The Narendra Modi government, after its emphatic victory in Tripura and impressive performance in Nagaland and Meghalaya polls, is likely to adopt an aggressive posture in Parliament budget session. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Parliament highlights: Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned amid ruckus over PNB fraud

Parliament’s budget session reconvened today with both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessing disruptions after the opposition protests against the Modi govt over PNB fraud and other issues. Here are the main highlights

NEW DELHI : New Delhi: Parliament’s budget session reconvened on a stormy note on Monday with both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessing Opposition protests and adjourned for the day over the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and other issues. NDA ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MPs also protested in both Houses raising their demand for a special package to Andhra Pradesh. Several opposition members in both Houses had earlier served notices for adjournment motion. Here are the latest updates and developments from the second part of the Parliament’s budget session:

05 Mar 2018, 06:07 PM IST No guidelines issued to KVs about morning prayers: Govt

The HRD Ministry on Monday clarified that it had not issued any guidelines to Kendriya Vidyalayas forcing students to recite morning prayers compulsorily with folded hands and closed eyes. Minister of state for HRD Updendra Kushwaha gave the clarification in response to a written question in the Lok Sabha. “No guidelines have been issued to Kendriya Vidyalayas forcing the students to recite their morning prayers, which are of religious nature, compulsorily with folded hands and closed eyes,” Kushwaha said. The minister also maintained that the Supreme Court has not asked for any clarification in this regard from the HRD Ministry. Contrary to Kushwaha’s statement, the Supreme Court in January had issued a notice to the Centre, asking it to respond to a petition that alleged that a prayer sung in Hindi during the morning assembly at 1,125 Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country violates the Constitution by promoting one religion. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 04:21 PM IST 36 mineral blocks at various stages of auction process

A total of 36 mineral blocks are at various stages of auction process, the Parliament was informed on Monday. “As per the information provided by the state governments, at present a total 36 mineral blocks are at various stages of auction process,” minister of state for mines and coal Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. That apart, from 2015-16 till date, 34 mineral blocks have already gone under the hammer. Of these, 13 were auctioned in the ongoing fiscal till date, 15 mines were bid out in the last fiscal and six blocks in 2015-16, the minister said. The mineral auction rules have been amended by the mines ministry to make the auction process simpler and to help the states auction mineral blocks quickly. The major amendments in the rules include providing more flexibility to state governments in the auction process, relaxation in net worth requirement for increased participation of bidders and adjustment of upfront payment in full at the earliest as against the revenue share mode, the minister said. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 04:17 PM IST Rs 221.75 crore collected under Clean Ganga Fund remains unutilized: Govt

Rs 221.75 crore collected under Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) as on 31 January this year is unutilized, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday. Minister of state for water resources Satyapal Singh said CGF donors include individuals, central public sector undertakings, government departments, private companies and non-resident Indians/persons of Indian origins. “As on date no fund has been utilised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Clean Ganga Fund,” Singh told the Upper House. The government had approved establishment of the CGF, to be used for projects planned under the ambitious Namami Gange programme, on 4 September 2014. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 03:58 PM IST Opposition wants debate in Lok Sabha on PNB fraud on Tuesday

Major opposition parties on Monday demanded a debate on the issue of ‘bank fraud’ in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and told the government that other matters should be discussed only after that. At the meeting of the Lok Sabha’s business advisory committee chaired by speaker Sumitra Mahajan, representatives of the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the BJD insisted that the debate on ‘banking fraud’ should be taken up at 12 noon tomorrow for four hours and after that other issues should come up for discussion. An opposition party member, who was present at the meeting, said Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar made it clear that the government was open to discussing all issues, but there was no word on whether the debate on banking scam would take place tomorrow after the Question Hour.

05 Mar 2018, 03:56 PM IST Business Advisory Committee to discuss budgetary proposals

The business advisory committee has allocated four hours each to discuss budgetary proposals of farmers and agriculture, roads and highways, youth affairs and sports and social justice. Five hours have been allocated to railways and health, another member present at the meeting said. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 03:36 PM IST Govt to constitute group for changes in SEZ policy

The government will constitute a group to suggest necessary changes in the policy for special economic zones (SEZs), Parliament was informed on Monday. SEZs are export hubs and contribute significantly to the country’s total outbound shipments. “The government is in the process of constituting a group to study necessary changes in the SEZ policy,” Commerce and Industry minister Suresh Prabhu said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 03:11 PM IST RS adjourned after Opposition uproar over PNB scam; other issues

