Parliament proceedings live | Rajya Sabha passes RTI (Amendment) Bill 2019

Congress and other Opposition members stage a walkout from the Rajya Sabha after voting on the RTI (Amendment) Bill on July 25, 2019. Photo: RSTV

Congress and other Opposition members stage a walkout from the Rajya Sabha after voting on the RTI (Amendment) Bill on July 25, 2019. Photo: RSTV  

The Lok Sabha has cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, that seeks to ban the practice of instant triple talaq practiced in Islam. In the Rajya Sabha, the Right to Information  (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is passed. The Opposition's motion to send the Bill to a Select Committee is defeated.

Meanwhile, the session has been extended till August 7 on the government's request.

Here are the live updates:

Rajya Sabha | 7.30 p.m.

Special mentions end. The House is adjourned for the day.

Rajya Sabha | 7.25 p.m.

The Chair puts the Bill to vote. A voice vote is undertaken. Motion to vote on the Bill is passed.

A clause-by-clause vote is now being undertaken.

The Right to Information (Amendment)Bill, 2019 is passed.

Special mentions begin.

Rajya Sabha | 7.20 p.m.

Result of the divison.

Result:

Ayes- 75

Nos- 117

The motion that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee for further deliberation is negatived.

Rajya Sabha | 7.15 p.m.

Parliament proceedings live | Rajya Sabha passes RTI (Amendment) Bill 2019
 

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition, says Ministers are intimidating members and is trying to turn the House into a 'government' House. He says democracy is being undermined.

He declares that the Opposition will stage a walk out.

Congress and other Opposition members members walk out. 

Counting is underway.

Rajya Sabha | 7.10 p.m.

Chaos erupts in the House during the voting process. Opposition members are in the well of the House.

Rajya Sabha | 7 p.m.

The Minister says the decision to send the Bill to a Select Committee should not depend on the numbers but on the merit of the Bill. He moves that the Bill be passed.

The Chair puts the Bill to vote.

The Chair moves the motion that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee for further deliberation.

A voice vote is undertaken. The motion is negated.

A division is being undertaken to decide whether the Bill will be sent to a Select  Committee. Lobbies are being cleared for the same.

Rajya Sabha | 6.55 p.m.

As the Minister of State continues his reply, he says the autonomy of the institution will not be affected.  

He assures the House the SIC will appointed by the respective States.

Responding to the Minister, P.  Chidambaram (INC, Tamil Nadu) says if the government is allowing the State to take care of the constitution and appointment of the State Information Commission, why is the Centre allowed to control the conditions and tenure of same.

Lok Sabha | 6.50 p.m.

Session extended till August 7

Government requests that the session be extended till August 7. Chair announces that the session has been extended till the requested date.

Chair moves on to Zero Hour.

Lok Sabha| 6.33 pm

Speaker Om Birla announces the numbers. AYES: 303, NOES: 82.

Now for clause by clause voting. Amendments moved by N.K. Premachandran, Asaduddin Owaisi and A.M. Ariff negatived.

Chair asks those who support an amendment to stand up. Mr. Owaisi and Mr. Arif stand up. When the Chair asks those who oppose to stand up the Treasury side stands up with much noise and comments. Speaker announces results. NOES: 302.

Another exercise of voting. This time on IUML member amendment in clause 4 . AYES 303, NOES: 78. Clause 4 is part of the Bill.

Mr. Owaisi's amendment negatived. Clause 5 is part of the Bill. Mr. Owaisi unsuccessfully demands division. Clause 6 has also been made part of the Bill.

On clause 5 members asked to stand. AYES 303, NOES 1 as Opposition has left the House.

After the Minister's moving, the Chair announces that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 is cleared.

Rajya Sabha | 6.25 p.m.

The Rajya Sabha continues its debate on the RTI (Amendment) Bill. AIADMK member Navaneethakrishnan tries to raise a point of order. Chair tells him to discuss the issue with the Chairman.

Bhupender Yadav (BJP, Rajasthan) objects to the singling out of a political party. Chair says records will be verified.

Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh rises to reply. 

Lok Sabha | 6.22 p.m.

Members have voted on the Bill. Numbers are awaited. The votes are being tallied.

Lok Sabha | 6.15 p.m.

A division will be undertaken. Lobbies are cleared for the same.

Lok Sabha | 6.10 p.m.

