Parliament proceedings updates | March 15, 2021

Anurag Sharma, BJP MP from Jhansi  

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar makes a statement in the Lok Sabha regarding the recent developments pertaining to the welfare of Indians living abroad, NRIs and PIOs in the COVID-19 situation. He will make a statement in the Rajya Sabha too.

Both Houses saw multiple adjournments on all days of last week as the Opposition demanded a discussion on the rising prices of fuel in the country.

Here are the latest updates:

Lok Sabha | 8.15 pm

The House is extended for 15 minutes after 8 p.m. giving the opportunity to the rest of speakers to put forth their demands.

Ramacharan Bohra (BJP MP from Jaipur), Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo (BJP MP from Bolangir, Odisha), Sandhya Ray (BJP MP from Bhind, Madhya Pradesh), Dr. Dhal Singh Bisen (BJP MP from Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh), Sanjay Seth (BJP MP from Ranchi), Kavita Singh (JD(U) MP from Siwan, Bihar) and Janardan Mishra (BJP PM from Reva, Madhya Pradesh) put forth the demands of their constituencies in front of the Railway Minister in the remaining few minutes of Lok Sabha.

House is adjourned till 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

Railway Minister will respond to the requests tomorrow.

Lok Sabha | 7.55 pm

Rama Devi, BJP, says the country has become one of the world's largest transporter of people and commodities in the world. The budget has alleviated issues of logistics and supported the vision of Make in India. The budget is aimed towards technological advancements and customer satisfaction in Railways, she says.

Lok Sabha | 7.40 pm

Pradip Kumar Singh, BJP, says that the Budget is important in social as well as economic terms. The govt. has focused on fare, cleanliness and amenities in Railways.

Dr. Bharati Pawar, says that the Modi govt. has done well to enhance 'Kisan rail', and has benefited the farmers.

Dr. Kirit Premjibhai Solanki says that the Modi govt. has been unfairly criticised and says that deserves support from State governments because his policies have benefited the country at large. 

Lok Sabha | 7.20 pm

Darshana Vikram Jardosh, BJP, says that the Railways connectivity in Gujarat has been admirable. She says 5 lakh people come in and out of Surat on a daily basis. She asks for greater connectivity between Surat and Sauhrashtra. She asks for several trains to be connected to Gandhinagar, the capital of the State.

Lok Sabha | 7.10 pm

Shankar Lalwani, BJP, asks for various projects in Railway lines from Indore to be completed.

Anurag Sharma, BJP, congratulates the govt. for running Shramik Specials, especially in Jhansi where 8 trains ran relentlessly till lakhs of migrants were safely transported to their homes. Mr. Sharma says that under the Modi govt. the country has witnessed a marked decline in Railway accidents. He asks for the North Central training centre to be shifted from Chandigarh to Jhansi.

Lok Sabha | 7 pm

Girish Bhalchandra Bapat, BJP, says it's not easy to run a department like Railways is not easy. He says that the 'unique' budget has enhanced railways and subsidies that have benefited the farmers.

He says Pune has become a hub of education and employment, and has witnessed widespread Railway electrification. He says that there is a land acquisition issue in the city. He says that there is an issue of railway station parking issue that needs to be solved. He asks for Pune-Nashik line to be enhanced.

Lok Sabha | 6.48 pm

Bidyut Baran Mahato, BJP, congratulates the govt. on the allocation for infrastructural developments in the current Budget. He claims that 42% of the Railway taxes come from Jharkhand, but there is a poor connectivity in the State. He asks the trains leaving from Tatanagar to be extended. He asks the govt. to take up new rail line projects. Mr. Mahato calls Jharkhand a 'mini-India' and asks for resumption of a host of trains on the Eastern and Central lines. He says that stoppage of local trains have affected the tribals in the area.

Lok Sabha | 6.33 pm

Shyam Singh Yadav, BSP, says that the govt. has laid a 'trap' of Railways across all sides of Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh. He explains that there are no flyovers on the railway lines. He says that it is a matter of great concern for the people of the city who face traffic and delays in public services.

Mr. Yadav says that there are many trains that 'rip through the heart' of the city, but never stop at the station. He says that PM has envisioned bullet trains, 'he can commission flying trains if he wants', but there must be more amenities for the passengers. He asks the 'little treasures' of the govt. to be spent on improving the stations. 

Lok Sabha | 6.25 pm

Vijay Kumar Hansdak, JMM, asks for stoppages in train lines for the benefit of students. He says he is not asking for new trains, but only wants new stoppages. He also demands for foot-over-bridges for safety of the citizens. He asks about the privatisation of companies in the govt. sector. He asks about job reservations after the privatisation takes place.

Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, BJP, asks about the completion of World's tallest rail bridge in Manipur. He says that it will attract tourists across the country in the world. He talks about the unstable geological terrain among several issues that have posed a challenge in the construction of infrastructure in the State. He says that many projects have been delayed by more than a year, and asks the govt. to finish the work soon.

