New Delhi: Rajya Sabha was adjourned thrice on Wednesday after heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches disrupted proceedings. The proceedings in the Lok Sabha continued amid disturbances at the time of the Question Hour. Congress members raised anti-government slogans on various issues, accusing it of adopting a “dictatorial" attitude.
Here are the latest updates and developments from both Houses:
■ Lok Sabha adjourned for the day amid opposition uproar over issues like the communal situation, demand for revocation of 6 MPs’ suspension.
■ Revenue collection from telecom services in form of licence fee and spectrum usage charges may be adversely impacted in the current fiscal if sales revenue of operators continues to decline, Union minister Manoj Sinha said today.
The telecom industry, including state-owned firms, and major banks have apprised the government about the financial stress, the telecom minister informed the Lok Sabha today.
The telecom sector witnessed a sharp decline in revenue in the second half of 2016-17, he said.
“The revenue decline in the second half of financial year 2016-17 was mainly concentrated in the last quarter of the year. The declining tariff in the sector led to an adverse impact on revenue. The License Fee has declined in Q3 (October-December) and Q4 (January-March) of financial year 2016-17," Sinha said.
■ As many as 94 civilians were killed by Maoists in the first six months of this year after being branded as police informer, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.
“94 civilians have been killed in 2017 (till June) by left wing extremists," minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir said in a written reply to a question.
He said those killed were tribal people branded as police informers by left-wing extremists who “do resort to torture of civilians before killing them".
“The methods of killing include shooting, multiple beatings and hacking with sharp weapons. No case of beheading has come to light in Chhattisgarh so far," he said.
■ A proposal for induction of private sector talent in central government departments through lateral entry is under consideration, the Lok Sabha was informed today. Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the government was committed to appoint best talents subject to provision of rules.
■ The government does not have a plan to shut down the Rubber Board, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha today.
While moving a motion in the Upper House for electing one MP as a member of the Board, deputy chairman P. J. Kurien asked if the government was planning to close the body and stop subsidies to the rubber growers.
To this, Sitharaman said: “No plans to close the Board."
The minister moved another motion in the House for electing an MP as a member on the Coffee Board. Before taking up the business in the morning, the House paid homage to two of its former members Shabbir Ahmad Salaria and Mohinder Kaur.
■ The Railways have conducted a special drive to check the malpractices of touting, ticketless travel and misuse of facilities during which 307 touts and 59,115 unauthorised vendors were prosecuted, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said a special drive was launched by all zonal railways from 1 April to 30 June to conduct checks in mass contact areas.
The drive was aimed at curbing malpractices of touting activities, ticketless passengers and misuse of facilities of e-ticketing, among others.
“During the drive, 307 touts, 59,115 unauthorised vendors and seven illegal ticketing agencies have been prosecuted. An amount of ₹ 1.18 crore was recovered during the special drive," he said during Question Hour.
■ Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today sent out a stern warning to members against using mobile phones inside the House after BJP member Anurag Thakur expressed regret for allegedly shooting opposition protests in the Well using his mobile two days ago.
Some opposition members had complained about Thakur shooting video of their protests in the Well on 24 July 24 and AAP member Bhagwant Mann had written a letter in this regard to the Speaker.
While stating that nothing has come to her notice, Mahajan said if someone had done so, then it is condemnable. Thereafter, Thakur gave a statement and expressed regret.
A visibly peeved Mahajan warned against such actions in the future.On 24 July Mahajan had suspended six Congress members from attending the House for five days after they threw papers towards the Chair.
During those protests in the Well, it was alleged that Thakur had shot the scenes using his mobile phone.
As the House met after adjournment at 12.45pm, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge wanted to know why action was not being taken against Thakur whereas Mann had faced suspension for two sessions for shooting video outside the House but in the Parliament complex.
■ The Opposition in Rajya Sabha today asked finance minister Arun Jaitley to clarify whether the government has decided to scrap the newly launched Rs2,000 note and introduce a Rs1,000 coin.
However, Jaitley who was present in the House, did not respond even as the Opposition members insisted for clarification from him on the issue.
Raising a point of order during the Zero Hour, Naresh Agrawal (SP) said: “The government has taken a decision to scrap Rs2,000 note. The RBI has been given order not to print the Rs2,000 notes. ...If any policy decision been taken during the Parliament Session, the tradition is to announce it in the House."
■ There is no concrete evidence that the 39 Indians abducted from Mosul in Iraq have been killed and “I will not commit the sin" of declaring them dead without any evidence, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said today.
Making a forceful statement in the Lok Sabha, Swaraj said the government will continue its efforts to trace the Indians till it gets evidence that they were dead.
“This file will not close till there is proof that the 39 Indians were dead. I will not commit the sin of declaring them dead without any evidence," Swaraj said, two days after holding talks with Iraqi foreign minister on the issue.
The external affairs minister said she had never misled Parliament or the families of the abducted Indians.
“I have never misled. I want to ask the opposition what benefit will I get by misleading. What benefit my government get by misleading the people on the issue," she said.
