Eight Opposition Rajya Sabha MPs, who were suspended by the House on Monday, have begun an indefinite sit-in protest within Parliament, even as the 15 non-NDA parties have appealed to President Ram Nath Kovind not to give assent to the two farm Bills passed in the Upper House on Sunday.
The Opposition leaders will be marching to the President’s House on Tuesday.
The Parliament, which was initially scheduled to end on October 1, will wind up on September 23 taking into account the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
Here are the latest updates:
11.15 am | Rajya Sabha
The Education Minister begins his reply to the debate
He thanks the members for their suggestions. He assures Kamakhya Prasad Tasa that the government is committed to ensuring good education in the northeast. He says it is the government’s aim is to take more institutions from India to the global education scene.
Rajya Sabha passes the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
11.00 am | Rajya Sabha
YSRCP MP V. Vijaisai Reddy supports the Bill, says the students suffered when it came to jobs due to the provisional certificates issued by the five institutes now being conferred national importance tag.
He asks the government to focus on the existing institutions of national importance as well.
The perception of IIITs need to change, he says. “IIITs are considered sub-par to IITs. Students go for IIITs as a second option. Standardisation of courses taught in IIIts could help bring them at the same standing as IITs,” he says.
JDU MP Ram Chandra Prasad Singh supports the Bill, welcomes the national importance tag for the IIIT in Bhagalpur. The students shouldn’t feel any difference between IIIT and IIT, he says.
10.50 am | Rajya Sabha
Congress and like minded parties to boycott the rest of the Rajya Sabha session
Jairam Ramesh, Chief Whip, INC, Rajya Sabha gives the seven reasons for the decision of boycotting rest of the Monsoon session of Rajya Sabha by Congress and like-minded parties:
“The manner in which Bills have been bulldozed by the government; the manner in which eight MPs were suspended without being given a hearing and without division on suspension motion as per the rules; the manner in which Leader of Opposition has not been allowed to speak; the manner in which the Government has simply failed to accommodate views of the Opposition; the manner in which crucial Bills have not been referred to Standing or Select Committees, the manner in which division vote was not allowed on the 2 agricultural marketing Bills; the manner in which MSP was not made part of the agricultural marketing law and not made applicable to private trade.”
10.40 am | Rajya Sabha
Kamakhya Prasad Tasa of BJP speaking on the Bill says information technology will gain more importance in the post-COVID world. He says the Bill gives an impetus to education and employment in the northeast region and supports the Bill.
A. Vijayakumar of AIADMK, supporting the Bill, hopes that the Bill will help IIITs of the country improve their global rankings.
Dr. Sasmit Patra of BJD, also a member of the Standing Committee of the HRD, welcomes the Bill. He says allotting degree-granting powers to the IIITs and declaring the institutions as those of nation importance is welcome. He suggests that amendments be made in the parent acts to ensure the institutions are given degree-granting powers instead of regular iterations.
He suggests establishment of a centre at IIIT Bhubaneswar to research on COVID-19.
10.30 am | Rajya Sabha
Legislative Business resumes
Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank resumes his speech on the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The Bill amends Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017. The Bill seeks to declare five Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) set up under the Public Private Partnership mode in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutions of national importance.
10.20 am | Rajya Sabha
JDU MP Ram Chandra Prasad Singh says the suspended MPs shouldn’t be forgiven because the intention behind their actions was wrong.
Leader of the House Thaawarchand Gehlot says the Chair’s decision was appropriate.
The Chairman says Deputy Chairman wrote a letter to him expressing his commitment to democracy and that he wants to observe a fast.
“This is a Gandhian way, this is the JP way. We shouldn’t try to score political points,” the Chairman says. “The images appearing on TV, is unbecoming of the House of the elders,” he says.
“Despite everything, Harivansh ji made tea at home and brought it for the protesting MPs,” Mr. Naidus says.
The Chairman appeals to all to follow the rules of the House.
10.00 am | Rajya Sabha
Former PM HD Deve Gowda tells the Chairman, government and Opposition should sit together to help you run the House. “We have not come here for tamasha,” he says.
Pralhad Joshy, Parliamentary Affairs Minister says, many leaders have asked him to finish the proceedings of the House quickly, owing to the pandemic, in response to Mr. Azad’s comments about members not being given enough time to speak. He says, he told them that would depend on the time taken for the discussion of Bills.
“The government is not hellbent upon keeping the suspended MPs out of the House,” he says. “If they express regret, the government will look into it.”
9.50 am | Rajya Sabha
Many times in the past, Bills have been passed in din without division. It is not a healthy thing, but it has happened before, the Chairman says.
He says, all eight MPs who have been suspended have justified their conduct and confirmed what they did in an interview to the Indian Express today.