Rajya Sabha | 6.10 pm

Ramji, BSP, says in his maiden speech that Dalits understand the value of water the most.

I would like to inform the government that the drinking water has still not reached the villages of dalits and tribals, he says.

The house stands adjourned to meet on Tuesday at 11:00 am.

Minister Jal Shakti to respond tomorrow to the debate.

Lok Sabha | 6 pm

E.T. Mohammed Basheer from Ponnani, Kerala, says the question before us now is how to save railway from the economic we are on the way of crisis management, there are only two ways before us: reducing expenditure and non-budgetary income generation.

While making cost reduction, we should be careful...papers are reporting measures like freeze on recruitment. This privatisation process in the railway is very dangerous, this property of the nation, if you blindly hand it over to the private sector, it is very dangerous, he says.

He requests the government to desist from privatisation of the railway.

BJP's Jugal Kishore Sharma from Jammu appreciates the railway for its services during Covid-19, says job opportunities due to the railway are growing. In the past five years, the government has focused on not increasing the fare price and cleanliness.

Rajya Sabha | 5.50 pm

Banda Prakash, TRS, says 52% of are under agriculture is dependent on rainwater. I want to know what is the ministry's plan to provide irrigation facilities to every farmer, he asks, addidng, there is no vision in the budget.

He complains that the centre is not extending enough funds to the state governments who have implemented irrigation projects.

Lok Sabha | 5.40 pm

Shiv Sena Member Krupal Baaji Tumane seeks information on the development related to a proposed railway line linking his constituency, Ramtek, in Maharashtra. He urges the government to expedite the work on the rail line between Nagpur and Gadhchiroli.

Rajya Sabha | 5.40 pm

Subash Chandra Singh, BJD, says MNREGA man days should be increased from present 100 days to 150 days and that MNREGA workers should be used to build water infrastructures like rainwater harvesting systems. Waterlogging is a big problem in the urban areas, he says, adding, there should be a proper implementation on laws against builders who construct in flood plains.

Rajya Sabha | 5.25 pm

Kanta Kardam, BJP, says if you had taken the water resources seriously you would have initiated a scheme like Nal se Jal. You ignored the plight of women who walked miles to get water for their families, she says.

Harshvardhan Singh, Dungarpur, BJP, says this (Water) is an important ministry for India's future. And it is PM's special focus to bring tapped water to every household. Important part of the ministry is inter state water disputes.

Lok Sabha | 5.15 pm

Member Syed Imtiaz Jaleel cites media reports saying Marathwada projects have not been given anything in the budget. Nanded division has been given only a little over Rs.98 crore. For years, efforts are being made to get a 88-km railway link for 40 villages close to Aurangabad, but it has not fructified. If you go by only RoR (Rate of Return) basis, Marathwada will not get anything as it is a backward area, he says.

Member Hanuman Beniwal seeks funds for new projects in economically weak States, seeks information about the impact of privatisation on the existing posts in the Railway.

Rajya Sabha | 5 pm

Shakti Sinh Gohil asks why a member of ruling party had to be evacuated from his house in a boat in Patna. He says that its because there is so much corruption in Namami Gange project. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana, 2021-22 only Rs. 4,500 crore, out of which Rs. 3,600 crore was to payback NABARD. If 80% of the funds is utlitised for paying off loan then where is the money to do anything els, he says.

Lok Sabha | 5 pm

BJP Member Janardan Singh Sigriwal  compliments the Railway for its services to people during COVID-19.

Rajya Sabha | 4.50 pm

Praful Patel, NCP, says it seemed that the government had forgotten about the river interlinking project.

K Ravindra Kumar, TDP, says the Polavaram project is moving at a very slow pace after the new government took over in the state. This delay has led to cost escalation of the project. He urged the centre to expedite the project.

Lok Sabha | 4.38 pm

Member Shiromani Ram Verma says his constituency Shrawasti in Uttar Pradesh, a pilgrimage centre, be linked to the Baudh circuit. He opposes the privatisation of railway, saying the poor and the middle-class people will be forced to pay more rail fare.

Rajya Sabha | 4.30 pm

Manoj Kumar Jha, RJD, says, "We now know that water has a religion too. There should be a separate policy for the big industries who are using ground water."

"90%of the patients in hospitals from Kosi and Seemanchal region are suffering from water borne diseases. It is better not to speak a word about Ganga river. The cleaning process has not moved beyond hollow rhetoric," he says.

Lok Sabha | 4.20 pm

Member Anupriya Patel supports the grants. Railway has not been able to generate the surplus, extra budgetary resources will have to be employed...which is not a favourable situation...this remains the core issue to be addressed by the Railway, she says.

Rajya Sabha | 4.20 pm

Sukhram Singh Yadav, SP, says huge amounts of money has been allocated for drinking water utilization. If this money is utilized in a proper manner then all our problems will be solved, he says.

