Parliament proceedings live | Lok Sabha passes The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

March 24, 2021 0 Comments


The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment)Bill, 2021 has be taken up in the Rajya Sabha today. The House was adjourned twice today following protests by the Opposition against the bill that seeks to give more powers to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

Meanwhile, the Upper House today returned the Finance Bill 2021 without any new amendment, completing the Parliamentary approval for Budget 2021-22.

It did so after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had to curtail her reply to the discussion on the legislation after a verbal spat with TMC members over implementation of central schemes such as PM Kisan Yojana and Ayushman Bharat in West Bengal.

The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill was passed in Lok Sabha, so was theThe Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill. The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill will also be introduced in the Lower house today.

Here are the latest updates:

Rajya Sabha | 7.58 p.m.

Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD is speaking now. He opposes the bill. He says the BJP govt. should accept the will of voters in Delhi.  He talks about the role of Facebook in Delhi riots. 

Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena is speaking now She states the BJP has indulged in subverting democracy in various States. She cites various reports terming India “partially free” to say India is moving towards a authoritarian regime. With arrest odf students and journalists, BJP is weraking havoc to our democracy, she adds. This bill takes us back to the British era and negates co-operative federalism, she states.

The L-G is a political appointment, they speak out of turn ion various States. This unchecked power needs to be curtailed, she opines.

Lok Sabha | 7.51 p.m.

K. Raju is speaking now. He is talking about the Sabrimala judgement. He urges the PM to dispose of the petition filed in favoured of the deity. He says the control of the Temple should be taken away from the the govt.

Rajya Sabha | 7.43 p.m.

V. Reddy of YSRCP is speaking now. He opposes the bill and says absolute power cannot be given to the L-G in Delhi. He cites examples from London, Tokyo and Washington and says there needs to be a comparative studies done before passing the bill.

He asks for the passing of the bill to be postponed and it be referred to the select committee and says if passed Supreme Court will strike it down.  He elaborates on a specific clause of Article 239 A A and says that with an amendment to it, the L-G will become unaccountable, he states. YSRCP MPs stage walkout from the House.

Lok Sabha | 7.40 p.m.

Lok Sabha proccedings extending till the conclusion of the Zero Hour.

Rajya Sabha | 7.34 p.m.

P. Wilson of DMK is speaking now. He opposes the bill and says its a dark blot in the history of India’s Parliament.  Article 239 A A which is being challanged right now, is important to protect democacy and the smooth functioning of State govt. It is a slap on the spirit of pragmatic federalism, he says.

The Parliament has no power to nullify the Supreme Court judgement, he says emphatically.

Lok Sabha | 7.30 p.m.

Supriya Sule of NCP is speaking now. She talks about the spike in prices of petrol, diesel and  LPG. She says the Central govt. is against women citing the incident in BIhar. She condemns the happening and concludes.

Rajya Sabha | 7.23 p.m.

Derek O’ Brian says CAA is a cheat on the people of Assam ad Bengal. He is met with widespread protests from the House.  He concludes.

Lok Sabha| 7.21 p.m.

Riti Pathak of BJP is speaking now.  She says the Dubri Tiger reserve facility needs to be taken care off in a better fashion and steps need to be taken to allocate fund for it.

Rajya Sabha | 7.14 p.m.

Derek O’Brian is speaking now. He says India’s constitution cannot be less important than a party manifesto. He says the presence of the Home Minister was important in the house during this debate instead of campaigning in West Bengal.  He says Modi-Shah duo believe in conquest.  His words are met with widespread protests.

He says two octegenarians are candidates for Bengal elections but leaders like Mr. Advani have been sidelined, this goes to show the autocracy of the BJP top leadership.  He appeals  to various regional parties that one day thwe BJP govt. will come after them.

“The Central govt. is destroying every institution brick by brick,” he states. 

Rajya Sabha | 7.08 p.m.

Bhupendra Yadav says the bill is important to strengthen federalism and L-G, who is the rightful head of the state govt. will be able to take timely decision, thanks to this bill, he states.

He criticises AAP govt for not being able to curb pollution. He even claims that Delhi’s fight against COVID-19 was fought by the Central govt when the State gave up. His words are met with vehement protests by the oppostion.

The bill will ensure that allocation of work in the State be done efficiently.  He addresses the Oppostion, says politicisation of the bill is unwarranted when it is a step in the right direction.

Lok Sabha | 7.02 p.m.

Lok Sabha passes The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

Smriti Irani says that incompetent child care institutes have been closed  by the central govt. Also, POSCO related cases for childre has also been clear havebeen cleared at a good rate. She claims this bill will prioritise the issues of children. “The child teaches himself, the duty of the govt. to remove obstacle in his/ her path. “

The bill has been put to voice vote.  The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 has been passed.

Question Hour begins.

Rajya Sabha | 6.56 p.m.

Bhupendra Yadav is speaking now. He cites various examples to say full statehood cannot be granted to Delhi. He says BJP has brought this bill in the spirit of the constitution and it will iron out some of the ambiguities that reamin right now. He rejects Mr. Singhvi;s remarks on federalism.

Rajya Sabha | 6.47 p.m.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi says various examples to establish that the Indian government structure is becoming more federal in nature. He says the regional parties are the heart of a federal democracy and says the Central govt. is participating in coercive federalism to curtail democracy in the country.  The govt. viciously used one clause from the cncurrent list to pass the three atrocious farm bills, he says.

Lok Sabha| 6.41 p.m.

Smriti Irani is speaking right now. She says the Ministry will work with Anganwadis and other grass root level organisations to provide child care. She says focus wil be on mental health of children and govt will take suitable steps to do the same.

Govt. has started work on training police to deal with juvenile delinquents and their crimes and it will try its best to provide proper legal representation to accused children.  If you work in a child care institution, your background will be checked to detect history of sexual offences and child abuse if any.

She talks about adoption and how foster care will improve with the bill being debated.  She says even before Article 370 was abbrogated in Jammu and Kashmir, children were in bad state as their was no legal option for addoption. Her words her met with protests from the Oppostion. She says the bill, if passed, will be applicable for children in Jammu and Kashmir .  She lauds NCPCR for doing a good job in the U.T.

Rajya Sabha | 6.29 p.m.

House resumes proccedings. Abhishek Manu Singhvi is speaking now. He cites various examples of how theThe Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment)Bill, 2021 being debated is unconstitutional.

He cites a judgment by the Supreme Court to elucidate that L-G of the state as more of n advisory role than having a decisive now. He says its the effort by the Modi govt. top turn Delhi govt. into a caricature of itself.  He examines various clauses of the bill to cite how the powers of the legislative Assembly of the State is being diluted systematically. ” If Delhi govt. cant govern effectively over its jurisdiction, it is toothless, ” he says.  he says the bill is going to deprive state govt. to investigate matters concerning the U.T. which is unconstitutional.

Lok Sabha | 6.21 p.m.

Satya pal Singh of BJP is speaking now.  He advocates for parents of Juvenile delinquents taking responsibility for their offsprings crime.  he says juvenile deliquuenccy is on the rise and it needs to be stopped immediately, he claims.

Rajya Sabha| 6.17 p.m.

Rajya Sabha adjounred again till 6.25 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 6.16 p.m.

Jaskaur Meena of BJP is speaking now. She talks about underage labour and says special attention needs to be paid in preventing it for the all-round development of our country’s children.  She talks about empowerment of the girl child and says special attention needs to pe paid on the same. Even in the govt. should be given proper representation, she states.

Lok Sabha | 6.14 p.m.

