A ruckus erupted as both Houses assembled on Tuesday morning. The Lok Sabha was adjourned minutes after it reconvened as the members of the Opposition persisted with their demand for a discussion on various issues including the situation between India and China along the border. The Lok Sabha in the post-lunch session took up a discussion on the issue of abuse in the country.
The Rajya Sabha is considering two Appropriation Bills moved by the Finance Ministry seeking more funds from the consolidated fund of India for this year and the year 2019-20. Opposition members criticised the government for “gross miscalculation of expenditure” in the Budget and asked why as much as 10% of the budget was being asked for in Supplementary Demands for grants.
Before lunch, the Upper House was in an uproar over Mallikarjun Kharge’s statements during the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Mr. Kharge had questioned if any BJP leaders had died in service of the country.
The Winter Session of Parliament began on December 7 and will conclude on December 29.
Explained | What’s on agenda for the 2022 Winter Session of Parliament?
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The Upper House stands adjourned for the day
Enforcement Department attaches ₹213 core from online betting and gambling sites
Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed in a written reply that as on December 16, the ED has attached Rs 212.91 crore proceeds of crime (PoC) in cases where online betting and gambling sites/apps were used for money laundering and hawala transactions. the Minister said that the agency is investigating several cases related to cyber crimes and crypto assets-related frauds and in some of the cases, it was noticed that online betting and gambling sites/applications were used for money laundering and hawala transactions.- PTI
V.Vijayasai Reddy raises issues ailing the MSME sector
The YSRCP MP from Andhra Pradesh raises a Special Mention to improve credit facilities for MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises).
MSMEs, he says, are the backbone of our economy. “They contribute to 27% of our GDP, 45% of our exports and create jobs for 11 crore people.”
He says that MSMEs are struggling to repay the credit dues within the stipulated 90-day limit.
“The limit is irrational because the working cycles of most MSMEs exceed 90 days,” he points out.
He says MSMEs, thus, end up defaulting and the rising NPAs in the sector have made banks reluctant to give them credit.
Upper House takes up Special Mentions
The debate on Appropriation Bills 4 and 5 seeking Supplementary funds from the consolidated fund of India concludes for the day, House is now hearing Special Mentions
More than 4 lakh hospital admissions approved under Ayushman Bharat: Centre
Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar informed the Upper House that till December 14, 4.21 crore hospital admissions worth ₹49,468.60 crore had been authorised under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY)
AB PM-JAY is the publicly funded health insurance scheme launched by the Centre in 2018, which provides a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. - PTI
House adjourned for the day, to reconvene on Wednesday, December 21 at 11.00 A.M.
0.1% decrease in agricultural/cultivable land in 2018-19 on a year-over-year comparison
In a written reply to the lower house, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar stated that the total agricultural/cultivable land in the country (as of 2018-19) stood at 180 million hectares. It was 181.06 million hectares in the previous year.
The agriculture minister was responding to a question by Bharauch (Gujarat) MP Manshukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava.
Opposition criticises Centre for asking for ₹3.25 lakh crore additional funds
During the debate on Supplementary Demands for Grants made by the Centre, Congress and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MPs in the Rajya Sabha criticised the government for “gross miscalculation of expenditure” in the Budget. They questioned whether there was any “misplaced focus” when the funds were allocated.
The government is asking to spend an additional Rs 3.25 lakh crore in the current financial year and this demand was passed in the Lower House last week. Today, in the Rajya Sabha, Congress MP from Gujarat Amee Yajnik said it was a big amount for which Parliament’s approval is being sought.
“The moot question that arises is how come there is so much error in planning? I would like to know from the honourable finance minister was it devoid of any priorities or was there any misplaced focus when the monies were allocated?” she asked.
While K. Kesava Rao of the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (formerly TRS), welcomed the additional demand, he pointed out that there were about 75 supplementaries and six appropriations. In a Rs 400 lakh crore Budget “10 per cent is coming as supplementaries”, he said.
