Lok Sabha passes amendments to SC/ST Act

The government tabled the SC/ST amendment Bill in Lok Sabha  on Monday and it was unanimously passed by the House. The Rajya Sabha passed the constitutional amendment Bill granting constitutional status to National Commission of Backward Classes. The upper House also passed an amendment to the Criminal Law Act that awards death penalty to child rape convicts.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for 10 minutes after Congress and RJD members protested over Muzaffarpur shelter homes rapes.

Here are the live updates:

Lok Sabha | 8.20 pm

The Bill goes for voting.

N.K. Premachandran brings two amendments. They are not accepted.

Adhir Ranjan Choudhury brings an amendment to make the Bill come under the Ninth Schedule. The amendment is negative through voice vote.

Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) brings an amendment. It is also negative.

Amendments brought by the government are accepted.

The Bill is passed and the House is adjourned.

Lok Sabha | 8.00 pm

Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot responds. He thanks all members for supporting the Bill.  He recalls Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first words, that the government will be for the Dalits and backward class people. When the Supreme Court questioned reservation in promotion, government filed a review petition and ensured reservation continues, he says.

He repeats what he said on reservation in Rajya Sabha during a discussion on the NCBC Bill.

On why delay in bringing the Bill, Mr. Gehlot says the cabinet decided we would file a review petition first. If you still think the Bill is late, you could have brought it in the last 10 years, Mr. Gehlot says pointing at the opposition.

He says 30 States and UTs have dedicated courts to tackle cases pertaining to the SC/ST Act. The Bill proposes compensation to victims, he says. They will be given within seven days of registration of FIR. The Bill will increase the conviction rates too, he adds.

He says some members have brought amendments. They are not needed since the Bill takes care of all concerns of the members, he adds. 

He lists out the developments and benefits given to the SCs and STs during the NDA government's past four years of rule.

Lok Sabha | 7.50 pm

Lakshadweep member Mohammed Faizal says nearly 3000 children are facing "atrocity" because they are not categorised tribals. This is because the children have to be born in Lakshadweep to tribal parents.

Idris Ali (TMC) speaks in Bengali.

Ramdas Athwale, MoS Social Justice, makes a brief speech laced with poetry.

Lok Sabha | 7.30 pm

Lok Sabha continues to discuss amendments to SC/ST Act. The House has extended its sitting to another one hour.

Mamtaz Sanghmitra (Trinamool) says the discrimination against Dalits dates back to the time of Ekalavya of the Mahabharata.

Kamala Patle (BJP) says the SC/ST were unhappy with the Supreme Court ruling and the amendment would assure them of justice.

N.K. Premachandran (RSP) terms the SC judgment as "shocking" and says the Bill is the "need of the hour." it is the right of an investigating officer to arrest a person and the judgment took away this right, he says.

Ram Chandra Hansdah (BJD) says he supports the Bill because 38 per cent of Odisha's population are SC and STs. He seeks to know the number of government servants prosecuted under the Act.

Sitaram Naik (TRS) recalls how six tribals were massacred in Andhra Pradesh on the same day in 1991. Even though several arrests were made, none were convicted, he claims. Even though there is a sizable tribal lawmakers, not much has been done for the community he says.

Rajya Sabha | 7.20 pm

The Bill goes for voting.

Clause by clause amendments are now taken up for voting.  The clauses 2 to 26 are taken for voting as a block and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 has been passed.

House is adjourned for the day.

Rajya Sabha | 7.05 pm

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs of India Kiren Rijiju thanks all the members for giving such useful and sensitive inputs. This is not a political issue, he says.

He addresses the criticisms raised by the members and says that he will discuss with the government about the use of the word 'woman' though it is in accordance with the current law. About victim protection, he says the Home Affairs has a scheme for victim and witness protection and that it is being popularized with gravity across the governments.

He adds that the term is "rigorous imprisonment or death."  He also addresses concerns on the gender concerns, and says that the govt will take adequate measures to ensure that there is no character assassination of the women. The judge and the statement recording will be done as far as possible by a woman judge and magistrate respectively, he says. There shall be no previous sanction required for the prosecution of a public servant accused of rape, he adds.  We have initiated a centrally-funded scheme to set up fast track courts to address the issue of case pile-up.

