The second day of the Winter Session of the Parliament began with another round of protests by the Opposition MPs, similar to the first day. The Congress raised its concern about the withdrawal of SPG security cover for the Gandhi family and had staged a walkout.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asked the secretariat of the Upper House to revisit the dress code of the marshals, who got a new military-style uniform to mark the 250th session. This followed criticism from former Army chiefs.
The Upper House witnessed protests against hostel fee hikes in Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The Lok Sabha discussed the air pollution and climate emergency in New Delhi.
Here are the day’s updates from Parliament:
6.35 pm: Lok Sabha proceedings have been adjourned till Wednesday, reports ANI.
6.30 pm: Gautam Gambhir’s party colleague Manoj Tiwari also criticises the Aam Aadmi Party government. “The Delhi government should have provided funds for sprinklers which can help in combating pollution,” News18 quotes him as saying in the Lower House. “However, it did not do so. Eventually, the funds came from the Narendra Modi-led Central government.”
6.27 pm: BJP MP Gautam Gambhir is speaking about air pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region. Gambhir, who has been criticised for missing a parliamentary committee meeting on the crisis, takes a dig at the Arvind Kejriwal government. “The state can no longer get away with gimmick like odd-even and banning construction sites,” he tells the Lok Sabha. “We need long term sustainable solutions and stop the blame game. It’s time to own up and act responsibly.”
6.23 pm: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till Wednesday, reports ANI.
6.02 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla extends the session for half an hour to discuss air pollution.
5.59 pm: Aam Aadmi Party criticises BJP lawmakers for not attending the Parliament session that is discussing air pollution. “When a discussion was going on about a serious issue like pollution, BJP MPs were missing,” the official handle of the party tweeted. “But the MPs were certainly present in a meeting which was aimed at spreading lies about water.”
5.56 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party MP Danish Ali says it is a matter of shame that only four legislators attended the meeting on air pollution. Only four of the 29 MPs on the Standing Committee on Urban Development turned up for the meeting on November 15.
The Aam Aadmi Party had then criticised BJP MP Gautam Gambhir for choosing “enjoyment” over the meeting on air pollution.
5.51 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Lok Sabha earlier in the day that security personnel had arrested 765 people in Jammu and Kashmir since the region’s special status was revoked, reports Firstpost.
5.44 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar calls for a “Swachh Hawa Mission” similar to “Swachh Bharat Mission”, the nationwide cleanliness drive launched by the prime minister.
Under Rule 193, the Lok Sabha is currently discussing air pollution and climate change. According to the rule under the parliamentary procedure, deliberations will occur without voting.
5.38 pm: BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had alleged in the past that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Lieutenant Governor prevented him from working.
“In the last six months everyone is letting him work, he is distributing everything for free,” he says, according to ANI. “Aaj jo usne Dilli ko diya hai ki paanch saal pehle akela Delhi CM khaasta tha, aaj poori Dilli khaas rahi hai. [Five years ago, only the Delhi CM used to cough now the whole city is coughing]”. The BJP MP says Kejriwal has given pollution for free to the national Capital.
5.15 pm: Out of the seven BJP MPs from the national Capital, four are attending the Lok Sabha session, reports The Indian Express.
5.09 pm: BJP MP from West Delhi Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma says Delhi government attributes poor air quality to stubble burning when the primary causes are vehicular pollution and factories, reports The Indian Express.
5.06 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar says climate change could possibly lead to mass extinction. “Climate change is affecting the whole planet, and it is a very serious matter,” she says in the Lok Sabha, according to Firstpost. “We may be staring at the possibility of mass extinction...Should we not be thinking beyond politics on this issue?”
5.03 pm: The Upper House begins discussion of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill. It seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and mandates the constitution of national and state surrogacy boards. If passed, the legislation will also provide for the appointment of authorities for the regulation of the practice.
5.01 pm: Rajya Sabha passes the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill. The legislation removes the Congress president from the list of trustees and places the leader of the single-largest party in the Opposition instead.
The Congress chief was a permanent member of the committee.
4.46 pm: Congress says stringent laws need to be implemented to tackle pollution. The party gives the example of China’s capital Beijing, which it says has cleaned its air.
Biju Janta Dal cites an example from the city of London in the United Kingdom. The party says 100 trees should be planted for each tree that is cut, reports The Indian Express.
4.40 pm: Tewari says a committee should be formed to look into pollution and climate change similar to the panel on public undertakings and estimates committee.
4.20 pm: Congress MP Manish Tewari says that the air quality in Delhi gets worse every year, reports The Indian Express. “Why is there no word from the government and this House over it?” he says in the Lok Sabha. “Why do people have to knock the Supreme Court’s doors every year? Not only air, our rivers too are polluted.
