Parliament Monsoon Session Day 2: Rajnath says border row with China unresolved; bill to cut salaries of MPs by 30% passed

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

September 15, 2020 8:44:23 pm





Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the Lok Sabha on the border tensions between India and China border (LSTV/PTI Photo)

On the second day of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed the Lok Sabha on the situation along the India-China border even as Congress MPs staged a walkout and held a protest in the Parliament House complex after they were not allowed to speak on the issue. While Singh admitted the border issue in eastern Ladakh with China remained unsolved, he said the armed forces were determined to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Lok Sabha passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs by 30 per cent “to meet the exigencies” arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides, the Lower House saw intense discussions a host of other issues, ranging from the drug probe in film industry to farm schemes.

In Rajya Sabha, the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed. The Bill seeks to improve India’s aviation safety ratings and provide statutory status to regulatory institutions, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Besides, the Upper House also saw Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan introducing ‘The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020, and making a statement on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Rajnath Singh: China has mobilised troops, weapons on LAC, violated all bilateral agreements

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday told the Parliament that China had mobilised large number of troops, weapons and ammunition on the Line of Actual control in Eastern Ladakh, violating all bilateral agreements in the process. He also said while India wanted a peaceful resolution to the current crisis, it was ready for all situations.

Addressing the Lok Sabha on the issue of standoff with Chinese forces in Ladakh, Singh said, “According to the current situation, China has mobilised a large number of troops and armaments along the LAC as well as in the depth areas. There are several frictions areas in Eastern Ladakh including Gogra, Kongka La and North and south Banks of Pangong Tso. In response, our forces have made appropriate counter deployments in these areas, so that India’s security interests can be fully protected.”

Singh said through its provocative, violent and aggressive actions since April-May, China had violated all bilateral agreements to maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders.

The defence minister assured the house that the armed forces would face the current challenge successfully. “As we all know earlier too there have been standoffs which were resolved peacefully. Although, this year it is different, still we are committed to peaceful resolution. But I want to tell the house we are ready to face all situations,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, Congress MPs staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha and held a protest in front the Mahatma Gandhi statue on not being allowed to speak on the Sino-India border issue. Earlier, during the Business Advisory Committee meeting, Congress had demanded a discussion on the issue of stand-off between China and India in Eastern Ladakh. The government, however, declined to honour it citing sensitivity of the issue.

Rajya Sabha passes Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Parliament passed the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that seeks to improve India’s aviation safety ratings and provide statutory status to regulatory institutions, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The Bill, which provides for statutory backing to the DGCA, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), was passed by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha. The bill, which was passed in Lok Sabha on March 17 also entails to increase the fine for violations from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore.

Lok Sabha passes bill to cut salaries of MPs by 30 per cent

Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that seeks to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs by 30 per cent. It will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

Replying to the debate on the bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that funds are needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and “charity should begin from home”. The Congress and other opposition parties in Lok Sabha demanded the restoration of MPLADS funds even as they supported the government’s decision to cut the salaries of members of Parliament.

Jaya Bachchan slams those vilifying Bollywood

Speaking in Rajya Sabha, veteran actor and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan charged that the film industry was being defamed and slammed those from the entertainment industry indulging in it, saying they were “biting the hands that feed them”.

Though Bachchan did not take any names, her remarks come a day after BJP’s Lok Sabha MP and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan said there was problem of drug addiction in the film industry and also actor Kangana Ranaut’s recent remarks calling Bollywood a “gutter”.

Through a Zero Hour mention in Rajya Sabha, Bachchan said the entertainment industry was being flogged by social media and asked the government to protect and support it.

Without taking names, the Samajwadi Party MP said she completely disagrees with those who called the entertainment industry a “gutter”.

“People who have made a name in this industry have called it a gutter. I completely disagree and I really disassociate,” she said.

Jis thali mein khate hai Usme chhed karte hai. Galat baat hai,” she said referring to a popular Hindi proverb that means to bite the hands that feed you.

“I was really embarrassed and ashamed that yesterday (September 14) one of our members in the Lok Sabha, who is from the industry, spoke. I am not taking names. It is a shame,” she said.

Meanwhile in Lok Sabha, the government also said no actionable inputs were received by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) revealing the alleged nexus between people in the film industry and drug traffickers.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the NCB carries out searches, seizures, arrests and investigations continuously throughout the year on the actionable inputs developed on its own or received from other sources.

“During the period of COVID-19 lockdown, no such actionable inputs were received by NCB revealing the nexus between people in the film industry and drug traffickers.