Awareness about these crimes and specific helplines have been set up. Every mother and father should ask your children where they are going and what they are doing to ensure that they are not causing trouble in the society, our PM said from Red Fort. I hope this bill will be passed now, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 6.50 pm

When Chhaya Verma (INC, Chattisgarh) is about to speak, certain members murmer protest, to which Speaker says in this issue, the male members should give their time too to women members. She says two months is too short a time to investigate it, citing the number of vacancies in police and forensic forces.

"I welcome this bill, with one or two changes," says DMK MP Tiruchi Siva. He reiterates that the bill needs to make rape gender-neutral and that the bill should include males and transgenders, in addition to female children. He objects to the death penalty, saying that the women who have been abused tend to want the culprits to be imprisioned for life so that they can repent for their lifetime - death is too quick an outlet, he says he has been told. Death sentence is not a deterrent to crime either, he says.

Husain Dalwai (INC, Maharashtra) says it is important to bring about a change in our education and police system rather than just bringing an amendment. Binoy Viswam (CPI, Kerala) supports this and says the real issue here is the patriarchal attitude of our society. The social, psycologial and human impacts of the victims and their families need to be considered too, he adds.

 

Rajya Sabha | 6.30 pm

K.T.S Thulsi says that there are various aspects of this law that have not been taken into account - for instance, a strong witness protection law and a strong evidence collection culture. It is only by reducing the dependence on oral evidence that we can reduce the pressure on girls. We need special courts where the girls feel protected enough to give a statement against the perpretator of crime

The time limit is set for appeals but not for the actual trial - how is that effective? asks Dr. Amee Yajnik (AIMC, Gujarat). She also refers to the piling up of POSCO cases and says that these aspects need to be considered instead of just bringing in harsher punishment.

Kahkashan Perween (Janata Dal, Bihar) says that no relationship is sacrosanct now. Earlier, we used to say teacher is like god, but now, from the time the child goes to school until she returns, the parents are worried.  We all have to work together to enlighten the world against these issues. Vandana Chavan from NCP Maharashtra adds to this, says that we react in a knee-jerk manner to issues of child abuse.  Instead of bringing an amendment under the IPC, it should have been brought under POSCO since it is for children under 12, she says.  She says the term "women" should be deleted since such crimes are applicable to even children of 2-3 years. This is gender-biased too, the MP adds, citing data relating to the number of boys who have been victims of abuse. She objects to the death sentence too and says that harsher punishment would mean that the lawyers would be ready to go to any extent to cross-examine the child victims, scarring them further in life.

Rajya Sabha | 6:10 pm

Sukentu Shekar Ray (AITC) supports the bill, but he says he objects to the difference in pubishment for culprits above and below 16 years of age. He requests the government to re-look into this and adds that the govt should focus on the implementation of the law, rather than just pass it. More than 23% of cases in courts are pending for 10 years, he says.

Jhama Das Baidya (CPIM, Tripura) says that the bill should not be passed.  She bats for the needs for camera trials and the need for media conduct with regard to such sensitive cases. The backlog in child sexual abuse cases in the courts play and important role in her objecting to the passage of the bill, she says. Seven out of 10 people accused under the bill will go scot-free because of the inadequency of the courts.

Prof. Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD, Bihar) opines that if the punishment for murder and rape is the same, that gives a reason for rapists to kill their victims. It is a matter of collective shame for us that a rape victim is not given new clothes when hers are collected for rape tests. We need to consider that boys too are victims of sexual abuse, he adds.

Rajya Sabha | 6:00 pm

Congress leader Rajeev Gowda says the Bill is welcome but needs more improvements. He wants to reconsider the death penalty clause. He also wants the law to address compensation to victims. He says the Bill is silent on male sexual victims.

The House is extended for three hours for the bill to be passed.

Rupa Ganguly (BJP) says child rape convicts and paedophile deserve capital punishment.

Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) says eye witness and victims must get protection. He suggests the victim or the victim's guardian must be given a chance to oppose the bail plea of the culprit. He says remission is a right and the law cannot do away with it. He says that he supports the Bill but that the term woman needs to be changed to girl child since she is less than 12 years of age.

Lok Sabha | 5:50 pm

Kirit Solanki (BJP) says he thanks the government on behalf of 3 crore Dalits of the country.

