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Watch | Very happy our young leader is learning how to speak: PM Modi trolls Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after the Congress vice-president accused him of receiving crores in kickbacks as the Gujarat Chief Minister, Prime Minister Modi today taunted the former and said that he is “learning how to speak”.‘They have a youth leader; he is learning how to give speeches. Since the time he has learnt to speak, my happiness has no limits,’ he jocularly said at an event in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.”There would have been an earthquake had he not spoken… good that he has started speaking, we now know that there’s no chance of an earthquake,’ he added.Silencing his critics, the Prime Minister in an apparent reference to those questioning his government’s demonetisation drive said that he never imagined politicians would “stand with the corrupt”.”The commotion created in Parliament is like the ‘cover fire’ that Pakistan uses to ensure terrorists infiltrate into India. Similarly, the ruckus in Parliament lets cheats get away,’ he said while referring to Parliament’s just-concluded Winter Session.Prime Minister Modi also criticized the opposition for “protesting everything.””Our army makes us proud but some people have questions even on their bravery. Is it good to view institutions like this’” he said.The Prime Minister also cornered his predecessor for his disagreement over demonetisation, saying the latter by doing so is exposing his own misdeeds. ‘(Congress) PM Manmohan Singh said that ‘in a country where 50 percent of people are poor what can things like technology do’’ Now tell me, was he giving his own report card or mine’ Whose legacy is this 50 percent poverty’’ he asked.

1984 riots case: Sajjan Kumar gets anticipatory bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was granted anticipatory bail in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on Wednesday by a Delhi court which directed him to cooperate in the probe and not influence witnesses. Additional Session Judge Vikas Dhull, while granting relief to the former MP on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and a surety of the like amount, also ordered that he will not leave the country without the court’s permission.The court had reserved its order on Wednesday after hearing the arguments of counsel for both the parties in two cases filed against Kumar falling in the jurisdiction of Janakpuri and Vikaspuri police stations in West Delhi. The complaint in Janakpuri pertains to the killing of two Sikhs, Sohan Singh and his son-in-law Avtar Singh, on November 1, 1984 and in the other where a Sikh Gurcharan Singh was burnt on November 2, 1984 in the jurisdiction of Vikaspuri Police Station.As per the complaint, Gurcharan, who was half burnt, remained bed-ridden for 29 years. He died three years ago. Seeking anticipatory bail for Kumar, his counsel had argued that his name had appeared in this case after 32 years and the case was politically motivated.Opposing the plea, senior advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for the complainants, had argued that the allegations against Kumar were very serious and he was a very influential person. The prosecutor, appearing for SIT, had also said that Kumar was not cooperating in the investigation and his custodial interrogation was required. The court was told that Kumar was summoned twice by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) but he had appeared only once.

Purpose of note ban was to extract from the poor and help the rich: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a direct attack on the Prime Minister, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that Narendra Modi visits the US and China “using” the aircraft of his wealthy “friends” and has “made fun” of 99 per cent honest people through demonetization.”Maximum wealth lies with 50 families… Modi goes to America and China with their family members, using their aircraft,” Rahul said at a ‘Janakrosh Rally’ here. This was his first rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh after the Winter Session of Parliament was washed out over demonetization. Last week, Rahul had threatened to “expose personal corruption of Modi” while claiming that he was not being allowed to speak in Parliament as it would lead to an “earthquake”.Insisting that “All cash is not black and all black money is not in cash”, the Congress leader said, “94 per cent black money is stashed away in foreign banks, real estate and investment in land deals and gold. But why is PM running after only the rest 6 per cent?” He said only one per cent people have 60 per cent of the country’s wealth and that “Modi has made fun of 99 per cent honest people through demonetization”. Rahul alleged that Modi had waived Rs 1,200 crore loan of Vijay Mallya and Rs 1.10 lakh crore taken by 50 wealthy families, but did not care about writing off farmers’ loans.The Congress leader, who had undertaken a ‘Deoria to Delhi’ padayatra to highlight the plight of farmers, said he had met the Prime Minister to seek waiver of farmers’ loans but the latter was non-committal.The purpose of note ban was “Garib ka khincho, Amir ko sincho (extract from the poor and help the rich)”, he said. Interestingly, at the rally, when some workers shouted slogans against Modi, Rahul asked them to desist from making personal attacks. “Our fight against Narendra Modi is political, please don’t raise ‘murdabad’ slogans against him…such language is used by fascists and RSS, not Congress,” he told them.

Take note of LK Advani’s concern over Parliament washout: Shiv Sena to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Needling BJP over the washed out winter session of Parliament, ally Shiv Sena on Saturday asked the ruling partner to take cognisance of its party patriarch LK Advani’s “tears” and called for a special session to discuss the demonetization issue.Terming Advani as the ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ of Indian politics, the Sena said he has raised a question mark over parliamentary democracy in the country. “It should be noted that Advani is not a Congress leader. One must bear in mind that he has been at the forefront of the anti-Congress politics,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said. It recalled that in May 2014, while entering the Parliament building, PM Narendra Modi had knelt and placed his forehead on the green carpeted steps and also shed tears. “But due to the ‘tamasha’ of parliamentary proceedings in the last two years, the soul of the Parliament (building) has lost and it is shedding tears,” it said.”Parliament is meant to debate serious issues of concern to people. But the opposition raises questions and creates chaos, while the government runs away from these issues. This is the picture today,” the Sena said.”People are standing in queues for Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000. However, crores in ‘pink’ (new Rs 2000) notes are being recovered from the houses of the rich. “If the government is not going to say anything on this, if the PM is not going to respond, then a special session of Parliament should be convened and the RBI Governor should be summoned in Parliament,” the editorial said.”Nowadays, the Prime Minister sometimes gets emotional. It will be nice if cognisance is taken of the tears shed by Advani on the state of affairs of Lok Sabha and democracy,” it said.The Sena remarks come after Advani, for the second time during the Winter Session of Parliament, expressed anguish and concern over the way the session was a washout with daily adjournments.He reportedly even told a few MPs that he felt like resigning from Lok Sabha owing to his distress at the proceedings, adding that “Atalji (former PM Vajpayee) would have been very upset seeing this”.

NDA govt did what Congress should have done in 1971: Narendra Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just hours before the tumultuous Winter Session was adjourned sine die, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled instances from history to counter the Congress and the Communists.Modi spoke from the BJP parliamentary party meeting platform castigating the Opposition for “getting together to support the dishonest” and disrupting the House. Amidst the standoff on the debate on demonetization, the Winter Session was a near washout.He went back to 1971 twice — once in the context of the India-Pakistan war and the second on the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi turning down the advice to demonetize. Referring to the Wanchoo Committee report, which had recommended demonetization of certain currencies to curb black money, Modi said it was a necessity felt at that time. “By not doing so for so many years, you have caused damage to the country,” he said.Quoting from Madhav Godbole’s book “Unfinished Innings: Recollections and Reflections of a Civil Servant”, Modi said that when the then finance minister YB Chavan went to meet Indira Gandhi and proposed implementation of demonetization, she asked Chavan “are no more elections to be fought by the Congress party”. The suggestion was shelved.Modi then went on to ask “dal bada hai ki desh (is party bigger or country)?…For the Congress it was the party, but for us it is the country.” He said that if the measure had been taken in 1971, there would not have been “so much damage”.He also took on another Congress leader — former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who had launched a scathing attack on demonetization describing it as “organised plunder and legalised loot”. Modi cited Singh’s remarks in 1991 about taking strong measures against tax evaders, and said his language has changed now.In 1988, the Congress had made a law against benami assets but did not notify or frame rules for it, Modi said, adding his government will take steps to ensure its implementation.Recalling remarks made by Communists—Jyotirmai Basu and Harkishen Singh Surjeet—on demonetization to curb black money, the Prime Minister said the Communist parties have compromised with their ideology.Modi, who dubbed the face off in Parliament as that of the Opposition resisting the government’s battle against corruption, said this “fall in political values was cause for concern.”In an apparent reference to disruptions in Parliament when the BJP was in Opposition, he said the hurdles in the House were caused because of corruption cases that had surfaced against the government. “This is the first time that treasury benches are taking steps against corruption and opposition is getting together to support the dishonest… Some have had the courage to speak openly in favour of the corrupt.”The Prime Minister has spoken of demonetization in every weekly meeting with his party MPs during the Winter Session.Modi also made a reference to the Opposition’s approach to the surgical strikes across the LoC, saying on December 16, 1971, the Opposition had not sought any proof from the government about the action of the Armed Forces.He said despite several being against the BJP or NDA, there were several “with us” and thanked Bihar and Odisha chief ministers—Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik for their support in the fight against corruption.While the Congress and Left have not opposed demonetization, they have attacked the government on the inconvenience caused to people after the announcement was made.Modi recalled “Panchari Niti” to say that wealth acquired through dishonest means can survive only for ten years and gets destroyed in the 11th year, an apparent reference to the Congress which had ruled from 2004-2014.Describing the decision to ban notes of 500 and 1000 as a “step and not the final goal”, he said the government needed to take tough decisions in the interests of the common man. Modi also talked about his government’s push for digital India saying “digital is a process to change the way of life and economy. It will benefit everyone.”Speaking on the benefits of a cashless economy, he said loans would be sanctioned for traders within 6-10 minutes. “Under the Digi Dhan Yojna, merchants and traders can get loans within 6 minutes.”.The PM said 15,000 rewards will be handed out beginning this Christmas. “We want to incentivise the use of digital transactions,” he said.

