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Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi again, dubs demonetization as ‘economic robbery’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Escalating the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi on Friday said his note ban decision is not a fight against black money or corruption but is an “economic robbery”.Addressing a public rally at the University Campus College Grounds here, the Congress vice president said the Prime Minister has put “99 per cent people” in the country to hardships and not targeted the “1 per cent super rich” who “held all the black money”.He said his party wants to eradicate corruption and if “Modiji takes any step against the menace, Congress party will lend its hundred per cent support”.”But this note ban step is not a decision against black money and corruption. This note ban is an economic robbery. It is an attack on the poor of the country,” he said.Gandhi asked the Prime Minister to name those “thieves” who own the black money stashed in Swiss banks. “The Swiss government has provided the list of all black-money holders to the Modi government. Why does he not place the list of thieves before the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha? We want to know who are these thieves. You should put their names before the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” he said.”Why didn’t you bring back (Vijay) Mallya and Lalit Modi from London?” he asked. Gandhi accused Modi of snatching away the hard-earned money of the country’s poor and giving them to banks to write off bad loans. He said demonetisation was introduced to waive Rs 8 lakh crore loans the “super rich” owe.”Gareebon ka paisa kheencho, amiron ko seencho. 99 per cent imaandaar ka paisa kheencho, 50 pariwaron ko seencho. Yeh hai notebandi ki sachhai, (Take away the money from the poor and help the rich. Take away the money from the 99 per cent honest people and help the 50 super-rich families. This is the truth of note ban).” he said. He used an Amitabh Bachchan song to attack Modi and said his motive is “Ram naam japna, garibon ka maal apna”.”Suck the poor and serve the rich – this is the reality of the suit-boot wali sarkar,” he said. He also accused the central government of being callous to people’s suffering and claimed the Opposition was not even allowed to mourn the “death of 100 people due to demonetisation”.

Higher GDP growth a ‘statistical illusion’, inconsistent with other indicators: P Chidambaram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the new GDP series based on gross value added, which shows a growth of 7-7.5 per cent, is “flawed” as it is based on a “statistical illusion”, and claimed the country is expanding at just 5-5.5 per cent. “GDP estimates are flawed. If you go by simple measurement, the way it is measured, gross value addition at 7-7.5 per cent, appears to be correct, but it is inconsistent with every other economic indicator that we have,” Chidambaram said at an event at the Mumbai University. As per the new GDP reading based on GVA, the economy grew at 7.2 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal.While the GDP clipped at 7.3 per cent in Q1, in the second quarter ended September it expanded at 7.1 per cent. He said other economic indicators that we should look at include credit growth, which is now at a 20-year low, core sector growth, that is only about 2-2.5 per cent, and investment, which is at an all-time low. “I go by harder numbers – credit growth, investments, stalled projects. Those are hard numbers, real numbers and I think those are the numbers we should look at. Looking at these numbers, my gut feel is that we are growing at about 5- 5.5 per cent a year,” the Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra said.He said the GVA number at 7-7.5 per cent may be statistically correct but does not reflect the true growth of the economy. He said this number is constructed by using the deflector, which many people have seriously questioned, and there is a “statistical illusion” in this number. Citing an example, Chidambaram said, “Raghuram Rajan (former RBI Governor) pointed out that exports minus imports adds to GDP. We all know exports in 2015-16 was lower than 2014-15.”Exports declined but imports declined more. Therefore, exports minus imports in 2014-15 was say number A and exports minus import in 2015-16 is B. Exports declined and imports declined even further but B is larger than A shows growth. Therefore, B upon A shows growth,” said the former Finance Minister. He said there are lot of conundrums in this and hence he does not go by these numbers.

Lack of preparedness by Finance Ministry led to cash crisis: Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Sunday attributed the prevailing cash crunch to lack of preparedness by the Finance Ministry before demonetizing high value currencies.”The Finance Ministry should have taken precautionary measures before demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes,” he told reporters here.”The government had decided to go for demonetization in 2014 itself and the Finance Ministry ought to have done contingency plans. They have not done any preparation and the Prime Minister had announced (demonetization), assuming that the things will be a smooth,” he said. Moreover, the size of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currencies was small to accommodate in the ATMs, which was another reason for the problem, he pointed out.”Along with demonetization, the committee headed by me on the issue in 2014 had recommended abolition of income tax, so that the people get relief,” Swamy said. On stalling of Parliament proceedings, the BJP leader said, “We are not responsible for this, it is Congress which is responsible.”

People have lost faith in RBI, banking system post demonetization: Anand Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Sunday targeted RBI and banks in the country, saying people have “lost faith” in the “banking system” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “disastrous movement” to demonetize the high-value currency notes.Senior Congress leader and party’s chief spokesperson Anand Sharma alleged that “crores and crores and crores of newly-printed currency (notes) are going out” from the “back doors” of the banks while common people were denied their right to withdraw their hard earned money they have deposited in these banks. “People had faith in Indian banking system. After the financial crisis and after the economic crisis of 2008-09, Indian banks showed their resilience and their trustworthiness. “The Reserve Bank of India had a formidable reputation.Today, people’s trust in the Indian banks is shattered and the reputation of the RBI is dented,” Sharma told reporters here. The ex-Union Minister for Commerce said, “I am telling you why. People who toil hard have small small savings. You put your money in the bank and you have the assurance that the money is safe. When I need it, I can go to the bank and withdraw it.” “But the bank is not giving that money. Because cash is not available and the cash which is available is not coming from board or the counter”, he said. “ATMs are running dry. And from the back doors crores and crores and crores of newly-printed currency is going out.So how can people have trust…” he asked.He said it will take a long time for the Indian banks to rebuild their trust. “What ethics are there and correctness is there when your own money is snatched. You will say that your money is there, don’t worry. It is safe. But it is safe with me as a government. I will use it the way I want and I won’t give it to you. That is where the trust is gone. It will take a longtime to rebuild the trust in the banking system,” he said.Sharma, who is also the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, attacked Prime Minister for the “sufferings” of the people through the “disastrous movement”. “Prime Minister must be held to account and the BJP government for creating the huge upheaval in the lives of the citizens for afflicting the sufferings, for destroying the economy and for over 111 deaths. He has misled the nation and its people,” he said.

Cong says Rahul would have exposed PM, BJP leader asks where is he going to explode bomb

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that if Rahul Gandhi would have been allowed to speak in Parliament, the Prime Minister would have been “exposed”.”Well he (Rahul Gandhi) was not given the opportunity as he wanted to say something on the floor of the House. Had he been given the opportunity to speak in the Parliament, he (Prime Minister) would have been exposed,” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters here.Azad said that if there was nothing to hide, then why the government and the MPs of the ruling party did not allow Rahul Gandhi to speak.”(It was) because they did not want him (Prime Minister) to be exposed (by Rahul Gandhi),” Azad said.Azad, who is also the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, blamed the BJP for the five-month long unrest in the Valley, stating that BJP being part of the government did not go well with the people of the state.Meanwhile, reacting to Congress vice-President’s ‘Modi-made disaster’ remark, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that Rahul Gandhi is yet to make ‘earthquake’ like revelations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”I expected Rahul Gandhi to explode his earthquake statement in Belgaum, but I did not see any of it. Some of the Congress spokesperson were claiming on Friday that Rahul Gandhi will speak about it. What happened, where is he going to explode that bomb,” said BJP leader S. Prakash.He said that making hollow and sensational claims is a very but it is difficult to prove them as is the case with Gandhi.”A person of his calibre should weigh every word before commenting or claiming something against the Prime Minister. Today, his reputation has been completely tarnished and his image is dented. So, he should bother about the disaster he has created for himself,” added Prakash.On the issue of Robert Vadra’s Bikaner land row, Azad said that the BJP government in order to hide its own failures was “befooling” the people of the country by raking up “non issues”.”Let me tell you whenever there has been an attack on the BJP or its corruption or misdoing (is exposed) they will try to divert the attention by saying this has happened and that has happened,” he said.On the Augusta Westland issue, Azad said, “Sometimes they raise Augusta. Same Augusta thing which was discussed for six hours in the Parliament and we had said about Augusta there was nothing and whatever deal was struck it was not concluded the government came to the conclusion that there was something fishy and it was the UPA government which initiated the CBI enquiry.”

Rahul Gandhi would have exposed PM in Parliament: Ghulam Nabi Azad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that if Rahul Gandhi would have been allowed to speak in Parliament, the Prime Minister would have been “exposed”.”Well he (Rahul Gandhi) was not given the opportunity as he wanted to say something on the floor of the House. Had he been given the opportunity to speak in the Parliament, he (Prime Minister) would have been exposed,” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters here.Azad said that if there was nothing to hide, then why the government and the MPs of the ruling party did not allow Rahul Gandhi to speak.”(It was) because they did not want him (Prime Minister) to be exposed (by Rahul Gandhi),” Azad said.Azad, who is also the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, blamed the BJP for the five-month long unrest in the Valley, stating that BJP being part of the government did not go well with the people of the state.”As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned we had warned the Prime Minister earlier that BJP government will not go well with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation which prevailed in Kashmir in the past five to six months, the main reason was the BJP forming the government in the state,” Azad said.On the issue of Robert Vadra’s Bikaner land row, Azad said that the BJP government in order to hide its own failures was “befooling” the people of the country by raking up “non issues”.”Let me tell you whenever there has been an attack on the BJP or its corruption or misdoing (is exposed) they will try to divert the attention by saying this has happened and that has happened,” he said.On the Augusta Westland issue, Azad said, “Sometimes they raise Augusta. Same Augusta thing which was discussed for six hours in the Parliament and we had said about Augusta there was nothing and whatever deal was struck it was not concluded the government came to the conclusion that there was something fishy and it was the UPA government which initiated the CBI enquiry.”

Chennai: Rahul Gandhi to meet ailing Karunanidhi today

Sat, 17 Dec 2016-09:45am , Chennai , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will meet the ailing DMK president M Karunanidhi on Saturday, who underwent tracheostomy at the Kauvery Hospital here to optimise his breathing.On Thursday night, the former chief minister was admitted to the hospital for the second time in the last three weeks. He was first admitted to the same hospital on December 1 for optimisation of nutrition and hydration and was discharged after he improved substantially The hospital issued a statement saying Karunanidhi was readmitted with breathing difficulty due to throat and lung infection, adding that he was stable and being treated. Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu Kanimozhi said that he had some lung infection and breathing difficulty, adding that he was much better now.

Parliament passes Disabilities Bill; universal identity card to help differently-abled

New Delhi: Keeping aside the acrimony over demonetisation issue which paralysed the Winter Session, Parliament on Friday passed the Disabilities Bill which stipulates up to two year jail term and a maximum fine of Rs five lakh for discriminating against differently-abled people.

The Lok Sabha passed the bill within two hours after a short debate on the last day of the Session with the treasury and Opposition benches, who have been at loggerheads over demonetisation and other issues, joining hands to clear the legislation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House during the passage of the bill.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Rajya Sabha too had witnessed similar bonhomie for passage of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Replying to the debate, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot announced that a scheme of ‘universal identity card for the disabled’ is on the anvil and an agency has already been finalised for the purpose.

The proposed card would also be linked to the Aadhar card to help the disabled all over the country in a seamless fashion, he said.

Gehlot said the universal identity card is being acted upon to overcome the problem of disability certificate being faced by those affected.

He said the government has joined hands with German and British firms for making available state-of-the-art limbs to the disabled wherever possible.

The Lok Sabha witnessed a division on an amendment by Congress and TRS members seeking to raise the reservation in the bill from four to five percent. It was defeated by 121 to 43 votes. KC Venugopal of the Congress who had given the amendment pressed for the division.

Members from both sides supported the bill but suggested certain changes to improve the measure.

Interestingly, the bill had been originally moved in 2014 in Rajya Sabha by then Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge who is now Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha.

The bill, which aims at securing and enhancing the rights and entitlements of disabled persons, also gives effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and related matters.

It provides for imprisonment of at least six months up to two years, along with a fine ranging between Rs 10,000 and Rs five lakh for discriminating against differently-abled persons.

Moving the bill for consideration and passage on Friday, Gehlot said out of 82 recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, 59 were accepted by the Government.

The bill, he said, has increased the number of categories of disabled persons to 21.

The Union Cabinet had earlier approved these amendments to the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (RPWD) Bill, 2014, that had replaced the 1995 Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act.

In the bill, disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept and the types of disabilities have been increased from existing seven to 21. The Centre will have the power to add more types of disabilities to it.

The types of disabilities now include mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions.

It also strengthens the office of chief commissioner and state commissioners for Persons with Disabilities which will act as regulatory bodies.

The bill was examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee last year. Then, a Group of Ministers, headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, examined its provisions and sent their recommendations to the Prime Minister’s Office.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 16:12 IST

Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die; Hamid Ansari ask members to introspect

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Friday even as Chairman Hamid Ansari expressed strong displeasure over regular disruptions by all sections of the House during the session and asked the members to introspect.Soon after the laying of papers, Ansari adjourned the House sine die. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House.The 241st session of Rajya Sabha, which had commenced on November 16, was a near washout as opposition members continuously disrupted proceedings mainly over the demonetization issue. They were countered vociferously by members of the ruling side on several occasions, including by shouting counter slogans. In his closing remarks, Ansari said he had “fervently hoped” that he would not have to repeat what he had said at the conclusion of the 221st session in December 2013, but “My hopes stand belied”.”Regular and continuous disruptions characterised this Session. The symbolism of dignified protests, so essential for orderly conduct of Parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned,” the Chairman said.This, he said, deprived members of the opportunity to seek accountability of the Executive through questions and discussions on matters of public interest.”The prohibition in the Rules about shouting slogans, displaying posters and obstructing proceedings by leaving their assigned places was consistently ignored by all sections of the House,” Ansari said, adding that “peace prevailed only when obituaries were read”.The Chairman said that “all sections” of the House need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, disruption and agitation.Earlier, the members observed silence as mark of respect to condole death of former Rajya Sabha member V Ramanathan.The House of Elders functioned on the first day of the Session and had a “useful discussion” on demonetization on November 16 and November 24, which remained inconclusive. Rajya Sabha also passed, on December 14, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014.