Rajya Sabha | 5:45 pm

Ravi Prakash Verma (SP) initiates the debate. He says the Bill is timely and must be supported. However, he says he has reservation on capital punishment.  He thinks the death penalty is a populist move. He observes the perpetrators have killed the rape victims after the Nirbhaya incident. He fears this may continue.

Rajya Sabha | 5:40 pm

Rajya Sabha now takes up the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The Bill seeks to amend the criminal law to award death penalty for child rape convicts. MoS Kiren Rijiju moves the Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha.

Vandana Chavan (NCP) says the Bill must be sent to the Select Committee since the Bill must be under POCSO and not Criminal Law.

Rajeev Gowda (Congress) moves amendment. He wants to send the Bill to Select Committee. But he withdraws it.

Lok Sabha | 5:15 pm

Lok Sabha continues discussion on amendments to the SC/ST Act.

Chirag Paswan (LJP) says the it is the Modi government that has strengthened the SC/ST Act after the V.P. Singh government.

Rajya Sabha | 5:15 pm

Rajya Sabha passes the NCBC Bill.

Rajya Sabha passes the NCBC Bill.   | Photo Credit: RSTV

 

The Bill goes for voting. B.K. Hariprasad, Hussain Dalwai, and Chhaya Verma had earlier moved amendments. They say they are not pressing for it after the Minister's assurance.

Since it is a constitutional amendment, the Bill will be taken for division.

Lobbies are cleared.  Members point out some ministers who are not part of upper House are present. The Chair assures them they won't have voting rights.

The Bill is unanimously passed with 156-0.

The NCBC (Repeal) Bill, 2017 is taken for voting.

Rajya Sabha | 5:00 pm

Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot responds in Rajya Sabha. Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu reminds him to stick to the time limit.

Recalling Atal Bihari Vajpayee's term as Prime Minister, Mr. Gehlot says the former PM took efforts to continue reservation.

Mr. Gehlot says the formula for creamy layer is being continued and from time to time it is being increased. The sub-categorisation of OBCs is a long pending demand and will be considered after Justice Rohini panel submits their recommendation.

He reiterates that the rules will ensure one woman member and one most backward member will be part of the panel.

Mr. Gehlot says states' rights won't be infringed. States maintain separate list on OBCs, while Centre maintains a separate lists. If a State wants to add a caste name to the Central list, it will be added after bringing a Bill, he explains.

Lok Sabha | 4:55 pm

Jithendra Cahudhary (CPI-M) highlights the plight of Scheduled Tribes. They are living in forests, near the river banks, but they do not have any rights over the land. Over one crore family live in the forest and only 30 lakhs have been granted the benefits of forest rights, he says.

In the name of bullet trains and industrial corridors government is giving lands to corporates, but to release a piece of land to adivasis, they have to provide proofs, he says.

Lok Sabha | 4:35 pm

Ravindra Babu (TDP) targets the government for appointing the judge who diluted the SC/ST law as the chairperson of the National Green Tribunal. He accuses the government of shedding crocodile tears. If you are sincere, bring the law under Schedule Ninth of the Constitution, he asks.  Mr. Babu calls casteism a "genetic disorder." Caste doesn't thrive on reservation, it thrives on marriage, varna system, he claims.

Mr. Babu asks if there is any reservation in the spread of wealth.

Mr. Babu calls impeachment of the judge who passed the law to dilute SC/ST law. He also says the Supreme Court is interfering too much.

Lok Sabha | 4:20 pm

Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) says his party treats everyone equal and doesn't discriminate anyone. He says we are still discussing on providing safety to the SCs/STs. Our caste is cast on us the moment we are born. Quoting Bal Thackeray, Mr. Sawant says reservations will not end caste discrimination. When the government can change a SC ruling for SC/ST, can't you change the fifty per cent threshold, he asks.

Mr. Sawant says the legal proceedings must be undertaken on people who misuse the law.

Rajya Sabha | 4:20 pm

T.K.S Elangovan (DMK) recalls party founder Anna Durai's play on Shivaji. Mr. Elangovan says socially backward have never gone forward. He recalls how despite the training, non-brahmins were not allowed to be made priests.

Mr. Elangovan says it is the government that should recommend who the backward category and not the governor.