As soon as the Upper House met at 2pm after witnessing two quick adjournments of proceedings in the first half of the day, members from opposition parties trooped into the well creating a ruckus over issues ranging from the Rs12,700 crore alleged fraud by fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi, to constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board. Amid slogans by the opposition, deputy chairman P. J. Kurien said if members allow, a short duration discussion can be held on frauds in public sector banks and after that different issues could be taken one by one. He said for today, he has given permission to conduct a debate on frauds in public sector banks. However, members relentlessly shouted slogans and displayed placards.Stating that it was “indiscipline”, Kurien asked Leader of the Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad whether the Opposition will allow a discussion, to which the Congress leader said that if other parties are ready, they have no objection. Azad further said the government and the prime minister had “failed” and banks are without money while likes of Nirav Modi were absconding. Kurien then adjourned the House for the day. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 02:16 PM IST Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day

Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day amid opposition uproar over PNB scam and other issues. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 01:16 PM IST Rajya Sabha condoles death of former members

The Rajya Sabha today condoled the death of former members Narsingh Narain Pandey and Faguni Ram. When the House met for the day, chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu mentioned the death of Pandey on 8 January at the age of 88 and that of Ram on 25 February at the age of 73. Members rose in their places and observed silence as a mark of respect to the departed souls. Naidu also congratulated Aruna Budda Reddy, who won a bronze medal at the recently concluded World Gymnastics Tournament in Melbourne in Australia as well as Navjot Kaur for winning a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Other members of the Indian contingent who won medals at the World Wrestling Championship including Sakshi Malik and Vinesh were also congratulated. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 12:58 PM IST BJP MPs greet Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha

BJP president Amit Shah received a rousing welcome by party MPs and ministers when he arrived in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Wearing a Tangkhul Naga haora muffler, Shah walked in when Hishey Lachungpa of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) was taking oath after being re-elected to the Upper House. As he walked towards his allocated seat, BJP members and ministers began thumping their desks. Some even rose from their seats to welcome Shah. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 12:45 PM IST Rajya Sabha adjourned twice as members create ruckus

The Rajya Sabha on Monday witnessed repeated adjournments of proceedings in the morning session after opposition parties created a ruckus over the PNB scam and constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board. Slogan shouting from the Well resulted in proceedings being adjourned first for 10 minutes and then till 2pm, which resulted in the Question Hour not being taken up. AIADMK, DMK, TMC, TDP members and KVP Ramachandra Rao of Congress rushed into the well of the House, raising slogans on various issues.Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu first adjourned the proceedings for 10 minutes and then till 2pm hours when similar scenes were repeated on reassembly despite his assurance to members that discussions on issues raised by members would be allowed under appropriate rules. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 12:22 PM IST Lok Sabha adjourned till tomorrow

Lok Sabha has been adjourned till tomorrow after protests by opposition members over various issues. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 12:13 PM IST Lok Sabha adjourns amid protests over PNB scam, other issues

Soon after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan made obituary references in Lok Sabha, members from the Congress, TRS and other parties as well as from the TDP trooped into the Well raising various issues. This was the first day the House met after the recess of the Budget session. Holding placards, Congress members trooped into the Well raising the issue of Punjab National Bank scam. Trinamool Congress members too were seeking to raise the same matter. The Congress demanded a reply from the Prime Minister on the whereabouts of Nirav Modi, one of the alleged kingpins of the Rs12,700 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank. TDP members stood in the Well demanding special package for Andhra Pradesh while those from the TRS sought increase in reservation quota in Telangana. As the protests continued, Mahajan adjourned the proceedings till noon. Obituary references were made for four former members—Rudolph Rodrigues, Kamla Prasad Singh, Khagen Das and Kumari Farida Topno. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 11:42 AM IST Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2pm after protests over Andhra special status, PNB fraud

05 Mar 2018, 11:17 AM IST Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned after ruckus over PNB fraud, other issues

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till noon amid protests by members on PNB scam and other issues, including for special status to Andhra Pradesh by TDP MPs, PTI reports. The Rajya Sabha has also been adjourned till 11.20 am after TDP MPs protest, ANI adds.

05 Mar 2018, 11:12 AM IST Congress cannot mislead the nation on PNB fraud: Piyush Goyal

05 Mar 2018, 11:05 AM IST PM Modi arrives in parliament, slew of bills lined up

PM Narendra Modi arrives in parliament. PM Modi is welcomed by BJP chief Amit Shah and other Union ministers. The Modi government has also listed some other bills for consideration and passage in both Houses. In the Lok Sabha, it intends to bring ‘The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, ‘ The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ tomorrow, and ‘The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, on Tuesday. In the Rajya Sabha, the government has listed ‘The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, and ‘The State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017’, for the first day of the session. (PTI)

05 Mar 2018, 11:00 AM IST TDP MPs protest ahead of Parliament budget session, demand special status for Andhra Pradesh