MPs stand to oppose the Minister's response.

Sashi Tharoor (INC, Kerala) says husbands from all religions abandon their wives, why is no action taken there. He says the Supreme Court has already criminalised Triple Talaq so there is no need for this Bill. 

N.K. Premachandran (RSP, Kerala) says the government is taking a minority judgement and considering turning the same into a law.

Rajya Sabha | 6 p.m.

Sanjay Singh (AAP, New Delhi) says through the Bill, the government is taking away the right of the people to fight injustices that are committed against them. The original Act was implemented to control black money and corruption and a number of scams were brought to the forefront through this, including the 2G scam, Commonwealth and others.

As the Opposition demands the RTI (Amendment) Bill be sent to a select committee, read below the features of parliamentary committees and why are they necessary in a democracy:

In a parliamentary democracy, the Parliament has broadly two functions: lawmaking and the oversight of the executive branch of the government. The Parliament is the embodiment of the people’s will. Committees are an instrument of the Parliament for its own effective functioning.

Most committees are ‘standing’ as their existence is uninterrupted and usually reconstituted on an annual basis; some are ‘select’ committees formed for a specific purpose, for instance, to deliberate on a particular bill.

Read more: Why are parliamentary standing committees necessary?

 

Lok Sabha | 5.45 p.m.

Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad stands to respond to questions and queries raised about the  Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019.

He says the Opposition claims that Triple Talaq is bad, is simply a way to appease vote banks. He says the Bill has banned in many countries and India should follow through.

Mr. Prasad says the Supreme Court had directed the government to bring out a law. This claim is met with backlash as many MPs say that this is untrue.

He responds by saying that the Parliament will refrain from being directed by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Prasad says Muslim women themselves, have come up to him and have told him that after this law comes to be, they will celebrate Eid and Independence Day today.

Indian penal codes is equal from everyone, he says. When a Muslim man goes to jail for dowry, nobody questions how he pays maintenance. But, the minute Triple Talaq is taken up, this issue is brought up.

He says many evils among Hindus in the country, such as Sati and Dowry, were brought under the Penal law. Hence, the Penal law acts as a deterrent, he says.

He says the only relevant stakeholders when it comes to the Bill are the Muslim women, not the Muslim Boards in the country. 

Rajya Sabha | 5.40 p.m.

Derek O'Brien (Trinamool Congress) says it is not about the number of votes. It shows the space of Opposition. This government is making a mockery of parliament, he says.

Only 26% bills were scrutinised in the last five days. Now 12 Bills have passed without any scrutiny, he says.

In the last two days, this government made RTI its Right to Intimidation, he says. RTI is the most used legislation. Several corruption cases were highlighted through it, he says.

Lok Sabha | 5.35 p.m.

S. Jothimani (INC, Tamil Nadu) says the government is playing a divide and rule policy among women. Irrespective of religion, women are subjugated to injustices and have been going through this for years. Rape and marital rape are also important issues that the parliament should take up with the same interest, she says.

She says this Bill  goes strongly against the rights of Muslims and especially Muslim women. The Bill must be sent to the Standing Committee, she says.

Rajya Sabha | 5.30 p.m.

Mr. Ramesh continues to speak. He targets the minister for allegedly making misleading statement. He says the CIC building was proposed by the UPA and the RTI portal was inaugurated during the UPA.

The manner of making appointments lead to disappointments, Mr. Ramesh says.

Rajya Sabha | 5.25 p.m.

Jairam Ramesh (Congress) says this is a pill that has decided to kill the RTI. He has three questions: What is the amendment about? Why was the original sections kept in the Act? Why bring this amendment now?

The original Bill equated the information commissioners with the Secertaries. But the Standing Committee suggested the CIC and IC to that of CEC and EC. It may be noted that President Ram Nath Kovind, then the MP, was part of the Standing Committee, he says.

The timing of the amendment are neither innocuous nor innocent. He accuses the PM of taking revenge. He notes five orders of CIC: PM's educational qualification, government's false claim on bogus ration cards, that RBI disapproved demonetination, the then RBI Raghuram Rajan had given the list of top NPA defaulters, quantum and value of black money brought back from abroad.

The real reason is to make the Information Commission a toothless body, he says.

Lok Sabha | 5.20 p.m.