Demonetization | PM Modi has not committed to waive off farmers loans: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a demand to provide relief for debt-ridden farmers, the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the former has accepted that the situation of farmers is critical in the country, but did not commit anything on waiving off their loans.”Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is critical, But he did not say anything about waiving off their loans, he only heard the matter,” said Rahul.He further added that the farmers are committing suicide all over the country and the removal of import duty on wheat by the government is a devastating blow.Earlier in the day, a delegation of senior Congress leaders met Prime Minister Modi to demand relief for debt-ridden farmers and to express their apprehension at not being allowed to speak in parliament. Following this, opposition leaders would call on President Pranab Mukherjee at 12.30 pm. These meetings come even as the ruckus continues in parliament over several issues, including demonetization and corruption.On Thursday, Azad said, “It is for the first time in history of India that the ruling party is not letting the House to function,” he said. Azad gave a notice in the Rajya Sabha on the “hardships faced by farmers due to demonetization”. “I have given notice so that the debt of the farmers is forgiven. The BJP is not in the support of the farmers,” he said.Both Houses of Parliament had to be adjourned for the day eventually.

Rahul Gandhi seeks appointment with PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the last day of the winter session on Friday, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and leaders of 14 other opposition parties will march from parliament to the Rashtrapati Bhawan to lodge protest with President Pranab Mukherjee against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization move and the “miseries” it has unleashed on the common man.Besides, Rahul has also sought appointment from PM Modi to present a list of demands of farmers that he apparently collected during his extensive tour of election bound state of Uttar Pradesh.Gandhi had created a flutter yesterday by alleging that he had “detailed information about PM Modi’s personal corruption” and wanted to speak on it in the Lok Sabha.Keeping up the reputation of wasting time in pandemonium, both the houses of parliament saw unruly scenes on the penultimate day also and got adjourned without conducting any business.”This is for the first time in the history of India that it is the ruling party that is not letting the House function,” alleged leader of opposition from Congress, Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha.He soon as deputy chairman P J Kurien allowed Azad to raise the matter “Distress among farmers due to drought, floods and demonetization”treasury benches created got up leveling charges of corruption on Congress in Agusta Westland helicopter deal.Amid pandemonium, a war of words ensued between junior parliamentary affairs minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and opposition leaders Azad, Sitaram Yechury of CPM and Derek O’Brien of TMC.Despite trying hard, Kurien could not quieten the two warring sides and kept adjourning the house, finally calling it a day at five minutes past two.Later, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar blamed “myopic” strategy of Congress leadership and Rahul Gandhi for wasting parliament’s precious time.He said, it was very surprising that both TMC and Communists accepted and followed Congress without a murmur, without whimper, blindfolded.” My question to TMC and Communist is do they also subscribe to Congress note-jugaad. Do they accept, are they ready to concede Agusta Westland helicopter scam that is opening up like 2 G and Coal,” said Ananth Kumar.Claiming that government throughout pursued a path of reconciliation, Ananth Kumar accused Rahul Gandhi of masterminding the gagging of the Parliament.”The only time Parliament was gagged was in 1975-76….Congress has something to hide that’s why they have stopped business of Parliament,” said Ananth Kumar.

Congress adopting ‘spit and run’ tactic to divert attention from real issues in Parliament: Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming the opposition for disruptions in Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday that the Congress was adopting “spit and run” tactic to divert attention from the real issues. “Everybody is sad. The way Parliament is not being allowed to function, every countrymen is sad. We are also sad. But what to do if some people deliberately and continuously not allowing Parliament to function. It is a known fact who is rushing to the Well of the House,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.He was asked to comment on BJP veteran LK Advani’s comment in the Lok Sabha, “I feel like resigning”, after a virtual washout of the winter session of Parliament over the demonetization issue. “Being a senior party man, Advaniji is also feeling like that,” Naidu said.On the AgustaWestland chopper scam, the Union minister said, “It is a serious issue and should be discussed in the House. Many MPs have given notices in both Houses for discussion on the issue because it is related to the nation’s security. But Congress is not ready. They are bringing new issues to divert the attention from this.” On Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s claim about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged corrupt practices, Naidu said, “If your allegations have substance, then discuss it in the House. It is a spit and run tactics. One day PM’s name, next day Kiren Rijiju.”The opposition targeted Union Minister of State for Home Affairs for his alleged involvement in a Rs 450 crore scam in a power project in Arunachal Pradesh. Accusing the opposition of indulging in “dirty political tactics”, he said, “Before this, they have made allegations against Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Now Prime Minister. These are all dirty political tactics. There is no substances in it.””From day one, we are saying let’s have debate. We also said PM will be present and intervene in the discussion and FM will offer solutions. Debate started in the Rajya Sabha. Three Congress MPs spoke, Left also participated. JD(U) also participated,” he said.”Now they are saying discuss farmers’ plight. Who stopped you from discussing on the farmers issue all these days? I wanted to ask BSP and Sharad Yadav (of JD-U) that since the last 20 days why you did not raise farmers issue. Since elections are round the corner, you remember farmers now. All countrymen are watching it and people are not taking them seriously because of their strategy is to spit and run,” he said.

Parliament disruption: ‘Should I resign?’ Upset LK Advani asks lawmakers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upset over continuous disruption of Parliament, BJP veteran LK Advani on Wednesday expressed deep distress and wondered if he should resign.”LK Advani told me that he feels like resigning,” said TMC MP Idris Ali, adding “Had Atal ji been in the Parliament today, he would have been upset.”This is the second time Advani has expressed his distress due to unending disruptions in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.Idris Ali also said that the BJP veteran said, “Iss sab hungame se sansad ki haar ho rhi hai, speaker se baat karke kal charcha honi chahiye (Due to continuous disruption, the Parliament is being defeated. Discussion should take place tomorrow after speaking to the Speaker).”Last week, a visibly agitated Advani was heard expressing his unhappiness to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar over the continuing protests in the House at a time when some Opposition members had even come to the side of Treasury benches to raise slogans in the well.For the 20th day, Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Thursday, following heated exchanges between the Opposition and the BJP benches. Rajya Sabha also witnessed sharp exchanges between Treasury and Opposition benches as they tried to shout each other down over different issues, throwing the House into pandemonium and forcing its adjournment till noon.

Parliament Session: From other side of the aisle…counting hours lost

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The story of time lost in Parliament has now come full circle. As the tables have turned, it is now the Congress which is facing the blame for disruptions that have led to less than 20 per cent of business being conducted in both houses so far in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.Since the Winter Session of 2013, when the BJP was in the Opposition and the Congress-led UPA in the treasury benches, this session has recorded the maximum number of hours lost.According to PRS legislative research figures, Lok Sabha has lost 91.80 hours (85 per cent), while in Rajya Sabha the figure stood at 86.33 hours (81 per cent) of available time, resulting in an almost total washout of Parliament so far.However, the most tumultuous Winter Session since the previous regime was in 2010 when the time lost in Lok Sabha was 130.38 hours, 94 per cent of what was available, while in Rajya Sabha it was 112.22 hours, 98 per cent of the allotted schedule. Both Houses were stalled over the Opposition—then the BJP—demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam.On the other side of the aisle now, the BJP is facing the Opposition’s relentless demand for a discussion on demonetization under a rule that entails voting in the Lok Sabha, while in the Rajya Sabha, it has insisted on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence during the debate. The session, which has just three days left, is yet to witness a full working day.Going by figures and budget, if both Houses sit for 100 days a year, the amount spent on parliamentary proceedings costs the state exchequer Rs 10.01 crore per day.So far, Parliament sessions during the Modi regime had been highly productive in terms of time, recording more than 100 per cent five times—Budget Sessions of 2014, 2015 and 2016, Winter Session of 2015 and Monsoon Session of 2016.Midway through its tenure, the BJP-led NDA government is now on the verge of experiencing a wasted session, the blame for which it has pinned on the Opposition, particularly Congress and the Trinamool Congress. According to PRS data, the productive time in Lok Sabha has been just 15 per cent and Rajya Sabha 19 per cent, this session. Amidst the din, government did manage to pass the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill and the supplementary demands for grants.The BJP has issued a whip for its members to be present in the last three days of the session which ends on December 16, party sources said. The government had on its agenda for the 22 sittings nearly 20 bills, including three related to GST, rights of persons with disabilities, maternity benefits bill, surrogacy, transgenders and enemy property.According to PDT Achary, secretary general in the previous two Lok Sabhas, who has been observing disruptions since the late 1990s, “if Prime Ministers, in any government, took the initiative, any problem can be easily resolved.”He said disruptions leading to loss of days and weeks gained ground in late 1990s, when Opposition grew in size and found it to be a powerful weapon against government. He recalled that earlier Opposition parties used to meet the Speaker in the morning and convey that they would raise an issue and disrupt the House.”They would then go into the House and shout slogans. This became a regular practice,” he said.BJD’s Lok Sabha MP Tathagata Satpathy, whose party has been a neutral spectator in the Government-Opposition face-off over the demonetization debate, was of the view that irrespective of the party on the ruling side, all parties behaved similarly.”What damages democracy is that when political parties come to power, they forget they were in Opposition and could be there again. Parliament is a debating body. Why is BJP with its majority scared of a vote,” he said.Time LostLok Sabha: 91.80 hours (85 per cent)Rajya Sabha: 86.33 hours (81 per cent)*Figures are only for the Winter Session of Parliament* PRS Legislative Research

BJP and Congress issue whip, fiery end to Winter Session on cards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bracing for a showdown in Parliament, BJP and Congress issued whips asking their members in both Houses to ensure their presence for the remainder of the Winter session which resumes with the issue of demonetization casting a shadow. The Opposition party has issued the whip amid concerns in its ranks that the ruling side would rake up the AgustaWestland helicopter issue to target its top brass to “divert attention from hardships facing people due to demonetization”, sources said.Before Parliament reconvenes on , leaders of Opposition parties will hold a meeting in the morning to decide their strategy in the House.On its part, the ruling BJP also issued a whip to ensure that the treasury benches are in full strength in both Houses.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with key ministers before Parliament meets tomorrow morning to decide their strategy.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today again asked Congress and other rival parties to start debate on demonetization.Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present in Parliament for the three remaining days of the Session and can participate in proceedings for either of the House depending on the need.Congress sources said the government has made no attempt to reach out to the Opposition to break the logjam.Both the government and the Opposition, especially Congress and TMC, have stuck to their stand that the debate be held under a Rule that entails voting which the treasury benches have ruled out.On last Friday, Congress changed its stand and expressed readiness for debate under “no rule”. However, the ruling side created ruckus and the debate could not take place.Pitching for a debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today urged the Congress and other opposition parties to “rise above slogans…” as he urged them for a debate in Parliament.The Winter Session, which began on November 16, is scheduled to conclude on Friday, with indications that it could be a virtual washout.Parliament has seen little transaction of any substantial business because of the Opposition ruckus over demonetization and some other issues.Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha continued to be deadlocked over the way a debate should take place on demonetization announced by the Prime Minister on November 8.Ever since the session began, the Lok Sabha has managed to conduct only two legislative actions — passage of Income Tax amendment bill and approval of Supplementary Demand for Grants — that too amid din and without much debate. The Rajya Sabha has functioned normally only on the first day of the session when the debate on demonetization was initiated and held for about 5 hours.

Nation pays tribute to bravehearts on 15th anniversary of 2001 Parliament attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The nation on Tuesday paid homage to those who sacrificed their lives while defending Parliament House from dastardly terror attack on this day in 2001.PM Narendra Modi, former PM Manmohan Singh, Members of Parliament and leaders from different political parties paid floral tributes to the bravehearts at the plaque in Parliament House in the morning.Two persons from the Parliament Security Service of the Rajya Sabha, five Delhi Police Personnel and a woman constable of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) laid down their lives while preventing the entry of terrorists inside the Parliament House Building. A gardener of CPWD also lost his life in the attack.

Punjab election 2017: Sufi singer-turned-politician Hans Raj Hans quits Congress, joins BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two months ahead of Punjab Assembly elections, Sufi singer-turned-politician Hans Raj Hans has quit Congress. Hans joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at party headquarters in Delhi, in presence of BJP Chief Amit Shah on Saturday.A former member of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Hans had contested the Lok Sabha elections from Jhalandhar in 2009, but faced defeat. He had left SAD and joined Congress in February early this year and was welcomed by Punjab Congress Chief Captain Amarinder Singh. However, the relations had struck a sour chord after Hans was not selected to be nominated for the Rajya Sabha seat and another leader Shamsher Singh Dullo was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha.Miffed over being sidelined, he had lambasted Congress leaders in a party Dalit Outreach programme in September and alleged discrimination of the Balmiki community which he represented.On Saturday, he called Prime Minister, Narendra Modi a ‘Babbar sher’ and said that he was influenced by various key decisions taken by Modi. A Padam Shree awardee, Hans is popular for his Sufi songs and hails from Jalandhar in Punjab. The state is set for Assembly elections in February next year.

