Lok Sabha proceedings were on Wednesday extended till midnight to accommodate members’ participation in the discussion on Budget proposals.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said ‘aandolanjeevis [professional protestors] were undermining the pure intent of protesting farmers, adding that the new farm laws “are not coercive”. As Modi spoke about the laws and the protestors, most Congress MPs staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha. The prime minister made the remarks during his address in the Lower House in reply to the Motion of Thanks on President’s Address.
After Modi’s reply, the first speaker on Budget discussion during the day is likely to be Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, according to reports. The Bharatiya Janata Party has issued a whip to all its MPs for Wednesday, asking them to be present in the Lower House.
Here are the top updates of the day:
10.45 pm: “India has repatriated highest number of civilians from foreign countries,” says Surya, according to The Hindu. A”lso India has robustly produced and supplied vaccines to 25 countries. In new India, politicians did not take vaccine first instead, the frontline workers did.”
10.33 pm: BJP leader Tejaswi Suriya lauds the Budget and says India’s model of handling the coronavirus pandemic is being praised around the world.
10 pm: The Lok Sabha proceedings have been extended till midnight to accommodate members’ participation in the discussion on Budget proposals, reports PTI.
8.40 pm: Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant questions the Narendra Modi government’s handling of the farmers protests, reports The Hindu. “Government should have stopped the violent elements but was too incompetent to do so,” he says.
He also attacks Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling the protesting farmers as “andolon kaaris”.
8.21 pm: Moitra asks for permission to ask a question on the privilege motion against her but is stopped from doing so, according to The Hindu.
8.18 pm: Trinamool Congress members start protesting about the notice against Moitra. Arguments breaks out between BJP and Trinamool MPs in the Lower House.
8.15 pm: BJP leader Nishikant Dubey also backs party colleague PP Chaudhary’s notice against Moitra, reports The Hindu. Dubey asks Moitra’s Parliament membership to be cancelled.
8.14 pm: Moving the privilege notice against Moitra, Chaudhary says it does make any difference whether remarks are made about a sitting or retired judge, reports The Hindu.
8.10 pm: BJP MP PP Chaudhary has moved a privilege notice against Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra for her speech during the Motion of Thanks.
Proceedings in the Lok Sabha had descended into chaos on Monday after Moitra brought up the sexual harassment allegations against a former chief justice of India, saying that the judiciary was no longer sacred.
6.36 pm: Shiromani Akali Dal leader Hasimrat Kaur Badal says it is unfortunate that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not mention the 150 people who died during farmers’ protest against the agricultural reforms, reports ANI.
“I think the need of the hour is to listen to what farmer wants,” she says outside the Parliament. “PM said that in Punjab, ministers went and spoke to farmers. I wish he’d tell which farmer was spoken to because as far as I recall, the only minister who went to Punjab called farmers hooligans.”
6.20 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says Indian citizens have been repeatedly left disappointed by the government’s mediocrity in public policy, reports The Hindu.
“No relief in tax rates for middle class,” he continues. “As for the poor, young, aspirational they too have been failed. MGNREGA allocation slashed by 35% at a time of record unemployment levels. Education budget sees a 6% cut. Sainik Schools are in desperate shape.”
6.16 pm: Tharoor also says the Budget does little to reassure farmers about the Minimum Support Price. “A quarter of the budget for MSP has been cut,” he says. “Even worse is the plight of fishermen. This budget has denied them any relief. No fiscal support, no diesel subsidy. The government has ignored thousands of tea workers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”
6.06 pm: In Lok Sabha, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says the Narendra Modi government has deceived people with the Union Budget presented on February 1, reports The Hindu.
“Government has deceived us in terms of health care allocation,” says Tharoor. “The finance minister said the allocation was 137% on the previous year nut she didn’t keep her word. Betrayal of our health care workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic.”
6 pm: Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says the party MPs walked out during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address as he did not discuss their concerns about the farmers’ death, reports ANI.
“He agreed that amendments are required in farm laws, some states will be benefitted and some won’t,” he adds. “Why do you have to bring laws that won’t be benefitting everyone?”
5.53 pm: Voting on Motion of Thanks to the President to both Houses of Parliament. Motion has been passed.
5.49 pm: “Our government will continue to work for the ‘agenda of the country’,” Modi says. “I urge the protesting farmers to discuss their problems with the government.”
With this, the prime minister concludes his address.