Telangana is the number one state when it comes to cashless transactions: K Chandrasekhar Rao

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that Telangana is the number one state in cashless transactions, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday said demonetization will curb black money, terrorism, corruption and fake currency, adding it is good for nation building.”Telangana is the number one state when it comes to cashless transactions. Siddipet will be completely cashless. Demonetization will curb black money, terrorism, corruption and fake currency. Good for nation building,” Rao said while speaking on the first day of the Winter Session of Telangana Assembly.After the successful implementation of cashless payments system in a village in Siddipet district, Rao had earlier said the project would be implemented in the entire Siddipet Assembly constituency. He has directed the officials to open bank accounts for everyone in Siddipet and provide them with debit cards. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government announced the demonetization move earlier on November 8.

After demonetization fallout ‘least productive’ Parliament session ends

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The month-long Winter session of Parliament concluded on Friday, with the demonetization row ensuring a virtual washout and making it one of the “least productive” sessions in the last 15 years. Due to the repeated disruptions, Lok Sabha could function only for 15.75% and lost 92 hours while Rajya Sabha worked for 20.61% and lost about 86 hours.Negligible business was transacted during the 21 scheduled sittings of the session that began on November 16 and several important legislations like the one on GST were left pending. The only significant legislative action was the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill by both the Houses. Significantly, this bill was cleared on the last day on Friday after a brief debate and with rare bonhomie, similar to the one witnessed in the Rajya Sabha on it two days back.During the session, the Lok Sabha also passed the Income Tax Amendment Bill without any debate amid din but it could not be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha. The only other legislative action was the approval of the Supplementary Demands for Grants. “This has been one of the least productive Question Hour sessions for Rajya Sabha in the last three Parliaments.Previously, one of the 480 questions and none of the 420 questions were answered orally in the Winter sessions of 2010 and 2013, respectively,” said PRS Legislative Research. While adjourning the two Houses sine die, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari expressed pain and anguish over the repeated disruptions.Ansari said “all sections” of the House need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, disruption and agitation. “Regular and continuous disruptions characterised this Session. The symbolism of dignified protests, so essential for orderly conduct of Parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned,” he lamented. “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,” he said, adding that “peace prevailed only when obituaries were read”.In the Rajya Sabha, the debate on demonetization took place on the first day of the session but subsequently the opposition continuously created uproar demanding presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the entire discussion. The debate was again taken up once for an hour when Modi was present but it could not be carried forward. The Rajya Sabha saw introduction of 12 bills but only one was passed. In the Lok Sabha, the debate could be hardly taken up even though both the government and opposition repeatedly said they were ready for a discussion on demonetization announced on November 8.The deadlock occurred as the opposition insisted on debate under a rule that entails voting, which was not acceptable to the ruling side. “This is not a good thing for all of us and this maligns our image in the eyes of people,” said the Speaker, expressing hope that future sessions would be more fruitful and productive and witness constructive debates and discussions.”I am hopeful of getting support of all political parties and members,” she said. The Speaker regretted that 21 sittings of the House lasted only 19 hours which saw 50 of the total 440 starred being answered on the floor and members raising 124 issues of urgent public importance. 11% of the questions could be answered orally. This was the least productive Question Hour of the 16th Lok Sabha, PRS said.The Speaker said though a discussion on demonetization of currency notes was on the agenda under 193 that does not entail voting, but only partial debate could take place. As deadlock between government and opposition persisted, an attempt was made to initiate the debate under Rule 193 which does not entail voting.TRS leader AP Jeethender Reddy tried to speak twice but members of some opposition parties, particularly Trinamool Congress, scuttled the bid by creating pandemonium. According to a press release issued by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, 10 bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha.Since June 2014, the Lok Sabha has passed 83 bills and spent 216 hours discussing them. On the other hand, Rajya Sabha has passed 73 Bills with a total discussion time of 121 hours. Lok Sabha has discussed 63% of the bills for more than 2 hours while Rajya Sabha has discussed 34% of the bills, the PRS Legislative said. Veteran Parliamentarian and BJP stalwart LK Advani expressed deep anguish over the way Parliament was being run and even remarked on Thursday that he felt like resigning.

Patriarch laments House disruption again, says he feels like quitting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was a scene similar to the one last week. The Lok Sabha had adjourned following disruptions over the Government-Opposition standoff on the demonetization debate, and BJP veteran LK Advani expressed his anguish over the stalling of Parliament. But, on Thursday, Advani went to the extent of saying that he felt like resigning.After Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day at 12.25 pm on the penultimate day of the Winter session, Advani, from his seat in the front row, was seen talking to Textiles Minister Smriti Irani. Hearing him, she nudged Home Minister Rajnath Singh.A visibly upset Advani asked Singh to convey to Lok Sabha Speaker to immediately take steps to end the logjam and run the House. “Tell her that I want leaders to be called and the issue be discussed. Call one leader from the Congress,” Advani said.The Home Minister heard him, nodded and left. The other ministers also left. Advani sat alone for a few minutes.Seeing him alone, BJP MPs Ravindra Rai and Sunil Singh moved towards him. Trinamool Congress MP Idris Ali, who was among those who had shouted slogans in the House, also walked towards him.”I feel like resigning,” he was heard telling them. When Ali asked about the health of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Advani said he would have been very upset seeing the complete washout of the House.”The only thing I want is that Parliament should run. This damages the image of Parliament. A complete washout is something we should not allow,” Advani said.The Winter Session, which has been a near washout, comes to an end on Friday. He wanted the House to function normally for at least a day.He told MPs that there can be agreement and disagreement over demonetization, but parliamentarians should have patience to hear each other and debate the matter and not indulge in an ego battle.”Whosoever wins this battle, Parliament will be the loser,” he said. He left the House 15 minutes after the adjournment. Advani’s fresh outburst also sparked off a blame game between the BJP and the Congress. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that the veteran leader was “fighting for democratic values” within BJP.”Thank you Advaniji for fighting for democratic values within your party,” tweeted Gandhi, who had earlier accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “autocratic”.Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Advani is “clearly berating his own party” and not Congress, as being “twisted” by the BJP.Blaming the Opposition for disruptions in Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said that the Congress was adopting “spit and run” tactics to divert attention from the real issues.”Everybody is sad. The way Parliament is not being allowed to function, the countrymen is sad. We are also sad. But what to do if some people deliberately and continuously not allow Parliament to function. It is a known fact who is rushing to the Well of the House,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.When asked to comment on Advani’s remark, he said that “being a senior partyman, Advaniji is also feeling like that.”The veteran parliamentarian has often been seen in a pensive mood in Parliament during the session, unhappy over the frequent disruptions. Last week, he was visibly upset and said that neither the Parliamentary Affairs Minister nor the Speaker was running the House.

Government fumes over Rahul Gandhi’s claims, says Modi spotless

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An infuriated government retaliated to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s claims against Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying if he had “an iota of information” he should have placed it in the House 20 days back.Less than two hours after Gandhi, at a joint press conference with other Opposition parties, said he will make the revelations in Lok Sabha, union ministers launched scathing attacks on him and his party. As part of their strategy to counter the Opposition, the ministers also highlighted the sting operations aired by news television channels showing leaders from Congress, SP, BSP and NCP offering to change old demonetized notes for a commission.The government fielded HRD minister Prakash Javadekar at the BJP headquarters to counter him. A little later, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar told reporters that Congress, along with BSP and SP, were trying to sabotage the Prime Minister’s fight against black money. “We want to state that Congress, SP and BSP were engaging in a nefarious conspiracy to undermine and sabotage the fight against black money,” Kumar said.The standoff between the government and Opposition intensified at a time when there were just two days left of the Winter Session, which has been a near washout so far. Kumar pinned the blame on the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Left parties and NCP saying the other parties were not insisting on a debate under a rule that entailed voting.Government sources, however, said there was still hope that efforts would be made to pass bills like maternity benefits and HIV/AIDS during the last two days.”Three-fourth of Parliament wanted to function and debate demonetization…. Congress should own responsibility for wasting time of Parliament and gagging the voice of more than 400 MPs,” he said. There was not a single notice in Rahul Gandhi’s name in the Winter Session, the minister said.On the Congress leader’s allegations against Modi, both Kumar and Javadekar rejected them as baseless and said only a “spotless” person with “impeccable repute” could take such a bold step. “Rahul Gandhi has become desperate. If he had an iota of information he would have placed it 20 days earlier and he cannot take entire country and Parliament for a ride saying he only place it on the floor of the House,” Kumar said. He said several parties wanted to debate Agusta Westland on Wednesday.”In Agusta Westland whose name is coming? Who is this AP,” Javadekar said. Referring to the sting operation at AICC, he said it should be renamed All India Currency Conduit.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Congress guns for Rijiju over Rs 450-cr ‘scam’, Cyrus Mistry voted out as director of TCS; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress guns for Rijiju over Rs 450-crore ‘scam’, minister says ‘I am not connected with the audio tape’The Congress on Tuesday demanded Union minister Kiren Rijiju’s resignation on account of an “audio proof” and documentary evidence which claimed that he facilitated a Rs 450-crore scam embedded in a huge hydro-electric project in his home state of Arunachal Pradesh. Read more here.Cyrus Mistry voted out as director of TCS amid high dramaCyrus Mistry was supposed to feverishly oppose his ouster from the chairmanship of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at the extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders, didn’t show up at meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon. Read more here.Parliament Session: From other side of the aisle…counting hours lostThe Congress is facing the blame for disruptions that have led to less than 20% of business being conducted in both houses so far in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. Read more here.Pristine white Amul says ‘cheese’ to demonetization, shifts to online payment for big farmersDairy farmers in Gujarat are busy opening bank accounts and learning the basics of going cashless as Amul — owned by India’s largest milk cooperative chain, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) — just decided to take the bull by the horns. Read more here.Sunny Leone’s brother gets marriedSunny Leone’s brother, chef Sundeep Vohra, tied the knot with Karishma Naidu in Los Angeles for which Sunny and her husband, Daniel Weber flew down from Mumbai to LA. Read more here.

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.

