Parliament Winter Session updates | December 14, 2022

Parliament passes bill to rename arbitration centre; Rajya Sabha clears bill to include Gond community in ST category in parts of U.P.

December 14, 2022 10:42 am | Updated 06:49 pm IST

Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju speaks in the Rajya Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament on Wednesday.

Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju speaks in the Rajya Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: PTI photo

Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022 on Wednesday. In his reply on the Bill in the Upper House, Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda cornered the Opposition over not supporting Draupadi Murmu as the unanimous presidential candidate, and hence by extension not caring enough about the tribal community of the country.

In the morning, members of the Rajya Sabha paid their respects to late MPs Yogendra Alagh and R.C. Singh. At the start of Zero Hour Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge asked for a discussion about the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Tawang sector, Arunachal Pradesh on December 9, but this was disallowed by the Chair. Opposition members walked out in protest, but Zero Hour, Special Mentions and Question Hour proceeded as usual.

Later, Law Minister Kiren Rijuju moved the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for consideration in the Rajya Sabha, and it was passed just before the house adjourned for the day. The Lok Sabha discussed the supplementary demand for grants. The Houses also took up other pending business from the previous days.

Tuesday’s session was turbulent as Opposition members staged walkouts over their demand for a discussion on the Indo-China border clash in Arunachal Pradesh. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed both Houses, indicating that no soldiers were killed or badly injured in the clash. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said they had repeatedly asked for a debate on the Chinese transgression, but the government refused to allow it.

This marked a departure from proceedings which have been relatively calm in both Houses, as opposed to a turbulent Monsoon Session. The Winter Session will conclude on December 29.

Explained | What’s on agenda for the 2022 Winter Session of Parliament?

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Cyber security incidents

Cyber security incidents in the last 5 years

Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, in a reply in Lok Sabha, said that the rise in cyber attacks and cyber security incidents was a global phenomenon. He also shared the number of cyber security incidents reported to CERT-In in the last five years.

Lok Sabha | 6.00 p.m.

Lok Sabha adjourns for the day

Lok Sabha adjourns for the day and will reconvene at 11 a.m. on Thursday (December 15).

Rajya Sabha | 6.00 p.m.

New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) bill passed

The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha and the house was adjourned for the day. House to reconvene at 11 a.m. on December 15.

 Rajya Sabha | 5.45 p.m.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju: Centre will maintain arms’ length distance from the arbitration centre

In response to the concerns raised in the upper house over the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill , Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the bill was not brought under the pressure of the World Bank, but rather that it was the government’s own decision.

He noted that since 2015, India ranked 142 in the international ease of doing business. The latest assessment in 2021 showed that India ranked 63.

“I agree with some of the sentiments expressed here today. If the government has an influence in the arbitration centre, it will not be attractive. We are very mindful that people will not come if that is the case. I have personally conveyed to the proposed chairperson and members that the government will maintain arms’ length distance. It will lose credibility. The sanctity of the Centre needs to be maintained. I assure the house the authority, credibility of the India Arbitration Centre will not be compromised,” said Mr. Rijiju.

Lok Sabha | 5.30

Lok Sabha discusses The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022

Several members speak during the discussion on the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022. DMK’s D. Ravikumar pushes for special funds from the Centre for the skill development and housing needs of tribal community members. He also says that the names of the communities ‘Narikuravan’ and ‘Kuruvikaran’ should be changed to ‘Narikuravar’ and ‘Kuruvikarar’ respectively, a more respectful form. He says that the several Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should be mentioned by the more respectful form of their names.

He says that the tribal groups under the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) are not fully getting their allocated funds from the Centre. The lack of political representation of such groups should be avoided, he says. He also bats for construction of Ekalavya Schools in Tamil Nadu.

Pratima Mondal of the Trinamool Congress says that the youth of the tribal groups should be provided a platform for free education and skill development. She says areas inhabited by Scheduled Tribes lack proper health centres and this causes higher infant and maternal mortality rate amongst such groups.

 Rajya Sabha | 5.20 p.m.

