The Winter Session of Parliament began on Monday with protests by Opposition MPs who demanded the return of National Conference MP Farooq Abdullah to the Lok Sabha after more than three months in detention in Kashmir.
The session will last till December 13. As many as 27 new bills are likely to be introduced in this session. Before the session began, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he hoped for “frank discussions” on all matters.
Modi also addressed the Rajya Sabha to mark the 250th session of the Upper House.
Here are the day’s updates from Parliament:
7.10 pm: Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been adjourned for the day.
5.40 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party leader Danish Ali talks about the Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ protest march to Parliament House, PTI reports. He criticises the decision to hike hostel fees and says that poor students aspiring for higher education will suffer because of these decisions.
5.02 pm: Lok Sabha begins discussion on Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill.
3.30 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says misuse of money bill provisions should be avoided, The Indian Express reports. He says that more time should be given to study and debate the bills in the Upper House. “In the 16th Lok Sabha, only 25% bills were referred to committees as compared to 15th and 14th Lok Sabha,” he says. “Regardless of what the other House does, it is crucial for our House to form select committees to ensure bills received go through detailed scrutiny.”
2.57 pm: Manmohan Singh says the Rajya Sabha should be given more powers so that the government consults it better before taking far-reaching decisions such as converting a state into Union Territories or redrawing the boundaries of a state. He was referring to the abrogation of Article 370 of Jammu and Kashmir.
2.51 pm: Modi finishes his speech. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh begins to speak in the Upper House.
2.49 pm: Modi appreciates the Nationalist Congress Party and the Biju Janata Dal for never venturing into the Well of the House to protest. “These parties have wonderfully adhered to Parliamentary norms, they have never ventured into the well,” Modi says. “Yet, they have made their points very effectively.” Other parties, including his own Bharatiya Janata Party, have a lot to learn from these parties, he adds.
2.47 pm: The prime minister adds that the Rajya Sabha is about checks and balances, which is “absolutely essential” for our democracy. “Debates have to be many and effective. But, there is also a difference between checking and clogging, and balance and blocking,” he says.
2.46 pm: “In 2003, Atalji [Atal Bihari Vajpayee] had said that the Rajya Sabha may be the second house but no one should think of it as a secondary house,” Modi says. “Today, I echo the sentiments of Atalji and add that the Rajya Sabha must be a vibrant supportive house for national progress.”
2.45 pm: The Rajya Sabha has worked to further unity, Modi says, adding that the Upper House was also responsible for ensuring the Bills concerning the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was passed.
2.35 pm: The Upper House has risen to the occasion and made a contribution whenever there were matters concerning the national good, says Modi. “It was believed that the Bill on Triple Talaq would not pass here but it did,” the prime minister adds. “Even GST became a reality after it was passed in the Rajya Sabha.”
2.33 pm: The Rajya Sabha gives an opportunity to those away from electoral politics to contribute to the nation and its development, says Modi, adding that it was through the Rajya Sabha that “a stalwart like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar could contribute even more to national progress”.
2.30 pm: The Upper House is eternal and is also representative of India’s diversity, Modi says. “This House gives importance to India’s federal structure,” he adds.
2.28 pm: “The makers of our Constitution envisioned a bicameral legislative framework and this vision has enriched our democracy,” Narendra Modi says.
2.25 pm: The Rajya Sabha is a “far-sighted House”, says Modi, while congratulating MPs for the 250th session of the Upper House. “This House has seen many historic moments, it has made history also and has seen history being made as well,” Modi says, according to ANI.
“250th in itself is not just time but a journey,” he adds, according to News18.
2.20 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his speech in Rajya Sabha.
2.18 pm: Rajya Sabha Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu urges all political parties to ensure their leaders attend standing committee meetings. He is referring to the cancellation of a parliamentary committee meeting last week to discuss pollution in the national Capital. The meeting was cancelled as only four of its 29 members turned up, and some key officials were also missing.
2.13 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned till 3 pm.
1.35 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan is unable to attend Parliament because she is in hospital due to respiratory problem, PTI reports. She is in an intensive care unit but is in a stable condition.
1.33 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak in the Rajya Sabha around 2 pm during a special discussion to mark the 250th session of the House.
1.31 pm: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor says his party colleagues had to raise their voice because they were not given the opportunity to discuss their concern about Farooq Abdullah being absent from the House due to his detention, ANI reports.
12.48 pm: Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Code of Procedure are imposed around Parliament as students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi are trying to march towards it. The students are demanding a complete rollback of the proposed increase in fee for the hostels and mess, which the university’s executive council had partially reversed on Wednesday.
