Parliament proceedings | With no letup in Opposition protests, Speaker adjourns Lok Sabha till February 8

A placard is displayed near the chair of Speaker Om Birla in the Lok Sabha on February 4, 2021. Photo: LSTV via PTI  

While the Rajya Sabha continued with its debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address, Lok Sabha proceedings were a virtual washout as relentless protest by opposition members against the Centre's three farm laws continued for another day.

Lok Sabha was adjourned first till 6 p.m. after opposition members disrupted the proceedings demanding repeal of the laws and shouted slogans from the Well of the House.

With no letup in the protests when the House reconvened at 6 p.m., the Speaker adjourned its proceedings till February 8 after his plea to opposition members to go back to their seats went unheeded.

Here are the latest updates:

6.00 pm

 

Lok Sabha adjourned for the day

Lok Sabha reconvenes.

As the Chair turns down request for adjournment motions, Opposition members renew sloganeering.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister lays papers on the table.

Pamphlets in support of protesting farmers flashed in the House.

Speaker requests the Opposition members to return to their seats.

Amid relentless protests, Speaker adjourns proceedings till 4 p.m. on Monday.

4.00 pm

Lok Sabha resumes. So does sloganeering by opposition members. Question Hour proceedings begin.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is answering questions pertaining to COVID-19 vaccination.

To a question on Jagdambika Pal, the minister says an expert group on vaccines is functioning under the supervision of the Prime Minister and under the group, the vaccination process is being carried out. About 5 million people have been vaccinated, this week the vaccination of frontline workers has also begun. Two vaccines have so far been given permission for emergency use. Work is under way on seven other vaccine candidates.

Mr. Pal asks if India is exporting vaccines. Dr. Vardhan says vaccines have been exported to 15 countries so far. A total of 22 countries have sought India's vaccines. In some nations, we have given vaccines in the form of grant. While 56 lakh does have been given as grants, 105 lakh doses have been supplied under contracts

When will the phase 1 of vaccination end, asks Vinod Kumar Sonkar. Dr. Vardhan says it is not possible to give a fixed date now, but the next phase is expected to begin from the third week of March.

Speaker Om Birla thanks the scientists for developing COVID-19 vaccines in a short span of time.

House adjourned till 6 pm.

2.25 pm

Dancer Sonal Mansingh (nominated MP) says National Education Policy has blended culture with knowledge. She claims the farmers are protesting probably because Mr's Modi's message didn't reach them in a clear way.

Ramchandra Jangra  (BJP), a sculptor, says though their works of iconic leaders decorate the halls of Parliament, it was only the BJP that made a sculptor an MP.

The debate concludes. The reply will be given on Monday, says the Chair.

House adjourned after special mentions.

2.15 pm

Former IPS officer Brijlal (BJP) says a nation progresses when law and order is under control. He cities the example of Assam.

I belong to Scheduled Caste community, in panchayats Dalit come but they are not allowed to work, but Modi ji changed this and brought this under SC/ST atrocity act. Political parties misled people on a Supreme Court ruling, he claims.

Some parties that call themselves messiah of SC/ST, I have worked with them. CAA will benefit 70-75% namosudras in Bengal, he says.

2.00 pm

Anil Jain (BJP) lauds the Prime Minister for 'lifting the morales' of soldiers by visiting Ladakh.

MoS Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan suggests the House extends its time till 2.30 pm. Jairam Ramesh of Congress says he is fine with it but it should have been decided earlier since many members left.

The House extends its sitting.

Mr. Jain continues to speak.

1.55 pm

Athwale seeks caste-based census

Ramdas Athawale, MoS Social Justice and Empowerment, says he belongs to  Baba Ambedkar's party.

The President's address does justice to all sections of society. The 2021 Census should be done on the basis of Caste. Maratha community in Maharashtra, Jats in Haryana and Rajasthan and Thakur/Kshatriyas are demanding reservation, they should all get it. SC/ST should get reservation in promotion.