4.18 pm: Rajya Sabha begins discussions on Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
4.15 pm: Monsoons claimed at least 2,391 lives and damaged more than eight lakh homes, says the home ministry, according to PTI. During the season, 15,729 cattle were lost and 63.97 lakh hectares of farm fields were affected due to floods, cloudburst, and landlsides.
4.09 pm: Union Minister of State for Home Nityananada Rai informs the Lok Sabha that only Rajasthan and Manipur have passed legislations on mob lynching, reports PTI. Rai says two advisories were sent to the state governments on the Supreme Court’s directive to curb cases of mob lynching.
4.03 pm: The home ministry says there has been a decline in stone-pelting cases in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre revoked the region’s special constitutional status.
4.01 pm: On the Naga peace talks, the home ministry says significant progress has been made. “Almost all Naga undergrounds are engaged with the Government of India in the peace process,” the ministry says. “All stakeholders including the states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh will be duly consulted before any settlement is arrived at with the Naga groups and their concerns will be taken into consideration.”
3.56 pm: Ministry of Home Affairs responds to queries in the Lok Sabha, reports ANI. “Recommendations for Bharat Ratna are received regularly from various quarters, but no formal recommendation for this award is necessary,” the minstry says. “Decision regarding Bharat Ratna are taken from time to time.”
2.06 pm: Over 20 Congress MPs storm into the Well and shout slogans, India Today reports. They shout slogans such as “please stop revenge politics” and “end dictatorship”.
“Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are not just any protectee,” Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says. “Vajpayee had allowed SPG protection for the Gandhi family. From 1991-2019, NDA came to power twice but their SPG cover was never removed.”
2 pm: Congress MPs walk out of Lok Sabha in protest against the withdrawal of Special Protection Group security cover of interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, India Today reports.
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.
1.15 pm: Opposition leaders meet Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu to seek a discussion on the Jawaharlal Nehru University protests, reports ANI. They are likely to continue raising the matter when the House reconvenes at 2 pm.
12 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar says there is a need to think about depleting air pollution levels in Delhi. “We need to rise above politics and come together to find a solution,” she tells ANI. “We need to find a way to fight climate change.”
11.45 am: Opposition leaders storm the Well of the Lok Sabha, shout slogans of “We want justice, we want justice” and “Jawab do, jawab do”.
Speaker Om Birla says he will be forced to take action against members protesting in the Well. Questions related to farmers’ issues are taken up amid the din.
11.40 am: Venkaiah Naidu says the Rajya Sabha Secretariat came up with the new dress code for the marshals after going through several other options. “But we’ve received some observations by some political as well as well-meaning people,” Naidu says. “I’ve decided to ask Secretariat to revisit the same.”
Rajya Sabha marshals were on Monday seen wearing dark blue uniforms, with shoulder insignia, gold buttons and gold aiguillette – an ornament braided cord seen on Army uniforms. The peaked cap resembles those worn by Army officers of the rank of brigadier and above. Former Army chiefs criticised the change in the uniforms of the marshals. “Copying and wearing of military uniforms by non military personnel is illegal and a security hazard,” former Army chief Ved Prakash Malik tweeted.
11.30 am: Congress party gives adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha for withdrawal of Special Protection Group cover to its leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, reports ANI.
Earlier this month, the Centre had withdrawn the SPG security cover for the Gandhi family and provided them Z-plus category protection across India, which entitles them to protection by the Central Reserve Police Force.
11.25 am: Tuesday’s list of businesses in the two Houses:
- Discussion under Rule 193 on air pollution and climate change. According to the rule under the parliamentary procedure, deliberations will occur without voting.
- The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Lower House had started discussions on it on Monday.
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, which seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and mandates the constitution of national and state surrogacy boards. It also provides for the appointment of authorities for the regulation of the practice.
- The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was passed in the Lower House, intends to remove the Congress president from the list of trustees and place the leader of the single-largest party in the Opposition instead.
- The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 1987, which is likely to be withdrawn along with The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013, and The National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill, 2011.
11.10 am: Opposition leaders in Rajya Sabha ask for adjournment to discuss matters they had given notice on. Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam gives suspension notice under Rule 267 in lieu of the Jawaharlal Nehru University protests against increase in fee of hostels and the mess.
Venkaiah Naidu adjourns the House till 2 pm.
11.05 am: Rajya Sabha Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu reads out obituary reference to former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. It also reads a commendation to Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee.
11 am: The second day of the Winter Session begins in the Lok Sabha with discussions on doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Opposition protests immediately, with slogans such as “We want justice”.