Demonetisation logjam: Uproar continues in Rajya Sabha as Opposition corners Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha on Friday witnessed its first adjournment of the day amid Opposition parties pronouncing the ruling dispensation as anti-farmer, anti-poor government over the demonetization issue, which has plagued the Parliamentary proceedings since day one.The Opposition parties raised slogan against the government. “kisan virodhi, gareeb virodhi, yeh sarkar nahi chalegi” (We will not accept this government which is anti-farmer and anti-poor) .Communist Party of India (Marxist), leader Sitaram Yechury while addressing the Rajya Sabha said that the demonetization are ruining the lives of farmers. Lashing out at the Government, Yechury said, “You (Centre) will have to agree that this decision (Of demonetization) is against the nation.”Echoing similar sentiments, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati advised the government to rethink the decision of demonetization.”Govt needs to rethink on demonetization or farmers will have to bear huge losses, they’ll be ruined,” said Mayawati.Meanwhile, tolerating the ire of the opposition Union Min of Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan clarified in the Rajya Sabha that the nation has surplus food grain.”We have enough food grain,” said Paswan.

Parliamentary panel recommends placing Executive on equal footing with Judiciary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking serious note of the strains that have come up between the government and Supreme Court on the issue of appointment of judges, a parliamentary panel has recommended establishing the original constitutional position that places the Executive on an equal footing with the Judiciary.“The judicial appointments are shared responsibility of the Executive and the Judiciary and to be exercised jointly with neither organ of the State having a primacy over the other,” noted the panel suggesting the government to take appropriate measures to reverse the distortion that has come in the original mandate of the Constitution due to judgements of the Apex Court in the Second Judgement and subsequent cases. Establishing Collegium System for appointment and transfer of judges in higher judiciary, a nine 9 judge bench of Supreme Court in 1993, known as the Second Judgement, had given primacy to the Chief Justice of India over the Executive.“The role of the CJI is primal in nature because this being a topic within the judicial family, the executive cannot have an equal say in the matter. Here the word ‘consultation’ would shrink in a mini form. Should the executive have an equal role and be in divergence of many a proposal, germs of indiscipline would grow in the judiciary,” it held.To make the appointment process transparent, the committee suggested making public the eligibility criteria, method of selection, manner of evaluation of merit, criteria of selection, number of vacancies while maintaining the confidentiality of names shortlisted. To allay apprehensions of government rejecting names approved by the Supreme Court Collegium under the veil of “national security” and in the “larger public interest” that could tantamount to exercising Veto, the panel recommended the government to define these two criteria in no ambiguous terms and list circumstances and antecedents which fall within their preview.The parliamentary standing committee report on “Inordinate delay in filling up the vacancies in the Supreme Court and High Courts” was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Headed by Rajya Sabha MP from Congress, Anand Sharma, the committee has nine members from the Upper House and 29 from the Lok Sabha. If the government decides the recommendations can be taken up for consideration for implementation.The panel, however, also recommended that glasnost (openness and transparency) in appointment of judges was the need of the hour and the Collegium or the government must specify reasons for rejecting a candidate.“The Committee observes that the government also rejects the names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium without furnishing cogent reasons. Such practices are against the principle of natural justice and leads to opaqueness in the appointment process,” the panel noted. In line with the global practice to gain from “enriched professional experience”, the panel has suggested raising the retirement age of Supreme Court judge from present 65 years to 67 and of High Court judge from 62 to 65 years.For tackling the mounting burden of cases in the High Courts that at last count was more than 44 lakhs, the panel suggested invoking Article 224A of the Constitution that allows chief justices to appoint retired judicial officers as ad hoc high court judges.The panel asked not to consider their appointment afresh (de novo) as there was “no merit” in repeating the same and “must give” the same status they were enjoying prior to the appointment. TheNames of 18 such ad hoc judges sent from the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Allahabad and Calcutta are already pending with the government.In order to avoid delay in filling up vacancies in constitutional courts the panel has recommended setting up a dedicated Cell in the Registry of the constitutional courts to assist initiation of the proposals in time for filling up various vacancies. “The Cell… may particularly ensure that the eligible persons from women, minorities etc. are also included so that the composition of higher judiciary becomes reflective of the diversity of the society,” the report said.

Demonetization: Government not mourning over 100 deaths due to cash-crunch, says Opposition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition on Thursday accused the government of “shameless conduct” by refusing to mourn the death of over 100 persons due to hardships caused by demonetization, as opposition and treasury benches clashed in Rajya Sabha forcing its adjournment minutes after it met for the day.BJP members shouted slogans seeking resumption of discussion on the issue as Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad got up to speak. Opposition benches did the same when Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to reply to him.Chairman Hamid Ansari tried to bring order in the House but with both sides refusing to budge, he adjourned the proceedings till noon.No sooner were the listed papers laid, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said 115 persons have lost their lives in 30 days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced junking of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Their death should be mourned in the House, he said.Even before he could finish, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was up on his feet saying “this is politics. Let there be a discussion (on the issue)… November 8 (when the demonetization was announced) is a historic day.” He said an unruly opposition has been disrupting proceedings every day.As Azad indicated his desire to speak, members from the Treasury benches objected.Ansari said it was a well established practice that the floor is given to the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition whenever they wish to speak.He also asked ministers not to get agitated, as he allowed Azad to speak.Naidu said he had greatest respect for the Leaders of the Opposition personally and as an institution but his objection was to opposition members trooping in front of the ministers as soon as their side is heard, practically blocking the government from giving its reaction.Azad said more than 100 farmers, women, youth and elderly persons have lost their lives in last one month due to hardships caused from wrong policies of the government.”We wanted this House to mourn their death but the government has refused an obituary reference,” he said, adding that the Opposition was left with no option and 150 MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha belonging to 16 opposition parties observed ‘Black Day’ in front of the Gandhi statue in the Parliament House complex.Amid slogan shouting, Azad said it was “shameful” act of the government that instead of mourning the death it is adding salt to the injury.

‘Jan shakti’ is above ‘Raj shakti’: Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As demonetization overshadowed the Winter Session of Parliament, PM Narendra Modi devoted his third consecutive speech at the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting to the issue. On Wednesday morning, he castigated the Opposition holding it responsible for stalling debate and said it should have instead suggested ways to plug loopholes.Modi asked his party MPs to create awareness about digital transactions, saying this would make it faster for the current situation to come under control.Indicating that the decision was not taken keeping in mind electoral considerations, he said that policy-making was earlier election-oriented. However, he said schemes like giving up subsidy on LPG cylinders and demonetization showed that “Jan shakti (people’s power)” was supporting the government. “Jan shakti should be above Raj shakti (state power),” sources quoted him saying at the meeting.He compared elections, which political parties fought on different agendas but shared common factors like voters list and motivating voters to booths, with demonetization saying parties had not demanded a roll back. According to him, the ideal thing for the Opposition would have been to suggest ways and means for smooth implementation and plugging loopholes. Modi said that instead the Opposition was ‘unfortunately’ neither involved nor discussing the issue either inside or outside Parliament. He said though he was present in Rajya Sabha, the Opposition was not ready for discussion.Later, the BJP parliamentary party issued a resolution saying there was no “end to the competitive disruption” of Opposition parties and accused them, particularly Congress and TMC, of making “unsubstantiated allegations holding up proceedings of the House.”Exuding confidence that there was support for demonetization, Modi reiterated that he had sought 50 days from people and reassured that things will change after that.

Veteran journalist Cho Ramaswamy passes away, PM Modi, dignitaries pay last respect

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran journalist, former Rajya Sabha Member, political commentator and satirist Cho Ramaswamy passed away early on Wednesday morning in a private hospital in Chennai due to age-related problems.Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister O Paneerselvam, DMK leader M K Stalin and superstar Rajnikanth were among those who paid floral tributes to Cho at his residence. The 82-year-old, who was admitted to Apollo Hospitals last week for respiratory problems, is survived by his wife, son and daughter.In his tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as a multidimensional personality, towering intellectual and a great nationalist. “Cho Ramaswamy was insightful, frank & brilliant. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family & countless readers of Thuglak,” Modi said. “Above all, Cho Ramaswamy was a dear friend. I have been to his annual readers meeting, which were an unprecedented editor reader interface,” he said.
ALSO READ Pained by demise of dear friend Cho Ramaswamy: PM ModiA wreath was laid on the mortal remains of Cho on behalf of Modi, the Tamil Nadu government said in a release. The wreath was laid by State Protocol Officer Shiv Das Meena, it said. A stream of admirers, literary personalities and those from the cinema and theatre world also paid tributes to Cho at his residence.A lawyer by profession, Cho was a popular name in theatre, cinema and journalism. He was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005.Condoling his death, Governor Rao said he was a multi-faceted personality. “I am deeply shocked and grieved to hear about the sad demise of Cho Ramaswamy, an actor, editor, lawyer and writer. He was a multifaceted personality, a bold, veteran journalist and a political critic who never hesitated to express his views unequivocally,” he said in a Raj Bhavan statement. The field of journalism “has lost a doyen and a great personality,” he said.Panneerselvam, accompanied by his cabinet colleagues C Srinivasan, Edappadi K Palaniswamy, P Thangamani and S P Velumani, paid homage to Ramaswamy. DMK President M Karunanidhi, in a statement, said despite political differences, Ramaswamy had great love and affection for him. He was a friend and a political critic who could convey his message with humour, he said.Rajinikanth described Ramaswamy as a “close friend” and recalled they had been friends since 1978. “Whenever I was in Chennai, I used to visit him at least once a week,” he told reporters after paying homage to Cho. “His death is not an ordinary loss,” he added.

Veteran journalist & former Rajya Sabha member Cho Ramaswamy passes away

Wed, 7 Dec 2016-08:10am , Chennai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran journalist, former Rajya Sabha member and political commentator Cho Ramaswamy (82) died in Chennai on Wednesday following illness.Fondly addressed as Cho, he was suffering from illness and breathed his last at a private hospital this morning, sources close to his family said.He is survived by wife, son and daughter.Ramaswamy was founder editor of Thuqlaq magazine and was known as a satirist.He had acted in many movies and featured with top actors like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.

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.

Jayalalithaa (1948-2016): A life called Puratchi Thalaivi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As always, Jayalalithaa Jayaram kept everyone on tenterhooks till the end. She would have said it was not deliberate, just as she claimed in an interview 17 years ago that she “never consciously appeared tough”. Having strode in like a colossus in the south and wooed by national leaders, she has left a vacuum in Tamil Nadu’s political matrix.At 16, a brilliant student, she had little choice on the turn her life took, when she was pushed onto the silver screen. But over three decades later, “Amma” had become her own master, with a devoted fan following, some even willing to give up their lives for her. It was a role reversal from which there was no looking back. Yet there was one aspiration that remained unfulfilled—of becoming the Prime Minister.Jayalalithaa, who was 68 when she passed away, may have become an actor reluctantly, and was unlikely to have visualised becoming the chief minister, but in both worlds she made her mark. Her debut Kannada film Chinnada Gombe became a blockbuster in 1964, following which director CV Sridhar made her an offer for his Tamil film Vennira Aadai, which also became a hit. Jayalalithaa then did her first film with Tamil superstar MGR in 1965 and the two went on to do 28 films together, almost all of which were box office hits. Later, Jayalalithaa, who did 140 films, acted with other stalwarts like Sivaji Ganesan and Ravichandran Jaishankar. She even did a Hindi film Izzat with Dharmendra as her co-star in 1968.In the early eighties, MGR realised he was getting old and needed support when campaigning for his party the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). He then turned to his co-star Jayalalithaa and launched her as a party campaigner. Initially, she struggled as she had to speak in chaste Tamil, something that she wasn’t used to. Reading out from prepared texts, Jayalalithaa’s star power however ensured that she continued to draw crowds. Her growing popularity caused MGR to give her more responsibilities asking Jayalalithaa to take over some of the propaganda work, a move resented by some party elders. But none of them could stop her meteoric rise. She was made a member of Rajya Sabha, elected from Tamil Nadu, from 1984 to 1989 and after that leadership of the AIADMK.Jayalalithaa’s calm composure in public rarely allowed anyone to understand the workings of her mind. Unruffled by ups and downs, her life remained entangled in controversy and mystery. Chuchpark Convent educated, she was articulate, not only in English, but also in Hindi, often taking the media by surprise. In a personal interview, “Rendezvous with Simi Garewal”, Jayalalithaa said that as a leader she had learnt to control her emotions and never wept in public.

Rajya Sabha members seek impeachment of Telangana High Court judge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 60 Rajya Sabha members moved a petition on Monday seeking impeachment proceedings against a judge of the Andhra Pradesh/Telangana High Court alleging atrocities against a Dalit judicial officer. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat confirmed receiving the petition from 61 MPs and said a decision on its validity will be taken in the next two days after examining the matter.But experts said, under the Judges Enquiry Act, 1968, the petition is bound to be admitted. The petition, mainly signed by TDP and Left MPs, alleged that Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy committed atrocities against a Dalit principal junior civil judge in Kadappa district to allegedly put pressure on him in a criminal case.As per provisions of the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, if the motion is admitted, the Speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman constitutes an investigation committee consisting of three members, including two judges. Hundred members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha have to sign the petition of impeachment.