1.45 pm

Indu Bala Goswami (BJP) takes part in the debate for the first time. She says the Prime Minister directly communicates with people. That is why they responded to his calls for  beating plates and lighting lamps in support of covid warriors.

At a time when developed nations didn't know how to tackle the pandemic, we not only managed it well, but also helped other countries.

1.30 pm

Subhash Chandra Bose Pilli (YSRCP) speaks in Telugu. He seeks Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.

1.25 pm

Neeraj Shekar (BJP) condemns the opposition for boycotting the President's address.

Mr. Shekar requests the protesting farmers to understand the politics behind opposition supporting them. "These parties want to rule Punjab and Haryana," he says.

You call our leader practicing dictatorship. Dictatorship was in 1975, during Emergency. "When my father (Chandra Shekar) was jailed for 19 months, we were not allowed to meet him."

We have named our schemes under PM, not Modi, he says.  He despises parliamentarians making personal remarks against the Prime Minister.

Revoking Article 370 was the biggest achievement, he says. People of Ladakh are happy with the development.

Mr. Shekar also lauds the Swach Bharat Abhiyan.

1.20 pm

Sasmit Patra on computing MSP

BJD MP Sasmit Patra responds to Dharmendra Pradan. Mr. Pradhan, on Thursday, said the BJD was wrong when it said Swaminathan panel report was not implemented.

Mr. Patra explains how the government has faulted in calculating the MSP.  The report sought 1.5 times increase of price from C2 (that includes rentals and interest forgone on owned land, fixed capital asset).

1.10 pm

Largest FDI in the world came to India: Alphons

K.J. Alphons, former minister and BJP member, notes we are closing the year with a negative GDP. Despite this, government has increased its expenditure.

The largest FDI in the world came to India. When we came to power the BSE index was 27,000 points, today it is over 50,000. This shows the confidence in the PM that people put money in the stock exchange.

I have 34 people living with me in the government bungalow here, we produce everything needed for eating, he says.

The child mortality rate has come down from 89 in 1990 to 28 under Modi government. Mr. Alphons says January 26 incident was treason. Weapons are made in the human mind, he says.

Digvijay Singh responds. Mr. Alphons quotes figures from 1990 to 2021. Out of 21 years, Mr. Modi was the PM only for six years. If hoisting a flag in Red Fort is a teason what about RSS which hasn't hoisted tri-colour from 1947 to 2003.

1.00 pm

Farmers know your hidden agenda: SAD member

SAD member Sardar Balwinder Singh Bhunder

SAD member Sardar Balwinder Singh Bhunder  

 

SAD member Sardar Balwinder Singh Bhunder responds to Narendra Tomar. Mr. Tomar asked what's wrong with the farm laws.

Mr. Bhunder says the farmers are aware of the hidden agenda behind the Bills. You say the laws enable contract farming. But on the other hand you have diluted essential commodities Act and brought trade laws. A small or marginal farmer is pitted against a large corporate. How will he fight them, he asks.

After one or two years, government will have to exit, then corporates will have the monopoly, then there will no control on holding. You asked how will a farmer lose land? When a big company comes it will dictate terms, there will be no control on price, farmer will be under debt, the farmer will lose land. Have you given guarantee of MSP in the law?

Had you listened to us earlier, we wouldn't have left the coalition, he says and once again appeals to the Prime Minister to repeal the laws.

12.50 pm

A govt doesn't respect farmers will not last long: Akhilesh Prasad Singh

Akhilesh Prasad Singh (Congress) warns a government that doesn't respect farmers will not last long.

Vandana Chavan, who is in the Chair, asks the member to conclude.

"Why should I conclude?"

"Your alloted time is over"

"I come from Bihar. Please, don't teach me Socialism"

Mr. Singh continues. APMC was abolished in Bihar, a farmer earns Rs 3,000 in one acre, in Punjab and Haryana where mandis work and MSP is there, the average income of farmers is Rs 15,000.