“I want the minister to revisit the figures. Ten per cent coming as supplementary demand is something which is not palatable,” the member remarked. - PTI
BJP member cites RBI survey to say economy is in good health
Uttar Pradesh MP Dr. Raja Mohan Das Agarwal quotes the RBI’s Consumer Confidence Survey released on December 7 to say that in January of 2022, 64% of people and now, in November, 75% of people believe that their near future in the country is going to become better.
₹17,000 crore GST compensation pending to States: Centre
The government on December 20 informed Rajya Sabha that GST compensation of ₹17,176 crore is pending to States as on June 2022.
Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said the Centre is giving GST compensation to States for five years.
He said even during COVID-19 times when no GST was collected, the Government of India had given compensation to States after taking loans of ₹1.1 lakh crore and ₹1.59 lakh crore during 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Fauzia Khan says budget estimates for road construction should be made wisely
NCP MP from Maharashtra points out that through the supplementary demands presented in the Appropriation Bills by the Centre equal almost 8% of the national budget.
A major part of this from the consolidated fund of India, she says, will be going into road construction. She cited an example to point out that revenues allocated should be used wisely.
Talking about a road in Maharashtra that was to become a part of the NH-61 and was sanctioned and allotted, she said that the estimate prepared by the Transport Dempartment for this 17-km road was Rs. 430 crore and tenders were floated by the Ministry.
The road was sanctioned to the lowest bidder who gave a bid that was 31% lower that the estimate given by the Department and offered to make the road for Rs.134 crores less. She questioned by the estimates of the Transport Department so high.
She said this was one of the many such examples and was “denting our overall budget”. “We could imagine the volume and the scope for saving in the overall budget of various departments. If estimates in various departments are made more wisely, a lot of money could be saved in the overall budget..”
Discussion continues in the lower house on curbing drug menace in the country
MP from Jalandhar Santokh Singh Chaudhury stated that before the enforcement, it is imperative that all the sources for procurement of such substances be done away with.
Hasnain Masoodi, MP from Anantnag (Jammu & Kashmir) observed that the existing laws are enough to combat the drug menace in the country, it is the enforcement agency which “is not up to the mark”. He explained, agencies do not have special investigative officers. Adding his observations from his tenure as the trial judge, he stated the prosecutions fail in most cases because sampling, seizure and analysis are not done in accordance with rules.
AIMIM MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi added that it is also imperative that the state police forces spend their budgets adequately to combat the menace. Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal stated that political parties should not give tickets to people engaged in drug trade.
BJP MP from Bengaluru South said the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Education and Health must come together to develop a multi-pronged strategy for endowing purposeful engagement activities so that the youth are not distracted to drugs.
Referring to studies, the Bengaluru South MP stated that the cost of a young person taking to drugs is more cost-effective than investigation and enforcement at a belated stage.
Lok Sabha decides to send Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill to Joint Parliamentary Committee
The Lok Sabha Secretary-General sent a message to the Upper House informing the Lower House had decided to refer the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022, to a Joint Parliamentary Committee of 21 members from Lok Sabha and 10 of the Rajya Sabha.
The Secretary-General recommended the RS to concur with the motion and give the names of members it wants to send to the Committee by the day of the first week of the Budget Session 2023 (second part).
Rajya Sabha to sit till 7 p.m. today to complete the debate on Appropriation Bills, Finance Ministry to give reply tomorrow, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar says
Winter session may conclude early
The Winter Session of Parliament is likely to conclude on December 23, a week ahead of schedule, official sources said on Tuesday.
The decision to recommend an early conclusion of the session was taken at a meeting of Lok Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee chaired by Speaker Om Birla, they said.
Jagdeep Dhankhar says won’t hesitate to suspend business for discussions if notices qualify on merit
Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar told the opposition parties that he would not hesitate to suspend the scheduled business of the House under Rule 267 even if that was to be done daily, provided that the notices submitted by members qualified on merit.
Mr. Dhankhar, however, asserted simultaneously that he would not invoke the rule even once during his term if notices were devoid of merit.
What is Rule 267 of the Rajya Sabha?
The chairman remarked that the demand for suspension of business of the day under Rule 267 and ‘point of order’ had become tools to disrupt proceedings.