Dr. Bharati Pawar of BJP os speaking right now. She touches on how adoption will be made more eaiser to avail under this new bill and advocated for trying juvenile delinquents for heinous crimes. She says kids today need to be protected from society’s evils and extends supoort to the bill

Lok Sabha | 6.08 p.m.

Sangam Lal Gupta is speaking now. He lauds the government for introducing the amended bill to  address issues of juvenile delinqunets. “Timely justice to them was not being meted out but with this step in the right direction, we will be able to do so timely.” ghe cites an example of how the pre-existing law has been ineffective in the past and thanks Narendra Modi again for the new measure and requests the bill be passed.

Rajya Sabha| 6.05 p.m.

Opposition parties storm into well of Rajya Sabha as it takes up for passing National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 6.14 p.m. amid protest by Oppostion.

Rajya Sabha| 5.55 p.m.

Deputy Chairman asks Abhishev Manu Singhvi of Congress to speak. “I cannot speak without the House being in order,” he says.

Loktantra mein taanashahi nahin chalegi, Modi sarkaar murdabad, loktantra ki hatya karna band karo,” he adds.

Bhupendra Yadav of BJP says the commotion in the House is being promoted by Congress. Mr. Kharge objects as Bhupendra Yadav speaks. He says do not turn this into Bihar. “His name was called ten times, this shows how serious congress is for democracy,” says Mr. Yadav.

“Today Congress is objecting to this bill, in Kerala they are fighting the Communists, in Bengal they are against the communists and here with Congress they are killing the democracy,” he says.

Slogans continue. “Through this bill, the rules of standing committee of Delhi assembly will be in consonance with the Lok Sabha. Centre has to intervene when its COVID, pollution and other issues,” he remarks.

Lok Sabha | 5.53 p.m.

Navneet Ravi Rana, independent MP from Amravati, Maharashtra is now speaking. She supports trying children above 16 years for heinous crimes.

Now Annpurna Devi, BJP from Jharkhand, compliments the Prime Minister and Ms. Irani for the bill. She talks about impact of social media in prompting in committing heinous crimes. Presence of nuclear families also is a contributing factor, she says and talks about counseling and mental health for children in child care institutions.

Sangeeta Azad, BSP MP speaking now. She says children between 16 and 18 suffer from hormonal imbalance. “What provisions have been taken to factor this in?”

She suggests adoption process to be done within two months instead of current 6 months. She also recommends  50% women reservation in the CWC. Also, a role for MPs and MLAs.

She also wants to make suggestions to improve child care homes.

Rajya Sabha | 5.40 pm

National Capital Territory Amendment Bill, 2021 being discussed now.

Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge : four amendments through this Bill. Bill has a provision to declare LG as the government, What is the point of elections then?

“Why not amend the Constitution and bring the changes, why are you making these amendments through backdoor by amending the Act like this? giving all executive powers to the L-G. You are centralising power, dissolve the assembly and do what you want then, send the Bill to select committee. “

Sanjay Singh of AAP, says, “I am here to seek justice for 2 crore people of Delhi. You will exists if the constitution is intact. 239AA says Delhi Cabinet will be answerable to the people of Delhi. Whatever is written in Constitution, you are changing it with a simple act? Your bill is wrong. They are saying L-G means government.”

“Was L-G elected? Was L-G voted to power? Atal Bihari Vajpayee spoke of full Statehood to Delhi. It is an unconstitutional Bill. You lost elections twice. We are working on electricity, health.”

Sloganeering in Rajya Sabha against the Bill. “In 1991, through 69th amendment of Constitution, this bill was brought, we are not amending the constitution, removing the ambiguities through this bill. There are no new amendments. Court has also said that Delhi is a UT. The purpose of the amendment is to implement court’s direction. This will help people,” he says.

“Delhi is not a full fledges State. The amendments are not unconstitutional or democratic. We are bringing amendments to the Act made by Congress in 1991, no new amendments. This government runs according to the Constitution,” he adds.

Lok  Sabha | 5.35 pm

Hanuman Beniwal of RLP is now speaking.  He asks can a Child Welfare Committee give directions to police. He cites an incident in Nagaur where a police officer held a press conference to say no.

Rita Bahuguna Joshi of BJP speaking. She cites a UNICEF report that claim nearly 3 crore children who are either abandoned or orphaned.

She also mentions about 6 crore children being involved in child labour. So, this is a very important area. She talks about bi-partisan suport and how the bill has united members of the House.  She compliments the Prime Minister and the Minister for Women and Child Development.

Ms. Joshi mentions about cumbersome rules regarding adoption earlier. She pleads for an open system to treat juvenile delinquents.

She pleads for an open system to treat juvenile delinquents

Rajya Sabha | 5.25 pm

Finance Minister replying in Bengali.

I would like to reply in Bangla, says Ms. Sitharaman. She reads out from a prepared statement.

“Dola Sen used the word lajja lajja means shame shame. Centre wants to implement Aysuhman Bharat yojana, but State government is not allowing. You may have a better scheme. What is the problem if Modi gives additional one crore rupees? “

TMC MPs protest. Commotion in house.

If the list had come from West Bengal, farmers would have recieved the PM Kisan Nidhi Samman funds. Ms. Sitharaman charges at Dola Sen, I don’t utter a word of untruth in this House.

“Even though it was in Bengali, I heard them all. They were putting false allegations against us. The rights of farmers were snatched in West Bengal.”

TMC and AAP MPs shout slogans.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh puts the Finance Bill to vote amid commotion.

Finance Bill passed.

Lok  Sabha | 5.25 pm

Anubhav Mohanty of Biju Janata Dal is now speaking. He compliments the minister for a well drafted and we’ll thought bill. He talks about a mechanism to ensure expeditious disposal of adoption cases by a District Magistrates.

He talks about a clarification on the term “social worker” as a qualification to become a member of the Child Welfare Committee. He said anyone can call oneself a social worker. He suggests that it should be added that it should be someone who doesn’t have a case against himself or herself.

 

He expresses concern about lowering of age for heinous crimes.  He also mentions about a four year old child who died a couple of months ago in Aurangabad, Bihar. He requests the minister to take note.

E.T. Mohammed Basheer of IUML is speaking now. He says there are positives and negatives in the bill. He appreciates the qualification for CWC members. Also, appreciates the proviso of appeal on the orders of CWC. He objects to DM being given more power. He says taking judicial power is not right and talks about laws are being made but failing on implementation.

Rajya Sabha | 4.55 pm

Finance Minister continues..

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: https://rstv.nic.in/live-tv

 

Urjit Patel says in his book, instead they (public sector banks) seems to have continued to extend loans to defaulters, says Ms. Sitharaman.

“Things were a mess, economy was mismanaged, they don’t have the credit of having managed the economy well. 7.5% growth rate in 2014-19.”

“About downgrading by credit rating agencies, the threat of being downgraded was taken care of. CRAs will have to restore in 90 days instead of 365 days in case of default, through SEBI a humane approach is being followed. About India’s rating- we are not forcing any change due to incurrence of fiscal deficit, many agencies are of firm opinion that government needs to increase spending.”

“About GST on Tirupati temple, the Minister services provided are liable to GST. This is not unique to one temple, applies to everywhere where rental accommodation above ₹1,000/per day is provided.”

“GST compensation has been paid to States for 2017-18, 18-19, nothing pending. Prior to COVID, every compensation to States has been paid. The unutilised contribution of 17-18, 18-19 has been carried forward and utilised in 19-20 and 20-21. Over 2 lakh 17 thousand crore is the GST compensation due for 2020-21 (till January). The compensation will be released in March, ₹30,000 crore will go to States. There is no discretion in GST, it is as per formula”

“There is nothing exceptionally held back for Maharashtra- 11,977 crore has already been released, out of over ₹30,000 crore. ” According to 13th finance commission, State to Centre ratio was 32:68. The14th commission says the State to Centre ratio would be 42:58. We cant give a higher devolution to States and keep running as many schemes.