You fight the Opposition parties, you may have  problem with tractor rally of Rahul Gandhi ji, remove security of Opposition, no problem, but do not insult the farmers.

12.40 pm

Tomar responds to Opposition on farm laws

"We brought Trade Act, a provision was made that areas outside APMC will be trade area, can be a farmer's home also. It will not attract any tax. Within APMC, States levy tax. The Centre's act abolishes the tax outside APMC and State forces you to pay tax.

"I want to ask Punjab farmers, we have freed  the tax system, so you should revolt against someone who is taxing you or who is abolishing the tax system. I want to request the farmers, we are committed to farmers, we have respected them, called them and spoke to them 11 times.

"I have never used any objectionable word against them. I only asked them the objectionable part of the law. We assured them that APMC will not be abolished. That we are ready for amendment should not mean that there are faults in the laws.

Farmers are being misled that this law will take away their land. There is not a single provision in contract farming law that says this.

Only Congress can do farming by blood, not BJP. No provision that any trader will be able to snatch their land.

Congress members object. Heated exchange of words between Deepinder Hooda and Mr. Tomar. Mr. Tomar says Punjab and Haryana government have enacted contract farming Acts. Mr. Hooda objects to Mr. Tomar's remarks.

Anand Sharma seeks expunging remarks made by Mr. Tomar.

We have tried to double farmers income. The three farm bills are a step in this direction.  These bills are going to increase the income of farmers, he ends his speech.

12.20 pm

What is 'black' in these farm laws, asks Tomar

Congress MP Anand Sharma appeals to Narendra Singh Tomar. The budget of PM Kisaan Yojana has been slashed. Please seek for an increase, he says.

Mr. Tomar says additional funds will be allocated when more farmers are registered in the scheme.

When PM Kisaan Yojana was launched it was envisaged for 14.5 crore farmers with ₹75,000 crore allocation.

Despite many efforts, 10.75 crore farmers were registered, we are trying to add others, W.B has not joined yet, 70 lakh would be added immediately. Under present circumstances R₹65,000 crore allocated, that is why ₹10,000 crore has been reduced,  as and when registration increases we will ensure the scheme will not be short of any funds

The Prime Minister said that once there was food shortage now we have surplus, so now we have to concentrate on farmers earnings.

₹1 lakh 15 thousand crore has been provided to farmers through DBT, he says.

We are trying to build a system around FPO. One lakh crore infrastructure fund for farming has been given under Aatmanirbhar package.

The investment in farming sector should reach the farmers. Cold storage facilities are sometimes 80 km from the selling point. Farmers cannot benefit as it benefits traders. Government is trying to reduce this gap and farmers can use warehouse facilities.

Now railways is being used, today Tripura's pineapple is reaching other parts of the country.

I want to thank the Opposition that they discuss the three farm laws and even called them the black laws, I have been asking the farmers unions how are these laws black laws? then I will try to correct it. How are the laws against farmers, no one was able to explain me, he says.

12 noon

2020, a difficult year: Tomar

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.  

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is the next Speaker. 2020 was a difficult year - we faced COVID-19 and economy was affected.

The country's democracy and its citizens are our strength. When Lockdown 1 happened people followed discipline, which is laudable. We did not have resources when the pandemic struck, be it PPE kit or sanitisers. But the decisions taken by PM Modi and its implementation by State governments and people is unimaginable.

We are now exporting PPE kits. Every zilla hospital is equipped with ventilators.

Our scientists developed vaccines and this has enhanced India's strength and image. India is helping other countries with vaccines and it is a matter of pride.

During his first speech in Central Hall of Parliament and in his August 15 speech also, Modi ji said all former governments have contributed in country's progress. But it is natural that work done during Modi ji's tenure will be publicised by us. We are committed to villages and farmers, he says.