RCP Singh, JD(U), says every year infrastructure and crops are destroyed in North Bihar. He requested the centre that the till the time agreement with Nepal on building dam can't be finalized they should be given additional 30-40,000 crores annually to tide over. We have already provided tap water to each household. But we should be compensated for the work we have done, he says.

Lok Sabha | 4.15 pm

Member Md. Shafiqur Rahman Barq says Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh is a historic place and a key business centre in the State, but it has not been provided a railway line. Only 16-km track should be laid from Sambhal to Chandausi to link it to Allahabad and other places.

Rajya Sabha | 4.15 pm

Subash Chandra Boston, YSRCP, says that in 2021-22 Jal Shakti budget was hiked by 64%. This is in line with the govt's target to provide tap water to every household by 2024. He requested the central govt to support Andhra Pradeah government and provide them adequate funds.

Lok Sabha | 4.10 pm

BJP Member Lallu Singh from Faizabad constituency highlights the measures being taken to connect different parts to Ayodhya. He says Rs.140 crore has been allocated for the first phase upgrade of Faizabad railway station and more land will be allocated in the second phase. There are currently three stations in Ayodhya, which need to be developed. A Faizabad junction should also be constructed, given that about 1 lakh people are expected to  visit Ayodhya every day in near future. A proposal has also been sent by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Rajya Sabha | 4.00 pm

M. Shanmugam (DMK) says if at all there is a war tomorrow, it will be for water. He talks about Cauvery distribution issue.

Tamil Nadu is suffering because we are not being given the adequate water from Cauvery river. It has been proposed to divert the excess water from Cauvery for drinking water needs of people of Tamil Nadu. The centre govt has failed to play its role.

Govt should allocate separate fund for de-silting, he adds.

Lok Sabha | 4.00 pm

Nama Nageswara Rao (TRS)  says the government allocation is of over Rs.1 lakh crore for railway budget support, your revenue expectation is Rs.2.17 lakh crore...mainly through privatisation. He seeks more details about how the revenue will be generated.

When Andhra Pradesh and Telangana was divided, a coach factory was promised, but it has been delayed. Some railway lines were also promised during the division, they should be provided to Telangana, for which we have approached the government several times.  In the budget allocations, nothing has been done in this regard

Rajya Sabha | 3.50 pm

Gopal Narayan Singh, BJP, defends the government. Visit any village, you will see pipelines. Every village is working towards providing potable water, he says.

The Ganga will become clean in another 3-4 years, he says.

Lok Sabha | 3.45 pm

YSRCP MP Sri Krishna Devarayalu Lavu raises the issue of higher railway operation ratio, also highlights the under-achievements in various areas during the Covid-period, asking what recovery measures would be taken by the government.

He also asks for the upgrade of Narasaraopet in Andhra Pradesh, given that a new district is coming up.

Lok Sabha | 3.40 pm

Dipak Baij (Congress) says the Railway is a major source of livelihood and major source of income for the government.

Due to Covid-triggered Lockdown, railway services were suspended. The common man came on the streets, only then the government woke up.

Demands were raised for railway facility to migrant labourers. It was only after the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said that the Congress would bear the rail travel cost of needy migrant labourers that the government decided the Centre and State will split the cost.

He says the railway is getting Rs.300 crore every month for transporting minerals extracted from Bastar in Chhattisgarh, but the locals have not benefited

Rajya Sabha | 3.30 pm

Rajya Sabha takes up discussion on performance of Water Resources Ministry.

Congress member Digvijay Singh is the first speaker. He accuses the ministry of not utilising the funds. He flags the standing Committee recommendations which points out that despite funds the ministry is unable to spend.

You had promised to bring pipe water to each household by 2024, but I doubt that it will happen, at the pace that your ministry is working, Mr. Singh.

No one should be allowed to construct new buildings without water harvesting plants. There should be participatory management in all sorts of water projects. The beneficiaries themselves should be able to take the necessary calls. There is a necessity of constituting irrigation panchayat.

Lok Sabha | 3.20 pm

BJP Member Tapir Gao compliments the government saying the Indian Railway stands second in the world, there is maximum electrification of rail lines.

After 70 years of Indian independence, Arunachal Pradesh has got railway connectivity. North-Eastern region is a hilly region, the Railway Ministry has got survey reports for three proposed lines, they should be implemented immediately, he says.

In 2019, the government announced a railway line Tejpur to Tawang, while China is constructing a railway line along the eastern border from Lhasa. We lost the war in 1962 because we did not have railway connectivity.

He requests the government to remove the "economically viable" clause in the national interest for railway lines in the North-East region, particularly Arunachal Pradesh.

He says there should be railway connectivity in the Indo-Myanmar-China junction points along the border.

