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Winter session: Deadlock continues in Parliament

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the Winter session entered its third week on Monday, Parliament remained deadlocked and stalled due to stand-off between the Opposition and the government over demonetization and how the debate should be held on it.For the 13th consecutive day, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha failed to transact any business due to the uproar created by the Opposition over demonetisation, even as the government expressed readiness to discuss the issue and listen to the views of members regarding “deficiencies” in its implementation so that these can be corrected. The Lok Sabha could not function because of differences over the Rule under which a debate should be held while the Rajya Sabha was paralysed due to uproar by Opposition over cash crunch due to demonetisation.In the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government is ready for a debate but it should be left to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to take a decision regarding the Rule under which the debate should be undertaken.Singh, who spoke after Mallikarjun Kharge (Cong), Sudip Bandhyopadhyay (Trinamool Congress), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Jithender Reddy (TRS) and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD), said it was clear that nobody was questioning the intent of the government over demonetisation even though some felt it was not done in a proper way. He also said the Opposition was divided as parties like TRS and BJD wanted debate under Rule 193 which does not entail voting instead of Rule 184 which entails voting as demanded by parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress and Left.Congress and Trinamool, however, maintained its demand that a debate should be held under Rule 184. An attempt was made to take up the debate under Rule 193, with TRS leader A P Jithender Reddy being called to initiate the discussion. As Opposition members protested the move, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said for the past two weeks all members have been seeking a debate on the issue of note ban.He said while the opposition has been demanding a vote on the debate, it should be held under Rule 193.As Reddy rose to speak, Trinamool Congress members surrounded him and created a lot of noise by resorting to shouting, including using the TRS leader’s microphone. Meanwhile, Congress members were in the Well of the House, shouting slogans. Reddy, who has been favouring a debate under Rule 193, spoke briefly but nothing could be heard in the din. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar also said something which could not be heard. As chaos prevailed, the House was adjourned for the day at around 2.10 pm.After the proceedings ended, Trinamool Congress members, who were surrounding Reddy, were seen shaking hands with him. Later, Reddy went up to Rajnath Singh and the two were seen chatting, with the Home Minister patting him. Earlier also, the House was stalled due to chaos because of divergence of positions over mechanism for voting. When the House met for the day, Kharge raised the issue of problems being faced by people due to cash crunch after demonetisation. He said over 100 people have died across the country while standing in queues outside banks and ATMs to withdraw their money.People are unable to get their salary and pension, said Kharge who was joined by Sudip Bandopadhyay of Trinamool Congress and leaders of some other Opposition parties. He said his party was not opposed to steps to curb black money and corruption but the implementation of demonetisation was “faulty”, as a result of which people were facing hardship. He contended that Congress is willing to have a debate unlike the message going out that it is running away from it.17 Opposition parties have now decided to seek a debate under Rule 184 that also entails voting instead of Rule 56 under which an adjournment motion is taken up, he said. “We have come down from Rule 56 to Rule 184. Now the government should also come down from Rule 193 and agree to Rule 184,” he said evoking laughter. The government has been maintaining that it was ready for a debate on demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes under Rule 193 that does not entail voting. Supporting Kharge, Bandopadhyay said the treasury benches should not put pressure on the Opposition by sticking to a particular point. “You have brute majority in the House. But you are avoiding voting, we don’t know why,” he said.CPI(M) member P Karunakaran also supported Kharge and Bandopadhyay and wanted the debate to be held under Rule 184. However, Ananth Kumar said BJD and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) had given notice to hold the debate under Rule 193 and their wish should also be respected. “Please don’t take it as a prestige issue. Let’s all start the debate. Let all parties come together to fight against the black money,” he said. Kumar said they were ready for suspension of Question Hour and initiate debate if the opposition agreed to Rule 193.Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia countered Kumar and said the Opposition too was against blackmoney and terrorism and ready to start debate under Rule 184. The Speaker said she was ready to start the debate right away if the House agreed. The debate was listed in today’s list of business under Rule 193.She said BJD and TRS had given notices and she cannot ignore them. “They also have their voice and we have to listen to them too,” she said, rejecting the opposition demand.The Speaker wanted members to take up the debate without any rules and said whether to take up division of votes on this or not can be decided later.This was not acceptable to opposition members who again stormed the Well chanting slogans and targeting the Prime Minister.Mahajan said “Chair is ready to help you. But you don’t want any discussion”.As the loud protests continued for almost half and hour, the Speaker allowed members to raise four Questions amidst the noisy scenes and later adjourned the House till noon.While Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was present in the House, no AIADMK MP was present in the House apparently due to party chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s serious health condition.In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition parties raised slogans demanding the government’s reply on the problems faced by employees and pensioners. The uproar led to repeated adjournments before the final one at 2.15 pm. Soon after the Upper House mourned the death of two of its former members and the listed papers were laid, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “The government employees and pensioners are not getting their salaries. I want to know from the goverment if there is a financial emergency.” He said there is no cash in ATMs located even in the Parliament complex. “When we are not getting money from ATMs in Parliament, how do we expect it outside? It seems there is a financial emergency.”Describing it as a serious issue, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked members to resume the debate on demonetisation that had been initiated on November 16. “I am agreeing that you are raising a important and serious issue. It is for the government to reply. You start discussion. If all of you shout, what is the benefit? The only remedy is discussion,” he said. But as protesting members started shouting at high pitch, Kurien said: “You want a solution to the problem, then go back and raise the issue. Then the government will reply. This is not the way. There is anarchy in the House. I am not going to adjourn. Slogan shouting is no solution. You will get certain headlines in newspapers and nothing more. I will not adjourn.” The Treasury benches countered the Opposition shouting “We want discussion, We want discussion.” As the Opposition members refused to heed to the Chair’s repeated pleas to return to their seat, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu suggested the Chair to take up the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014.But Opposition members did not agree. Naresh Agarwal (SP) said the government has made the entire country “disabled” as the people were facing problems due to demonetisation. “An explosive situation has developed,” he said, raising the issue of government employees not being paid salaries following demonetisation. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi objected to a word used by Agarwal, which the Chair later expunged. Referring to the non-payment of salaries to employees, Anand Sharma (Cong) said “over the weekend, the sitation has worsened”. He said a large number of people have lost jobs following government’s “disastrous mismanagement” of demonetisation and asked the Centre to “rectify” the “suffering inflicted” by the government on the people.Sharma also stressed that members were in favour passage of the Disabilities Bill, but added “when the House is not in order, the Bill cannot be passed”. Sharma also alleged that ruling party members were creating disturbances in the House. Amid din, Kurien permitted Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot to move the Disabilities Bill. Kurien sought cooperation from the members for passage of the bill saying it is a “non-controversial” legislation.However, the Bill could not be passed due to the din. Kurien also warned Sasikala Pushpa, expelled from AIADMK, for carrying a placard with message ‘Save Our Amma’. Countering the Opposition, Bhupinder Yadav (BJP) raked up issues related to 2G and coal scams. Another senior Congress MP Satish Sharma wondered whether the government has become “bankrupt” as it was not paying salaries to employees.Kurien said the disability bill cannot be passed amid din and adjourned the House for the day, as the noisy protests continued.

Opposition protests over demonetisation disrupts RS proceedings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition parties on Monday continued their tirade against government in Rajya Sabha over the woes of employees and the pensioners due to the cash crunch following demonetization, as vociferous protests forced the wash out of the first half of the day’s proceedings.Congress, BSP, SP and TMC members trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans demanding the government’s reply on the problems faced by employees and pensioners, forcing Deputy Chairman P Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till noon and again till 1400 hours as similar scenes continued.Soon after the Upper House mourned the death of two of its former members and the listed papers were laid, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “The government employees and pensioners are not getting their salaries. I want to know from the goverment if there is a financial emergency.” He said there is no cash in ATMs located even in the Parliament complex. “When we are not getting money from ATMs in Parliament, how do we expect it outside? It seems there is a financial emergency.”Stating that it is a serious issue, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien called members to resume the discussion on demonetization that had began on November 16. “I am agreeing that you are raising an important and serious issue. It is for the government to reply. You start discussion. If all of you shout, what is the benefit? The only remedy is discussion,” he said.But unrelenting Opposition members trooped into the Well raising slogans — “Logon ka paisa, logon ko do (give the money that belongs to people)”, “Hosh mein aao, Hosh mein aao, Pradhan Mantri House mein aao (Come to your senses, PM come to the House).”As protesting members started shouting at high pitch, Kurien said: “You want a solution to the problem, then go back and raise the issue. Then the government will reply. This is not the way. There is anarchy in the House. I am not going to adjourn. Slogan shouting is no solution. You will get certain headlines in newspapers and nothing more. I will not adjourn.”The Treasury benches countered the Opposition shouting “We want discussion, We want discussion.” As the Opposition members refused to heed to the Chair’s repeated pleas to return to their seat, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu suggested the Chair to take up the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014.Opposition members did not heed to this, even as Naresh Agarwal (SP) said that the entire nation has been crippled due to demonetization. As the protests continued, the House was adjourned till 1200 hours.

