Parliament proceedings live | Lok Sabha clears merger of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha on November 27, 2019. Photo: RSTV

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha on November 27, 2019. Photo: RSTV  

Rajya Sabha discusses economic situation.

 

Here are the live updates:

7.30 p.m.

Both the Houses have been adjourned till November 28, 2019.

Rajya Sabha | 6.30 p.m.

Discussion on economic situation ends. Rajya Sabha is now taking up special mentions.

Lok Sabha | 6.15 p.m.

Lok Sabha clears merger of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu

Lok Sabha passes the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019.

Zero Hour commences.

Rajya Sabha | 6.15 p.m.

The automobile sector is improving and most companies have cleared their inventory. The problem arose because of the emission orders that came from the Supreme Court, after which the companies had to change their business models, says Ms. Sitharaman.

Rajya Sabha | 5.30 p.m.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says: "Economic growth may have come down but there is no recession; there will be no recession. India's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was at 6.4% at the end of 2009-2014, whereas between 2014-2019 it was at 7.5%."

 

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Ms. Sitharaman lists detailed specifics on various factors of the economic situation.

"Corporates took money from banks. Their balance sheets went back because they no longer could make profits, as a result, they couldn't pay the bank. Bank's balance sheet went back. So there is the twin balance sheet problem. In order to address that, we came up with the four R's policy. Recognition of the problem, recapitalisation of the bank, resolution of the problem, and reforms. Manmohan Singh is here, he will know as to what happens when quality assessment is done. A review was done. The banks NPAs naturally increased after recognising the problem.

Ms. Sitharaman highlights the trail that led to the current situation.

 

Lok Sabha | 5.20 p.m.

The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019 is being introduced.

Mohanbhai S. Delkar (Ind.), of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (ST): "Our language and culture are the same. Now with the merger of union territories, the revenue is strong now. We can get an assembly now.

The central schemes are not implemented in union territories. The Home Minister should empower the union territories."

Lok Sabha | 5.15 p.m.

Lok Sabha passes The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

According to the amendment, the SPG will now protect the prime minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.

It will also provide security to former prime ministers and their immediate family members staying with them at the residence allotted for a period of five years from the date on which they cease to hold the office.

Rajya Sabha | 5.10 p.m.

Jairam Ramesh (INC): "GST was passed in good faith. We need a cooperative approach. Forget the past. What has happened in the last 5 years, 5 months, 5 days? I request govt to rise above party politics."

Lok Sabha | 4.45 p.m.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: LSTV/PTI

 

Home Minister Amit Shah rises to speak, receives applause. "Citizens and the prime minister are all alike, but the PM needs to be secured. As long as he is the PM, SPG will take cover. The security of the Gandhi family has not been withdrawn. Their protection is only changed, based on threat assessment. Threat assessment was very well made. CRPF will take care of them. Gandhi family given ‘Z-plus’ security with advance security liaison, ambulance. When SPG was withdrawn from ex-PMs Chandra Shekhar, IK Gujral, Manmohan Singh, no one uttered single word.

N.K. Premachandran mentioned that this was vendetta. But Narendra Modi govt will not work on vendetta. This was purely professional. Vindictive approach not BJP’s culture but of Congress.

Many times Rahul Gandhi has taken many number of foreign trips without SPG cover. They had so many years of SPG cover and never was there an issue relating to security."

Rajya Sabha | 4.40 p.m.

On economic issues, Sudhanshu Trivedi (BJP) says: "Whatever is happening inside, the facts should also be understood and accepted. We mostly see what we want to see. Those who have shunned their wisdom, can never see the truth. Our govt has brought Jan Dhan Yojana, structural reforms and more for the poor. It saved around Rs. 1.5 lakh crores. It went into the hands of 8 crore people. Regarding consumption, be it rice or wheat, be it electronics, there has been growth. The govt has taken the biggest financial reform."

Lok Sabha | 4.40 p.m.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP): "Our SPG cover is the best of all. Prime Minister is the symbol of democracy. This bill is significant today since the geopolitical conflicts of India is changing. Certainly we have to protect the prime minister. This is a huge step."

Rajya Sabha | 4.20 p.m.

Sanjay Singh (AAP) says: "Big companies keep growing. Smaller firms keep dying. The dollar keeps going higher. We shouldn't let Ambani's firms reach heights. Let's concentrate on small and medium scale enterprises."