We (Arunachal Pradesh) are Corona free since January, the railway operations should be restored on the three lines, where they are currently suspected. Rails should be run from the State to major cities for facilitating trade of organic farm products, says Mr. Gao

Rajya Sabha | 3.20 pm

Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar responds. He says he is happy that all members have supported the Bill.

The Bill seeks to make two institutes in Haryana and Tamil Nadu to be upgraded. India is leading in food manufacturing, he says.

The Bill was brought in 2019, referred to Standing Committee. We have accepted the changes recommended by the committee.

The Bill is passed in Rajya Sabha.

Lok  Sabha | 3.10 pm

BJD Member Achyutananda Samanta applauds Rs.1.07 lakh-crore allocation to railway and the recently proposed National Rail Plan.

He asks the government to increase the revenue distribution and budgetary allocation to the State of Odisha.

Lok  Sabha | 3.00 pm

DMK member Senthilkumar S. says Tamil Nadu has been neglected and has not been given due importance in terms of new railway lines.

He seeks to know the status of 10 new lines proposed by the government.

There are a lot of announcements which mislead the people, there is a big threat to privatisation. Overnight the railway lines are privatised, the government is planning to privatise 13 routes in Tamil Nadu.

DMK will oppose privatisation and protect the interest of railway employees and common people.

Cleanliness of the railways need to be upgraded, a High Court judge has recently observed.

Common man is being made to pay more for platform ticket...whenever we raise the issue of manual scavenging, the railway passes on the onus on private contractors, the government should lay emphasis on eradicating manual scavenging, says Mr. Senthilkumar

Lok  Sabha | 2.50 pm

Dr. Amar Singh of Congress says in his constituency, if about 25-km railway line is constructed, it will link the area to Delhi and Mumbai, which will lead to development.

Let the railways remain a public service, the Congress member tells the government.

Rajya Sabha | 2.50 pm

Ashok Bajpai, BJP: This Bill will help in uplifting the rural economy and will also provide employment to many.

Bhaskar Rao Nekkanti, BJD: There are still not enough avenues for skill development and training to join the food processing industry. My very own experience is that, in last six years Mega Food Processing Park which is under construction in my constituency has not, so far satisfactorily shaped up.

Tiruchi Siva, DMK:  Whenever institutes are elevated to National Importance status the reservation policy is not followed. My only request is that this should not be the case.

Lok Sabha | 2.40 pm

YSRCP MP M. Sreenivasulu Reddy reminds the House that the new railway zone with Visakhapatnam as the headquarters and mentioned in AP Reorganisation Act is yet to be implemented. He says the rail overbridges and rail underbridges should be 100% funded by the Centre. HE says second class coaches are gradually being reduced. It is the lifeline of working class, it should be restored, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 2.40 pm

L. Hanumanthaiah of Congress speaks during the debate on the Bill. "Only 10 % of food is processed in India now. There is huge opportunity here. About 40% of food is wasted, every third child is suffering from  malnutrition. This is a serious concern," he says.

India is far behind in terms of food processing. India only processes a little over 2% of fruits while in China is 30%, says Dr. Hanumanthaiah.

Lok Sabha | 2.30 pm

Sushil Kumar Singh, BJP MP from Aurangabad speaks on Demand for Grants for the Ministry of Railways. He says earlier too there were announcements but now work gets done.

Railways was used as a political tool to win elections, says Mr Singh.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government had started Railway Safety  Fund for the safety of tracks. But then a politician became Railway Minister who started overloading, without caring for health of the tracks.

Sushil Kumar Singh talks about transporting migrant workers and providing food and ration during corona pandemic. He mentions about Dedicated Freight Corridor that passes through his constituency. UPA mentioned DFC in 2006 but took 7 years to issue the first tender for work.

He talks about increasing the speed of goods train.

Rajya Sabha | 2.30 pm

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar responds. On Indian workers in the Gulf, he says the main aim of the government was to bring them back.  We have started a skills mapping programme for such workers. These data were sent to State governments, who use them. The Finance Minister took note of this and allocated BUdget, he says.

"We ensured that students don't lose a year. We are also making sure they get back as soon as possible."

We are trying to come up with more bubbles, and will keep extending the bubbles to more countries.

On Mr. Kharge's query, he says he will send him a written response.

The House now takes up The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019.

Rajya Sabha | 2.20 pm

As the Minister ends his statement, Tiruchi Siva of DMK asks: "Many have decided not to return, whether government has any plans to keep them here, they have given up jobs there and dont have opportunities here?"

Anand Sharma of Congress lauds the efforts of the Ministry and Indian Missions abroad. He asks what will happen to workers who are unable to go abroad. He also seeks to know about the fate of students, who lost a year.

Praful Patel (NCP) says Indians living in the East seem to have a problem. He refers to those living in China and other South East Asian countries.

Prof. Manoj Jha (RJD) raises the issue of Bihari medical students in Russia facing issue in returning. He request the minister to look into the lives of workers who have returned to India.

