The third day of the Winter Session of the Parliament began with another round of protests by the Opposition MPs, similar to the first two days. The Congress raised its concern about the withdrawal of SPG security cover for the Gandhi family and had staged a walkout.
Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Parliament that there is no proposal to link Aadhaar with social media accounts of citizens.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the Rajya Sabha that the National Register of Citizens would be implemented across the country and no one should be worried about the process. Shah also said that the decision to restore internet connections in Kashmir will be taken by the local authorities. He added that banks, courts and government offices as well as TV channels and landlines were operating properly in the region.
Here are the day’s updates from Parliament:
7.20 pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned till Thursday 11 am.
7.10 pm: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy says there is no proposal for one nation-one language, ANI reports. “Constitution accords equal importance to all the languages of the country,” he says.
6.36 pm: Union Minister of Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad says the government has no proposal to link Aadhaar with social media accounts of citizens, reports PTI.
6.30 pm: Lok Sabha passes the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The legislation will put in place a mechanism to ensure transparency in chit fund schemes and protect subscribers.
6.02 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 11.00 am on Thursday.
5.33 pm: Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan speaks about Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, reports ANI. She says the provision of certification as a transgender is discriminatory and humiliating. “What’s need to humiliate them like this that you have to go and tell a committee that you’re a transgender,” she asks. “Can’t segregate them this way. Bill doesn’t pay attention to sensitive details that a person can forcibly be made into transgender. Let the bill please go for a revision.”
4.58 pm: The Lok Sabha is now discussing Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019, for consideration and passage. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is addressing the Lower House.
4.50 pm: Congress MP Rajeev Gowda has told the Rajya Sabha that the Transgender Persons Bill needs to incorporate a proper redress mechanism. “The Bill mentions that establishments will need to have a complaint officer, but there is no clarity on what the functions of the complaint officer will be,” Firstpost quotes him as saying.
4.43 pm: BJP MP Shankar Lalwani has urged the Centre to get Pakistan to waive the passport requirement for pilgrims visiting the gurdwara in Kartarpur, reports India Today. The parliamentarian has told the Lok Sabha that the Centre should also take up with Islamabad the matter of the fee that pilgrims are being charged. Pakistanis visiting religious places such as the Ajmer Sharif Dargah are not required to pay extra fees.
4.37 pm: Earlier in the day, Union minister Jitendra Singh, who looks after the Department of Atomic Energy, told the Lower House that any cyber attack on the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu would have been “confined to the administrative block”, reports PTI. The plant confirmed on October 30 that it had been targeted in a cyberattack.
4.30 pm: Ravi Shankar Prasad confirms that according to WhatsApp the devices of 121 Indian users may have been compromised in the Pegasus attack, reports ANI.
4.25 pm: Asked if WhatsApp had told the government about the spyware attack, Ravi Shankar Prasad tells the Lok Sabha that on September 5 the company said it was reviewing the available information. WhatsApp reportedly told the government that the “full extent of the attack may never be known”, reports ANI. The messaging company has claimed that it had informed the government about the attack in May too.
3.08 pm: The Rajya Sabha is discussing the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill.
3 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has written to Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu about the change in the seating position of his party, ANI reports. He says there has been no formal announcement about the Shiv Sena’s departure from the National Democratic Alliance. “This decision was taken by someone deliberately to hurt Shiv Sena’s sentiments and suppress our voice,” he says.
2.30 pm: Lok Sabha resumes proceedings.
2.15 pm: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tells the Lok Sabha that reports linking Pegasus spyware to state agencies are attempts to malign the government, ANI reports. “Government is committed to protect fundamental rights of citizens, including right to privacy. Government operates strictly as per provisions of law and laid down protocols,” he says.
2.05 pm: Rajya Sabha proceedings resume.
1.13 pm: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm, The Indian Express reports.
1.10 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs tells the Rajya Sabha that the Citizenship Amendment Bill lapsed after the previous session of Parliament, and is pending for consideration in the Upper House, ANI reports.
1.07 pm: Shah says that the National Register of Citizens is different from the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the sense that all citizens of India, irrespective of religion, will figure in the NRC list, ANI reports.
