The Rajya Sabha will take up The Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2021 today, while the Lok Sabha will discuss The Finance Bill, 2021 and The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, 2021 will be introduced in the Lower House.
The first part of the Budget Session of Parliament, which commenced with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind on January 29, concluded on February 29. The second part of the Budget Session began March 7.
Here are the latest updates:
Lok Sabha | 11.30 am
Manish Tewari of the Congress says the ASI has neither capacity nor bandwidth to take care of India’s heritage. “Why can’t you set up a consultative committee in districts with MPs who can raise local resources for preservation,” he asks.
Mr. Patel responds, “The ASI has national and international reputation and I object to this statement. At the district level, there are preservation societies where MPs are members. Maybe at the Honourable Member’s State he is not called for meetings.”
Nihal Singh Chauhan of the BJP says, “Petrol and diesel prices are highest in my district of Sriganganagar. It is over Rs. 100 per litre. Even in the neighbouring Punjab, fuel is Rs. 10 cheaper than at my place.”
Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Finance, says, “The original question was about closing of depots, not about pricing due to distance.”
Mr. Chauhan further says, “can you consider joining Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh with Bhatinda or reopen the HPCL depot?”
Ms. Sitharaman says, “These two places maybe closer to Punjab but Rajasthan’s taxes will be applicable. Specifically, the depot was close due to safety related issues. Reconsideration to open is not on.”
Prajjwal Revanna of JDS asks, “Who identifies tourism sites and what is the criterion. Why is Karnataka being ignored?”
Mr. Patel responds, “Hampi is on the list of 21 iconic sites, and no one is ignoring Karnataka . Some funds given to Karnataka was returned unused and with interest. Now, State government has sent some projects for consideration.”
Mr. Revanna says, “As per previous answers on the subject, Karnataka has been ignored. Other than Hampi, there are various other sites that need attention.”
Rajya Sabha | 11.30 am
Rewati Raman Singh of SP says, “the commercialisation of Himalayas could be disastrous. The government is constructing four new dams, and for the Chaar Dham Yatra, scores of trees are being cut. The Chamoli incident is a result of this uncontrolled construction.”
Shakti Sinh Gohil of Congress says, “there are only 675 Asiatic Lions as per the latest survey. Roughly 300 lions have been killed in accidents while crossing the rail track. I would request the government to look into it.”
Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD says, “In this time of the pandemic, three to four crore ration cards have been cancelled. Initially, it was said that they are bogus cards. But later, it turned out that these have been cancelled because of finger print mismatch. And this has resulted in deaths due to hunger. It is unfortunate that people are dying of hunger in our country. I would urge the government to restore these ration cards.”
Bhagwat Karad of BJP speaks in Marathi. He is the second Member to speak in a regional language during the Zero Hour. The first Member was Sasmit Patra of BJD.
Neeraj Dangi of Congress raises the issue of non-implementation of the reservation qouta in IAS exams. He protests against lateral appointment of director and joint secretaries. “This is another method of bypassing the reservation policy.”
Ramnath Thakur of JD(U) says, “More than half of the posts reserved for the OBC are lying vacant. I would urge the government to hold a special campaign to fill these vacancies for the reserved castes.”
Lok Sabha | 11.20 am
G. Ranjit Reddy of TRS asks for a legal backing for the right to skill development, and also for a skill development Centre in Hyderabad.
Mr. Pandey replies, “We want to encourage States to take this forward and we are also considering the various requests by States.”
Upendra Singh Rawat of BJP asks about preservation and development of heritage properties and monuments by Archaeological Survey of India in Uttar Pradesh. “In Barabanki, there are many Artifacts connected to Mahabharata,” he says, and asks for their preservation by ASI.
Prahlad Patel, Minister for Culture and Tourism, says, “ASI has started a project to relist monuments and increase the number of those registered under Centre’s care.”
Mr. Rawat says access to online ticketing is not widespread and gives opportunity to touts who fool tourists and grab revenue that should have accrued to the government.
Mr. Patel says that instructions to allow both online and physical ticketing have been given.
Rajya Sabha | 11.10 am
Zero Hour Begins in Rajya Sabha.
Dr. Narendra Jhadav raises the issues of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.
Mr. Jadhav says, “The recent cyber attack on Mumbai power grid shows the vulnerability of the critical infrastructure in India. The Maharashtra Police has found evidence of Trojan invasion. I don’t want to sound like an alarmist but this could escalate into nuclear meltdown.”
Sasmit Patra of BJD speaks in Odia.
Lok Sabha | 11.10 am
Question Hour begins.
Bhagwanth Khuba of BJP asks a question on skill development. “The Minister gives an answer but the answer provides no solutions for skilling of those who belong to economically weaker sections. Departments are unable to fulfil targets.”
Mahendra Pandey, Minister for Skill Development, says, “Our entire system in the Ministry is geared towards EWS only. Even the New Education Policy is geared towards it and our focus is on EWS.”
Supplementary question by Mr. Khuba: “every district should have skilling centres.”
Mr. Pandey says the Ministry has focussed on district skill committees. “Migrants who went home during pandemic also used these facilities.”
Sunil Kumar Singh of BJP says, “Currently there are 248 operative Jan Shikshan Sansthan. The Minister had said 83 more were to be opened. I want to ask specifically about my constituency of Chhatra (Jharkhand ). When will they be set up?”
Mr. Pandey says, “In Jharkhand, currently, 3 JSS are operative and 14 more are planned including in Chhatra.”
Lok Sabha | 11 am
Lok Sabha proceedings begin for the day.
Rajendra Agarwal is presiding over the House as Speaker Om Birla has tested positive for COVID-19.
The House observes two minutes silence and obituary references to Dilip Gandhi and Mohan Bhai Patel are made.
Rakesh Singh says he wants to raise a particular issue, to which, the Chair says it is allowed in the Zero Hour.
“We all know that our respected Speaker is down with COVID-19, we wish him a speedy recovery,” says Rajendra Agarawal.
Rajya Sabha | 11 am
Rajya Sabha proceedings begin.
Chairman Venkaiah Naidu says, “Today, March 22, is World Water Day. This year, the UN theme for the day is ‘valuing water’. With the ever-growing population, demand for water has increased manifold. The situation has been further exacerbated by reckless use of water. Our country has 16% of the world’s population but only 4% of fresh water.”
The Chairman makes an appeal to all Members: “Whatever you want to talk about, you can talk outside the House. Particularly when the Chair is making an observation, it is not fair to cause distraction.”
Bill for consideration and return
The Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2021
Obituary references to the passing away of Mohanbhai Patel (Member, Seventh and Eighth Lok Sabhas); and Dilipkumar Mansukhlal Gandhi (Member, Thirteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth Lok Sabhas) to be made in the House.
Bill to be introduced
The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, 2021
Bills for consideration and passing
The Finance Bill, 2021
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021