Opposition hits out at govt, calls passage of tax bill ‘undemocratic’, ‘dictatorial’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming as “black day” in Lok Sabha the passage of taxation bill amidst din without debate, opposition parties, on Tuesday, accused the government of being “undemocratic and dictatorial” and hinted at approaching the President on the issue.The government, however, blamed the opposition for not participating in the debate and said it was “tragic” that the Bill had to be passed in the din. It asserted that the measure had to be passed for the “welfare of the poor and country” and cannot wait for those who are unable to “digest” the action against black money and corruption. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, “We want that Income Tax Amendment Act should come through the rules. The amendments proposed by the Opposition MPs and leaders should also be kept in mind before taking the assent from the President.”Revolutionary Socialist Party said that it is contemplating to take up the issue with President Pranab Mukherjee. “The government has been totally undemocratic, dictatorial, authoritarian in passing such an important bill without discussion amidst din. It has taken advantage of the superior numbers to avoid discussion. It is unfortunate that we did not get any relief from the Chair. “I had written to the Speaker (Lok Sabha) in the morning that this bill should not be allowed to be passed in the din. But what we apprehended happened. Inspite of all of our protest, this bill was passed. The very purpose of the bill was sort of defeated,” said Saugata Roy TMC MP.Amid din, a bill which seeks to tax money deposited in banks post demonetization was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday within minutes without any debate. Amid fierce slogan shouting by the opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2016 was brought after it came to the government’s notice that some people were trying to illegally exchange the demonetized Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency note. Roy said that the government is “stubbornly” sticking to its stand that there will be no discussion but “we (opposition) are all together and we will continue to press for discussion” under a rule which entails voting. CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim said that it is a “black day” in the history of Lok Sabha and an “undeclared emergency”. It is not a fight against blackmoney but “rewarding” black money hoarders”, he alleged.”The way the government is treating Parliament and willingly or unwillingly the Chair is allowing this to happen, this will be written in the history as the black day in Parliament,” Salim said. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed the opposition’s charge. “It is written in the Constitution what is a money bill or not. Those bills which the Speaker certifies are considered money bill. “As far as my knowledge about law is concerned, amendments in relation to Income Tax is a money bill. Where is the scope for discussion on this?” he asked. He said the money which will come through the amendment in the Income Tax Act will be spend on villages, poor people, irrigation, roads and houses for poor.”If somebody has problems with that than I will ask them to read Mahatma Gandhi, Deendayal Upadhyay, Ram Manohar Lohia, then you will know what we dream of,” he said. Minister of State Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that the unaccounted money that is coming into the bank will now be acknowledged in a legal way. “It is off course tragic that it had to be passed in the din. The opposition is not able to digest the fact that these measures against black money and corruption are so wildly popular and have had an impact,” he said adding that the government wanted discussions and “since the opposition did not want any discussion, they shouted”. He said that a lot of thought process has gone beind the bill.Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said that it is “unfortunate” that the Opposition did not participate in it. “It is a very important bill which has been formulated by the Prime Minister and and Finance Minister for the welfare of the poor. I believe this is a historic step where the black money is being utilized for welfare of poor and that too with their agreement. “What else will be a bigger consensus for the country. If opposition had participated, it would have been better. If the government is working for the welfare of the poor and country, then it cannot wait,” he said. N K Premachandran of RSP said that he was dissatisfied with the Speaker’s ruling because it is the right of the individual member to move amendments to any bill moved by the government. “The right of the members to move amendment is totally curtailed which is truly undemocratic, which is not heard in the history of parliamentary democratic system. If this is the system we are following, when the House is in big turmoil, we can pass any legislation.”GST bill can be passed, even Constitutional Amendment bill can be passed. This is an insult to parliamentary democratic system and it is weakening it which is quite unfortunate. This can never be agreed upon. “We are thinking of taking this matter to the President of India because the right of the member cannot be curtailed because of lack of time and that too when considering very important bill like this,” he said.

Demonetization: Mamata announces street protest in Delhi; says Modi threatening parties raising their voice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a street protest against Modi government over the demonetization issue and said that the Prime Minister should behave like one.Addressing the media, Mamata said, “Our protest (over demonetization) will continue. I will be on the road again. I will be in Delhi on November 23, 24 and in Lucknow on November 29.””The PM is threatening other parties who are raising their voice. PM should behave like a PM,” she added.Stating that PM Modi may have some political compulsions, Mamata said that the people were with her. “The lower middle class, traders, daily wagers, housewives are the worst sufferers. Instead of announcing new changes on a daily basis, Centre must come up with a proper plan of action. Centre has ‘rolled back’ about 15 decisions since announcement on Nov 8. This means they are confused,” the Chief Minister said.A united Opposition forced adjournments of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha till Tuesday, asserting that no discussion on demonetization would take place till the House mourned the nearly 70 deaths caused by hardships due to the withdrawal of higher denomination currency notes.While Congress, BSP, TMC and CPI(M) among others wanted a resolution condoling the deaths to come from the Chair, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley charged the Opposition of running away from the demonetization debate.Meanwhile, chaos and rush at banks eased but the situation did not quite improve at ATMs as people were still seen waiting in long queues to withdraw valid currency notes.As banks opened after a day’s break, people rushed to exchange old defunct bills or withdraw cash. On the 12th day of demonetization, people still have to stand in queues for hours at ATMs as most of the cash vending machines are either dysfunctional or running out of cash due to huge rush.(With ANI inputs)

Demonetisation debate stalls Parliament for 2nd day: Congress dares Modi; BJP demands apology for Azad’s remark

New Delhi: Parliament was stalled for the second consecutive day due to ruckus by Congress-led opposition parties which were demanding a debate on demonetisation in Lok Sabha under a rule that entails voting and presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha for resumption of discussion on the issue.  No business could be transacted in either the Upper House or the Lower House due to the pandemonium.

In the Lok Sabha, Congress and some other opposition parties pressed for a discussion on demonetisation under a rule which entails voting, that too through an Adjournment motion which means suspension of all business. Several notices were given by various opposition leaders for discussion under the Adjournment Motion but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected these, saying a debate could take place otherwise.

Ruckus started soon after the House met for the day, with leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge demanding that the issue of scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination notes be discussed through an adjournment motion and not the rule being proposed by the government. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was willing to discuss the issue and there was no need to press for an adjournment motion.

As the din continued, the House was adjourned for nearly one hour till noon, minutes after it assembled. When the House assembled again for Zero Hour, the opposition again pressed for moving an adjournment motion. But the Speaker rejected all the notices. Both Kharge and TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay insisted that the debate be taken up through an adjournment motion.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister once again urged the opposition to take up the debate under Rule 193 which does not entail voting and a formal motion.

Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge during the Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

Kumar said the opposition should not “run away” from a debate and maintained that it was up to the Chair to decide under which rule the discussion will take place. As part of their Zero Hour references, Meenakshi Lekhi and Gajendra Singh Chauhan (both BJP) raised the issue of remarks made by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad yesterday linking deaths due to demonetisation crisis to the killings in the Uri terror attack. The remarks were expunged last night itself.

The two BJP members slammed Azad for the statement and demanded that a resolution be passed against him and he should be asked to apologise in writing. As differences persisted and opposition continued to raise slogans like “Pradhan Mantri sadan mein aao” and “Vijay Mallya kahan gaya”, the House was adjourned for the day. In the Rajya Sabha where debate took place on demonetisation for six-hours on Wednesday, the discussion could not be resumed even today as Congress and some other opposition parties insisted on presence of the Prime Minister.

The House also saw a clash between Congress and BJP members as the ruling side raked up Azad’s controversial comments and demanded apology from Congress. Slogans and counter slogans in the Upper House forced its adjournment, first till 1130 hours, then till noon, then till 1233 hours, after that till 1430 hours and finally for the day. Soon after listed papers were laid on the table of the House, BJP members moved into aisles shouting slogans and demanding an apology from Azad for his remarks.

Congress members too rushed into the Well raising slogans demanding presence of the Prime Minister and an apology from him as well as the government for the hardship caused to the common man due to withdrawal of 86 per cent of the currency in circulation in the form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. AIADMK members were also in the Well raising slogans over the Cauvery water issue. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked all members to leave the Well and return to their seats, assuring them that he would hear their submissions.

Amid the din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that Azad’s statement had given a message to the country that Congress was sympathetic to terrorism and asked why it was so agitated when the demonetisation drive was only to hurt black money hoarders. Kurien persuaded AIADMK and Congress  members to withdraw from the Well, telling them that he would give opportunity to their leaders to raise their respective issues.

