The Rajya Sabha is discussing The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Members of the Lok Sabha will continue to participate in the motion of thanks to the President’s address. The House will take up The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
On Monday, replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister said his government was still open to talks with farmers demanding a repeal of the three farm laws passed last September. He coined two terms —‘andolan jeevi’ (professional protesters) and ‘Foreign Destructive Ideology’ to lampoon the Opposition and certain protesters and foreign individuals who have tweeted in support of the farmers’ agitation.
The Lok Sabha extended its Monday’s sitting till 12 a.m. Tuesday. Another extended sitting of the House is likely today.
Here are the live updates:
Rajya Sabha | 2 pm
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri begins his reply
Mr. Puri thanks all 14 Members who spoke and supported the Bill.
“If the winter Session of the Parliament had been convened, there would have been no need for an Ordinance. If we had not brought the Ordinance and waited for this Session, authorities would have started sealing properties,” he says to the allegation of the government using the Ordinance route repeatedly.
“In Delhi, they have taken recourse to one of the verticals of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). They have not implemented it, other than the credit-linked subsidy scheme,” he says.
Mr. Puri assures the House that if statistics are perused, all the 1.12 crore homes under PMAY would have been sanctioned and the bulk would have been completed.
“The Rs. 20,000 crore Central Vista project will make Delhi one of the finest Capitals in the world.”
Rajya Sabha | 1.45 pm
Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh supports the Bill. He says the government had promised the people of Delhi ownership rights. “They should give it now. Many deadlines have been passed,” Mr. Singh says.
“This Bill shouldn’t end up benefiting the land mafia,” says Ramji of the BSP.
Binoy Viswam of CPI says the intentions of the legislation may be good and “the Minister is a good man”, but the intention may not be realised. “The Central Vista project is the government’s priority, not this. The governement does not have any political will to take care of the poor of the country,” he says.
Rajya Sabha | 1.10 pm
House takes up National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri moves National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021 for consideration.
“The population of Delhi in 1947 was 8 lakh. Since the first Census in 1951, it has gone up to 20 lakh because of refugees. The population would be close to 2 crore in Census 2021,” he says.
“There is a tendency by this government to bypass the Parliament. It has become Ordinance raj. In the time of NDA II, till now, 77 Ordinances have been brought in”, Binoy Viswam of the CPI says.
KTS Tulsi of the Congress says while we support the grant of these facilities to people living in unauthorised colonies, that in itself cannot be the end. “The dwellers of unauthorised colonies cannot be treated merely as vote banks. They are humans and have the right to a live a life of dignity under the Constitution,” Mr. Tulsi says. “The ad hoc arrangement is an eyewash. one-third of the population of Delhi is living in miserable conditions…The government should find a long-lasting solution to this,” he says.
Dr. Anil Agarwal of the BJP says water bodies in Delhi should be revived. The Master Plan of the city should help reduce pollution and ensure that the air quality index of Delhi improves, he says.
Santanu Sen of Trinamool Congress says the government has to ensure there are no evictions at slums.
Amar Patnaik of BJD supports the Bill and draws the Minister’s attention to Odisha Land Right to Slum Dwellers Act, 2017.
Banda Prakash of the TRS supports the Bill, he requests the Minister to protect urban forests.
Rajya Sabha | 1 pm
Home Minster’s statement about the Uttarakhand disaster
Home Minister Amit Shah makes a statement about the Uttarakhand incident in the Rajya Sabha.
“Uttarakhand government has said there is no danger right now and the water level is also decreasing,” he says.
He confirms that 20 people have died as of yesterday 5 p.m. Work on rescuing 25 to 35 people stuck in a tunnel of the NTPC project is on, he tells the House. “197 people are missing.”
“The Prime Minister himself is monitoring the situation,” Mr. Shah says.
The House stands in silence in memory of the victims.
“We hope for their souls to rest in peace and for the rescue operations to be successful, Mr. Naidu says.