Locket Chatterjee (BJP, West Bengal) says Triple Talaq is tool to take away the right to equality. High time has come to be their representatives in parliament and that was what this government is doing, she says. We will be giving them hope and justice through this parliament session.

It is not possible for a bird to fly with just one wing, she says. Why should they continue to live in fear?

Rajya Sabha | 5.15 p.m.

R.S. Bharathi (DMK) asks what is the lacuna that you found in this Act. He accuses the government of diluting the powers just to please certain people. He also accuses the government of usurping the powers of the States.

Swapan Das Gupta (Nominated) says the RTI is also a victim of unintended consequences. The so-called activists have used the RTI for surrogate politics. The decision-making of bureaucracy has been slowed down due to the fear of RTI. Opposition protests, seeks his words to be expunged.

Rajya Sabha | 5.05 p.m.

Ramchandra Prasad Singh (JD-U) supports the Bill. He says the Chief Information Commissioner is selected by a committee that comprises the Leader of Opposition. So the fear of misusing power doesn't arise.

K.Keshav Rao (TRS) who was one of the signatories seeking to send the Bill to the Select Committee says he is supporting the Bill now. He says the Minister had assured them that the law will not be diluted. He requests again that the law must not be diluted.

Manoj Jha (RJD) says the Bill is a direct attack on the power of RTI as well as the federal structure. He warns the ruling party this may affect them too.

Lok Sabha | 5 p.m.

Hasnain Masoodi (JKNC, Jammu and Kashmir) Supreme Court has already seen to that Triple Talaq is void. So, what is the need for a law, he asks.

What will be the fate of the family if we allow Section 4 to be implemented through the Bill, he asks.

We will achieve nothing by making it an offence, he says. Mr. Masoodi says the burden will be on the women to prove that Triple Talaq has been pronounced. Moreover, after it is proven, how will she ask for maintenance if her husband is in jail?

This Bill does not serve any purpose and will not do any sort of justice to the Muslim women, he says. 

Rajya Sabha | 4.50 p.m.

Javed Ali Khan (SP) shows some of the questions he ad raised to the PMO. Quoting the answers, the Ministry doesn't keep track on the number of bills passed or the status of whistleblower's protection bill.

When the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said the RTI review could be reviewed, BJP leader L.K. Advani vehemently opposed it saying BJP will not allow any attempt to dilute the law. "At least follow your leader's words," he says.

Rajya Sabha | 4.30 p.m.

Rajya Sabha reassembles. It appears there is consensus. Opposition members are seated. Abhshek Manu Singhvi (Congress) speaks. He says the Bill seeks to make RTI Act NOT AN RTI ACT.

I can understand an amendment to strengthen the Act. Here you are making an amendment to degrade an act. The objective of the Bill is not to make CIC and IC equivalent to judges. Did any judge object that they are earning on par as us? he says.

He accuses the government of surpassing the legislature. You are keeping a sword hanging on an institute that is set up to ensure transparency, he says.

He says the government wants to cripple this instititution. You are elevating this to the status of an 'sarkari' department, he says.

Lok Sabha | 4.30 p.m.

Poonam Mahajan (BJP, Maharashtra) says Prime Minister Modi has ensured that women are empowered because this government realises that only if our women are empowered will the nation move forward. She says this Bill shows that this government wants to bring everybody forward together and not leave anyone behind.

Abdul Majeed Ariff, CPI (M) Kerala says the Muslim minorities live in fear in the country. The NIA, UAPA and the Triple Talaq are all Bills that target the Muslims in the country.

Mr. Ariff says this Bill allows such cases to be dealt under the criminal procedures law. All other religious laws come under civil procedures.

Lok Sabha | 4 p.m.

Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) says that the Supreme Court has decriminalised homosexuality and adultery, but the government is criminalising talaq. He asks who bears the burden of proof.

He says that marriage in Islam is a contract for just one life. He also brings up the non-existence of a law against mob lynching.

Rajya Sabha | 3.50 pm

Gourav Gogoi (Congress) says his party welcomes Supreme Court ruling that talaq-e-biddat is unconstitutional. Where in the judgment has it mentioned the triple talaq must be criminalised? he asks.

There have been earlier judgments that ruled talaq-e-biddat is unconstitutional. But none of them has said it must be a criminal offence. In which country is this a criminal offence? Only Bangladesh has criminalised it, he says. "Your intention is to demonise and penalise Muslim men," he says.