Shiv Sena submits memorandum to RBI deputy guv, invokes Manmohan to attack PM Modi on demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Noting that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks on demonetization have raised questions over “trustworthiness” of banking system, Shiv Sena today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision is imposing a “significant cost” on economy and the implementation of the policy has been “absolute mismanagement”.A delegation of Sena MPs today submitted a memorandum to RBI deputy Governor R Gandhi, requesting “active measures” to ease out the “chaos” caused by invalidation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Sena is a junior alliance partner of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra. “We were told that RBI is taking steps to expedite the printing of currency so that there is no shortage of cash flow,” Mumbai North East MP Ganjanan Kirtikar told PTI. Apart from Kirtikar, Rajya Sabha MPs Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai and their Lok Saha counterparts Arvind Sawant, Rahul Shewale were present at the meeting that lasted for over 20 minutes.In the memorandum, Sena MPs referred to criticism of the demonetization policy by Singh in Parliament.”Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks on the floor of Rajya Sabha give rise to the questions on trustworthiness of the banking system, as he asked government to name any country where people have deposited their money but are not able to withdraw it,” it said. Singh had termed the roll out of demonetization as “monumental mismanagement”. “The country is increasingly worried about the absolute mismanagement in implementation (of demonetization) and daily announcements that show chaos. In no other country would such a decision, where citizens are looked down as thieves, be welcomed peacefully. We look forward to seeing the active measures taken by the RBI on easing out the chaos by demonetization,” stated the memorandum.Sena claimed the declaration to scrap old high value tenders made by Modi last month is “imposing significant costs on economy.” “The costs are becoming apparent, millions standing in queue to withdraw cash, individuals unable to buy essentials, the disruption of small business, trade, agriculture, thus the entire economy has derailed because of the improper and so far failed implementation policy adopted by the agencies.”The frustration, mental agony and trauma caused to the people, who have been restrained to withdraw their legitimate money from their bank accounts, has resulted in more than 80 deaths till date,” it said. Sena said RBI’s norms regarding withdrawal of up to Rs 2.50 lakh cash for weddings have dealt a “severe blow” to people as the conditions are very stringent, resulting in postponement or cancellation of marriages. “Our party president Uddhav Thackeray has welcomed the policy decision of the government to weed out the corruption and black money from the society, but raised serious objections on the implementation part of it. “Inadequate preparations in rolling out new currency, insufficient notes at the bank counters & ATMs, inordinate delay in recalibration of ATMs, has put people to inconvenience and hardships,” the memorandum said.Referring to RBI’s ban on cooperative banks to deposit and exchange old notes, Sena said 371 district co-operative banks, which are the backbone of the rural economy, too have suffered serious setback. Sena also referred to the Bombay High Court’s observation that some arrangements need to be made to address the plight of DCCBs following demonetization. “Thus, in nutshell, from labourers to farmers, from weavers to artisans, from workers to traders and businessmen, from service sector to manufacturing sector all are the sufferers in the onslaught of demonetization,” it said.The memorandum said, “Modi assured the people of India on November 8 by saying ‘your money will be your money, you don’t have to worry about this, we have made arrangements to ensure that citizens suffer the least possible difficulty’. The PM also urged people for 50-day timeframe to streamline the currency circulation.” “The countdown has already begun as 27 out of 50 days have passed by and 23 days are left for the government to put the derailed economy back on track and restore normalcy.” Stating that people are anxiously awaiting and watching the moves of the government in dealing with worsening situation, it said that every constituent of the society wants to heave a sigh of relief on December 30.”Eminent economists like Amartya Sen, Manmohan Singh and many others have questioned the wisdom of the government in playing demonetization gamble. Government has sighted long term gain out of demonetization measures but as observed by Manmohan Singh in his remarks ‘In the long run we all are dead’ (it) needs serious thinking on the part of the government,” it said. Sena further said the government should not be “too late” to exercise “corrective steps” as more complexities may deteriorate the health of the nation. “The question remains, given the timeline, will RBI score over the challenges ahead and smoothen the disarrayed state of the economy? Remember that the common man is the pulse of the economy, will he get solace after December 30?,” it asked.

Manmohan Singh headed the ‘most corrupt regime ever’, lacks credibility to oppose demonetization: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Sunday hit out at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over his criticism of demonetization, saying he “lacks credibility” for such an attack as he himself headed the most “corrupt regime ever”.”Manmohan Singh attacking this government for fight against black money lacks credibility. He himself in his 10 years’ regime, had not only failed in tackling black money, but is seen as heading the (most) corrupt regime ever in this country. He was responsible for accumulation of black money,” BJP General Secretary Muralidhar Rao told reporters here.Attacking the government over demonetization in the Rajya Sabha, Singh had on November 24 said the step was “a case of organised loot and legalised plunder” and reflected a “monumental management failure”. Rao said, “I don’t value (Singh’s criticism) because he is a failed leader, who is attacking a government and a leader who is performing and taking fight against black money to its logical end.” Responding to a question, Rao said the long queues at ATMs and banks besides currency crunch would disappear by December 30.”That’s what Honourable Prime Minister has said. It may take some more time for the economy to become normal,” he said. Rao also said people, including farmers, who have been affected by demonetization, would be “rewarded” in the next year’s budget. He said: “You will have a new budget in which all the suffering sections will get rewarded…”

Army rebuts Mamata Banerjee charges, says exercise done with Bengal police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army strongly rebutted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that its personnel were deployed at toll plazas without informing the state government and were collecting money, saying the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police.”This is being done in coordination with local police authorities. The exercise was earlier planned for November 27 and 28. The dates were changed to November 30 to December 2 on a specific request by Kolkata Police due to Bharat Bandh called on November 28,” said GOC Bengal area (officiating) Major Gen Sunil Yadav.However, the TMC in the Rajya Sabha accused that it was being misled by MoS Defence Subhash Bhamre and says that no conclusive answer was being given by the Centre on army deployment.Reacting to the Chief Minister’s allegations he said, “We deny all charges with all contempt. Allegations of collection of money by Army personnel are also totally baseless,” the officiating GOC Bengal Area said. Mamata had yesterday alleged that the army had been deployed without informing the state government. “This is unprecedented and a very serious matter”, she had said.She had also claimed that the army personnel were collecting money from vehicles, which they were not supposed to. Maj Gen Yadav said a similar exercise in Eastern Command was carried out in November 2015 at the same places. The Major Gen said that a recce was conducted with two inspectors of the Kolkata Police at toll plaza on November 27 last. “The issues raised by the police were addressed and were telephonically informed to the police,” he said.The exercise will continue as planned earlier and will end tonight, he said.The Army also released letters written to the state government on the exercise. “It is happening in nine states now across 80 locations,” he said. “We have our specific targets for data collection. After doing the work for 36 hours our work was done and we had left the toll plaza near Nabanna,” he said.Yesterday a defence spokesperson had said that the Army conducts biennial exercise throughout the country with the aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency. “There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander SS Birdi had said.The exercise gives an estimate about the number of vehicles passing through a certain area that could be tapped during operations, he had said.

PM Modi more interested in TRP politics: Rahul Gandhi at CPP Meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi chaired a Parliamentary Party Meeting of his party’s Members of Parliament on Friday. The meeting was attended by party MPs from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.Coming from the meeting, Rahul said slammed PM Modi over demonetization, “PM Modi is more interested in TRP politics. Congress never gave India a PM who was a prisoner of his own image We never gave India a PM who by passed the experience of those sitting in the institutions. The country has suffered tremendous damage as a result of vanity and incompetence of our PM. We never gave India a PM who based his entire policy making strategy on TRPs. We never gave a PM who was ready to inflict such tremendous suffering on people of India to protect his own persona. All cash is not black money and all black money is not cash; PM has confused India’s cash economy with black economy,” he said.He also attacked the Centre over cross border violence in Jammu and Kashmir.”Its high time government develops a coherent strategy, we were told that idea behind strikes was to stop Pakistan from cross border attacks. Government has got itself into a complete mess with regards to Pakistan. Their policy is a complete failure,” he said.”There have been 21 major attacks and hundreds of ceasefire violations since the strikes. Today the same person who used to ridicule us sits silently while Kashmir burns. PM Modi will be judged by history as man who gifted massive political space to anti-India forces by creating opportunistic BJP-PDP poll alliance. He (PM) has created the political vacuum that gives terrorists space to operate. But who is paying the price? Not PM, or Defence Minister. Our soldiers, their families paying price. Eighty five soldiers martyred,that’s the highest number of men we have lost in almost a decade,”At the meeting, the Congress MPs most likely chalked out strategies for the main opposition, which is going full throttle against the demonetization policy of the Centre and also seeking to corner the ruling party in both Houses. Although the Parliamentary Party Meeting is normally chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul is chairing the meeting for the first time in the absence of his mother, who was recently admitted to a Delhi hospital with some ailment.With ANI inputs

Jaya Bachchan, Mary Kom among others greet PM in RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose absence in Parliament is always fodder for Opposition protests, today remained seated in the Rajya Sabha even during a 15-minute adjournment.Members from various political parties, including some from the opposition, were seen going to his seat to greet him or chat with him.The prime minister stayed in the house, as did members from the government as well as the Opposition.Film star-turned-Samajwadi Party lawmaker Jaya Bachchan was seen walking up to the PM and exchanging pleasantries. She was followed by members of Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and a Left MP.Renowned boxer Mary Kom, who was nominated to parliament in April this year, was also seen in a discussion with PM Modi.The PM was seen smiling and talking to all those who approached him.Later, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad commented: “The PM sat in the house even after lunch but they are not interested in a discussion.”

Row over Mamata flight incident echoes in Parliament, DGCA orders probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A row erupted on Thursday over West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s IndiGo flight being made to hover over Kolkata after the plane was reportedly low on fuel and it echoed in Parliament where TMC alleged threat to her life while the Centre asserted no one was in danger.Aviation regulator DGCA ordered an inquiry into the incidents of as many as three flights, including one carrying Banerjee, reporting low fuel yesterday at the same time. TMC vice-president Mukul Roy alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to eliminate Banerjee and dashed off a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, demanding a thorough inquiry by his ministry to unearth the truth. IndiGo on its part said its flight carrying the Trinamool Congress supremo was delayed due to congestion over Kolkata before making a normal landing and had adequate fuel. In a statement, IndiGo said the flight 6E 342 with 174 passengers on board made a “normal landing” at Kolkata airport and that its captain did not declare a fuel priority or an emergency, though there was some misunderstanding between the Air Traffic Controller and the pilot.According to IndiGo, the misinterpretation of information by ATC controller, led the ATC to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at the airport. TMC raised the issue in both Houses of Parliament alleging that Banerjee’s flight was made to hover over Kolkata airport last evening for about half an hour despite the pilot reporting that the plane was low on fuel. The government vehemently denied any design saying just when West Bengal Chief Minister’s Patna-Kolkata Indigo flight reported low on fuel, two other flights of Air India and SpiceJet also called in with the same problem.Banerjee’s flight hovered over Kolkata airport for only 13 minutes and it was ensured that the aircraft landed in a safe and orderly manner, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were informed by Raju and his deputy Jayant Sinha respectively. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered an inquiry to find out how three flights at the same time could fly low on fuel into Kolkata when the norms mandate them to carry enough fuel to enable hovering for 30-40 minutes as well as to carry it to the nearest diversion airport, which in this case was Bhubaneshwar.Alleging a threat to the life of Banerjee, who is at the forefront of anti-demonetization campaign, TMC leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay said the government should rise to the occasion and find out whether there was a conspiracy. Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, said that Banerjee has been travelling to various parts of the country protesting against government’s move to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes causing hardships to common people.”Her life is in danger and ATC should have allowed her flight to land first. The VVIP flight should have been allowed to land in priority,” he said. Raju said it is incorrect to say that the flight was hovering over Kolkata for 30-40 minutes. “The flight was hovering for only 13 minutes. The DGCA has ordered an inquiry how all the three flights were flying low fuel.” In the Rajya Sabha, Sinha said, “At no point was anybody’s life at risk or danger. All safety procedures were fully followed.””Today it is one opposition leader… this opposition leader is at the forefront (of anti-demonetization campaign),” TNC leader Derek O’Brien said, adding questions are being raised if it is a conspiracy to eliminate opposition leaders.

India has urged China to change its stand on Masood Azhar: Govt tells Parliament

New Delhi: Government has urged China to reverse its technical hold on India’s request, which is co-sponsored by several prominent countries, to get Masood Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar said on Thursday.

File image of Masood Azhar. Reuters

File image of Masood Azhar. Reuters

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Akbar said China has often repeated its concern on spread of terrorism and their desire to cooperate with India on this issue.

On several occasions, China has reiterated with India their resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with “zero tolerance”, and has agreed that there is no justification for terrorism.

“Government has consistently highlighted to China regarding the threat of cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and affecting the region, including India.”

“Specifically, we have emphasised forcefully that while the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed has been proscribed by the UNSC Sanctions Committee…for its well-known terror activities and links to the Al Qaeda, the designation of JeM’s main leader, financier and motivator Azhar has been repeatedly put on a technical hold.”

“Accordingly, we have urged China to reverse its technical hold on India’s request to list Azhar under 1267 provisions. India’s request is co-sponsored by several prominent countries,” the Minister added.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 15:56 IST

Flight landing delay: IndiGo debunks Mamata’s conspiracy theory; her life was not in danger

New Delhi: Conspiracy theories form an integral part of Indian politics, like perhaps politics anywhere else on the planet. So it was no surprise when Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders alleged today that there was danger to their leader Mamata Banerjee’s life, after the commercial flight she was travelling on made an emergency landing at Kolkata yesterday. A landing, which required all emergency procedures to be put in place and which happened after an hour’s delay. Not just TMC, members of other Opposition parties also echoed these sentiments, with BSP chief Mayawati saying this was a dangerous situation for Opposition parties.

