As it happened: Parliament proceedings | 50% reservation sought for OBCs in legislatures

V. Vijayasai Reddy of YSR Congress speaks in the Rajya Sabha on June 21, 2019. Photo: RSTV

V. Vijayasai Reddy of YSR Congress speaks in the Rajya Sabha on June 21, 2019. Photo: RSTV

The government plans to introduce the The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha on June 21, 2019. While this Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in the Budget session, it lapsed as the elections came around. The government has repromulgated this Bill now.

As it is a Friday, both Houses will also take up private Members’ business.

Here are the updates:


Lok Sabha | 5.30 p.m.


Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha continues debate on Ken-Betwa inter-linking.

After the debate on the Private Member's bill, the House is adjourned till 11 a.m. June 24, 2019.

Rajya Sabha | 5 p.m.


Special mentions

Time for special mentions. Wansuk Syiem (Congress, Meghalaya) wants autonomous status for the agri university in the State. Jayaram Ramesh (Congress, Karnataka) makes a mention on the Forest Rights Act. He says Central and State govts should focus on community forest rights. Kirodi Lal Meena (BJP, Rajasthan) mentions about drinking water schemes in the State. Prasanna Acharya (BJD, Odisha) mentions about the protection of the Konark temple.

With the special mentions the House concludes business for the day and adjourned till 11 a.m. June 24, 2019.

Rajya Sabha | 4.55 p.m.


AAP member's remark on BJP spending triggers chaos

Back in the Rajya Sabha, the debate on reservation for OBCs in legislatures continues. Sanjay Singh (AAP, NCR) faces vocal opposition from Treasury benches when he says that the BJP spent Rs. 27,000 crore in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wants Mr. Singh’s comment on BJP expenditure should be removed if it's not authenticated.

Ajay Pratap Singh (BJP), Chhaya Verma (Congress, Chhattisgarh) and Amar Shankar Sable (BJP, Maharashtra) also speak on the bill.

Lok Sabha | 4.45 p.m.


The Lok Sabha is discussing a bill moved by Dr. Manoj Rajoria(BJP, Karauli-Dholpur (SC), Rajasthan) seeking formulation of policy for increasing ground water level. “This House expresses its concern over the depletion of ground water in almost all parts of the country and urges upon the Government to formulate a suitable policy for raising ground water level and to extend adequate financial assistance to the State Governments for its implementation.”

Nishikanth Dubey (BJP, Godda, Jharkhand) is speaking on the bill.  He takes a dig at the Congress-led UPA government on the Ken-Betwa link.


Rajya Sabha | 3.30 p.m.


YSR Congress MP Vijayasai Reddy seeks 50% reservation for OBCs in legislatures

V. Vijayasai Reddy of YSR Congress moves the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (insertion of new articles 330A and 332A). It's about OBC representation in legislatures.  Mr. Vijayasai Reddy takes the opportunity to praise his party leader and A.P. Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy.  Mr. Vijayasai Reddy says 50% seats in Parliament and Assemblies should be reserved to OBC "in proportionate to their population". 

Mr. Vijayasai Reddy wants separate Ministry for OBCs like the ones for SC, Tribals and minorities. He also says OBCs should also have a provision like the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against atrocities.

Hari Prasad (Congress, Karnataka) is now speaking on the bill. He praises Tamil Nadu (over 69% reservation). Voices of Hail Amma (Jayalalithaa) from AIADMK members. Not only Amma, but Kamaraj and all Dravidian parties also, he says.

K. Keshava Rao (TRS, Telangana) too has words of praise for Tamil Nadu regarding reservations.  "Tamil Nadu is not just a State. It's a movement,” he says.

Dr. Vikas Mahatme (BJP, Maharashtra) questions whether the bill will benefit the last man in the queue. He says 983 castes under OBC are yet to get benefits under Mandal recommendations.  He opposes the bill.

Prof. Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD, Bihar) says debates on Parliament should not be run on populism. The issue of reservation should be taken up with an open mind.

T.K.S. Elangovan (DMK, Tamil Nadu) says even among classes and castes there are gradations. Need of the hour is reservation should be made in proportion the population, he says. Poverty is commensurate with caste system, he says. 

Ramkumar Verma (BJP, Rajasthan) says even years after SC/ST reservation, the communities are still fighting for equality and social justice. Similarly Mandal Commission recommendations were brought in, but proper implementation is still a dream, he contends while seeking to draw attention on the practical difficulties of implementing OBC quota in legislatures. He says Ministries should take the issue on priority.

