Parliament proceedings | Health Minister makes statement in Rajya Sabha on govt. response to coronavirus outbreak; Lok Sabha adjourned for the day

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 7.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan makes a statement in the Rajya Sabha on government response to novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

The Rajya Sabha is discussing the Foreign Investment in Financial Services, Critical Infrastructure and Technology affecting National Security (Reguation) Bill, 2018.

Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned when Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, before responding to a question by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, condemns the latter for alleged "outlandish" remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Opposition begins to protest. The House reconvened at 2 p.m. but was adjourned for the day after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi condemned a Congress member’s attempt to attack Union Minister Harsh Vardhan.

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, on February 6.

Here are the latest updates:

Rajya Sabha | 5:30 p.m.

Special Mentions commences.

The House is adjourned till 11 a.m. on February 10.

Rajya Sabha | 5:00 p.m.

Statement by Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan on government response to novel coronavirus in progress.

T.K. Rangarajan asks the Minister what steps the country's citizenry should take to deal with the outbreak. Vaiko, MDMK, Tamil aNadu, asks how many Indians and INdian students are still stranded in Wuhan. Dr. Amar Patnaik, BJD, Odisha, asks if causes of the outbreak, especially regarding eating of bat meat, has been identified.

Mr. Vardhan responds that detailed research on causes is still in progress and will be updated accordingly.

80 students are still in Wuhan, Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, says. Of these, 10 were running a fever during the Indian evacuation process and hence the Chinese authorities did not allow their return. The remaining 70 voluntarily sought to stay back in Wuhan, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 4:00 p.m.

"Individual's data will be open to foreign companies, and hence I stand to support the Bill," says T.K.S. Elangovan, DMK, Tamil Nadu.

He says restrictions on foreign payment gateways and apps are necessary because an individual is forced to share his personal data to the apps, even to make a small purchase online.

Dr. Vikas Mahatme, BJP, Maharashtra, while conceding that security of the country must be utmost priority, says a committee to discuss the concerns expressed in the Bill is necessary before it gets tabled. "To ensure that foreign investors don't consider the process of FDI cumbersome and time consuming, we should consider all aspects," he says. Personal Data Protection Bill also covers many concerns raised, he says.

Prof. Manoj Kumar Jha, BJD, Bihar, though speaking in support of the Bill, says that we are expecting from global capitalists, a characteristic that they do not have in themselves.

Prof. M.V. Rajeev Gowda, INC, Karnataka, supoorts the Bill. He asks for a robust system of checks to technology coming from any country and not merely as laid down in the Bill. He also suggests that the committee should be composed of not merely government secretaries but stakeholders from a all spheres. The Bill should have congruence with the Personal Data Protection Bill, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 3:30 p.m.

Kumar Ketkar, INC, Maharashtra, supporting the Bill, says "today, we live in a world where nothing is exclusive about financial sector infrastructure and technology. Many companies are merging. In America, film companies have taken over newspapers and newspapers have taken over educational institutions. Globalisation and technology, along with Artificial Intelligence, have enveloped most of the companies and have created new integrations possible."

If in the name of Make in India, we allow foreign investment in one sector but the company ends up incorporating other sectors, it would pose a threat to the country, he says. Since financial companies have control not just in financial sector but in defence sector too, we have to be careful as Dr. Jadhav has suggested, says Mr. Ketkar.

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Dr. D.P. Vats, BJP, Haryana, says market decides the fate of mankind today, not battles and wars like the earlier days. Conventional military aggression is an outdated concept and war has now become economical. Thus, our internal policies should reflect this, says Dr. Vats. He says the National Security Council already exists for addressing Dr. Jadhav's concerns. "Instead of constituting a different committee, we should focus on sharpening the fangs of those already existing."

Rajya Sabha | 3:00 p.m.

Shiv Pratap Shukla, BJP, Uttar Pradesh, says while he supports the Bill, the country must act in accordance with the requirements of a globalised world.

Anil Desai, Shiv Sena, Maharashtra, speaks in support of the Bill. He says he particularly supports the formation of a committee under the Bill.

Ramkumar Verma, BJP, Rajasthan, says instead of a separate legislation, the already existing laws, rules and guidelines like FEMA, Data Protection Bill, etc., could be updated to include the concerns addressed in Dr. Jadhav's Bill.

Rajya Sabha | 2:30 p.m.

Proceedings resume.