“The process of NRC will be carried out across the country. No one irrespective of religion should be worried, it is just a process to get everyone under the NRC,” he adds, according to the Hindustan Times.
1.04 pm: Shah says that Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian and Parsi refugees who have faced discrimination based on religion in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan should get Indian citizenship, which is why the Citizenship Amendment Bill has been brought in, ANI reports.
1.02 pm: The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2.30 pm, The Hindu reports.
1 pm: Thamizhachi Thangapandian, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP from Chennai South, says there is no hospital facility with trauma department in ECR, Chennai, The Hindu reports.
12.40 pm: The Union home minister adds that in Srinagar, over 60 lakh people were taken care of in the Out Patient Departments of hospitals, and a little more in October.
12.37 pm: “The supply of medicines is adequate,” Shah says according to a tweet by the BJP. “Mobile vans have been provided and hospitals have enough medicine as well. The healthcare is being taken care by the authorities in the region.”
12.33 pm: Shah says all TV channels, as well as Urdu and English newspapers, are functioning properly. The home minister adds that all courts and government offices are open.
12.27 pm: Shah challenges Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to counter the facts he has presented, and says he is willing to discuss the matter even for an hour.
12.22 pm: Shah claims that there is adequate availability of petrol, diesel, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas and rice in Kashmir, ANI reports. He adds that 22 lakh metric tonnes of apples are expected to be produced, and that all landlines are working in the state. Shah says 59 lakh mobile connections are working.
12.20 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah says that the decision on restoring internet services in Kashmir will be taken by the union territory’s authorities, ANI reports. “There are activities by Pakistan too in Kashmir region, so keeping security in mind, whenever the local authority deems it fit, a decision will be taken,” Shah says.
11.46 am: Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad lists everything the government has done to reduce pendency of cases in lower courts, The Hindu reports. In reply to a question, he says that 478 new judges have been appointed to High Courts in the last five years. He says there is an argument in favour of creating an All India Judiciary Services.
11.25 am: Union minister JP Nadda says security has not been withdrawn, and there is nothing political about the matter. He says the Union Home Ministry follows a set protocol while granting security, according to threat perception.
11.22 am: In the Lok Sabha, a Tamil Nadu MP asks about the waste fuel generated by the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, The Hindu reports. Union minister Jitendra Singh says that under the old agreement with the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the waste fuel was to be taken back to the Soviet Union. However, under a new agreement, the fuel will be deposited in India itself. This is a safe mechanism, he adds.
11.15 am: Congress MP Anand Sharma, in the Rajya Sabha, raises the matter of withdrawal of Special Protection Group cover to Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi, ANI reports. “We urge government that issues of security of our leaders have to be beyond partisan political considerations,” he says.
11 am: The third day of the Winter Session begins.
10.50 am: Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to speak in the Rajya Sabha today, ANI reports. He may address MPs to mark the Upper House’s 250th session.
10.40 am: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury issues adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over the purchase of paddy from Chhattisgarh, ANI reports. The Congress also gives a zero-hour notice in the Rajya Sabha over the same matter.
10.35 am: The Trinamool Congress gives an adjournment notice in Lok Sabha over the blackout of communications in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre revoked its special status in August, ANI reports.
10.30 am: The Congress gives suspension of business notice in the Rajya Sabha over the withdrawal of Special Protection Group security cover of interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, ANI 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.
10.25 am: Biju Janata Dal MP Prasanna Acharya issues zero-hour notice in the Rajya Sabha over the increase in incidents of acid attack.
10.20 am: Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh gives zero-hour notice in Rayja Sabha over the alleged deterioration of law and order in Delhi, ANI reports.
10.15 am: The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday did not provide a direct answer when asked in the Lok Sabha if it had used the Pegasus spyware to intercept WhatsApp calls and messages of Indians activists and journalists. Instead, the ministry listed the laws that empower it to intercept information based on certain conditions.
10.10 am: The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that security personnel had arrested 765 people in Jammu and Kashmir since the region’s special status was revoked.
10 am: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday discussed air pollution in Delhi, which has seen air quality plummet to hazardous levels in recent weeks. Many parliamentarians said that farmers should not be vilified for burning stubble that contributes to the smog in the region.