But with BJP members continuing to stand in the aisles and raising slogans, Congress members too were back in the Well, shouting slogans. Kurien said treasury benches should not create  problems for the Chair. “If you do this, what do I do? You should cooperate with me in running the House. Treasury benches should not disrupt,” he said. But the din continued, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1130 hours. There was no change in the scenario when the House reassembled as both BJP and Congress members again started raising slogans.

While Congress members trooped into the Well, several AIADMK members were seen standing along their seats. As the slogans and counter slogans continued, the Chair adjourned the House till noon. After repeated adjournments, when the House met again at 1430 hours, opposition members continued to create ruckus. Congress leader Anand Sharma accused the government of not wanting the House to run and for “destroying the poor” with his policies.

In the melee, the Deputy Chairman asked the MPs to introduce the Private Member’s Bill amid continuous sloganeering by the opposition and treasury benches. Prior to this, he read out a decision by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on a private member’s bill for special package to Andhra Pradesh after its reorganisation, moved in the last session Congress member KVP Ramachandra Rao.

The Bill was referred to the Speaker to ascertain whether it was a money bill and whether it can be introduced in the Upper House. However, Kurien’s statement could not be heard in the din.
Independent MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar moved his Bill to declare any country as state sponsor of terrorism and withdraw economic and trade relations with such country and to create legal, economic and travel sanctions for citizens of that country. Following continuous uproarious scenes, Kurien adjourned the House till Monday.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 19:24 IST

Demonetization: Congress and BJP members clash in Rajya Sabha over Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress and BJP members today clashed in Rajya Sabha over Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks during demonetisation debate yesterday, forcing adjournment of the House thrice in quick succession.Slogans and counter slogans forced the adjournment of the House first till 1130 hours, then till noon and again till 1233 hours as similar scenes continued. Soon after listed papers were laid on the table of the House, BJP members moved into aisles shouting slogans and demanding an apology from Azad for his remarks comparing the deaths after demonetisation with those killed in terrorist attacks. The remarks were expunged by the Chair yesterday itself.Congress members too rushed into the Well raising slogans demanding an apology from the Prime Minister and government for the hardship caused to the common man due to withdrawal of 86 per cent of the currency in circulation in the form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes.AIADMK members were also in the Well raising slogans over the Cauvery water issue. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked all members to leave the Well and return to their seats, assuring them that he would hear their submissions.Amid the din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that Azad’s statement had given a message to the country that Congress was sympathetic to terrorism and asked why was it so agitated when the demonetisation drive was only to hurt blackmoney hoarders.The Chair persuaded AIADMK and Congress members to withdraw from the Well, telling them that he would give opportunity to their leaders to raise their respective issues.But with BJP members continuing to stand in the aisles and raise slogans, Congress members too were back in the well shouting slogans.Kurien said treasury benches should not create problems for the Chair. “If you do this, what do I do? You should cooperate with me in running the House. Treasury benches should not disrupt,” he said.But the din continued, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1130 hours.There was no change in the scenario when the House reassembled as both BJP and Congress members again started raising slogans.While Congress members trooped into the Well, several AIADMK members were seen standing along their seats.As the slogans and counter slogans continued, the Chair adjourned the House till noon. When the House reassembled at noon, members from the Opposition again trooped into the Well demanding an “apology from the Prime Minister” for causing harrassment to the people. The BJP members were also on their feet countering the Opposition.All pleas by Chairman Hamid Ansari to run the Question Hour proceedings failed to make any impact on the Congress and other members who were raising slogans.As the heated exchanges between the Opposition and Treasury bench members continued, Ansari said “allow the Question Hour to run. What are you doing? Please go back to your seats.”As the uproar continued, the Chairman adjourned the House for 30 minutes till 1233 hours.When the House reassembled at 1233 hours, it again witnessed uproarious scenes with opposition members trooping into the Well and those from the Treasury standing in the aisles demanding apology from Azad.While members from Congress and others raised slogans like “Narendra Modi maafi maango (Narendra Modi apologise),” the Chairman tried to restore peace by repeatedly telling them, “go to your seats, you cannot do this.” However, as the uproar continued, Ansari adjourned the House within minutes for the fourth time till 1430 hours.Earlier, the Chairman was heard saying “a minister can’t do” as some ministers too were seen raising slogans.No business counld be transacted as the din continued unabated. The list of business today included further discussion on demonetisation of currency. Two bills were listed for consideration and passing – the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 and the Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill 2016, which is to be followed by Private Members’ Business.

Demonetisation: Congress, BJP clash in Rajya Sabha over Ghulam Nabi Azad’s expunged remarks

New Delh: Congress and BJP members on Friday clashed in Rajya Sabha over Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks during demonetisation debate yesterday, forcing adjournment of the House thrice in quick succession.

Slogans and counter slogans forced the adjournment of the House first till 1130 hours, then till noon and again till 1233 hours as similar scenes continued.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Soon after listed papers were laid on the table of the House, BJP members moved into aisles shouting slogans and demanding an apology from Azad for his remarks comparing the deaths after demonetisation with those killed in terrorist attacks. The remarks were expunged by the Chair yesterday itself.

Congress members too rushed into the Well raising slogans demanding an apology from the Prime Minister and government for the hardship caused to the common man due to withdrawal of 86 percent of the currency in circulation in the form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

AIADMK members were also in the Well raising slogans over the Cauvery water issue.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked all members to leave the Well and return to their seats, assuring them that he would hear their submissions.

Amid the din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that Azad’s statement had given a message to the country that Congress was sympathetic to terrorism and asked why was it so agitated when the demonetisation drive was only to hurt blackmoney hoarders.

The Chair persuaded AIADMK and Congress members to withdraw from the Well, telling them that he would give opportunity to their leaders to raise their respective issues. But with BJP members continuing to stand in the aisles and raise slogans, Congress members too were back in the well shouting slogans.

Kurien said treasury benches should not create problems for the Chair. “If you do this, what do I do? You should cooperate with me in running the House. Treasury benches should not disrupt,” he said.

But the din continued, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1130 hours.

There was no change in the scenario when the House reassembled as both BJP and Congress members again started raising slogans.

While Congress members trooped into the Well, several AIADMK members were seen standing along their seats.

As the slogans and counter slogans continued, the Chair adjourned the House till noon.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 12:35 IST

Ban on Indian content shows Pakistan’s lack of self-confidence: MEA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Thursday termed as unfortunate Pakistan’s ban on Indian TV and radio programmes and said it reflected the neighbouring country’s lack of self-confidence.”It shows lack of self-confidence on Pakistan’s part. It is an unfortunate development,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said, replying to a question. Amid Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistan’s media regulatory authority yesterday announced enforcing a complete ban on Indian TV and radio contents from Friday and warned that the licences of those found guilty of violating the ban will be suspended.The ban extends to all Indian content on cable and radio being aired in Pakistan. The authority also decided to cancel one-sided rights given to Indian media by the government of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf in 2006. Swarup said there was no ban on Pakistani artistes’ performing in India. “As far as government of India is concerned, there is no blanket ban on Pakistani artistes. In view of the prevailing atmosphere and taking into account security considerations as well and sentiments of local organisers, we will do so in a case to case basis,” he said, in an apparent reference to demand for banning artistes from Pakistan in the wake of the Uri attack.Govt’s view on SAARCAsked whether the government was planning to have a SAARC minus Pakistan, Swarup said India remained committed to the regional bloc and its principles. “Our intention is not to throw out the baby with the bath water,” he said, adding the government’s priority is to promote closer cooperation and economic integration in our region. “Our interest in SAARC remains intact but our concern is that connectivity, trade, including MFN and cooperation that SAARC requires and the terror-free atmosphere needed for these initiatives is not there due to the actions of one country in our neighbourhood.”That is why all SAARC countries wrote to the Chair Nepal saying in one voice that in the current atmosphere it is not possible to participate in the proposed SAARC Summit in Islamabad,” he said.On China’s view that no country or religion should be linked to terrorism, in apparent unhappiness over India trying to corner pakistan on terror, the MEA Spokesperson said it is clear which country is the epicentre of terror in the region.”We are all aware that in our region, which country is epicentre of terrorism. There is no doubt about it at all. At the same time, we do have an ongoing dialogue with China on terrorism which is a phenomenon that affects China as well and China has said so also in the past,” he said. Swarup said dialogue with China on the issue of terrorism will continue, adding a series of discussions with China will take place in the next two months.

Islamabad Saarc Summit cancelled, announces Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday formally announced that the 19th Saarc Summit which was to be held in Islamabad in November this year has been cancelled.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A statement form the Foreign Office said that “the spirit of the Saarc Charter is violated when a member state casts the shadow of its bilateral problems on the multilateral forum for regional cooperation”.

“Pakistan attaches great importance to regional cooperation under the umbrella of Saarc and remains committed to hosting the 19th Saarc Summit at Islamabad at the earliest,” it added.

In the wake of 18 September terrorist attack in Uri town of Jammu and Kahsmir, India decided not to participate in the Summit, which was followed by the boycott of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangaladesh and on Friday, Sri Lanka too expressed its reservations.