Naresh Gujaral (SAD) speaks on Indians who dies abroad. Will helpdesk be set up in countries so that the families can approach them for compensation.

Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition, seeks clarification on Pravasi Bharati Bima Yojana insurance scheme. He says the settled claims per year has gone down. He wants to know how many people have got benefitted.

Rajya Sabha | 2.10 pm

We really went all out to ensure the welfare of our brothers and sisters abroad, this was a real testimony of India's enhanced global standing due to work put in the past six years, EAM Jaishankar says making a statement on Indians in abroad.

Air India operated more than 5,000 flights, 10.5 lakh passengers were brought back.

The air travel arrangements are a necessary enabling welfare, the Gulf has been a focal point for our endeavours to ensure livelihood for our people. I recently hosted the UAE foreign minister and expect to do so with Kuwait soon, he says.

We expect the Gulf countries to address the concerns of the people who had to return due to COVID.  Their employment opportunities are a priority, he says.

Lok Sabha | 2.10 pm

Hasnain Masoodi of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. He seeks permission to speak about an going encounter in Shopian. The Chair urges him to stick to the topic.

Mr. Masoodi continues. He talks about frequent blockades in the region, be it nature or militancy. "We have to first confirm if the roads or operational or not," he says and adds the Railways can fill this gap. He says he his disappointed with the Railway Budget.

He mentions about August 5 [abrogation of Article 370] was "unconstitutional" and says J&K needed a special package.

Lok Sabha | 2.00 pm

In Lok Sabha, Dileshwar Jamait, Janata Dal United MP from Supaul (Bihar) is speaking now. He mentions about rail projects in the Kosi region.

He seeks rail connectivity to regions bordering Nepal.

Rajya Sabha | 2.00 pm

Rajya Sabha resumes. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar makes a statement on welfare of Indians living abroad. He made the same statement earlier in the day in Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha | 1.50 pm

Gajanan Kirtikar of Shiv Sena, MP from Mumbai North West, speaks in The House. He talks about slum rehabilitation on Railway land.

He wants government to construct walls along 120 km Mumbai lines to prevent accidents.  "Piyush Goyal is from Mumbai. I hope he does something for the city," he says ending his speech.

Lok Sabha | 1.40 pm

Congress MP from Punjab, Jasbir Singh Gill speaks in Punjabi.

The slogan of transforming adversity into an opportunity is a mere slogan, he says.

He says Punjab has been facing discrimination with regard to some projects. Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory is a gift of the Rajiv Gandhi government, he says.

"Why are you privatizing profit making units?" he asks the government. "Why don't you privatise green field Railway lines, say, in the North East?" He cites the rail line by China to Tibet next to Arunachal Pradesh.

He suggests that bullet trains be started from Delhi to Amritsar and other border points for fast movement of troops.

He talks about upgrading the Amritsar rail station.

"Why is Punjab being crushed? Why is Punjab's voice is not being heard when we have fought and died for the country. We have ended militancy. Please clear our dues in terms of GST," he says.

"End the stand off with farmers if you want Prime Minister Narendra Modi's stature to rise among world leaders."

Lok Sahba | 1.30 pm

"The Rail Coach Factory that was in Rae Bareli (Sonia Gandhi's constituency) didn't produce any coaches. PM Modi went there and directed coaches to be produced. Now it is producing 1500 coaches," Mr. Yadav continues, even as Meenakshi Lekhi, in the Chair, asks him to conclude.

He mentions Kisan Rail, which are "allowing farmers to access other markets easily".

Mr. Yadav ends with a llist of demands for the Railway Minister.

Lok Sabha | 1 pm

Lok Sabha is now discussing the Demand for Grants on Railways.

BJP MP Ram Kirpal Yadav speaks about the contribution of Railways during the pandemic.

"While PM Modi gave a call to transform adversity into opportunity, some political parties were doing politics. Especially the Congress party. The Congress tried to provoke people even during pandemic."

I compliment the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister, Mr. Yadav says. "I salute the 13 lakh employees  who offered dedicated service without caring for their lives."

Earlier, announcements would be made just for political brownie points, Mr. Yadav says.

He says there aren't any pending projects now under this government, citing a pending project under his constituency that was announced by the UPA but couldn't be completed due to lack of funds and requests the Rail Minister to complete the project.

Mr. Yadav says NDA is spending Rs. 45,000 crores for 2021-2022, about 292% more than the UPA.

Mr. Yadav talks about additional expenses even in States like Kerala, Bengal and Tamil Nadu where there aren't BJP governments.

Dedicated Freight Corridor will be a game changer, he says. "66.2% routes are electrified."

Rajya Sabha | 12.45 pm

Fauzia Khan of NCP asks, "would you place in the public domain, the trees that have survived afforestation?"

Mr. Javadekar says the numbers will be put out in the public domain as soon as possible.