Parliament logjam,: With 3 days left in Winter Session, Disability Bill still stuck in Rajya Sabha

The logjam in Parliament has wiped out almost the entire Winter Session, and repeated disruptions over the demonetisation debate mean we go into the final three days of the session with precious little having been achieved. Protests and sloganeering were witnessed throughout the month-long Winter Session. According to PRS Legislative, as Firstpost had earlier reported, the productivity of Rajya Sabha was 20 percent over the last 30 days, while that of Lok Sabha was 14 percent.

The fate of many significant legislative bills are still stuck, including the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Bill, 2016. The bill, though listed for business four times, did not come up for discussion even once, reported The DNA. Candle light marches and rallies pushing for the passage of the Disability Bill were reported from various parts of the country.

Earlier, Sports Minister Vijay Goel was quoted as saying that he will personally talk to Opposition for the quick passage of the bill. “We are very close to passing the bill in Parliament. I will myself talk to Parliamentary affairs minister and if need arises, with Opposition too, and request them to pass the bill first and then debate on demonetisation,” he told PTI.

Disabaled Rights Group (DRG) activists at Solidarity Rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Disabaled Rights Group (DRG) activists at Solidarity Rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

The Indian Express reported that while the 1995 Act recognised seven disabilities, the 2014 one covered 19 conditions. However, the amended bill covers 21 conditions. The government has proposed 119 amendments to the 2014 bill, the report added.

“In the Bill, disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept, and the types of disabilities have also been increased, from the existing seven to 21. The Centre will have the power to add more types of disabilities to it,” Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot told PTI.

According to PRS Legislative, “Persons with at least 40 percent of a disability are entitled to certain benefits, such as reservations in education and employment, preference in government schemes.” Enhancing the rights and entitlements of people with disabilities, the bill takes the “disabled-friendly access to all public buildings, hospitals, modes of transport, polling stations, etc” into account.

The amended Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, proposes imprisonment of at least six months to two years, along with a fine ranging between Rs 10,000 and Rs 5 lakh, for those discriminating against differently-abled persons, according to PTI. The bill proposes strengthening the office of chief commissioner and state commissioners for persons with disabilities which will act as regulatory bodies.

The bill proposes to increase reservation for those with benchmark disabilities in government jobs and higher education institutes from the current three percent to four percent. It also provides for penalties for offences committed against people with disabilities.

According to The Indian Express, the legislation has been pending in the Rajya Sabha since February 2014. The report added that the 1995 law had 3 percent reservation for the disabled, which was raised to 5 percent in 2014. But the proposed amendments reduces it to 4 percent. The report also added, “The proposed amendments do away with the provision in the 2014 bill for strong national and state commissions for persons with disabilities”.

Javed Abidi, disability activist, called the bill a game change and wrote in the Hindustan Times, “The disability sector has been waiting for this law patiently for the last several years. Just its making took over five years and seemed like a never ending saga.”

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 22:24 IST

Union minister Ramdas Athawale bats for transgenders’ reservation in government jobs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Ramdas Athawale has batted for reservation for transgenders in government jobs on the lines of quota fixed for disabled people.”They (transgenders) are also humans and they should be given reservation. The quota for transgenders should be fixed similar to what is fixed for the disabled,” he said.There is three per cent quota for the differently-abled people.The government had introduced Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, in Lok Sabha during the Monsoon Session. The bill seeks to define the term transgender and prohibits discrimination against the community.There were reports that in draft of this bill, the government had proposed bringing transgender under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, which was rejected by the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).The bill has now been referred to a parliamentary panel, which has invited public suggestions to involve the community in making of the law which seeks to protect their rights.The bill confers the right upon transgenders to be recognised as such and also grants them the right to “self- perceived” gender identity.According to the 2011 Census, India has six lakh people belonging to the transgender community.The community is among the most marginalised in the country because they don’t fit into the categories of the two recognised genders of men and women.They face issues ranging from social exclusion and discrimination to lack of education and medical facilities, and unemployment.

For God’s sake, do your job: President admonishes MPs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the logjam in Parliament continued into the third week of the Winter Session, President Pranab Mukherjee — a seven-time parliamentarian himself — came down heavily on members in both Houses and said “for God’s sake, do your job.”His admonition came even as both Houses adjourned for the day again on Thursday amidst the Government-Opposition face off on demonetization. The Supplementary Demands for Grants, discussed for less than an hour in Lok Sabha, was passed in the din by a voice vote. Mukherjee, who was delivering the Defence Estate Day Lecture on “Reforms for a stronger Democracy”, used the opportunity to take on parliamentarians over both Houses being stalled ever since the session began on November 16. He expressed concern that disruption had become a “practice”.“Disruption means you are gagging majority. Majority never participates in this disruption. Only minority comes to the well, shouts slogans, stops proceedings and creates a situation in which the Chair has no option For but to adjourn the House. This is totally unacceptable,” he said. There are just four sittings left of the session, which ends on December 16.“For God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business in Parliament. Disruption of Parliament is not acceptable at all,” the President said. Asking MPs to debate issues of public importance in Parliament, he said dharnas can be organised anywhere else.With demonetization completing a month, the Opposition had organised a “black day” and held a protest at the Gandhi statue. His remarks came a day after senior BJP leader LK Advani’s outburst before parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar saying neither he nor the Speaker were running the House and that the House was running on its own.On Thursday, Advani had a five minute meeting with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Sources said Advani conveyed to her that his anger was not directed at her but over the way Parliament was stalled. The Speaker, according to sources, told him that she understood his anguish. Advani had also spoken to Kumar on Wednesday night and told him that it was not his intention to undermine him and that he was concerned about the way things were in Parliament with a few members holding it to ransom, the sources said.The veteran leader was also seen talking to Kumar after the House adjourned for the day on Thursday and asked if the supplementary demands for grants had been passed. After Advani, who is understood to have told union minister Venkaiah Naidu that if MPs did not do work, they should not draw salaries. Now, another BJP veteran Shanta Kumar has expressed a similar sentiment in a letter to the Speaker. Shanta Kumar asked the Speaker to take stern disciplinary measures like suspending their salaries and allowances and even go to the extent of expelling members for the session. He said some members were “crossing all limits”.He said the kind of sloganeering in the well of the House was shameful and it diluted the dignity of democracy. “The entire country is concerned. Sometimes, the school children in the visitors gallery look at us and smile. What example are we setting,” he said.The leader from Himachal Pradesh told the Speaker that she had shown a lot of patience but it was time for her to take action against members who went into the well of the house and shouted slogans despite her instructions.

PM Modi not courageous enough to face Parliament: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not able to gather courage to face Parliament on the demonetization issue.”The Prime Minister is not able to gather that much of courage to face the Parliament and answer the question. Why is he running away from the battle ground? He uses to compare himself to the most powerful person,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.He further said it raises a question over his responsibility towards the people.On Wednesday, the Congress Party on took out a protest march over the demonetization move and alleged that the nation is suffering courtesy Prime Minister Modi’s declaration of an economic emergency.Holding placards, scores of Congress workers and supporters gathered here to vent their ire against the government’s move and raised slogans such as ‘Modi mitra kushal, janata behaal’ and ‘Abki baar janata ki mehnat ki kamai par vaar’.Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) chief Ajay Maken, who led the protest march towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, told the media that Prime Minister Modi is least bothered about the poor and lower income groups.The Winter Session of Parliament has not been able to transact any substantial business for the last five days due to opposition uproar over the demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes.

DNA impact: SBI write-off – Opposition questions government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The expose by DNA on Wednesday highlighting how the State Bank of India (SBI) wrote off loans of 63 wilful defaulters, close to the demonetization move, caused a flutter both inside and outside Parliament.Post the article, the Centre fielded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to respond to the Opposition’s attack. SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya also sought to downplay the issue saying that efforts were on to recover the loans from the defaulters. In the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley clarified, “the loans are only a write-off from the balance sheets and not a waiver.” DNA’s story also exposed that the loans given to industrialist Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, who heads the wilful defaulters’ list with outstanding dues of almost Rs 1,201 crore, and 62 others, was not shown in the SBI’s balance sheet. The story was picked up immediately by the Congress, CPM and other parties who used the revelations to question the government on the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament. Even before the session began, Congress splashed the story on social media, especially Twitter in a big way. Congress spokesperson Randeep S Surjewala posted three tweets one after the other, raising question marks on government’s move. “As ModiJi’s blue eyed boy-Mallya gets a Rs 1,200 cr write-off, fighting black money is Political hypocrisy at its worst.” “Rs 7,000 cr write offs of 60 wilful defaulters by SBI proves that #SuitBootSarkar shields big sharks as people languish.” When the story turned viral on social media, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury too raised the issue in Parliament seeking answers from the government.Sharad Yadav from the JD (U) also referred to the issue and sought answers from the government.

Demonetisation looms over Winter Session: Modi govt braces for rough start tomorrow

New Delhi: Government is bracing itself for a stormy Winter Session of Parliament beginning on Wednesday with the Opposition presenting a united face in seeking to corner it over the demonetisation issue calling it a “currency scam” that needs to be probed.

The Opposition also has a string of other issues like the surgical strikes across LoC, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, One Rank One Pension (OROP) and the plight of farmers to rake up during the session that will last a month. A demand for constitution of a JPC to go into the demonetisation is also on the opposition agenda.

Ahead of the session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met opposition leaders and sought their cooperation in the fight against black money and corruption for which, he said, the demonetisation exercise was undertaken.

Winter Session of Parliament starts Wednesday. PTI

Winter Session of Parliament starts Wednesday. PTI

In his concluding remarks at an all-party meeting on the eve of the Winter Session, Modi spoke in support of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls. He pitched for state-funding of elections and asked parties to debate the issue.

The government is willing to discuss all issues and answer the questions raised by the opposition, Modi said, hoping for a fruitful session as he recalled the passage of the GST Bill in the last session with the cooperation of all parties.

