Parliament proceedings | Lok Sabha passes Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill

Trinamool Member Mahua Moitra speaking in the Lok Sabha on August 2, 2019.

Trinamool Member Mahua Moitra speaking in the Lok Sabha on August 2, 2019.

The extended session of Budget session has skipped the usual private member business, to pass key government Bills. The Rajya Sabha has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. The Lok Sabha has passed The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Dam Safety Bill  and the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Here are the updates:

Lok Sabha | 9.30 p.m.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri replies to the discussion. And the legislation is put to vote. After clause by clause voting, BJD member Mr. Mohanty is allowed to make a remark. Mr, Mohanti with folded hands tells the Minister that he regrets none of his queries were answered by the Minister. Mr. Puri tells Mr. Mohanty he is free to contact him anytime for clarifications. To a query by Mr. Ali of the BSP on private entities at airports, the Minister says he need not have to touch the topic.

The Minister submits the legislation for passing and the House clears the Bill by voice vote.

After this, the House is adjourned till 11 a.m. August 6.

Lok Sabha | 9.05 p.m.

Rahul Ramesh Shewale, supporting the Bill, asks that cargo holding capacity also be considered in classifying airports, along with passenger traffic.

Anubhav Mohanty of BJD says, "the modern India seeks to move upward and forward..." giving his suggestions on the Bill. His suggestions - a certain degree of monitoring even for the smaller airports; additional grievance redressal mechanisms, beyond the existing mechanisms which are still in their nascent stages; flights between Bhubaneswar and Dubai since connectivity of Odisha with the Middle East is sparse.

Kunwar Danish Ali of BSP, Amroha, says that private entities which have made airports their profit making entities, should be regulated.

Lok Sabha | 8.23 p.m.

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is taken up by the House for consideration and passing. This was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on July 12 and passed in the Upper House on July 16. It amends the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008, which established the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA).

Rajiv Pratap Rudy of BJP, Saran, gives a detailed account of the current aviation sector situation in the country.

Lok Sabha | 8.15 p.m.

Lok Sabha passes The Dam Safety Bill, 2019.

The Bill seeks to set up an institutional mechanism for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of specified dams across the country was passed by Lok Sabha on Friday by a voice vote.

The provisions of the bill is proposed to be applied to all specified dams in the country which have height of more than 15 metres, or between 10 metres to 15 metres.

Responding to the debate on the Dam Safety Bill, 2019, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the centre has no intention of taking over the powers of state through the draft law.

Water is a state subject.

(PTI)

Lok Sabha | 7.23 p.m.

Uday Pratap Singh of the BJP, Hoshangabad and Dharambir Singh of the BJP, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, speak about the issue of silting while discussing the dam safety Bill.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister, Jal Shakti, says the Centre does have legislative competence to frame a law such as The Dam Safety Bill, 2019.

Nama Nageswara Rao said some issues were left unanswered by Mr. Shekhawat. "Does the government have a dam designs database to monitor safety of dams, how is the government going to deal with dams in the border, dams of bordering countries affecting us,"he asks.

Lok Sabha | 7.48 p.m.

Sumalatha Ambareesh, Independent from Mandya, says, "Independents are given very little time to speak, so I will come to the point quickly," supporting the dam safety Bill. After her short speech, Rajendra Agrawal, in the chair, thanks her for the succinct speech.

L.S. Tejasvi Surya of the BJP, Bangalore South, speaking in support of the Bill suggests that the legislation fix accountability on errant officials and owners of the dam in case of failure of the dam. "It has penal provisions for non-implementation of guidelines, but none that fix accountability for dam failures. The Bill will be more comprehensive with this addition," he says.

Rajya Sabha | 6.35 p.m.

The Code on Wages Bill, 2019 is put to vote in the Upper House.

A Division vote on The Code on Wages Bill, 2019 is underway in the Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha passes The Code on Wages Bill, 2019.

It was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Santosh Gangwar, Minister of Labour, on July 23 and passed in the Lower House on July 30. The Bill amends and consolidates laws relating to wages/bonus and universalises the provisions of minimum wages and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector and wage ceiling.

Lok Sabha| 5.46 p.m.