Earlier one could claim ownership of agricultural land and take loan against it but the building constructed on that land was not entitled to ownership claims, under Swamitva scheme this has been changed.  Now if a road passes through his fields and house, then that property will be accounted to provide compensation.

It is true that you started MGNREGA, till your government was there it was only used to dig trenches. You started the scheme but we took it forward. we increased MGNREGA's efficacy. During COVID over 1 lakh crore was allocated to the scheme, 10 crore people got employment. It was ensured that migrants should get work under MGNREGA, he says.

11.45 am

You are lying regarding MSP: Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge  

 

This is Mallikarjun Kharge's maiden speech in Rajya Sabha. The veteran parliamentarian calls the President's address a sarkaari speech.

"No one can forget Champaran satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917. Congress has been part of this history, Gandhi said that laws that cannot protect you, then to disobey it is your duty and responsibility," he says.

This government has always said that they will double farmers' income, but i want to tell you that when Modi ji became the PM, within a month in June 2014 all States gave a diktat that even if one rupee above MSP is given then action will be taken. Then States stopped giving bonus to farmers.

They conspired to encroach on farmers land and give it to corporates, Rahul Gandhi convinced the Cabinet to change the Land Acquisition Act to give four times compensation to farmers.

In December 2018, Modi goverment brought an ordinance to end that, then NGOs, farmers and other organisations rose in opposition. They had to take back the ordinance then, he says.

"You said you will double farmers income, in six years they have not given 50% above production cost to farmers," he says.

It seems they have not read their own data. They lie regarding MSP. Modi ji never stops saying that Congress did not increase MSP, reality is in Congress time MSP increased by 219%, they only increased a little over 40%. Average growth rate of MSP in UPA-I was 11.10 % and in Modi government's time it is 5.53 %.

He quotes Atal Bihari Vajpayee's words on farmers and says that such atrocities will not be tolerated.

11.30 am

Samsher Singh Manhas, BJP MP from Jammu and Kashmir, says his State has been fully integrated with the nation only after Article 370 was abrogated.

Congress MPs said they will not tolerate if the national flag was humiliated. For several years J&K had a separate flag. Wasn't it an insult to the national flag, he asks.

You needed a permit to visit J&K just like you need visa to visit foreign countries, Mr. Manas says and adds the people of Kashmir didn't have employment opportunities in the State. In a costly slip, he says Kashmiris had to migrate to India for work. What he meant was the people would migrate to other States.

11.15 am

We have become the internet shutdown capital of the world: Anand Sharma

Anand Sharma

Anand Sharma  

 

Congress deputy floor leader Anand Sharma is the next speaker.  He rues President's speech failed to mention the plight of migrant workers during lockdown.

On one side there is a protest going on, the President's address praises the farm laws.

It is the right of people to protest against acts that might be against them. It is the duty of the government to listen to them, he says.

We have become the internet shutdown capital of the world, he says.  You compare yourselves with USA. They provided financial support to their citizens during lockdown. But you have provided stimulus to corporates, he says.

It is not V-Shaped recovery. It is K-shaped, he says.

"Why did you bring the farm laws using the ordinance route. Article 123 of the Constitution says that the President has to be satisfied that there were compelling reason to bring the ordinance. You brought the ordinance during the pandemic. You didn't speak to state government, didn't send it to committee. And then you ask why are people protesting?"

I appeal with folded-hands, withdraw these laws, he says.

The constitutionality of these laws is questionable. Agriculture is in the state list not in centre or concurrent list, he says.

He slams the courts for delaying decisions on major issues.

10.45 am

Nominated Member Rakesh Sinha narrates his interaction with the villagers of a border village in Meghalaya, which he has adopted. He says people are happy with Modi's public distribution system.

He lauds government's decision to award Padma Awards to grassroots heroes.

Hitting out at Opposition, Mr. Sinha lists all 'draconian' laws enacted by Congress.

