The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, PTI reported. The proposed legislation seeks to remove corruption, improve road safety and use technology to regulate traffic. The government also assured the states that the bill would not take away their rights.

However, some Opposition parties voiced concern that the bill would affect states’ rights. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi and Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy asked Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to incorporate the suggestions of their parties into the bill.

Kanimozhi said the Centre’s assurance to the states means nothing as the government and minister can change. She also said that the Centre already controls seaways, airways and trains, and now wants to control roadways too. Kanimozhi also attacked the provision in the bill which does away with the need for education for a driver.

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MP Hanuman Beniwal suggested that only those who have less than three children should be allowed to contest elections, PTI reported. Beniwal claimed that one of the reasons for high number of road accidents was the increasing population. The MP also said India should adopt a three-child policy if not a two-child one.

The Lok Sabha also passed a resolution to set up a joint committee on offices of profit, which will have members from both the Houses. The main function of the panel would be to determine what constitutes an office of profit, PTI reported. Holding an office of profit may lead to disqualification of MPs.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad moved the motion in the Lok Sabha, and it was passed by a voice vote. The joint committee on offices of profit has been constituted for the duration of the Lok Sabha and consists of 15 members – 10 from the Lok Sabha and five from the Rajya Sabha.

The government on Tuesday also introduced the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill and the Code on Wages Bill in the Lok Sabha. However, the Opposition demanded that these proposed legislation be sent to a select committee first.

The proposed Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019, will increase the coverage of workers and also merge 13 central labour laws into a single code which would apply to all establishments employing 10 or more workers. The Code on Wages Bill allows the government to fix minimum wages for the whole country.

However, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the bill must be sent to a standing committee for scrutiny as the proposed changes will have major ramifications. His views were backed up by Revolutionary Socialist Party MP NK Premachandran and Saugata Roy.

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned thrice on Tuesday and witnessed repeated disruptions by the Opposition members over United States President Donald Trump’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, PTI reported. The entire opposition walked out in protest that the Prime Minister has not come to the House and asked him to respond in the matter.

Rajya Sabha was initially adjourned till 12 pm and then till 2 pm. As the House resumed, Congress leader Anand Sharma requested the Deputy Chairman to consider notices given by him and other members of the opposition seeking a reply from Modi in the House.

“I and other members of the opposition have given notices. We have rights as members of the House,” he was quoted as saying. “There are certain traditions and dignity of the House. Whenever the prime minister goes out and whenever there is an international issue, the prime minister must reply. Let the prime minister come.”

However, the Deputy Chairman said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has responded in the matter earlier in the day. “I would like to categorically state that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President,” Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha.