Parliament proceedings | RS nod to lower corporate tax rates

RS discussed the Unnao rape and murder case.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019., was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Bill seeks to regularise 1731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi which house over 40 lakh people.

The Lok Sabha is to discuss the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019, today. The Rajya Sabha returns the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

Here are the live updates:

Lok Sabha | 8.00 p.m.

House adjourned till December 6, 11 a.m.

Lok Sabha | 7.15 p.m.

Bhagirath Chaudhary, Ajmer, BJP, also suggests linking MGNREGA with agriculture.

Chairman calls for the Report of Business Advisory Committee Arjun Ram Meghwal. Mr. Meghwal rises to present the 11th report of the business advisory committee.

Ajay Bhat, Nainital-Udhamsingh, BJP, brings up the issue of monkeys and pigs in his constituency.

Saumitra Khan, Bishnupur, BJP, suggests bringing in policies to do away with middlemen and ensuring the farmer gets the benefit of increasing price of farm produce.

E.T. Mohammed Basheer, Ponnani, IUML, says priority must be accorded to controlling climate change, the reason for floods, droughts, etc. On man-animal conflict must be looked into and mechanisation of agriculture is necessary, he says. Modernise agriculture curriculum in Indian universities, he adds.

Lok Sabha | 7.00 p.m.

Devji Mansingram Patel, Jalore, BJP, suggests the linking of MGNREGA with agriculture.

Speaking about post-harvest facilities, Dr. Beestti Venkata Satyavathi, Anakapalle, YSRCP, says the country lags in all logistics except cold storage. She suggests shifting the mode of transport from road to railways, for transporting harvest.

Lok Sabha | 6.35 p.m.

Dean Kuriakose, Idukki, INC, says that so far Kerala has seen 30 farmer suicides, 10 in his constituency alone, "income generation policies must be adopted, whenever the moratorium policy is withdrawn by the state, suicides have increased," he adds.

The House agrees to sit till 8 p.m., to allow for the remaining 10 members to talk.

Rajya Sabha | 6.25 p.m.

Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day.

Lok Sabha | 6.20 p.m.

Discussion under Rule 193 on Crop loss and its impact on farmers is in progress.

Rajya Sabha | 5.30 p.m.

"Finance related Ordinances are not out of the ordinary. They are often used by governments depending on the need," says Nirmala Sitharaman during her replies on the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

"The concessional rate of 15% definitely benefits MSMEs," she says.

"Private consumption is at least two percentage points higher than the UPA times. It has decreased between NDA I and NDA II," she says.

"In the month of October - home, vehicle, education loans, other personal loans, MSME loans, NBFC loans, agri loans, NBFCs for onward lending - all put together, Rs. 2,52,000 crores of loans have been distributed...So are we missing out on rural areas, on agriculture, on MSMEs? I don't think so," says the Finance Minister.

Criticise this government for the policies, we will heed your criticisms gladly, says Ms. Sitharaman, adding, "But culling out parts of what I said and quoting it our of context (referring to the Lok Sabha debate where she responded to a question and said her family does not consume onions), when that becomes a major criticism of this government when I have spent 20 minutes talking about what kind of steps this government has taken for better management of onion distribution, use of public money for better storage of onions, etc! But no, they say she is an elitist, she does not eat onions!"

Recalling the then Finance Minister's comments, she says, "In 2012, when food price inflation was high and general inflation had hit the roof, the Honourable Minister had said, 'When the urban middle class can buy a bottle of mineral water Rs. 15 and ice cream for Rs. 20, why do they make so much noise about price rise?' And they say our government is elite?"

The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is returned by the Rajya Sabha to the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill and the Upper House cleared the legislation with voice vote without any changes. As per rules, the Rajya Sabha cannot amend money bills but can recommend amendments. A money bill must be returned to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, or the bill is deemed to have passed both houses in the form it was originally passed by the Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha takes up special mentions.

Lok Sabha | 5.10 p.m.