Several notices under Rule 267 were submitted before the Chair today as well but none were accepted. Among other issues, opposition members demanded a discussion on the India-China conflict. When the Chair announced that no notice had been accepted, several opposition members protested. - PTI
BJP member says economy is getting strengthened under the Narendra Modi administration
BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Anil Aggarwal, says non-performing assets (NPAs) under the Modi government have been reduced by around 7.2%, the government has been successful in keeping the fiscal deficit under 6.4% and Indian Forex reserves are one of the biggest in the world, which greatly helps in controlling the economy and markets.
Opposition members state they stand united with Govt efforts to curb drug menace in the country
NCP MP from Baramati (Maharashtra) Supriya Sule stated that the issue must not be made political and there must a unanimous agreement to curb the menace. She reflected about the easier facilitation of drug sales facilitated by the dark net and cryptocurrency, also shedding light on it being easily available near schools and colleges.
The Baramati MP also mentioned about the importance that must be accorded to rehabilitation of drug addicts. She enumerated how Hindi films actor Sanjay Dutt was able to overcome the addiction with help from his family. “These are success stories and they have had their own challenges. How can we use these to tell children and the strength to say no to drugs,” she said.
According to her, it is imperative that there is more discussion, especially in educational institutions, about drug intake.
She also mentioned about making Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officers more accountable, especially with respect to children of high-profile individuals who may be caught despite being innocent. “If you pick up a child who needs help, s/he does not need to go to jail but a rehab centre because - they need help. They are not convicts. I think we need to relook at this policy,” she stated emphasising the regulatory enforcement has to be “fair and just”, the government must “not harass the children, but help the children.”
Watch | What are India’s drug laws?
Power Ministry says dues of power distribution companies reduced by Rs 29,857
Power Minister R. K. Singh said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha that outstanding dues of power distribution utilities or discoms came down by Rs 29,857 crore to Rs 1,08,092 crore, which were Rs 1,37,949 crore on June 3, 2022. One of the key indicators of financial distress of discoms is mounting power purchase dues towards the generation companies (gencos). -PTI
Priyanka Chaturvedi says Centre is trying to hide its “failures” by giving the reasoning of Russia-Ukraine conflict and pandemic
Referring to the Appropriation Bills 4 and 5 moved by the Finance Ministry, the Shiv Sena MP says in December, the government is asking for more funds for this year when next year’s budget is set to be presented in February. She says that the government is explaining its request for more funds by giving the reasoning of the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, pandemic, and inflation, but it is actually trying to cover up its “failures”.
She says that there is a vast difference between the data the government gives on GDP growth and the reality. She states that the World Bank, Moody’s, S&P, OECD, and IMF, all have projected the growth as dropping.
Talking about government jobs, she says that seven lakh jobs have been provided while the applications were eight crore.
Talking on the issue of India’s trade deficit with China, she says that while the value of India-U.S. surplus trade in 2021-2022 is $32.85 billion, India’s trade deficit with China has grown to become $73.31 billion. She points out that one-third of the trade deficit comes from China.
CPI(M) member comments on media coverage
John Brittas says the government’s expenditure is almost 20% below the pre-COVID levels but “none of the newspapers, media will report that”.
“The media only paints a rosy picture about the government, not even a single critical piece,” he remarks, addressing the Chairman Mr. Dhankhar. “Even the critical comments you make, the media doesn’t make, sir.”
John Brittas talks on impact of demonetisation
The CPI(M) member says the Supreme Court has finally taken up the matter of demonetisation for adjudication and the Centre has submitted an “alibi” in Court that it is only a matter of “academic interest”.
“Billions of lives were ruined, devastated. How can the Government submit before the Supreme Court that this is just a matter of academic interest?,” the Kerala MP asks.
He says the government had said demonetisation will eradicate black money, fake currency. On 4th November 2016, he cites, the value of notes in circulation was ₹17.74 lakh crore, and not it is ₹29.17 lakh crore. “What was the benefit of demonetisation?”
