Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday claimed that if there is any underreporting of Covid-19 deaths, it is by the states and not the Union government. Earlier in the day, the Union health ministry claimed that there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen during the second wave as specifically reported by states and Union Territories.
Both houses of Parliament have been was adjourned till Thursday.
Meanwhile, the proceedings in Rajya Sabha resumed at 1 pm on Tuesday after Deputy Chairman Harivansh agreed to have a discussion on the pandemic situation in the country. The health minister is expected to address the House at 5 pm. Reports suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may also speak on the matter later in the evening.
Earlier, both Houses of the Parliament were adjourned minutes after proceedings began on the second day of the monsoon session amid protests by Opposition MPs on rise in fuel prices and the alleged hacking of phones using the Pegasus spyware.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament will conclude on August 13.
Here are the top updates of the day:
6.17 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till Thursday.
5.54 pm: Mandaviya defends Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to citizens to beat utensils and clap last year, reports ANI. “We did it to encourage coronavirus warriors,” he says. “We did it for the policemen standing on the roads for our protection, we did it in honour of the healthcare staff – from the lowest to the highest level – who worked during coronavirus pandemic.”
5.52 pm: The health minister says that the government has always said that this crisis shouldn’t become a reason for politics, reports The Times of India. “PM Modi has said that when 130 crore people of India take one step forward, the country can move forward by 130 crore steps.”
5.45 pm: The health minister dismisses claims of underreporting of deaths due to Covid-19, reports The Hindu. Mandaviya claims that if there is any underreporting, it is by the states and not the Union government. “We only compile the states’ data and publish them”, he adds.
5.42 pm: Mandaviya defends the countrywide lockdown in March last year, saying it helped ramp up the infrastructure in the country, reports The Hindu. “In history, whenever there was a pandemic, more people died of starvation than of the pandemic,” he says. “We have provided free foodgrains to ensure no one starved, he says.”
The health minister says that the government had held informal talks with the Opposition MPs. He adds that during the discussions, the government saw that whatever good happened, the credit went to the chief ministers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was blamed for the shortfall.
5.34 pm: Mandaviya says that the 130 crore residents of India should make a collective decision that we will not let the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, reports ANI. “Our resolution and PM Modi’s guidance can save us from a third wave,” he says.
5.32 pm: Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya says that counters allegations of Covid-19 vaccine shortage. “When there’s need to work together and implementation has to be done by the states, at that time we never said that this state failed or that state didn’t do this,” he tells Rajya Sabha, according to ANI. “I don’t want to do politics but many states have 10-15 lakh doses of vaccines with them, I have data.”
5.10 pm: The Union health ministry claims that there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen specifically reported by states and Union Territories.
“Government of India has supported the states and undertook a series of actions including provisioning medical oxygen, and other consumables to ensure clinical care of Covid-19 patients in view of steep rise of Covid-19 trajectory in the country during April-May 2021,” the ministry says in response to a question by Congress leader KC Venugopal.
4.28 pm: Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam seeks details about how the PM-CARES fund was used, The Hindu reports.
“What happened to that money?” he asks, according to the newspaper. “How much money went towards the vaccination campaign? According to Vinayji [BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe], everything is a success in this country. But 5 lakh people died. Don’t accuse us of ideological jaundice. If that jaundice is there, you are the victims.”
4.25 pm: BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe hits out at the Opposition for its “ideological jaundice”, according to The Hindu. The MP says that the Opposition had a problem when Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the citizens to honour frontline workers, but later, they themselves thanked them in their speeches.
4.20 pm: Nationalist Congress Party MP Vandana Chavan demands that the government vaccinate parents with young children on priority, The Hindu reports.
The MP asks why the government did not take expert warnings about the second wave of the pandemic seriously. She also claims that the Centre downplayed the risks of the Delta variant of Covid-19.
4.15 pm: In the Rajya Sabha, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut questions the Centre about the undercounting of Covid-19 deaths, ANI reports.
“Why are you hiding the data?” he asks. “Tell us, how many people have lost their lives [due to Covid-19]. “Reports say more [deaths] than the government’s official figures.”
3.25 pm: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sought Parliament’s nod for net additional spending of Rs 23,675 crore in the first batch of supplementary demands for the current fiscal year, reports PTI.
3.22 pm: Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai told Lok Sabha that the government has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise population other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Census, reports PTI. He added that the seats are reserved for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and in the Assemblies in proportion, as nearly as may be, to their population.
3.15 pm: Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav says that Covid-19 treatment in private hospital have pushed many below the poverty line, reports The Times of India.
3.13 pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned till Thursday, reports ANI.
3.06 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Santanu Sen speaks on the coronavirus situation in Parliament, reports News18. “Thousands of migrants died on road,” he says. “Our CM [Mamata Banerjee] gave fare to migrants. PM Modi said that we will war against coronavirus in 21 days, but what happened? There was no preparedness during the second wave. People were dying of oxygen shortage on roads.”
3.04 pm: Mallikarjun Kharge says in Rajya Sabha that as citizens lost their job and unemployment increased due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Congress demanded giving benefits to people, reports News18. “But you [the Centre] didn’t hear us, you ignored it [party’s demands],” he adds.
3.02 pm: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge says that the Union government, just like demonetisation, did not prepare for the coronavirus lockdown and it should be held accountable for it, reports The Indian Express. Kharge adds that the central leadership was the one that flouted its rules of observing Covid-19 norms during state elections.
3 pm: Lok Sabha proceedings resume.
1.19 pm: Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh adjourns Upper House for 15 minutes.
1.09 pm: Proceedings resume in Rajya Sabha after Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh gives consent to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the country. The health minister is expected to address the House at 5 pm, according to ANI.
11.07 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the House on the Covid-19 situation in the evening, reports the Hindustan Times. Meanwhile, Opposition parties will meet at 2 pm to decide on whether to attend the prime minister’s briefing, reports ANI.
11.06 am: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2 pm and Rajya Sabha till 12 pm amid uproar from Opposition MPs.
11.03 am: Congress MPs Manickam Tagore and Gaurav Gogoi move adjournment notices to discuss the Pegasus hacking matter, reports ANI.
11.02 pm: Proceedings begin in both Houses amid uproar from Opposition MLAs.
11.01 am: Congress MP and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge says they will raise the matter of alleged hacking of phones using the Pegasus spyware, during today’s Parliament proceedings.
“Nobody is obstructing nation’s development, it is them [Bharatiya Janata Party] who have obstructed it,” says Kharge, according to ANI. “They have earned lakhs and crores of money by imposing cess, hiking fuel price, wasting money on projects.”
10.53 am: BJP MPs hold a meeting in Parliament ahead of Tuesday’s House proceedings, reports ANI.
10.51 am: Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, hold a meeting to discuss the Pegasus project ahead of Tuesday’s session, ANI reports.
10.48 am: Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw is expected to make a statement on the Pegasus project matter in Rajya Sabha, reports ANI.
10.47 am: Proceedings in both Houses will begin at 11 am.
10.43 am: Here are the top updates from Monday’s Parliament proceedings:
- Monday’s sessions in both Houses were adjourned by 3.30 pm amid protests from Opposition MPs against rising fuel prices, the Pegasus hack media report, and the government’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the newly inducted Union ministers to the Lok Sabha as he addressed the Lower House of Parliament. On July 7, as many as 43 leaders were inducted into the Cabinet.
- Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw dismissed reports about surveillance on Indian ministers, Opposition politicians, and journalists. The hacking was allegedly done using Israeli company NSO Group’s spyware called Pegasus.