“Don’t try to put the blame on the Chair. The Deputy Chairman handled the situation in a very deft manner.”
“We are also pained. We are also human beings. Whatever is happening has an impact on our health,” Mr. Naidu says.
“I have asked the secretary general to get in touch with the Lok Sabha secretariat to take care of the protesting MPs,” the Chairman says.
9.40 am | Rajya Sabha
The Opposition begins sloganeering in the House.
Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party says there has been a mistake by the Opposition. He apologises on behalf of the suspended MPs, asks for their suspension to be taken back.
K. Keshava Rao of the TRS cites The Hindu editorial “bashing us all. We are feeling bad.” We asked for division vote and that was not granted to us. “Three minutes time for division was not granted to us,” he says.
Tiruchi Siva of DMK says basic democratic rights were denied, “we were denied division”.
Chairman says the chair has been dragged into the matter. He says Bills have been passed in din and members have been suspended before. The rules clearly state that it should have been a no-confidence resolution and not a motion, he says, on Opposition’s motion against Deputy Chairman Harivansh.
9.30 am | Rajya Sabha
Leader of Opposition speaks on the events of the last two days
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad says no one is happy with what transpired in the House over the past two days. “We fight for each minute in the House like it’s a fight at the border. If we go beyond time restrictions, things will be de-escalated 90%,” Mr. Azad says.
He says, “Day before yesterday was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Bills don’t go to standing committee or the select committee. I don’t approve of the fight – breaking the mics, standing on the tables. But it was the last straw.”
“There were 18 parties on one side and NDA on one side. I don’t know if the government had the numbers or not,” he says, on the farm Bills.
He recalls that Arun Jaitley, in 2016, said that the government becomes illegitimate if division of votes is denied. Mr. Azad says that the stature of the Leader of Opposition has been downgraded. “There would be no time constraints put on the LoP. We could speak freely,” he says.
“The MSP announced yesterday should have been done before. Today, the government has issued an advertisement saying ‘one nation, one market’. Don’t go towards one nation, one party,” the Leader of Opposition says. He also says Government should bring a new Bill to make MSP mandatory on private companies.
We will boycott the session till the government takes back the decision, he says and the House erupts in slogans.
9.20 am | Rajya Sabha
Special Mentions begin
In special mentions, Congress MP Amee Yagnik raises issue of lack of digital access in villages.
AIADMK MP A. Vijaykumar raises demand for resumption of a Tamil service in the Delhi office of All India Radio.
Leishemba Sanajaoba of BJP asks government to accord classical language status to Manipuri. Mr. Naidu asks him the correct pronunciation of his name.
9.15 am | Rajya Sabha
Chairman asks Jairam Ramesh to check if MPs in the Opposition are sitting at the required distance and following COVID-19 protocol.
Mr. Naidu takes a dig at the Treasury Bench. He says not many members this side, so physical distancing is not an issue this side.
He urges Congress members to follow distancing norms.
9.10 am | Rajya Sabha
Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu tells members not to think that he isn’t paying attention to them since he is unable to look at members while they speak because he has pain in his neck.
Kumar Ketkar of Congress raises matter of fishermen from Gujarat in Pakistan custody. Chairman tells External Affairs Minister to take note of the matter.
DMK MP Tiruchi Siva raises lack of representation of Tamil and other scholars in Culture Ministry’s committee to study ancient India.
Mallikarjun Kharge of Congress says unemployment has increased and the government is not filling the 20 lakh posts vacant in govt, public sector, health, education, police. He says there should be emergency recruitment.
9.00 am | Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha proceedings begin
Papers being laid on the table by MoS Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan on behalf of other Ministers.
Report of committee on welfare of ST and SC laid on table.
Zero Hour begins.
Samajwadi Party MP Ravi Prakash Verma raises matter of increasing child abuse cases in the lockdown as schools are closed. He says child focused planning is needed.
Ashok Bajpai of the BJP raises matter of ineffective seeds, insecticides and pesticides sold to farmers, demands that the companies be penalised.
K. Vanlalvena of MNF raises matter of frequent earthquakes in Mizoram, asks Earth Sciences Ministry to send an investigation team to the State.
The Eight Opposition Rajya Sabha MPs, who were suspended by the House on Monday, sat through the night in an indefinite sit-in protest within Parliament, even as the 15 non-NDA parties appealed to the President not to give assent to the two farm Bills passed in the Upper House on Sunday.
The suspended MPs stayed put in the lawns of Parliament overnight. Seen here is Trinamool member Dola Sen crooning a farmer rights song.
Bills for consideration and Passing
The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020
The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020
The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020
The Appropriation (No.3) Bill, 2020
The Appropriation (No.4) Bill, 2020
Bills for consideration and passing
The Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020
The Industrial Relations Code, 2020
The Code On Social Security, 2020
The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020