Jagdeep Dhankhar says he has received requests about students wanted to attend Parliament proceedings
“I have got requests from several educational institutions, students are volunteering that we wish to attend proceedings of the House,” Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar informs.
“I would greatly appreciate that also, when we have professors and experienced people speaking here, it would be a great idea to have their students also in the gallery,” Mr. Dhankhar remarks.
The Chairman says he is trying to devise a mechanism that school and college students who see the House be able to share their impressions on a daily basis with SansadTV.
Manoj K. Jha says the neither the farmer nor the soldier is safe
The RJD MP from Bihar, while talking about the Appropriation Bills, speaks about a banner he saw of India’s G20 Presidency which read: “Mother of democracy hosts G20”. The member says that this Mother (referring to India) is not in good health right now, neither her children- the farmers and the soldiers are safe.
Farmers, poor people focus in the Bill: BJP MP Arun Singh
Arun Singh says that in the Bills, provisions have been made for farmers and poor people, indicating that these groups are important to Prime Minister Modi. Many new bank accounts have been opened, especially for farmers, he says. Fertilizer factories were shutting down earlier, but now work has either started or is about to start. Even if the Russia-Ukraine war is happening, fertilizer prices were not increased by even one rupee, he says.
There has been lesser inflation and increase in food prices in India as compared to developed countries. This is because Prime Minister Modi focused on infrastructure development rather than consumption, unlike other countries, he states.
SAD’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal attacks AAP, Congress on Punjab drug issue
Shiromani Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal led the discussion on the problem of drug abuse. In her speech, the MP urged the Centre to take the matter seriously as she launched a scathing attack on the Aam Aadmi Party, which is in power in Punjab, and the Congress. “Punjab is a burning and smoking volcano. On the brink of a civil war if it is not controlled. The govt is only interested in looting Punjab and spending it to make Kejriwal and his government shine across the nation,” Ms. Badal said.
She added that strong action needs to be taken to control the menace which she termed as narco-terrorism, saying it has spread across the country.
Upper House resumes, Appropriation Bills 4 and 5 taken up for discussion
The Rajya Sabha resumes at 2 p.m.
Appropriation Bills 4 and 5 are taken up for discussion. INC MP Dr. Amee Yajnik asks that MNREGA and gender budgeting be paid more attention and funding decided accordingly. In order to ensure that rural women get a boost, MNREGA needs to planned properly, she says.
Highlighting that dependence on MNREGA increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Yajnik says that there was an 89.7 lakh unmet demand for work under MNREGA.
The second point raised by her is that of food security. She points out that India is ranked 107 out 121 countries and highlights that child wasting and undernourishment rates are high in the nation.
Proceedings resume in the Lower House
MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal begins discussion on the the problem of drug abuse in the country. Three MPs have called the attention of the Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) on the issue and steps taken by the Centre.
Pre-session lunch concludes, Lok Sabha adjourned
During Zero Hour, MPs raised issues such as Bihar hooch tragedy, alleged religious conversion and change in IRDAI regulations. The House was adjourned to meet again at 2 p.m.
House adjourns for lunch break
The House will reconvene at 2 p.m.
Farmers not the centre of politics: Union Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya
Replying to questions about shortage of fertilizers, Union Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya says “Don’t make farmers the centre of politics.”
States can check the dashboard to see what the availability of fertilizers in the state is, the Minister says, pointing out that the ministry has made arrangements for this.
Getting fertilizers for farmers is not a matter of politics for us, it is a matter of demand, he says.
Zero Hour underway in Lok Sabha
Govt moves to refer Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill to Joint Committee
Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved that the Bill to amend the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002 be referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses. Twenty-one members will be part of the committee.
Question Hour underway in Upper House
Question Hour commences with Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh presiding
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raises AIIMS cyber attack
Demanding answers from the Centre on the recent cyber attack on AIIMS, Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “There was a massive data leak following a cyber attack on the AIIMS hospital. We have learnt that this was connected to China and Hong Kong.” In response, MoS Home Affairs Ajay Misra informed the House that remedial measures are under consideration and an investigation is underway.