“We have launched a crusade against corruption, black money and fake currency, which is also behind cross-border terrorism. All parties should come together on this issue of national interest,” he said.

However, an unrelenting opposition decided to step up its fight against the government during the session. Presenting a united face, arch rivals TMC and Left parties and SP and BSP, got together at a meeting convened by the main opposition Congress to formulate a joint strategy.

There were some reservations in the opposition over TMC’s proposal for a march to Rashtrapati Bhawan tomorrow to petition the President against demonetisation.

The majority of the parties did not want to exhaust the option of going to the President on the very first day of the session and instead wanted to keep it for a later stage.

An unfazed TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, asserted that she would go ahead with around 40 of her MPs to the President.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged the decision to invalidate Rs 1000/500 currency notes was leaked in advance to some people, including BJP leaders, and called it probably the “biggest scam”.

He, however, added that his party is not for a rollback of the drive.

Perhaps for the first time since the Modi government came to power, a large section of the opposition led by the Congress has came together ahead of a session as its seeks to pin down the government on the demonetisation issue.

Congress, the Left parties and some others alleged that the demonetisation of Rs 500/1000 currency notes was a “big scam” and accused the Prime Minister of “leaking” information to BJP members in advance.

At a meeting of around 13 opposition parties including arch rivals TMC and CPM, besides BSP, SP, NCP, JD(U) and DMK, their leaders unanimously concluded that they will go all out to take on the government on the issue.

They, however, felt it was too early to approach the President and the matter may first be raised adequately in parliamentary forums.

The leaders will meet again tomorrow to finalize their strategy on the issue while agreeing at the meeting to use “all parliamentary tools including a demand for constituting a joint parliamentary committee to go into the issue and hold the government to account”.

Various parties have separately given adjournment notices in Lok Sabha and for suspension of proceedings in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue and highlight the plight of the common man.

“There was an overwhelming consensus that there is no need to rush to Rashtrapati Bhawan on the very first day before bringing this issue before Parliament,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said government will have to allow the common people to use old currency notes for all white transactions till the time alternative arrangements are made. He also dubbed the move as “Tughlaq raj” (dictatorship), while taking a dig at the Modi government.

His colleague Mohammed Salim alleged that there have been huge transactions in cash by leaders of BJP since April and termed it as a “currency scam” that needs to be probed.

Asked about the opposition’s strategy for taking on the government on demonetisation, Salim said, “We will seek all alternative tools in a democracy, including a demand for constituting a joint parliamentary committee to go into the issue and hold the government to account”.

“We will unearth this currency scam and taken on the government. Prime Minister’s step of trying to help them is actually insulting the common man, including his mother who had to stand in the queue (to withdraw money),” Salim said.

He said government should do something so that the people get some relief and are not harassed.

Earlier in the day, top Congress leaders discussed the strategy for the session, where it is likely to forcefully take on the government on the manner demonetisation was implemented and other issues.

At the all-party meeting, Modi, while speaking about simultaneous polls said, “A crucial problem is how to make political funding transparent. How to implement state funding of elections. Let all political parties debate it and come to a conclusion. Let’s remove the question mark which exists against those in public life.

“Polls happen separately. Let there be one election, simultaneous elections,” he said, seeking a consensus on the issue.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 20:51 IST

Ahead of Winter Session, LS Speaker calls all-party meeting today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Winter Session of Parliament beginning Wednesday, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has called an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss ways to ensure smooth functioning of the House.The Government has also convened an all-party meeting on Tuesday to seek cooperation from leaders of the both the Houses for smooth functioning of Parliament.The month-long winter session of Parliament will continue till December 16.Meanwhile, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said Congress MPs would raise the demonetisation issue under rules 56 and 193 during the Winter Session.Deputy leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma has already given a notice for the suspension of business under rule 267 of the Rajya Sabha for a discussion on the same issue.Meanwhile, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has given a notice under rule 267 for discussion on the issue of Kashmir unrest.

SYL canal issue | Parkash Singh Badal seeks time from President Mukherjee, to meet with Council

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sought time from President Pranab Mukherjee as the state government decided in the cabinet meeting on Thursday night that entire Council of Ministers would meet the President to request him not to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court about water distribution and construction of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal.In the letter written to President Mukherjee, Badal said that the Punjab Government respects the court and the Constitution. In the letter, it is noted that Punjab has constitutional and legitimate right on its waters. The Chief Minister said water is lifeline of everybody and Punjab’s agricultural land will go barren without water and industry will also be affected.Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) sources said the government wants to meet the President before the Special Session of Punjab assembly convened on 16 of this month to discuss the situation in the wake of the verdict.
ALSO READ SYL Verdict | Water is our lifeline, we will not let it go: Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal Congress will not participate in the session as all its 42 MLAs have submitted their resignation to the Speaker on Friday.The Supreme Court’s verdict on the SYL canal on Thursday came as a huge setback to the Punjab Government, as it set aside Punjab government’s order repealing water sharing agreement with Haryana. The apex court ruled that the legislations passed by the Punjab Government on the SYL canal dispute stood null and void as a bilateral agreement couldn’t be tampered with by one party alone.

No jail term but 3-year ban for celebs endorsing misleading ads: GoM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Diluting proposed penalties on endorsement of misleading ads, a GoM headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has dropped a panel’s recommendation for jail term to celebrities found guilty and decided to ban such offenders for up to three years.Now, the Consumer Affairs Ministry will move a cabinet note seeking approval for moving these additional amendments to the new Consumer Protection Bill 2015, which has already been introduced in Lok Sabha to repeal the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act.Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan is hoping to see the passage of this bill in the Winter Session of Parliament beginning from November 16. “In a recent meeting, the Group of Ministers discussed about the Parliamentary panel’s recommendation to impose jail term for celebs endorsing misleading ads. Since no country has such a stringent penalty, the GoM decided that instead of imposing jail term, they should be banned from endorsements,” a senior government official said.The GoM recommended that the first time offenders should be fined Rs 10 lakh and banned for one year, while the second and subsequent offenders should be fined Rs 50 lakh and banned for up to three years, the official said.A Parliamentary panel had recommended a fine of Rs 10 lakh and a jail term of up to two years for first time offence, while a fine of Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of five years for second and subsequent offence.”Incorporating the GoM suggestions, the ministry will soon move a cabinet note on the new bill,” he said.The GoM has also approved other recommendations of the panel to impose hefty penalty for adulteration besides license suspension/cancellation as well as inclusion of deficiency in services in product liability.It has agreed to provide an enabling provision to make rules to regulate e-commerce and direct selling, and remove overlap of powers of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) and the Consumer Fora. It has also removed a provision for penalty on consumers for frivolous complaints.

All eyes on crucial Congress Working Committee meet today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday will take a call on extending the deadline for the completion of the party’s organisational elections which were to be completed by December 31st.The meeting is expected to take stock of the current political situation and discuss its plans for assembly elections to other states including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur in next year. The meeting is significant as the Winter Session of Parliament is starting from 16th of this month and the Congress will finalise its strategy for the session.There have been repeated suggestions that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi should take over reins of the party from his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the CWC is likely to take a call on that issue today as well.

Maharashtra to buy tablets for paperless functioning of Legislature

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government has given rpt given a go-ahead for procurement of tablets for paperless functioning of the state Legislature.With this move, the upcoming session of the Legislature to be held in Nagpur from December 5, will go paperless.The committee set up for procurement of tablets has given a go-ahead for it along with financial sanction, MLC Manikrao Thakre, one of the committee members, told PTI.States like Goa and Haryana are already using tablets during sessions of their respective Legislative Assembly, he added.”The tables are going to be used in the upcoming Winter Session. The Maharashtra government spends around Rs 50 crore annually for publication of various committee reports, official surveys, reference reports and daily reports for the members of Assembly and Council. Compared to it, at present the tablet cost is not over Rs five crore. Once the tablets are procured, the cost of (publishing) documents will be saved forever,” Thakre said.There are 288 members in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly while there are 78 members in the state Legislative Council.”The high speed Internet service will reduce the waste of time in searching the information and presenting it before the House”, Thakre, a senior Congress leader said, adding the government needs to ensure higher Internet speed through Wi-Fi service.”All the modalities including whether to fix the tables inside the both houses will be finalised at the Committee meeting after Diwali,” Thakre added.A committee of administrative officers had already studied the functioning of Haryana and Goa Assemblies and hence the state government gave its nod to the proposal, said the MLC.The Budget and the Monsoon session of the Maharashtra Legislature are held in Mumbai while the Winter session is held in Nagpur.

Woman sacked for seeking maternity leave, Maneka Gandhi helps her get job back

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi helped a woman employee of a real estate company get her job back after she was sacked allegedly for seeking maternity leave.After receiving the complaint, she roped in National Commission for Women (NCW), which issued a notice to the real estate company telling it to reinstate the woman to her post and ensure facilities as per Maternity Benefits Act.Sharing the details on Twitter, Gandhi said, “Ms Shipra (name changed), who was employed at Supertech Ltd Noida, reached out to me for help after she was terminated due to maternity.””The matter was forwarded to @NCWIndia for immediate action. The hearing of the case was held on 12th Sep at NCW,” she tweeted.”Following which, the HR Head of Supertech Ltd was served an Order Copy to reinstate Ms Shipra to her job. She was also ensured all the benefits as applicable under the Maternity Benefits Act,” the Union Minister said is a series of tweets.The real estate company could not be contacted for their response.According to Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, a woman is entitled to maternity leave of 12 weeks. The government has, however, increased the duration of maternity leave to 26 weeks in the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016.The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session and is likely to be tabled before the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session.