File photo of Mamata Banerjee. PTIFile photo of Mamata Banerjee. PTI

File photo of Mamata Banerjee. PTI

Remember, Mamata Banerjee has been the most vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the last few weeks on his demonetisation push and has also vowed to finish Modi’s rule at the Centre. What better than to allege a threat to her life to gain fresh political currency? And get other Opposition parties to also join this chorus? But when Mamata’s party MPs began speaking about a threat to her life because of the delay in landing of the aircraft carrying her – never mind the fact that it was carrying hundreds of other aam aadmis and aam aurats as well – it was sounded like a desperate attempt to gain attention, not a plea for enhanced air safety.

“The plane was about to crash…we want to bring to notice that life of Mamata Banerjee is in danger,” an NDTV report quoted TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay saying this in Rajya Sabha today. “Is there more to this than meets the eye?” asked Derek O’Brien? “There is a school of thought that this is a conspiracy,” he said in the Rajya Sabha.

Mayawati said this was a serious issue and sensitive issue and “we condemn what happened. We want the government to take the issue seriously and conduct an enquiry. This is dangerous situation for those in the Opposition parties. What happened was wrong.” Sharad Yadav of JD(U) also wanted a probe into the incident.

MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha assured members in Rajya Sabha that passengers were not in danger (on that aircraft) at any point and standards of safety were in place. And that safety regulator DGCA is looking into claims that the aircraft was short on fuel. O Brien interjected to say that if there was no danger, why were emergency measures taken? Sinha replied O’Brien should be glad that precautionary measures were taken to ensure nothing went wrong.

While all this verbal gymnastics was going on in the Upper House, no one really bothered to gather details of the incident. What had exactly transpired, no one seemed to know clearly, not even the junior minister of civil aviation.

But here’s what IndiGo, the airline ferrying Mamata, had to say: The captain of this flight neither declared an emergency nor did he, at any time, say that there was a fuel shortage. The airline pinned the blame on the ATC controller at Kolkata for the mess up and said the delay in landing was due to congestion issues at Kolkata airport. All very routine stuff really. Where is the threat to Mamata’s life?

Anyway, Ms Banerjee and her party should ideally be giving a piece of their mind to the ATC concerned, instead of blowing their top in Parliament and making wild allegations of her life being in danger.

The IndiGo statement said “Flight 6E 342 from Patna and Kolkata made a normal landing at the Kolkata airport on Wednesday, November 30. The flight was kept on hold for landing due to air traffic congestion at Kolkata. The pilot operating 6E 342 had informed the ATC that he has eight minutes of extra holding fuel over Kolkata (destination) before commencing diversion to the planned alternate. However, this information was misunderstood by the ATC who assumed that the aircraft had only eight minutes of total fuel left. The misinterpretation of the information by the ATC led ATC to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at Kolkata airport. We would like to clarify – IndiGo captain at no stage declared a fuel priority or an emergency. Subsequently, the air plane made a normal landing at Kolkata airport at 8.40 pm, delayed by an hour due to congestion”.

If some questions still remain, they should be about congestion at India’s airports, language issues or fatigue of ATC personnel which could have lead to the mixup. As for an emergency landing, it was surely a precaution well worth taking.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 13:08 IST

Demonetization: Sharad Yadav, Arun Jaitley exchange barbs in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav on Thursday exchanged sharp barbs in the Rajya Sabha over the demonetization issue.The exchange happened when members of the Congress, TMC, BSP and SP were creating a ruckus over their demand that the House mourn the killing of 25 armymen since surgical strikes and deaths of 82 persons in post-demonetization hardships. Yadav said it was unprecedented that there was no obituary reference for the seven army personnel including two senior officers killed in terrorist attack at Nagrota armybase near Jammu yesterday.As he also raised death of “nearly 90 persons” in post-demonetization hardships, Jaitley retorted that he should first discuss demonetization within his party and find “if it is agreeable” with the ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes or not.His remark was apparent reference to JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supporting demonetization. “We are not against demonetization. We are against the restrictions that have been placed (on withdrawals from own accounts),” Yadav shot back.The JD(U) leader then went on to ask if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was with him or not. “Is your Prime Minister with you? Is he listening to you,” he asked.

After lacklustre response to ‘Bharat Bandh’, Mayawati claims Opposition is united

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid fissures appearing in Opposition with JD(U) skipping a key strategy meet over demonetization, BSP supremo Mayawati rejected there is any division among the Opposition parties and said they are “united” against the issue. “I think the government’s decision to impose ban on notes was taken in haste without proper planning. This is not right.Due to this, people are facing problems and entire Opposition is united on this. There is no division and the entire Opposition is raising their voices in Parliament,” she said. The Bahujan Samaj Party leader also said the BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rather than Opposition, “have imposed” a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on the country, “The BJP government at the Centre has itself imposed Bharat Bandh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself imposed ‘Bharat Bandh’. Our party is not responsible for this,” she said.Underlining that her party is against black money and corruption, she said the Central government’s “way” of containing corruption, by imposing ban on notes in a “hurry” is “not correct” and based on “self-interest”.Stressing the people are facing hardships, she claimed situation like that of “financial emergency” has arisen in the country. Mayawati said even after 20 days of the announcement of the demonetization decision, there has been “no improvement” and long queues could be be seen outside banks and ATMs.Reiterating the Opposition’s persistent demand of presence of Modi in Parliament during the discussion, she asked the Prime Minister is “shying away from replying” to the debate in the House. “Prime Minister must sit in the Parliament during the debate and must reply after listening (to the discussion). Modi did sit in Rajya Sabha for litte time but did not come back after the lunch because he knew he had to reply. Why PM is shying away from replying?” she asked.Earlier in the day as the Opposition were observing ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ to protest against demonestisation, they held a strategy meet where they decided to continue their stir in Parliament till Modi replies to the debate and a JPC probe is announced in alleged leak of the decision. Some fissuers appeared in the Opposition as JD(U) skipped a meeting of all the Opposition parties held in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament House. Sources said JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav had left Delhi early this morning. The opposition parties are divided over the ways to protest against demonetizationever since TMC chief Mamata Banerjee decided to march to the President against the move. While she was joined by AAP, National Conference and Shiv Sena, an NDA ally, other opposition parties stayed away.

PM Modi has held country hostage through demonetization: Left parties on Akrosh Divas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Protesting against demonetization, Left parties accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pushing the country into an “unprecedented financial turmoil” and questioned why he was not speaking in Parliament on the issue.During their protest here as part of “Jan Aakrosh Diwas” against demonetization, seven Left parties including the CPI(M) and CPI decried the invalidation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes as “anti-poor and pro-corporate” and demanded that the government let people use the old notes until it makes new notes available. “We believe the Prime Minister has brought the country to a standstill. He has imposed ‘deshbandi’ (holding country hostage) with ‘notebandi’ (demonetization).”90 per cent of our people do cash transactions every day. Their lives have been hit quite hard. We are protesting against all this,” CPI general secretary Sitaram Yechury said during the protest.Continuing their attack on the Prime Minister over his alleged absence from Parliament, where opposition MPs are demanding that he reply to a debate on demonetization, the Left parties questioned his “silence” on the floor of the House, calling him “Narendra Maun (silent) Modi”.Yechury claimed that while the November 8 decision has farmers and daily wage earners reeling under hardships, the stated objectives of demonetization are unlikely to be achieved.He suggested the government ushering in Rs 2000 currency note will rather “double” corruption.Yechury reiterated the charge that BJP and “those who had black money” were “aware” of the Prime Minister’s move.”The BJP (reportedly) purchased lands in the run up to the decision in Bihar. Those with black money had already made arrangements. How come they were aware of demonetization move?” he asked.The Rajya Sabha member asked the government to crack the whip on those who have black money stashed in banks abroad and also act against corporate houses which have faltered on payments of bank loans.Referring to Modi calling his predecessor Manmohan Singh as “Maunmohan Singh” during poll campaigns, Yechury said the situation was different now as Singh has spoken on demonetization in the Rajya Sabha last week but the PM was silent.”Now it was a coincidence, when Singh spoke in Parliament, the Prime Minister was silent, (he) became Narendra Maun Modi. This is the situation,” Yechury quipped.CPI national secretary D Raja, who also addressed the protesters, echoed Yechury views saying the decision has caused “unprecedented financial turmoil” in the country and subjected people to “huge hardships, unimaginable miseries and humiliations”. “Now Modi is trying to abuse opposition parties as though we are all protecting corruption and black money. Modi should understand the Left has been fighting black money and corruption,” Raja said.The Left leader said it is Modi who should be held responsible if the Parliament doesn’t function. Meanwhile, replying to a query about bringing funding to political parties under the ambit of RTI, Yechury demanded stopping of corporate funding to political parties. Besides Yechury and Raja, leaders of CPI(ML)-Liberation, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, SUCI(C) and Communist Ghadar Party of India took part in the protest.

Demonetization: Opposition adamant on Modi’s presence in Parliament, govt says PM will intervene if needed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and leaders of Opposition parties on Monday reiterated their demanded for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in Parliament to discuss and give an explanation on the demonetization issue.”Let the PM come and talk to us inside the house,” Gandhi said. Gandhi and others were protesting in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex.A vociferous Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha continued their protests against the government over the demonetization issue, forcing adjournment of the proceedings till noon.Soon after the Lok Sabha expressed its condolences over the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Oppositon members, including those from the TMC and Congress, demanded that they wanted to speak on the demonetisation issue.With Speaker Sumitra Mahajan declining their request and saying that the matter could be taken up after Question Hour, Opposition members trooped into the Well holding placards and shouting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the government.Opposition also disrupted proceedings in Rajya Sabha. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the nation was seething in anger over the hardship and harrassment caused because of the announcement made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “If you have a complaint on implementation then we are ready to debate, don’t doubt our integrity. You want PM to come to Lok Sabha for this debate, then he will, and will make an intervention whenever it is necessary.”

Demonetization: JD(U) diverges from mahagathbandhan, won’t be part of Opposition’s Akrosh Diwas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s party JD(U) has decided to not be a part of ‘Akrosh Diwas’, to be observed on Monday, in a meeting held by senior leaders on Saturday. “JD(U) had made it clear that it is supportive of demonetization move; so it won’t be part of the ‘bandh’,” Pawan Varma, JD(U) General Secretary, told ANI.The JD(U) has informed its allies Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD and Congress about its decision. Varma added, “Mr Nitish Kumar had made it clear that the Opposition has the right to pursue their own political agenda. He has spoken to Lalu Prasad ji and Congress about this. It won’t affect the grand alliance.”Kumar has been vocal about his support to PM Narendra Modi’s demonetization drive. “I support demonetization as I’m convinced that it will help in the fight against black money,” Kumar said addressing a function to mark Prohibition Day in Patna. He had also called the decision to demonetize higher currency notes a ‘bold move’.While RJD has categorically stated its opposition to the move stating Kumar’s support does not reflect the sentiments of the grand-alliance ruling in Bihar.The opposition parties will launch a country-wide protest ‘Akrosh Diwas’ on November 28 over the BJP-led NDA regime’s demonetization move. This come as the deadlock continues in Parliament with the government refusing to agree to a discussion in the Lok Sabha that ends in a vote.The ruling dispensation has rejected the opposition’s demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling party is in a minority.

19 of 55 stranded Indians from Iraq brought back home: EAM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>19 of a group of 55 Indians, who were stranded in strife-torn Iraq, have returned home following efforts by the government. Minister of State for External Affairs told Rajya Sabha that Indian Consulate in Iraq’s Erbil has been making efforts to ensure return of the remaining 36 Indians.The Consul General had approached the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister of Kurdistan to ensure return of the Indians, mostly from Telengana, who had overstayed. “As a result of these efforts, a group of 19 Indian nationals has travelled back to India on November 10 without payment of any overstayal penalty,” Singh said.To another question, he said 39 requests for repatriation have been received by Indian Mission in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from persons hailing from Uttar Pradesh. He said a total of 15,431 grievances have been registered on MEA’s online Consular Services Management Portal ‘MADAD’ out of which 9,502 have been resolved.In a written reply to a question on Indians residing in war-torn countries, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as per records, over 2,500 Indians are residing in Afghanistan, 9,000 in Iraq and about 100 Indians in Syria. The details of people who have not registered with the local missions and embassies were not available.She said government closely monitors the evolving security concerns in strife-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, adding safety and security of Indians in these countries was a matter of foremost concern. “The government has established 24×7 helpline functional in the Indian Missions/Posts in these countries; and issues advisories whenever required,” she said.Replying to another question in Rajya Sabha, Singh said a total of 554 Indian fishermen were arrested in foreign waters during 2016.

Manmohan Singh speaks out against note ban in Parliament, gets trolled on internet

Addressing the members of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called out Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetisation, labelling the move as an “organised loot.”

He was also very critical of the handling of the process, saying, “There has been a monumental mismanagement in the implementation of demonetisation. I hope that the prime minister will help us find practical ways to give relief to people who are suffering.”

Despite this, the former prime minister’s primary concern was our GDP, which he claimed would decline by 1.5-2 percent at a minimum. Economic experts are supportive of Singh’s claims, but some see this as a political move.

People’s reactions were largely along the same lines as well.

Less rhetoric, more economics!

Maybe we should all take him more seriously…as far as economic policy is concerned at least.

Manmohan Singh’s critics had a lot to say as well.

One even called him a hypocrite.

More importantly, some were just surprised that Manmohan Singh actually has a voice.

Why break the silence now?