5.42 pm: “I strongly believe that our farmers will improve their situation but they need reforms and guidance to new markets,” Modi says, according to The Hindu. “It will improve agro-based industry and the economy of rural India.”
5.39 pm: Trinamool Congress MPs walk out of the Lower House during Modi’s speech, reports The Indian Express.
5.33 pm: “When ‘aandolanjeevis’ disrupt innocent protests and call for the release of those jailed during the demonstrations then it pollutes the intention of the farmers protest,” Modi says. “Some even destroyed mobile towers in Punjab.”
5.32 pm: “I want to remind the Congress that the country needs the public sector as much as the private one,” Modi says.
5.30 pm: Modi speaks about Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s comments in the past supporting the measures related to the Agricultural Produce Market Committee.
5.16 pm: Modi says that the farm sector and every farmer cannot be empowered if modernity is not adopted. “Till the time we could not bring investment and new technologies to our agriculture, we will not be able to make our farming sector strong,” he adds. “We need to go beyond growing only wheat and paddy.”
5.13 pm: “To concede things just in demand and not as part of progressive policy is a feudal thought,” the prime minister says, according to The Hindu. “No one demanded Kisan Samman Nidhi, toilets, good connectivity. We must work to reform. For fear of being unsuccessful not to strive to reform is unacceptable.”
5.11 pm: “Farming is a part of our culture...our rishis have written a lot about farming...it has been a part of our history,” Modi says. “Our festivals are also related to agriculture.”
5.03 pm: The central government should be sensitive towards the needs of citizens. “We should not have to wait for people to ask for facilities...a government should be proactive,” Modi adds.
5 pm: “The Congress is divided and confused,” Modi says as the party’s leader walk out of the House. “They can neither work for its own good nor it can think about solving the issues of the country. What can be more unfortunate than this?”
4.54 pm: “There is a new way to protest these days...” Modi says. “Some ‘aandolanjeevis’ employing tactics to spread rumours.”
4.53 pm: Modi asks Congress Leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to allow him to speak.
4.51 pm: “These attempts to shout and create chaos is part of a well-thought political conspiracy,” Modi says. “...but you [Opposition] cannot earn people’s trust this way.”
4.50 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla urges protesting members of the Opposition to remain in their seats and allow Modi to complete his speech.
4.49 pm: Opposition uproar can be heard in the Lower House.
4.47 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla asks members of the House to allow the prime minister to finish his address. Birla asks DMK MP TR Baalu to take his seat and asks Modi to continue.
4.47 pm: “This is the reason why topmost ministers of the government are constantly talking to them,” Modi says. “There is great respect for the farmers.”
4.45 pm: “The Centre and the members of the Parliament respect the feeling of the protesting farmers and will continue to do so,” Modi adds.
4.44 pm: A commotion can be heard in the Lok Sabha.
4.41 pm: The prime minister says that debates about the new farm laws could have focussed on the Centre’s intent in introducing them. “As far as protests are concerned, the farmers sitting at Delhi’s borders have the wrong impression.”
4.39 pm: “...three new farm laws have been introduced,” Modi says. “We made an honest effort to address the problems in the sector.”
4.31 pm: “It is a matter of pride for India that after the outbreak of the coronavirus...in the fight against an ‘unknown enemy’...the discipline of 130 crore Indians saved us. The credit goes to 130 crore Indians,” Modi says.
4.29 pm: “Today, in a post-coronavirus world, a new world order will come about,” Modi says. “In this situation, India has to become a strong player. To find its place in the new world order, India needs to become a strong player...and the way to do that is a self-reliant India.”
4.28 pm: “During the discussion on the President’s speech, a large number of women MPs took part,” he says. “This is a great sign. I want to congratulate the women MPs who enriched the House proceedings with their thoughts.”
4.27 pm: Modi invokes the words of Vivekananda in his Lok Sabha address.
4.24 pm: “We’re knocking at the doors of 75 years of Independence,” the prime minister says. “It’s a matter of pride for every Indian and an occasion to move forward. We may be in any corner or belong to any strata of society, but we must resolve to take India to new heights at 100 years of freedom.”
4.23 pm: “The speech by President showcased India’s ‘Sankalp Shakti’,” Modi says in the Lok Sabha. “His [Ram Nath Kovind’s] words have boosted the spirit of confidence among the people of India.”
4.21 pm: Modi says that every Indian citizens aim should be to make sure that the country reaches new heights.