Winter Session of Parliament to commence from November 16; 15 new bills to be introduced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The month-long Winter Session of Parliament is set to begin from November 16 during which the issue of surgical strikes in PoK is likely to dominate the proceedings. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affair (CCPA) met here this evening and recommended that the session would commence from November 16 and end on December 16.The Winter Session dates have been advanced as in the past it was normally convened in the third or fourth week of November. An early session may help the Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) legislations, which will pave way for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), to be approved within November or latest by early December.The government is also considering advancing the Budget Session by a month or so starting from January next year. Sources in the government said besides legislations relating to GST, nearly 15 new bills are likely to be introduced.The government would also push for the passage of the ordinance which seeks to amend the Enemy Property Act. In December, the Centre had for the fourth time promulgated the ordinance to amend nearly 50-year-old Enemy Property law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after wars.The issue of the Army’s surgical strikes across LoC and allegations by some parties that the government was trying to politicise the issue are set to grab the limelight during the session.

‘Deendayal Upadhyaya said don’t rebuke or reward Muslims, empower them’: PM Modi at BJP National Meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking at Session 2 of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s centenary celebrations in Kozhikode, Kerala, the PM asserted that the BJP had never comprised its values. He said: “A PM of this country was once asked for how long will you remain PM? He answered that the one who goes to Everest does not go there to reside but to make history. However, we are not part of such a journey. If we wld have entered politics for gains, we would have compromised on values at some level. A country such as ours – full of young people, should have youthful dreams and youthful pace.”He added; “BJP’s original character is based on principles of welfare of people. We have never compromised on our ideals. Other parties might have good people but we have more good people than them. All our senior leaders made us what we are today.”He added: “Deendayal Upadhyaya ji said, Muslims shouldn’t be treated as substance for votes or looked down upon, they should be considered equal. Deendayal Upadhyaya kehte thea gar sabhi ko barabari me lana hai to upar ke logo ke jhukar ke apne haath vanchit logo tak badane chahiye. Deendayal Upadhyaya has said, 50 years back, “Don’t reward Muslims, don’t rebuke Muslims, empower them. Our Govt is committed to the welfare of the last person in the society.” He said: “Today people discuss about global warming, but Deendayal Upadhyaya ji back then used to say that we should respect our resources. On Mahatma Gandhi birth anniversary (Oct 2), we will ratify the decisions that were made during COP21. Our party was formed for poor section of society & all our initiatives today are focussing on down trodden people only. There is a need for a discussion to bring in change in the procedure for elections in our country.” With inputs from ANI

‘Get out of PoK and stop killing minorities’: India’s blunt message to Pakistan at UNHRC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a blunt message, India asked Pakistan to stop supporting terrorism and vacate illegal occupation of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as it highlighted human rights violations in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh and persecution of minorities including Hindus. “We, once again, ask Pakistan to stop inciting and supporting violence and terrorism in any part of India and refrain from meddling in our internal affairs in any manner.We call upon the Council to urge Pakistan to fulfill its obligation to vacate illegal occupation of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,” India said in its right to reply at the 33rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) here.It said Pakistan continues to test the patience as well as wisdom of the Council with its unceasing false-narrative backed by fabricated facts and figures about Jammu & Kashmir.”Pakistan has had territorial ambitions over Kashmir since 1947 that has found concrete expression in the aggression it embarked on in 1947, 1965 and 1999. As on date, Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of 78,000 sq kms (approx) of Indian Territory in Jammu & Kashmir,” it said.The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by Pakistan, it added. Raising human rights violations in Pakistan, India said, “the people of Balochistan, amongst other provinces, have been waging for decades a bitter and brave struggle against their daily abuse and torture. “Religious and sectarian minorities such as Hindus, Christians, Shias, Ahmaddiyas, Ismailis and others continue to face discrimination, persecution and targeted attacks in Pakistan. Places of worship belonging to minorities have been destroyed and vandalized. Blasphemy laws remain in force and are disproportionately used against religious minorities.” Noting that various international organizations have documented how enforced disappearances continue with impunity, particularly in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh where members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement are routinely abducted and killed, India said selective but extremely opaque and high-handed use of force by Pakistani authorities has affected civilian populations on a large scale.Underlining that more than one million people remain displaced as a result of the current and past armed conflicts in the northwest of Pakistan, India said, “Pakistan will be well-advised to focus its energies on setting its own house in order and acting against the perpetrators of terrorist attacks on its neighbours instead of ritually raking up alleged human rights violations elsewhere.”Earlier, making a statement at the session here, India called upon the Council to urge Pakistan to put an end to cross-border infiltration; dismantle the terrorism infrastructure; and stop acting as an epicentre of terrorism.India said it firmly believes that a policy of “zero tolerance” against terrorism is as much an international obligation as it is a commitment to its own people. The Indian statement comes a day after heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based JeM had stormed an army base in Uri in Kashmir yesterday, killing 18 jawans, in one of the deadliest attacks on its military.”It is time that moral and material support provided by Pakistan to the perpetrators of this continuing heinous violence on the Indian soil should attract this Council s attention,” India said.Raising once again the “blatant abuse and violation of human rights in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and in other parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan”, India said it was adversely impacting the stability of the entire region. “Pakistan’s continued mistreatment of large parts of its own population has created a cauldron of tumult that has begun to jeopardise the safety and security of its neighbouring countries,” the statement said. Asserting that the acts of terrorism are the most egregious violations of human rights as they rob their victims of the most fundamental of human rights – the right to life, India said this should be clear to any impartial observer of the issue.”India has been a long-suffering victim of terrorism emanating from our neighbourhood. The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by Pakistan which is so ruthless that it does not shy away from using civilians and even children by putting them in harm s way, at the forefront of violent mobs instigated and supported by their handlers from across the border,” it added.The fact that known terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin have been able to hold huge rallies in Pakistan’s main cities is a reflection of the state of affairs and can mean only one thing: active support for such personalities and the designated organisations they lead in blatant disregard of rule of law is the new normal in Pakistan, it said. Rather than internationalising issues with India, Pakistan should cleanse itself of its terrorists.The time has come, when the international community needs to address the plethora of human rights concerns in Pakistan because its impact has moved beyond the county s domestic problem and has begun to affect the region and the world at large, the statement said.”We urge this Council to take a holistic view of this threat and not permit the use of terrorism as state policy to be masqueraded as advocacy of human rights,” it added.

At UN, India slams Pakistan over Uri attack, rakes up human-rights violation in PoK, Balochistan

Geneva: India on Monday said it firmly believes that a policy of “zero tolerance” against terrorism is as much an international obligation as it is a commitment to its own people, a day after terrorists killed 18 soldiers in Kashmir in one of the deadliest attacks on its military.

Making a statement during the 33rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), India also called upon the Council to urge Pakistan to put an end to cross-border infiltration; dismantle the terrorism infrastructure; and stop acting as an epicentre of terrorism.

Army soldiers rush to the attack site in Uri. PTI

Army soldiers rush to the attack site in Uri. PTI

“It is time that moral and material support provided by Pakistan to the perpetrators of this continuing heinous violence on the Indian soil should attract this Council’s attention,” it added.

Raising once again the “blatant abuse and violation of human rights in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and in other parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan, India said it was adversely impacting the stability of the entire region.

“Pakistan’s continued mistreatment of large parts of its own population has created a cauldron of tumult that has begun to jeopardise the safety and security of its neighbouring countries”.

“India firmly believes that a policy of zero tolerance to terrorism is as much an international obligation as it is a commitment to our own people,” the statement said.

Asserting that the acts of terrorism are the most egregious violations of human rights as they rob their victims of the most fundamental of human rights – the right to life, India said this should be clear to any impartial observer of the issue.

“India has been a long-suffering victim of terrorism emanating from our neighbourhood. The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by Pakistan which is so ruthless that it does not shy away from using civilians and even children by putting them in harm’s way, at the forefront of violent mobs instigated and supported by their handlers from across the border,” it added.

The fact that known terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin have been able to hold huge rallies in Pakistan’s main cities is a reflection of the state of affairs and can mean only one thing: active support for such personalities and the designated organisations they lead in blatant disregard of rule of law is the new normal in Pakistan, it said.

Rather than internationalising issues with India, Pakistan should cleanse itself of its terrorists.

The time has come, when the international community needs to address the plethora of human rights concerns in Pakistan because its impact has moved beyond the county’s domestic problem and has begun to affect the region and the world at large, the statement said.

“We urge this Council to take a holistic view of this threat and not permit the use of terrorism as state policy to be masqueraded as advocacy of human rights,” it added.

India’s statement comes a day after heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based JeM had stormed an army base in Uri in Kashmir on Sunday, killing 18 jawans.

India’s growth rate has increased from 5.4% to 7.6%, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said India has acquired the status of a country to become the beacon of 21st century courtesy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort and hard-work in the last two years in office.Addressing the media on the sidelines of the BJP’s two-day national executive meeting in Allahabad, Prasad said the Indian economy was at an all-time high during the rule of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, adding the country is at the moment able to showcase itself at the global platform following the achievements in the last two years. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prasad mentioned that the growth numbers have risen from 5.4% to 7.6% in the last quarter. He also mentioned that the economic growth rate has been constantly improving in this quarter with an average of up to 7.9%.”We have been successful in making the fiscal deficit go down from 4.4% to 3.9%, whereas CAD had witnessed downfall from 3.8% to 2.8%,” he added.Highlighting the expectations, Prasad said that with good monsoon awaited, the growth numbers will trigger a positive bias in the market.The Union Minister’s assertion comes as the Centre is set to give a major push to the ambitious Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. With the GST having the potential to add one% to the GDP, the ruling dispensation is keen to get this passed in the Monsoon Session.

Parliament roundup: Lok Sabha adjourned sine dine; RS passes Finance Bill

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha session was on Wednesday brought to a sudden end, two days before the scheduled culmination of the session during which the budgetary exercise was the highlight.

