutely in line with global experience in this matter. Now we've already got 3.6 lakh crores of recovery. The velocity of the resolution has gone up. This is a remarkable achievement and it is a crucial building block that can fund a $5 trillion economy."

"Govt proposed ₹8,000 crore for quantum computing and we'd come up among the top players in this as well. We cared about globalisation and liberalisation, in future, we've to concentrate on competitiveness and sustainability and bring a green future."

DMK MP K. Kanimozhi from Tamil Nadu requests the govt to increase minimum wages of MGNREGA workers atleast to ₹350. She mentions the centre is giving less funding to the state.

With regard to the protests in universities she asks, "How can we convince the world community that Indian universities are safe?" to which some MPs including Dayanidhi Maran say, "Shame!"

"You're hacking the roots of social justice by disinvestments. Regarding unemployment, it is at a 45-year high. The urban youth are unemployed and it is worse in the rural sector. Recently in Salem, a woman who lost her husband could not find employment and she sold her hair to support her family. This is the state our country is, and we are talking about a $10 trillion economy."

"In September 2019, a journalist was booked for conspiracy after reporting that only rotis and salt are being served in a mid-day meal. And the govt has funded lesser than before. India has the highest number of under-5 deaths."

"More than 50,000 MSMEs have been closed and 5 lakh jobs have been lost. Banks are lending and even if there is a small due, MSMEs are being declared NPAs."

Rajya Sabha | 4.00 p.m.

INC MP Anand Sharma from Himachal Pradesh says there is a huge problem facing the nation. "Adopt Mahatma Gandhi's values of truth and non-violence. Do not insult his name. Suppressing the people's voice is like hurting the democracy. PM says he wants to become vishwa-guru, let him do so. But we are heading towards Internet shutdown, that leads to suppressing civil liberty."

"India's Army is our pride. The Indian Army fights a war under the tricolour. Stop saying that it is your Army. The Army doesn't belong to a political party, nor the Prime Minister nor the government. It belongs to the country."

"What was the 'New India' mandate that you received? Are you going to create a new country? It is good that you went up in the Ease of doing Business index. But not in competitive index. You will play in Khelo India as well, but why bring up 'Fit India' when there are children dying of hunger?"

"Stop fighting with the people and the children. Learn to say the truth. This country's strength in unity in diversity. Respect people of all cultures and religions. This country is neither mine nor yours. This country belongs to every citizen."

BJD's Amar Patnaik from Odisha says The President's address missed a number of achievements of the govt. He says, "From these achievements, our state benefited in several areas. We still expect the govt to do more in these areas."

Lok Sabha | 3.30 p.m.

House reconvenes.

INC MP Manish Tewari from Punjab says that the Indian economy is in a sorry state. "Economy's fundamentals - savings, consumption, and employment are all down. The govt must know that the demand problem can be fixed with supply."

"If an economics professor is saying that Indian economy is not in a good shape, it needs to be taken seriously. 27 million people were lifted out of poverty in ten years. In those ten years, UPA was in power for eight years."


Rajya Sabha | 3.00 p.m.

BJP MP Shwait Malik from Punjab talks about the Skill India Ministry and various other achievements of PM Modi. "When we feed a man, he would ask to be fed again. But when we impart skills to one, he becomes a self-sufficient man," he says. He mentions the 1984 Sikh riots when Congress couldn't get justice to the Sikhs and Punjabis. But the BJP was able to bring them to justice. He praises PM Modi's action towards the same.

BJP MP K. Bhabananda Sinha from Manipur speaks in Manipuri and the Speaker encourages regional languages being spoken in the Parliament.

BJP MP G.V.L. Narasimha Rao from Uttar Pradesh says citizenship law can only be passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. "By opposing BJP, the country is being opposed. The thought process needs a change."

Rajya Sabha | 2.30 p.m.

YSRCP MP V. Vijaysai Reddy from Andhra Pradesh asks the govt to focus on economic and financial situation of the country, most importantly the states that are backward. "I am asking for Andhra Pradesh. When I see that the govt is giving extra finances to some states, it does nothing to Andhra Pradesh. The very process of AP bifurcation special category status is supplemental, incidental and consequential to bifurcation. There is no mention of special category status in the President's address."