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12.43 pm: Chowdhury also raises the matter of withdrawal of Special Protection Group security cover of interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
They will now be granted Z-plus category protection across India. This entitles them to protection by the Central Reserve Police Force. The Centre withdrew it earlier this month and said the decision was taken after an assessment by Union Home Ministry based on inputs from the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing.
12.40 pm: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says it is Abdullah’s constitutional right to be released and brought to Parliament, ANI reports.
12.38 pm: Opposition MPs raise slogans seeking the release of National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. He has been under house arrest since the beginning of August.
12.34 pm: Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, Shiv Sena MPs walk out amid protests demanding that the government declare unseasonal rains in Maharashtra a natural calamity.
12.30 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm as a mark of respect for five former members, including Arun Jaitley and Ram Jethmalani, who died earlier this year.
12.20 pm: DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad praise Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha.
11.48 am: Ruckus in Lok Sabha as MPs from the Congress, the National Conference and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam protest against the restrictions and political situation in Jammu and Kashmir, News18 reports.
Around 30 members from the Congress troop into the Well, demanding that the government stop attacking the Opposition and filing false cases.
11.46 am: Shiv Sena leaders protest against the agrarian crisis in Maharashtra.
11.45 am: Union minister Prakash Javadekar arrives in an electric car. “Government is gradually switching to electric cars as they are pollution-free,” he tells ANI. “I appeal to people to contribute to fight pollution- start using public transport, electric vehicles.”
11.35 am: Congress MP from Assam Gaurav Gogoi protests against rising pollution in the National Capital Region.
11.33 am: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla pays tributes to former Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Ram Jethmalani. Swaraj died on August 6, Jaitley on August 24, and Jethmalani on September 8.
The Rajya Sabha also pays tributes to former MPs Jagannath Mishra, Sukhdev Singh Libra and Gurudas Gupta.
11.30 am: BJP MPs Mansukh Mandaviya and Manoj Tiwari ride bicycles to Parliament. Delhi and the National Capital Region has been reeling under severe pollution for weeks now.
10.58 am: Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress gives notice for adjournment in Lok Sabha over detention of National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, reports ANI.
10.56 am: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says the government must run the House smoothly so that Opposition can express their views freely, reports ANI. “This is the essence of Parliamentary democracy,” he adds. “We also expect from the prime minister and the ruling party that all the issues concerning to the interest of the common people must be allowed to be discussed inside the Parliament. Parliament is meant for discussion, debate and dialogue.”
10.40 am: Rajya Sabha MPs Nazir Ahmad Laway and Mir Mohammed Fayaz protest in Parliament against the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, ANI reports. Both belong to the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party.
They hold placards against the abrogation of Article 370. “Bring back normalcy in Kashmir. UT status not acceptable,” one placard says, while another says “detentions are no solution”.
10.37 am: The Shiv Sena has issued notice for adjournment in the Lok Sabha over the loss of crops in Maharashtra due to heavy rainfall.
10.33 am: The Congress gives Adjournment Notice in Lok Sabha over the “instability” in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 in August, ANI reports.
10.30 am: Union Home Minister Amit Shah reaches Parliament.
10.25 am: “In the past few days I had the opportunity to meet leaders of almost all political parties,” Modi says, adding that the BJP wants “frank discussions” on all matters. “It is important that there should be quality debates, there should be dialogues and discussions, everyone should contribute to enrich the discussions in the Parliament.”
He adds that the last session of Parliament was “phenomenal due to the support of and active participation all MPs”. That was an achievement of not only the government but all parliamentarians, he adds.
10.20 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says this session is important as it is the last session of of 2019 and is also the 250th session of the Rajya Sabha, ANI reports.
10.15 am: However, the Opposition parties, led by the Congress, are likely to grill the government over matters such as the economic slowdown, farm distress and unemployment and the Centre’s decision to withhold the release of a survey report with adverse data on consumer expenditure. A media report claimed that the survey showed the monthly per capita consumption expenditure had declined for the first time in 2017-’18 since the 1970s.
10.10 am: A total of 10 bills are also pending in the Rajya Sabha.
10.05 am: Other bills include one to ban electronic cigarettes, a Personal Data Protection bill and another amending the Income Tax Act to benefit domestic companies. One bill seeks to amend the Industrial Relations Code to amalgamate three Acts, including the Trade Unions Act and the Companies Act to decriminalise certain offences.
The Healthcare Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments Bill is also likely to be introduced in this session. It seeks to protect doctors from violence by patients.
10 am: The Winter Session of Parliament begins on Monday and will last till December 13. As many as 27 new bills are likely to be introduced in this session.
The government is expected to table the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to amend a 1955 law to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years. The bill was passed in the previous Lok Sabha but not in the Rajya Sabha, and has now lapsed.