If you are speaking on gender justice, why don't you rename the Bill as Indian Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill. Abandoning a woman is a crime but marital rape is not a crime? he asks.

You have the mandate, then why are you shying away from setting up Standing Committee? If you respect Supreme Court, bring a law on mob lynching, Mr. Gogoi says.

Rajya Sabha | 3.30 pm

In Rajya Sabha, the Chair asks Javed Ali to speak. The House is not in order.

Navaneethakrishnan is the next speaker. Opposition members surround him and chant slogans. He is barely audible.

Prasanna Acharya is the next speaker. He is also interrupted. "Is this the way you are conducting the House?" K.K. Ragesh says.

Lok Sabha | 3.20 pm

'Unparliamentary' debate

Kunwar Danish Ali (BSP) asks why a civil offence is being made a criminal offence.

Azam Khan (SP) is the next speaker. Treasury Benches object to some of his reference. He recites a poem. BJP members say it is targetting Rama Devi, who is in the Chair. You are disrespecting a woman, they say.

Akhilesh Yadav supports his party collegaue. Pandemonium continues. War of words between SP and BJP.

Speaker Om Birla is back in the Chair. He reins in the agitated MPs. Azam Khan says he only addressed her as a sister. "If I had uttered anything unparliamentary, I will resign." He walks out.

Kalyan Banerjee says members from Treasury Benches are making comments while they are seat. Some words are unparliamentary, he says.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress, lauds Speaker for his stand. He says when an important Bill is being discussed, it doesn't send good signal when a minority community member walks out.

The Speaker says we do remove words from records or expunge them, but words have already reached the people. Let's be careful in the choice of words, he tells members.

Read more: Azam Khan’s remark on Chair triggers uproar in Lok Sabha

Rajya Sabha | 3.00 pm

Rajya Sabha reassembles. Deputy Chairperson Harivansh says let the debate happen simultaneously but voting will first happen on motion.

The Chair asks Vinay Sahasrabuddhe to speak. Opposition members object. Pandemonium in the House. "We want Select Committee," Opposition members chant.

Mr. Sahasrabuddhe continues to speak. He accuses the opposition for selective outrage and casting unnecessary doubts in the Bill.

Lok Sabha | 2.50 p.m.

Rajeev Ranjan Singh (JD-U) says though his party is part of NDA, he is opposed to the Bill. Laws can't determine the relationship of husband and wife. Let the community resolve the issue themselves. The government can support. The Muslim Personal Board too agreed that instant talaq should be stopped.

How will the woman prove that her husband has uttered talaq thrice, he asks.

Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) says he supports the Bill.

Lok Sabha | 2.40 p.m.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minority Affairs Minister, says that the Opposition is against this Bill because they are afraid of losing a certain set of votes. The Bill is in lines with the constitutional commitment. The Bill will protect Muslim women, he adds.

Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) supports the Bill. This is a landmark Bill, should be written in golden words in history. The constitution envisoned equity and equality for all. But Congress considered Muslims as votebank and equality eluded them, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 2.25 p.m.

MoS PMO Jithendra Singh moves RTI (Amendment) Bill. Opposition insists on sending it to a Select Committee. They want to move a motion to send the Bill to Select Committee. The Bill is misunderstood, he says.

Deputy Chairperson Harivansh says as per convention both Bill and motion are moved together. P. Chidambaram says if the Bill is sent to Select Committee, there is no need to move the Bill. So it has be taken separately, he says.

Derek O'Brien says he is moving the motion to send the House to Select Committee to protect democracy.

Binoy Viswam, Elamaaram Kareem, Rageesh and Rajeev Gowda also move similar motion.

Acts cannot be made instantly like dosa, Mr. Viswom says.

The Chair takes up the Bill for discussion, asks Abhishek Manu Singhvi to speak. Opposition protests. House adjourned till 2:46 pm.

Rajya Sabha | 2.20 p.m.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar says we have 22 lapsed Bills. We had to bring them back because you didn't allow it pass, he says. "You are responsible for it," opposition members.

Don't insist on arguments that are no tenable, he says citing previous instances. "We are legislators. Our job is to legislate," he says.

Anand Sharma (Congress) says the RTI (Amendment) Bill has to be sent to the Select Committee. "We are Council of States. We are not here to pass every Bill passed by the other House. This House has to do its duty," he says.