Lok Sabha | 4.45 pm

Now Srinivas Reddy Mane of Telangana Rashtra Samithi speaking now. Mr. Reddy talks about protecting the children bin conflict with law.

Dr. Hasnain Masoodi, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference is speaking. He mentions how the J&K Constitution was the first to recognise the right to happy childhood. He also expresses reservation about giving powers to DMs.

He mentions about District Judges being better placed to deal with such situations.

Now, Jasbir Singh Gill from Congress is speaking and talks about the unanimity among the members about the bill.

He suggests about looking the children who are in their homes. and asks for checks as well as mental audits of employees who are working in child care institutions.  Children rescued from bonded labour should be put in such homes and imparted skill development.

He suggests involving the MPs.

Now, Dr Virendra Kumar of BJP is now speaking. The bill is being amended looking at the future. It’s a sign of able leadership.  Dr Kumar talks about how the bill ensures rights to abandoned children and makes adoption easy. He also talks about the change in mindset as people are increasingly adopting girl child and not only preferring male child.

Rajya Sabha | 4.45 pm

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman replies.

Twenty three members spoke on the Finance Bill. From April 1 there will be a stakeholders meeting on anti-dumping duty.  Any such notification brought after consultation, should come with a deadline.  Emphasis on direct tax to increase compliance not burden them. Cess in this case is tailormade to improve infrastructure in farming sector, I agree that such cess is not devolved to States.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: https://rstv.nic.in/live-tv

“80 crore people for eight full months were given free food grains during lockdown period. I would like to thank bank employees who helped put money in the bank accounts of poor people. There is no denying that there is immense suffering due to COVID-19, piyush goyal was stressed, he spent hours on how migrants would reach home.”

“The Swanidhi scheme for street vendors, the direct cash transfer for women— are these not taking care of the poor or the dispossessed? I find it bit rich when i hear from opposition- you know you are not handling the economy well.”

” India was one of the fragile five economies when Arun Jaitley inherited. it became one of the fastest growing economy. You created a crisis, Jaitley ji and PM Modi handled it. 2008 financial crisis was nothing in comparison to Corona crisis of last year.”

“Inflation rate is well below today. There was one thing floated called “policy paralysis”. PM engaged in VCs with 100 countries to learn what others were doing during Corona. We are handling the economy in consultation with small traders, businessmen. Between 2014- today, one sharp distinction that we have to recognise that PM has led a corruption free government.

I quote two former RBI governors- Raghuram Rajan mentioned the larger number of bad loans originated between 2006-08, too many loans made to well connected people who have a history of defaulting loans, public sector banks were giving them loans.

Rajya Sabha | 4.30 pm

Jairam Ramesh (Congress): many acts are being amended through Finance Bill.

“Finance Act amended 19 Acts passed by the Parliament in 2017-18. I challenged it in SC. in 2019, the then CJI who is now a member of the Rajya Sabha, upheld my petition and rejected the amendments.”

“The LIC Act was passed in 1956 by both Houses of Parliament. 49 sections in the Act.  27 of the 49 sections is being amended now through the Finance Bill. No debate, no discussion, no scrutiny by standing or select committee. Why such route is being taken for such an important Act?”

“If you look at the LIC logo, its slogan is from chapter 9 of Bhagwad Gita, i am provider of your securities and i will fulfill those needs. LIC was set up in wake of large irregularities in insurance sector. There was a certain social logic to the nationalisation of LIC. You are endangering LIC’s motto. LIC has been the bulwark for government programmes.”

“LIC is going to be a listed company, foreign firms will own part of LIC, what will governments do? We cant stop these amendments as these are part of Finance Bill. This bill may pass, your IPO may be there, in one place you ar saying government shall and in other place you say government may, shall means it is bound to happen. It is not mandatory, it is an enabling provision. Why dont you make it mandatory that 10% is reserved for policyholders. Please amend the Act by bringing amendments, not through Finance Bill.”

“India requires many LICs.”

Lok Sabha | 4.25 pm

Now Supriya Sule from NCP speaking. She mentions about a Citizen’s Alliance Group of MPs from all parties and how it assisted States in malnutrition. 

She talks about a doctor couple who adopted an abandoned baby and had to face police for violation of law.

 She further talks about fostering child in good homes. Ms. Sule says DMs would be proud to accept the responsibility of JJ Act.

Ms. Sule once again supports the bill.

Malook Nagar, Bahujan Samaj Party of MP from Bijnor speaking. He talks about the delay in adoption procedure. He suggests adoption in a few days. He also talks about three different laws for adoption. One under Hindu law, Muslim law and a process of application for scheduled castes.

Rajya Sabha | 4.15 pm

Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena says an impression is being created that we are a land of milk and honey, anyone saying otherwise is branded anti-national.

“Urban female labour participation at an all time low. Job losses have affected 49% women. Pew research says over 7 crore people pushed into poverty. Once we took pride that 12 crore people have been uplifted from poverty. “

“All good happened post-2014, that is what the government claims. The victims of fuel price rise will be housewives, farmers, this was said by late Sushma Swaraj said. 407 % price rise of petrol in past seven years.”

“Delhi has been nominated as the most polluted capital of the world and only ₹2,200 crore allocated to fight pollution. Price of LPG has increased twice in past seven years. “

Derek O Brien of TMC says that about two hours ago a most distasteful statement was made about a woman leader that she should not wear sarees but bermudas.

“Centrally sponsored schemes were 66, now reduced to 28. Centre’s share was earlier 75 %, now 60%, States are having to pay 40%. Shouldn’t the States also not get the benefit of devolution? We all know the price of LPG, diesel and petrol. “

“62% cess on petrol and 69% cess on diesel. This is not tax cess, the entire amount goes to Centre. GST collection for West bengal has reduced by ₹1,000 crore. You spend 56% on advertising. In the last five years CAG reports are down by 75%, this is a bad precedent.”

On November 8, 2016- PM Modi said give me 50 days, now it is five years, Mr. Brien says.

Rajya Sabha | 4.05 pm

Abdul Wahab of (IUML) says, “While India one of the fastest growing economy, inequality rising sharply. India’s GST of highest slab of 28% is the second highest in the world. People smuggling petrol from Nepal at cheaper rates.

He demands tax exemption for NRIs. Both centre and state charging tax on petrol and diesel in Kerala, crude oil is only $65 per barrel.

He asks to allocate some fund for Aligarh Muslim University.

TDP’s K. Ravindra Kumar, says, “Present government came to power on promise that special status would be granted to Andhra, the Chief Minister has forgotten the promise, should urge the Centre to fulfill the demand. The chief minister has brought three capital concept, the State will become capital less. About 24,000 farmers voluntary gave up land for construction of capital at Amravati. Due to State government decision they have been protesting for over 400 days. Most farmers are women. Centre should look into it.”

TDP MP K. Ravindra Kumar speaking at the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.

 

“Now Centre has created another problem to privatise Vizag steel plant, over 22,000 farmers gave their land for construction of this plant. Andhra Pradesh is in financial mess, they have an outstanding loan of ₹1 crore 46 thousand.”

Lok Sabha | 4.05 pm

Now Geetha Viswanath Vanga, Kakinada MP, Andhra Pradesh  is speaking in Telugu.

Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant speaking now.

“I welcome the bill but we should also go into why children take to crime. We should look at psychology. We should get into the root causes. He mentions about children looking at phones, media being a corrupting influence.”