On divestment of PSUs, MoS Finance Anurag Thakur says people will not lose jobs. "This will attract investment and boost employment." "The policy is clear and transparent. The government doesn't need to be in business."

Rajya Sabha is adjourned till 2 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 12.30 pm

Now, Lok Sabha is taking up Zero Hour.

Rajendra Agrawal of BJP raises the effects of noise pollution including those caused by DJs playing loud music.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor raises the issue of high lighthouse charges at Vinhinjam port and explains how it is affecting crew change and ships' preference of Kochi port.

BJP MP Tapir Gao asks the government and the Medical Council of India to consider lowering the qualifying marks for Indian doctors who have come from foreign medical colleges. He says, "there are 45,000 such doctors across the country. Such doctors will help in rural and remote areas."

Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena raises the issue of attack on Sena leader in Belgaum, Karnataka. Karnataka MPs protest as Mr. Sawant speaks.

Rajya Sabha | 12.30 pm

Six institutes are studying the impact of climate change on glaciers. "Retreating of glaciers happen. This is a kind of natural phenomenon and also aggravated by climate change. No new project has been sanctioned in the upper-Ganga region," says Mr. Javadekar

"Climate change is not an area-specific problem. It is a problem of the entire globe. The funds promised in 2009 was Rs. 100 billion dollars per year for developing countries. It is more than 1 trillion dollars now. Funds are not not coming in the way they should. Financial and technological support is basic to mitigating the impact of climate change," says Mr. Javadekar.

Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena says, "it is surprising to know that the government is in denial of climate change."

To this, Mr. Javadekar replies, "I never said that unseasonal rain and climate change are not linked. I said that not every change can be linked to climate change. I had a meeting with the corporates. They are also working hard to fight climate change by planting trees," he says.

Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh of Congress asks if capacity or supply target of solar energy has been achieved.

"We will have 40% of our energy capacity met by 2030 through solar energy," says Mr. Javadekar.

Lok Sabha | 12.20 pm

MoS Home G. Kishan Reddy moves The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Lok Sabha.

Union Minister Smriti Irani moves The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor opposes the introduction of the Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill.

Ms. Irani lists out the proposed changes and says the Bill provides better protection to children. To Mr. Tharoor's suggestion that organisations and experts in the field should be consulted, Ms. Irani says extensive consultation with stakeholders was held.

Rajya Sabha | 12.15 pm

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju says, "National camp of Olympics will he held from now on in Gulmarg, Kashmir."

"Kashmir has amazing potential in football, they have performed exceedingly well at the national level. Football will be promoted at priority. We will launch some more programs in Kashmir. Football will be our main agenda. Water sports will also be promoted," Mr. Rijiju says.

40 small centres at block level and 140 small khelo india centres are already set up in J&K, the Minister says.

Probe regarding the reason for the  Chamoli disaster in Uttarakhand- that it happened due to the construction of power plant in the upper reaches has not been concluded yet, says EnvironmentMminister Prakash Javadekar.

"Himalayas are still a young mountain range. Mishaps aggravated by many projects, dynamites used by companies result in huge loss of tree cover not only in Uttarakhand but other parts also. Will use of dynamite be banned?" asks Anand Sharma of Congress.

"Whether dynamite is to be used or not is a highly technical issue. A high-level team is looking into it. We ensure that forest tree cover are not cut beyond what is permissible. They have to plant 10-fold trees in the given landscape," says Minister Javadekar.

Lok Sabha | 12.10 pm

EAM S. Jaishankar makes a statement on the COVID-19 situation and the impact on Indians abroad.

"The Prime Minister had ordered Vande Bharat flights. Over 45 lakh persons returned through these filghts," he says.

Kerala received the highest number of returnees, the Minister says, reading out data.

The government expended Rs. 33.5 crore from the Indian Community welfare fund, he says.

This largest repatriation would not have been possible without partner governments, Mr. jaishankar says, adding that this highlighted the success of diplomacy of the current government.

"India has concluded air bubbles with 27 nations so far, as people and students are returning back."

Government is also urging partner governments to look at employment of our citizens sympathetically, he says.

"Under directions from PM, we have interacted with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman." Mr. Jaishankar mentions India's effort of providing food items and medicines in the Gulf region.

Restoring employment has been the core of our agenda, says Mr. Jaishankar. Welfare or students is high on our priority, says the Minister.

Sea farers are also a category that require special attention. "Crew change rules pose a challenge but even the issue with crew on the Chinese ports have been successfully resolved."

Lok Sabha | 12.05 pm

Pralhad Joshi introduces the Mines and Minerals (Regulations and Development) Act in Lok Sabha.

Congress' Shashi Tharoor opposes the introduction on three grounds, including violation of the federal structure.

Mr. Joshi points out that the objections can only be on the ground of legislative competence and mentions that Development and Regulation is part of Centre's jurisdiction.