The statement also said that Pakistan deplores India’s decision to impede the Saarc process by not attending it, which was slated for 9-10 November.

“The decision by India to derail the Summit effectively contradicts Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s own call to fight against poverty in the region,” the statement said.

The Foreign Office said that a new set of dates for holding of the Summit in Islamabad will be announced soon, through the Chair of Saarc (Nepal).

Pakistan Isolated: After India, Bangladesh and Bhutan also pull out of SAARC summit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Isolating Pakistan in the region, Bangladesh and Bhutan have followed India’s steps and opted out of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad.Opting out of the SAARC summit, Bangladesh said that the environment was not conducive because of Pakistan’s growing interference in its internal affairs.“The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016,” said Bangladesh Foreign Ministry in a communication sent to the SAARC Chair Nepal on September 27.According to sources, the communication further said, “Bangladesh, as the initiator of the SAARC process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere.””In view of the above, Bangladesh is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad,” the communication said.Meanwhile, While reaffirming strong commitment to the SAARC process and strengthening of regional cooperation, Bhutan also conveyed its inability to participate to the SAARC chair over the escalation of terrorism in the region.”The Royal Government of Bhutan shares the concerns of some of the member countries of SAARC on the deterioration of regional peace and security due to terrorism and joins them in conveying our inability to participate in the SAARC Summit, under the current circumstances,” said sources.Announcing its decision, India said on Tuesday night that ‘one country’ has created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the Summit.”India has conveyed to current SAARC Chair Nepal that increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Member States by one country have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016,” External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.With India refusing to participate in the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Islamabad in November, Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Mohammed Nafees Zakaria on Tuesday called New Delhi’s announcement ‘unfortunate’.

PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet on sidelines of SCO summit in Tashkent

President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Tashkent beginning tomorrow during which India is expected to seek China’s support for membership of the NSG.”We will release relevant information in due course,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday.The spokesperson said the two leaders would be meeting on the sidelines of the SCO summit in the capital city of Uzbekistan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his meeting with Xi, Modi is expected to seek China’s support for India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which Beijing is keen on blocking. Hua, however, refuted perception that China is blocking India’s entry into the NSG.”With regard to India’s entry into NSG, I would like correct that the word China blocking India’s membership is not proper,” she said.”The word blocking is not proper. In the NSG agenda we have never seen the topic of non-NPT countries entry. So it does not make sense to say we block the entry,” she said.”As all of us can see all the countries are concerned about this issue and various issues relating to non-NPT countries entry into the NSG has been discussed through friends of chair presided over by the Chair of the NSG,” she said.”We hope that relevant discussion will keep going and Chinese side will take constructive part in the discussion,” she said.

NSG divided on non-NPT nations becoming members: China

Beijing: Notwithstanding a US push for India’s NSG membership, China on Sunday said members of the elite club “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and insisted that there “was no deliberation” on the bid by India and other nations at the Vienna meeting.

“There was no deliberation on any items related to the accession to the NSG by India or any other countries that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said in a statement while referring to the Vienna meeting that took place last week.

Representational image. Getty imagesRepresentational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

He said the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Chair Argentine Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi convened an unofficial meeting of the 48-member group on 9 June.

“The Chair said that this meeting has no agenda and is only convened to heed opinions from all parties on the outreach of the NSG and prepare for a report to be submitted at the NSG Plenary Meeting in Seoul later this month (24 June),” he said.

However, diplomatic sources in Vienna had said earlier that India’s membership was discussed at the meeting and talks had remained inconclusive.

China has maintained that non-NPT signatories should not be admitted into NSG on the grounds that it would undermine efforts to prevent proliferation.

Calling for “full discussions” within the NSG to reach an agreement on India’s admission, Hong said China would take part in the deliberations in a “constructive manner.”

“China has noted that some non-NPT countries aspire to join the NSG but when it comes to the accession by non-NPT countries, China maintains that the group should have full discussions before forging consensus and making decisions based on agreement,” he said.

“The NPT provides a political and legal foundation for the international non-proliferation regime as a whole. China’s position applies to all non-NPT countries and targets no one in particular,” Hong said, without directly mentioning India’s application to join the Vienna-based group.

China has been reportedly backing Pakistan’s bid to join the nuclear trading club.

“The fact is that many countries within the group also share China’s stance,” Hong said in response to a question about China, New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria objecting to India’s accession to the NSG at its meeting in Vienna.

“There has been some discussion within the group on the NSG membership of non-NPT countries, but NSG members remain divided on this issue,” Hong said.

Why National and State Women’s Commissions are important and should be held accountable

Last week, following the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, a group of civil society activists from twelve organisations wrote a petition to the newly re-elected Chief Minister regarding appointments to the State Women’s Commission. They sent the petition to the Chief Minister’s cell for grievances and they also placed a petition online, which at the time of writing, after six days, has received only 62 signatures.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is because most of us, in the course of our daily affairs, spare no thought for this institution which often seems like an albatross, looming but useless, and also a creature neither of the government nor of the civil society. In the decades when I studied civics in school—and likely, many of you—National and State Women’s Commissions did not exist. Chances are that most of us do not know much about the purpose and powers of the Commissions. This makes it a good time to reflect on the rationale and the potential of these Women’s Commissions— of which there is a National one and State counterparts.The National Commission for Women (NCW) was set up in 1990 by Parliament with fourteen functions but no broader definition of the mandate. The Act begins by telling us the reach of the Act (and the NCW) extends across India, except for Jammu and Kashmir. However, this Act does not set up the State Commissions. Chapter II of the Act (clauses 3-9) deal with human resources questions. Chapter III sets out the fourteen functions of the NCW, but it does so without embedding them in the context of a broad mandate—is the NCW to protect women, is it to promote gender equality?—and therefore, we do not have a clear sense of the politics of the NCW. This allows a great deal of variation in the politics of the Commission’s leadership.What are the functions of the NCW? They include: investigation of matters relating to Constitutional and legal safeguards for women; the presentation of reports to the Central Government and the making of recommendations; legal and constitutional review relating to women’s concerns; taking up cases of violations of rights of women; to call for special studies, including academic research, on discrimination against women, their representation of women and factors that impede it (including drudgery!); advise the planning process and evaluate progress; fund public interest litigation for women; inspect homes, jails and other places where women are kept imprisoned. The greatest potential for intervention lies with the NCW’s power to look into complaints and “take suo moto notice” of:“deprivation of women’s rights;non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women and also to achieve the objective of equality and development;non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships and ensuring welfare and providing relief to women, and take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities” The NCW enjoys all the powers of a civil court including that to summon a person from any part of India; to require production of documents; require evidence on affidavits; access to public records and the power of “issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents.” As one reads the Act, it is striking that two words, readily used in such contexts, feature very little—rights and empowerment. I could not spot the word equality at all. These three almost-total omissions suggest that there was a great deal of ambivalence surrounding the creation of the NCW. It would be interesting to go back and research the moment of creation— what prompted the setting up of an organisation whose work was defined by function rather than power or mandate? Naturally, in the hands of most Chairpersons, the NCW has remained a fairly conservative body.The remaining two chapters of the Act deal with administrative and financial concerns. The NCW has no steady income stream and depends on Central Government grants, which are allocated and disbursed as the government deems necessary. That is, the NCW can only do what the government will pay for.The NCW Act (1990) did not set up or provide for state counterparts. These have been set up by states at their initiative. In some, like Odisha, it was initiated by the Panchayati Raj department. In Kerala, it was initiated by the Social Welfare department. In Tamil Nadu, where we are hoping for a re-constitution of the Commission, there is at present no Commission website so most information is inaccessible.The Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women Act appears to follow the existence of the Tamil Nadu Commission by several years, being passed only 2008. The act more or less replicates the National Act, except that words like ‘equality’ begin to make an appearance here. The curious thing about the Tamil Nadu Commission is the lack of public domain information about it. Under a previous chair, there was a website that listed the members of the commission and its address, but now there is just a webpage on the state government site that contains the name and direct phone number of the incumbent chair, Visalakshi Nedunchezhian. And yet, this state commission has made its presence felt occasionally— under the leadership of Dr. Vasanthi Devi, for instance. In spite of these moments, it is virtually impossible to reconstruct a history of the Commission— it is that marginal to Tamil Nadu politics.But must it be that way? We have only about 62 signatures on our petition because no one knows what the Commission does or is supposed to do, and most Chairs, all political appointments, bring their own vision to the office. From mediating familial disputes to fact-finding on human rights violations, the Commission does what the Chair deems either appropriate or expedient.This is unfortunate. Both National and state laws specify the qualities of the Chair and members of the Commission for Women. The NCW is supposed to be chaired by someone who is “committed to the cause of women” and have five members “from amongst persons of ability, integrity and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of women, women’s voluntary organisations ( including women activist ), administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare.” The Tamil Nadu Commission is to be headed by “shall be an eminent woman committed to the cause of women.” It is to have five members, at least three of whom shall be women, chosen “from amongst persons of ability and integrity, who have served the cause of women or have had sufficient knowledge and experience of law and legislation, administration of matters concerning advancement of women or voluntary organization for women, or who have sufficient experience in working in the field of economic development, health or education.” It is unbelievably easy to find suitable people—even all women, shocking but true!—to meet these criteria.The weak link is “committed to the cause of women.” What does that mean? For instance, commenting on last year’s Madras High Court judgment which recommended mediation and hinted at marriage as a ‘happy ending’ for a rapist and his victim, the State Commission for Women Chair is reported to have said, “We would be very happy to see the criminal and the affected girl get together. That is our aim and objective. There is no question of right or wrong in this case. If the girl has no source of income or livelihood she may adjust and live with him. Toleration is the main point here.” Would this truly be either a happy or a just ending? Almost every section of the very diverse Indian women’s movement would dispute that.So why do the National and State Commissions for Women matter?Institutions matter. An institution is defined by political scientists as an arrangement for a purpose that has a formalised process of functioning, rules and guiding principles, and that survives generational changes in leadership— that means that the purpose, processes and therefore, projects outlast a person’s leadership and that there is a collective formal memory and learning. When we create institutions for women’s rights, human rights and minority rights, we are trying to draw together and consolidate society’s learning and progress. Progress on women’s rights should not depend on a single government’s worldview or the dynamism of a single Chairperson. The Commission de-personalises and therefore guarantees (or is supposed to) continuity.Even more, it matters that the institutions we create function according to their purpose. A dormant, defunct or dysfunctional Commission for Women is of less use than not having the institution at all. If you can see no purpose for an institution, disband it. If you want it to remain, then enable it (if you are the government) and hold it accountable (if you are citizens).Being from civil society but appointed by the ruling executive and funded through official allocations, the Commissions for Women are uniquely positioned. They reach out, through their Members and Chair, to civil society and the grassroots. They have the powers of a court, the access of administration and considerably more resources than the average NGO. The Chair, at the very least, may be presumed to have the ear of the Chief Minister who appointed her.If they are committed to a consultative style of functioning, they are able to draw on civil society’s experience and insight to further the government’s agenda where there is an overlap. If they remain committed to the work they have done as part of civil society, they can use their position and access to shape that agenda itself.As a part of civil society, I would like to know there is an official body to which I can turn for specific kinds of intervention. For instance, I would like to know that when an incident of inter-caste gender-based violence occurs, beyond the efforts of human rights activists, there is an official body I can call in on an emergency basis. This body will be able to arrange its own travel and stay, and be able to access through district administration and grassroots workers, the place and people affected. I would like to know that when elections are announced, there is an official (the Chair) who can and will make a public and official reminder that there should be gender parity in nominations. I would like to know that when a politician, administrator or Minister makes a misogynistic statement, there will be an institution that calls them on it. As we call for a strong Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women and Chair, those of us that work in this area would also like to re-cast it from its recent avatars. We would like it to be pro-active, feminist (seeing women’s rights as human rights) and explicitly committed to gender equality— in the most inclusive sense of the term. We would like the Commission to be accessible both to civil society and to individuals, specifically women in distress. People should be able to get their complaints to the Commission. The 1091 helpline administration might also be accountable also to the Commission, for instance, through a reporting requirement. The Commission should work with civil society—sharing its information resources—in public education, especially legal literacy and how to engage with the administration to claim entitlements. We would like a strong and dynamic Chair for these Commissions but someone who is also smart enough to reach for help, visionary enough to strengthen networks and democratic enough to communicate (not just broadcast, but also listen).Gender equality advocates need an institutional ally. That ally could and should be found in the Commissions for Women, at the very least.Swarna Rajagopalan is a political scientist and the founder of Prajnya. She too is guilty of paying too little attention to the Women’s Commissions and is learning as she writes.

