Defence Minister Rajnath Singh apprised Rajya Sabha on situation in Eastern Ladakh, and said that India and China have agreed on a disengagement plan for North and South Pangong lake.
Rajya Sabha will debate on Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 while Lok Sabha is set to take up Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Here are the updates:
Rajya Sabha | 10.50 am
“Matter of national security”: Chairman shoots down Opposition’s request
When Rajya Sabha members ask for an opportunity to seek clarification on Defence Minister’s statement, Chairman Naidu denies their request saying “this is a matter of national unity and security.”
“Discussions have been going on for the past 48 hours, and you want to create controversy? It is not good,” he says.
“It was decided in the morning that we will continue the Budget discussion. Members can meet the Minister on-camera. I will explore this option,” he adds.
Opposition continues to create ruckus.
Chairman says: “I know the convention. I also know what Jairam Ramesh has reminded me. Rajnath Singh met and told me that discussions are going on with the neighbour, and things are at a delicate stage, so let us wait. He met me again yesterday and said I want to take the House into confidence today. This was a fairly elaborate statement.”
“I want to appeal to the House that since this is a matter of national interest, let it be seen that we are speaking in one voice,” he adds.
Rajya Sabha | 10.30 am
China claims 90,000 sq km of land in Arunachal border, says Defence Minister
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addresses the House on the ground situation in Eastern Ladakh.
“China amassed troops in Eastern Ladakh in April 2020. They transgressed and were given befitting answer by our forces. Twenty soldiers laid down their lives in the process. Both sides established military and diplomatic contacts, keeping with our efforts to restore peace and tranquillity,” he says.
“China occupied 38,000 sq km after 1962 war and 5,180 sq km given illegally by Pakistan to China in Ladakh,” he says.
“In Arunachal Pradesh border, China claims 90,000 sq km of Indian land. India has not accepted this unjustified demands,” says the Defence Minister.
“We have maintained that bilateral relations can prosper only if there are efforts from both sides. Peace and tranquility at border affects bilateral relations with China, so China and India’s relations have been affected by these events,” he says.
“Last year, I informed that China has amassed troops and armaments. India gave a befitting reply. We are occupying strategic heights… even in heavy snow, troops are protecting our borders. We have an edge in these areas,” says Mr. Singh.
“In dialogue with China we told them that LAC should be respected, no unilateral move to change the status quo, all decisions to be implemented by both sided. Our strategy based on approach that not an inch of land will be ceded, and we have reached a consensus,” he says, adding that “a mutually acceptable disengagement process has been worked out.”
“Disengagement agreement at north and south banks of Pangong Tso has been reached. Senior commanders will meet within 48 hours after disengagement from Pangong. Troops will be removed in a phased, coordinated and verified manner,” says Mr. Singh.
“India will move to Finger 3 at DS Post on north bank and China will move east side. Similar arrangements at south bank. Status quo will be restored,” he says.
“Patrolling in Finger area of Pangong has been suspended till further decision is taken by military commanders based on diplomatic talks,” he says, adding that “we have not lost anything through this agreement.”
“Some outstanding issues remain, but both sides agree that full disengagement should be done,” says the Defence Minister. “The House stands in unity for country’s sovereignty.”
Rajya Sabha | 10.20 am
Come and work in India, but you will have to follow India’s laws, says Minister
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says that Koo, framed as an Indian competitor to Twitter, has become a “big success.”
Speaking on steps taken to curb fake news and messages, he says: “we respect social media. It has empowered common people. We respect criticism… you can criticise even the Prime Minister. But if social media is used to propagate hate, then aciton will be taken.”
“We respect India’s electoral process and if anyone uses social media to influence elections, strict action will bet taken,” he says. “Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, I have a message for all of you — come, work in India, earn money but you will have to follow India’s laws.”
“We have flagged Twitter, and is in dialogue with them. Why is it that when police has to act in U.S. Capitol Hill they stand in support, but when a similar action is taken at Red Fort, they oppose it? Freedom of speech is there, but with reasonable restrictions. Why double standards? You cannot spread hate messages such as ‘PM harassed farmers’,” he says.
“Prakash Javadekar and I are revisiting the social media guidelines,” continues Mr.Prasad. “When you become a platform, you make your own law and India’s laws will have no place in it? That is not how it works. You bring money and do business, but you have to respect the law of the land,” he says.
On being asked to take action against fake news by media channels, he says: “My department takes action from time to time on this issue. This government is led by leaders who have fought for the freedom of media. We fought during Emergency, be it PM Modi or Rajnath ji. Our commitment to individual freedom and judiciary is intact.”
“I have a message for social media platforms — freedom is important, but showing revenge sex video, street fights, porn videos, family issues on social media…? Revisit unbridled exposure of double-standards of your own guidelines,” he says.
Rajya Sabha | 10.15 am
Quota for Muslim converts
To a question raised by Congress’s Digvijaya Singh whether a scavenger committee of Muslims can be included in the Scheduled Category, as per Ranganath Committee report. Mr. Prasad said the government had huge reservations about the Ranganath Mishra committee report. “If they were promised they would be equal after gettiing converted, then why this?,” Mr. Prasad asked.
Courts have given multiple judgements on quota to Dailt Christians, he said. The Supreme Court had said that “till the time you agree that you don’t face the same discrimination then benefits cannot be granted to you”.
Rajya Sabha | 9.50 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Rajya Sabha today. Thursday’s Question Hour is directed at Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which is headed by the Prime Minister. Respective ministers have to be present in the House to answer the question from members.
On the lapsed Judicial Accountability Bill
Speaking on the lapsed Judicial Accountability Bill, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says: “While we are having this discussion, a reminder that the Bill was brought in by UPA govt., and there were some reservations about it. We are in dialogue with the judiciary. The architecture of law needs a clarification from the judiciary.”
Shaktisinh Gohil (Congress) demands that the Bill be brought back. “Why dont you make an enquiry on interference of corporates in judiciary?” he asks. Mr. Prasad replies “we are committed to judiciary’s independence under the leadership of PM Modi.”
On killing of Tamil fishermen
M. Thambidurai (AIADMK) asks Prime Minister Modi to condemn Sri Lankan navy for killing Tamil fishermen. Union Minister S. Jaishankar says that India had expressed strong protest to Sri Lanka on the killing of four fishermen on January 18. “They have initiated an enquiry, and we are waiting for it’s report,” he says, adding that India has a procedure with which to avoid such cases in future.
“Right now, there are no Indian fishermen in custody of Sri Lanka. Earlier, nine Indians were released. There are 62 Indian boats in their custody which we are trying to get released,” he adds.
Rajya Sabha | 9.50 am
On under-utilisation of Poshan Abhiyan funds
Speaking during Question Hour, Union Minister Smriti Irani says that Poshan Abhiyan is a Jan Andolan campaign, and that it is the State’s responsibility to implement it. “I personally participated in video conference with States. Most States could not perform its duties as aanganwadis were shut due to pandemic.”
She was responding to a wuestion about under-utilisation of 52% of funds under Poshan Abhiyan. Ami Yagnik of Congress acknowledges the answer, but adds “I am unable to understand the reference to Jan Andolan campaign.”
Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena asks about the massive drop in ICDS from 2014 to 2020. Smriti Irani replies that ICDS is implemented by States. It is the State’s responsibility to identify beneficiaries. “We have ensured digitisation of records and States have corrected anomalies,” she adds.
Rajya Sabha | 9.40 am
Question hour begins in the House.
On forest products
Banda Prakash (TRS) asks if there is any comprehensive survey on forest products in the country. Union Minister Arjun Munda replies that some products in this category are included in a country-wide list.
Another question comes up on when was the last time the MSP of forest produce essentials was revised?
The Minister replies that in 2017-18, a scheme was initiated for the same. “Even in lockdown, we monitored it well because the markets were closed. They made a lot of profit,” says the Minister.
Rajya Sabha | 9.30 am
Provide ₹25 lakh compensation for flood victims, says Sanjay Singh
Sanjay Singh (AAP) asks for an update on efforts by NDRF to rescue people from Tapovan tunnel. He says that around 170 people are still missing, and requests ₹25 lakh compensation to next of kin of those killed in the Uttarakhand flood.
Sampatiya Uike (BJP) raises a demand for protection of Gondi language spoken by lakhs of tribals.
Rajya Sabha | 9.20 am
Restriction on constructions near military posts
Elamalal Kareem (CPI-M) brings up onbjections to the restriction on construction work near military establishments in Kerala.
He says that there are 193 stations where a No Objection Certificate is required to construct anything within 100 metres. “Kozhikode in Kerala is not included in the list, and yet no construction is permitted,” he says.
G.V.L Narasimha Rao (BJP) asks for a national research centre for chilly crops.
Rajya Sabha | 9.10 am
Issue of M.P.’s Sahariya community raised
Digvijaya Singh (Congress) asks that the Sahariya community in Madhya Pradesh be included in the Extreme Backward Category. As of now, they get benefits only in Chambal and Gwalior divisions. He demands that benefit be provided in other parts of the State as well. Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot responds to this, and says that the Centre has not received any such proposal from the State government.
D.P. Vats (BJP) raises a demand for more government jobs for widows of war soldiers.
L Hanumanthaiah (Congress) calls for an independent institute for classical language in Karnataka.
Rajya Sabha | 9 am
Rajya Sabha proceeding start.
Motion for election of one of the members to committee for Official Languages is adopted.
Zero hour begins.
Harnath Singh Yadav (BJP) demands that Supreme Court and High Court verdicts be provided in Hindi and other regional languages.
Jharna Das Baidya (CPI-M) demands a railway network for two tribal-dominated districts in Tripura.
Narain Dass Gupta (AAP) raises a request to open more gates at metro stations in Delhi. Currently, in adherence to COVID-19 restrictions, only one gate is open. This is leading to long queues, and causing inconvenience to the public, he says
General Discussion on Union Budget 2021-22
Bill for Consideration and Passing:
- Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020
Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address
Highlights of the President’s Address 2021
General Discussion on the Union Budget for 2021-2022
Bill for Consideration and Passing
- Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021