10.45 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP DM Kathir Anand calls the Budget an “election manifesto”, reports The Hindu.

10.42 pm: Lok Sabha proceedings will go on till midnight.

10.40 pm: Congress MP from Odisha Saptagiri Sankar says the Budget has not provided any income tax relief to taxpayers, according to The Hindu.

10.38 pm: Rashtriya Loktantrik Party Hanuman Beniwal in Lok Sabha says the “disappointing” Union Budget was announced after “unprecedented disruptions”, reports The Hindu. “Everyone was looking at this Budget,” he adds. “But the Budget was disappointing. The farmers, youth got nothing in return. The PM perhaps want to withdraw the farm bills but does not know how to do it. These people are the people who gave 120 seats to the BJP-NDA in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Don’t think these people will tire out.”

8.39 pm: Union minister Smriti Irani says that it is not acceptable for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to speak on the budget, reports ANI. “[The] Budget is to make India self-reliant, to connect India,” she says. “Those who supported slogans calling for fragmentation of India can never support Budget dedicated to India.”

Irani also says that Gandhi spoke about farmers and levelled allegations against the government. “I was surprised because he never gets involved in discussion of the system in the region from where he was an MP even though he expresses concerns about the mandi system in that region,” she adds.

8.38 pm: Revolutionary Socialist Party MP NK Premachandran says the Budget seems like that India is showcased for sale, according to The Hindu. He says that the dream of the economic advisor of a V-shaped recovery was unrealistic.

8.35 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pratima Bhoumick praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making the country aware of all the states in the North East, reports The Hindu. Earlier, only Guwahati would be known to be people, she says.

8.23 pm: Congress MP from Bihar Dr Mohammad Jawed also claims the Budget is focused on poll-bound states, reports The Hindu. He calls the Budget disappointing.

8.20 pm: National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi says the Budget does not have any infrastructure projects for Jammu and Kashmir, claiming that it is only for poll-bound states, reports The Hindu.

7.05 pm: BJP MP Sanjay Jaiswal mocks Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s speech on farm laws.

6.45 pm: Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule seeks a clarification on the state government’s role in defence Budget, reports The Hindu.

5.59 pm: Thakur criticises the Congress, and says its party leaders are not prepared to speak on the Budget.

5.53 pm: Thakur hails the Narendra Modi government for uplifting the lives of the poor in the country.

5.48 pm: BJP MP and Union Minister Anurag Thakur speaks in the Lok Sabha, and criticises Rahul Gandhi’s speech on the farm laws.

5.46 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla urges the House to maintain order.

5.43 pm: “Thus the aim of the first law is to end mandis,” Gandhi says, according to The Hindu. “Second law says that big corporates can store as much produce as they want. This will end the Essential Commodities Act, and to increase hoarding. The third law’s content is when a farmer goes before a big corporate house to get a fair price for his crop, he will be prevented from approaching the courts.”

5.35 pm: Gandhi says it is not just a protest of the farmers but also of the nation.

5.33 pm: BJP MP and Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi cites rules of discussion in the House.

5.32 pm: The Congress leader continues his criticism of the three new farm laws as BJP leaders in the Lok Sabha oppose his comments.

5.30 pm: “Intent of first law is to give one friend, the right to have all crops of India,” Gandhi says. “Who will lose out? ‘Thelawalas’, small businessmen and those working in the mandis. The intent of the second law is to help the second friend. He keeps 40% of India’s crops in his storage.”

5.28 pm: Rahul Gandhi says the current BJP government follows a “Hum do hamare do” policy to criticise the intent behind the new farm laws.

5.27 pm: “Yesterday while addressing the House, PM said that the Opposition is talking about the agitation but not about the content and intent of farm laws,” Gandhi says. “I thought I should make him happy today and speak on the content and intent of the laws.”

5.24 pm: Rahul Gandhi begins to speak in the Lok Sabha. A few parliamentarians can be heard opposing to Gandhi speaking about farm laws during a debate on the Budget.

4.34 pm: BJP MP Tirath Singh Rawat asks Gadkari about the Char Dham road-widening project.

“It is a ₹12,000 crores project, with 53 packages, 13 packages under construction out of which 5 go through eco sensitive zones,” Gadkari says in response, according to The Hindu. “That matter has come before the SC, and a committee was set up where the chairman was on one side, and 21 members on another. The SC then reduced the breadth of the road.”

Gadkari adds that the government is trying to find a balance between the project and project and environmental sensitivity. “Transplanting of trees is a priority,” he says, according to The Hindu. “Our department has decided to construct a New Delhi-Dehradun highway where the distance will only take 3.5 hours, it will be an elevated road for a bit and will skirt forest areas without hitting them.”

4.26 pm: The Lok Sabha begins its proceedings. During the question hour, BJP MP Ram Das Chandrabhanji Tadas asks when the rail over bridge in Maharashtra’s Wardha district will be completed, The Hindu reports.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari says the time line for the project had been fixed but there were some concerns related to land-use change and encroachment.

4.06 pm: The Centre tells the Parliament that Information Technology rules are being amended to make social media platforms more accountable to Indian laws, ANI reports.

4.02 pm: Congress MP K Suresh gives an Adjournment Motion Notice in the Lok Sabha over the alleged tampering of digital evidence in Bhima Koregaon case, ANI reports.