“However, a case in this regard has been registered by NCB Mumbai zonal unit on August 28, 2020. Till date, in this case 10 persons have been arrested. Drugs such as Ganja, Hashish, Tetra Hydro Cannabinol and Lysergic acid De-ethylamide have been seized in the operation,” he said in reply to a question.

NABARD sanction for Rs 1,568 crore worth of proposals under Agri Infra Fund

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, in a written reply to the Lower House, informed that the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has given in-principle sanction for Rs 1,568 crore worth of proposals received from agri-credit societies in 22 states under the recently launched Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund.

“So far, NABARD has received 3,055 proposals of PACS (Primary Agriculture Credit Societies) through state cooperative banks in 22 states for which in-principle sanction of Rs 1,568 crore has been accorded,” he said.

The first in-principle sanction of Rs 1,128 crore was made to over 2,280 farmer societies by NABARD, he said.

The scheme, to be implemented for ten years till 2029, aims to provide medium- to long-term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.

Govt says J&K integrated into mainstream after scrapping of Article 370

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy told Lok Sabha the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh have been fully integrated into the mainstream of the nation after the abrogation of Article 370.

After the constitutional changes and reorganisation of the erstwhile state of J&K, the two union territories have been fully integrated into the mainstream of the nation, he said in a written reply to a question. Reddy said the change has brought about socio-economic development in both the new UTs.

Bill for giving ‘national importance’ tag to Gujarat Ayurveda institutes tabled

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan introduced ‘The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020,’ in Rajya Sabha, that seeks to accord the status of an institution of national importance to a Jamnagar-based cluster of Ayurveda institutes.

The Bill will grant institution of national importance status by conglomerating the cluster of Ayurveda institutes at Gujarat Ayurveda University campus in Jamnagar.

“This is going to be the first institution in the country in the field of Ayurveda to be given the status of an institution of national importance. This is one of the oldest in the country under the government sector. 10 per cent of Ayurveda research publications are from this institute,” Vardhan said.

Govt says over 1,600 Indian firms received $1 billion FDI from China

In reply to a question, the government in Rajya Sabha said more than 1,600 Indian companies have received foreign direct investments worth USD 1 billion from China during the April 2016 to March 2020 period.

In the written reply, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur said these companies were in 46 sectors. Out of them, the automobile industry, printing of books (including litho printing industry), electronics, services and electrical equipment received more than USD 100 million FDI each from China during the said period.

The automobile industry received the maximum FDI from China at USD 172 million. The services sector attracted such funds worth USD 139.65 million, the data showed.

Phase-I trials of Covid vaccines revealed ‘excellent safety’: Minister

Around 40 lakh people have been kept under surveillance as a part of the contact-tracing efforts in the country and 5.4 crore samples were tested for coronavirus till September 10, Union minister Ashwini Choubey told the Rajya Sabha.

The minister of state for health said there were 15,290 COVID-treatment facilities with 13,14,171 dedicated isolation beds till September 10. There are also 2,31,269 oxygen-supported isolation beds and 62,694 ICU beds (including 32,241 ventilator beds).

Guidelines on clinical management of COVID-19 have been issued and are being updated regularly. States are being supported in terms of supply of logistics, Choubey said.

Choubey also said Phase-I clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccines have revealed “excellent safety” of the two candidate vaccines indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and Cadila Healthcare Ltd and their immunogenicity testing is now in progress.

Their phase II clinical trials are going on, Choubey said in response to a question on the present status of the vaccine programme/clinical trials for COVID-19 undertaken by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other private research centres in the country.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said re-purposed hydroxychloroquine was being used for mild but high risk and moderate COVID-19 cases and that the government plans to conduct trial of ayurvedic medicines.

Meanwhile, TMC MP Derek O’Brien hit out at Vardhan for not congratulating the state governments and health workers on their fight against coronavirus or condoling the demises of those who were at the forefront of the battle.

Speaking to the media near Parliament, he said the health minister read out a 12-page statement in Rajya Sabha during which he used the word ‘congratulate’ once.

“Tomorrow morning we will get a chance to ask clarifications. The Health minister used it once. It was a 12-page statement. He used the word congratulate once. Who did he congratulate? The Prime Minister. No, why didn’t the health minister congratulate the doctors, the healthcare workers, the nurses, the police, the ward boys, the sweepers,” he said.

“So many of them have lost their lives. He couldn’t be little generous to congratulate them? Or condole those who have lost their lives?” said the TMC Rajya Sabha MP.

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