We’re sure you also have something to say on the matter as well. Do let us know what you think on our Twitter feed and on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 20:26 IST

Opposition losing credibility with rigid stand on demonetization: Government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh on Friday reprimanded the opposition parties for their rigid stand in the Parliament post the demonetization of high-value currency notes and said that they are gradually losing their credibility in the eyes of the general public.Singh pointed out that an adamant opposition is not allowing the Parliament to function smoothly despite repeated requests from the Centre. “Even after multiple requests from the Centre to the opposition, the house is not working. The people are closely watching the latest developments. The opposition is gradually losing its credibility with its rigid stand on this issue,” he said. “The Prime Minister was present in the Rajya Sabha, but there was no debate post lunch. The opposition said that they would debate the matter only in the Prime Minister’s presence,” he added.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on his part lashed out at the opposition parties for deciding to observe November 28 as ‘Akrosh Divas’ and said that the disruptions despite Prime Minister Modi’s presence in Parliament has exposed the Congress. “Prime Minister Modi was yesterday present for one hour in the house, but the opposition still created ruckus. These moves are exposing the Congress in front of the people,” he said. “The Congress is left with no agenda and topic for discussion,” he added.Meanwhile, both the houses of Parliament have been adjourned till noon as a united opposition demanded an apology from Prime Minister Modi over his remarks that those questioning the demonetization drive are favouring black money. Prime Minister Modi earlier in the day defended the government’s decision to demonetize 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes and said that some are angry on the initiative as they were not informed before the decision was considered.Speaking after releasing two books on Constitution in New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi said those who are criticising the demonetization move don’t have problem with the government’s preparedness, but they are having problems because they didn’t get time to prepare for turning their black money into white.

Opposition continues to stall House

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After stalling the Parliament ever since the session began, the Opposition parties used their trump card — economist and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — on Thursday. For the last several days, they have not allowed the House to discuss and pass any Bill. They devised a new strategy to keep the government under continued pressure.The opposition parties had chalked out the strategy well in advance before the House met at 11 am. As soon as the proceedings started, all attempts by deputy chairman PJ Kurien failed to calm down opposition members who made it clear that they would not settle for anything less than PM’s continuous presence during the whole discussion on demonetization. “It was the PM who announced demonetization. And it is he who is implementing and monitoring it. It is the demand of all the opposition parties that not only he should respond but also sit through the whole discussion. If he can find time to go to Japan and do rallies in Ghazipur, Goa and Pune, why can’t he sit in the Rajya Sabha?”quipped Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad. CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, SP’s Naresh Agarwal, BSP’s Mayawati and TMC’s Derek Obrien asserted similar views. Amid sharp exchange of allegations by treasury benches claiming the opposition wants to derail the House as it does not have solid arguments against demonetization, the opposition parties did not let the proceedings start until PM Modi finally came during the question hour allotted for his office at 12 noon. The jinx apparently was overcome by Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Hamid Ansari who himself came to conduct the House proceedings.The opposition grabbed the opportunity by giving the field to Dr Singh who in his sober and measured tone created a flutter by describing the move as ‘monumental management failure’ and a case of organised loot, legalised plunder of the common people. Though the next speaker, SP leader Naresh Agrawal softened the serious atmosphere by joking about the grapevine that the level of secrecy in the government was so high that even finance minister Jaitley did not know about the decision, he cautioned the government not to repeat the mistake that Indira Gandhi made by thinking that she was popular among people and lost the elections badly in 1977. His statement over Modi’s emotional appeal about his security invoked sharp protests from BJP members. Reiterating his Party chief Mamata Banerjee’s views calling demonetisation the ‘big black scandal’, TMC leader Derek O’Brien questioned why the government didn’t print small currency notes, and why there was secrecy about printing notes. Mayawati stepped up the attack on PM Modi by asking him to dissolve the Lok Sabha and conduct elections if he was so sure about the huge popularity about demonetization that the survey through his App has shown. The House again went into logjam when it met at 2pm over PM’s absence. While leader of the House, Arun Jaitley maintained that PM is not obliged to sit through the whole debate, opposition parties did not budge.

Parliament Winter Session: PM Modi reaches out to Opposition in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: After days of confrontation between government and opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday reached out to the rival parties as he walked across in the Rajya Sabha and exchanged pleasantries with his predecessor Manmohan Singh and other leaders of Congress as well as JD(U), NCP and DMK.

File photo of Narendra Modi. PTIFile photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

File photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

Modi, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in tow, made the gesture when the Upper House went into lunch break amid a debate on demonetisation.

Prime Minister Modi shook hands and was seen chatting with Singh, as also Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma. Modi also chatted with JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, Praful Patel of NCP and DMK’s Kanimozhi and some other leaders.

Earlier, Singh attacked the Government over demonetisation, saying it was a “monumental management failure” and a case of “organised loot and legalised plunder.”

Singh said the decision will result in decline of GDP by 2 percent.

The opposition had been stalling the House over the last five days, targeting the Prime Minister and demanding his presence in the House for resumption of debate on demonetisation, which had begun on 16 November.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 14:55 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: Indo-Pak DGMOs speak to each other, demonetization row & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Counter-offensive: Pakistan blinks, DGMOs speak to each otherAmidst tensions along the LoC, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, in an unscheduled hotline interaction, spoke to each other on Wednesday. Read moreUproar over demonetization: After Lok Sabha, PM Modi to be in Rajya Sabha?After Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended Lok Sabha, amidst an Opposition-Government standoff on demonetization, there is anticipation that on Thursday he could be present in Rajya Sabha during question hour. Read moreDNA Exclusive: India sceptical about Pak intel alert on ‘Hindu terror attack’Amid rising tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB), the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has informed the Delhi Police and other Central intelligence agencies that “Hindu radicals” could attack the Delhi-Lahore bus service, the Samjhauta rail service that operates between India and Pakistan, and the luxury bus service from Delhi to Nepal. Read in detailNikki Haley accepts new UN assignment, Trump calls her a ‘proven dealmaker’Indian-American Nikki Haley on Wednesday said that she would be happy to represent America at the UN, describing it as “an important calling to heed” when the President believes “you have a major contribution” to make to the welfare of the nation. Read detailsTatas bring satraps to counter Cyrus Mistry’s claimsThe latest episode in the Mistry-Tata spat has brought into focus the group’s past attitude towards Tata Consultancy Services, considered to be the crown jewel that continues to sustain and feed the conglomerate. Read more

Uproar over demonetization: After Lok Sabha, PM Modi to be in Rajya Sabha?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended Lok Sabha, amidst an Opposition-Government standoff on demonetization, there is anticipation that on Thursday he could be present in Rajya Sabha during question hour.However, the government is keeping its cards close to its chest on whether the Prime Minister will indeed intervene in the debate on demonetization, a demand being made by the Opposition in the Upper House. Government sources are neither ruling out nor confirming if Modi will make an intervention in the debate, saying it was a call the Prime Minister could take in the course of the debate. The indication from the ruling side is that the call on his intervention would not be taken under Opposition pressure. When Rajya Sabha started debating demonetization, the Opposition had begun insisting on the presence of the Prime Minister, the man who made the announcement on Rs 500/1000 notes being banned on November 8. He had skipped Rajya Sabha last Thursday, the PM’s question hour day in the House. However, sources indicated he could go to Rajya Sabha this week.In Lok Sabha, Modi sat silently on Wednesday morning, the PM’s question hour time in the Lower House, as the Opposition persisted with its demand for a debate on demonetization under an adjournment motion, another bone of contention between the two sides, given that it could entail voting. Business in both houses of Parliament has been paralysed for the past week in view of the face off over demonetization. Even as there was no sign of either side softening, sources said the government has begun the process of reaching out to the Opposition leaders to find a way out of the deadlock. The government’s argument is that it did not want a divided message to go from the House on the fight against black money. Modi had made an appeal to all parties to ensure that a message went from Parliament that all parties were together in the battle.“I don’t want to make any hard comment against the opposition but will appeal them to see the writing on the wall and understand the signal being given by people of India,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters later.I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu castigated the Opposition and said, “You have not been allowing the debate to take place, you have been asking for the presence of the PM.” While the Opposition is attacking the government saying demonetization had led to hardship for the common man, the ruling side has been flaunting bypoll results to claim that on the ground the PM’s announcement had got support.

Indo-Japan nuclear-deal similar to agreement signed with US: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recently-signed India-Japan nuclear agreement includes reprocessing consent and a termination clause similar to the one in the Indo-US atomic deal, the government told Parliament on Wednesday. Making a suo motu statement in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar said the agreement is the first of its kind that Japan has signed with a non-signatory to the NPT. In Rajya Sabha, Akbar could not read out the statement due to ruckus created by the Opposition. He then laid the statement on the table of the House.”The agreement underlines international recognition of India’s responsible record. It has taken six years of negotiations and is the product of work spanning two Governments. The basic features are similar to those of civil nuclear cooperation agreement we have concluded with other partners and include reprocessing consent and administrative arrangements,” the minister said. “It has a termination clause that is not new and is in fact almost identical to the provision in the US Agreement,” Akbar said.The Agreement, he said, also focuses more heavily on modern safety in the light of Japan’s experiences 2011, which witnessed radioactive leak from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The minister noted that 10 agreements covering diverse fields of engagement were signed during Modi’s November 11-12 visit. During the talks with Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, including November 2008 Mumbai attack and 2016 Pathankot attack.He said the two countries also agreed on a Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Programme. “It is first of a kind arrangement in India, which is aimed at bridging a skill gap in high tech manufacturing in India. Under this programme, Japan-India Institute of Manufacturing (JIM) will be set up to train 30,000 Indian youth over 10 years in floor shop engineering skills,” Akbar said. He said the Japanese endowment courses will be instituted in select engineering and technology colleges of India.”This skill development programme could be an effective game-changer in augmenting manufacturing in India. It would also help to better integrate India in global supply chains. “One area which was of importance is joint projects in stem cell using iPS technology of Nobel Laureate Prof. Yamanaka, which holds promise for treating genetic disorders prevalent in Indian tribal belts,” Akbar added.

No rules on singing, playing of ‘Vande Mataram’: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has not framed any rules for circumstances in which the ‘National Song’ may be sung, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said this in response to a question by Vikas Mahatme seeking to know “whether there are rules in place to ensure that National Song is performed uniformly in one voice, one beat and rhythm, since our National Song enhances our feeling of patriotism and it is mandatory to have rules for National Song…” He had also asked whether these rules are to be taken seriously as in theatres, it has been often observed that National Song is sung in different tunes and different ways and music is composed in different styles, although there is no objection in showing soldiers or other things in background but people singing this song commit physical movement.The MP also asked whether the government is serious towards implementation of such rules. “Government has not framed any rules or issued instructions laying down circumstances in which the National Song may be sung or played,” Rijiju said. According to official web siteIndia.gov.in, the National Song is “Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji” has an equal status with National Anthem.

GST Council meet postponed to 2-3 December

New Delhi: With several states suggesting changes in the model GST and compensation laws, the GST Council meeting scheduled for November 25 has been postponed to 2-3 December.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

The officers’ committee of both the Centre and states, however, will meet on 25 November to finalise the three draft legislations — CGST, IGST and compensation law. These will be placed in public domain for stakeholders’ comments.

The Centre proposes to introduce these legislations as money bills to ensure they are not stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.

Sources said that since the legal changes in the draft laws would take some time, it was decided to postpone the 25 November meeting of the all-powerful GST Council.

“The states have suggested certain changes relating to returns procedures in model GST law. Also, they have asked for changes in wordings in compensation law. We will finalise the three draft laws at the 25 November meeting,” a source said.

The source, however, added that Centre is on track to introduce the legislations in the ongoing Winter session of Parliament, which ends on 16 December.

The officers committee would not discuss the issue of cross empowerment to avoid dual control as it would be decided at the ministerial level.

Centre had on November 16 circulated the draft legislation among the states. The officers committee in their meeting on 21-22 November discussed the issue, with states giving their views.

The Central GST (CGST) will be framed based on the model GST law. The IGST law would deal with inter-state movement of goods and services.

Also, the states will draft their own State GST (SGST) based on the draft model law with minor variations incorporating state-based exemption.

These laws deal with returns, registration and refund process as well as where GST will be levied.

The compensation law will list out how states will be compensated in the initial five years for revenue loss on account of GST rollout.

The Centre plans to create a Rs 50,000 crore fund for GST compensation by levying cess on demerit and luxury goods.

At its last meeting, the GST Council agreed on a four-slab structure – 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent — along with a cess on luxury and ‘sin’ goods such as tobacco.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 17:07 IST

Panjab University welcomes Parliamentary Committee’s decision on Manmohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Panjab University is looking forward to Manmohan Singh’s visit as his interaction with students will be a source of “inspiration” to them, its Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said on Wednesday, a day after a Parliamentary Committee paved the way for the former prime minister accepting a teaching assignment there.Singh cannot be disqualified as a Rajya Sabha member if he joins his alma mater, the Panjab University, which has offered him a prestigious teaching assignment, said the Joint Committee on Office of Profit. Grover has welcomed the development, the University’s Director Public Relations Vineet Punia said. “The University is looking forward to his visit at PU (Panjab University). His interaction with the students and the faculty would be a source of inspiration to all at PU,” added the Vice Chancellor.Panjab University had offered Chair Professorship to Singh as also some other personalities, Punia said.Soon after receiving the offer of Jawaharlal Nehru Chair Professorship from the University, Singh had approached the Rajya Sabha Chairman in July seeking advice as to whether accepting the position will attract disqualification under the provisions of Article 102(1)(a) of the Constitution for holding an ‘office of profit’.