Spanish train Talgo runs at speed of 110-115 km per hour during trial between Bareilly-Moradabad

Spanish train Talgo on Sunday ran at the speed of 110-115 kms per hour as its trial was conducted on the Bareilly-Moradabad line in Uttar Pradesh as part of the Railways’ strategy to induct faster trains.The lighter and faster train, with nine coaches and hauled by a 4,500 HP diesel engine, covered the 90-km distance in 70 minutes, officials said.The train left Bareilly at 9.05 AM and reached Moradabad at 10.15 AM, the officials said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The train ran at 100 to 115 km/hour speed,” said Rajiv Mishra, General Manager, North Eastern Railways (NER) said.Talgo’s lighter trains consume 30% less energy.The nine-coach Talgo train consists of two Executive Class cars, four Chair Cars, a cafeteria, a power car and a tail-end coach for staff and equipment.”The trial will continue on the same route till Jun 12,” Mishra said.After the trial run on the Bareilly-Moradabad line, it will be tried on Rajdhani route between Mathura and Palwal for 40 days with speed up to 180 km per hour.The trial run will be conducted in a series of phases to test the riding, safety and stability of Talgo trains, a railway official said.After the successful completion of this phase, timing trial of the much awaited high-speed train will be conducted.Hamid Akhtar, Executive Director of Railways’ Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) who travelled by the Talgo train, said, “there will be three more such runs” before the success or failure could be assessed.”It is difficult to say anything about the success or failure of the trial… We will record the timings and other parametres during the journey (in further runs)… The data will be analysed and then only we will be able to say anything. Nevertheless it was a smoth ride,” he said.Besides the officials, the coaches were filled with sand bags. There will be trial with empty coaches as well.Talgo is a Madrid-based Spanish leading manufacturer of semi-high speed (160-250 kmph) and high-speed (350 kmph) passenger trains, which are energy-efficient.The Talgo train coaches are lightweight and designed in a way that it can run on curves without decelerating the speed, the official said.Shipped from Barcelona, the Talgo aluminium coaches anchored at Mumbai port on April 21.Talgo envisages the journey between Delhi and Mumbai can be completed in about 12 hours as compared to 17 hours at present.The Railways has set up a Mobility Directorate to work on strategies to increase speed of trains. Gatimaan Express India s first semi-high speed that clocks 160 kmph, was launched on the Delhi-Agra route last month.

Will implement Odia for official businesses; govt committed to promote language: Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Claiming to have effectively addressed some of the key promises made to the people, Odisha government on Saturday said it will implement Odia language in transaction of official business for which rules are in advanced stage of formulation.

“My government is committed to promote Odia language and the rich cultural heritage of Odisha,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in his address to the Council of Ministers on completion of two years of his government in 4th term.

Stating that Odisha Official Languages Rules are in advanced stage of formulation for better implementation of Odia in transaction of official business, Patnaik said Odisha Official Languages Act, 1954, is being suitably amended for
the purpose.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. PTIOdisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. PTI

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. PTI

“I am hopeful that by August 15 this shall be implemented,” Patnaik said.

The Chief Minister also announced that University of Odia Language and Literature would be established with an aim of teaching and research in Odia language and literature at post graduate, doctoral and post doctoral levels.

Odia Virtual Academy which has been announced in this year’s budget will soon be a reality, he said, adding as a first step, a five-member advisory committee has been formed.

Through this academy rich literary corpus of Odia language would be digitised and made available through web portal.

While faculty position in Odia in universities and colleges would be filled up on priority, the government has instituted  Vyasakabi Fakir Mohan Senapati Scholarship for Odia Language with a cash award of Rs 20,000 for students securing more than 90 per cent in +2 and +3 level, he said.

Creation of Odia Chair in reputed universities outside Odisha like Jawaharlal Nehru University and Banaras Hindu University is beign pursued, Patnaik said.

He added that for Odia Chair in JNU, budgetary provision has already been made.

Odia Bhasa Pratisthan proposes to come out with a new edition of Odia Administrtive GLossary, he said, adding “the heart and soul of Odisha is Mahaprabhu Jagannath, Odia language and literature.”

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan anxious over use of objectionable words by MPs

New Delhi: Concerned over the use of unparliamentary words by members, an exasperated Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday wondered whether she would have to take a class of the lawmakers on the issue.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. PTI

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. PTI

Mahajan made the observation during Zero Hour when BJP member Sanjay Jaiswal used an objectionable word while referring to the Medical Council of India.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu immediately drew the Chair’s attention to the word and said if it is not expunged, it would find its way in the newspapers the next day.

Mahajan said that the members should observe self restraint on using objectionable words or she would have to take a class.

Jaiswal was objecting to the medical examination being conducted by the MCI, which has been caught in a controversy.