Also read: Bhima Koregaon: Key evidence against jailed activists planted using malware, says forensic report

1.22 pm: Chidambaram says the government is not spending enough on capital expenditure, reports The Hindu. “The numbers will unravel and there is no excuse this year,” he says. “The money you borrowed will only be used to fill the gaps.”

1.16 pm: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram says this year’s Budget is “prepared for the rich, of the rich and by the rich”, reports The Hindu. “This budget has done nothing for the poor of India, migrant workers, those who have waiting for ration,” he adds. “We must therefore record our strongest protest and dissent. And because of this dissent we will be called andolanjeevi [professional protestors].”

1.09 pm: Rajya Sabha Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu tells the House that the Business Advisory Committee met and decided that discussion and reply on Budget will be completed by Friday, reports The Hindu. The house will not sit on Saturday, he adds. This means that the first part of the Budget session will now end on Friday, two days ahead of the schedule.

1.06 pm: Congress leader P Chidambaram, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, criticises the government’s Budget. “I have to complement that for the first time there was no mention of defence in the Budget speech,” he says, reports The Hindu. “The health sector is completely shot down in the Budget.”

1.04 pm: After addressing the Rajya Sabha, Defence Minister will make a statement on the situation in eastern Ladakh in Lok Sabha at 5pm.

10.57 am: Providing details about the disengagement process initiated at the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso, the defence minister says that senior commanders from both sides will meet within 48 hours after disengagement. Troops will be removed in a phased, coordinated and verified manner, he adds.

“India will move to Finger 3 at DS Post on north bank and China will move east side,” the defence minister adds. “Similar arrangements will be made at the south bank. Status quo will be restored.”

10.54 am: While holding talks with China, India conveyed three main conditions that need to be adhered to, Rajnath Singh says. These are:

1) The LAC should be respected

2) There should be no unilateral attempt to change the status quo along the de facto border,

3) All decisions will be implemented by both sides together after holding discussions

10.49 am: During his speech, Rajnath Singh also spoke about how China claims 90,000 sq km of Indian land in Arunachal Pradesh. “But India has not accepted this unjustified demands,” says the defence minister.

10.48 am: “Many fraction areas are built near LAC in Eastern Ladakh,” Singh adds. “China has collected heavy force and arms and ammunition near LAC and in the nearby areas on their side. Our forces have also effectively done counter deployment.”

10.46 am: Singh says that there are some issues related to patrolling and deployment of troops along the Line of Actual Control that are still outstanding.

10.42 am: After this agreement, India and China will remove forward deployments in a phased and a coordinated manner, the defence minister adds.

10.40 am: In first official admission, Rajnath Singh tells the Rajya Sabha that Beijing and New Delhi have started the disengagement process at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake. This comes a day after China announced that both sides have begun “synchronised and organised disengagement” in the area.

10.39 am: “We will not let anyone take away even an inch of our land,” Singh says.

10.38 am: The defence minister adds that India is committed to maintaining a peaceful situation along the Line of Control. “India has always emphasised on maintaining bilateral ties,” Singh says.

10.33 am: Since September last year, India and China have used both diplomatic and military channels to de-escalate tensions along the LAC, Singh says.

10.33 am: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh begins his address in Parliament.

10.30 am: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad warns that action will be taken against those who misuse social media platforms. “We respect social media a lot, it has empowered common people,” he adds. “Social media has a big role in Digital India programme. However, if social media is misused to spread fake news, violence then action will be taken.”

9.50 am: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrives at the Parliament.

9.41 am: Army chief General MM Naravane arrives at the Parliament.

8.54 am:Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sampatiya Uikey has given zero hour notice in the Rajya Sabha demanding, “inclusion of ‘Gondi’ language in Eighth Schedule”.

8.50 am: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Bhagwat Karad has given zero hour notice in the Rajya Sabha, expressing “concern over investigation ordered by the Maharashtra government against Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar”, reports ANI.

The Maharashtra government on Monday said that it will investigate tweets by Indian celebrities in response to criticism of the government’s handling of the farmers’ protest by foreign personalities. The inquiry was ordered after leaders of the Maharashtra unit of Congress sought probe into whether the celebrities were under pressure from the BJP to tweet in support of the government.

8.45 am: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will make a suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha today about the standoff in eastern Ladakh, a day after China announced that Beijing and New Delhi have started “synchronised and organised disengagement” at the southern and northern bank of the Pangong Tso.

Here are the top updates from Wednesday

  • Lok Sabha proceedings were extended till midnight to accommodate members’ participation in the discussion on Budget proposals.
  • The Bharatiya Janata Party moved a privilege notice against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, two days after her comments against a former chief justice of India in Lok Sabha, reported PTI. Moitra had on Monday questioned the sanctity of the judiciary while raising sexual harassment allegations against the former CJI.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech in the Lok Sabha, 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. 
  • As many as 96 people were arrested in 2019 in connection with 93 sedition cases registered in different parts of the country, the Centre informed the Rajya Sabha. 
  • The Centre told the Rajya Sabha that the National Investigation Agency did not summon farmers protesting against the new agriculture laws. “No sir,” Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in a written response to a query on whether the central agency, which investigates terror crimes, had called farmers for questioning. The question was asked by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and two other members.