Majeed Memon (NCP) says: "The tragedy is not simply economic prices. The greater tragedy is non recognition by those in power about the reality of economic crisis. We have heard some of our speakers. Prabhu ji, the ex-minister was speaking about growth. Automobile sector is facing worse crisis in 20 years. About 2.30 lakh jobs have been lost in the auto sector. 300 dealerships have been shut down."

Lok Sabha | 4.10 p.m.

N.K. Premachandran (RSP) says that the SPG cover was withdrawn for Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. "What is the necessity of this legislation? The two former prime ministers of the country were assassinated when their SPG cover was gone. Rajiv Gandhi was brutally killed in Sriperumbudhur in Chennai. If there is a threat perception, the cover will be there. These two former prime ministers sacrificed their lives. I suggest that we are not seeking for any particular individual. If there is any security threat, they have to be protected. Kindly don't play politics in this issue. I'd recommend for the bill to be withdrawn."

P. Raveendranath Kumar (AIADMK) says that the Union govt has increased the budget allocation for security and supports the bill by implementing the amendment to the SPG Act.

Rajya Sabha | 4.00 p.m.

K.K. Rajesh of CPI(M) says: "Our GDP has already declined into 5%. What is the impact of the economic crisis? What is the promise that was made? Every year 1 crores of jobs are being lost. We are witnessing agrarian crisis. Farmers suicides are high. What is the remedy that they provide? I demand the govt to improve the purchasing power. 28 cases are listed for selling out. I demand the govt to intervene and increase the purchasing power."

Rajya Sabha | 3.45 p.m.

BJP member and former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu speaks in the Rajya Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday.

BJP member and former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu speaks in the Rajya Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: RSTV/PTI

 

On economic issues, Suresh Prabhu (BJP) says: "We are more integrated to economic slowdown. Even the largest economies of the world, USA, Germany, Japan face slow growths. Inflation is below the targeted rate of RBI. Someone was saying that India isn't getting enough. India is getting good foreign direct investments. Our fiscal deficit is also manageable. In the last few years, the highlight was the ease of doing business ranking. This govt has tried to address challenges. The way the banking system has been running, it has been addressing issues. Many issues that we are facing today, are being worked on. First we need to identify the problem. We are trying to work on demand."

We have become the 3rd largest aviation market in the world, thanks to the Prime Minister's decision that every common man can fly. Infrastructure improvement is also a key factor."

Lok Sabha | 3.30 p.m.

A. Raja (DMK) says that a prime agency like the SPG is being assigned political colours in this House.

He brings up the trial of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. BJP Members begin protesting. He says that the assessment done must be disclosed to the House.

Sudip Bandhopadhyay (Trinamool) says that only five persons have been allotted SPG protection — the PM, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. He wants to know how many SPG people are employed now, and how will they be allocated if it is only for the Prime Minister.

Lok Sabha | 3 p.m.

A BJP member brings up the 1984 riots. Congress Members protest.

He says that only the Prime Minister must get SPG cover.

Lok Sabha | 2.30 p.m.

The House passes the Bill banning e-cigarettes and takes up the amendment to the SPG Act.

Manish Tewari (INC) speaks as to why the amendment should not be passed. He quotes a 1989 Cabinet report as to the dangers faced by former Prime Ministers and their families.

How has the threat perception changed, just like that? he asks.

Rajya Sabha | 2.30 p.m.

Ashwini Vaishnaw (BJP) says this is a cyclical slowdown and it will bottom out by March.

The seeds of this slowdown started in 2011-13 period, when 2G scam and coal scam happened. The Supreme Court cancelled the allocation of natural resources which gave a huge economic shock. This was followed by populist schemes which weakened our economy, he says.

This was followed by a series of free trade agreements which impacted Indian businesses. All these things weakened the entire system.

Rajya Sabha | 2.15 p.m.

We are staring at an alarming fiscal deficit, Anand Sharma says. To meet the revenue target of the budget, ₹15.4 lakh crore have to come in the next six months. Last year, there was a deficit of close to ₹1.6 lakh crore. The government took from the RBI’s reserves, says Mr. Sharma.

If factories are shut down, who will pay GST? If people lose their jobs, who will pay taxes, he asks. Fiscal deficit is more than 5% says the CAG report, says Mr. Sharma.

He says the government may fiddle with numbers, but they are crawling towards 7-8% fiscal deficit. The problem is that the governmentis rejecting this with all seriousness. If demand does not return, what will the factories produce and whom will they sell to?

NPAs have gone from ₹3 lakh crore to ₹11 lakh crore. This is not a question of when it started.