That’s why our government of Manohar Joshi used to talk about sanskar (culture) in schools. He mentions about Sindhutai Sapkal, who is fourth standard, but her knowledge will put everyone in awe. Abandoned children need love and care.

Like a mother, a CWC needs love and compassion. He asks for a rethink on the eligibility criteria for CWC members. He says a mother doesn’t need qualification. It’s shouldn’t be just academic but beyond it. It needs a humanism.

Chandeshwar Prasad, Janata Dal United MP from Jahanabad, Bihar is speaking. He is talking about his experience in the field of child care. He says there is a need to stop them for child labour or begging. Children, who are caught, are returned to their homes and these children once again take to such work and suggests every Commissionerate should have a centre to impart them skill education and also to sensitise the parents of such children.

Rajya Sabha | 3.55 pm

Dr. Santanu Sen of TMC speaks in Bengali. He quotes a world bank report that Bangladesh will fare better than India.

“The one who started from selling tea has started selling the country. How the income of son of a learned minister has increased so much. A businessman who has a helipad in his house, how his income increased 73%. How the income of a friend from Gujarat increased the fastest in the world. We do not have allies like CBI and ED. “

“The global hunger index our ranking is 94. 1 crore job loss during COVID-19. West bengal diesel tax is 3 % and central tax is 36%. Central tax is 70 % more that State tax when it comes to petrol.”

“We have demanded for long that West Bengal’s name should be changed to Bengal. We havent recieved ₹13,000 crore GST compensation. During Amphan cyclone, a lollipop was announced by PM, no one recieved that money. From July, no assistance by Centre for COVID-19 treatment in West Bengal. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has offered to provide free vaccines to people, Centre not giving us vaccine.”

“We are scared, they have sold the country. In three days from now Khela Shuru Hobe (game will begin) in West Bengal, it will be a semi final for the country.

Lok Sabha | 3.45 pm

Aparajita Sarangi of BJP starts by quoting Nelson Mandela who said a society is reflected in the way it treats its children.

She says this bill focusses on three major heads: definition of heinous crime, adoption and definition of child welfare committees. She thanks PM Modi and Minister Irani. For studying ground realities and then putting it to implementation.

In 2007, there was a case in the Supreme Court regarding the exploitation of children in Tamil Nadu. The case dragged on until 2017. Finally, all child care institutions were to be audited. Not one was found to be 100% compliant with the provisions of the 2015 Act.

She mentions the Jalpaiguri Child Care centre in West Bengal and called it a centre of child trafficking. She mentions the case again came to the Supreme Court.

 She further mentions of shutting down 539 child care institutions by the women and child development ministry and thanks Preneet Kaur for supporting the bill.

She says all serious offences have become non-congisable. That is they cannot be arrested without a warrant. She now speaks on the functioning of the CWC (Child Welfare Committee). Now, there is clarity that CWC shall submit a report to the DM and State government on a quarterly basis. This is a very welcome point.

She quotes Good to Great author Jim Collins of putting the right people in the CWC. Qualification now has a proviso of being able to handle differently abled children.

She also compliments for the disqualification criteria like abuse of human rights, child rights abuse, child labour or a conviction in a case of moral turpitude that has not been overturned in a subsequent judgement.

This bill is moving from better to best by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s team.

Lok Sabha | 3.35 pm

Preneet Kaur of Congress is now speaking. She recalls the series of legislation that has come up in the area of juvenile justice.

She agrees with the Minister that children are now being given priority even in Parliamentary business. She is reading the provisions of the bill and asks the House to consider carefully.

“Our guiding principles should be to handle these delinquents carefully. The proposed amendment puts the entire onus on the DMs, ignoring the fact that DMs have a lot of burden in ensuring Juvenile Justice. DMs have also been in charge of adoption, rehabilitation and reintegration in one authority. This may lead to serious delays. “

“We should be cognizant if loading an already overburdened authority will produce the desired results. This gives too much power and sensitive responsibility. If it is required, the Ministry should provide a suitable mechanism. She appreciates the fact the focus is on children and criteria of CWCs have been defined. She mentions that Budgetary allocation should have been a little more. We must carefully the intended and the unintended consequences of social legislation.”

She compliments the Minister for bringing the bill. Smriti Irani thumps her desk.

Lok Sabha | 3.20 pm

Lok Sabha takes up discussion on The Juvenile
Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill

Now, the Lok Sabha is taking up the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2021 is being taken up, with Minister Smriti Irani speaking about the Parliament always making an effort to strengthen the laws protecting children.

She says the Narendra Modi government has been in consultation with State governments regarding children requiring protection.

“The Centre has audited/surveyed over 7000 child care institutions that take care children in conflict with law and in need of protection. The audit found 29 % per cent of child care homes were not registered.”

Ms. Irani gives data regarding how many didn’t have a bathing area, separate sleeping area, didn’t want to follow a diet plan.

Many things came to light after instances of child rights abuse and when the district administration took note. That’s why this amendment seeks to empower District Magistrates.

She mentions of a case of UP’s Prayagraj (Allahabad) that came to NCPCR (National Commission for Protection for Child Rights) of a rape of a 4-year-old victim who was not given justice until she turned 12 years.

She now mentions of a case in Boys Home in Bhagalpur where children were putting complaints in the complainant box every day. Children don’t vote and some of them feel they don’t count. That’s why we are empowering the District Administration.

“We are drawing a line of distinct responsibility. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is a quasi judicial body and that’s we are defining the qualification for this body. Children would be  now a priority of the District Magistrates.”

Rajya Sabha | 3.15 pm

Narain Das Gupta (AAP) says MSMEs should get tax benefits.

“We welcome the faceless tax assessment system. Post-budget meeting should be held with small traders, not only big business houses. We are lagging behind in exports.  No provision for MSP in this budget.”

Neeraj Dangi of Congress says country’s economy handed over to capitalists. 

“Profit making LIC also being privatised. This will also lead to gradual erosion of reservation system as there is no scope for reservation in private sector.”

”No relief given to salaried people. No tax concession to people who lost jobs due to COVID-19. Settlement commission has been discontinued, will impact small businessmen. The country will not forget the treatment meted out to farmers, they are trying to hand over farms to corporates.”

Lok Sabha | 3.05 pm

Replying to Anupriya Patel, the Helath Minister says the bill will take care of the concerns expressed by her.

Replying to Dr Pritam Munde, the Minister says the Bill recognises the role of technicians and technology.

Replying to Hasnain Masoodi about an AIIMS in Jammu, it is under process and even the Director has been appointed.

The Minister says the bill will a provide a robust infrastructure for the education for allied healthcare professions.

He thanks members for all round support and thanks Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his guidance and support to the healthcare sector. 

“There are many plans that will in the next 5 years to be future ready in case of pandemic.”

Jasbir Singh Gill had raised an objection that he wanted to move an amendment but couldn’t do so. He said he gave it today but he was told he should have given it yesterday.

Mr. Mahtab ruled that he should have given notice yesterday.

Now, clause by clause voting going on. The bill is passed now.

The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021 passed in Lok Sabha.

Rajya Sabha | 3.00 pm

Arpita Ghosh of Trinamool Congress speaks in Bengali.

“West Bengal doesnt find mention in Railway budget, 12 projects in the State have been shut. they did not run the project in time, now at the time of election they want to turn the State into Sonar Bangla. no budget for beti bachao. She asks BJP members to wear earphones to understand what she is saying in Bangla. Farmers have been sitting at Singhu border, your heart doesnt bleed for them? 300 farmers have died.”

