The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019. During the discussion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the security breach at Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s home last month was due to a “coincidence” as her brother Rahul Gandhi was also about to arrive around the same time. However, an investigation has been ordered into the incident, he said.
Shah said the amendments to the SPG Act were not introduced keeping the Gandhi family in mind. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s SPG cover would also be removed five years after he leaves office.
The Upper House also passed The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019.
The Lok Sabha passed the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019. The legislation restricted the use of hazardous material on ships and regulates the recycling of ships.
Here are the day’s updates from the two Houses:
7.46 pm: The Lok Sabha has been adjourned.
7.46 pm: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, criticised for his remarks on the Gross Domestic Product, has urged the Parliament to form a legislation to ban social media. The legislator has claimed his remarks were distorted, and that members of his family were abused on social media.
On Monday, he had dismissed the need for measuring GDP or its growth in India. “GDP was introduced in India in 1934...we should not make it a gospel like the Bible or the Mahabharata,” he had said. Economic growth fell to 4.5% in the July-September 2019 quarter – the lowest in six years.
7.40 pm: NCP MP Supriya Sule has called for provisions for field reporters in the Lok Sabha. “Last month, when Maharashtra government formation was under way, a reporter carrying a heavy camera intercepted our vehicle on a two-wheeler,” she says, according to The Indian Express. “This is very dangerous as the cameraperson sitting behind cannot wear security gears due to heavy camera.”
6.52 pm: The Lok Sabha has passed the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, by voice vote. The legislation provides for the regulation of recycling ships according to international standards.
6.45 pm: During discussions on the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha, Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule has raised concerns over the impact of ship-breaking on the environment. ‘Make in India’ could turn into ‘Dump in India’, she says.
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Danish Ali has asserted that safety of the workers should not be compromised in the name of providing jobs. Biju Janata Dal leader A Samanata has also raised the matter of ship-breaking being a dangerous profession, calling for stringent safety guidelines.
6.38 pm: The Upper House has been adjourned till Wednesday.
6.37 pm: Rajya Sabha passes The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019.
5.32 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Tiruchi Selva offers his supports to the bill, and asks Home Minister Amit Shah to consider the demand for statehood to Puducherry. “Compared to two other states, Puducherry’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product] and per capita income is higher,” he says. “There are so many other genuine reasons.”
5.16 pm: BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe says the government is “clearing a historic backlog” with this legislation. “When it comes to Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, they face many issues,” he says, according to The Hindu.
5.12 pm: Rajya Sabha begins discussions on The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019.
4.50 pm: Rajya Sabha passes the Special Protections Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
The Bill amends a provision of the Special Protections Group Act, 1988, and provides security to the prime minister, and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence. It will also provide security to any former prime ministers, and his immediate family members residing with them at the residence allotted to them.
This security cover will be provided for a period of five years from the date on which the prime minister ceases to hold the office.
4.32 pm: The home minister says that an investigation has been initiated into the security breach at Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s house. “There is no political vendetta behind this,” Shah says, according to The Hindu. “The entire country’s security is the govt’s responsibility.”
4.29 pm: Shah says that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s SPG security cover will also be withdrawn five years after he leaves office. “Now, Manmohan Singh’s security was also withdrawn and replaced it with ‘Z plus’ security cover.”
4.27 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah responds to the Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha. “This amendment is not brought in by keeping Gandhis in mind, but, one thing that I can say for sure is that the previous four amendments were done by keeping only one family in mind,” he says, according to The Indian Express.
4.25 pm: The Lok Sabha is discussing the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019. The proposed legislation restricts the use of hazardous material on ships and regulates the recycling of ships.
4.23 pm: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy says: “We want them [Gandhi family] to stay alive because they have to go to jail for corruption.”
4.19 pm: Communist Part of India MP Binoy Viswaam says the legislation is based on political vendetta. The politician says the Centre’s reasoning for the bill’s introduction as a cost-cutting measure was unnecessary as lakhs of crores are wasted in non-performing assets, reports The Indian Express.
“It is their vendetta against Nehru, his principals, that they are bringing this Bill,” he says.
4.16 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Kumar Jha opposes to the SPG (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Upper House, reports The Indian Express. “In 1984, we lost Indira Gandhi,” he says. “The other day there was some breach in the house of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi. Some people in the media said they were from the same party. But a breach is a breach. After all, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguard.”