He asks the government to take this seriously. We can become a $5 trillion economy only if GDP is in the double digits, he says. Your laws are only for 10% of the people in this country.

Rajya Sabha | 2.10 pm

Rajya Sabha takes up short duration discussion on the economic situation of the country. Deputy Chairperson Harivansh is in the Chair.

Congress leader Anand Sharma starts the debate. He points out the GDP is falling, factories are closing down, people don't have cash, agriculture is in a bad shape. The widening gap between the rich and poor is frightening.

10% of rich have 40 times the share of wealth of rest of the population. The situation is not a slowdown or recession. It is neither cyclical nor structural. We are staring at a deepening economic crisis specific to India, he says.

He says that this is not political. We can see that there is an issue with the credibility of data in this country.

With the number of changes in the GST rate, it has further wrecked the unorganised sector, he says. “We urged the government to not impose GST in haste,” says the Member.

Lok Sabha | 2.10 p.m.

The motion to pass the Bill is adopted by voice vote.

Amendments brought by Sougata Roy, N.K. Premachandran and Bhartruhari Mahtab are negated.

Lok Sabha | 2.05 p.m.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan responds. "Modi hai to mumkin hai!" he says on a question to how will the law be implemented.

On converting tobacco farmers to change crop, he says agricultural ministry is working on it and ITC is also giving farming alternatives to tobacco growers.

E-cigarettes are also harmful, so we are right in banning it, he says.

Speaker Om Birla takes the Bill for voting. 

Lok Sabha | 2.00 p.m.

N.K. Premachandran (RSP) says while the WHO convention talks about regulating nicotine, what is the need for banning e-cigarette?

SSP Singh (BSP) asks if e-cigarette is banned because it is hurting the market of ITC?

Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) moves amendments. He opposes sweeping orders granted to the law enforcement agencies.

Lok Sabha | 1.50 p.m.

Nishikant Dubey (BJP) asks how the government is going to combat smuggling of e-cigarettes from neighbouring countries? He also points out e-commerce firms are selling e-cigarettes.

Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) joins the issue with Mr. Dubey. He asks how the government will tackle black marketing of e-cigarettes. In States where prohibition is in force, bootlegging is a huge menace, he points out.

Ritesh Pandey (BSP) asks if a factory is exporting e-cigarettes where it is not banned, can continue its business.

Tejaswi Surya (BJP) asks about the regulatory framework on e-cigarette ban. He also suggests sale of loose cigarettes be banned.

Sudhakaran (Congress) says the Bill is an eyewash to protect the tobacco lobby. "As per your conscience answer me, which is the lesser evil? cigarettes or e-cigarettes?"

M. Bharat (YSRCP) raises the issue of tobacco farmers. A large chunk of tobacco growers are from Andhra Pradesh.

Lok Sabha | 1.30 p.m.

War of words between Harsh Vardhan and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

During the debate on banning e-cigarettes, Dr. Harsh Vardhan says he brought the first regulation on tobacco. Mr. Chowdhury lists out the laws brought by Congress on tobacco ban and regulation.

Mr. Chowdhury withdraws the statutory resolution.

Lok Sabha | 1.15 p.m.

Minister now responds to other Members’ questions on the Bill

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (INC) says that 10 people die every second due to tobacco consumption in India. He says absolute numbers of smokers has gone up. He asks why not ban tobacco instead.

Minister Harsh Vardhan responds. He lists out the steps taken by the government to combat tobacco usage. He makes remarks on the previous Congress government. Mr. Chowdhury objects to it.

Rajya Sabha | 12.45 p.m.

Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Labour Minister of State, answers a question on the requirement of a skilled labour force.

The next question is on lack of facilities in detention centres.

House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 12.45 p.m.

Since e-cigarettes have a small consumer base, the ban will be effective, says the Minister. A lack of a ban on tobacco cannot justify a new addiction, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 12.30 p.m.

Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS, Housing and Urban Affairs, answers a question on unauthorised colonies.

Mr. Puri then answers a question on privatisation of major airports in the country. A Member brings up Air India. Mr. Puri says that only 25% of salaries were withheld and they will be paid when the disinvestment process begins.

Santanu Sen (Trinamool) asks if not a single employee will lose their job during the disinvestment process. Mr. Puri says that as far as issues relating to current employees are concerned, the government is trying to ensure a deal where everything is taken care of.

Lok Sabha | 12.30 p.m.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Health Minister, introduces The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

He says e-cigarettes include toxic chemicals, heavy metals and carcinogens. It is often assumed that vapours are steam, which is wrong, he says. They are chemical vapours which deliver nicotine and other toxic chemicals. Some States have even included nicotine in the schedule of poisonous substances.