Sujeet Kumar of BJD applaud Finance Minister for helping startups.

Lok Sabha | 2.45 pm

E.T. Mohammed Basheer of IUML speaking now. He welcomes the bill. Mr.  Basheer talks about the comprehensive definition of health as expounded by the WHO. He said any kind of commercialisation and exploitation is not desirable.

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is now thanking all the members who spoke in the debate.

“Except one speaker, everyone has expressed their support to the bill as well as the professionals in the allied healthcare workers. I have spent nearly 5 decades as a medical student, consultant ENT surgeon and then as a Minister. In the past one year, I have had an opportunity to closely look at the contribution of the allied healthcare workers. This bill is a step towards giving long due respect to their contribution. It’s a matter of personal satisfaction for me.”

“In Corona period, we remembered doctors, nurses, frontline workers, security staff etc. But there were so many CT scan technician, etc who served during Covid crisis. There are lakhs of such workers whom we have served.”

“There are 10.65 lakh allopathic doctors and over 5 lakh Ayush doctor. Our doctor is to patient ratio is 1 is to 854. It is as per WHO guidelines. The penalty provisions are to streamline the sector. We are now creating a regulatory framework for more than 50 allied healthcare services.”

“Standardisation will improve the distribution of such  healthcare workers. This bill makes a paradigm shift is making it more patient centric.”

Speaking to Bhartuhari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal, who is on the Chair, the Minister appreciates the fact that Mr. Mahtab raised the issue of healthcare workers of dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The Minister said State medical councils will carry out the accreditation as per the guidelines laid down.

The Minister, replying to Mr. Mahtab, said it is desirable to bring physiotherapy under this regulatory framework instead of a separate bill.

Lok Sabha | 2.40 pm

Navneet Rana (Independent) commends Health Minister for work during pandemic.

This bill helps recognise and regulate allied health professionals.

RLP supports Bill

Hanuman Beniwal (RLP) supports Bill. He gives details of bill and asks details of implications for States.

Mr. Beniwal asks for a medical college and a nursing college in his constituency of Nagaur. He also asks for a CGHS dispensary in his constituency and complains about the quality of AIIMS at Jodhpur and asks for an inquiry.

Rajya Sabha | 2.35 pm

Jyotiraditya Scindia of BJP says India has emerged out of the COVID pandemic like a phoenix.

“The economy is already back on track. It is a matter of pride that 60 % of the vaccine used in the world is being manufactured here. The vaccine is acting as a Swastha Setu – Health Bridge. 25-30 lakh Indians are being vaccinated every day, the biggest vaccination drive in the world,” he adds.

“The Congress claims that the budget is only for the rich. But the Congress which can not understand the sentiment of G-23, then how can this party understand the pain of the poor.  They talk about Modi-tax. During 2013-14 when UPA was in power, the person who was earning ₹5 lakh per annum, had to pay ₹30,000 income tax. Today, the person with the same income has to give zero tax.”

Jyotiraditya Scindia of BJP speaking at the Rajya Sabha on Wedenesday, 24th March, 2021.

Jyotiraditya Scindia of BJP speaking at the Rajya Sabha on Wedenesday, 24th March, 2021.  
| Photo Credit: https://rstv.nic.in/live-tv

 

“Let me remind the people who are talking about the farmers today, the MS Swaminathan report came in 2004. The Congress led UPA government was in power for ten years. Why didn’t they implement the report back then. They talk about the MSP. Our govt has increased the MSP by 1.5 times.”

The opposition rakes up “₹15 lakh jumla”. Mr Scindia reacts, “If you talk about the ₹15 lakh then I will have to remind you about ₹100 crores of extortion racket being run by your government in Mahasrashtra. People who live in glass houses don’t throw stones at other’s houses.”

He further quotes IMF report.

“Along with demand, production and supply will have to be increased. ₹20,000 crore loan provided in MSME sector. Due to lack of efficiency many PSUs have turned into liabilities, that is why government has taken decision to privatise five PSUs. From 1991-96, they sold 31 public sector companies worth ₹9,961 crore. From 2004-2009, they sold PSUs worth over ₹8,000 crore. From 2009-14, ₹1 lakh crore disinvested- OIL, SAIL, Hindustan Copper, EIL, NHPC.”

“Now they are getting so excited that Modi government is fulfilling your dreams. Disinvestment is not a policy to sell the country but to build the nation. 2010-15, inflation was 10%, after Modi government came to power, it has been on an average 4%.”

Most bad loans were from UPA era, he quotes Raghuram Rajan.

“27 amendments for LIC in this finance bill, every investor will get an opportunity to invest in IPO, transparency in LIC’s functioning after IPO is brought, after IPO government will be the major shareholder. Significant changes brought to tax assessment.”

Lok Sabha | 2.10 pm

Dr. Manoj Rajouria (BJP) – conveys thanks to allied health workers for their service during the pandemic

He further gives details of increase in MBBS seats from 40,000 to 85,000. 

“Increase in PG seats too significant, more than 50,000.  After PM Modi came to power more than 15 new AIIMS have been set up. Modi government also launched the Ayushman Bharat Yojana and ensured the health of the poor to upto ₹5 lakh. With this recognition of allied health workers is also the responsibility of standardised care.”

Hasnain Masoodi of NC, says, “This is a welcome piece of legislation , and gives recognition to key parts of our healthcare systems. The pandemic also helped us uncover this important. My concern is whether the work force you seek to regulate are they in place??? Many areas of rural India have a lack of these allied health care professionals. Despite this bill however the allocations for health remain measly.Announcements are made of new AIIMS but they are just announcement. My suggestion is that every district should have a training institute for allied health care professional in every district. “

Rajya Sabha | 2.10 pm

Rajiv Satav of Congress says that many of the things that have been included in the Finance Bill should have come as a separate bill. The Rajya Sabha has no say on the Finance Bill. He accuses the govt. of attempting to bypass the Rajya Sabha. “You have majority in both houses. So why are shirking away from a debate,” he said. He also slams the government on increasing the cess reducing the divisible pool of taxes between centre and states. Mr. Satav also attacked the government on the rising fuel prices. “Yesterday, the crude oil prices reduced by ₹4 per barrel. But despite the fact that that international crude oil prices are reducing but the government doesn’t want to help the common man. But in case of corporate taxes, the government acts with alacrity.

“This govt’s report card on spending the cess is in red. The CAG has pointed out in the past that the cess that the govt collects is usually not spent for the subject that it is collected. You only use it to reduce your revenue shortfall. There should be transparency about the expenditure of cess. You claim nothing happened in last 70 years. And now in last six years, you have been trying to sell everything that was constructed in last 70 years.”

Lok Sabha | 2.00 pm

BJP’s Pritam Munde commends PM Modi, Health Minister and doctors and allied health care workers for working during COVID-19.

“Timing of the bill is significant  as it comes in the wake of the pandemic and will help us prepare to face future pandemics.”

Anupriya Patel (Apna Dal), says, “This is a historic bill and is the second significant reform in the health sector after the National Medical Council Act. It will address the lack of regulatory framework for training, standardisation of 56 types of allied health workers.”

Two concerns – There could be scope for manipulation in the new commission as well , secondly, how will this bill ensure that big healthcare providers will not crowd our smaller players under the garb of regulation, Ms. Patel adds.

Apna Dal supports the Bill.

Lok Sabha | 1.45 pm

The share of Health in GDP expenditure should be raised, Dr. Shinde says.

Ritesh Pandey of BSP says the bill will go a long way in addressing some of the issues related to allied health care professionals. “How will the commission that you have established and have said States too should set up commissions tackle corruption in this field?” he asks.