Demonetization: Parliament washed out, Babul Supriyo says ‘no need for Daddy to be present’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parliament saw yet another day of washout on Tuesday with an aggressive opposition raking up a fresh demand for Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of each of those who died due to problems post demonetization besides pressing for presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the debate on the issue.Neither the Rajya Sabha nor the Lok Sabha could transact any business due to continuous uproar and pandemonium, leading to their premature adjournment. This was the fourth straight working day of Parliament to be wasted. In the Lok Sabha, the opposition, which was joined by AIADMK in targeting the government, continued to press for a debate under a rule which entails voting even as the ruling side vehemently resisted it.Amid noisy Opposition protests, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar maintained that the government was willing to debate every aspect of the issue. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Trinamool Congress’ Sudip Bandhopadhyay said they wanted a debate but demanded the Prime Minister’s presence.Due to the uproar, the House was adjourned for the day, just after noon. In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition parties unitedly stalled proceedings by maintaining that debate on demonetization cannot be resumed until the Prime Minister is present in the House.They also raked up a fresh demand that compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be paid to the kin of each of the “70 people” who died due to problems after notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 were scrapped. The rare show of unity in opposition camp saw Congress and TMC coordinating and arch rivals of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh SP and BSP jointly shouting slogans.The treasury benches countered them by shouting demands for resumption of the debate on the issue. The House was repeatedly adjourned before the final one at minutes past 3 PM.No sooner were the listed papers laid on the table at the start of the day’s proceedings, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the government should pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to kin of the 70 people who lost their lives due to hardships caused by withdrawal of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.Naresh Agarwal (SP) and Mayawati (BSP) said Modi should be called before starting discussion on the demonetization. “He should come and listen to the pain people have faced because of his decision,” Mayawati said. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) said the opposition is ready for discussion on the issue but Prime Minister should come to the House first.As he spoke, members of the BJP moved into the aisles raising slogans. At this point, TMC members carrying placards of “Financial Emergency” trooped into the Well, with Congress members following suit. As opposition members shouted slogans from the Well, Kurien said, “You cannot speak in the Well. Shouting in the Well is of no use. If you go back to your seats, I will give you time (to speak).”He told Azad that he was ready to accept his notice under Rule 267 seeking suspension of business if only there is order in the House. As BJP members also created a ruckus, an angry Kurien said, “Why should treasury benches do this? Mr Minister, why should treasury benches to this?” He was addressing Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.Terming the ruckus as “blatant indiscipline”, he said, “Both sides do not want discussion. Not only the opposition but treasury benches are also disrupting the proceedings. That is very unfortunate.” He then adjourned it till 11.30 AM.When the House reassembled, Agarwal (SP) alleged that Modi does not listen and such a “dictatorial attitude” has never been successful. This led to noisy protests by BJP members. The Deputy Chairman again said “I fail to understand why treasury benches were disrupting” the proceedings.To this, Naqvi said government only wants resumption of debate on demonetization, which started on November 16. Amid uproar, the Leader of Opposition said 70 people have died due to the “wrong decision” of the Prime Minister. “Opposition is for discussion and debate. (Our) demand for (presence) of the Prime Minister in the House is not anti- national,” said Aza, a senior Congress leader.Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said Modi should be present in the House since he had made the demonetization announcement. Kurien said he understood the demand that the Prime Minister should intervene or reply to the debate, but “your demand that he should be here is not possible”.Azad again said the entire opposition wanted the discussion on demonetization to resume, but the Prime Minister should come to the House and listen to the concern of the MPs. “He (Prime Minister) can speak outside, why cannot he speak in the House,” Azad asked.In an effort to bring order in the House, Kurien said during the discussion each member can demand for presence of the Prime Minister in the House. Mayawati also demanded compensation for those who reportedly died following demonetization.As uproar continued, Kurien said he can call the Finance Minister in the House as the matter relates to the Finance Ministry, but not the Prime Minister. As Congress, TMC and BSP members trooped into the Well, the Chair was forced to adjourn the House till noon.When the House resumed proceedings at noon, Chairman Hamid Ansari called for Question Hour but the protesting Opposition members kept demanding the presence of the Prime Minister in the House, as TMC members trooped into the Well. With continued ruckus, the House was adjourned for the third time for 30 minutes.When the House met again for Question Hour at around 12.30 PM, members from opposition including Congress, SP, BSP, JD(U), CPI and CPI(M) resumed shouting. Ansari asked Prem Chand Gupta (RJD) to ask his listed question on lack of medical services in rural areas. He spoke but nothing could be heard due to the din. Amid constant din in the House, Ansari adjourned the House till 2 PM. Same situation was witnessed again at 2 PM and the House was adjourned for the day. Babul Supriyo’s commentWith a united opposition clamoring for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babul Supriyo on Tuesday said there is no need for “daddy” to be present when “his children” are enough to handle the situation. “Why does daddy (PM Modi) need to make his presence when his children (BJP MPs) are enough to handle,” Supriyo told ANI outside Parliament.Both the Houses were adjourned till Wednesday as uproar continued..Mayawati asserted that 90% of the people of the country are suffering due to the government’s sudden move, she said that the present situation looked like financial emergency.Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emotional address to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers over demonetization in Delhi on Tuesday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi questioned the former asking him what objection did he have in coming to the Parliament and facing the opposition. “Why can’t the Prime Minister just come to the Parliament? He can speak on the television, at pop concerts but not in the Parliament?” he told the media here following an adjourned session.Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi asserted that the demonetization of high value currency is just a beginning of his government’s deep and continuous struggle against black money.Addressing the BJP parliamentary party meeting, the Prime Minister said that the decision is in the interest of poor and middle class, adding that his government is dedicated to eradicate the evils of black money and corruption which have affected people in the last 70 years.

Parliament logjam: Plan to move contempt notice against PM Modi, says Sitaram Yechury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “deliberate attempt” of abstaining from either of the Houses despite his presence in the Parliament Complex amounts to an “utter contempt” of Parliament, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday said they are examining a possibility of moving a contempt notice against him for refusing to be answerable to Parliament.Noting that when Parliament is in session, the Prime Minister everyday goes on speaking outside, but not inside Parliament, he said this amounts to contempt of Parliament.”If the Prime Minister refuses to be answerable to Parliament; if he can give public speeches everyday but does not come to Parliament to speak; he is in the Parliament Complex, but doesn’t come to either of the Houses. This is an utter contempt of Parliament and we are examining a possibility of moving a contempt notice against the Prime Minister for refusing to be answerable to Parliament,” said CPI general secretary holding a press conference.”Our point is, the discussion that began in the Rajya Sabha was a discussion on the announcement made by the Prime Minister on the withdrawal (demonetization) of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. So, when there is a discussion on the announcement made by the Prime Minister, he should be available to hear the discussion and respond, and that he is not doing,” he said.”If the House is not functioning, singularly the blame is on the Prime Minister and his arrogance of not wanting to face Parliament,” said Yechury, adding that if the Prime Minister refuses to be answerable to Parliament, then there is actually complete constitutional breakdown and that is what is happening.”In our constitutional scheme of things, people are supreme in terms of sovereignty and that sovereignty is exercised by making the government accountable to Parliament and the parliamentarians being accountable to the people and that is how ‘we the people’ is exercised. Secondly, it is a normal practice in the parliamentary democracy and a practice that we have followed in India all along. If the Prime Minister makes an announcement outside Parliament, before Parliament meets, it is incumbent on the Prime Minister that on the opening day of Parliament to come to both Houses and explain the decision, but it is not done,” said Yechury.”We are consulting all the opposition parties on it (moving a contempt notice). We want to do it unitedly and jointly with the opposition parties. But we consider that this merits absolute considerations,” he said.”And secondly, we are also examining that after the President of India summons Parliament, can the Prime Minister or executive make a policy announcement outside Parliament? According to us, they should not. But that is happening,” he added.Proceedings in both Houses were disrupted for the fourth day today on the demonetization issue, with both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha being adjourned for the day.Opposition and treasury bench members traded charges on demonetization. As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, leader of the opposition Mallikarjun Kharge demanded suspension of the question hour to take up discussion on demonetization, which was rejected by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.Opposition members, including Congress, TMC, NCP and SP trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans. Amid the din, the Speaker tried to conduct the Question Hour.Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar said the government is ready for holding discussion and pleaded with the Opposition members to go back to their seats.The Rajya Sabha witnessed noisy scenes with the Opposition demanding Prime Minister Modi’s presence in the House and payment of compensation to those who reportedly died of trauma, while queuing up before banks and ATMs following demonetization of high value currency notes.The House witnessed four adjournments in the pre-lunch session. Members of the Congress Party repeatedly trooped into the well, displaying placards. Chairman Mohd Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for the day as the pandemonium continued.

Have an opinion on demonetization? PM Modi wants to know

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid ongoing uproar over demonetization and demand by certain political parties to roll back the decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked citizens to rate the government’s decision of currency-ban on various parameters on his aap.Modi posted a link of his mobile application on the micro-blogging site Twitter, asking people to take the survey.”I want your first-hand view on the decision taken regarding currency notes. Take part in the survey on the NM App (tp://nm4.in/dnldapp),” Modi tweeted.Do you think that black money exists in India. Do you mind the in convenience faced in our fight to curb corruptipn, black money, terrorism and counterfeiting currency, are some of the questions asked by Modi in the survey. Modi also asked if they had any suggestions over the issue.The Prime Minister’s move to gauge the views of the people comes at a time when the opposition has escalated its attack on the issue of demonetisation.Opposition parties joined hands to stall pre-noon proceedings in Rajya Sabha demanding Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of each of the 70 persons who lost their lives post demonetization and the presence of Prime Minister during the debate on the issue.The rare unity in opposition parties brought Congress and TMC as well as SP and BSP together as their slogan-shouting members trooped into the Well of the House, even as treasury benches countered them demanding resumption of the debate on the issue.

Present yourself in parliament, stop addressing public meetings: Congress tells PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to stop addressing public meetings and be present in parliament to address the concerns of the opposition and the 130 crore Indian citizens.”The Prime Minister comes to Parliament, sits in his chamber, but doesn’t attend either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, which is a matter of concern not just for the opposition, but also for the 130 crore people of this country. After all, we want to know the reason why the prime minister does want to come to both houses, but feels free in giving speeches outside parliament,” Azad said. “We said the opposition is ready for a discussion, but a prime minister who is addressing public rallies on daily basis, should at least be present in the house,” he added.Azad further said, “The prime minister should have cancelled his public meeting after he got news of the Kanpur train tragedy. He should have thought that such a big accident had taken place and rescue operations to save passengers’ lives were still on. But, the Prime Minister commenced his meeting as he was more worried about abusing the opposition, rather than saving passengers.”Shifting his focus on the Centre’s demonetization policy, he said, “Around 60 lives have been lost since the government brought into force the demonetization policy. Children, women, elderly, farmers, and poor queue up for long time to get money. As all these lives were lost due to the wrong policy of the government, we demanded that the House should also pay tribute to them, along with the passengers who were killed in the rail mishap, but they refused.”When his response was sought on the government’s claim that its drive got mass support, Azad shot back: “If they are getting support of the people, then why he (PM) is shying away from making this statement in the House. Our complaint with the prime minister is that he visits abroad, addresses public meetings in Goa, Agra and other places; now Parliament is in session, but he is not attending. The prime minister has taken such a big decision of demonetization when parliament was not in session and that is why it becomes his prime responsibility that when parliament started functioning, he should have made statements in both houses on the very first day,? he added.Meanwhile, leaders of opposition parties met in Parliament at 9.30 a m today.

Opposition parties agree on joint protests

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Opposition on Monday dug its heels at a joint meeting on Monday, the month-long Winter Session of Parliament appears to be heading for a washout on the issue of demonetization. As the Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister who is leading Opposition protests on the issue of demonetization, is returning to the National Capital on Tuesday, the Opposition plans a series of measures which included a sit-in outside Parliament House on Wednesday and another march to the doorsteps of President Pranab Mukherjee. At the meeting, the Congress suggested a one-day nationwide bandh to put the government on the backfoot. Other parties said they will discuss it with their leaders before committing themselves. Keeping in view the sensitivities of the Left parties, which don’t want to be seen rubbing shoulders with their arch rival Mamata Banerjee, it was also decided that the march will not be led by anyone. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan continued the question hour in the Lok Sabha despite pandemonium, adjourning the House at noon and then for the day at 2 pm, even while the Rajya Sabha went through a series of adjournments until deputy chairman P J Kurien called it the day at 3 pm.

Demonetisation: Rajya Sabha adjourned twice after Oppn asks for resolution condoling deaths over move

New Delhi: A united Opposition on Monday forced two adjournments in Rajya Sabha in the pre-noon session, asserting that no discussion on demonetisation would take place till the House mourns 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 demonetisation debate.

Slogan-shouting opposition members rushed into the well of the House, forcing Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien to first adjourn the proceedings till 1130 hours and then again till noon.

“Why are they (opposition parties) running away from debate,” Jaitley asked. “This is clear now that the opposition is not ready for debate and is coming up with new excuses to disrupt the House.”

Stating that the notice for suspension of business under Rule 267 was accepted on first day of the winter session and a debate had started, he said the reported deaths could come up during the course of this debate and the reply to it.

No sooner did the House mourn the death of 130 persons in the derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on Sunday, than Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said that an obituary reference condoling the death of 70 people due to hardships caused by the demonetisation should be moved by the Chair.

He was supported by Mayawati (BSP) who said people have died standing in queues because of hunger, want of medicines and waiting for currency for marriage.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) said while condolences have been expressed for those killed in Sunday’s train accident, the same should be done for the 70 people who have lost their lives in last 15 days.

“They are also citizens of this country. We want such an obituary reference to come from the Chair,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Narenda Modi should also come to the House for the debate.

