Opposition parties on Wednesday staged walk outs in both Houses of Parliament after being denied a discussion on the India-China border issue. In the Lok Sabha, the walk out was led by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.
As soon as the Zero Hour began, Congress leader of the House, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, demanded that a discussion on the India-China border situation be held and gave the example of late former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru allowing a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the India-China war in 1962.
We have been demanding a discussion on the India-China border situation. In 1962, when India-China war took place, Jawaharlal Nehru, in this House, had given 165 MPs the chance to speak, and a decision was taken on what to do only after that,” Chowdhury said.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay also demanded a discussion in the House. He said his party members were staging a walk out in protest against the “attitude of the government”.
Speaker Om Birla, however, said that a decision could be taken on the matter only in the Business Advisory Committee and continued with the proceedings of the House. As the Speaker continued with the Question Hour, members of the Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the National Conference (NC), among others, walked out of the House.
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said Opposition parties wanted a debate on the border situation, and a detailed discussion to get full information on Chinese aggression and encroachment on Indian territory, and that they stood by the Indian Army and the country.
Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha Harivansh said no notice had been given by any of the Opposition parties on the issue and a debate could not be allowed. “There is no permission for discussion,” he said, and called for taking up the listed Zero Hour submissions.
“Our effort from the start has been that we get full information and the country is also informed of what the actual situation there is,” Kharge said, adding there was “some information that China had built bridges on vacant land”. “We are for the country. We are with the Army,” he added. Kharge continued to speak but his mike was switched off.
The Deputy Chairperson said he had on Tuesday stated that clarifications on the Defence Minister’s statements were not allowed as it was a sensitive issue. Opposition members shouted slogans for some time before staging a walk out. MPs of the Congress, Left parties, the TMC, the NCP, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), and the Shiv Sena were among those who walked out.
The decision to walk out if the government refused a discussion on the border skirmish was taken by 17 Opposition parties, which met before both the Houses convened for the day. The meeting was hosted by the Congress president, Kharge.
Among the parties that attended the meeting, apart from the Congress, were the RJD, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Janata Dal-United (JD-U), DMK and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
The TMC skipped the meeting. However, its chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, Sukendu Sekhar Roy, said that their Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay, who was slated to attend the meeting, had to give it a miss because of ill health. “But we conveyed to all of them that we will abide by the collective decision,” Roy said.
Opposition MPs had walked out earlier in the day, also in protest against various issues. As soon as the House met for the day, members from the Congress and the DMK wanted to raise certain issues. One of the members displayed a placard with the words “Justice for Stan Swamy”.
One of the leaders pointed out that, so far, the Opposition’s response has been disjointed and all the parties should put out a joint statement, listing out their reasons for protests, and at the same time underlining the Opposition’s trust in the Armed Forces.
Hooch claims five lives in Bihar’s Saran district
Five people died after allegedly consuming spurious liquor in Bihar’s Saran district, police said on Wednesday. The incident happened in the Ishuapur police station area, they said.
Some people consumed liquor till late on Tuesday at a local joint, and fell ill after returning home, they added. Eventually, five people died while two others were admitted to a hospital, police said. An investigation was started, they said.
Protesting over the incident, MLAs of the Opposition BJP staged a demonstration outside the Assembly, blaming the “nexus” between police and illicit liquor traders for the deaths.
“We have always supported the ban on liquor, even when it was introduced while we were in opposition. But its implementation has been a complete failure,” said former deputy chief minister Tarkishor Prasad. Sale and consumption of alcohol were banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April 2016.
Parliament passes bill to rename New Delhi International Arbitration Centre
Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill to rename the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre as the India International Arbitration Centre. The Rajya Sabha passed the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which was piloted by Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in the house on Wednesday.
The Lok Sabha passed the bill on August, which expands this to include the conduct of other forms of alternative dispute resolution besides arbitration. While replying to the debate, Rijiju in the Upper House said this bill will help India emerge as an attractive destination for arbitration at the global level.