Mr. Pandey seeks clarification on how medical commissions were put an end to. “This bill again establishes a commission,” he says, asking for a reason. He says the BSP supports the bill.

TRS supports Bill

Bhimrao Patil of TRS says, “The aftermath of the pandemic is a good time to go into what lacunae exist in our health care system inspite of which our health care workers helped save lives during the pandemic. The bill will help us move away from the doctor-centric model to a team-centric model.”

Faizal P.P. Mohammad of NCP says, ” I and my party support the bill and congratulate the Health Minister. We all know the kind of service the allied health workers tendered during the pandemic. Especially in my areas in Lakshadweep , health care workers kept a vigil, screened everyone and managed to keep Lakshadweep free from COVID-19 for a year.”

“We should have a dynamic database on student-teacher ratio. Shortage of 1,14,000 forensic science professional due to syllabus issues. Request you to address that. Mental health is an important issue and we need to give special emphasis to psychology. Two Honourable sitting MPs have also committed suicide and people realise this is an important issue. I also request you to open a medical college , since the seats allotted to Lakshadweep has been reduced from 10 to 4. Pay disparity between regular para medics and those on contract.”

Rajya Sabha | 1.30 pm

Manoj K. Jha of RJD says, “If our government fails, then we fail too. So, our criticism should be looked at from a positive perspective. Newspapers have reported that women workforce has been worst-hit due to the lockdown. Today is the anniversary of the lockdown, which saw the exodus of the migrant workers. The country needs resources. But is it necessary to do acquire these resources by entering into brazen sale of public assets?”

“If you have already decided about disinvestment, why don’t you consult those employed in these PSUs? This government is not in a habit of changing their minds, even if people sit for months at the Delhi borders, complaining. The government keeps talking about ease of doing business. I have never heard of ease of working. The safety net for the workers is slowly being removed,” Mr. Jha says.

Praful Patel of NCP says, “The budget has been delivered by the Finance Minister in very difficult times. We are happy that V-shape recovery has started. But, we should not take the second wave of COVID-19 lightly. Most of the States are facing delay in recovery of the GST. There was categorical assurance by the Centre, when GST was passed, that the States will not be affected. This has proved to be untrue.”

“The tourism sector has been worst affected because of the pandemic. But the government  has not given any relief to these sectors. None at all. On the MSME front you talked of restructuring the loan. How many banks have done it? This is not an easy process. The banks though are flush with money are not keen in financing the MSME sector”

Lok Sabha | 1 pm

Bhratruhari Mahtab of BJD calls the bill a landmark one. “Treatment was till now considered doctor centric. This bill makes treatment patient-centric,” he says.

“This bill classifies 15 major category of professions and there is a need for a regulatory body and standardisation of training in this sector. However, even today, training in palliative care is very limited. Even in medical colleges. We must take care to make sure that rural areas have access to accredited professionals.”

He flags some concerns, “granting only 12 seats to States on the allied and health council is worrisome as there are so many States in India. Physiotherapists have been demanding an independent council.”

Dr. B.V. Satyavathi of YSRCP expresses gratitude to allied health care workers who worked through the pandemic and commends the Andhra Pradesh government’s handling of pandemic. “In this light, this bill is a step in the right direction. This bill covers 56 professional profiles under 15 categories. The WHO has projected a shortage of 1.84 crore health workers the world over,” Ms. Satyavathi says.

“The A.P. government has a Rs. 16,000-crores plan for health, out of which Rs. 2400 is for10,000 village clinics,” she says.

Alok Kumar Suman of JDU says, “Currently, in the country, allied health professionals are being mapped on the basis of skills.” He gives details of vacancies of hospital support staff in district and rural areas. “This bill will give due respect to para medical staff,” he says.

Dr. Shrikant Shinde of Shiv Sena says this is an important day for allied health care workers as this bill is placed for passing. “It will regulate this unregulated sector. This government has taken good steps in the field of health and health education.” He commends the bill for including “102 to 110 suggestions made by the standing committee”. “I request that Clause 4 be amended to increase the tenure of commission members from two years to four years as is the case with other medical regulatory bodies,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 1 pm

Ram Gopal Yadav of SP says, “You didn’t give any benefit in income tax regime to the salaried class, a class which can’t hide its earnings. The businessmen can function only in an intimidation-free atmosphere. Let me tell you, every day we hear about income tax vigilantism. People have become so disenchanted that they aren’t motivated to work hard or to earn money.”

Jharna Das Baidya of CPI(M) says, “The Indian economy has witnessed a sharp contraction of nearly 23%. This a record contraction in independent India. Of course, the government blames this on the COVID-19 Pandemic. The silverlining in all this has been agriculture. The farmers who are patiently and peacefully protesting for a fulfillment of their demands. The country’s unemployment rate is growing sharply. The poor and lower middle class have been worst affected by the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, the economic slow down had set in.”

Lok Sabha | 12.30 pm

Balabhau Suresh Narayan Dhanorkar of Congress says, “My party and I support the bill. Allied health workers have worked very hard, especially during the pandemic and deserve to be taken care of. Not much to say against the bill but will give some suggestions on raising pay and provide training to radiographers, etc., especially in rural areas where almost 40% of the country’s radiographers work.”

“It is sad that the government has no figures on how many of these allied health workers laid down their lives during the pandemic,” Mr. Dhanorkar says.

Dr. Subhash Bhamre of BJP commends PM Modi and Minister Harsh Vardhan on the bill. “This is another in the series of reforms in the medical profession brought in by the government. In five years, there has been a rise in number of medical college and 65% increase in medical seats.”

“It is estimated that India will achieve, by 2024, the ratio of one doctor to 1000 population. This ratio was one doctor to 1600 population in 2014,” Dr. Bhamre says.

“With the advent of technology in medical profession, the role of allied medical professional has become more important. Through this bill, we will be able to provide health care workforce to the whole world not just India. Proper regulation as envisaged in the Bill will go a long way in training and standardising service.”

The bill is a continuation of reforms in the medical sector, Dr. Bhamre says, adding, “All professions have been coded as per the ILO standards to allow global recognition and mobility.”

Rajya Sabha | 12.30 pm

TKS Elangovan of DMK says, “Since 2014, there has been a consistent claim by the government that things will get better next year. Even before COVID-19, we were inflicted by two diseases- demonetisation and the GST.”

“It is simple logic that when the input cost comes down, the cost of the product will go down. Now, the cost of crude oil has gone down but the fuel bill has gone up,” Mr. Elangovan says. “Unemployment did not worsen because of COVID-19. Unemployment rate has been climbing up ever since the demonetisation.”

“The DMK’s economic policy is to tap the rich and pat the poor. But this government’s policy is the exact opposite. They pat the rich and tap the poor. The top 10% are getting richer because of the support from the government. What happened to PM CARE fund?  In Tamil Nadu, it is called “PM Doesn’t Care Fund”. NITI AAYOG’s only advice is to  sell the country’s PSUs.”

Vijay Sai Reddy of YSRCP says, “The FM has very intelligently put it that senior citizens above 75 years who have income only through pension are exempted. Exempted from what? Not the tax. But only filing the returns. I urge the government to exempt this section.”

Mr. Reddy also criticises the government’s plan to bring in a faceless income tax department where all disputes are to be settled virtually. He says, “This needs to be reconsidered because only through personal hearings can the applicant’s side be heard.”

He continues, “31 PSUs have got the Cabinet’s approval for privatisation including Vizag Steel Plant. It is veryunf ortunate that the government has gone for privatising such  excellent  PSUs. This is no way of earning money. The Vizag Steel Plant was making profit till 2015. The Finance MInister is the daughter-in-law of Andhra Pradesh. I urge her to reconsider privatisation of Vizag Steel Plant. This is equivalent of selling gold of the State.”