Congress members during the ongoing session in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

Congress members during the ongoing session in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

Ten bills, including the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and the Anti-Hijacking Bill, were passed during the three-week session which saw no adjournment due to disruptions.

The Eighth Session of the 16th Lok Sabha, which commenced on 25 April, had 13 sittings spread over 92 hours and 21 minutes.

“I am happy to inform you that in the recent past this is the first session in which House was not adjourned even for a single minute due to interruptions and I thank the entire House for cooperation extended to the Chair,” Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said in her valedictory address.

The session, which was initially the second part of the Budget session, was a new one as the House was prorogued after the first phase that ended on 10 March.

This session was to conclude on 13 May but was brought to the sudden end on Wednesday.

The session also saw discussion on the alleged irregularities in Agusta Westland Helicopter deal during which the government and Congress traded charges.

In response to the Calling Attention, the concerned Minister made statement and also replied to the clarifications sought by the members.

Another highlight was the passage of the Budget in respect of Uttarakhand for 2016-17. The Hill state was brought under President’s rule on March 27 which was revoked on Wednesday.

The drought situation in several parts of the country was also discussed.

Some of the important Bills passed are the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016; the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015; the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as Reported by Joint Committee; and the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016.

Motion for reference of one Bill namely, the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the Joint Committee of the Houses was also adopted.

The House also held one short duration discussion under rule 193 regarding drought and drinking water crisis in many states and need to consider inter-linking of rivers and water resource management.

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday discussed and returned two important bills to the Lok Sabha.

The upper house debated for over four hours the Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2016, and the Finance Bill, 2016, which have already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The bills were returned after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gave a detailed reply on the members’ concern on issues related to the bills.

These bills could not be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha on Monday due to chaos over Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s remarks on Sonia Gandhi pertaining to the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

On Tuesday, the upper house was in chaos over the Uttarakhand issue and the discussion was then postponed to Wednesday.

Anti-corruption bill delayed as parliamentary committee gets further extension in RS

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill was on Friday granted extension to present its report by the last day of the first week of next session. BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav moved a motion in the Rajya Sabha for extension which was accepted by the House.

The Committee is scrutinising the bill that seeks inclusion of a provision for prior sanction to be obtained by the CBI or police before initiating action against corrupt officials, serving and retired.

The extension to the committee, headed by BJP’s Anil Madhav Dave, implies that the bill will not be considered in this session.

Screenshot of Rajya Sabha. Image courtesy RSTV

Screenshot of Rajya Sabha. Image courtesy RSTV

The Committee was supposed to present its report to the Rajya Sabha by the last day of the first week of the Budget Session. However, it was later given extention till 29 April.

Accepting the Opposition’s demand, the government had earlier referred the bill to the Select Committee.

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 19 Aug 2013. Rajya Sabha referred the Bill to its Select Committee on 11 December, last year. This is the second extension for the committee.

The proposed legislation has a provision that “no police officer shall conduct investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant” under the PC Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in the discharge of his official function or duties without the previous approval of Lokpal (for central government staff) and Lokayuktas (for those working under state governments).

The Centre is yet to set up the institution of Lokpal and Lokayuktas — as mandated under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

King of troubled times? Mallya to lose MP tag, as RS panel recommends termination

Vijay Mallya, the embattled liquor-baron, is facing more troubles with Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee, on Monday, recommending termination of his Parliament membership. Mallya has been given a week to respond to the panel’s recommendation. Mallya’s MP status was supposed to expire in June, 2016. Mallya, facing charges of Rs 9,000 crore loan default to a clutch of 17-banks and financial irregularities, moved to UK on 2 March.

File photo of Vijay Mallya. AFPFile photo of Vijay Mallya. AFP

File photo of Vijay Mallya. AFP

Last week, the government had revoked Mallya’s passport on the request of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after the agency found evidence of fund diversion by Mallya with respect to the Rs 900 crore IDBI Bank loan default case.

The industrialist is also facing non-bailable arrest warrants (NBW) against him on charges related to cheque bouncing. Banks are chasing Mallya since he had furnished personal guarantees to banks against the loan facilities extended to his now-defunct airline, Kingfisher, grounded in 2012. The loan became a Non-Performing Asset (NPA) in 2012.

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court last week, Mallya had said that banks have no right to seek his foreign asset details. The liquor-baron also blamed the ‘haste’ of Indian government in revoking his passport, thus creating impediments in the ‘whole process and endeavor. Earlier, Mallya had offered to pay Rs 4,000 crore to banks but banks rejected the offer. In their reply to SC on Monday, banks said Mallya has failed to comply with the SC directions. Mallya will move his plea in SC tomorrow.

Mallya’s record in Parliament

Mallya has been an MP twice–first in 2002 and in 2010. Going by the data (on his second term that started in mid-2010 and ending mid-2016) on the website of PRS Legislative shows that Mallya has an attendance of 30 percent. The number of debates he participated is nil.

Mallya has asked 216 questions against the national average of 312 and state average of 234. Of the questions Mallya asked, 29 were starred and 187 unstarred. A starred question is one which gets an oral answer in the House and the member can have supplementary questions. Only 20 such questions are allowed in a day. Unstarred questions get a written reply that is tabled in the House. Only 235 such questions can be asked in a day.

Number of private member bills moved by Mallya is again nil. But the national and state averages are also a minimal 1.2 and 1.1. This is not surprising given such bills are rarely passed and made into laws. A further break-up of the data shows that Mallya’s lowest attendance was in Winter Session of 2013 – just 10 percent. The highest was in Monsoon Session of 2010 – 77 percent. It has to be noted that this was soon after his induction into the Upper House.

According to MPLADS website, Mallya had received Rs 14.22 crore funds (with interest) under member of Parliament local area development scheme (MPLADS), of which he has utilised Rs 10 crore.

Nothing wrong in Congress demanding discussion on Uttarakhand issue: Shiv Sena

With the Centre claiming that the Uttarakhand’s President’s rule matter cannot be discussed in the second part of the Parliament Budget Session as it is ‘sub-judice’, the Shiv Sena on Monday said that there in nothing wrong in Congress demanding a discussion on the contentious issue.”If you don’t allow the Parliament to run for a single issue, the people of this country will not support you and your cause. The Shiv Sena, like the Congress, is of the view that the chief minister should be allowed to prove the majority in the assembly. So, if the Congress Party is willing to have a discussion on the Uttarakhand issue in the Parliament Session then there should be discussion on that,? Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the government claiming that the matter is sub-judice and, therefore, it cannot be deliberated upon, Raut said, “Uttarakhand matter is sub-judice. But it is political too. In our country, every political matter turns into a sub-judice matter all of a sudden.”
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: High Court to resume hearing on rebel Congress MLAs’ petition todayEarlier, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government is willing to discuss every issue in the Parliament, but hinted that the Uttarakhand President’s Rule issue may not be discussed as the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.Naidu further rubbished reports that the session is going to a stormy one with Opposition set to corner the government on several issue, and said that financial business and fulfilling demands for grants are going to be their priority during the session.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: Modi govt gets ready to counter opposition in Parliament with past incidents of President’s ruleLok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan yesterday held an all-party meeting to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.Speaking to media after the meeting, Mahajan said, leaders of different parties have assured their cooperation to have a fruitful session. She said, some party leaders raised the issue of President?s rule in Uttarakhand but the matter is sub judice and cannot be discussed before April 27, which is the date of hearing of the case in the Supreme Court.Meanwhile, the Congress Rajya Sabha strategy meeting will take place in the Parliament today at 10 amHowever, the government has listed a heavy agenda for the session, including passage of 13 bills in the Lok Sabha and 11 in the Rajya Sabha.Discussion on demands for grants of various ministries, consideration and passing of the Railways Appropriation and Finance Bills along with GST, Factories, Compensatory Afforestation and Enemy Property Bills are the main agenda of the session.

GST rate will go up if Arvind Kejriwal keeps luxury item out of budget: Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘zero tax’ budget that aims to rationalise the Value Added Tax (VAT) structure and keep luxury items out of the proposed GST, will automatically lead to the standard rate of GST going.Inaugurating a CII Annual Session here, Jaitley said, “I have read the comments of the Union Territory of Delhi that luxury goods like gold should not be taxed. A Union Territory which taxes skimmed milk, which taxes almost every alternative food product, which taxes even mithai and sweets if I keep a luxury item out of the proposed GST then the standard rate of the GST itself has to go up.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley warned that maintain the rate between 16-18% would become extremely difficult if luxury goods are to be kept out of the GST itself.”And therefore, the debate has to mature to see what is the impact of each step in the larger interest of the economy,” he added.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had last week presented a ‘zero tax budget’ that aimed at rationalising Delhi’s Value Added Tax (VAT) structure. The budget implies cheaper sweets, namkeen, watches, readymade garments, shoes and school bags, even as the government continues to focus on education, health and transport sectors.Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio presented a Rs 46,600 crore annual budget, with plan expenditure at Rs 20,600 crore, of which Rs 4,645 crore (23 per cent) was allocated to education, Rs 3,943 crore (19%) to transport and Rs 3,200 crore (15%) to health sector.The government has also proposed a rationalised structure for Value-Added Tax (VAT), which is likely to make some items cheaper. ?The government is committed to reducing tax arbitrage and it will attempt to keep a uniform rate with neighbouring states. For several items such as sweets, namkeen, watches and readymade garments, the lower tax rate in neighbouring states was causing erosion in our tax revenue. We have made efforts to remove such imbalances in our VAT structure,” he said.

