A meeting in Bangkok between the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan held on Sunday has raised a political storm.
In a surprise development, kept secret until the meeting was over, Indian and Pakistani National Security Advisers led their delegations.
The Congress has termed the secret meeting a “grand betrayal” of the Modi government and reflection of “flip-flops” over its Pakistan policy.
Live updates of Parliament session:
4:38 pm: The government has constituted a team which will assist in policy formulations for creating an ecosystem for startups, Parliament was informed. Besides, the Centre has also appointed a consulting agency to help the team in its work, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. >Full story
4:11 pm: Demand for resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan had an echo in Rajya Sabha today with a Congress member questioning why the government was not giving its nod to it.
Rajiv Shukla, who is also IPL Commissioner, raised the issue in the context of a meeting between National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok yesterday, a week after Prime Ministers of the two countries met in Paris. >Full story
4:08 pm: Private telcos not improving services, says Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
Private telecom companies are increasing their customers but not improving services which are “very bad”, government said in Rajya Sabha today and while asserting that it will take “stern” steps to address the menace of mobile call dropping.
Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the private telecom companies have been asked to improve the infrastructure and the government is monitoring it.
After the issue was raised by Naresh Agrawal (SP) during Zero Hour, Prasad said he shared the concern of the member and the Parliament over the problem.
“I understand the concern raised by the member on the issue and Parliament’s concern. I and my government have taken this issue very seriously...I am concerned over the issue and we are rectifying it. For last two—three years, the issue was not taken seriously. I want to assure you that the effective steps taken now by me have never been taken earlier,” he said.
“I am a strong minister and will take more stern steps to improve the services,” he said.
3:55 pm: Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Maheish Girri (BJP) said the Delhi government has proposed a scheme that would “inconvenience lakhs of people”, but not take any action against waste—to—energy plants in Okhla, which were scheduled to be shut by 2013 but still continued to function.
The East Delhi MP said the plants were a major source of pollution and emitted gasses that could cause cancer.
3:46 pm: Delhi government’s decision to allow odd—even number cars to ply on alternative days from next month today came in for sharp criticism from Opposition in Rajya Sabha, which dubbed it as “impractical and weird” and called for its reconsideration.
Raising the issue during Zero hour in Upper House, Pramod Tiwari (Cong) said it is an “arbitratory” and “impractical” decision that would cause major inconvenience to people in Delhi which does not have a robust public transportation.
3:08 pm: K C Venugopal (Congress) accused private airlines of “rampant cheating” by charging exorbitant fares to Bengaluru when the connectivity to Chennai was disrupted due to torrential rains.
2:21 pm: A few recommendations of the M K Kaw Committee on the present status of AICTE and how to restructure and reorganise it for better performance have already been implemented, Lok Sabha was informed today.
2:06 pm: A Bill aimed at creating commercial benches in select high courts to settle high value commercial disputes was introduced in the Lok Sabha today.
1:58 pm: 'India does not look for ranking of univs by global agencies’
India does not look for ranking of its educational institutions by international agencies to attract “clients”, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani said the ranking of institutions by global agencies are based on research and infusion of foreign faculty.
She said while granting a rank, they do not take cognisance of research taking place in regional languages as also the inclusive nature of government institutions which ensure that those unable to avail education in private.
“We do not look for ranking to attract clients,” she said adding that for the government, education is a non—profit sector.
Ms. Irani was responding to supplementaries in the lower house on issues relating to the HRD Ministry.
1:43 pm: The petroleum products should come under the ambit of the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) but a final decision would be taken when the state governments come on board on it, government told the Lok Sabha today.
12:51 pm: Govt to make statement on foreign policy issues soon in LS
Government will soon make a statement on its foreign policy initiatives after the Opposition in Lok Sabha today moved an adjournment motion seeking a debate on the crucial matter.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was busy with visiting Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib—Fakim and hence was not present in the House.
“We have taken note of the concerns of the House and will convey to the External Affairs Minister and a response will be given to the House at the earliest,” he said in Lok Sabha.
Naidu’s statement came after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan dismissed a notice for adjournment of the Question Hour by Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy seeking a debate on the NDA government’s foreign policy initiatives.
12: 45 pm: Congress members, led by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, protest outside Parliament, demanding the ouster of Gen V.K. Singh (retd.) as minister for his ‘stoning dogs’ remark after Dalit killings. > Read more here
11: 40 am: Congress MP Rajeev Shukla says, "When the government can have NSA level talks with Pakistan then why not talk about cricket?"
"Government should allow Indo-Pak cricket series," he says.
11: 30 am: Congress MP Anand Sharma raises Indo-Pak NSA meet in the Rajya Sabha, observes the meeting was disrespectful to Parliament. "The government should have taken Parliament in confidence," he says.
11: 00 a.m: Meanwhile, Congress Party's Gaurav Gogoi comes to Parliament wearing a mask. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
10: 45 a.m: The Congress to raise odd-even number traffic control scheme of the Delhi government in the Rajya Sabha.