Why no action taken against 33 Cong MPs named for ‘gross disorderly conduct’ in RS: TMC

A day after its leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy was asked to withdraw from Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress on Tuesday walked out of the House questioning why no action was taken against 33 Congress members who were named for “gross disorderly conduct” for protesting in Well.Raising the issue when the House met for the day, Derek O’Brien (TMC) said rule 255 was invoked by the Chairman Hamid Ansari yesterday, which his colleague Roy complied with. “We have no issue with that,” he said, adding Roy had at no point left his seat and was raising an issue from there.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He then went on to read the Rajya Bulletin of yesterday which named 33 Congress members for “gross disorderly conduct in violation of rules and etiquette of Rajya Sabha.” The members “entered the ‘Well’ of the House, shouted slogans and persistently and willfully obstructed the proceedings of the House”, forcing the Chair to repeatedly adjourn the House, the Bulletin said. He said one member was making a point from his seat, whereas 33 members were in Well.
ALSO READ VVIP chopper scam: TMC MP asked to leave RS after Ansari rejects notice The TMC leader sought a ruling from the Chair if action against one member and sparing 33 others “violates Article 14 of the Constitution.” Article 14 provides for right to equality before law. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the ruling was given by the Chairman and he cannot say anything on it. “Ruling of Chairman cannot be questioned, ruling of the Chair cannot be discussed,” he said.Derek O’Brien said “we are saddened… and are walking out of Rajya Sabha.”The 33 members named in the Rajya Sabha bulletin are: Madhusudan Mistry, V Hanumantha Rao, Ranee Narah, Rajani Patil, P Bhattacharya, Mahendra Singh Mahra, Santiuse Kujur, Pramod Tiwari, Mohd Ali Khan, Ashk Alik Tak, Ripun Bora, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Viplove Thakur, Vijaylaxmi Sadho, Raj Babbar, Renuka Chowdhury, Praveen Rashtrapal, Sanjay Sinh, Parvez Hashmi, Palvai Govardhan Reddy, Shantaram Naik, Wansuk Syiem, P L Punia, Narendra Budania, Jesudasu Seelam, Ranjib Biswal, Ronald Sapa Tlau, Oscar Fernandes, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, K V P Ramachandra Rao, Shamsher Singh Dullo, E M Sudarsana Natchiappan and Husain Dalwai.The Congress members created din in the House demanding a discussion on alleged pandering of resources by Gujarat government company GSPC on its KG basin gas project.

Watch | ‘You only know the Italian constitution’: Swamy enrages Congress in RS again

Subramanian Swamy on Thursday enraged the opposition again by taking potshots at the Congress and said ‘you only know the Italian constitution’. Following this comment, the RS saw Congress members go berserk and Swamy faced comments from Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jairam Ramesh and PJ Kurien who asked him to come to his chamber. Expunging Swamy’s reference to the Constitution of another country that triggered vociferous protests from Congress members, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien also ordered media not to report the remarks. The BJP MP, who was sworn in only on Monday, insisted that since his name has been taken by another member, he has a right to reply and again went on to refer to the country, drawing sharp rebuke from the Chair.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I will take action against you. Subramanian Swamy you are unnecessarily provoking. I will have to take action against you… you are provoking,” Kurien said.
ALSO READ Meet me in my chamber: Here’s why PJ Kurien reprimanded Subramanian Swamy in the Rajya SabhaObserving that what Swamy said would not go on record, he said “what has been expunged should not be reported by media.” Congress members sought action against Swamy with Jairam Ramesh saying he was “needling and provoking” by bringing in reference to another country. “This is deliberate.” With Congress members continuing to protest, Kurien asked them to return to their seats and said it was a deliberate attempt to subvert the Zero Hour.
ALSO READ VVIP chopper row: Swamy storm hits Rajya Sabha, Congress incensed over Sonia allegationWith inputs from agencies

Subramanian Swamy warned against ‘unnecessarily provoking’ opposition MPs

New Delhi: Subramanian Swamy, who triggered huge protests from Congress on Wednesday over his attempts to drag Sonia Gandhi in the AgustaWestland helicopter row, on Thursday again made some controversial remarks in Rajya Sabha which the Chair immediately expunged and warned him of action for “unnecessarily provoking” members on the other side.

Expunging Swamy’s reference to the Constitution of another country that triggered vociferous protests from Congress members, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien also ordered media not to report the remarks.

Trouble broke out after Chaudhary Munavver Saleem (SP) in a Zero Hour mention referred to Swamy being part of the movement in 1970s to protect the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

Subramanian Swamy. File photo. PTISubramanian Swamy. File photo. PTI

Subramanian Swamy. File photo. PTI

Swamy got up to clarify saying he had no objection to minority education institutions but the Constitution prohibits the State from financing them.

He was countered on this by the opposition to which he responded by dragging the name of another country, a reference that led to agitated Congress members rushing into the Well.

Kurien said he was expunging the reference to the Constitution of another country but that did not satisfy the Congress members who continued to shout slogans against Swamy.

The BJP MP, who took oath only on Monday, insisted that since his name has been taken by another member, he has a right to reply and again went on to refer to the country, drawing sharp rebuke from the Chair.

“I will take action against you. Subramanian Swamy you are unnecessarily provoking. I will have to take action against you… you are provoking,” Kurien said.

Observing that what Swamy said would not go on record, he said “what has been expunged should not be reported by media.”

Congress members sought action against Swamy with Jairam Ramesh saying he was “needling and provoking” by bringing in reference to another country. “This is deliberate.”

With Congress members continuing to protest, Kurien asked them to return to their seats and said it was a deliberate attempt to subvert the Zero Hour.

Asked by the Chair what the problem was when the remarks have been expunged, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said “the problem is the new gift of BJP. Problem is not on this side.”

He said Swamy is just two days old in the House and his remarks have already been expunged twice. “There are 365 days in a year, how many times are you going to expunge his words,” he asked the Chair.

Azad said Swamy does not know the difference between street language and parliamentary words. “He does not allow his hair to grey so he can learn and mature.”

As Kurien asked Congress members resume their seats, they wanted the Chair to ask Swamy to take his seat first. “You cannot direct me like that. You are shouting on nothing. I have expunged (the remarks) then and there. It cannot be reported, it cannot come on TV channels,” Kurien said.

With the protests continuing, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi twice went up to Swamy to convey something.

Kurien then called Naqvi to his chair and spoke to him about the continued pandemonium. Naqvi then went up to Swamy who then resumed his seat. Azad also went up to the agitating party members and prevailed upon them to resume their places.

As Congress members returned to their seats, Swamy was up on his feet again. Kurien asked him to resume his seat. “You sit down now. Come and meet me in Chamber later.”

Earlier soon after new member Navjot Singh Sindhu took oath and listed papers laid, Swamy again tried to raise the VVIP helicopter deal but Congress members shouted him down.

“I am not going to mention that lady’s name,” Swamy said in apparent reference to him yesterday dragging Sonia Gandhi.

When Kurien asked Swamy under what rule was he raising the issue, Swamy said he wanted to raise a matter of public importance under rule 167.

Kurien then told the BJP MP that Rule 167 is for discussion in House, the procedure for which is that once notice is given, the Chairman decides whether to allow a discussion on the matter raised.

If Chairman selects the notice, the member is informed, he said asking Swamy to contact the office of the Chairman on fate of his notice.

Order was then restored and Zero Hour taken up.

Saleem in his Zero Hour mention sought continuation of minority status of AMU and said this should be decided on the floor of Parliament rather than in courts.

Earlier during their protest against Swamy, Congress members shouted ‘CIA Agent’ to counter him while the BJP member shot back chanting ‘ISI, ISI’.

Amid protests from Congress, Kurien said shouting in Well will not produce results.

When Anand Sharma (Cong) asked how Swamy was allowed to speak on a pre-approved Zero Hour mention by another member, Kurien said if a members name is mentioned, he has a right to explain his position.

Azad however said his party had no objection to the clarification but what Swamy said was “totally out of context.” Naqvi countered Azad’s use of words against Swamy, saying “we have been headmasters of the school they (Congress) go to.”

Later in the Zero Hour, when Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked JD(U) member Pavan Varma to speak on the issue he wished to raise, Naqvi stood up to say that it should have been Swamy’s turn as his name was there on the list.

“His name is there on the list, how can it be changed at the last minute,” Naqvi asked the Chair.

Kurien replied that the list Naqvi was referring to was not the final one.

Not satisfied with the reply, Naqvi said it is not expected that the Chair would discriminate between members and said the BJP member has the right to speak.

Kurien then responded by saying that “ministers should not make such complaints” and added that they should rather find out the factual position. “I know the factual position better,” Kurien added.

However as Naqvi continued to persist, Kurien remained firm and said “if you or Subramanian Swamy have complaints, you can approach the chairman.”

Naqvi said he was just requesting the Chair as Swamy’s name was there in the list.

Kurien responded by saying that there appeared to be a “communication gap” between him and the minister, even as he proceeded to ask JD(U) member Varma to raise his issue.