Rajya Sabha | 12.30 pm
Take pride in being a Hindustani Muslim: Azad
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad addresses the House and says he will sum his experience in the Parliament in a few couplets.
“When I was a college student in Jammu and Kashmir, both August 14 and August 15 used to be celebrated. The majority used to celebrate August 14. I am among those fortunate people who never went to Pakistan. When I read about the conditions in Pakistan, I feel proud that we are Hindustani Muslims. We are seeing that Muslim countries are fighting amongst each other, there are no Hindus there or Christians.”
“I got the chance to be here, in the Parliament, because of Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi,” he says. “Indiraji used to say, ‘remain in touch with Atalji, not BJP'”.
When Atalji was the Leader of Opposition, I was the Parliamentary Affairs Minister and we did not have a majority. But those were the five easiest years for running the House. I learnt from Atalji how to be an efficient Leader of Opposition,” Mr. Azad says.
He recounts the time he saw bodies floating after the cyclone in Odisha in 1999. “I cried then. I cried another time after the incident recounted by the Prime Minister,” he says.
He gets emotional speaking about the terrorist attack: “I did not know what to tell the children of those tourists killed by militants in Kashmir. My wish is to see an end to terrorism in this country.” Wiping tears, he hopes the situation of Kashmir improves.
He says he used get 100% of Kashmiri Pandit votes while contesting University elections.
Thanking the Chairman and the Prime Minister, Mr. Azad says, “You never felt that it was a personal attack on you when I performed my role as Leader of Opposition and gave long speeches.”
“Two people would necessarily wish me for Eid, Diwali or birthday- the Congress president and the PM,” Mr. Azad recounts.
Rajya Sabha | 12.20 pm
Deputy Chairman of the House Harivansh addresses the House. He wishes the four retiring Members good luck. “It was my fortune that I got to sit next to Ghulam Nabi Azad in the House,” he says.
Mr. Azad has connected the entire country with Jammu and Kashmir, he says.
Rajya Sabha | 12.15 pm
I have worked for the crown jewel of the country, will continue to work for it: Manhas
Shamsher Singh Manhas of the BJP, also retiring from the Rajya Sabha, addresses the House and says the situation was very serious in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Ladakh used to be ignored.
“I come from Kashmir, the mukat mani (crown jewel) of the country, and am sitting amongst others from the country. I have worked for this mukut mani and will work for it in the future too,” he says.
Rajya Sabha | 12.10 pm
Hurts when we are called anti-nationals: Fayaz
Mir Mohammad Fayaz of the PDP, another of the retiring Members says he started his career with municipal committee elections. “I never thought I would be in the Rajya Sabha.”
“We work for this country. We have taken the flag of the country to villages. It hurts us when we are called anti-national by the media and others,” Mr. Fayaz says.
He appeals to the Home Minister for the special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir to be returned.
Rajya Sabha | 12 pm
The House must do something for Jammu and Kashmir: Laway
One of the retiring members, Nazir Ahmed Laway of the PDP says, “This House needs to do something for Jammu and Kashmir. We have lost a lot…We had only one sector, tourism, which has been destroyed. There will be no representation of Jammu and Kashmir after we leave.”
Rajya Sabha | 11.50 am
Anand Sharma of the Congress says this is an emotional moment because we are remembering the entirety of the time Ghulam Nabi Azad has given for the country.
“There is no other person who has been in-charge of every State for the Congress,” Mr. Sharma says.
Rajya Sabha | 11.40 am
If the Congress doesn’t bring you back, we are ready to: Athawale
Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD says, “I did not have a background in parliamentary affairs when I became a Member of the House, I had come straight from my academic experience in educational institutions. After I spoke here, the first compliment I recieved was from Azad ji. Whatever you have achieved cannot be taken from you.”
Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP says, “The way Azad ji participated in House proceedings is admirable Whenever there was a deadlock, he was the first one to call. He spoke politely, he always reminded us of nafasat in the language of people of Lucknow. When I told Mayawati ji this morning that Azad ji is retiring, she said you must be mistaken, please check. His party might want to retire him but he cannot retire.” “We expect you to come back,” Mr. Mishra said.
Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena says, “We all have to retire from here someday. Today, four of our friends from Jammu and Kashmir are retiring. They are from a State that always rules our hearts. I also couldn’t believe that Ghulam Nabi Azad was retiring today,” he says adding that he has full faith that he will be back.
“I don’t think he will ever retire. He has a connection with Maharashtra. There are many leaders in your party, Azad sahab, but there are very few like you, who the whole country knows,” Mr. Raut says.
Ramdas Athawale, the MoS Social Justice and Empowerment, says Azad should come back to the House. “If the Congress doesn’t bring you back, we are ready to.”
Abdul Wahab of the IUML thanks Mr. Azad for his leadership.
Sushil Kumar Gupta of the Aam Aadmi Party says Azad guided him like a parent. “Not just the Opposition, the ruling party also looked up to him with respect.”
Bijoy Viswam of the CPI says there is no chance of replacing them from that State (Jammu and Kashmir) because that State doesn’t exist anymore.
Rajya Saha | 11.30 am
‘Fare thy well, not farewell’
K.R. Suresh Reddy of the TRS says about Ghulam nabi Azad, “There are very few people who can name 100 people by name in every State. His understanding of this country is immense. He played a crucial role in the creation of Telengana.”
Vijai Sai Reddy of YSRCP says, “I had limited interaction with Azad. I do not have positive experience about Congress party, but after listening to the PM i have changed my opinion, not about the party, but about Ghulam Nabi Azad ji. He has the realisation of reality unlike the Congress party.”
Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP says, “I can’t say much after an emotional speech by the PM. I am worried, who, in his absence, will mediate when a deadlock happens. Azad acted as a bridge. Who will be his alternative now? He guided all members in a gentle way. The kind of vacuum we felt after the death of Arun ji, the same will be felt. I hope he is brought back to the House.” “I would like to request the PM to restore Statehood to J&K and let him return as CM of J&K.”
Ram Chandra Prasad Singh of the JDU says, “He has a beautiful name, starting from Ghulam to Azad. The PM mentioned his garden in his bungalow. When I was Nitish ji’s PA, he used to live in the 22, Akbar Road bungalow. The way you maintained your garden, you handled the country.”
Elamala Kareem of the CPI-M says, “I wish all retiring Members all the best and expect to see them in this House or the other. A politician never retires.” “He gave us a direction and view to conduct this House.” He says, he would bid the Members “fare thy well and not a farewell”.
Rajya Sabha | 11.15 am
‘A role model’
A. Navaneethakrishnan of the AIADMK says, “Amma (Jayalalithaa) directed me to interact with all Members, especially Ghulam Nabi Azad. She asked me to move around with him. When Amma was alive, I could not take decisions immediately. I told him and he appreciated my response. He told me, ‘you should respect the command of your party.'”
Prasanna Acharya od the BJD says, “I give my compliments to all the four retiring Members. I did not know Ghulam Nabi Azad personally. As Health Minister, he visited Odisha. When we met, he behaved as if he had known me for decades. Kashmir is not only his politics, but his heart and mind. He speaks with devotion about Kashmir.”
Tiruchi Siva of the DMK says, “I know Ghulam Nabi ji for two decades now. When everyone was locked up during the pandemic, we received calls from two persons – one was from you, the Chairman, and the other was from the Leader of Opposition, Mr. Azad. Room number 27 is empty and we miss Arun Jaitley and now we will miss Ghulam Nabi ji.”
“He used to coordinate with all of us and we could call him at any time of the day. He was a role model for all Members of the Parliament. I don’t think he is retiring, he might become the Chief Minister of J and K,” he says.
Rajya Sabha | 11 am
‘Earned the respect of all Members’
Sharad Pawar of the NCP says: “These four Members have always wished well for J&K. My association with Azad goes back a long way. He is an organisational man. He started his career with the Congress ideology, his work was noticed and he was made the in-charge of Indian Youth Congress. We were his seniors and used to observe how he organised the youth. 1982 was a memorable year for his life. He got married that year and stood for elections from most the backward district in Maharashtra then. I was in the Opposition then and told people that someone from Kashmir is fighting elections from here. We held public meetings against him, but he won with a huge margin.”