Nothing dramatic about this bill, should be passed without ado: Jethmelani

Mahesh Jethmelani, nominated member of the house, said of the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill: “The scope of this bill is extremely narrow. But some suggestions have been made that international arbitration in this country is doomed to failure, and that people are going prefer Singapore and UK and that the delays in this country are endemic. I will focus on the bill on hand.”

“In 2019, this was examined and passed into law. Most of the time has gone in Covid, the little time brought to bear on the working of this act, showed that people were disrupted by the local flavour and it needed to be changed. The rest of India is justifiably perturbed by localising what is a pan-India initiative.”

Mr. Jethmelani said that the arbitration bill amendment foreshadows the mediation bill, which he expects the Law Minister to move soon. “The second change brought about is that apart from arbitration this bill will now cover all alternate dispute resolution systems. There is nothing dramatic about this, it ought to have been passed without ado,” he said.

Rajya Sabha | 5.00 p.m.

Our Act is process-driven rather than efficiency-driven, which is why we have an Amendment within three years: Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi

“This government has fallen into the habit of “naam badlo, kaam ho jayega” (change the name, work will get done itself). We have to move towards “kaam karo, naam apne aap ho jayega” (do the work, recognition will automatically follow),” she says.

“If we had looked at parameters for international arbitration like transparency, independence, timeliness, and dependability beforehand, we would have met with success much sooner rather than having to make our space in this system,” she adds.

Rajya Sabha | 4.40 p.m.

You are looking at the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill like a compromise, I am looking at it in the context of international markets: BJP MP Rakesh Sinha

“India will become a destination for reconciliation and mediation tourism,” the MP says.

Lok Sabha | 4.35 p.m.

Lok Sabha takes up The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022 for consideration and passing.

The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 to include Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran communities into the list in respect of Tamil Nadu. The expenditure for endowing benefits to people of the mentioned communities under continuing schemes for scheduled tribes shall be borne by the Central Govt.

Lok Sabha | 4.15 p.m.

Lok Sabha is now taking up matters under Rule 377.

Lok Sabha | 4.00 p.m.

Lower House clears demand for supplementary grants – first batch of FY 2022-23 and demand for excess grants for FY 2019-20

The Lower House gives a go-ahead to demand for supplementary grants – the first batch for FY 2022-33 and demand for excess grants for FY 2019-20.

Responding to concerns about repo rates, the finance minister raised objections to opposition leader and Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s assertion about repo rates. She says that during the UPA rule, rates stood as high as 8% in comparison to 6.25% at present with home loan rates as high as 10% in comparison to 8.40% at present.

Previously, she had also apprised the house about how the grants would be used for state-run telecom operator BSNL’s revival. The grants would be disbursed under varied heads such as viability gap funding for rural wirelines operations, champion sector scheme as well as research and development. All combined, this would amount to Rs 60,575 crore.

Rajya Sabha | 3.50 p.m.

We have a competent law minister, but the person drafting the laws is not very competent: DMK MP P. Wilson

Had the person drafting the law used the word “India” in 2019, it would have saved us from sitting here to discuss and pass this Bill, the MP says.

“It costs around ₹2.5 lakhs per minute to the exchequer for running the Parliament. If you calculate the combined expenditure for discussion on this Bill to the exchequer is around ₹1.5 crore,” he adds.

The MP adds that he is not against the amendment but emphasises on the money and time wasted in its discussion.

Rajya Sabha | 3.45 p.m.

Trinamool Congress MP quotes from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet

“What is in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet,” quotes Sukhendu Sekhar Ray in the Rajya Sabha during the discussion on The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

“I know who will be interested in international arbitration, (for them) it will be meaningless whether the (centre) is called New Delhi or India, because everybody knows that New Delhi is the capital of India,” Mr. Ray says.

The Amendment Bill introduced by Mr. Rijiju seeks to change the name of the centre to India International Arbitration Centre.

Lok Sabha | 3.15 p.m.