‘Vindictive and vengeful’: Left leaders slam Kanhaiya and company’s rustication in Rajya Sabha

The issue of rustication of three Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and slapping of fine on students union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was raised in Rajya Sabha by the Left parties, which termed the action as vindictive and vengeful. When the House started proceedings after some new members took oath and the listed papers were laid on the table, Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) said he had given notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to raise the “serious issue” of “arrogant” and “anti-democratic” actions by JNU authorities.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He termed the rustication of Umar Khalid for one semester, Anirban Bhattacharya till July 15 and Kashmir student Mujeeb Gattoo for two semesters as well as the Rs 10,000 fine on Kanhaiya Kumar as “vindictive and vengeful” action taken in an “unjust manner”.”This is part of government’s project to tamper with the rights of citizens… In the name of Constitution, they are tampering with the Constitution itself,” Sen said.
ALSO READ PM Modi shakes hands with Opposition leaders in Rajya Sabha; new MPs take oathThe students were penalised for taking part at an event in JNU where slogans were raised in support of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged in February 2013.D Raja (CPI) said Parliament cannot remain a mute spectator to the university rusticating students in a vindictive manner on the basis of “doctored and false” videos.
ALSO READ #dnaEdit | Jaitley’s economic anxietiesDeputy Chairman P J Kurien expunged certain remarks of Raja against the university saying since its representatives cannot defend themselves, such harsh words should not be used.Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “we totally support whatever our colleagues have said.” Anand Sharma (Cong) said “we are worried how the atmosphere in one after the other university is being vitiated.”The Chair could not give a ruling on the notice, as Congress members disrupted proceedings over dismissal of their party’s government in Uttrakhand, leading to adjournment of the House.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan calls all-party meeting on Sunday

Amid all indications that the next session beginning Monday is set to be a stormy affair, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has called an all-party meeting on Sunday to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.The session begins in the middle of a raging political controversy over the Uttarakhand political crisis in which Centre’s role has come in for scathing criticism. The session, which commences on April 25, is in fact the second part of the Budget session but since both the Houses were prorogued after the first part of it beginning February 23 and coming to an end on March 16, this will be a new session.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It will be the eighth 8th session of 16 Lok Sabha and 239th session of Rajya Sabha. Drought in ten states and the resultant water scarcity will also be raised in a big way by the Opposition parties, some of whom have already given notice in this regard to the Chair.Congress is bracing to attack the government and rope in other opposition parties on the Uttarakhand issue. Congress’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma yesterday gave the notice to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari under Rule 267 for taking up the resolution after suspending all business.The resolution seeks to “deplore” the “destabilisation” of the democratically elected government in Uttarakhand and “disapprove” the “unjustified” imposition of President’s Rule there under Article 356 of the Constitution. Government is also backing for disruptions by Congress at least in the first few days on the Uttarakhand issue.

Rekha in the house! Actress attends Rajya Sabha proceedings for first time in Budget session

Often criticised for her absence from Rajya Sabha, Bollywood actor Rekha on Tuesday attended the proceedings of the Upper House for the first time in the ongoing Budget Session.Clad in a cream coloured saree and wearing goggles, Rekha witnessed the proceedings during Question Hour even though she did not ask any question.Seated in her seat (number 99), the film actor remained in the House only for a few minutes and later left with Congress member Renuka Chowdhury. This is the first time she has attended the ongoing budget session. She had attended the last Winter Session once also.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She was nominated to the Upper House in 2012. She had come under criticism from her fellow members in the Upper House last year when they had pointed to her long absence, along with that of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, and had asked whether they had sought permission from the Chair.Some members had also alleged that celebrities were “insulting” the House by not attending it.Article 104 of the Constitution has penal provisions for a member’s absence from either House of Parliament.

Sting operation: TMC cornered in Parliament, govt says ‘truth has to prevail’

Trinamool Congress on Tuesday found itself in a tight corner in the Lok Sabha over a sting operation, with Government insisting that “truth has to prevail” and favouring a probe into the alleged bribery charges against some of its MPs.The House saw BJP, Congress and Left making a common cause to target the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on the issue, even as Mamata Banerjee’s party claimed that the charges were a political conspiracy ahead of the West Bengal polls. Heated exchanges were witnessed between Trinamool Congress and Left members after Mohd Salim of the CPI(M) raised the issue during Zero Hour and was followed by BJP’s S S Ahluwalia and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Congress) slammed the TMC and sought a probe.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>War of words in Lok SabhaThey referred to the telecast of a sting purportedly showing several TMC leaders accepting money to help a fictitious private firm and demanded action against them, recalling that Parliament had expelled 11 members facing similar charges few years ago. Responding to the members, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said “the prestige of Parliament is at stake. We have to establish the truth. Simply saying it is a conspiracy is not enough and will not satisfy the public.” Either the government can carry out an inquiry or the Speaker can order an inquiry, he said.
ALSO READ Ahead of West Bengal elections, several top TMC leaders accused of bribery in sting operationNaidu’s response came after members of different political parties demanded a probe. “We are ashamed that we are sitting with such people. They should drown in shame. The dignity of Parliament has been compromised by their conduct,” Mohd Salim (CPI-M) said, demanding that a committee be formed to probe the charges. TMC members sat silently for most of the time as Sali was followed Ahluwalia and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in attacking them, but angry exchange of words took place when TMC leader Saugata Roy, one of the MPs allegedly shown in the sting, put up his party’s defence.TMC members and some from Congress and the Left were heard trading charges against each other, which were expunged by the Speaker. “It is an embarrassment for our Parliament and democratic system. Five MPs have been shown accepting wads of money. The matter must be referred to the ethics committee,” Ahluwalia said as he recalled that several members were expelled by the House after they were caught “being influenced” in similar sting operations in 2005-06.
ALSO READ Sting on TMC leaders: Sitaram Yechury demands probe”This is related to the dignity of the House. They (TMC MPs) have been caught. It must be probed,” Chowdhury said. Saugata Roy wondered under what rule Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed members to raise the issue and said in anguish that “I had to live to see this day. … It (sting) is part of political conspiracy before the West Bengal elections where CPI-M, Congress and BJP are destined to lose,” he said. In an apparent criticism of Roy’s objections to the issue being raised in the House, Naidu said members should not give an impression to the public that “we are hiding under some rule or pretext.”It may not be clear what is true or false but something is being seen and the prestige of Parliament is at stake, the Minister said, adding that aggrieved members can take action against the news portal if they feel the sting can turn out to be “falsehood”. He said that parliamentarians often faced criticism from the people as he pitched for a probe to “dispel the wrong impressions.” Naidu urged the Chair to take a call on this, reiterating that the government can order a probe or the Speaker can look into the matter. Uproar in Rajya Sabha tooIn the Rajya Sabha, Left parties and BJP repeatedly tried to raise the issue of the sting operation, but were disallowed by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien. Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) wanted a House Committee to inquire into the issue but Kurien asked him to give notice before raising allegations.”You are a senior member of House. Have you given a notice? Without notice I am not allowing any allegation against anyone,” Kurien said. As BJP members too joined to raise the issue, he said, “I have made it very clear.Without a proper notice, I am not going to allow any allegation.” He then went on to expunge the allegations made by members. “If it is a serious matter, why don’t you give notice,” the Deputy Chairman said.As he tried to restore order in the House, BJP members were on their feet trying to raise the issue and Kurien who was on his feet asked Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to rein in his party members. “Chair cannot be cowed down by this kind of behaviour,” he said. “Treasury benches should not behave like this. Treasury benches should cooperate with chair.” Kurien said he was not saying the matter should not be discussed. “I am saying give notice so that it can be considered. I will consider giving time (for discussion).

India approaches UN to name JeM chief Masood Azhar in Security Council sanctions list

India has formally approached the UN to include Jaish-e-Mohammad chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar in the Security Council’s sanctions list, strongly emphasising the urgency to take action against him.India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin yesterday wrote to New Zealand Ambassador Gerard Jacoubus van Bohemen, the Chair of the 1267 al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, submitting India’s request that the JeM chief’s name be included in the committee’s sanctions list.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Armed with strong evidence of the outfit’s terror activities and its role in the January 2 Pathankot attack that killed seven Indian soldiers, India told the UN Sanctions Committee that not listing Azhar has clearly demonstrated how it and other countries in South Asia continue to face threats posed by the terror group and its leader.Calling for immediate action to be taken to list Azhar under the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, India said it is the responsibility of the committee to protect UN nations and its citizens from terror groups like the JeM and its leaders.Listing Azhar will prove that the global community is committed to tackling the scourge of terrorism and will help protect Indian citizens and those of other countries from the terror threats posed by him and his outfit, India said.External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said in New Delhi that it is a “great anomaly” that the organisation JeM is listed but its leader is not.India also noted that following the Pathankot attack, Pakistan had taken action against several individuals belonging to the Jaish.The UN had banned JeM in 2001 but India’s efforts to ban Azhar after the Mumbai terror attack did not fructify, as China – one of the five permanent members of the UN group with veto powers – did not allow the ban apparently on the behest of Pakistan. On February 18, a fresh list of 11 individuals and one organisation linked to terrorism in India, was submitted by New Delhi to the sanctions committee.