Private Members Bills introduced in the House.

Further consideration on the Foreign Investment in Financial Services, Critical Infrastructure and Technology affecting National Security (Reguation) Bill, 2018 is taken up. Dr. Narendra Jadhav (Nominated), economist and financial advisor, resumes his speech on the Bill.

The Bill is about new threats to our national security, Dr. Jadhav says. The Bill seeks to reform the process of examining Foreign Direct Investment in view of protecting the country's security.

The House agrees to forego Zero Hour and Question Hour from Monday, to take up the agreed upon 12-hour discussion on the Budget, to ensure the debate gets enough time. The Budget Session of the Parliament will end on February 11.

Lok Sabha | 2:00 p.m.

Lok Sabha adjourned till Monday, February 10

Lok Sabha proceedings adjourned for the day after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi condemned a Congress member’s attempt to attack Union Minister Harsh Vardhan.

“It is highly uncalled for. If anything is wrongly spoken then it is upto the Speaker to take a call but trying to attack the Minister is condemnable,” Mr. Joshi said as the House reassembled at 2 pm.

As Congress members too were on there feet, A. Raja, who was Chairing the proceedings of the House, adjourned it for the day.


Lok Sabha | 1:00 p.m.

Lok Sabha reconvenes and is immediately adjourned till 2 p.m. amid Opposition uproar.

Rajya Sabha | 12:30 p.m.

Suicides by farmers are being discussed.

Ravi Prakash Varma, SP, asks if the government will be constituting a robust support mechanism for farmers.

Mr. Rupala replies, saying the PM-KISAN Yojana directly benefits farmers. The government has data on eight crore farmers, he says.

Majeed Memon, NCP, asks if there is any mechanism in place to determine if all the announced benefits actually reach farmers.

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, addresses the issue of the e-ticketing scam that was unearthed recently.

Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is discussed. The next question pertains to rise in price of essential food items.

House is adjourned till 2:30 p.m.

Rajya Sabha | 12:00 p.m.

Dr. Vikas Mahatme, BJP, speaks on the issue of depression among the youth.

Implementation of 'One Nation One Ration Card' is under discussion.

Ramvilas Paswan, Minister, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Consumption, responds to a Member's question, saying that on January 1, the scheme was implemented in 12 States. He says it will be implemented in the rest of the country by June 1, except the northeast.

Functioning of GrAMs is being discussed.

Parshottam Rupala, MoS Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, responds to Members' questions on the functioning of village markets or 'graam haat'. He says that via NABARD, Rs 2000 crore fund has been allocated for this purpose.

Lok Sabha | 11:50 p.m.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, before responding to a question by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, condemns the latter for alleged "outlandish" remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he had allegedly said that Mr. Modi would be "driven out" of the country by the youth. The Oppositions begins to protest.

House is adjourned till 1 p.m.

Rajya Sabha | 11:30 a.m.

Md. Nadimul Haque, AITC, urges that stricter anti-torture measures be undertaken.

The adoption of an Anti-Torture Bill is particularly important given police brutality, especially since 2014, he says.

R.K. Sinha, BJP, starts with conceding that dissent is important in a democracy. He goes on to say that on the pretext of dissent, many anti-national activities have taken place.

M.V. Rajeev Gowda, INC, says according to the Economic Survey, female labour force participation has dropped considerably from 2017 to 2018. He urges that gender bias be curbed in MNCs and other sectors by strengthening the internal complaint committees, ensuring that half of the members are women, among other measures.

Rakesh Sinha, BJP, says tribal people are being alienated from their land rights, which has happened in every State with tribal population. In 2001-2011, there was 10% decline in tribals engaging in agriculture in non-tribal States. Is this because of genuine reasons or illiteracy and poverty, he asks.

Lok Sabha | 11:00 a.m.

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

The Poshan Abhiyan is being discussed.

Smriti Irani, Minister, Women and Child Development, requests the senior leaders of West Bengal to come on board the Poshan Abhiyan scheme.

National Clean Air Programme is being discussed.

Babul Supriyo, MoS, Environment, Forest and Climate Change responds to Members' questions.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, INC, says each year 3% of GDP is lost due to air pollution.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan speaks on the Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

He responds to a Member's question, saying even if an individual does not possess the Ayushman Health Card, they can still avail the benefits under the scheme.

Rajya Sabha | 11:00 a.m.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 2:18:22 PM |

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