Nirmala Sitharaman responds to concerns about inflation, strength of the rupee and asset quality

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, referring to WPI numbers for November – which is at a 21-month low, states that inflation management and control are being undertaken through constant periodic intervention measures by the government. Referring to double-digit inflation numbers when the opposition was in power (in 2013), she points to the CPI inflation which came down to 5.88% in November. “If they are asking us to bring it (CPI inflation) down further, we will bring it down further for the people’s sake, but can they ask us?” she says.

Regarding concerns about the strength of the rupee, referring to reports, she says that the Indian rupee has strengthened against the dollar and is doing much better than other market economies.

Ms. Sitharaman also apprises the house about measures being taken to keep a check on NPAs. She says that after undertaking the asset quality review in 2015, recognition of NPAs was undertaken as per a routine process. Combined with government interventions, the Gross NPA came down to 7.28% in March 2022. The finance minister adds the government is actively pursuing every NPA account and ensuring that their assets are auctioned through a court process.

Lok Sabha | 3.05 p.m.

Declining demand for jobs in rural areas: Nirmala Sitharaman responds to concerns about MNREGA

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, responding to members’ concerns about MNREGA, states that there is a declining demand for jobs in rural areas.

About concerns raised specifically by members from West Bengal, she states the release of funds was put on hold in March 2022 upon receiving complaints about the scheme’s functioning in the state. She reminds the house that upon receiving complaints the central government is required to put them on hold until the State government provides an adequate response. West Bengal government is yet to provide a response, she informs the House.

Rajya Sabha | 2.55 p.m.

Rajya Sabha takes up The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for consideration and passing

This amendment is limited but it is very important, says Law Minister Kiren Rijiju.

Rajya Sabha | 2.54 p.m.

Rajya Sabha passes The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022

The motion has been passed through a voice vote.

Mr. Munda says that the issue pertaining to the Gond tribe in UP had been pending with successive Congress governments since 1981 and even after 1993 when the Registrar General of India approved it. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our government is finally solving these problems and this is not the end. We will soon bring Bills to add communities to ST lists in Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and other states and our commitment is steadfast in this regard,” the MP says. The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in March this year and was passed by the Lower House on April 1.

Rajya Sabha | 2.40 p.m.

Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda corners the Opposition over not supporting Draupadi Murmu as the unanimous presidential candidate

Although the members said that they care about the tribal community, it would have been better if they had supported Ms. Murmu as the presidential candidate instead of fielding their own, says Mr. Munda.

“I wish you had enough courage in your heart to support Ms. Murmu because you also voted for the President,” he adds.

Lok Sabha | 2.30 p.m.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rises to respond for discussion on demand for grants

The finance minister says the demand for grants is coming at a time when both developed and emerging economies and markets are facing severe headwinds.

Members of the opposition benches had on Tuesday raised concerns about India’s import dependency on fertilisers. Responding to the same, she states that the country which is presently a large importer of fertilisers will now have to work towards self-sufficiency. She adds the demand for grants would not only cater to indigenous manufacturers but also for import subsidy- including phosphorus, potassium and urea.

Lok Sabha | 2.05 p.m.

Proceedings resume. House is taking up matters under Rule 377.

Rajya Sabha | 2.00 p.m.

House resumes proceedings

Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda replies on The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022

Lok Sabha | 1.10 p.m.

Lok Sabha adjourned for an hour

Proceedings will resume in the lower house at 2.10 p.m.

Rajya Sabha| 1 p.m.

House adjourned till 2 p.m.

Question Hour concludes and the House stands adjourned till 2 p.m.

Rajya Sabha| 12.55 p.m.

We are creating 15 lakh jobs per month: Minister of State Rajiv Chandrashekhar

Replying to a question about whether the government is using CSR funds for skill development, Minister of State for Skill Development Rajiv Chandrashekhar says that the inclusion of corporates is an important component of Skill India.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh asks that if government jobs are not available then are they available through the skilling programme, and why there has been a reduction in the people who have benefitted under the scheme year-on-year. He also brings up Prime Minister’s promise to create 2 crore jobs.

Average job creation per month is 15 lakh, the Minister replies. He also says that the pandemic has caused a lot of losses.

Lok Sabha | 12.52 p.m.