L. Hanumanthiah (Congress, Karnataka) says Mahatma Gandhi's fear of SC/STs being alienated if elecoral reservation is given has come true. Not many SC/STs are being elected from general seats, he says.  But again, he says, without reservation no SC/ST would have come into legislatures as the legislatures work on representation of classes, he says.  With 69% reservation Tamil Nadu is ahead in several parameters. But still there's a bogus fear that reservation will kill merit, he says.  While U.S. is implementing affirmative action, we still suffer from caste stigma, he adds.


Rajya Sabha | 3.25 p.m.


Parliament (Enhancement of Productivity) Bill, 2017 negated

Nominated member Rakesh Sinha has been called to complete his speech on the Parliament (Enhancement of Productivity) Bill, 2017. It happens to be Mr. Sinha's maiden speech which he could never complete.

Mr. Sinha quotes debates in the Constitution Assembly and the U.S. Senate. The Chair seems to make its priority clear — to make Mr. Sinha conclude his maiden speech. Mr. Sinha concludes with a quote from CA member S.D. Raja that the Upper House should keep evolving.

Minister Piyush Goyal says if the Bill is passed its purpose won't be served. So the government prefers a wider debate.

Bill is put to vote. And it is negated.

Rajya Sabha | 3.15 p.m.


Private Members’ bills introduced

The Visually Impaired Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019: Vijila Sathyananth moves a bill to provide rights to visually impaired persons, enabling them to avail employment, social and financial security, civil and other services, to live with human dignity, self respect as independent citizens and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Holy City of Kashi (Preservation of Cultural Heritage) Bill, 2019: Sanjay Singh move a bill for the declaration of Kashi as the oldest living city of utmost national importance and to provide for the conservation, preservation and maintenance of cultural and natural heritage of Kashi and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. ALSO to introduce the Bill.

The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2019: K. C. Ramamurthy move a bill to further amend the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (amendment of article 85):Derek O’ Brien move the bill seeking a law to make it mandatory for the parliament to function a minimum of 100 days.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (amendment of article 16): Javed Ali Khan moves the bill.

The Foreign Investment in Financial Services, Critical Infrastructure and Technology Affecting National Security (Regulation) Bill, 2018: Dr. Narendra Jadhav has introduced The Bill is to provide for measures to ensure national security while promoting foreign investment, to reform the process of examination of such investment vis-a-vis their effect, if any, on national security and to establish a Committee on Foreign Investment to effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment in financial services, critical infrastructure and technology sector, and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.

Rajya Sabha | 3:10 p.m.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal responds. He says the government appreciates the intention. The Council of Ministers will consider the proposal.

The Bill is defeated by voice vote.

Rajya Sabha | 3:00 p.m.

Rajya Sabha now takes up The Parliament (Enhancement of Productivity) Bill, 2017. The Bill was introduced in 2017, began discussion in 2018, which has now spilled over to 2019.

Nominated member Rakesh Sinha was speaking in favour of the Bill during the last session and continues now. Mr. Sinha takes history lesson in his speech. He recalls some landmark discussions in Constituent Assembly. Deputy Chairperson repeatedly reminds him about time.

The Bill was introduced by Naresh Gujaral, who wanted to ensure the House functions at least for 100 days.

Rajya Sabha | 2:40 p.m.

'Where is Ramesh?'

A Bill by C.M. Ramesh was listed in the business. However, Mr. Ramesh was not in the House. "Where is Ramesh?" asks the Chair. "He is in the bridge," a member responds in a lighter vein as Mr. Ramesh, elected as TDP MP moved to BJP along with three of his colleagues, on Thursday.

The Bill was not introduced.

Rajya Sabha | 2:30 p.m.

Rajya Sabha reassambles. Deputy Chairperson Harivansh is in the Chair. The House takes up Private Members Bill.

T. Subbirami Reddy has moved two Bills to amend MSME Act and Railways Act. He also moves Employment Bill to provide employment to at least one adult member in every family.

Rajkumar Dhoot moves a Bill to provide protection of families of farmers.  Mr. Dhoot also moves Bills to prevent the contamination of groundwater, and Compulsory Yoga and Sports Education in Schools Bill.

Ripun Bora seeks to repeal the The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. He has two more Bills — The Women (Equal Participation in International Peace Negotiations, Treaties and Agreements) Bill, The National Anthem (Modification) Bill.

Lok Sabha | 2:30 p.m.

Prajwal Revanna takes oath as Lok Sabha MP.

After a few more mentions, the House is adjourned till 3:40 pm

Lok Sabha | 2:10 p.m.

Hanuman Beniwal speaks about deteriorating law and order in Rajasthan. A Kerala MP talks about sea wall erosion in his State.