Rajya Sabha | 4:10 pm

Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) says every discussion begins with caste and ends with a demand of quota. Are all being adequately represented in the governance, he asks recalling Shahu Maharaj's cabinet. Mr. Raut says the nation will develop only after the reservation ends. Once people were shying away to call themselves backward, but today everyone wants to take the benefits of reservation, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 4:00 pm

Vijila Sathyananth (AIADMK) says it is the right time we provide constitutional status to NCBC. She seeks a separate caste census and claims the OBCs could be over 52 per cent of the population but continue to be ignored. As a member of Standing Committee on OBC, I have been fighting for the abolishing of creamy layer, she says. There must be an OBC welfare ministry, she says.

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JD-U) claims nepotism and caste discrimination in UPSC interviews. He says Bihar has successfully implemented reservation.

Lok Sabha | 4:00 pm

Tapas Mandal (Trinamool) points out that Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have reported highest cases against SCs and STs respectively. He also points out both states are ruled by the BJP.  Mr. Mandal also points out the conviction rates in cases under the Act is as low as 16 per cent in 2016.

Lok Sabha | 3:40 pm

AIADMK member K. Gopal lauds the Bill for not allowing anticipatory bail in offences against the SC/STs. Dalits and Tribals continue to face discrimination, he says. In many instances it is difficult separate atrocity against Dalits and law and order issues, he says. Dr. Gopal says a comprehensive law on the lines of US and UK to declare caste panchayats unlawful. Dr. Gopal comes down heavily on cow vigilantism, so-called honour killing, especially Bhima Koregaon violence and Una flogging row. It is unfortunate such incidents are happening when India will be celebrating her 72nd Independence Day, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 3:30 pm

Chhaya Verma (Congress) too pitches for reservation in legislature for OBCs. She says the creamy layer clause must be removed. She also says the OBC list is too long and the present reservation cannot help all OBCs.

Bhupendra Yadav (BJP) speaks in favour of the Bill. Mr. Yadav says two terms of UPA failed to bring this amendment. Mr. Yadav says OBC is a religious neutral term. He claims the Bill failed to get passed in Rajya Sabha last time "because religious politics defeated social justice."

Mr. Yadav says the Bill is a long overdue. Even now may States haven't implemented 27 per cent reservation to OBCs. He claims that several castes in the OBC list are treated like the Dalits but they do not fall under the SC list.  He says parties must think beyond vote bank and help in uplifting the people.

Mr. Yadav targets Congress, says the party doesn't give importance to leaders from downtrodden communities. He recalls how Sitaram Kesari was removed form Congress president post. Congress members object to it and point out he resigned.

Lok Sabha | 3:30 pm

Vinod Kumar Sonkar (BJP) comes down heavy on the Supreme Court ruling seeking arrest only after a preliminary enquiry by the police. Mr. Sonkar also targets Mallikharjun Kharge. He says Congress couldn't award the Bharat Ratna to B.R. Ambedkar.

Mr. Sonkar says the Aligarh Muslim University should provide reservation to the SC/STs and OBCs.

Rajya Sabha | 3:15 pm

Narendra Jadhav (Nominated) says the findings of socio-economic caste census must be made public. We are still working on the basis of 1931 census. It is imperative to know the actual percentage of people in OBC. He also wants the Rohini Commission's report and the census data must be compared and a fresh list of OBC list.

Ram Kumar Kashyap (INLD) says two panel members must be taken from extreme backward classes. He also wants government to find the data on who are the OBCs.  He seeks the government to bring a bill for reservation in legislature for the OBCs.

Lok Sabha | 3:10 pm

Congress floor leader Mallikharjun Kharge speaks during a debate in the Lok Sabha on August 6, 2018.

Congress floor leader Mallikharjun Kharge speaks during a debate in the Lok Sabha on August 6, 2018.   | Photo Credit: LSTV

 

Mallikharjun Kharge makes a few suggestions. He says reservation must not be ended. It is due to reservation these people are getting some respect, justice, he says. He points out that as many as 25 lakh government jobs are lying vacant.

Congress and BJP members trade charges against each other. Let's not discuss on who is responsible, says M. Thambi Durai, who is in the Chair.

The Prime Minister speaks about Kabir Das, Ambedkar, he remembers Basavanna in Karnataka, but inside you believe in Manu, Mr. Kharge alleges. He quotes Ambedkar "I want all people to be Indians first, Indians last, and nothing but Indians." It was Congress who supported Ambedkar and his cause, Mr. Kharge says.