Withdraw remission policy that led to release of rape convicts: BSP leader Kunwar Danish Ali

Raising the issue of the release of Bilkis Bano case convicts, BSP’s Kunwar Danish Ali asked the Centre to ensure that such criminals remain in prison and demanded the government to revoke the remission policy that allowed the release of convicted rapists.

Rajya Sabha| 12.40 p.m.

Children don’t have to wait to be adopted: Union Minister Smriti Irani

 BJP MP Saroj Pandey asks what measures are in place to take care of adopted children or return them to centres if they are not treated well by adoptive parents. The Minister of State replies that stringent measures are in place. MP Mausam Noor asks what the average waiting period for adoption in the last five years.

Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said that in September 2022, the ministry notified new regulations. Close to 900 cases were pending in court, but now 580 children have already been adopted, including “hard-to-place” children in older age groups, the Minister states. Parents may have to wait but children will not have to, she says.

Lok Sabha | 12.28 p.m.

MPs raise matters of urgent importance

Zero Hour is underway. Lok Sabha MPs are raising a host of issues under Matters of Urgent Public Importance. Issues included steep hike in air ticket rates from Delhi to Kerala, subsidy for harvesting to control stubble burning and cow smuggling.

Rajya Sabha | 12.09 p.m

Question Hour commences in the House

Rajya Sabha | 12.08 p.m.

Reinstitute Maulana Azad National Fellowship: AITC MP Nadimul Haque

AITC MP Nadimul Haque asks the government to withdraw its decision to discontinue the Maulana Azad National Fellowship, which provided financial assistance to 6722 students from six notified minority communities pursing doctoral programmes from 2014-2015 to 2021-2022.

The government said that there was overlap between this scheme and others, but this is not so, the MP says. The government has also discontinued pre-metric scholarships before Class 9 he says.

This will lead to more dropout rates, he says, and asks that the fellowship be brought back.

Lok Sabha | 12.07 p.m.

Chaos again in Lok Sabha over India-China border clash, Congress stages walkout

After Rajya Sabha, Congress MPs, led by Sonia Gandhi, and TMC leaders staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha. This came after the Speaker denied permission to hold a discussion on the recent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh.

Lok Sabha | 12.05 pm.

Matter being investigated, measures in place: Centre on AIIMS cyber attack

On AIIMS cyber attack, Minister of Electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw said such attacks happen in lakhs every day, and added that the Centre has been able to prevent a majority of such attacks. In the specific case of AIIMS, the network had gone flat over time. It is now being revised and redifned. We will know about the attackers once the investigation is complete but measures have been put in place by the government,” the minister said.

Question Hour has concluded in the Lok Sabha.

Rajya Sabha| 12.01 p.m.

Long Covid needs study, will become parallel pandemic: NCP MP Vandana Chavan

NCP MP Vandan Chavan brings up the issue of long Covid, saying that there are long-lasting effects after infection by Covid.

She mentions that there has been in increase in heart issues, diabetes and mental health. She says that there should be greater research into the same, saying that this will otherwise result in a “parallel pandemic.”

Rajya Sabha| 11.58 a.m

Settle Manipur-Myanmar border: BJP MP

BJP MP Maharaja Sanajaoba Leishemba brings up issue of the unsettled border between Manipur and Myanmar. He asks the Indian government to take up the issue at the diplomatic level. 

Rajya Sabha| 11.52 a.m

Rs. 1953 crores pending from Centre to TN: DMK MP P Wilson

Special mentions are now underway.

DMK MP P Wilson brings up the issue of dues pending from the government to the Tamil Nadu State government, saying that 1953 crores have not been paid. This amount is under various heads, such as GST compensation.

This is impeding the growth and development of the State, he says, and asks the Centre to release the funds forthwith.

Rajya Sabha| 11.27 a.m.

Opposition members stage a walkout

MPs gamely try to speak over opposition protests during Zero Hour. As MP Abir Ranjan Biswas is speaking about the protection of aromatic rice species, Opposition members stage a walkout of the House since their demand for a discussion about the Indo-Chinese border dispute is not accepted.

Lok Sabha | 11.26 a.m.