Jayadev Galla (TDP) suggests adding C2 component to help farmers and make farming a viable occupation. "We are only days away from entering 2020. The distribution of seeds is also very important. But there are no good quality seeds available. We have only 1/3rd of crop area under irrigation. I request the govt to complete the Polavaram project which is the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh."

Rajya Sabha | 4.40 p.m.

Dr. T. Subbarami Reddy (INC) tells the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: "I appreciate the FM on seeking members' views on the economy. Indian economy depends on all sectors. Infrastructure is highlighted everywhere in speeches by heads of state. Continue the tax exemptions on infrastructure for some more time.

Investment comes either by borrowing from banks or by capital markets. I draw the attention of FM to see how best we can raise the capital markets. Even though we feel proud of our honest banking system, there are some incidents where things went wrong and shattered the entire banking system. I suggest the FM to give them courage to be cautious and courageous.

There is no point in criticising the govt. Why is the employment affected? Industry is not growing. Why is the industry not growing? There is no investment. No foreign countries are ready to invest in India due to fluctuations.

I appreciate your open mind. Don't discontinue the infrastructure policy. Focus on how best we can encourage the investment sector."

Lok Sabha | 4.30 p.m.

A.M. Arif of CPI(M) says govt policies are aggravating the farm distress. "Inflation, electricity charges make their lives hard. 4,000 Maharashtra farmers have killed themselves. The govt is fooling the farmers. Most powerful goons are the middlemen. The price of onion has touched a high, but no farmer is going to receive that money. In 2018 and 2019 Kerala had to face two floods."

Rajya Sabha | 4.00 p.m.

Ram Chandra Singh of JD(U): "When a baby is born, its face is cute. But when it gets small pox, it gets all sorts of scars. The bill has got so many amendments that it's messed up. Actions needs to be taken on direct tax code."

TKS Elangovan (DMK): "This govt is tapping the poor and patting the rich. The govt has not provided anything to the poorer sections of the society. 2 crores of job creation every year was promised. Why has domestic consumption gone down? The welfare of 80% of the population is left out."

Lok Sabha | 3.50 p.m.

House continues its discussion under Rule 193 on crop loss and its impact on farmers.

Koushalendra Kumar of JD(U) says Bihar has the largest GDP, and growth rate amounts to more than 11%, highest in the country.

Rajya Sabha | 3.30 p.m.

GVL Narasimha Rao (BJP): "The poor people of this country have paid a huge price and only due to PM Narendra Modi, they see hope in eradicating poverty."

Sukhendu Sekar Ray (AITC) requests the FM to consider and clear the pending GST compensations to five states including West Bengal. He also requests compensation due to the losses after cyclone Bulbul.

A. Vijayakumar (AIADMK) says that it was necessary to reduce corporate tax. "Our economy is under deep stress. The govt is targetting a $5 trillion economy. The size of the economy was $2.7 trillion. Out of the total 7 crore taxpayers, only 11.86 lakh are corporate tax payers."

Lok Sabha | 3.15 p.m.

Kalyan Banerjee (AITC): "In 2017, Rs. 45000 crores of loans and subsidies were given to entities in New Delhi and Chandigarh, cities that do not have any farmers. In Maharashtra, subsidies were given to people residing in Mumbai. This is resulting in money being circulated with people in government. It is not reaching farmers. Middle man is enjoying this."

Rajya Sabha | 3.00 p.m.

House starts to discuss Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

K.K. Ragesh of CPI(M) moves the statutory resolution.

Jairam Ramesh (INC): "There are significant issues between the ordinance that was issued and the bill. We are living in an era of QSQT, not qayamat se qayamat tak; It is quarter se quarter tak. I am not a believer in QSQT. Because economies grow in long term. But when you have 6 consecutive quarters of GDP decline, it is cause of worry.

The assumption of the bill is fundamentally flawed."

Rajya Sabha | 2.38 p.m.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu reconvenes the House.

Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) speaks about today's Unnao rape and murder case.

Viplove Thakur (INC) says action needs to be taken to bring justice.