MP Dola Sen, opposition members walk out of RS, accuse NHRC of selectively visiting states
TMC MP Dola Sen says it is unfortunate that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is visiting Bihar and goes to Bengal, but does not visit Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. She alleges that the NHRC only visits opposition ruled states for investigations while skipping BJP-governed Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
Ms. Sen protests this and stages a walkout of the TMC from the House. Other opposition parties also follow suit.- PTI
Easy to obtain acid, attacks should be prevented: MP Fauzia Khan
MP Fauzia Khan speaks about the dangers of acid attacks and asks for regulation of e-commerce websites selling acid.
“All it takes is a bit of acid to transform a face and body,” she says. She calls it a “heinous crime” and points out that most acid attacks are against young women of marriageable age who refuse to enter into a marriage or relationship, or those who withdraw from a relationship.
There is a high prevalence of illegal sale of acid, she says, adding that while there are rules, thee are problems in implementation.
Ms. Khan brings up the December 14 case of a young girl attacked by acid near Dwarka in Delhi. She says the acid-like substance used was obtained on Flipkart. She highlights that it is cheap and easy to find hydrochloric acid on e-commerce websites.
Chair refuses to admit Rule 267 notices, discusses the rule
The Chair refuses to admit notices under Rule 267 and reads through a notice discussing the rule in detail. He says he will proceed with the business of the House. Members continue to protest. The Chair asks MP Manoj K. Jha to see him in his chamber.
Lok Sabha reconvenes, Question Hour underway
After a brief adjournment, the Lok Sabha has resumed proceedings. As per listed business of the day, Question Hour is underway.
House in uproar over statement by Mallikarjun Kharge
The House is in an uproar over Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s statement at a rally in Rajasthan, where he said that Congress leaders sacrificed their lives for the country and questioned whether BJP leaders did so.
The Chair points out that the people outside are disillusioned with the behaviour of the house. He asks members to submit the document regarding the statement over the course of the day’s business. The House continues to protest. “Even the remarks of the chair which are wholesome are not digestible,” Mr. Dhankar says.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge says that what he said during Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan’s Alwar was outside the House. “What I said was politically outside the House, not inside. There is no need to discuss that here. Secondly, I can still say that they had no role in the freedom struggle”
Mr. Kharge says that if he repeats what he said, it will not go down well. The Congress party always talks about bringing the country together, he says. “If I repeat what I said outside, it’ll get difficult for them. ‘Maafi maangne waale log’ are asking people who fought the freedom struggle to apologise”
“I said Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed themselves. Who among you gave your life for unity of this country?” he asks.
Leader of Opposition Piyush Goyal questions his words and asks what Congress did in Jammu & Kashmir. - With ANI inputs
Speaker adjourns Lok Sabha
Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House for around 30 minutes amid chaos in the House. The Opposition members wanted the permission to raise point of order, but weren’t allowed by the Speaker, which resulted in sloganeering even as Question Hour was underway.
PT Usha added to Vice Chairman panel in RS
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar announces that nominated member PT Usha is now part of the panel of Vice Chairman in Upper House. This is the first time a nominated member has been made part of this panel.
Proceedings resume in Rajya Sabha
Proceedings resume, chaos in Lok Sabha
What’s on the table at the Rajya Sabha?
The House shall commence with the laying of papers and reports from various Parliamentary Standing Committees, followed by statements by ministers regarding the implementation of recommendations pertaining to health and family welfare and the department of revenue under the finance ministry.
This would be followed by Question Hour at noon.
Legislative business on the table for today is:
1. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move that The Appropriation (No.5) Bill, 2022, to authorise payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2022-2023, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken up for consideration and return.
2. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move that The Appropriation (No.4) Bill, 2022, to provide for the authorization of appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the amounts spent on certain services during the financial year ended on the 31st day of March, 2020, in excess of the amounts granted for those services and for that year, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken up for consideration and return.
3. Union Tribal Affaris Minister Arjun Munda will move that the Bill further to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in the State of Tamil Nadu, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration.
BJP parliamentary party meeting underway
A meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party was held today morning. The meeting was attended by PM Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP national president JP Nadda.