Sukhendu Shekar Roy (Trinamool Congress) says only the Chairperson can say if the House has to be extended. But now the Minister says Bills can be discussed next week. He seeks the minister's remarks to be expunged.

Rajya Sabha | 2.10 p.m.

Rajya Sabha reassembles. Derek O' Brien (Trinamool Congress) says at least one short duration discussion every week. This Budget session, which is scheduled to come to an end tomorrow, the House witnessed only two short duration discussion in 26 days. A discussion on MSME was listed, it has been vanished now, he says.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad agrees with Mr. O'Brien. We have been passing the Bills. At the same time the functioning of the ministry should also be discussed. We have passed too many bills. Time for short duration discussion now, he says.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Parlhad Joshi says the Budget and Monsoon sessions have been merged. Next week, we are willing to compensate, he says.

Opposition members are taken to surprise with "next week" remark.

Lok Sabha | 1.55 p.m.

Kanimozhi (DMK) opposes the Bill. Why bills that arouse the communal passion are being pushed, she says.

You are passing Bills on women without having adequate women in the House, she says and asks the government to pass the women's reservation Bill. What laws are you bringing to stop 'honour' killing, mob lynching? What freedom we have when we can't eat what we like, pray whom we like or refrain from praying?

Referring to Meenakshi Lekh's speech on property rights to women. She recalls how Tamil Nadu was the first State to grant the right and questions who stalled the Bill in parliament then in Parliament.

Women's rights includes men's rights also, she says and questions the bail clauses. What about Hindu women and Christian women? No one sends a Hindu man to jail for abandoning his wife, she says.

Domestic violence laws are stronger than this Bill, she says. When the Supreme Court approved women entering Sabarimala, why is this BJP opposing it? Why is marital rape not considered a crime, she asks.

DMK will not allow the minorities in this country to feel insecure, she ends the speech.

Lok Sabha | 1.45 p.m.

Mohammad Jawed (Congress) says instant talaq as already been declared unconstitutional. An additional law to protect only Muslim women is not needed. When talaq-e-biddat is void, where is the need for providing maintenance. Where is the question of alimony, he asks.

This Bill will cause distress and the only option for men is to walk out of marriage, he says. Bring reforms such as reservation, job assistance etc. Mr. Jawed talks about lynchings of Tabrez, Mohammed Akhlaq. Their wives are also Muslim women. You should have protected them, he says.

Lok Sabha | 1.20 p.m.

Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) quotes Jawaharlal Nehru and says he wanted to see a just India and turn religious India to a secular India. This Bill will ensure that, she says. She recalls how divorce was allowed under Hindu Marriage Act. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury interrupts, reminds her about Hindu Maha Sabha. She counters, I am talking about women empowerment. I'll mention Hindu Maha Sabha, if needed.

She talks about the Shah Bano case and how Rajiv Gandhi government overturned the alimony clause. She says opposition is unable to digest that Narendra Modi is being a brother to innocent Muslim women. She mentions Akhilesh Yadav's name and Samajwadi Party members object to it.

She says the victimised women approached the court and the Supreme Court wanted the government to frame the law.

She compares it with Sati, how the law was initially protested and reforms happened in Hindu religion. "How about Sabarimala," asks a member. "I'll talk about it later," she replies.

Leave something to other speakers too. Please conclude, the Chair tells Ms. Lekhi. She ends with a recital.

Lok Sabha | 12.45 p.m.

Ravi Shankar Prasad rises to present The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 for consideration and passing.

N.K. Premachandran says that Supreme Court has never given a directive to the government to make a law on this. Only the AIMPLB wants the government to make legislation on this. He asks why the government is not ready to make a legislation on mob lynching, when it has been directed by the Supreme Court. He says this is a politically motivated Bill to target a particular community.

He says consecutive promulgation of Ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution.

P.K. Kunhalikutty (IUML) says the divorce rate of muslims is very low. You have political agenda, that's why you are bringing this Bill in a hurry, he says. He seeks the government o withdraw the Bill.

Lok Sabha | 12.30 p.m.

The Bill is introduced.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the next Minister who rises to introduce a Bill to further amend the Companies Act. Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress says Members were given notice of this when they were sitting in the House. He wants Ms. Sitharaman to withdraw the Bill, and re-introduce it in the House tomorrow. Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also opposes the introduction of the Bill.

Speaker reiterates that this will be followed in the next Session.

