Day 9 of the monsoon session began with an uproar in the Rajya Sabha over LPG providers asking Aadhaar to distribute subsidy. Within 30 minutes, the Upper House had to be adjourned. It was business as usual in Lok Sabha.
The latter half of the session was fairly smooth in the Rajya Sabha. It discussed drug pricing with Chemical Minister Ananth Kumar making a statement. The House passed the CAMPA Bill and the Lokpal amendments bill. It is likely to take up Medical and Dental College Council amendment Bill, which will enable government to conduct uniform NEET examination for medical college admission across the nation. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha.
In Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar made a statement on missing AN-32 flight. Then, it took up situation arising due to rising prices. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to participate in this discussion. Rajya Sabha had discussed the issue on Wednesday.
The Upper House is discussing the implementation of the A.P. Reorganisation Act.
7.07 pm: If some States can control prices, why cab’t other States, asks Paswan. Adds Centre is doing what it can through PDS scheme. Praises T.N. scheme to give away essential items through PDS.
7.06 pm: Paswan recounts his Hajipur visit and meeting with farmers. He did the same yesterday in the RS.
7.02 pm: More statistics, more explanation on prices of seasonal items. Shifts partial blame on States, who, he says, are the ones to deal with black marketing/hoarding.
6.57 pm: In the LS, Food Minister is replying to the discussion on the price rise; talks about demand-supply gap, which in turn increases prices. Gives out a long list of then-now on prices of essential food items.
6.55 pm: BSP’s Veer Singh speaks. Talks about lack of development in Seemandhra region. Says his party favours small States, reminds the Mayawati govt.’s proposal to divide U.P.6.52 pm: Yechury talks about private members bills. Basically he gives the evolution of the status of the bill, quotes Dr. Zakir Hussain’s ruling as Chairman of the House. He says this to stress his point that the objection against the private member bill being a money bill was not valid.
6.51 pm: In the RS, Yechury has now changed to Hindi. Questions the status of assurances given in the very House.
6.49 pm: Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha is continuing with the discussion on price rise. Dharmendra Yadav of SP speaks, quoting Ram Manohar Lohia. Benefit of price rise has never reached farmers, he says.
6.46 pm: Yechury asks about the compensation of the revenue shortfall promised to A.P.
6.43 pm: Sitaram Yechury speaks in Telugu on the discussion, enquires if transaltion is available.
6.40 pm: JD(U)’s Ali Anwar Ansari makes case for a package for Bihar. We are demanding on behalf of every State, including U.P., says Ansari.
6.30 pm: While helping A.P., Centre should also help 10 big States including U.P., West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, which are reeling under serious financial crisis, says Sukhendu sekhar Roy of Trinamool
6.27 pm: Agrawal wants the Centre to take care of Uttar Pradesh too.
6.20 pm: Naresh Agrawal of the SP speaks on the discussion, Ramesh opposes his speech saying his name is not in the list of speakers.
6.15 pm: What is status of implementation of Section 93, which said the Centre will take measures for development within 10 years, asks Ramesh
6.12 pm: Jairam Ramesh questions the implementation of the A.P. Reorganisation Act, he raises queries section by section, clause by clause
6.10 pm: The House begins discussion on the implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014; Jairam Ramesh initiates discussion
6.05 pm: Key aspects of debate:
T.K. Rangarajan says, “Cant leave out wife, children of public servants. They could have 2-3wives. Cant support corrupt people.”wapan Das Gupta says the political class has not applied the mind while drafting the Bill.
Sitaram Yechury asks why regular procedure was bypassed. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill yesterday without discussion.
5:58 pm: Rajya Sabha passes the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill.
5:30 pm: Rajya Sabha has passed the Compensation Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015.
The Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each State.
5:05 pm: Andhra Pradesh has highest retail inflation, much above than the national average. There are 10 more states that report retail inflation higher than the national average. These are the most populous states too. It seems government is fighting a losing battle. Instead of tackling supply-chain issues, it is holding traders responsible, says Mahtab.