Kurien said if the members were ready, the discussion on demonetisation issue can resume immediately. “I would like to make it very clear that the Chair is ready for discussion if you are ready,” he said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Stating that 11 bank employees were among the 70 who lost their lives, Yechury asked the Chair to take the opinion of the House on moving a resolution condoling their death. He said the debate could be held after the obituary reference is made by the Chair.

Kurien however virtually ruled it out saying “condolences are not done on demand. That has to come spontaneously. You can approach the Chairman (on that).”

To this, Yechury said “take consensus of the House”. At this point, opposition Congress, BSP and TMC members rushed into the Well shouting slogans.

Narendra Modi sharam karo, sharam karo (shame on Narendra Modi)”, “Modi sadan mein jawab do (Modi please reply in the House)”, “poonjiwadio ki yeh sarkar nahi chalegi (this government of capitalists will not be tolerated)”, “Jan virodhi Narendra Modi sharma karo, sharam karo (shame on anti-people Narendra Modi),” they shouted.

TMC members carried placards with “Financial Emergency” written. Kurien then adjourned the proceedings till 1130 hours.

No sooner did Deputy Chairman Kurien occupy the Chair and called Dilip Tirkey (BJD) to start his Zero Hour mention, Congress members trooped into the Well.

Kurien suggested that members could continue the discussion on demonetisation of currency, but Congress members kept shouting slogans and other opposition members were seen standing on the aisles.

Amid din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi too pitched for continuation of the debate. “Many members want to speak (on the demonetisation),” he said.

Yechury (CPI-M) again asked the Chair for an obituary reference for those who died while standing in queues outside banks due to the demonetisation move.

Kurien said there is a procedure for such references and suggested that the members to approach Rajya Sabha Chairman.

“What is the authenticity of numbers (of dead) you are speaking,” he said, adding that obituary references cannot be taken up suo motu.

As Naqvi pressed for continuation of the debate on currency notes, the vociferous protests continued while BJP members kept shouting “We want discussion. We want discussion”. Kurien then adjourned the House till noon.

As soon as House met at noon for the Question Hour, Opposition members again rose from their seats and started shouted slogans over demonetisation of currency.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari asked the members to let the Question Hour continue, but the Opposition did not relent.

Members including those from the Congress, TMC and BSP were seen standing along their seats with many of them shouting slogans.

Following the din in the House, Ansari adjourned the proceedings for the third time on Monday for 30 minutes.

When Rajya Sabha reassembled at 1234 hours, Opposition members rose from their seats raising slogans over the demonetisation issue.

Ansari tried to pacify the members so that the Question Hour could be taken up but his efforts were futile.

Members including those from the Congress, TMC and BSP were seen standing along their seats and several were seen shouting anti-government slogans.

Amidst the din, Naqvi shouted “the sense of the country is against black money. Sense of the country is in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

As the uproar continued, the House was adjourned till 1400 hours.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 13:14 IST

Ministers had no business enjoying Coldplay concert when nation is suffering: TMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday said ministers had no business enjoying Saturday’s music concert by British rock band Coldplay in Mumbai, when the common man was suffering due to the demonetisation of higher currency notes.”Why do they call every person opposing their ideas corrupt? They should listen to the plea of the people and should try to resolve it. They should not consider the pain of the common people as a joke. The common people are suffering and they are enjoying rock concerts,” TMC national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien told ANI.O’ Brien also accused the Centre of destroying the economy of the nation by their move.He was speaking as opposition parties in both Houses of Parliament are expected to meet at 9.30 a.m. today to discuss their strategy to counter the treasury on demonetization.”Monday morning plan. #Parliament Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha leaders of about 10 Opposition parties meeting at 930 a.m. Hmmm,” Trinamool Congress (TMC) national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien tweeted.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the other hand, has issued a whip to its Rajya Sabha members, asking them to be present in the House for the next three days starting today.Both the Houses of Parliament have been witness to a stormy debate over demonetization during the winter session so far.

Demonetization row: Government, Opposition play wait and watch game

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the war of nerves over demonetization casts a shadow on business in Parliament, the Government and Opposition are hoping the other side will blink first to find a way out of the Parliament logjam.With the deadlock continuing in both Houses, Congress has convened a meeting of Opposition parties on Monday morning to discuss their strategy, in a bid to ensure Opposition unity in the face off with the ruling side. Congress sources ruled out any change in the stand of the party, which has been insisting on an adjournment motion.Meanwhile, government floor managers are poring over past precedence of adjournment motions, in a bid to justify the Speaker’s rejection of the Opposition demand. Over the past two decades, Lok Sabha has held discussions under adjournment motions 16 times–seven during Congress-led UPA I and five in the Vajpayee regime. However, the number of demands for adjournment motions rejected by governments, cutting across party lines, is much higher.Former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achary said traditionally Chairs have disallowed adjournment motions. “But, since in any vote, it is the majority that counts, it should not be a cause for worry. The motion involves adjournment of regular business of the House to discuss a serious matter. Generally governments don’t like it,” he said.However, he recalled how Somnath Chatterjee, who was the Speaker during UPA I, was not averse to accepting notices for adjournment motion. “He used to say it was the right of a member to move such a motion and duty of the Speaker to look at the issue based on its merit and consider it if the matter was serious enough.”While the Modi government is open to suspending all business of the House to discuss demonetization, it is reluctant to accept a motion that entails voting. With the Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ally, having opposed demonetization, a vote could expose the differences within NDA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said at an all-party meeting on the eve of the session that a united message should go from Parliament that all parties were together in the fight against black money.In Rajya Sabha, where the Opposition is demanding the presence of the Prime Minister, the ruling side is insisting on an apology from leader of Opposition in the House Ghulam Nabi Azad for his remarks comparing the deaths after demonetization to those in the Uri attack.”We are not saying the Prime Minister should sit all through the debate. But he can come for a while and intervene. He is speaking about it outside. Why can’t he speak inside the House?” said CPI leader and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja.The Opposition is also insisting on a JPC to probe, alleging a leak of the November 8 decision. Government sources said there was no question of the demand being accepted.The Prime Minister’s veiled attack on the Opposition—particularly West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and BSP supremo Mayawati— on Sunday at a rally in Agra has sharpened the battlelines. Without naming either of them, he spoke of “chit funds thriving on blessings of political class” and “those who took money for MLAs tickets”.Mayawati retaliated saying “the people, including those in Uttar Pradesh, will take the Modi-led government to task for implementing their demonetization drive without prior planning.”Differences within NDAWhile the Modi government is open to suspending all business of the House to discuss demonetization, it is reluctant to accept a motion that entails voting. With the Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ally, having opposed demonetization, a vote could expose the differences within NDA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said at an all-party meeting on the eve of the session that a united message should go from Parliament that all parties were together in the fight against black money.

Demonetization | PM Modi ‘absconding’ from Parliament, but has time to address Cold Play concert: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to appear in Parliament to face the opposition over the issue of demonetization, the Congress asserted that the former was “absconding” from the House, but seemed to have enough time on his hands to address the Global Citizen Festival via video conferencing, where the internationally acclaimed band Cold Play will perform.Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala stated that this government will not be run through video conferencing at rock concerts, but only by accountability to parliament and the people of this country.”Fifty five people have died. Crores stand in line for the past 11 days. Banks do not have cash, ATMs do not have notes. People have money in their accounts, but there is no money to be withdrawn from their accounts,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister was missing from parliament since the Winter Session began.”Parliament is on and the Rajya Sabha is demanding that the Prime Minister should come and answer on demonetization, but Modiji has time to address via video conferencing a Cold Play concert in Mumbai,” Surjewala added.Appealing to the Prime Minister to address the issues of the nation, he further said that people across the country are dying and are committing suicide over lack of money. “People are dying everywhere Modiji, in your own home state of Gujarat; farmers are dying and protesting in Surat. A trader committed suicide because he could not marry off his daughter in Rohtak, Haryana, and you address rock concerts instead of addressing your people,” the Congress leader said.The strong attack came in the wake of the Prime Minister taking a lighter note over the issue of demonetization in his address at the Global Citizen Festival, despite being on the receiving end of the opposition.”I always look forward to being among young people. It refreshes and re-energises me. You bring an energy and idealism that is unparalleled. You have been smart in asking me to only address a gathering and not sing, or else I am sure you would be asking money back that too in Rs.100 notes,” Prime Minister Modi said via video-conferencing.”I know that I stand between you and Cold Play and so will make this brief. Back in 2014, I had enjoyed attending the Global Citizen Festival in the beautiful Central Park of New York. This time around, my schedule didn’t permit me to come in person,” he added.

From PM Modi’s gamble to Congress’ blunder: Top 6 talking points from the war on black money

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No matter which way this pans out, the night of 8 November 2016 will be forever etched in our memories. As America geared up to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, PM Modi announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would no longer be legal tender. Modi’s historic announcement meant that 86% of total cash in circulation was suddenly rendered useless; by the next morning, the nation could well have resembled a scene from some zombie movie, mindlessly trundling from one ATM to another looking for cash. Ten days after the ground-breaking move, here are some important things we’ve learned:Hell hath no fury like the privileged scorned!If one discounts AAP and its online warriors, the shrillest voice of discontent seems to have come from the privileged class. Using the façade of the woes of their maid/cook/driver, the relatively well-off in a country of have-nots exploded with rage at the move that forced them to stand in a line. Their sudden concern for the poor post the announcement is also laughably hypocritical given we are literally surrounded by individuals who are living hand-to-mouth.The truth is that except for a tiny percentage, most people in India are used to standing in lines either at government offices or train stations. It’s only the 1% of the super well-off who never stand in a queue, and their scorn for it is quite understandable, even though their ‘trouble’ isn’t, given most of them have access to cashless transactions. The informal sector can no longer hideWhile the move will hit black money hoarders, it will also bring in the book scores of individuals who game it but don’t turn up on the taxman’s radar. Tuition teachers, doctors, lawyers, real estate agents and their ilk – we are surrounded by many who shy away from paying taxes. Now, with the one-off decision, all individuals who keep their cash under the table can no longer hide it away. In the long run, this will have huge benefits and will gladden the hearts of those who pay their taxes, working in the organised sector. Mamata finds a new springboardA move this big was always going to have a political ripple effect and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has seen in the demonetization move, a jumping board to catapult herself to the national stage. She managed to cobble together a rather motley crew of politicians, some of them with clashing ideologies, from the National Congress (NC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (of Hardik Patel fame) and NDA ally Shiv Sena to march to Rashtrapati Bhavan. She also held a rally with Kejriwal in New Delhi and has been vocal about the issue on her Twitter handle. Didi had used the Singur and Nandigram incidents as rallying points to propel TMC to usurp power in the state and decimate the Left in Bengal, it will be interesting to see if she can use any of the ill-feelings people have about the cash crunch to propel herself into national consciousness with an eye on 2019. Congress is grossly out of touch with reality While all opposition parties have been crying hoarse over the move, it has been particularly painful to watch the Congress’s attempt to criticise the move. The Congress started off by sending Rahul Gandhi to queue up at an ATM, a move that allowed BJP to claim that even the powerful had to ‘stand in line’. This was followed by Rahul Gandhi making contradictory statements in a single press conference where he first claimed that PM Modi had informed his BJP people about the move and then added that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley didn’t know about it. On social media, Congress users took to sharing fake pictures and even party spokesperson Sanjay Jha shared an image of a queue from the 2013 Kerala elections! In the Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari went on to compare Modi with dictators like Gaddafi, Hitler and Mussolini. And Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad went a step further with comments that had to be expunged later. Rather than looking like they care about the cash-strapped woes of common people, Congress runs the risk of coming across as pro-black money. And there were enough logical arguments to make against demonetization without going down this dangerous road.Logic is dead Perhaps the most tragic thing about the demonetization move is that it showed the complete absence of rationale in a post-truth society. It no longer seems to matter what is real, but what one believes that reality ought to be. The arguments made in Facebook statuses and tweets, for or against demonetization, would have made Descartes turn in his grave.PM Modi has always been a leader who evokes extreme emotion among the populace and the same problem seems to exist for anything he does. So, while one half of the population is treating the situation like he parted the Red Sea and cured every ill in modern-day India, another half is convinced that it’s an anti-poor move where the PM is pulling a reverse Robin Hood to take money from the masses and give it to his rich buddies. While one half is going around sharing asinine arguments invoking the Indian Army and Jio lines, another half is sharing tales of individuals who have not eaten since Modi made his announcement. Particularly irritating is the causal links some are drawing between 55 supposed deaths and the demonetization process. The reality is India has a death rate of 7. 5 (2011 Census), which translates into approximately 25,000 deaths per day. Just because someone died near an ATM or a bank or upon hearing the news of the announcement, it doesn’t mean demonetization is responsible for their deaths. PM Narendra Modi has cojones For the last two-and-a-half years the Modi government was being accused of rechristening old UPA schemes and not giving us the big bang reforms that it had promised. Simply put, if this works, or if there’s a perception that it has worked, then Modi will cement his legacy as one of India’s bravest Prime Ministers, a leader equal in stature with Indira Gandhi. The move isn’t without risks, and he could end up alienating the BJP’s trader base but the gamble could also see BJP create a whole new voter base that cuts across demographic, party and age lines – the poor.Some might vote for him because they think the economy will improve, others perhaps because of the sheer schadenfreude of seeing their rich overlords standing in line like them to withdraw a paltry amount. Modi’s promise that the rich won’t like his kadak chai seems to have touched a chord. Of course, the move comes with risks since the poor are the ones most inconvenienced but it’s still the boldest political gamble witnessed in the last two decades.

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