Bill is introduced in Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha | 12 pm

Jaskaur Meena of BJP (Dausa, Rajasthan) asks a question on agriculture being a part of the education policy.

HRD Minister Pokhariyal says agriculture is part of vocational courses.

Shiromani Ram Verma of Bahujan Samaj Party asks a question on unemployment and if the government is planning to create jobs for them in the Railways.

Minister for Labour Santosh Kumar Gangwar says he does not have information specifically about the Railways and promises the Member to give a reply in writing.

Zero Hour ends.

Rajya Sabha | 12 pm

Question Hour begins.

What are the plans to increase tree cover up to 33%, asks Ami Yagnik of Congress.

"A net increase of 15,000 sq. km. of tree cover is seen in the last six years. The tree cover is to further increase as Rs. 48,000 crore given to States for this purpose. It has been emphasised that 80% funds should be used for afforestation," says Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Not every weather change can be attributed to climate change, says Prakash Javadekar when asked about depleting water table in Marathawada.

Shakti Sinh Gohil of Congress says unseasonal rain has increased in Kuttch and Saurashtra region. "Is it due to pollution in nearby areas?" he asks, also speaking about the Uttarakhand disaster.

Mr. Javadekar replies, "Only pollution is causing rainfall throughout the year, we cannot say that."

"Will the government make a suggestion to the BCCI to hold cricket matches in J&K?" asks Brijlal of BJP.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju says BCCI is not directly controlled by the government. "But we can encourage them. There is a huge interest in Olympic games among the youth of J&K."

Lok Sabha | 11.50 am

P.V. Midhun Reddy of YSRCP asks about taxes on diesel and petrol. He expresses concern about prices going up and asks that petroleum products be brought under the Goods and Services Tax regime.

Mr. Thakur says international crude prices in March last year was $19 per barrel but it has now gone up to $65 today. The Minister says the decision to bring petroleum products under the GST can be taken up by the GST Council only as certain taxes are levied by States as well.

Mr. Reddy then specifically asks what the Central Government is doing to reduce prices of petrol and diesel.

Mr. Thakur says States should take steps reduce their taxes and the Centre will take steps too to reduce its share of taxes.

K. Muraleedharan of Congress asks the same question on bringing the products under GST.

BJP ally and Janata Dal United MP Rajeev Ranjan says the Minister should tell the House when the Finance Ministry plans on making a proposal in the GST Council to bring petroleum products under the GST.

Mr. Thakur replies, "if the State governments are willing to discuss the subject of bringing up petroleum products under the GST in the GST Council, the Centre has no objection in discussing it."

Rajya Sabha | 11.50 am

Sakaldeep Rajbhar of the BJP says sugar mills and other mills of the government in Ballia, Mau, Ghazipur and nearby areas in east U.P. have shut down due to policies of the previous governments. "The workers are on the brink of starvation, the mills should be revived and the migration of people to cities should be stopped," he says.

Chairman Naidu says, "with the cooperation of Members, today we were able to take 17 Zero Hour mentions."

Lok Sabha | 11.40 am

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, March 15, 2021.

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, March 15, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI


Rahul Kanswa of BJP from Rajasthan asks a question on the protection of heritage structures in Shekhawati region.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor says heritage includes not only monuments but bio diversity too. He speaks about a unique eco system in his constituency.

In his reply to Mr. Tharoor, MoS Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal says, the decision to designate any place as heritage site is based on the State government's recommendation.

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram talks about banks using private recovery agents to recover loans from students. He asks what commission these recovery agents get from banks.

MoS Finance, Mr. Thakur, says recovery agents have to follow RBI guidelines while going for recovery. He also informs the House that students are entitled to Rs. 10 lakh for studying domestically and Rs. 20 lakh for studying abroad through the Vidya Lakshmi portal.

National Conference Hasnain Masoodi asks a question about students in Jammu and Kashmir getting relief in repaying loans during the pandemic.

Mr. Thakur replied that students don't have to repay until 15 years as per terms of educational loan.

Rajya Sabha | 11.40 am

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu welcomes IPU chief Duarte Pacheco in Rajya Sabha.

Harnath Singh Yadav of BJP raises the issue of rising number of cancer patients in the country. "Even children below 18 years are being affected, it is becoming dangerous."

Hardwar Dubey of BJP raises the issue of pollution around Taj Mahal. "Pollution in Yamuna river is impacting the beauty of Taj Mahal," he says.

Zero Hour over.

Lok Sabha | 11.30 am

Congress MP Ravneet Bittu speaks about migrant workers defaulting on LIC instalments during the corona pandemic and asks why the LIC was being forced to donate to the PM CARE Fund.

Replying to Mr Bittu, Mr. Thakur says the government had announced rations and other welfare schemes. Talking about PM Care fund, Mr. Thakur says there have been instances when even MNREGA workers have contributed to PM CARE Fund.