Meenakshi Lekhi speaks on Sabarimala issue. She seeks a Bill to grant denominational status to Ayyappa devotees. The Constitution is for protection of religious practices. When men are not allowed in Attukal Pongala, why not in Sabarimala, she argues.

Kirit Solanki is in the Chair. He asks members to make Zero Hour submissions within one minute.

A Madhya Pradesh member pitches for Ken Betwa river link. Members from Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu speak about water scarcity. Many members associate, want to declare it as national disaster.

Sougata Roy speaks against simultaneous elections. He says Home Minister has sent two advisories within a week. Prof. Roy says this is interference.

Lok Sabha | 1.45 p.m.

A Shiv Sena Member puts forward the case for doctors. He says attacks on doctors have increased, mostly due to lack of infrastructure, lack of doctors etc. He asks the Health Minister to focus on increaing health infrastructure.

Members raise their voices to be heard over slogans from the Opposition Benches. The MP from Kaushambi, Uttar Pradesh asks for higher education institutes in his constituency, and for Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Thol. Thirumavalavan rises to speak. He brings up water scarcity in Tamil Nadu. He says schools have been closed due to water shortage. Hostels and IT firms are at the brink of shuttering. He says that this is not a State-level issue alone, and asks the Centre for funds to solve this issue. He also adds that the State government has not taken any measures to prevent this.

Adoor Prakash raises the issue of the Attingal bypass.

Lok Sabha | 1:20 pm

Rajiv Pratap Rudy raises the issue of the children who died in Muzaffarpur due to alleged acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) during Zero Hour as a part of Matters of Urgent Public Importance.

"We should find out if it was only the litchies that caused this, or something more," he appeals to the House.

A Member asks if it is encephalitis or encephalopathy.

Congress Floor Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says that if hypoglycemia is an issue, then primary health centres should have glycometers. Kirit Solanki is in the Chair. Mr. Chowdhury says that there is one doctor in Bihar for every 50,000 patients. Slogans get louder in the House.

Lok Sabha | 1:10 pm

Division is taking longer than usual because of the slips. Usually division takes place electronically in both Houses. Since the new members took oath only this week, the division rolls are yet to be allotted to members.

186 Members say yes to the introduction of the Bill, as against 74 who are against it. The Bill is introduced.

Lok Sabha | 1:00 pm

The issue with triple talaq Bill

While the MPs are largely in favour of banning nikkah-e-halala or giving divorce to a wife by saying talaq thrice in quick succession, the opposition is specifically to a clause in the Bill that gives three years jail to a man who divorces his wife through this method.

Abandoning a wife attracts up to one year jail under Hindu Marriage Act. Members like Asaduddin Owaisi and Shashi Tharoor are asking why Muslim men alone have to undergo harsher punishment. Opposition claims the onus is one the woman to prove she has been given instant talaq and want that to be changed.

Rajya Sabha | 12:55 pm

K. V. P. Ramachandra Rao says that the pension amount of Rs. 3000, available to small and marginal farmers after60 years of age, may mean nothing in this age of high inflation. So, is the government thinking of linking the scheme with the rate of inflation?

Parshottam Rupala, MoS Agriculture and Farmers Welfare responds by saying that the scheme is a new one and suggestions such as these will be considered as the scheme evolves.

Ram Vichar Netam says that the Pradhan Mantri Phasal Bima Yojana has not been benefiting farmers of Chattisgarh, although the government has paid the premium to the insurance companies on time. "What insurance companies have been paid how much premium by the government and how much insurance have the farmers received in Chattisgarh?" he asks.

House is adjourned till 2:30 pm

Lok Sabha | 12:50 pm

Lok Sabha prepares for division on introduction of triple talaq Bill. The lobbies have been cleared. Secretary General says since the division rolls have not been alloted yet. So division will be taken up through slips.

Each members gets to choose his/her slip — red for noes, green for ayes, yellow for abstain. The members will have to write their details such as name, their constituency name etc. in the slips.

Rajya Sabha | 12:40 pm

Ram Kumar Varma asks a question on inadequate availability of medicines in Jan Aushadi stores.

Mansukh L. Mandaviya, MoS Chemicals and Fertilizers: For regular supply of medicines, there is a facility of ordering online when they run out and they get a delivery.

Husain Dalwai: Can the cost of expensive cancer and TB medicines be reduced, such that it becomes affordable for the poor?

Mr. Mandaviya: We have fixed trade margin for 42 medicines because of which, these medicines are available at 90% lesser cost in the market. 526 such branded formulations are now available at 90% lesser cost.