Vandana Chavan (INC) mentions that there is nothing worse than a girl going to court being burnt alive.

Kanta Kardam (BJP) says we are with the victim's family and such incidents shouldn't occur at all.

Venkaiah Naidu says, "The entire House condemns the incident. I came to know when Jaya Bachchan told me. We must send a signal to the entire country and actions needs to be taken promptly so that such incidents don't happen again."

Lok Sabha | 2.00 p.m.

House resumes proceedings and starts to discuss the issues of farmers in India.

Suresh Kodikunnil (INC) speaks about agrarian crisis. "The BJP govt failed to address crop loss and its impact on farmers.

The onion crisis has left the people in distress. Are the farmers getting any benefit from the issue? Black markets are on the rise. Farmers are being killed. BJP govt ignored the farmers and raised MSP. There is lack of policy and lack of timely execution. There is no declaration of any special package. Unemployment, job loan, agriculture failure and industrial slowdown are all gifts of Modi govt. The BJP govt is a failure and their idea of Indian farmers are seen as perishable communities."

Virendra Singh (BJP) speaks about the benefits received by farmers under the NDA govt.

Rajya Sabha | 2.00 p.m.

Proceedings resume. Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh speaks about Bhupendra Yadav raising his point of order on rules of procedure and conduct of business in Rajya Sabha. "Shri Yadav says a member had used the word infiltrator against the PM."

He asks House to discuss Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Members start uproar over the Unnao rape survivor being set ablaze, as K.K. Ragesh of CPI(M) starts to speak about the Bill. The deputy chairman did not pay any heed to the opposition members and asked Mr. Ragesh to move a resolution to disapprove the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 promulgated on September 20, 2019. The bill and the resolution were scheduled to be moved and discussed together.

While the opposition members kept on raising the issue loudly, the deputy chairman asked Ragesh to proceed with the resolution.

Mr. Ragesh says he is unable to move the bill as the House is not in order.

House gets adjourned till 2.37 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 1:05 p.m.

Several Lok Sabha members urged the government to ensure that the bodies of the Indians killed in the Sudan tanker blast be brought back at the earliest and their families given adequate compensation.

T.R. Baalu of the DMK, Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP and Selvaraj M. of the CPI raised the issue in the House during Zero Hour.

They said as most of the victims were sole bread earners, the government should ensure adequate compensation to the families.

At least 18 Indians were among 23 people killed and over 130 injured in a horrific LPG tanker blast that destroyed a ceramic factory in Sudan.

Sixty-eight Indians were working in the factory. - PTI

Lok Sabha is adjourned till 2 p.m.

Rajya Sabha | 12:15 p.m.

Deputy Chairman Sukhendu Sekhar Roy is in the Chair.

Husain Dalwai, INC, asks if the government had powered the NSO-enabled Pegasus spying softwre.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, says the allegation has already been denied during an elaborate discussion on the matter.

He further says data is instrumental in policy-making. Anonymity of that data is equally important, he adds.

Partap Singh Bajwa, INC, asks if the government will reconsider its decision to not fund the NCC run by private and aided schools.

Ramesh Pokhriyal, HRD Minister, responds to a member's question, saying 36 States have received Rs 220 crore to provide self-defence training to girls.

Kanta Kardam, BJP, says in many schools, girl children are exploited. She asks what steps are being taken to protect girl children in schools.

Mr. Pokhriyal says under 'Nishtha', this matter is given special priority. For self-defence, judo, boxing and other sports have been made a part of the curriculum.

Reasons for change of GDP base year are discussed.

Jairam Ramesh, INC, says data for cosnumer expenditure was in the public domain which showed lowest consumption in rural and urban areas in 40 years. Why did the government decide to discontinue that data, he asks.

Rao Inderjit Singh, MoS, Statistics and Programme Implementation, says concerns were raised about the sensitivity of the survey in calculating the consumption of households. People no longer need to spend as much on health and education as free provisions are in place. Consumption has not decreased, he says.