Ms. Sitharaman says that this is not a Bill without a background. She says this was listed in previous sessions too, but could not be passed. The government then went the Ordinance route.

The Companies Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is introduced.

Kanimozhi (DMK) speaks about the SBI clerk exam in 2019, where the EWS cutoff was 28.5%, lower than that for SC/STs.

Rajya Sabha | 12.10 p.m.

Textile Minister Smriti Irani answers questions on the establishment of integrated textile parks in Andhra Pradesh. She says the government provides support to textile MSMEs.

The next question is on closure of cotton mills.

Lok Sabha | 12 noon

Papers are laid on the table.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury opposes the introduction of The Inter-State River Water Disputes Bill, 2019. T.R. Baalu says the government is bulldozing Bills through the Parliament.

Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat says that Tribunals tend to indefinitely extend the issue. The Bill is introduced in the House.

Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rises to introduce The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019, which will repeal 58 Acts. Congress Member Shashi Tharoor says the government has the bad habit of rushing through legislation without giving time for MPs to read copies of the drafts. Kalyan Banerjee wants the government to also consider enacting a new penal code.

Speaker says that in the next session Members will be given more time to peruse Bills. Bhartruhari Mahtab says that the government suddenly circulates Bills in the House and the Bill is

Rajya Sabha | 11.40 am

T. Subburami Reddy (Congress) says one child goes missing every eight minutes, quoting the NCRB. He requests the Ministry of Home Affairs to set up a special cell to monitor the issue.

Amar Patnaik (BJD) says railway ministry has proposed to uplift more that 40 stations to world class but not a single station from Odisha finds place.

Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe (BJP) says literary writers need recognition. He wants a council for tranlating literary works.

Manas Ranjan Bhunia (Trinamool Congress) says that gram panchayat payments have not been made, despite repeated communication from the State government of West Bengal. The issue of bank branches not being established in tribal, dalit and SC areas has also been raised, he says.

Pratap Singh Bajwa (Congress) says the government should look into a smuggling racket on the Attari-Wagah border.

Rajya Sabha | 11.35 am

In Rajya Sabha, AIADMK's Navaneethakrishnan speaks against the proposed Dam Safety Bill. The Tamil Nadu Assembly has passed a resolution unanimously against the bill. The proposed bill is taking away the rights of Tamil Nadu.

T.K. Rangarajan (CPI-M) joins the issue. He says every resolution from the State is being ignored by the Centre, he alleges. More members associate.

Lok Sabha | 11.25 am

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju is replying to questions pertaining to his ministry. When will the Sports Centre in Allahabad (Prayagraj) be opened? a member asks. The Centre is in touch with the State government on this, he says.

Kirron Kher (BJP) asks how the government is helping poor sportspersons to get funding. Any sports recognised by Olympics, the Ministry funds them. On sports that are not recognised, we are helping them too, he says.

Whom should we send these kind of sportspersons to when they approach us, she asks. The funding is given through sports federation, the minister.

Lok Sabha | 11.15 am

Sougata Roy (Trinamool) asks if Kolkata airport be privatised as well. The minister says bids were invited for six airports and one bidder won it in all the six airports.

Opposition insists the minister should name the bidder. "Yes, it is Adani," he says. We have decided to hand over three airports to them. We invited bids. There were nine bidders, he continues to say.

Opposition alleges the govrenment favoured the Adanis. "I am happy for a discussion," the minister says. Ruckus in the House.

Speaker brings the House in order.

Amid pandemonium, the initial question is lost. Speaker reminds the minister. Kolkata airport won't be privatised now, the minister says.

Lok Sabha | 11.10 am

In Lok Sabha, Question Hour is in progress. MoS of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri is answering questions on modernisation of aerodromes.

T.R. Baalu asks when will Sriperumbudur airport near Chennai take form? The plan is on paper for the past 10-15 years, he says. Mr. Puri says land is the issue starting a greenfield airport in Sriperumbudur.

Darshana Jardosh (BJP) who represents Surat asks when the international airport project in the city will be completed. Mr. Puri says the work is going on.

Rajya Sabha | 11.00 am

Rajya Sabha assembles. Six members elected from Tamil Nadu take oath as members. All of them take oath in Tamil.

The new members are Chandrashekaran, Mohammed John, N. Shanmugam, Vaiko, P. Wilson and Anbumani Ramadoss.

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