4.18 pm: Modi begins by praising President Ram Nath Kovind’s address in the Parliament.
4.16 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins to address the Lok Sabha.
3.07 pm: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned, reports The Hindu.
3.05 pm: Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Modi says this year’s Budget received a positive response from the industry and Sensex, reports India Today. He said that despite a 23% drop in revenue collection, the government has not imposed any new tax in the Budget.
1.45 pm: The prime minister will reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address around 4 pm today, says his office.
1.35 pm: Congress MP Kapil Sibal criticises “non-transparency” in Budget documents regarding the government’s disinvestment plans of public sector banks and other state-owned assets.
1.34 pm: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy informs Rajya Sabha that no civilians were privy to information related to the abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, reports PTI.
1.33 pm: Lok Sabha passes Bill that seeks to provide greater autonomy in decision-making to 12 major ports in the country, reports PTI.
12.41 pm: Congress MP Manickam Tagore gives adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over the “abnormal situation at the China border”, reports ANI.
12.39 pm: Minster of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai gives account of cross-border infiltration cases along India-Bangladesh border since 2016, reports ANI.
12.34 pm: Congress MP K Suresh gives adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha demanding discussion on the topic “alarming rise in Covid-19 cases in Kerala”, reports ANI.
11.17 am: Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai tells the Parliament that rules related to the Citizenship Amendment Act are under preparation, ANI reports. “The Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have granted an extension up to 9th April 2021 and 9th July 2021 respectively,” says in a written reply.
11.12 am: Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya moves the Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 in the Rajya Sabha. He says the bill seeks to facilitate business in the port sector, The Hindu reports.
Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil says: “The Bill has weaknesses and lacuna that benefit a certain friend. Has this Bill been brought in to help a friend? Airports have been named after that friend [a reference to Gautam Adani], now the intention seems to hand over the 12 sea ports to a particular friend.”
11.08 am: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri responds to a question about allowing flights to operate at 80% capacity. “On one hand, some of the carriers want us to open 100% while others would like us to take it slow,” he says, according to ANI. “Our decision to raise it beyond 80% will depend on the behaviour of the virus.”
10.19 am: Congress MP Manish Tewari gives an adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over BJP leader VK Singh’s statement on LAC transgression.
9.15 am: In Rajya Sabha, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh says there is a lot of interest among the members in discussing the Budget. “My suggestion is that increase the time to debate the Budget from 10 hours to 12 hours,” he adds.
9.08 am: Rajya Sabha proceedings begin for the day. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu is on the chair.
8.48 am: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Vijay Pal Singh Tomar has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over demand for a separate bench of Allahabad High Court in western Uttar Pradesh.
8.46 am: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Anil Baluni has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over the need for a mechanism to study glaciers to manage and prevent disasters like the one in Uttrakhand, reports ANI.
8.45 am: The BJP has issued a three-line whip to all its MPs for Wednesday, asking them to be present in the Lower House, reports News18.
8.40 am: According to reports, Rahul Gandhi will be the first speaker after PM Narendra Modi to lead the Opposition’s charge against the government over the three farm laws.
8.37 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reply to the motion of thanks on the President’s address in the Lok Sabha today, according to ANI.
8.34 am: The discussion on the General Budget is listed after consideration of Major Ports Bill in Rajya Sabha today, reports ANI. In Lok Sabha, it is listed after the ongoing discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address. Usually, discussion on the General Budget is taken up first in Lok Sabha. But exceptions were made in 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965 and 2002.
8.30 am: Here are the top updates from Tuesday:
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the Rajya Sabha that there was no danger of flooding in low-lying areas of Uttarakhand, after the Chamoli glacier disaster. He also provided details of the massive rescue operation being carried out in the state.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday became emotional and broke into tears while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, during the farewell of Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of Opposition in the Upper House. Azad and three other MPs from Jammu and Kashmir – Nazir Ahmad Laway, Shamsher Singh Manhas and Mir Mohammad Fayaz will complete their terms in the Rajya Sabha next week.
- The Delhi Police acted in a swift and impartial manner while dealing with the 2020 North East Delhi violence, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. In a reply to a written question, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said that the police action was “proportionate and appropriate”, and was done in an attempt to control the situation. “During the North East Delhi riots, Delhi Police acted swiftly in an impartial and fair manner,” he said. “Proportionate and appropriate actions were taken by Delhi Police to control the situation.”