"The Ministers in NDA are misleading the Parliament. I don't understand why UPA which implemented this, is keeping quiet in this regard. A step-motherly treatment has been issued to Andhra Pradesh."

Lok Sabha | 2.15 p.m.

CAA and NRC will not affect people of any religion: Modi

In the name of minority, Congress does politics. Leaders from Congress, Left inciting people at protest sites.

For them, they are Muslims, for us they are all Indians, says Mr. Modi to Oppn while referring to anti-CAA protests.

“I want to clearly state that with the CAA coming, there will be no impact on any citizen of India, practising any faith. CAA does not affect any Indian, it doesn’t harm minority interests.”

“Those who have been removed from office by the people of India are now doing the unthinkable. They see citizens on the basis of their faith. We are different. We see everyone as an Indian.”

Defending the CAA, the prime minister says the Congress is having problems when “our govt is taking decisions on wishes of the country’s founding fathers".

Speaker Om Birla passes the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address.

House adjourned till 3.20 p.m.

Rajya Sabha | 2.00 p.m.

Further discussion on motion of thanks on the President's address is on.

CPI's Binoy Viswam from Kerala says the country is facing a tough situation from within. "A govt which came to the power with all proclamation to the Constitution, is trying to undermine the Constitution. The purpose of CAA, NPR and NRC divided this great nation. They want to deviate the people's attention from issues burning the nation. All those issues are going to be covered by CAA, NPR and NRC."

Lok Sabha | 1.50 p.m.

Who made Kashmir's identity only about bombs and guns?: Modi

Those who are talking about respect for the Constitution never even implemented it in Jammu and Kashmir for so many decades. Kashmir is the jewel in the crown of India.

Who made Kashmir only about land grabbing? Who made Kashmir's identity only about bombs and guns? Can anyone forget that dark night of January? In reality, Kashmiri identity is closely linked with harmony.

Kashmir’s identity was buried on Jan 19, 1990.

There have been statements made by former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir that are not acceptable to us.

Much has been said about CAA, ironically by those who love getting photographed with the group of people who want ‘Tukde Tukde’ of India. Those who have been removed from office by the people of India are now doing the unthinkable. They see citizens on the basis of their faith. We are different. We see everyone as an Indian.

Lok Sabha | 1.45 p.m.

Will do enough Surya Namaskar to withstand all the beatings you give me: Modi

I heard an Opposition MP saying- we will beat Modi with sticks in 6 months. I will do so much Surya Namaskar for the next six months that my back can withstand all the beatings you give me.

We are working on labour reforms and that too after consulting the labour unions.

Among the things that will drive India's progress is next-generation infrastructure. In the earlier days, infrastructure creation brought "economic opportunities" for a select few. Not any more. We have made this sector transparent and are working to boost connectivity.

We have taken many initiatives in industry, irrigation, social infrastructure, rural infrastructure, ports, waterways.

Who brought the Emergency? Who trampled over the Judiciary? Who has brought the most amendments to the Constitution? Who imposed Article 356 the most? Those who did the above need to get deeper knowledge of our Constitution. Who brought 'remote control governance' through the NAC, which had a bigger role than the position of the PM and the PMO? The people of India are seeing what is happening in the nation, that too ironically, in the name of saving the Constitution.

India is closely seeing the statements of a few political leaders associated with the Opposition parties. There are people in this House who have suffered due to political violence in West Bengal. When they start speaking, it will make things uncomfortable for many associated with the Opposition parties.

Lok Sabha | 1 p.m.

Gandhi may be trailer for you, but he is life for us: Modi

Mahatma Gandhi may be trailer for you, but he is life for us, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi. President highlighted vision for New India; his address comes at a time when we enter third decade of the century. Had we continued with thinking of Opposition, Ram Janmabhoomi would continue to be a disputed issue. Had we continued with the same path of yours, Article 370 would not have been abrogated, Triple Talaq would not have gone. Had we continued with the Congress path, we would have continued to wait for next gen fighter plane, CDS.

The issue of higher MSP was pending for decades. We had the honour of solving this long-standing demand. The same applies to crop insurance and irrigation related schemes. The agriculture budget has risen 5 times during our Government's tenure. PM-KISAN Samman Yojana is transforming the lives of many farmers. Several farmers have benefitted due to this. In this scheme there are no middlemen and no extra file-work.

Driven by politics, some states are not allowing farmers to benefit from PM-Kisan Scheme. I appeal to them: let there be no politics in farmer welfare. We all have to work together for the prosperity of farmers of India.

People have seen our speed of work and gave us bigger mandate in 2019. India can no longer wait for problems to remain unsolved. NDA govt’s aim is speed and scale; determination and decisiveness; sensitivity and solutions.

We have kept the fiscal deficit in check. Price rise is also under check and there is macro-economic stability.

Our vision is: greater investment, better infrastructure, increased value addition, maximum job creation.

Stand up India, Start up India, Mudra — they are adding prosperity in the lives of many. Substantial number of the Mudra beneficiaries are women.

Rajya Sabha

BSNL, MTNL won’t be closed, efforts being made to revive them: Govt in Rajya Sabha

The government assured Rajya Sabha that public sector telecom companies BSNL and MTNL will not be shut down and efforts are being made to revive them soon.

Replying to supplementary queries during Question Hour, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said as part of a revival plan for BSNL and MTNL, there will be optimal utilisation of land and other assets of these companies.

“We consider BSNL and MTNL as strategic assets, as they have come to the aid of the people during natural calamities. There were problems in these companies, but we will revive them soon."

“Don’t be under this impression that BSNL and MTNL will be shut down. We have infused a revival package in them and I assure you that these companies will not be shut down,” he told the house.

The minister said the revival package contains the core of optimal utilisation of the assets of these companies.

“Appropriate asset monetisation are recovering from other companies are part of the revival package. We will make optimal use of the land and other assets of BSNL and MTNL while reviving them,” he said.

In his written reply, Mr. Prasad said pursuant to policy formulated by the government to permit sharing of infrastructure by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) are also monetising their tower assets by permitting sharing of their towers with other TSPs.

“Accordingly, some of their towers, apart from being used by BSNL and MTNL are also leased to other TSPs viz Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, etc. Similarly, BSNL and MTNL are also using towers taken on rent from other telecom and infrastructure service providers.

“Out of 13,146 mobile towers shared by BSNL, 8,363, 2,779 and 1,782 mobile towers have been shared with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea respectively. Out of 402 mobile towers shared by MTNL, 137, 100 and 165 mobile towers have been shared with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea respectively,” the minister said.

Mr. Prasad said BSNL and MTNL have informed that ₹167.97 crore and ₹11.62 crore respectively are outstanding from Reliance Jio. To recover the dues, the matter is being regularly pursued by both BSNL and MTNL.

“No fixed income has been transferred from BSNL/MTNL to Reliance Jio,” he said.

Minister of State for Telecom Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre said as per the revival package, BSNL has been allotted 4G spectrum from April 1 and 4G technology would be fully implemented within 19 months.

Mr. Dhotre, however, admitted that there are some shortcomings in these companies and the government is making efforts to remove them.

To a suggestion from Shiv Sena member Sanjay Raut that if the government is unable to recover the outstanding money from other telecom companies then he is ready to offer his services, Mr. Prasad said, “It is an encouraging suggestion and will keep it in mind.” - PTI

Rajya Sabha | 11.45 a.m.

Zero Hour is on in the Rajya Sabha.

Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (SP) speaks about river water and irrigation. A.K. Selvaraj (AIADMK) asks the Centre to take urgent measures to protect small farmers.

Lok Sabha | 11 a.m.

In the Question Hour at the Lok Sabha, the House is discussing the questions on Affordable Housing under PMAY.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Housing Minister, answers Asaduddin Owaisi’s question on how the government is planning to raise funds for creating pucca housing for the urban poor. Mr. Owaisi says it will cost ₹7 lakh crore. Mr. Puri says the government has sanctioned ₹1.03 crore. He says 32 lakh beneficiaries have already received their homes.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 1:17:28 PM |

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