Delhi Cabinet reshuffle likely after budget session; new faces may be inducted

There may be a reshuffle in the seven-member Delhi Cabinet after the Budget Session ends on March 31 and some new faces new faces may be inducted.Sources said that the reshuffle would take place purely on the basis of “performance”, although it would not be as big as being “speculated”.Since the formation of the government last year, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has dropped two ministers from his Cabinet, namely Tri Nagar MLA Jitender Singh Tomar and Matia Mahal MLA Asim Ahmed Khan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked about the possible removal of Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar, sources said, it was unlikely as he is one of the Dalit faces of the party. “Finding a replacement would be problematic at this juncture.”Kejriwal had added fuel to the speculation when he had retweeted a news item on action against Kumar for allegedly forcing a government school principal to put the name of his wife on a plaque at an event.In the current Cabinet, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Home Minister Satyender Jain and Transport Minister Gopal Rai hold the maximum number of additional portfolios.Kejriwal does not hold any portfolio.

No new bills this session as Centre sitting on 14 bills: Manish Sisodia

The AAP dispensation is not tabling any new bill during the Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly as the central government is already sitting on 14 bills, including the one on Lokpal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday. The Budget Session of Delhi Assembly began on Tuesday and Sisodia said he was “saddened” over the delay on part of the Centre. He said if the Centre does not give nod to the city government’s bills at the earliest, there is “no benefit” of tabling new bills and sending them to it for approval.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We pass bills from here (Delhi Assembly). We work hard to prepare them, but the Centre sits on these bills passed by the Assembly,” he said. Sisodia will present the Budget on March 28. The session will conclude on March 31. “We have sent several bills to the Centre which are very important for Delhi, including formation of a new university, amendments in the Labour Laws, journalist salary bill. If we continue to send bills from here to the Centre, there is no benefit.””Lokpal Bill, which is a very important, is also pending with the Centre. We are today fighting for ACB (Anti- Corruption Branch) and if Lokpal would been appointed today, corruption would been rooted out from the top to bottom,” Sisodia said. He said people of Delhi have been waiting for the Centre’s approval for 14 bills which should have become laws by now.”We would have been able to increase seats in NSIT (Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology) after making the institute a university, but the bill pertaining to this is still pending with the Centre,” the deputy chief minister said.Earlier this month, Sisodia and Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over 14 bills of the city government pending with the Centre for approval for the past several months.The bills include Delhi Jan Lokpal, MLA Salary Amendment, CrPC Amendment and Delhi School Education (Amendment).

Uttarakhand crisis: BJP MLAs, Congress rebels to meet President Pranab Mukherjee today

Taking the Uttarakhand power tussle to the President’s doorstep, 35 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders from the state along with the nine rebel Congress leaders will meet Pranab Mukherjee here today, asking him to dismiss the state government.”Will tell the President to dismiss the current government in Uttarakhand as they have lost majority. Harish Rawat is now trying to buy people in a fit of desperation to gain support, but he will not succeed. It is his streak of corruption that has led to this situation,” BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, rebel Congress MLA Harak Singh Rawat has written to Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul, urging him to call an Assembly Session tomorrow for the floor test.Paul has given Rawat time till March 28 to prove his majority and that has given time to Congress to deal with the nine rebel MLAs.The Congress government in the state is under threat with 9 MLAs rebelling against Rawat and the BJP, which has 27 MLAs, staking claim to form the government.Rawat had asserted that Uttarakhand was his priority before anything else and if he was not able to prove majority, then he would promptly offer his resignation.Earlier, Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjal issued showcause notices to the nine rebel Congress legislators, who joined the BJP leaders when they went to meet Governor KK Paul seeking the dismissal of the Harish Rawat -led government.

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

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

30% attendance, 216 questions: Meet Vijay Mallya, the parliamentarian

India’s own Richard Branson, Vijay Mallya is in the news of late for all wrong reasons. The liquor baron has taken the banking industry, the regulators and the judicial system for a ride by delaying the repayment of Rs 9,000 crore loans (including interest) taken by his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. But beyond all the controversies surrounding his financial commitments to banks as an industrialist, Mallya also has the face of a parliamentarian.

So, how has he fared in Rajya Sabha, of which he was a member twice – in 2002 and again in 2010?

The data (on his second term that started in mid-2010 and ending mid-2016) on the website of PRS Legislative shows that Mallya has an attendance of 30 percent. This is against the national average of 78 percent and the state average or the average of the other members from his state (Karnataka) of 68 percent.

Vijay Mallya in front of Parliament in a file picture. AFPVijay Mallya in front of Parliament in a file picture. AFP

Vijay Mallya in front of Parliament in a file picture. AFP

The number of debates he participated is nil. The national average for a member is 56.7 and the state average 33.7.

He has asked 216 questions against the national average of 312 and state average of 234. (However, one thing is sure. This is much better than many other celebrities like Rekha, Sachin Tendulkar and Mithun Chakraborty. While Rekha has a 5 percent attendance, Sachin has 7 percent and Mithun 10 percent. Rekha and Mithun have asked nil questions and Sachin seven.)

Of the questions Mallya asked, 29 were starred and 187 unstarred. A starred question is one which gets an oral answer in the House and the member can have supplementary questions. Only 20 such questions are allowed in a day. Unstarred questions get a written reply that is tabled in the House. Only 235 such questions can be asked in a day.

Number of private member bills moved by Mallya is again nil. But the national and state averages are also a minimal 1.2 and 1.1. This is not surprising given such bills are rarely passed and made into laws.

A further break-up shows that Mallya’s lowest attendance was in Winter Session of 2013 – just 10 percent. The highest was in Monsoon Session of 2010 – 77 percent. It has to be noted that this was soon after his induction into the Upper House.

According to MPLADS website, Mallya had received Rs 14.22 crore funds (with interest) under member of Parliament local area development scheme (MPLADS), of which he has utilised Rs 10 crore.

However, the bigger question is with so much of negative news surrounding Mallya, should he be allowed to continue as an RS member at all.

Before arriving at an answer, consider these facts: Records show Mallya was last present in the Rajya Sabha on 1 March, that is nearly a week after he announced his sweetheart deal with Diageo, an agreement which was supposed to give him Rs 515 crore or $75 million. It is this deal that kicked up a storm as he also announced his intention to move to UK to spend time with his kids.

And according to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s submission in the Supreme Court, Mallya left the country on 2 March.

On 26 February, after Mallya disclosed his plans to move out of the country, SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya had told Firstpost that the bank, which has lent about Rs 2,000 crore to Mallya’s defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is exploring legal options.

“We are taking action as per law to protect our interests,’ Bhattacharya had said.

And on 3 March news broke that SBI has moved the DRT in Bangalore seeking to block Mallya from moving out of India, to impound his passport and also claiming first right on the money he was supposed to get from Diageo. That happened presumably a day after Mallya left the country, giving a slip to all the investigating authorities.

Interestingly, even the statement (issued on 7 March), in which he claimed he was not an absconder, came after he left the country.

Ironically, he also said that to be a Rajya Sabha member was an honour.

“My statement as to my personal future after quitting Diageo/USL – that I want to spend more time in England closer to my children – has been grossly distorted and misportrayed,” he said in the statement.

“I have been most pained as being painted as an absconder – I have neither the intention nor any reason to abscond… Over the years, I have built successful businesses in India and abroad. I am also honoured to be a member of the Rajya Sabha,” he further said.

Clearly, Mallya was lying through his teeth. He has been gaming a system that takes a soft approach towards cronies.

As R Jagannathan argues in an article in Swarajya Mallya is a fit case for expulsion from Rajya Sabha. He is “a member who owes over Rs 7,000 crore to public sector banks, has been declared a “wilful defaulter” by many of them, and on whom employees, the taxman, and the provident fund organisation have claims,” Jagannathan points out in the article.

“If there is a fit case for the Rajya Sabha to act against an MP who has brought shame on the institution by behaving unethically with India, its taxpayers and his former employees at Kingfisher, it is this,” he concludes.

But will the political class act?

With inputs from Kishor Kadam. All data from PRS Legislative website unless otherwise mentioned

Ahead of polls in five states, BJP National Executive to meet on March 19-20

With the party facing a number of challenges, including polls in five states, a meeting of BJP’s National Executive on March 19-20 is expected to give final touches to its strategy to regain political momentum after its drubbing in Bihar polls.The two-day National Executive in the national capital is expected to set the tone for the party’s approach to headwinds facing it, more so as it comes at a time when the saffron outfit is being seen at its lowest ebb since storming to power at the Centre in 2014.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the Bihar setback and amid a view that its governments in Gujarat and Haryana have lost some political capital owing to Patel and Jat quota stirs, the challenge before the BJP is to regain its ground and push its expansion.The meeting will occur days after the first leg of the Budget Session ends on March 16 and issues like JNU row and a Dalit scholar’s suicide in the Hyderabad Central University can also come up discussion after the opposition has used them to flay the government. Besides assembly polls in Assam, Kerala, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, which are likely in April-May, the party’s biggest challenge lies ahead in the UP polls early next year.Before the exercise, party chief Amit Shah, who was re-elected to the post last month, will reconstitute the executive and other national bodies of party, a move that will shed light on the internal dynamics within the saffron outfit.”We will obviously discuss key political issues. It will be during the session so that the burning issues will be deliberated. We expect that the meeting will re-energise the cadre ahead of state elections. We are seeing an increasingly hostile and united opposition against BJP,” sources said.The last meeting of the National Executive was held in Bengaluru in April last year. The party’s office bearers will meet on the first day and the executive’s meeting will begin in the evening. It will conclude the next days, sources said.