Ïn the context of safety, I am supporting the Bill,"says Dean Kuriakose of INC, Idukki on The Dam Safety Bill, 2019. He says people around the Mullaperiyar Dam, in his constituency, live in constant fear. "If there is a breach of the dam, Kerala will be divided into two parts, physically," he says.

Tapir Gao of BJP, Arunachal East, supporting the Bill says need of the hour is a unified system of setting up of mega dams in Arunachal Pradesh and not ministries working in silo. "Develop the northeastern States, concentrate on not just dam safety but on the downstream and upstream safety too, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 5.31 p.m.

The House takes up The Code on Wages, 2019 for discussion. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill on July 31.

AAP's Sanjay Singh says the Bill makes a "labour friend" of the Labour Inspector. "People will no more fear the Labour inspector because he now has to warn the violator before going for investigation,"he says. He also says the Bill lets off those violating labour law lightly. "Previously, violations were a criminal offence. But now, the violator will be let off with a fine," says Mr. Singh.

P. Bhattacharya of the INC asks how Acts like the ESI Act, PF Act, etc can be amalgamated. "Minimum wages are not the only problem of labourers," he says. He also raises concerns over the Bill's definition of bonus.

Lok Sabha | 4.20 p.m.

A. Raja (DMK) says Tamil Nadu created a Dam Safety Directorate in 1990.

P.P. Chaudhary (BJP) rises to support the Bill.

Mahua Moitra (Trinamool Congress) speaks about the doctrine of public trust and riparian rights. Water, fortunately, is a State subject. She says the Bill takes away the power of the States. She also says there is no mention on the devolution of funds from the Centre to the State.

Lok Sabha | 3.10 p.m.

Amendments and clauses of the Bill are put to vote.

The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been passed.

Discussion begins on The Dam Safety Bill, 2019.

Rajya Sabha | 2.45 p.m.

The House takes up The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019, for consideration and passing.

Lok Sabha | 2.10 p.m.

Harish Dwivedi (BJP) says that the ruling party has a trustee in the committees overseeing the Sardar Patel statue too.

N.K. Premachandran (RSP) asks how the government can negate or avoid the Congres' role in constructing and maintaining the memorial.

Ramesh Bidhuri (BJP) says the Congress has forgotten itself. The party benches begin protesting.

Bhagwant Mann (AAP) tries to begin his speech, but the protests drown him out. He says Jallianwala Bagh massacre is not a story but the truth. He says the memorial belongs to everyone. He says there is no memorial to mark the sacrifice of Shaheed Uddham Singh. He says they (BJP) speak about Savarkar, but Savarkar wrote 15 petitions asking for mercy.

Lok Sabha | 1.40 p.m.

Supriya Sule (NCP) says that the government does not need to change history. She opposes the Bill.

Behanan Benny (Congress) also opposes the Bill.

Sumedhanand Saraswati (BJP) makes a joke about Congress' history, and the party erupts in protests. Chair says everything that is unparliamentary will removed from the record.  He tells the Congress Members to go to their constituencies before they point fingers at the government.

DNV Senthilkumar (DMK) asks if this Bill is really so important as to be discussed in this extended session.

Rajya Sabha | 1.30 p.m.

Amendments are put to vote. All the amendments saying that the Bill should be sent to Select Committee have been negatived, after a division of votes was called for.

Clause-by-clause consideration begins.

Rajya Sabha passes the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. The House is adjourned till 2.35 pm.

Rajya Sabha | 1 p.m.

P. Chidambaram says his party accepts most provisions of the Bill, and are opposing only two provisions — clauses 5 and 6. He asks at what stage will a person be declared as a terrorist.

Mr. Shah responds that the state will take into account circumstantial evidence and how well the person cooperates with investigation.

Anand Sharma asks the Minister if the government has any idea of instituting a law against mob lynching. He also says that the prosecution and investigation agencies must be separated. Minister responds that he will only answer the question that pertains to the Bill.

12.40 pm | Rajya Sabha

Individuals indulge in terror activities, not organisation: Amit Shah

Home Minister Amit Shah responds to the issues and criticisms raised by the MPs on the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019.