Both Congress and BJP led governments have been unable to confront the demon of inflation. Of course, food is on fire!
4:55 pm: Our problem in the country is we talk everything else, expect identifying the problem. How is the Finance Minister going to tackle inflation. Inflation is not a short-term impact.
I hope we deliberate the 25 years of free market economy. Is it impacting the inflation? asks Mahtab.
4:50 pm: Next to speak is Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD). I am not doubting the efforts of this government. Despite efforts, inflation is moving up speedier. The person who was trying to rein in inflation is going back to Chicago because someone from the ruling party termed him anti-national, says Mahtab referring to Raghuram Rajan’s exit from RBI and Subramanian Swamy’s remarks on Rajan.
4:44 pm: Prime Minister talks only to Barack (Obama) and (Angela) Merkel. He doesn’t have time to talk with us on price rise, he says. Mr. Jaitley says government made investments in villages. Upto 90 per cent investment in agriculture is from States. Had government concentrated on villages, why would farmers commit suicide? he asks. He ends the speech saying he fears India will become another Venezuala, where people are blockading outlets for food.
4:30 pm: I haven’t seen you giving such a weak speech, says Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress. There are two things that benefit this government – windfall and cesspool. You are trying to rationalise price rise but you are not spelling out how to curb rising prices, he says.
4:20 pm: Forty eight per cent of revenue from taxes on petroleum goes to the State, the balance 52 per cent, we use it to create infrastructure. The man who drives the vehicle can now travel in better roads, says Jaitley. We made up for the loss of oil companies, passed it on to consumers and diverted last part for public investment. It is this public investment and FDI that has kept India for two years in a row the fastest growing economy “The challenge is to be the fastest growing economy in difficult times,” says Jaitley. The schemes will benefit us in the long-term. We are expecting a good monsoon this year. So the prices will come down, he says while ending his speech.
4:15 pm: In an apparent dig at Kerala imposing fat-tax on food products, Mr. Jaitley says at least we don’t impose taxes on food products. It has been globally commended upon how India used the fall of crude prices, he says.
4:00 pm: We brought down inflation, says Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister. The inflation was in double digit at UPA’s time. For 18 months the country saw negative inflation, says Arun Jaitley. You are talking about a government that left behind double digit inflation and we have taken every step to bring it down. In July, the prices go high as the production is low. This is seasonal. Today, you talk about rising prices of sugar. Three months back, the situation was different. Farmers were unable to earn through sugarcane. Sugar mills were closing down. We intervened and controlled the situation, he says.
3:55 pm: Next speaker is P. Kumar (AIADMK). He narrates how Tamil Nadu Chief Minister reined in prices through various Amma schemes. Not just Karunakaran, many experts have lauded Tamil Nadu’s PDS scheme. He wants government to exempt the State from food security Act.
3:45 pm: The programmes are meant to bring in long-term development. It will not bring changes overnight, he says. If you talks about statistics, I will dig statistics of past 60 years, he says.
3:40 pm: Mallikarjun Kharge reminds Yadav that he is a follower of Ram Manohar Lohia and the present government does not seem to believe in inclusiveness and secularism. Mr. Yadav responds this government is truly inclusive and goes on to say how Mr.Modi gave LPG gave gas connection to those women who were buring firewoods. By bringing Swachch Bharat, Mr. Modi has fulfilled Lohia’s dream of giving dignity to women of the nation.
3:30 pm: Hukmdev Narayan Yadav of BJP speaks. He says Karunakaran has blamed UPA and NDA for price rise. But Left were supporting UPA, he points out. He says Modi’s electoral win was historic. Just like how Gandhiji eliminated the British, Modi eliminated the Congess.
3:26 pm: You may start Stand Up India, Start Up India. But tell us when the prices of potato and tomato will come down, asks Mr. Gandhi and ends the speech with a this note. “There’s a new slogan in the streets, ‘arhar Modi, arhar Modi.’