10.30 am

Bajwa compares barricades with Berlin wall

Pratap Singh Bajwa, Congress MP, speaks in Punjabi. He claims the farm Bills were passed in the House in an undemocratic manner. We were not even given the opportunity to seek division, he says.

He accuses the government to use back-door entry to enact the laws at a time when the country was grappling with COVID-19, and lockdown.

The farmers are protesting on their own. They are collecting money from their fellow villagers to fund the protest. We fed the Bangladesh prisoners of war for two years. But you are not giving water to our own farmers. The barricades of Ghazipur looks like Berlin Wall, he says.

"Is this world's biggest Democracy? These are the scenes from Afghanistan, in Saddam's Iraq, in Libya."

You claim that you will keep the laws in abeyance for 18 months. If you are ready to keep it in abeyance then why not repeal it, he says.

This is the opportunity Prime Minister Narendra Modi to turn into a statesman. To become a second Sardar Patel. Go to Delhi's borders, meet the farmers and tell them you will repeal the Bills, he says.

He seeks a Supreme Court monitored time-bound enquiry to find out who asked the farmers to change the tractor rally route.

Vice President thanks Mr. Bajwa in Punjabi. "Your language, our language," he says.

10.10 am

Since 2002, govt. were pushing for farm reforms: Sahasrabuddhe

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe in Rajya Sabha.

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe in Rajya Sabha.  

 

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (BJP) speaks in favour of the Motion.

On farmers' protests, he says: "Everyone tells us that we should leave our arrogance. But they forget that since 2002 the governments have been working on these lines. It is nothing new. We are ready for talks. We even offered to put it in abeyance for 18 months. If we are showing so much flexibility why don't they show similar flexibility."

Do we want a civil war? The Parliament should not be taken for granted. These laws were cleared by the Parliament, he says.

He lauds Prime Minister Narendra Modi's diplomacy pitch for a 'G All' on global issues.

9.50 am

'We were at the forefront of the freedom struggle and today we are being branded as Khalistanis'

Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of the Akali Dal addressing the Rajya Sabha on February 5, 2021.

Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of the Akali Dal addressing the Rajya Sabha on February 5, 2021.   | Photo Credit: RSTV

 

Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of the Akali Dal said, "When the Ordinances where issued, I wrote to the PM saying that these laws are against the farmers and the Ordinances should be withdrawn. This agitation has got support from the entire nation and even internationally. They claim that only Punjab farmers are agitating. Let me tell you, when the nation went looking for grains all the way to America, it was Punjab that produced grains, enough to feed us and even to export."

"The entire Opposition is speaking in one voice against the laws but the government refuses to pay heed," he said.

"We were at the forefront of the freedom struggle and today we are being branded as Khalistanis," Mr. Dhindsa said.

"I want to comment about the media. On January 26, Ram Mandir tableau marched in the parade. A channel without any evidence claimed that Sikh persons have damaged the tableau. The attempt was to drive a wedge between Hindus and Sikhs," he said

- Sobhana K. Nair

9.45 am

'Reinstate MPLADS funds'

Abdul Wahab of the IUML raises the issue of Siddique Kappan's arrest, asks that he be released.

"Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) funds are the only thing that provides us (Rajya Sabha Members) some credibility. You suspended MPLADS fund for two years but we haven't got the money for the previous year too," Mr. Wahab said.

"I don't know whether the PM has privately taken the vaccine. I request, that lawmakers should also be inoculated at the earliest," Mr. Wahad said, addng he is a COVID-19 survivor himself.

- Sobhana K. Nair

9.35 am

'Even the Indo-Pak border doesn't have such fortification'

Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP said, "To stop the farmers' movement you have dug up ditches. Let me tell you, you are digging these ditches for yourself. You have laid down spikes on the road. Even the Indo-Pak border doesn't have such fortification. If you are ready to put these laws in abeyance for 18-months, then why not put these laws away for good? Why don't you put your ego aside?"