"Why do individual need to be declared a terrorist, I have been asked. In fact, Chidambaram asked that since an organisation is made up of individuals and it can be declared as terrorist, what is the need to declare an individual as one? This is precisely my argument for it," says Mr. Shah.

"When an organisation is declared as a terrorist, they close that and move to open a new orgnisation. By the time we clamp that down, a new one opens.This  makes it difficult," Mr. Shah says.

"It is the person who indulges in terror activities. Terrorism is an issue world-over. USA, China, Pakistan, Israel, EU and UN all declare people as terrorists," he adds.

About misuse

As long as Congress does not misuse, it, then no misuse will happen, he says citing the Emergency.

Citing the example of Yasin Bhatkal, he says the law would have helped Kolkata Police to keep him behind the bars when he was caught years ago.

He reiterates that the law will not be misused. There are clear procedures laid down on how to declare a person a terrorist.

"So many amendments have been done by the Congress, then these folks did not see any problems. But now, suddenly everyone has a problem. Whichever government brings laws against should be supported because it is for the benefit of humanity," he says.

Both State police and NIA can use this, and they will use it judiciously, says Mr. Shah.

12.30 pm | Rajya Sabha

The problem is your intention: Digvijay Singh

Opposing the 'anti-terror' Bill, Congress leader Digvijay Singh says that it is not Congress, but the BJP govt that had compromised with Masood Azhar and others. "Congress has lost members to terrorism - Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, among others," he says.

"After your govt came to power, the functioning of NIA has changed. Ajmer Dargah bombing, Mecca Masjid blast case,  Samjhauta Express blast case - so many accused have been left off in these cases. Why did the NIA not appeal? If defence and prosecution become one, is that right?," he asks.

"You people have always created an illusion that a particular community is full of terrorists. But is that the reality? Take a look at the top names in the NIA most-wanted list," he says.

"Mupalla Lakshman Rao, a left wing extremist. Ram Chandra Kalsangra - I won't say which organisation he belongs to, because you'll be upset with me," says Mr. Singh.

When he is prompted he says Kalsangra belongs to RSS.

"The problem is intention. You call Godse a patriot - this is why we distrust your intention," he says.

12.05  pm | Rajya Sabha

"Don't compare Hafiz Saeed with Gautham Navalaka," says Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram (Congress, Maharashtra), speaking on the 'Anti-Terror' Bill, says that the liberty of an individual is at stake here.

This Bill will be struck down by the judiciary, he says. Who will be the first name you add in that list , he asks.

"Don't compare Hafiz Saeed with Gautham Navalaka," says Chidambaram, and cites the names of those arrested in the Koregaon issue. "I think that they are advocating compassion, that they advocating peaceful resistance. Police thinks otherwise, and lodged a case. Let the law take its course on that. But if this Bill were to come into existence, they can name him a terrorist just because they believe so," says the former Union Minister.

Also read: Editorial on the latest amendments to the NIA Act

"You cannot name someone just because you believe that he is a terrorist," he adds.

"Earlier, combating terrorism rested on the back of a triad of National Investigation Agency (NIA), National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID). But not, everything is focussed on NIA - what happened to NCTC and NATGRID?"

"If you really want to show the world that you are fighting terroism, bring back NCTC and NATGRID," he says

 

 

12 pm | Lok Sabha

Celebrate 'World Breastfeeding Week' sincerely: Smriti Irani

The Speaker talks about the importance of nutrition for children, and invites Women & Child Development Minister Smriti Irani to speak on this.

Smriti Irani starts off her speech in Bangla.

Smriti Irani in Lok Sabha on August 2, 2019

Smriti Irani in Lok Sabha on August 2, 2019

 

"Regarding nutritional security," says Ms. Irani, "world over, August 1 to 7 is celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week." She requests all members to ensure that the week is celebrated as well as possible and if there are any concerns, to raise it with her.

She also speaks about the importance of working to improve the sanitation facilities and to combat anemia in adolescent girls and boys. "MPs are influencers also, socially," she says, and tells them to spread the information to their constituencies.