3:22 pm: UPA had written off the farm loans worth Rs.6,000 crore, but NDA had written off corporate loans worth Rs 1.14 lakh crore, says Mr. Gandhi.
3:21 pm: The MSP of pulses has not been revised in these two years, but the prices of dal has gone up by Rs. 100. Where is this money going, asks Mr. Gandhi.
3:19 pm: Rahul Gandhi points out at BJP side and tells may be you don’t go to market to buy provisions. Someone else buys on your behalf. BJP MPs point out the irony.
3:17 pm: Two months back the government celebrated two years of rule. But, not a word was spoken on prices of pulses, potato, tomato, he says. Prices of tomato has increased by three hundred per cent in two years, says the Congress vice-president.
3:15 pm: Rahul Gandhi speaks at Lok Sabha. He starts his speech with a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He criticises Mr. Modi recalling Mr. Modi’s election campaign, where he said he’ll contain price rise.
3:12 pm: Narendra Singh Tomar gives a statement on Central Vigilance and Monitoring Committee for various government schemes.
3:10 pm: On one side there is Shining India, other side we are seeing Suffering India, says CPI (M) MP P.Karunakaran. He targets future trade. He says futures are creating artificial inflation. He says government should end all cesses. “How many cesses will you charge?” he asks. We need peoples India and not Digital India. Don’t forget ours is agro-economy, says Karunakaran and ends his speech.
3:05 pm: Government should go for massive investment in agri sector. This includes loans for farmers, power infra, better storage, says Karunakaran. He lauds Tamil Nadu’s public distribution system. He says the State was way ahead, much before the food security Act was enacted, Tamil Nadu was providing free food grains. The nation should follow this, he says.
3:00 pm: In Lok Sabha, Karunakaran continues to speak. He says India’s higher GDP is because of the billionaires. Rich becoming richer, poor becoming poor says the CPI (M) MP. “Govt says 1.45 lakh jobs generated for youth. But how many have entered the workforce? 1.3 crores. Compare that,” he says.
2:51 pm: BJP MP Prabhakar Kore puts a googly. “How is the government going to control racket of fake drugs?, he asks.
2:50 pm: Meanwhile in Rajya Sabha discussion on drug pricing continues. Trinamool MP Ahmed Hassan questions why commonly used medicines were banned referring to ban on combination drugs.
2:48 pm: Now Lok Sabha takes up discussion on price rise. P. Karunakaran kick starts the discussion saying pulses have become dearer. He blames huge profit of retailers, blackmarketing and hoarding as the reason for escalating prices. He says after petroleum was de-regularised, government has not passed the benefit of falling crude prices to the customers.
2:42 pm: The India China border has not been formally demarcated, says Parrikar. He narrates the incident that happened in Uttarakhand. Two PLA personnel come into Indian territory upto 200 metres. The ITBP confronted them and they went away. There is a mechanism to resolve such disputes. It was solved amicably. Such events occur because there is no proper demarcation, he says.
2:41 pm: MPs raise the issue of Chinese ‘incursion’. They want Defence Minister to brief the House on the incursion. Mr. Parrikar says ITBP comes under Home Ministry. So Rajnath Singh should answer.
2:40 pm: Meanwhile in Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar makes a statement on the missing AN-32 aircraft with 29 persons on board. “All next of kin of missing personnel have been informed and are being kept up to date regarding search operations,” he says. Indian satellites are also monitoring for floating objects, he says.
2:30 pm: R. Lakshmanan says generic medicines should be encouraged. Tech transfer and pricing policy of life saving drugs is important, he says.
2:27 pm: Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu says Hyderabad is the pharma capital of India. Pharma contributes to one crore employment. “We are spending 29 per cent on pharmaceuticals whereas China spends 62 per cent. Even Sri Lanka spends 42 per cent of health budget on pharmaceuticals. Will the government increase funds?”