Lok Sabha | 12:40 pm

Ravi Shankar Prasad responds. He says the triple talaq Bill was already passed in Lok Sabha but had to be brought back because the Bill lapsed in Rajya Sabha. Members protest, the Chair intervenes. Mr. Prasad continues.

The issue is not about religion, but about the protection of women, Mr. Prasad. He quotes Article 15 of Constitution to emphasise his point. Mr. Prasad says the law is to give justice to women who were victims of instant talaq. Mr. Prasad introduces the Bill.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, on behalf of Shripad Naik introduces Homeopathy Council Bill.

Lok Sabha | 12:30 pm

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad seeks permission to move the triple talaq Bill. Shashi Tharoor moves to oppose the Bill. He says he is against instant talaq but is opposed to consider a civil offence a criminal offence. He suggests the scope of the Bill should be extended to women of all communities.

N.K. Premachandran says it is the constitutional right of a Member to oppose a Bill. He says criminalising a civil wrong done by a particular community is discriminatory. He adds that the state should not make any law that impinges on the rights of the individual.

Personal laws should not fall under the purview of criminal law, says Mr. Premachandran.

Asaduddin Owaisi says he will request a division when the Speaker calls for a voice vote on this Bill. He says a non-Muslim is sentenced to one year, whereas the punishment for Muslim men is three years. He says, “If you care so much about Muslim women, why do you not care about Hindu women in Kerala as regards the Sabarimala issue?”

Rajya Sabha | 12:20 pm

Ram Nath Thakur asks the contribution of States is government's target of doubling farmer income. Union Minister Giriraj Singh says while the country is doing well in dairy and fisheries, it's not much on agriculture. The Chair cuts the answer short asking the minister to be specific. Mr. Thakur would have got the answer in writing.

Surendra Singh Nagar asks about the budgetary allocation for National Dairy Plan. He also asks if the government plans any vaccination plan for milch animals. Minister Giriraj Singh says he will get back with the numbers.

Lok Sabha | 12:05 pm

Rama Devi, K. P. Solanki, Rajendra Agrawal and Meenakshi Lekhi have been nominated as panel of Chairpersons to conduct proceedings in the absence of Speaker. The Speaker asks parties to suggest more names.

Speaker Om Birla intervenes as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu members protest against each other over Cauvery.

Speaker Om Birla intervenes as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu members protest against each other over Cauvery.


Lok Sabha proceeds with Zero Hour submissions. An MP from Tamil Nadu says Karnataka hasn't released Cauvery water to the State. Members from Karnataka object to it. Tamil Nadu MPs protest too. The Speaker intervenes.

Thirumavalavan wants government to give confidence to medical aspirants of Tamil Nadu over NEET. Saugata Roy suggests discussion on state of BSNL.

Rajya Sabha | 12:00 pm

Subbirami Reddy seeks regulation of fire standards in buildings. D. Raja accuses the Centre of belittling Tamil language by closing down the Central Tamil unit in All India Radio.

Rajya Sabha now takes up Question Hour.

Lok Sabha | 11:55 am

Union Minister Smriti Irani is answering questions pertaining to child development. She says the ministry is in touch with the concerned ministries to supply fortified food grains under Food Security Act.

Rajya Sabha | 11:40 am

Rajya Sabha discusses death of children due to AES in Bihar. Binoy Viswam says the State and Central government should urgently intervene. He says the health system must be improved. "Doctors are just one part of the system," he says. Many members associate.

Vikas Mahatme speaks on assault on doctors in West Bengal. He says the State government didn't handle the issue well. Trinamool members object to it. Dr. Mahatme suggests there must be a panic button in the rooms and such offenses must be made non-bailable.

Ram Kumar Kashyap speaks on need to improve roadways infrastructure in Haryana. He is interrupted by some members seeking discussion on Bihar children deaths.

AIADMK MP Vijila Sathyananth seeks immediate implementation of Cauvery Board ruling.

Lok Sabha | 11:30 am

In Lok Sabha Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is answering questions pertaining to AYUSH Ministry. Members from Tamil Nadu object to Dr. Vardhan answering questions directed to Shripad Naik.

Rajya Sabha | 11:30 am

The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Venkaiah Naidu, suggested the following as part of parliamentary reforms:

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu conducts proceedings of Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu conducts proceedings of Rajya Sabha on Friday.


1. Dissolution of Lok Sabha and lapsing of bills in Rajya Sabha

Under Article 107 of the Constitution, bills passed by the LS during the course of its five year term, and pending in the RS get lapsed with the dissolution of the house of the people. 22 bills passed by the 16th LS pending in the upper house got lapsed in the 248th session. This means that the LS has to take up these bills again for passing. It would take a minimum of two sessions for doing so. Bills that lapsed include Land Acquisition Bill passed by the LS, MV amendment bill, consumer protection amendment bill, triple talak bill, etc. They are bills of socio-economic importance and thus the Chairman suggested there be a wider debate on the matter of automatic lapsing of bills in the RS.