 

11.55 am | Rajya Sabha

Speaker Naidu, Binoy Viswam spar briefly

Speaking on the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019, Binoy Viswam (CPI, Kerala) says that there is a clear discrepency in the arrest and conviction rates of minorities like Muslims, Dalits.

"Why are you bringing religion into this?" asks Speaker to Mr. Binoy Viswam.

"SC and STs are the most opressed in this country, sir. Please be on their side," replies Mr. Viswam.

"Everyone has to be on the side of the law, not the offender," says Speaker Venkaiah Naidu.

 

11.45 am | Lok Sabha

Continuing with discussion on matters of public importance, members discuss contamination of water in many parts of the country, issues with the Vizag Steel Plant and the setting up of Kendriya Vidyalayas.

In his maiden speech, M. V. V. Satyanarayana (YSR Congress, AP) says that the Vizag Steel Plant is facing problems in acquiring ore mines and speed up the allocation of iron ore mines to the Navarathna steel industry.

 

11.40 am | Rajya Sabha

The Bill reinforces the 'zero tolerence' policy: Vijaysai Reddy

In the matter of national security, and countering terrorism, YSR Congress fully supports Prime Minister's stand on it, says V. Vijaysai Reddy (YSR Congress, AP), supporting the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019.

 

"The Bill reinforces the 'zero tolerence' policy of the government. National security cannot be strengthened without countering the internal threats, and that is what this amendment seeks to strengthen," he says.

"The Bill rightly allows the central government to declare individuals as terroists (earlier it was restricted to organisations). Critics say the Bill will be misued. To this I say, it is this principal opposition party who has misused laws and jailed opponents," he adds.

 

11.20 am | Rajya Sabha

Kashmir will face the brunt of this law: Mir Mohammed Fayaz

Mir Mohammad Fayaz (PDP, Jammu and Kashmir) narrates the stories of many people who have been arrested and questioned illegally in many areas of India.

The misuse of this law will be on the people of Jammu & Kashmir, I assure you, says Mr. Fayaz. The situation in Kashmir has never been as bad as it is now, he adds.

"In Kashmir, whenever there is an encounter, militants would force themselves with the house of civilans and ask for food or such. Since they have guns, the civilians do not refuse. And then the police comes in and again tortures them for aiding militants. How can a Kashmiri get out of this quandry?" asks Mr. Fayaz, getting emotional.

11.15 am | Lok Sabha

In Lok Sabha, this is the time to raise matters of public importance. Some of the issues that have been raised include concerns on increase in mob lynching and the ban on student politics citing minor issues as the reasons, among others.

T.N. Prathapan raises the issue of the refugee crisis that India is facing now. "We have a history of welcoming refugees," he says, citing 'Vasudeva kudumbakam' as an example. "But nowadays, our treatment of Rohingya refugees does not match this motto. I request the central government to please look into this issue," he says.

Chaos in the House as members trade barbs on this issue.

 

11 am | Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha is discussing the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019

'Why not declare Sanathan Sanstha as a terrorist group?'

Elamaram Kareem (CPIM, Kerala) says that the traumatic memories of TADA is a good enough reason to oppose the Act. He says putting the onus on the accused to prove his/her innocence is a terrible idea.

 

He accuses the government of taking a soft stance against certain minority terror groups, and refers to Sanathan Sanstha, the Hindu right wing group thought to be behind the brutal murders of Gauri Lankesh and M. M. Kalburgi

'Draconian law'

How many people in this country would have the privilege of saying 'My Name is Khan and I am not a terrorist', wonders MP Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD, Bihar), opposing the Bill.

This is a draconian law, pushing our country to an Orwellian state, and I don't understand why we are heading in this direction, says Mr. Jha. 

"The people who are going to be most affected are the poor and the minority, and their avenues for recourse are bleak. In our country, we have been hearing of cases where people have been arrested and termed terrorists, and then acquited after a while. It is easy to frame someone as a terrorist, but then, the things that family will have to go through even after their acquital is heartbreaking," he says.

Lok Sabha

Bills for Consideration and Passing

- Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019

- Dam Safety Bill, 2019

Also read: Why are States unhappy with Dam Safety Bill?

- Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Rajya Sabha

Bills for Consideration and Passing

- Code on Wages, 2019

- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019

- Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019


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