“India is still not a hub for arbitration, while small countries and cities have emerged as major centres for arbitration,” the minister said. He assured the members saying that with the steps being taken by the Modi Government, India would emerge as an arbitration centre in the coming years.
“This amendment has been brought with that approach,” he said, adding presently people prefer places such as Singapore, London and Hong Kong for arbitration but after this initiative, there would be changes.
The country is emerging as an economic power and along with that India will also attract the global business community for arbitration, Rijiju said. We can provide arbitration awards at more affordable charges in comparative to those centres,” he said, adding that the government wants to start work in this direction as soon as possible.
He also rejected the allegations that the government has brought this bill and procedure under the pressure of the World Bank and said, “It is the government’s considered opinion and decision to bring this bill.”
While replying to a query over the name change, Rijiju said important cities in India such as Mumbai and Kolkata have their own arbitration centres. “Even in Delhi, another body Delhi Arbitration Centre [DAC] is functioning”.
“It will not be good to have two arbitration centres having the same name of Delhi,” he reasoned.
Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan joins Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan
Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan joined Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan on December 14.
Videos on social media showed Rajan and the former Congress chief having a discussion while marching as the Congress’ yatra resumed from Bhadoti of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan this morning.
Sharing a picture of the two, the Congress tweeted in Hindi: “Shri Raghuram Rajan, former Governor of RBI, with @RahulGandhi ji… The increasing number of people standing up to unite the country against hatred shows that we will be successful.”
Rajan, a vocal critic of demonetisation and other economic policies, had blamed the Narendra Modi-led government’s “political and social agenda for the economic slowdown”.
He was the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India between September 2013 and September 2016. Between 2003 and 2006, he was the Chief Economist and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund.
Responding to the former RBI governor’s participation, BJP leader Amit Malviya said Rajan “fancies himself as the next Manmohan Singh.” The Bharat Jodo yatra will mark 100 days on December 16.
The yatra started from Kanniyakumari on September 7 and has so far covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It will conclude in Jammu and Kashmir in early February 2023.
Congestion at airports: CISF adds 100 more personnel to man new security counters
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has prepared a pool of more than 100 personnel to man additional security counters expected to be handed over to it for easing the ongoing congestion at large airports of Delhi and Mumbai, official sources said on December 14.
The central paramilitary, designated as the national aviation security force, has informed airport operators, airlines and the Union civil aviation ministry that while it can bring on board some more security personnel there can be “no compromise on security protocols and standard operating procedures followed by it for regular frisking of passengers and scanning of cabin baggage apart from fliers required to undergo extensive search due to specific profiling.”
A senior CISF officer told PTI that the force has brought on board more than 100 personnel “over and above” its sanctioned strength at around 4,500 personnel at the Delhi and Mumbai airports each.
We can add a similar strength of more men and women personnel at other airports witnessing heavy footfall, he said. This move will continue till the upcoming holiday season due to Christmas and New Year celebrations, he said.
After a recent review of passenger facilities by Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi, a few more security counters are expected to be opened.
The CISF has also assured that the force will provide additional manpower to run them which will help in easing the current congestion and streamline passenger check-in and boarding from Terminals 3, 1 and 2.
A team of CISF officers has also been tasked to supervise the operations at the security check area and direct the private security guards who have been recently deployed at a number of airports to undertake non-core duties like helping passengers to line up, crowd management and bar code scanning of boarding passes.
Four Meghalaya MLAs, including two from the State’s ruling National People’s Party (NPP), joined the BJP on December 14 as the party looks to expand its footprints in the northeastern region ahead of Assembly polls in the State. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is the party’s pointsman for the region, said the joining of the four “experienced and respected” political figures will mark a “new beginning” for the BJP in the State, where it could win only two seats in the 60 member-Assembly in the 2018 polls.
Evening Wrap will return tomorrow.