Mallikharjun Kharge says the atrocity Act must be included in Schedule Nine of the Constitution. He wants the cases against people who were agitating in April to be withdrawn.

Rajya Sabha | 3:00 pm

Ahmed Hussain (TMC) says a major issue pertaining to the Bill still remains. He says the Bill intrudes the rights of the States. He recalls Trinamool leader Sukhendu Shekar Roy taking it up during the last discussion. He says the Bill is affecting the federal structure of the Constitution.

Rajya Sabha | 2:45 pm

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) says the Bill will not work until reservation is in place in judiciary as well. He also bats for proportional representation.

Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) says he welcomes the Bill. He says former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was a fighter and saviour for the backward people. He lauds 'Amma' for bringing 69 per cent reservation. She says while other States couldn't do it due to ninth Schedule, she ensured the reservation stays. He says he has reservation with the creamy layer clause. Parental income shouldn't decide the quota, he says.

Lok Sabha | 2:45 pm

Congress leader Mallikharjun Kharge says this Bill could have been brought as an Ordinance.  When the government brought six ordinances, they could have brought one more, he says.

Mr. Kharge says the government brought the Bill only in the fear that they may lose elections. He also lauds the Dalit MPs in the ruling party for lobbying for the Bill.

Mr. Kharge targets the right wing forces on the atrocities leashed against the Dalits. On one hand you want to unite Hindus but on the other hand you are ill-treating the Dalits. "A person cannot have mustache, cannot ride on a horse, he will be flogged, won't be allowed to use public well..." he goes on to say, but members from BJP object. "You won't understand till you were born in my caste," retorts Mr. Kharge.

Mr. Kharge also points out at the rise in the attacks against SC/ST.

Lok Sabha | 2:30 pm

Lok Sabha reassembles. Social Justice MoS Thaawar Chand Gehlot introduces the SC/ST amendment Bill.  The Bill was necessitated following a Supreme Court ruling that is said to have diluted the provisions of SC/ST Act. The ruling led to nation-wide protests and the Centre also filed a review petition. Since the petition wen against the government's favour, an amendment has been brought in.

The apex court in its order had stated that immediate arrest of an accused under this SC/ST Act would no longer be mandatory. The arrest was to follow a preliminary enquiry by the probing agency or the police.

Mr. Gehlot says the main amendment in the Act is to make immediate arrests. On the issue of false cases under the Act, Mr. Gehlot says false cases are filed under many sections as well and just becase some 10 per cent misuse a law, it cannot be diluted.

Rajya Sabha | 2:40 pm

Sambhaji Chatrapati (BJP) says Shahu Maharaj provided reservation over 170 years ago in the Maratha dynasty. Mr. Chatrapati says he despises the violence in the ongoing Maratha stir seeking quota for their community. He speech is more on Maratha reservation than on the Bill.

Rajya Sabha | 2:20 pm

B.K. Hariprasad (Congress) initiates the debate.  Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot sought the members help to pass the Bill since it was unanimously passed in the lower House. Mr. Hariprasad takes note of Mr. Gehlot's remarks and recalls the role of the Upper House in enhancing a Bill.

Mr. Hariprasad also notes not many OBC judges are present in the higher judiciary.

Mr. Hariprasad says the creamy layer clause must go as many OBCs are not being given chance in UPSC. While many want to restrict the reservation to 50 per cent, even after the Supreme Court has clearly said there is no such ban, he says. He takes the example of Tamil Nadu, AIADMK MPs point out it was their 'Amma' who ensured it. "Naan solradha konjam kelunga (Listen to what I am saying)," Mr. Hariprasad says in Tamil. He says he only wants to laud the Dravidan parties for ensuring justice to backward clases.

Mr. Hariprasad says the panel must have a woman member and a person for the minority group. He also goes on to say minority is not just Muslim and he is also "a microscopic linguistic minority." Mr. Hariprasad's mother tongue is Tulu.

Rajya Sabha | 2:10 pm

In Rajya Sabha, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, MoS Social Justice and Empowerment, introduces The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill, 2017. The amendment pertains to creating a National Commission for Backward Classes.

The Bill was unanimously passed in the Lok Sabha. The Bill was originally returned to Lok Sabha by the Rajya Sabha after adding a few amendments. Last week, Lok Sabha effectively nullified Rajya Sabha's amendments.