"If you want to give MSP, then why not put that down in print, in the law? The very people you are bringing the law for are saying they don't want it. And you are insisting on imposing it on them," he said.

- Sobhana K. Nair

9.30 am

'If anyone speaks the truth, they are branded as traitors'

Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena said: "Yesterday, Dharmendra Pradhan said, 'listen to the truth'. For the last six years, we have been hearing falsehoods which have been paraded as truths. Today, if anyone speaks the truth, he is branded as a traitor."

Mr. Raut named AAP MP Sanjay Singh, Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to question why they were being branded as traitors. "May be the government has removed all penal sections from the CrPC except for sedition," he said.

"It is not right for the country that our government is conspiring to malign the farmers' movement. We are all ashamed by the incidents of January 26. But who is Deep Sidhu, the man responsible for the incident? So many of the farmers are missing since January 26. We don't know whether the police have killed them in an encounter," he said.

"Who is a nationalist? Arnab Goswami? Kangana Ranaut? Goswami broke the Official Secrets aAct. He knew beforehand about the Balakot attack. But you are sheltering him," he said.

"The farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Western U.P. are fighting on behalf of farmers from across the nation. They are not traitors. They are not Khalistanis," he said.

- Sobhana K. Nair

9.20 am

'Sharad Pawar's 2007 letter to CMs being needlessly raked up'

Praful Patel of the NCP said, "Centre and States have together fought the COVID-19 pandemic along with the frontline medical workers. I thank them all 1.55 lakh people died in the pandemic and if we were to compare the mortality rate with the other countries we are definitely better placed."

"Why is our farmer feeling insecure? We need to think about it. We welcome the fact that you are thinking about the progress of farmers. The entire Opposition had urged the government to send the laws to a Select Committee. What was the hurry? If widespread consultations were held, we would not be seeing the spectacle that we are witnessing right now," Mr. Patel said.

"Many a times a letter of Sharad Pawar has been brought up - the 2007 letter that he wrote to Chief Ministers sending in a model Bill. Eventually, the Bill never came to the Parliament. But the government is needlessly raking up the issue. The model law circulated by Sharad Pawar had more participation from farmers," Mr. Patel said, listing out the differences between the two laws.

- Sobhana K. Nair

9.10 am

'Don't blame God'

Binoy Viswam, CPI, said: "I would like to remind the government of what happened during the locldown. Remember the Railway track where a group of migrant workers were run over in Aurangabad? It is wrong to say that the government did a lot for the migrant. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called COVID-19 an Act of God. Under the BJP, economy has been in shambles even before the pandemic began."

"I am a non-believer, but I believe in the true believers of all religions. So, I believe that God cannot be so cruel. God was not the culprit. Don't blame the God," he said.

The rescue package announced by the Finance Minister didn't reach the people. It was just a gimmick. The package was for ₹20 lakh crore but I am sure the actual expenditure was just 2 lakh crore. We need Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme," Mr. Viswam said.

- Sobhana K. Nair

9 am

253rd Session of the Rajya Sabha convenes

Rajya Sabha MPs Mary Kom (nominated), K.K. Ragesh (CPI(M)) and Oscar Fernandes(Congress) have sought leave.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said some of the Members exceeded their time. "So the time will be reduced from their party's qouta."

When Members start complaining, Mr. Naidu said, "I am not going to bargain."

The discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address is scheduled end today.

- Sobhana K. Nair

Agenda

Both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha will hold a discussion on Motion of Thanks on the President's address.

On February 3, five extra hours were added to the duration of discussion in Rajya Sabha on the motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament to allow debate on the farmers' protest against the three agri-reform legislations.

Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned four times yesterday amid uproar by opposition members over the three new farm laws.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 6:39:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-proceedings-live-updates-february-5-2021/article33756101.ece

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