Rajya Sabha session begins on a stormy note

The first working day of Rajya Sabha resulted in a complete washout despite an agreement between the ruling BJP and Opposition to allow the smooth functioning of the ongoing session.Amid repeated adjournments, tempers ran high whenever the House met for brief periods and even saw clashes between Mayawati and HRD Minister Smriti Irani who accused the opposition of using a “dead child” (Rohith) as “a political tool and strategy”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mayawati demanded inclusion of a Dalit representative into the judicial inquiry committee set to investigate the Rohith Vemula suicide case in Hyderabad Central University.The Congress party alleged that the House was deliberately stalled by the BJP, who failed to give the required assurance to the Dalit leader.Suicide of a Dalit student at Hyderabad university campus and the arrest of students at Jawaharlal Nehru University were up for a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha.However, Mayawati wanted Vemula to be discussed separately. “The government wants to suppress the Rohith issue. The two issues are separate and should be dealt separately. It is the question of 25crore Dalits,” demanded Mayawati.The treasury bench however refused to give in. Despite appeals from the Chair and the Opposition benches, the BJP continued to hold its position.”Let there be a debate first and then the government will give a reply to the concern raised by Mayawati,”persisted Mukthar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Parliamentary affairs.HRD minister Smriti Irani however entered into a spat with Mayawati. Irani seemed agitated when the BSP MPs raised slogan demanding her resignation. “Don’t use a death of a child (Rohith Vemula) as apolitical tool. The dead child should not be used as a political stratagem,” said Smriti.BSP, however, continued demanding Smriti’s resignation. “The ministers responsible for Rohith’s suicide should be dismissed,” said Mayawati.Agitated Smriti then went on to add that she was willing to behead herself, if her reply failed to satisfy the Dalit supremo. “If you do not like my reply, I will cut my head and place it at your feet,” saidSmriti.Smriti’s beheading herself” remark failed to amuse Mayawati, who continued to maintain her position of including a Dalit member in the committee.Smriti by then lost her cool and alleged that Mayawati had no authority of certifying a Dalit. “What are you trying to say. A citizen who is a Dalit is just a Dalit if Mayawatiji certifies him to be so. Are you telling us that you are with the 25 crore Dalits and not with 125 crore Indians?” said the enraged HRD minister.

Here’s why a US varsity returned a $3 million grant for Hindu studies chair

A top US university is ‘walking away’ from the US $3 million grants it received to establish endowed chairs in Hindu and India studies after faculty members and students alleged that the donors were “extremely ideologically driven” and have “extreme right-wing notions”, a media report has said.As a result, question hangs on the future of proposed chairs at the University of California Irwin (UCI), for which it received USD 3 million from California-based Dharma Civilisation Foundation (DCF).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The university has also decided to review another USD 3 million in gifts it received for another two chairs.The four chairs are Thakkar Family-DCF Presidential Chair in Vedic and Indic Civilisation Studies; Swami Vivekananda-DCF Presidential Chair in Modern India Studies; Dhan Kaur Sahota Presidential Chair in Sikh Studies by Harvinder and Asha Sahota and Shri Parshvanath Presidential Chair in Jain Studies by Meera and Jasvant Modi.Some faculty questioned why the university administration didn t identify red flags regarding the gifts much earlier in the process.”You didn’t have to do too much due diligence,” Catherine Liu, a professor of film and media studies at UC Irvine, said of the foundation.”I went right to their website and it immediately read to me as extremely ideologically driven and of having extreme right-wing notions.”An ad hoc faculty committee in its report has recommended the University “against accepting any endowment” regardless of the changes that might be made to the gift agreement.The committee in its report noted that the agreements related to all the four chairs included language that is not consistent with University policies related to religious and academic freedom.Such a recommendation comes after 150 professors and educators throughout the international academic community collaborated on a petition published in early February denouncing the University of California, Irvine’s decision to take this donation.”We are troubled by news reports that the DCF has put forward its own list of acceptable candidates based on race and religion. Further, we are concerned about reports that the DCF has already brought their favoured candidates to the UC Irvine campus, in the absence of any advertised search for these positions,” said the petition signed by professors from Yale, Cambridge, Harvard, and several UCs, among others.In another letter, UCI students and faculty expressed concern over DCF donation, and the impact it might have on the credibility of Hindu studies at the university.”The HEC recommends that we do not proceed with the chairs endowed by the Dharma Civilisation Foundation,” Georges Van Den Abbeele, the dean of Irvine’s School of Humanities, was quoted as saying by Inside Higher Ed.The report was posted by the University on its website.”I will support these and other recommendations and will be working actively with HEC and relevant faculty on the recommended actions,” Abbeele said.The University and the Dharma Foundation did not respond to questions send on the gifts related to the chairs.

Sumitra Mahajan holds all-party meet; asks for smooth Budget session

A consensus has emerged among political parties that Parliament should run smoothly and the Question Hour should not become a victim of disruptions, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said on Monday.Emerging from an all-party meeting convened by her on the eve of the Budget session, she said opposition parties were of the view that issues of pubic importance such as the system of reservation and overall functioning of universities against the backdrop of JNU row should also be taken up for discussion.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mahajan said besides discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, the General Budget and the Railway Budget, some “very important issues” can also be allowed to be taken up for discussion.The Business Advisory Committee of Lok Sabha would meet on Tuesday afternoon to chalk out the agenda for the coming week in the Lower House.”Hopefully, the House should run smoothly in the Budget session,” she said, adding that as the Speaker, she has to work as per rules.Leaders of various political parties attended the meeting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Varanasi in the day, also attended the deliberations at the fag end.”If I relax the rules for one person, then others too demand the same,” she said explaining the position of the Chair in running the proceedings.Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters after the meeting that his party urged the Speaker to allow the Opposition raise issues of importance even if they have not been approved by the Business Advisory Committee. He said there are certain issues which members have to raise without giving prior notice as people expect politicians to raise them in Parliament.He also rejected the charges that it is Congress which disrupts House proceedings. “Don’t blame Congress for not allowing the House to function…it is okay for bills for which there is unanimity, but on other bills, government will have to take steps,” he said.

Kanpur: Chair ‘purified’ after Dalit pradhan sits on it

A complaint has been reportedly filed against headmaster of a school in Kanpur Dehat district for allegedly ‘purifying’ a chair that was used by a Dalit pradhan. The Dalit pradhan, Pappi Devi, filed a complaint against the headmaster with the district administration, reports an English daily. According to her complaint, Pappi Devi had visited the school in Kanpur Dehat to protest against the poor quality of midday meals served in the school. She reportedly says in her complaint that the headmaster humiliated her and then asked the Class IV students to ‘purify the chair’ with water on which she sat. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She is quoted in the report as, “Sharma humiliated me for daring to sit on a chair in the school..When I asked him why I should not sit, he again threatened me with dire consequences and demanded to know why I sat on the chair. He misbehaved and attacked me. Later, he asked students and class IV employees to wash the chair.”Pappi Devi claims that her husband was also threatened when he went to the school after hearing of the episode.

Need to develop attitude to discuss than stall Parliament: Hamid Ansari

Voicing concern over frequent Parliament disruptions, Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday said “arming the Chair with police powers” to punish errant MPs was not the solution and there was a need to develop attitude to discuss, debate and decide.Interacting with the media accompanying him on way to Brunei on the first leg of his two-nation visit, Ansari, who is also the Rajya Sabha Chairperson, said Parliament has been disrupted from time-to-time for one reason or another.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The issue is not that of powers. Parliamentary democracy presupposes, as the President has also talked about discussion, debate and then decision. Now, for one reason or another, Parliament has got disrupted from time to time,” he said in reply to a query whether he would seek more powers for the Presiding Officers of Rajya Sabha to punish those who disrupt functioning of the House.”So, the question is not of arming the chair with police powers. That is neither here nor there. Question is to develop an attitude in which all sections of the House consider it more appropriate to discuss, debate and decide,” he said.Ansari has repeatedly voiced his anguish over frequent disruptions in the House. Last month, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien pitched for laws to deny salary and allowances to members who do not allow the Houses to function.When asked whether the forthcoming Budget Session will continue to witness disruptions, Ansari said: “I am not an astrologer.” Ansari, who will go to Thailand from Brunei, said India is satisfied with that country on the issue of cooperation on counter-terrorism.”Counter-terrorism is a field where the two governments (India and Thailand) are talking at the appropriate level. That is work which is ongoing,” he said.On the rise of ISIS in Southeast Asia, he said: “There are two aspects to it. One is an ideology of achieving some political objectives through terror acts. This phenomenon can surface in different countries which will deal with it the way they deal with terror.”Then there is the West Asia phenomenon of ISIS with occasional overflow to other countries,” he said without elaborating.