The panel that will come into being following the passage of the 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Lok Sabha a few days ago will be able to enforce the safeguards provided to the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) and solve their grievances.

The present NCBC can only recommend inclusion and exclusion of castes from the OBC list and the level of income that cuts off the “creamy layer” among these castes from the benefits of reservation.

Read more
 

Lok Sabha | 1:10 pm

Members from Kerala raise the issue of an attempt to attack Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during his stay in Delhi. M.B. Rajesh (CPI-M) says the Delhi Police failed to provide adequate security to a State Chief Minister.

Heena Gavit (BJP) says she was attacked when she was travelling from Dhule. Only four police personnel were in the place. My party workers rescued me from there. Some 15-20 people were arrested but later let-off, she claims. She wonders if she was targetted because she is a tribal. She shows photos of her attack. She even shows photos of the culprits being garlanded. Members associate with her. A member equates it with mob violence.

Rajya Sabha | 12:50 pm

On Delhi's air pollution, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan says the 'good days' of Delhi has increased this year. He lists out the initiatives taken to handle air pollution.

Rajya Sabha adjourned. To meet again at 2 pm.

Rajya Sabha | 12:45 pm

There are many sports federations that have been derecognised. Will the government provide recognition again, a member asks. Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore says these federations were derecognised due to lacuna in their offices. If the issues are sorted out and elections are conducted, we will consider their plea for recognition, he says.

Lok Sabha | 12:40 pm

Ram Mohan Naidu (TDP) says backward districts of Andhra Pradesh were promised a packaged on the lines of Bundelkhand. He claims the per head allocation is much lesser. He also claims the State government's funds of Rs. 350 crore has been taken back. The TDP members show placards as Mr. Naidu speaks. Speaker objects to it.

Kulamani Sahoo says government should concentrate on BSNL as private players are taking a lead in the sector.

Lok Sabha | 12:30 pm

Lok Sabha reconvenes. RJD members continue to protest. They want the Home Minister to respond. The Chair says it is a serious issue and a sensitive one too. A CBI probe has been ordered. The government has to take it up seriously, she says.

Can't the Home Minister respond, asks Congress leader Mallikharjun Kharge.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar says the CBI probe will be impartial and we will take it up with the Home Minister as well.

Unhappy with the answer, Congress and RJD members walk out.

Rajya Sabha | 12:20 pm

In Rajya Sabha Suresh Bhamre, MoS Defence, is answering questions pertaining to defence procurement.

Is there uranium contamination in some states, asks Motilal Vora. Arjun Meghwal, MoS water resources, lists out 16 States that have uranium contamination. Mr. Vora asks if the government is doing anything to stop or prevent this. The Minister says two per cent samples showed contamination more than the prescribed limits. We are helping the States whenever they seek help, he says.

S.R. Balasubramoniyom (AIADMK) asks if the government plans to contain over exploitation of groundwater. Government is committed to provide pure drinking water to the people, the minister says.

Lok Sabha | 12:20 pm

In Lok Sabha Congress member Ranjeet Ranjan raises the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes. She claims an eyewitness has gone missing and alleges there is an organised effort to close the case. As she goes on to speak beyond her stipulated time, the Speaker asks the next speaker to speak.

RJD members object to this and raise slogans. House is adjourned for 10 minutes.

Rajya Sabha | 12:10 pm

How many FAST Tags are there in Maharashtra, asks Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena). Roadways Minister Nitn Gadkari agrees there were software issues with FAST tags. He says he will get the details and furnish soons.

Vijila Sathyananth (AIADMK) wants to abolish toll plaza. She asks if it will be removed in a phased manner. "If you want good services, you have to pay for it," says Nitin Gadkari.

Will the GST be reduced, asks a member. The minister says he will discuss with the Finance Ministry.

Rajya Sabha | 12:00 noon

Election for Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha will be held on August 9, 2018, Thursday.

Rajya Sabha proceeds with Question Hour. Om Prakash Mathur (BJP) asks how many FAST Tag lanes are functional in toll plazas. Roadways Minister Nitin Gadkari says all toll plazas will be brought under FAST Tag within six months. All new vehicles will have FAST Tag at the time they are bought.