3.58 pm: The Rajya Sabha is discussing the SPG (Amendment) Bill, 2019, for consideration and passing, reports The Hindu. Congress leader Vivek Tankha says he is saddened that party politics has come to such a point that leaders’ safety and security is not being taken seriously. He is referring to the government’s decision to withdraw the Gandhi family’s SPG cover.
3.46 pm: The government has fixed a ceiling on the prices of four medical devices – cardiac stents, drug-eluting stents, condoms and intrauterine – Union Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya tells Lok Sabha. They have been included in the national list of essential medicines, reports The Indian Express.
3.43 pm: Modi government’s “One Nation, One Ration Card” initiative will come into force across India from June 1, 2020, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan tells Parliament, according to The Indian Express. It will largely cover migrant labourers and daily wagers. Eligible beneficiaries will be able to avail entitled food grains under the National Food Security Act from any fair price shop in the country using the same ration card.
1.30 pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2.30 pm.
1.25 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah informs Lok Sabha that the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in the assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, has not been commuted, ANI reports.
Reports had earlier said Rajoana, who was sentenced to death in 2007, will undergo life imprisonment.
1.05 pm: An ex gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh is paid to the next of kins of civilians killed in militancy related violence under the existing scheme of Jammu and Kashmir government, the ministry says. It adds that in addition Rs 5 lakhs is given under a central scheme.
1.01 pm: The home ministry informs Lok Sabha that 19 civilians, including non-Kashmiri labourers, were killed in terror related incidents since Centre’s decision to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, reports ANI.
12.58 pm: BJP MP Hema Malini in Lok Sabha proposes a public-private partnership in education, ANI reports. “At many places in my constituency, schools are being operated in open,” she says. “Children in villages are not receiving quality education.”
12.53 pm: The MHA says that incidents of cross-border infiltration has increased, ANI reports. “During the 88 day period from August 5, 2019 to October 31, 2019 there have been 84 such attempts as against 53 such attempts from May 9, 2019 to August 4, 2019,” the ministry informs Lok Sabha.
12.50 pm: The Ministry for Home Affairs informs Lok Sabha that incidents of terror violence have reduced after Centre’s abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, ANI reports. “From August 5, 2019 to November 27, there have been 88 such incidents as compared to 106 such incidents from April 12, 2019 to August 4, 2019.”
12.45 pm: Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm.
12.35 pm: Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan says in Rajya Sabha the information about Mumbai being at risk of submersion has come from foreign countries, and no research has been conducted in India. Most of Mumbai is reclaimed land, she adds.
12.24 pm: “It is you who is weak [to Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury] because you are standing for the safety and prestige of the woman of one particular family,” says Mahajan.
12.20 pm: BJP MP Poonam Mahajan attacks Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for his comments on Sitharaman, calling her powerless, ANI reports. “Yesterday all MPs stood together on issue of rape and murder of Telangana doctor,” she says. “But after some time, for someone whose name has ‘patience’ in it [referring to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury], he lost patience. What he said about finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was very bad.”
12.15 pm: Chowdhury tries to speak on the matter of skyrocketing prices of onions and the plight of common people.
12.10 pm: Ruckus erupts in Lok Sabha over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s “nirbala” remark and for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah “migrants from Gujarat”. BJP members demand an apology from Chowdhury.
11.58 am: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy urges people to download a web-based application on crime, reports ANI. “It’s being implemented across the country. GRP [Government Railway Police] and CISF [Central Industrial Security Force]are providing security at airports,” he says. “Money has been sanctioned to the states to implement ‘112’ helpline.”
11.56 am: Aam Aadmi Party MPs Sanjay Singh and Sushil Gupta protest in Parliament premises against the rise in onion prices. “32,000 tonnes onions rotted away, why didn’t Centre take action,” asks Singh. “You can let onions rot away but cannot sell it at lower prices?”
11.55 am: BJP MP from Mathura Hema Malini says rape-accused should be jailed permanently while speaking outside Parliament about the rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Telangana, reports ANI. “Once they go in jail they should not be released at all,” she says.
11.50 am: Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh says the party will raise the matter of security breach at Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s residence. “In Lok Sabha our leaders will raise this issue today during the Zero Hour and we will move Adjournment Motion on this issue tomorrow,” he tells ANI.
Seven occupants allegedly trespassed into Gandhi’s Lodhi Estate residence on November 25. The Centre had withdrawn the Special Protection Group security cover of interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi on November 8.