■ The government has no plans to take over delayed residential projects of private builders and complete them for home buyers, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
“There is no such proposal under consideration of the government to take over the delayed residential projects and complete the same for home buyers," Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh said during Question Hour.
He was replying to a question on behalf of housing and urban affairs minister Narendra Singh Tomar whether the government proposes to take over hundreds of residential projects of builders which have been delayed.
Singh said his ministry does not maintain details of projects launched by private builders in urban areas and delay their execution.
“However, in order to bring transparency in operations in the real estate sector and to ensure timely completion of ongoing and new projects, the ministry has piloted the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016," he said.
■ As many as 1,396 government Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in the country will be upgraded through public private partnership (PPP), the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
Skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the Directorate General of Training under his Ministry has been making continuous efforts to improve the quality of training being offered by the ITIs functioning in the country.
■ The Narendra Modi government seeks Parliament nod for supplementary demands for grants of Rs11,166.18 crore.
■ As soon as the House took up the Question Hour, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge raised the issue of cow vigilantism.
But Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said he would not be allowed to raise any issue during the Question Hour.
Soon, Congress members trooped into the Well and raised slogans such as “Pradhan Mantri jawab do (PM should reply)", “tanashahi nahin chalegi (end dictatorship)", “jaat ke nam par rajniti band karo (end politics in the name of caste)".
Soon members from the Trinamool Congress also entered the Well, but did not join the Congress members in raising slogans.
After the Question Hour, the Congress members continued to protest and sought to raise various issues ranging from lynchings in the name of protecting cows and the farmers’ plight.
As external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj rose to make a statement on the Indians missing in Mosul city of Iraq, Congress members were unrelenting and Kharge was heard saying that they wanted to raise issues related to mob lynching and farmers.
With the din continuing, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12.45pm.
■ Rajya Sabha adjourned briefly as opposition demands expunction of certain remarks by Leader of House Arun Jaitley.
When the House reassembled for Question Hour, the opposition members demanded expunction of Jaitley’s remarks that adjournment notices were being “misused" for publicity, by raising strong objections.
As the opposition members remained adamant over their demand for removal of Jaitley’s remarks from the records, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for ten minutes.
The House was again adjourned for ten minutes as leaders of several parties discussed the impasse over the issue in the Chairman’s chamber.
Ansari later said the records will be examined but no conclusion can be arrived at till this is done.
“Let the Chair do its own work." Azad said he respected the Leader of the House, who normally uses measured language and has never used words which hurt anyone.
“But to say that opposition leaders raise issues for TV channels is not acceptable. We raise issues of the have-nots, that include Dalits, oppressed, downtrodden and the poor and not for the television, which only covers the government," Azad said.
His colleague, Sharma said these words cannot be part of the proceedings.
“The entire opposition is being castigated. We cannot allow this sweeping condemnation of the entire opposition."
■ Rajya Sabha adjourned till noon amid heated exchanges between opposition and treasury benches over several issues.
The ruckus began after Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said adjournment notices were being “grossly misused" for publicity and the opposition demanding expunction of these remarks.
Heated arguments followed soon after deputy chairman P J Kurien permitted Anand Sharma (Congress) to raise his point under rule 267.
Sharma said the NDA government was making efforts to slight Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and even Indira Gandhi.
As the Chair disallowed Sharma’s notice, Jaitley said in every case, “we find that these are not issues under the motion of Rule 267 and therefore it is a practice which is being grossly abused. Therefore, the Chair must also be guided by a principle that you can’t have the Zero Hour for the benefit of TV cameras. That is what something which is happening today. ... This has all been enacted".
Jaitley suggested that the remarks made by Sharma should be expunged. He also said if any member wanted to raise the issue of Samjhauta train blast case, it should be allowed.
The finance minister said that some other members have given notice in the Zero Hour and the Chair must protect their rights. He also insisted that references to those who have held high constitutional positions cannot be raised in the House.
Sharma, however, said he had not referred to any high dignity. To this, Jaitley said “we know the spirit of what you are saying."
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government is trying to insult leaders like Gandhi and Nehru who fought for India’s independence.
“The centenary of those people are being observed who had no connection with the freedom struggle. They are doing ‘pick and choose’."
Kurien said all notices under rule 267 were being rejected but it was for the Chair to decide whether a member has to be heard.
Congress members then entered the Well raising slogans, forcing a brief adjournment of the House till noon.
■ Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel has been re-nominated as the party’s candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat and he would file his nomination papers today.
Gujarat Congress unit chief Bharatsinh Solanki gave this information here today. Patel’s first-term in the Rajya Sabha had begun in 1993 and if re-elected, the 67-year-old leader would become a member of the Upper House of Parliament for the fifth time.
■ Following is today’s legislative business for the two Houses of Parliament:
Lok Sabha: Finance minister Arun Jaitley to table Supplementary Demands for Grants 2017-18 & Demands for Excess Grants 2014-15.
Bills for consideration and passing: The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017. The Banking Reguation (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
Rajya Sabha: Reply to the discussion on farmers’ distress leading to rise in the incidents of their suicide in the country.
Bills for consideration and passing: The Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017. The National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017.