Mr. Mathur also points out that parliamentarians and their families being questioned at toll plazas. Every MP gets two FAST Tags — one for Delhi, one for their constituency, says Mr. Gadkari. He adds the toll revenue actually increased after red light was removed from vehicles.

Lok Sabha | 11:50 am

"Have you ever visited Ajanta and Ellora?" asks a member accusing the Tourism ministry of not releasing adequate funds. There are nine projects underway in the area, says the minister.

Kirit Solanki raises to ask a question. He goes on to praise the Prime Minister. "You can make a speech later, ask the question," says the Chair. After a long question, the minister says he'll get back to the member with the details.

Rajya Sabha | 11:50 am

Derek O'Brein (Trinamool) raises the issue of UIDAI helpline appearing in phonebooks of mobilephones. He also says fortunately the government's proposed social media hub plan was quashed by the Supreme Court.

He talks about data protection and delinking Aadhaar from other government schemes. Big brother shouldn't watch us, he says. "Even younger brother shouldn't watch. No one should watch," says the Chair.

Rajya Sabha | 11:30 am

Ram Vichar Netam (BJP) speaks about what he calls unfair pricing of airlines.

Hussain Dalawai (Congress) speaks on Maratha quota agitation.

Lingaiah Yadav (TRS) seeks new railway line in his State Telangana.

Santiuse Kujur (Assam) raises the plight of tea garden workers in Assam. A 'chaiwala' is now a prime minister but the plight of workers are not good.

Choudhury Singh Yadav (SP) speaks about land encroachment near river banks.

Lok Sabha | 11:30 am

Tourist minister Alphons Kannanthanam says India is the largest growing tourist economy. He says the ministry has made three promotional movies to attract foreign tourists.

Will the government monitor and regulate the homestays, asks a Kerala member. The government is encouraging the homestays. A registration is needed but it's not mandatory, says Mr. Alphons.

Farooq Abdullah (NC) asks if skiing be promoted. Himachal and Kashmir runs skiing. The minister says J&K gets the maximum allocation in tourism. The Speaker says the member wants to know only about skiing. The minister cuts short his answer and says the government is promoting adventure tourism as well.

Lok Sabha | 11:20 am

A member from Maharashtra raises the issue of manufacturing units underpaying skilled workers. He also says many companies are recruiting staff as contract workers to do away with long term benefits.

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu says the salary is decided based on demand and supply of labour. The government is ensuring workers are paid as per minimum pay standards. If there is any evidence of the rules being flouted, we will take strict measures, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 11:15 am

In Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu says the House will extend the duration of business hours since there are pending bills.

Manish Gupta (TMC) raises the issue of increasing rabies cases and shortage of vaccine.

Hanumanthaiah (Congress) says locals are ignored in recruitments in banking sector. He says people who are working in rural and semi urban regions don't know the local language because of the centralised system of recruitment. This is causing unnecessary unrest, he says.  Many members associate.

Lok Sabha | 11:10 am

It's Question Hour in Lok Sabha. Neelam Sonkar (BJP) asks about shortage of skilled workers. Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu says one crore people will be trained under Pradhan Matri Kaushal Yojana. As many as 40 per cent of people trained have got employment within 90 days.

Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai says many small industries are being closed down because Chinese and Bangladeshi products are being dumped here. The ministry must stop such dumping. He says the quality of the product is low and cost is high. Minister Suresh Prabhu agrees with the member. To address the issue, we are coming up with a new industrial policy. He also agrees we don't have standards. "We have launched a programme to establish standards," he says. We have also created a unified authority to tackle dumping, he adds.

11:00 am

Both Houses convene after a two-day break.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair in Lok Sabha.  Lok Sabha remembers the nuclear attack in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the World War II. The House pays tribute.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair in Rajya Sabha.  Members and ministers are laying papers and reports to the table of the House.

10:50 am

 

Trinamool Congress members with TDP members as Lok Sabha member N. Shivprasad visits Parliament donning Lord Ram's avatar on Monday.

Trinamool Congress members with TDP members as Lok Sabha member N. Shivprasad visits Parliament donning Lord Ram's avatar on Monday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Trinamool Congress and the Telugu Desam Party are protesting in the Parliament for two different reasons. While the former wants clarity on the NRC exercise in Assam, the latter wants special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Both party members greeted each other outside the Parliament today.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 6:40:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-updates-live-day-13/article24612533.ece

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