2:25 pm: D.Raja says government is allowing market to decide the pricing of drugs. Why not support public-sector drug companies like IDPL to reduce the prices? He poses series of questions. Why were vaccine-making PSUs closed? What is the government going to do with PSU drug units?
2:22 pm: Tiruchi Siva says poor patients find it extremely difficult to buy drugs to treat lifestyle-related ailments such as diabetes. He says Jan Aushadhi stores, which sell generic medicines are grossly inadequate and do not have adequate stocks. When will the additional 3000 outlets be opened, he asks.
2:20 pm: Naresh Agrawal says there is a huge price difference between generic and branded drugs. Government should put an end to this, he says. He claims private hospitals do not release the body until the full hospital fees is paid. He says a Gurgaon-based hospital charged Rs.3.5 lakh for treating a patient for just 2.5 hours. Health Ministry had announced that pricing policy of essential medicines will be brought in. Why not bring a bill on it, asks Mr. Agrawal.
2:00 pm: Rajya Sabha reconvenes. Union Minister Ananth Kumar reads a statement on drug pricing.
1:30 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned. To meet again at 2:30 pm
1:15 pm: S.R. Vijayakumar raises the issue of security in suburban railway stations in Chennai. It may be recalled that a techie was hacked to death in a Chennai railway station. He says the stations are not equipped with metal detectors or CCTV cameras.
1:11 pm: If you are new to this page, here is a flashback to what happened in Rajya Sabha today.
1:05 pm: Sushil Kumar Singh, Aurangabad MP, wants government to ensure hospitals use generic drugs instead of branded ones in order to make healthcare affordable.
01:00 pm: Bhartruhari Mahtab, Odisha MP, raises the issue of transportation used by Defence personnel. He highlights the disappearance of AN-32 aircraft that was bound to Port Blair from Chennai. The search is going on for seven days. But no headway yet. Mr. Mahtab says these aircrafts were purchased during the ertwhile Soviet Union. The engineering support is given by Russia but the technology is with Ukraine. Given that the relationship with Russia and Ukraine is hostile, will the government look into an alternative to AN-32, he asks.
12:50 pm: Anto Antony, Pathanamthitta MP, seeks better facilities to Sabarimala shrine. More MPs join him.
12:45 pm: Zero Hour proceedings continue after Speaker intervenes.
12:36 pm: Suresh Chanabasappa Angadi, Belagavi MP from North Karnataka accuses successive Congress governments of both State and Centre from the river sharing dispute. Congress MPs protest. The issue escalates MPs from Goa support the Tribunal’s verdict, while Karanataka MPs oppose it. Speaker says the verdict cannot be discussed in the House.
12:33 pm: A Karnataka MP raises the issue of Mahadayi river water sharing between Goa and Karnataka. The Tribunal on Wednesday rejected Karnataka’s plea for an interim order to allow the State to draw water from Mahadayi river to Malaprabha river. Karnataka is dependent on this river water to meet drinking water needs of Belagavi, Hubballi-Dharwad and other towns in northern Karnataka, says the MP.
12:30 pm: Kalyan Banerjee takes up the issue of mandatory linking of Aadhaar to recieve direct benefit transfer. The issue forced three adjournments in Rajya Sabha. But Lok Sabha is relatively calm. He says one of the MP’s mother is not receiving pension because she hasn’t linked her Aadhaar card. When Supreme Court has ruled Aadhaar is not mandatory, how can government give such an order, he asks.
12:30 pm: Sports Minister Vijay Goel assures the House that he will convey the matter to the relavant minister.
12:25 pm: Bhagat Singh Koshyari, a BJP MP from Uttarakhand says such an incursion did not happen at all. I have gone to those places by walk. There is no Chinese Army there. They (the PLA) have come there and when our Army confront them, they go away, he says.
12:20 pm: In Lok Sabha, SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav says China poses greater threat to India than Pakistan. He advocates for friendly ties with Pakistan and criticizes China for “betraying” India over and over again. “The Threat emanates from China, not from Pakistan,” says Yadav. We shouldn’t hold talks with China until it returns our land, he says.