Start-up ecosystem strengthening in urban, rural areas: Piyush Goyal

Congress MP Manish Tewari asked the Centre about government initiatives and policies to ensure that start-ups are upgraded to unicorn grade. While Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal did not specify the steps taken by the government in this direction, he said the ecosystem is strengthening in both urban and rural areas. India is moving forward. As listed in the written reply, the government has listed more schemes than the US and China. They [hinting at the Opposition] should be happy,” Mr. Goyal said.

Rajya Sabha| 11.14 a.m

Zero Hour begins, Leader of Opposition asks for discussion about India-China border dispute

Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge asks that there be discussion about the clash of Indian and Chinese troops in Tawang sector, Arunachal Pradesh on December 9, 2022.

The Chair Harivansh Narayan Singh does not allow a discussion, saying that there is no notice to this effect and the Defence Minister has already made a statement. Opposition members loudly protest

Rajya Sabha| 11.10 a.m

Motion to appoint woman member to surrogacy board

Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya moves a motion to appoint one women member to the National Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy (NART&S) Board. The motion is passed with no objections.

Rajya Sabha| 11.05 a.m

Rajya Sabha resumes at 11 am, pays respects to late members

Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh addresses the House and pays respect to the late MPs Yogendra Alagh and R.C Singh.

He informed the House that Alagh passed away on December 6 at the age of 83 years. Alagh, who taught economics during his lifetime, served as a member of the erstwhile Planning Commission and was vice chancellor of JNU. He represented the state of Gujarat in the Upper House from November 1996 to April 2000. “In the passing away of Alagh the country has lost an eminent economist and an able Parliamentarian,” he says.

An agriculturalist and social worker, Singh, who was an MP of Rajya Sabha from June 2008 to April 2012, died on December 10 at the age of 78 years. “In the passing away of Singh, the country has lost a veteran trade unionist and an able parliamentarian,” The Chairman says.

Members rise in their places and observe silence in the memory of the departed.

Lok Sabha | 11 a.m.

Proceedings resume in Lok Sabha amid protests

Placrads seen in the House as session resumes amid uproar by Opposition. Speaker warns, proceeds with Question Hour.

Parliament | 10.16 a.m.

Mallikarjun Kharge meets Opposition leaders; TMC skips meet

A meeting chaired by the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, with floor leaders of opposition parties was held on Wednesday morning. Among other issues on agenda was the recent Tawang border clash in Arunachal Pradesh.

Trinamool Congress skipped the meeting.

Opposition leaders, led by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, hold a meeting to devise a joint strategy on the Indo-China clash and other issues.

Opposition leaders, led by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, hold a meeting to devise a joint strategy on the Indo-China clash and other issues. | Photo Credit: ANI

Lok Sabha | 10.09 a.m.

Congress MP gives adjournment motion notice  

Congress MP Manish Tewari has given an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha to discuss the current situation along the LAC in Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. 

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had stated in Parliament that troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China tried to transgress the LAC on December 9 but were forced by the Indian Army to retreat. Opposition MPs, however, walked out of the House. Oppsoition MPs said they were dissatisfied with Mr. Singh’s statement and assurances.

Rajya Sabha | 10.05 a.m.

What is coming up in the Rajya Sabha today?

The House will kick off with the usual laying of papers and reports. Union Minister Smriti Irani is expected to make a statement on the status of implementation of recommendations pertaining to issues related to the safety of women. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya is expected to move to elect one women member to the National Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy (NART&S) Board.

Post the usual Question Hour, Rajya Sabha is expected to take up The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022 for discussion and passing. The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019, as passed by Lok Sabha, is also expected to be taken up.

Lok Sabha | 10 a.m.

On the table at the Lok Sabha today

The House is expected to resume with the usual Question Hour and laying of papers and reports on the table of the House. Following this, MP Anupriya Singh Patel will move to elect two members to the Spices Board.

The Lok Sabha will continue with its discussion on the supplementary demand for grants for 2022-2023 and excess grants for 2019-2020. Yesterday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced a Bill to authorise payment and appropriation of further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the current financial year, and during the financial year 2019-2020.

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