“BJP claims to be the sole torchbearer of Hinduism. After the GST regime, the Thirumala Tirupati Devasthanam has had to give Rs. 111 crore GST,” Mr. Reddy says.

Lok Sabha | 12.10 pm

Hardeep Singh Puri introduces The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (Amendment) , Bill, 2021.

Ravneet Singh Bittu speaks in Punjabi.

National Commission for Allied and Health Care Professionals Bill, 2021 is moved for consideration and passing by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Dr. Vardhan says, “Please recall any hospitalisation you have had and those who helped you recover. You may remember the doctor but possibly not the allied staff. I’m speaking of lab technicians, radiographers, dietitians, etc., who are as much part of your recovery as the doctors. It gives me great pleasure to present this bill, which is a great historic milestone. The bill has the potential to create a paradigm shift in health professionals’ situation. We are witness to the pandemic and we have been witnesses to the invaluable contribution of these professionals during this period.”

“The group of allied professionals is large and the bill is trying to regulate this field, by according dignity to their roles,” Dr. Vardhan says, giving a history of regulatory bodies in allied health care.

“The bill aims to establish a statutory body that frames policies and standards, regulate professional conduct and qualifications for allied health care professionals. It provides for uniformity of service standards across institutions. All standards have been coded by international yardsticks. There will be representations from all States and U.T.s on this commission with each State having State-level commissions. A common regulatory has been prepared for all allied professions. This will enable a team-based approach to patient care.”

Dr. Vardhan asks the MPs to support the bill.

Rajya Sabha | 12 pm

Continuing to address the House, Mr. Modi says, “After implementation of the GST, 65 lakh additional persons joined the regime. Many political observers claimed that Narendra Modi government will lose because of the protests against GST. In fact, the opposite happened. Even in Surat, which saw bitter protests, the BJP won emphatically. We need to go into second generation reforms in GST now.”

“Repeatedly, the Opposition has been raking up the issue of fuel prices. The Opposition claims that this money will go into the government’s pocket. All the welfare schemes are funded by this money. There has been a demand to bring petrol and diesel under GST’s ambit. But, this will mean the state will lose nearly Rs. 2 lakh crore. This is not feasible. I believe no State will be ready to face such a revenue shortfall.”

“Someone said that this is Gabbar Singh Tax. The GST council has CMs and FMs of all States. Not a single State representative has spoken against the structure of the GST. Late Arun Jaitley brought the consensus, which has been taken forward by FM Nirmala Sitharaman,” Mr. Modi says.

TMC MP Dola Sen speaks in Bangla. She accuses the Modi government of not giving the promised funds to the State governments. “Federal fiscalism is not being followed. The States have not been given GST dues. It is unfortunate that while the crude oil rates are reducing, the retail fuel rates are going up. It is only obvious that one will ask the government where did this money go? The centre government has not given West Bengal even the money that it owes for midday meals. But the government has ample money for PM Modi’s foreign trips. Shame!”

Amar Patnaik of BJD says, “The goal of the Finance Bill should be to increase the divisible pool to be shared between the State and centre. By increasing cess and taxes, you are chipping away from the divisible pool. The divisible pool has been reduced by 30%. There is centralisation of taxes. It militates against values of cooperative federalism. The FM claims that the new agri-development cess will be spent on agri markets. Will the centre give this fund without applying any conditions?”

Mr. Patnaik says, “Most countries have lower income tax rates than their per capita income. India is a complete outlier.The government has been patting its back on removing the necessity of filing income tax return by those aged 75 and above. Thegovernment is not revealing the fine print. And if a 75-year-old has to file for refund, he/she has to file the returns.”

Lok Sabha | 12 pm

Mr. Goyal says that a detailed reply has been given in writing. “It is more a State government joint venture, than a purely railway project. The State government should  be urged to fulfill its commitments to move forward with projects. Many of these projects depend on cooperation with the State governments.”

Sumedhananda Saraswati of BJP asks, “Is there any proposal to increase government staff for speedy disposal of work and can any instructions be given to State governments telling them that even their employees should be accountable and work in a time-bound manner to complete work given to them?”

Jitendra Singh, Minister for Personnel, says, “The government is committed to “minimum government , maximum governance” and we did away with attestation of documents by gazetted officers. We did away with interviews for class IV and III jobs, and we did away with many obsolete rules.”

Question Hour over.

Papers being tabled in the House.

Lok Sabha | 11.40 am

Minister Joshi says the Centre does not control DMFT. “The only amendment we have moved is to include local MPs in the committee. It is very much left to the discretion of the committee on how the funds will be spent. We did find, however, areas directly affected by mining are neglected and money spent on other areas. Thus, we have issued general directions on use. The actual decisions are taken by the committee.”

Sanjay Jaiswal of BJP asks,”When Rs. 70,000 crore is being spent on optical fibre installation, will you also create a dashboard on how many optical fibre are actually working?”

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Telecommunications, says, “Such a dashboard exists and we will take suggestions on its improvement.”

Mr. Jaiswal says, “My own broadband is often not working when I go to my constituency. My question is whether Champaran will get broadband before the 75th anniversary of independence.”

Mr. Prasad replies, “On cutting of fibre, Right of Way is an issue and needs to be understood. 2022 is our objective on completion of the project.”

Supriya Sule of NCP says, “India is going through a large digital divide with only 25% of children able to access online education. How will we reach every child?” Mr. Prasad says the country was kept going by the infrastructure of Information Technology and mobiles during the lockdown and the pandemic. “This should be acknowledged.”

He continues, “There have been gap areas in access to education, but most schools could manage. Courts heard 70,000 cases online. PM has said that there will be an improvement in the communication network. We are doing that via Bharatnet project, fair competition in private sector, and by providing satellite connections to every village. I encourage MPs to come to us with specific concerns.”

Hema Malini of BJP says, “Mathura is a highly populated city with thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visiting it everyday. Call drops are frequent and frustrating. Are there plans to set up more BTS sites?”

Mr. Prasad says that instructions have already been issued for infrastructure in all major tourist destinations to be bolstered. “There are 6,49,613 towers as of now. BTS sites up by 243% since we came to power. Will ask department to look into specific request by Hemaji.”

Varun Gandhi asks, “Has there been any study on coal gasification?”

Santosh Pandey of BJP speaks about the slow progress of Dongargarh- Katghora railway line.

Rajya Sabha | 11.40 am

Sushil Modi of BJP says, “We have gone through a nightmare. I would congratulate PM Narendra Modi who tackled the pandemic so well. PM Modi held 120 meetings with foreign leaders. The revenue collection reduced by more than 23% because of the pandemic. Everyone thought that a new tax, probably a COVID-19 tax, would be introduced to meet this shortfall. But I must congratulate the government about not imposing a bew tax.”

Mr. Modi says, “The only additional cess was agriculture and development cess. But we were careful. We reduced the excise duty on the products on which we were imposing this cess on. The allegation that is often levelled is that this cess is not part of divisible pool. But the Finance Minister has already clarified that this fund will be made available to the APMC for building infrastructure in the agri markets.”

“India has one of the lowest income tax rates in the world. Among the income tax payees 59% are the salaried class. Business class consists of 27%. So, there is still big scope for increasing the income tax coverage,” Mr. Modi says.

He says the government has given relief to those aged 75 and above in the taxation regime.

Mr. Modi speaks about the faceless income tax assessment. “On 7th March, more than 78,000 faceless order have been passed. When manual computation was being done, in 60% cases, additional tax was demanded. This has reduced because of the faceless computation. The income tax litigation has also reduced. This has got public support.”