12:18 pm: Rajya Sabha re-convenes. Slogan shoutings continue. House adjourned till 2 pm.
12:17 pm: Opposition MPs want discussion on Chinese incursion. Saugata Roy also raises the same issue.
12:15 pm: Zero Hour begins. Jyotiraditya Scindia raises the issue of Chinese incursions near Uttrakhand border. He criticizes the government for not speaking up on the matter.
12:13 pm: Narsingh Yadav sealed berth for Olympics after winning bronze in World Championship. NADA can test any player at any time whether in-competition or out-of comeptition. He was tested postive for doping in both A abd B samples. Hence, he has been provincially suspended. There is a controversy that his food was spiked. The food sample has been sent for testing and the final results are awaited, says the minister. We will investigate the matter, he assures.
12:09 pm: Sports Minister Vijay Goel makes a statement on Narsingh Yadav doping issue.
12:05 pm Question Hour ends in Lok Sabha. Ministers lay on the table various papers.
12:00 noon: Rajya Sabha re-convenes. Vice President Hamid Ansari is in the Chair. Opposition MPs disrupt the Question Hour. Slogan shoutings continue. In the Zero Hour, ministers usually do not respond. Despite that we responded. This is politicking, says Venkaiah Naidu. House is adjourned for 15 minutes.
11:50 am: Under the 11th Plan, six lakh villagers from povery-hit rural areas have received electricity. So far sixty per cent villages have been connected to electricity grid and the Centre is working for more, says Mr. Goyal.
11:40 am: Next set of questions pertain to power. Bola Singh, a BJP MP from Bihar wants to know if Power Ministry will provide special pacakge to the State to improve power infrastructure. MoS Power Piyush Goyal says the power shortage in the country has been reduced to 0.7 per cent. “We will be able to provide electricity to every house in Bihar within three years,” he says. Bola Singh thanks the minister with a shayari. “Only questions please,” says Speaker.
11:35 am: Question Hour underway in Lok Sabha. Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Drinking Water is responding questions of quality of drinking water in various States. Some lighter moments here. A Telangana MP seeks additional funds for the State’s Mission Bhagirathi scheme. He says the Minister appears dull today. “Is he unwell.” MInister’s response, “when people ask for money, I get dull.”
11:30 am: Opposition’s behavious is unjustifiable, says Deputy Speaker P.J. Kurein. House adjourned till 12 noon.
11:27 am: Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan says 85 per cent LPG customers have submitted Aadhaar. We will go by case to case basis, he says. We have exempted Assam and will consider exempting Manipur as the penetration of Aadhaar is much lesser in these states, he says.
11:26 am: Opposition MPs raise slogans and storm the Well. Mr. Naidu continues to talk, but not audible.
11:23 am: Venkaiah Naidu responds. Linking of Aadhaar to DBT will plug leakages and eliminate middlemen, he says. It should not be made mandatory until every citizen is covered. Opposition MPs should slogans and disallow the minister to complete his reply.
11:21 am: Rajiv Shukla, the former minister in-charge for Aadhaar says the country is not completely covered yet. Only after that it should be made mandatory, he suggests and also accuses the government for not speeding up the Aadhaar coverage.
11:20 am: Sukendhu Shekar Roy, Trinamool Congress MP, says when Supreme Court has clearly mentioned Aadhaar is voluntary and not compulsary how can the government make it mandatory.
11:16 am: Tapan Kumar Sen says he opposes Aadhaar and bank card linkage. On one hand government says it is not compulsary but now it is being made mandatory.
11:10 am: Sharad Yadav questions how will a gas agency know if a customer is below poverty line or not with an Aadhaar number.
11:05 am: MPs Derek O’Brein, Shard Yadav and many others raise the issue of oil marketing companies cancelling direct benefit transfer to beneficiaries who have not provided their Aadhaar number.
[Source:- The Hindu]