2. Pendency of Bills in RS

At the end of the last session, a total of 55 bills were pending before the house. 3 bills were pending for more than 30 years, 6 bills were pending for 10-20 years. Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill, the oldest pending bill, has been pending for more than 32 years. All these bills are important and merit timely consideration and passing. But long pendency doesn't reflect well on the functioning of the Parliament. To streamline the process, the Chairman suggested that if a bill has not been taken up by the RS within 5 years of its introduction, such bills should be deemed lapsed.

3. How to make Parliamentary debates more effective

The Chairman asks the house to examine why there was a wide gap between the number of bills passed by the LS and the RS last session. He calls for a zone of convergence rather than expanding zone of divergence, although stressing that that shouldn't mean one house blindly follows the other house. We have to make institutions work better and respond faster, he tells the house.


Rajya Sabha | 11:20 am

VP pitches for parliamentary reforms

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu heaps praise on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who retired from Rajya Sabha on June 14. "This House will miss an able parliamentarian and a distinguished economist," he says. Dr. Singh represented Assam five consecutive times. The House also remembers the contribution of Santiuse Kujur, who retired last week

Mr. Naidu makes a statement, explains the importance of smooth functioning of the House. When every Question Hour is lost, 10 members lose opportunity, he says. As House of Elders, we must set an example, he says.

Mr. Naidu also expresses concern on Bills getting lapsed. As many as 22 Bills, which were passed in Lok Sabha got lapsed. These Bills have to be reintroduced. At the end of the last session 33 Bills, of which three Bills are pending for more than 20 years, Mr. Naidu notes.

The environment of disruptive politics must change and we must use the time in constructive manner, Mr. Naidu says. "I don't get sleep on some days," an emotional Mr. Naidu says.

He says a committee has filed a report on look into the rules of the House. He asks the members to give suggestions based on the report.

Lok Sabha | 11:20 am

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan answers questions on AYUSH. The Minister says the government has tied up with as many as 18 countries to promote alternative medicines such as Ayurveda etc. Member M.K. Raghavan wants to know specifically about Kerala.

Lok Sabha | 11:10 am

Former Minister Maneka Gandhi says the one per cent in green cover could include sugarcane as well. So she requests the Ministry to check this.

Ms. Gandhi asks about replacing trees cut during expansion of Highways. She also wants to know if the forest ministry has sufficient tree saplings.

Minister Javadekar says for every one tree cut, five saplings are planted and the green cover doesn't include sugarcane plantation.

Lok Sabha | 11:05 am

In Lok Sabha, Question Hour is underway. The first question is on planting of trees in institutions of higher learning. Kaushal Kishore, a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, asks if the government plans to plant shady trees in campuses in Rohtak.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar as India is one of 10 countries that has increased the green cover. To the specific question, Mr. Javadekar says IIM campus has been planted with Banyan, neem and many local trees. The ministry has also started a green campus initiative, he adds.

Mr. Kishore asks a supplementary question. He asks if the government has any scheme to make it mandatory for companies to give away plants and saplings for those buying vehicles. The Minister appreciates the suggestion.

Another member asks about green cover in schools and creating awareness among schoolchildren. Mr. Javadekar says a scheme for growing and nourishing trees is carried out in schools in which a student gets a sapling and is responsible for its growth.

Rajya Sabha | 11:00 am

Both Houses assemble. Speaker Om Birla is in the Chair in Lok Sabha and Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair in Rajya Sabha.

In Rajya Sabha, the Chairperson reads the obituary reference. The House pays tribute to former members  KA. RA. Subbian, Virendra Kataria, Manohar Parrikar, Drupad Borgohain, Devi Prasad Singh, Chaudhary Munvvar Saleem, Vasanthi Stanley, Vishwanatha Menon, Rajnath Singh 'Surya', and S. Sivasubramanian

10:50 a.m.

Today will be the first full-fledged session in both Houses of the Parliament. This includes Question Hour, Zero Hour and Private Members business.

Fridays are designated for Private Members Bills, where any member can introduce a Bill, which the government may choose to adopt.

10 a.m.

List of business

Lok Sabha

- Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is set to introduce The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019. He will also make a statement explaining the need for an ordinance on the same.

- AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik will introduce The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

- Private Members’ business.

Rajya Sabha

- Private Members’ business.

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