Mr. Singh responds to a member's question, saying with 2004-05 base year, GDP growth had come down to 3.8%. The next year it went up to 8.5%. Our country has the resilience to overcome the 4.5% rate that has come up in the second quarter. We need not worry about it, he says.

Question Hour concludes. Rajya Sabha is adjourned till 2 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 11:15 a.m.

Question Hour is underway.

Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Highways Minsiter, speaks on zero tolerance towards corruption when it comes to misdoings by contractors. The question is on maintenance of National Highways.

He says the Tamil Nadu Government has reduced road accidents by 29%. Their model is being implemented elsewhere, he says.

Vijay Baghel, BJP, asks why the National Highway Accident relief Service Scheme was stopped. Mr. Gadkari cites several other provisions that are in place in terms of ambulances and other relief.

Mr. Gadkari responds to another member's question, saying concrete roads will be constructed in Kerala to reduce the impact of floods.

"I am pro-environment," he says.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh, JD(U), asks what steps are going to be taken by the government to fix the old National Highways which are in poor condition. Mr. Gadkari says Bihar roads will be fixed soon if land acquisition can be completed.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, INC, speaks on the incident of an ITBP soldier opening fire at his colleagues before killing himself. Mr. Chowdhury says psychological help should be provided for jawans. He claimed that such incidents were on the rise in central armed police forces (CAPF) and "may be due to lack of facilities".

Sudip Bandyopadhyay, AITC, speaks on the onion price hike. He says if the ED will be active in the States, hoarding, which leads to price rise, can be prevented.

The Trinamool Congress leader said hoarding was the cause of price rise of onion and added that enforcement department should check on hoarding of onions. He was also of the view that price monitoring division should be more active. He termed it a failure of the government, saying rising prices had gone out of limit and "we all condemn it".


Govt. cannot suppress my voice in Parliament: Chidambaram

Speaking to reporters in the Parliament complex while joining other Congress MPs protesting against the steep hike in onion prices, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said he will address the media in the afternoon.

Opposition holding placards outside Parliament, December 5, 2019.

Opposition holding placards outside Parliament, December 5, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


“I am happy to be back. The government cannot suppress my voice in Parliament,” he said.


Rajya Sabha | 11:15 a.m.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair. Papers are laid on the table.

Mr. Naidu names the 18 out of 80 MPs who have had 100% attendance in the House as a token of appreciation.

Read more

Rajya Sabha is adjourned till 12 noon as members protest over not being allowed to raise matters not listed for Zero Hour.

Lok Sabha | 11:00 a.m.

Speaker Om Birla is in the Chair. Question Hour begins.

The first question is on utilisation of water resources.

Rattan Lal Kataria, MoS, Jal Shakti, answers questions posed in the House.

The country’s average annual water resources potential is around 1,999 billion cubic metres and 699 billion cubic metres is utilised for various purposes, according to the government.

Citing data from the Central Water Commission (CWC), Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told the Lok Sabha on Thursday that about 450 BCM of surface water is being utilised for various purposes.

The central government has formulated a National Perspective Plan for water resources development that envisages transfer of water from surplus basins to water-deficit basins through interlinking of rivers.

“As per the recent estimate by CWC in the year 2019, India receives an average annual precipitation of about 3,880 BCM (billion cubic metres). The average annual water resources potential in the country is assessed as 1,999.20 BCM because the remaining water is lost to the atmosphere through evapo-transpiration from barren lands, forests, natural vegetation, rain-fed agriculture, natural ponds and lakes, etc.

“Further, owing to topographic, hydrological and other constraints, the utilisable water is 1,122 BCM, which comprises 690 BCM of surface water and 432 BCM of replenishable ground water resources,” he said.

The minister also said 699 BCM of water, including 450 BCM of surface and 249 BCM of ground water, is being utilised for various purposes. - PTI


Chidambaram arrives

P. Chidambaram arriving at Parliament, December 6, 2019.

P. Chidambaram arriving at Parliament, December 6, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena


Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who walked out of the Tihar jail on Wednesday evening after 106 days, arrives at the Parliament to attend today's proceedings.

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