“A person could deposit any amount in EPFO and receive 8% return. The EPFO has been formed for the common man. There have been cases where some persons have deposited many crores in a year, earning easy interest payout. I would thank Nirmala Sitharaman for putting a cap on the money that can be deposited in EPFO. This a scheme for the common man not for the rich,” Mr. Modi says.

Rajya Sabha | 11.30 am

Mr. Hooda continues, “Thomas Piketty has said that when return on investment is more than the GDP growth rate then the inequalities in the state grow. You have only been focusing in supply side. And also on the indirect taxes, rather than the direct taxes. Since your government came to power, you reduced the corporate tax. Your claim was that this will increase investment. But with no demand, nobody is investing. So, how are you meeting the shortfall? By increasing indirect taxes on fuel. Fuel taxes has increased from Rs. 75,000 crore to more than Rs. 3 lakh crore.”

“Do remember the old woman who lit a diya during the pandemic. Today, the gas cylinder is lying empty in her home. And her eyes are welling up with the smoke coming out of the stove where she is cooking by burning wood. The farmer’s income was Rs. 8000 per month. So, as per your deadline, in 9-months, this should increase to Rs. 16000 per month.”

“This is nowhere close to the ground reality. You are increasing the input cost. But the MSP is not increasing. You thought the farmer will forget about your promise. But he didn’t forget. That is why he has been sitting in protest for the last four months, despite 300 deaths. You promised the farmers a doubling of their income. But, since you couldn’t deliver that, now, the government is planning to remove the MSP itself, so that the farmers will forget about your promise and have to agitate on retaining MSP.”

Lok Sabha | 11.20 am

Ranjit Reddy of TRS asks for expediting the second phase of Hyderabad to Vikarabad railway line.

Piyush Goyal, Minister for Railways, says that the Centre is only a 33% partner, and State hasn’t provided enough funds for the second phase and railways has landed in a deficit.

Manoj Kotak of BJP says passengers have asked for trains to run on PPP basis in the entire country. “What are the plans of the railways?”

Mr. Goyal says, “We have given details of 150 such routes and they cover almost the entire country.”

Mr. Kotak further asks if goods trains will be included under PPP. Mr. Goyal says, “Work on dedicated freight corridors is on. We hope to complete all of it by the time we hit the 75th anniversary of independence. CONCOR is already running private goods trains with around 17 companies.”

Faizal Mohammad of NCP asks who will recruit employees for trains run under PPP models.

Mr. Goyal says that employment for mainline running of trains will be by the Railways, allied services on these trains (hospitality, etc.,) will be from the partner companies. “Maintenance will be from private operator, while driver and guard will be provided by the Railways.”

Sanjay Seth of BJP asks, “What are the plans for DMFT funds to be used for environmental protection?”

Minister Joshi responds that Jharkhand has used only around 40-45% of the DMFT funds. “Rs. 690 crores have been sanctioned for environmental projects in the State and around Rs. 200 crores have been spent, but this is very much under the remit of the State government.”

Mr. Seth says, “McCluskieganj was known as mini London but now it’s in a bad state due to mining, can tourism be encouraged there?” Mr. Joshi says, “DMFT funds can be used for the purpose. When MPs become members of the DMFT, do push for these projects.”

Avinash Reddy of YSRCP seeks clarification on control of DMFT funds by Centre.

Rajya Sabha | 11.10 am

The Finance Bill 2021 is moved by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman/

The debate will go on for 9 hours.

Deependra Singh Hooda of Congress says, “Before I begin talking about the Finance Bill, I need to place things in context. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy was slipping down. We had a slowdown over eight quarters straight. During UPA, average GDP growth rate was 7.8%. And in your 6 years before the pandemic, the growth rate was 6.8%. Industrial growth rate in UPA was 4% in your time it is 2%.”

“Private consumption growth during the UPA was 24% which came down to 9%. And this is pre-pandemic figure. So there was no demand.”

Continuing, Mr. Hooda says, “Now let me speak about exports. You gave the slogan of Make in India. In the UPA era, the export growth rate was nearly 21% and now it is down to 4%. Even the government expenditure has come down. Demonetisation first shook the economy and then the mismanagement of GST pushed it to the brink and the pandemic sent the economy into ICU.”

Mr. Hooda qoutes many economists including Raghuram Rajan and others to point out that the economy was in shambles even before the COVID-19 pandemic. “In comparison to the world, India has the highest negative GDP growth. This was also responsible for widening the economic difference between  rich and the poor. India also has the highest unemployment rate. And the rescue package was the smallest offered by any government across the world. Now you claim that the Economy is getting back on track.”

Mr. Hooda says the government has been taxing the common man, with highest fuel cess in the world. “But the govt. is barely giving anything in return to the people. There is no demand in economy. You didn’t heed our advice of regenerating . “The rating agencies,” Mr. Hooda says, “are threatening to downgrade India’s rating once again.”

Rajya Sabha | 11.03 am

Proceedings in the House resume.

Yesterday evening, there was a meeting and it was decided that there will be no Zero and Question Hour. “First, the Finance Bill will be taken up,” Mr. Naidu informs the House.

RJD Member Manoj K. Jha tries to raise the issue of lathicharge at Bihar Opposition MLAs in Patna. But the Chairman refuses to allow him to move the adjournment motion.

Mallikarjun Kharge of Congress says, “It is up to your discretion, but if there is injustice in a State then we should be allowed to take it up.”

Mr. Naidu says, “Yesterday, someone wanted to take up the Maharashtra issue. I didn’t allow that. Today, you want to discuss Bihar. Let’s have a meeting and may be we should come to a consensus on whether State issues can be discussed here.”

Lok Sabha | 11 am

Lok Sabha commences for the day.

Midhun Reddy is in the chair.

Question Hour begins.

Ramesh Chandra Majhi of BJD asks a supplementary question on when the government is expected to fix royalty rates on mining products.

Pralhad Joshi, Minister, Mines, in reply says, “it isn’t mandatory that royalty has to be revised once in three years. Our tax rates on mining products is also one of the highest in the world. We have proposed to set up a committee to look at index based royalty calculation. I would encourage States, therefore, to ease their auction processes.”

Mr. Majhi asks when the study group will submit its report. The Minster replies that the report was submitted in July 2019.

Hasnain Masoodi of NC asks, “Pulwama district has one of the biggest deposits of limestone and we have only heard of DMFT, and other revenues from the 10 or more cement companies there. Any details available?”

Mr. Joshi responds, “The DMFT is deposited with the district magistrate. In J&K, Rs. 32 crores was collected and Rs. 23 crores has been sent . The new mining amendments are there to encourage spending of the funds and MPs are to be compulsorily part of DMFT committee.”

Jugal Kishore Sharma of BJP says labourers in coal mines are complaining that they are not getting paid properly. Mr. Joshi says mine labour is looked after by State governments. “Overall labour safety is looked at by Labour Ministry. Specific complaints can be sent and we will enquire into it.”

Rajya Sabha | 10 am

Proceedings begin in the House.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu makes the Obituary Reference. “A. Mohammedjan was simple, polite and duty-minded,” Mr. Naidu says. Members stand up and maintain silence as a mark of respect.

The House is adjourned till 11 a.m.

Rajya Sabha

Obituary reference to the passing away of A. Mohammedjan, sitting Member to be made in the House.

Legislative business

Bill for consideration and passing

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment)Bill, 2021

Lok Sabha

Legislative business

Bill to be introduced

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Bills for consideration and passing

The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

 

 

 

 



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