Mr. Thakur then counter attacks the Congress and says, "there is one family that has collected funds only for Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and even accepted foreign funds."

Rahul Gandhi was present in the House. There was some protest from Congress MPs at Mr. Thakur's statements.

Rajya Sabha | 11.30 am

Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena brings up the GoM report on how to "neutralise media". "How can we discriminate between those news agencies who speak against the government and those who speak for? India has been slipping in the press freedom index," she points out.

Vandana Chavan of NCP raises the issue of criminalising marital rape. "Why is marital rape not treated as an offence," asks Chavan. More than 100 countries in the world have made marital rape an offence, India is only among 36 countries that have not criminalised marital , she says.

Ashok Bajpai of the BJP demands recognition to Awadhi language.

Pratap Singh Bajwa of Congress speaks in Punjabi. "FCI has changed norms to procure grains from farmers in Punjab. Are farmers responsible for global warming? How can the farmer adhere to such norms a month before the crops are harvested?"

Rajya Sabha | 11.15 am

Tiruchi Siva of DMK raises the role of unsung women freedom fighters who fought the British. He says the CBSE should include lessons on these women.

Ashwin Vaishnaw of BJP raises the issue of racism in U.K. and says Oxford student Rashmi Sawant was cyber bullied to resign. "Hindu religious beliefs of her parents were also highlighted. This happened in Oxford University," he says. He also raises Meghan Markel's interview and says, "if such racial discrimination exists at such high levels, what about the lower levels? The condition of migrants is also not hidden, we are a country with large diaspora in the U.K. The era of colonialism is over, they have to change."

EAM S. Jaishankar replying to Mr. vaishnaw, says, "As a friend of the U.K., we have strong ties with the U.K., we will monitor and take up the matter when required. We always take up the issue of racism and other forms of intolerance."

Lok Sabha | 11.15 am

HRD Minister replies that the Ministry is focusing on giving priority to training of teachers for children with special needs as well as the North East.

Manish Tewari of Congress asks the Finance Ministry if the government had taken the views of 21 crore policy holders before announcing disinvestment of Life Insurance Corporation.

Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur, says it is premature to hold talks about policy holders, explaining the process. Mr. Thakur also claims that all international agencies have hailed India as one of the most promising economies poised for growth.

Namo Nageswara Rao of TRS asks a follow-up question on LIC and tells the Minister not to "bulldoze" while replying.

MoS Finance Anurag Thakur says, "everyone is elected and neither does anyone bulldoze nor does anyone gets bulldozed". He says, "as far as the LIC is concerned, the government is getting evaluation done through actuarial surveyors, and getting suggestions on percentage of shares to be disinvested."

Rajya Sabha | 11.10 am

A demand for the setting up of special task force to preserve historical monuments in Manipur is raised by Maharaja Sanajaoba Leishemba of BJP.

Prasanta Nanda of BJD asks that Odissi music be given due classical status.

Phulo Devi Netam of Congress raises the issue of lack of proper housing facilities for paramilitary jawans. "They have to vacate the official accommodation in Delhi within three years of being allotted the house. This impacts the education of their children. Overstay invites penalty of up to Rs. 28,000. Jawans should be provided such accommodation for minimum six years."

Lok Sabha | 11 am

Lok Sabha proceedings starts

President of Inter-Parliamentary Union, Duarte Pacheco, in the Lok Sabha, obserbving the proceedings of the House, in New Delhi, Monday, March 15, 2021.

President of Inter-Parliamentary Union, Duarte Pacheco, in the Lok Sabha, obserbving the proceedings of the House, in New Delhi, Monday, March 15, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI


Speaker Om Birla welcomes Inter Parliamentary Union Chief Duarte Pacheco on his India visit. The IPU chief is seated in the Speaker's Gallery.

Biju Janata Dal MP B. Mahtab asks about the affiliation of B.Ed colleges in States.

HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, replying on training of Teachers online during the pandemic, says nearly 27 lakh teachers covered.

Ritesh Pandey of Bahujan Samaj Party asks a question on training of teachers.

BJP MP from Arunachal, Tapir Gao, also asks a question to the HRD Minister on how much money the Ministry would spend on training its teachers in remote areas.

Rajya Sabha | 11 am

Rajya Sabha proceedings start

Department related standing committee report on Home Affairs laid on the table of the House by committee chairman Anand Sharma.

Report on tourism and culture laid down on the table of the House by G. Venkatesh.

Public Accounts Committee report presented in the House by Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge.

Zero Hour begins.

Legislative Business

Lok Sabha

Bills to be introduced

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021

The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

The Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021

Bill for consideration and passing

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Rajya Sabha

Bills for consideration and passing

The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019 Ramji, BSP(maiden speech): Dalits understand the value of water the most. I would like to inform the government that the drinking water has still not reached the villages of dalits and tribals.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 5:01:42 AM |

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