Budget session: Yechury targets PM Modi, calls for discussion on issues that are pushing ‘country into an anarchic state’

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday said if the government wants the Parliament to function then all current issues which are pushing the country into an anarchic state must be discussed in the Budget Session.”We are saying that if you want the Parliament to function then the issues you have created has to be discussed. The Prime Minister is not saying anything on the present consequences of the country. You have the issue of the JNU, we have the Jat agitation etc.,” Yechury told ANI here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said the government has made a habit of creating conditions before any Parliament Session for potential disruptions. “The country is being pushed into an anarchic state and unless the Parliament discusses and comes up with a decision on this, it is a very dangerous situation that is emerging in the country and the government is primarily responsible. Even if the PM wants to avoid, they have to answer at the end of the day and the PM is avoiding this,” he added.The opposition parties are gearing up to raise the issues of JNU row, and suicide of a Hyderabad University student among others to corner the government. On the other hand, the government is keen to push its legislative agenda including the GST and Real Estate Bills. During the session, the Rail Budget will be presented on February 25 and the General Budget on February 29.Since it is the first session of the new calendar year, it will begin with the address of President Pranab Mukherjee to the joint sitting of the two Houses. The Rajya Sabha, where the NDA lacks majority, had seen repeated disruption in the Monsoon and Winter Sessions with Congress and several other opposition parties blocking key economic reform measures of the government.

Delhi Assembly committee to recommend BJP MLA OP Sharma’s expulsion

New Delhi: The Ethics Committee of Delhi Assembly has decided to recommend stripping off BJP MLA OP Sharma’s membership of the House in connection with a case of using “sexist remarks” against a woman AAP legislator, days after he was caught assaulting a CPI activist in a court complex in New Delhi.

A Delhi Assembly committee will recommend the expulsion of OP Sharma. PTI

A Delhi Assembly committee will recommend the expulsion of OP Sharma. PTI

Sharma, a first-time MLA who was arrested in the assault case on Thursday, called the move “an attack on democracy”, adding, he had an indication about the recommendation five months ago as the committee has only AAP MLAs.

In November last year, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had suspended Sharma for rest of the Winter Session for using derogatory language against AAP MLA Alka Lamba inside the House. Goel had also referred the matter to the Ethics Committee of the House for further probe.

Sources said the Ethics Committee of the House has decided to recommend expulsion of the BJP MLA from the Assembly in connection with the case.

They said the recommendations in the case are likely to be tabled in the House during its Budget Session next month and that a final decision will be taken on Sharma’s membership by the Assembly.

They further said that the Committee has held that BJP legislator is a “habitual offender” besides being “unapologetic” over his “misbehaviour”.

“The Committee in its several meetings had given Sharma an opportunity to apologise to Lamba, but he refused to do so. Since Sharma refused to apologise to Lamba, the committee has concluded that his conduct is unbecoming.

“In view of this, the committee will recommend that the BJP legislator be expelled from the Delhi Assembly,” a sources said.

Slamming the move, Sharma said, “I had an indication about the move five months ago because the committee consists of AAP MLAs. The recommendation to expel me from the Delhi Assembly is an attack on democracy.”

In December, the Delhi Assembly had passed a resolution on recovering Rs 18,560 from Sharma’s salary towards the cost incurred in replacing a mike he had damaged during the Budget Session and warned him not to repeat such action.

Sharma was caught on camera beating a CPI activist at Patiala House court complex on Monday. He was arrested for the assault on Thursday and released on bail.

He was questioned for around eight hours at the Tilak Marg police station in connection with the case.

PTI

Venkaiah Naidu hopeful of passage of GST, other bills in Budget Session

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed confidence that the GST bill as well as the ones on bankruptcy and real estate will get the approval of Parliament during the Budget Session beginning February 23.”I am always optimistic. I am not pessimistic like others … I am optimistic that GST, real estate development bill and bankruptcy bill will be passed during this session,” he told reporters on the sidelines of India Investment Summit here. The minister also appealed to the opposition parties, especially Congress, to let the Parliament approve these legislations as they were in the larger interest of the country.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I appeal to all parties… that as the country is moving forward, we need these legislations in the larger interest of the country. I appeal to them and I seek their cooperation for passing these legislations in the budget session,” Naidu said. The Congress has stalled the passage of the constitution amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha, derailing the government’s plan to roll out GST from April 1, 2016.”We are already in touch (with Congress) and we have been in touch (and) we will be in touch in future also. There is a regular interaction which we have with other friendly parties. “Even about the (timing of the budget) session, I have consulted lot of our senior opposition party leaders and we continue our interaction with them,” Naidu said.On the three demands of Congress with regard to the GST bill, he said: “We have already addressed these issues…and the same has been communicated to the Congress party.” The three demands are a cap on the GST rate in the Constitution itself, removal of the proposed 1 per cent additional tax on inter-state movement of goods and setting up a judicial panel to adjudicate disputes among states.Budget Session of Parliament commences on February 23. While the first part of the session will end on March 16, the second part will be take place from April 25 to May 13.

Venkaiah Naidu ‘optimistic’ of passage of GST, other bills in Budget Session

New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed confidence that the GST bill as well as the ones on bankruptcy and real estate will get the approval of Parliament during the Budget Session beginning 23 February.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

“I am always optimistic. I am not pessimistic like others … I am optimistic that GST, real estate development bill and bankruptcy bill will be passed during this session,” he told reporters on the sidelines of India Investment Summit in New Delhi.

The minister also appealed to the opposition parties, especially Congress, to let the Parliament approve these legislations as they were in the larger interest of the country.

“I appeal to all parties… that as the country is moving forward, we need these legislations in the larger interest of the country. I appeal to them and I seek their cooperation for passing these legislations in the budget session,” Naidu said.

The Congress has stalled the passage of the constitution amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha, derailing the government’s plan to roll out GST from 1 April, 2016.

“We are already in touch (with Congress) and we have been in touch (and) we will be in touch in future also. There is a regular interaction which we have with other friendly parties.

“Even about the (timing of the budget) session, I have consulted lot of our senior opposition party leaders and we continue our interaction with them,” Naidu said.

On the three demands of Congress with regard to the GST bill, he said: “We have already addressed these issues…and the same has been communicated to the Congress party.”

The three demands are a cap on the GST rate in the Constitution itself, removal of the proposed 1 percent additional tax on inter-state movement of goods and setting up a judicial panel to adjudicate disputes among states.

Budget Session of Parliament commences on 23 February. While the first part of the session will end on 16 March, the second part will be take place from 25 April to 13 May.

PTI

Budget session from 23-29 Feb: Govt hopes Opposition will bolster and not stall proceedings

New Delhi: The Budget Session of Parliament will commence on 23 February that will focus largely on the financial business of the government, which will present the general budget on 29 February.

But there will be no curtailment of the session or the recess period on account of Assembly elections in five states due shortly.

This was decided at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. “The budget session of parliament will commence on 23 February. The Rail Budget will be presented on 25 February, the pre-budget economic survey on 26 February and the General budget on 29 February.

“The first part of Budget session will end on March 16 and the second part will be convened from 25 April to 13 May,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the meeting of CCPA.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AFPUnion Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AFP

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AFP

He said there were suggestions for curtailing the recess period due to assembly elections in five states but the government as well as political parties wanted a full session.

“In 2011, the then government had decided not to refer bills to Standing Committees in the budget session when states were going to polls and there were demands to curtail the session.

“But the government on Thursday decided that bills will be referred to standing committees for examination during recess period,” Naidu said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said government is hopeful that this budget session will be constructive and positive, unlike the previous two sessions when Congress and other opposition parties stalled proceedings and blocked key reform legislations.

“We are hopeful that this budget session will be constructive that will take forward the country’s development and that of the poor, youth and other sections. We hope no political party will stop the progress and development on these issues. We hope the Congress party will make up for the loss of the previous two sessions.

“We are making attempts to talk to all so that this session functions in a proper manner. We are talking to all parties, formally and informally and our attempt is that the budget session is positive and constructive,” Naqvi said.

Ahead of the CCPA meeting, government convened an all-party meeting in which opposition parties demanded that the Budget Session of Parliament be not curtailed despite assembly elections in five states.

“The Session’s working days should not be curtailed. They should hold a complete recess to enable the Standing Committees to examine the budgetary allocations to various ministries,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after the meeting.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said, “There was consensus among various parties that despite the assembly elections in a few states, the number of working days of the budget session should not be reduced. But parties left it to the government for deciding the dates of recess.”

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said every year government should come out with a calender of Parliament sittings so that there is no confusion.

“The Election Commission will then decide the dates for elections knowing when Parliament is sitting. The Prime Minister will also know about the sittings and will remain in House and not be abroad,” he said.

Among the leaders who participated in the all-party meet convened by government were Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Deepinder Hooda of Congress, Yadav and K C Tyagi of JD(U), Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party and Yechury of CPM.

PTI

Gogoi accuses BJP of trying to incite communal tension

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday alleged the opposition BJP and some other parties are trying to incite communal tension in the state ahead of the Assembly polls.”We have reports that BJP and other parties are trying to create communal tension in the state before the polls… The state government is fully prepared and we will not allow any communal disturbance to occur,” Gogoi told reporters at the sidelines of the February Session of the Assembly here. “BJP has again raised the Ram Janambhumi issue.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Creating communal tension is their main poll plank,” he said, claiming that even state Governors are talking on every issue as if they are agents of one party. In recent times, Governors of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have not forgot their “RSS ideology and behaved like RSS pracharaks”. Talking about the forthcoming Assembly polls, he said, “BJP is saying they will get 85 seats out of 126. Then why are they running after BPF, AGP and other smaller parties to form an alliance? They are not confident at all of winning this election.”He said the Congress is confident of coming to power for the fourth consecutive term and will form the government on its own. On Union Sports Minister and BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, Gogoi said: “My fight is not against Sarba. My fight is against Modi government. He promised us many things and ‘achhe din’ before Lok Sabha polls, but he has done nothing.”The senior Congress leader also termed Sonowal as an “inefficient” minister as he had failed to bring any special package to the state during flood disaster in last two years.

Lalu Prasad Yadav hits back at BJP, says Grand Secular Alliance will complete full-term

Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti’s name had cropped up for the post but she and her brother deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav had dismissed speculation in this regard.

PTI
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