He says Opposition opposed the Ordinance but supported the Bill. He also says that Ordinance is a good way to bring up the issue with the Opposition. We needed to bring the Ordinance instead of waiting for two months, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 12 noon

Question Hour begins. Hardeep Singh Puti, MoS, Civil Aviation, answers a question on the UDAN scheme in Odisha.

The next question is on guidelines on air cargo service.

Lok Sabha | 12 noon

Speaker says the House has completed all 20 questions today. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi also congratulates the Speaker and the House.

Papers are laid on the table.

T.R Baalu (DMK) speaks about the protests against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project. He says criminal cases have been filed against 9,000 people.

Rajya Sabha | 11.45 a.m.

Adhir Ranjan Biswas (Trinamool Congress) says that States implementing the new Motor Vehicles Act are facing difficulties.

Sambhaji Chhatrapati (BJP) speaks about floods and unprecedented rains in Maharashtra.

Lok Sabha | 11.45 a.m.

M.K Raghavan asks a question about redevelopment of Kozhikode Railway station. Suresh Angadi, MoS, Railways, says that he will have to obtain the details after looking into it.

Shashi Tharoor (INC) asks why National Statistical Office is not accountable to Parliament. The Minister says that Commissions are not accountable to Parliament. Mr. Tharoor says that the country’s statistics image is being affected worldwide. He asks if the government would agree to a panel of experts to look into the methods employed. Rao Inderjit Singh says the government is happy to have inputs, but will have to take the decision on its own.

Tejasvi Surya (BJP) asks a question on incentives for electronics manufacturers.

Rajya Sabha | 11.30 a.m.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar (BJP) is speaking about the non-notification of the RERA Act by certain States and Union Territories.

B. Lingaiah Yadav (TRS) speaks in Telugu asking BHEL to expedite its work on the Yadadri Power Project.

Satyanarayan Jatiya (BJP) speaks about Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Sasmit Patra (BJD) asks for National Maritime Heritage Festival Status for the Balijatra festival in Cuttack.

R. Vaithilingam (AIADMK) brings up the sugar industry in Tamil Nadu.

Lok Sabha | 11.30 a.m.

The next question on vernacular languages in examinations is asked by A. Raja (DMK). He says that State-wise competitive exams must be held.

The Minister says that regional languages are also included in exams. He says more than 13 languages have been included.

The next question is on Hindi medium for competitive exams, followed by a question on Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.

Rajya Sabha | 11.15 a.m.

B.K. Hariprasad (INC) speaks of flooding and drought situation in Karnataka.

G.C. Chandrashekhar (INC) speaks in Kannada.

Partap Singh Bajwa (INC) says that Punjab was structurally damaged by GST, but decided that it was a leap of faith, a sacrifice for the State. He says that GST compensation has become once in two months, from every month. The payment for August and September has still not come.

Lok Sabha | 11.15 a.m.

The next question is on recruitment in the Army.

Suresh Kodikunnil, INC raises the issue of the killing of a  government officer, sarpanch and six others injured in Kashmir and asked where is 'normalcy'.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh says that in the last five and a half years, other than J&K, there have been no terror incidents. Opposition asks the Minister to stick to J&K. Mr. Singh says that while the incident is condemnable, action will be taken.

Nusrat Jahan (Trinamool Congress) asks a question on broadband and internet facilities.

Sanjay Dhotre, MoS, Communications gives the numbers on broadband facilities in Rajasthan.

Rajya Sabha | 11 a.m.

House is in Session. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair.

Chair reads out an obituary reference to Kailash Joshi. He then congratulates the winners of the International Shooting Federation championship in China.

Papers are laid on the table.

Zero Hour Begins. T. Subbarami Reddy (INC) speaks about the Srisailam dam.

Lok Sabha | 11 a.m.

House is in Session. Speaker Om Birla is in the Chair.

Question Hour begins. The first question is on the decline of coal output. Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) asks if carbon can be captured through thermal plants to create diamonds. She says this will also reduce energy consumption and meet the country’s needs.

Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi says that as far as pollution is concerned, our coal companies are taking a lot of care. But for this particular question, it needs to be consulted with the Power Ministry.

10.45 a.m.

Here is the list of business for the day.

Lok Sabha

- The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

- The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

- The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019.

Rajya Sabha

- Short duration discussion on the economic situation.

- The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

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