“Ghulam Nabi must be the only Member to have worked in Union Ministries. There are struggles in politics, as mentioned by the PM. He had good relations with all the Opposition Members. He has earned the respect of all Members.”
Sukhendu Shekhar Ray of the TMC says: “I have known Azad since 1978. In those days, there was a three-tier Cabinet and I had started my legal practice.” He recalls a song by S.D Burman’s – o jaane wale, ho sake to laut ke aana (The one leaving, do return if possible).
Rajya Sabha | 10.40 am
PM Modi addresses the House
“Today, we speak about the four Members who bring life to the Parliament and contribute to public service. I thank all four of you for your contributions,” Mr. Modi says.
The PM says: “Not a single Session has gone by when Mir Mohammad and Nazir Ahmed have not discussed issues with me in my chamber. Sometimes, they came with their families. The kind of information and insight they provided was unique, their commitment and ability will be useful for the country and to J&K>”
“I have known Shamsher Singh for decades. I do not even remember the years now, we have travelled together on a scooter. Shamsher was among the people who were jailed young during the Emergency. His attendance in Rajya Sabha is 96%,” Mr. Modi says.
“History has taken a turn and the four Members of J&K are a part of it,” the Prime Minister tells the House.
“I am worried. How can one match Ghulam Nabi Azad’s stature after he is replaced (he is Leader of Opposition). Not only was he concerned about his party but also the country.”
“During the early days of COVID-19 I met floor leaders, Azad called and suggested that I should meet all the party leaders. I followed his advice. He has had experience of both ruling and Opposition side.”
“Years ago, when I came to the Parliament for some work, I was not active in electoral politics then. We were chatting in the lobby. Journalists got curious. Azad ji gave an apt reply: ‘you may have seen us fighting on TV and streets but in this complex we are all one’.
“You may not know this, but the garden in his bungalow will remind you of the Kashmir valley. Whenever a competition is held, his bungalow is number one.”
“We have been very close, there has not been an occasion when we have not been in touch.”
Prime Minister bids farewell to Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha on February 9, 2021.
PM gets emotional when he remembers an incident of terrorist attack on Gujarat tourists in Jammu and Kashmir. “Terrorists attacked and eight people of Gujarat were killed. The first call I received was from Ghulam Nabi ji. That call was not only to inform me of the incident, but one of concern, like a family member.”
“His tears were not stopping on the phone. That time, Pranab Mukherjee was the Defence Minister. I asked if an aircraft could be given to get the dead bodies back home. Mukherjee saab ensured that it was provided. Ghulam Nabi ji called again at night, he was at the airport.”
“As a friend, I respect him as a tall leader. His desire to work for this country will never let him sit idle. Whatever responsibility he is given, he will add value to it. I thank him for his contributions. Personally, I would request that he never think that he is not a Member of the House. My doors are open for all four of you to come and give suggestions to me.”
Rajya Sabha | 10.30 am
Farewell to retiring Members
“Today, we bid farewell to four colleagues from the Union Territory of J&K- Mir Mohammad Fayaz, Shamsher Singh, retiring on February 10; Ghulam Nabi Azad (Leader of Opposition) and Nazir Ahmad Laway, retiring on February 15,” says RS Chairman Naidu.
“Since the legislature is under suspended animation, no new MP will replace them in the House.”
“Ghulam Nabi Azad has been a voice of sanity. He has served for as many as 28 years. He is one of the veterans of the House. In 2015, he was awarded as the outstanding Member. He has been a role model for first-time Members. He speaks politely but conveys his point effectively. I have benefited richly from his suggestions. As a Chairman, i will miss his services,” Mr. Naidu says.
“The other three have also raised important issues, also used to take opportunity to continue debates about their respective States.”
“My appreciation for the courtesy, coordination and cooperation extended to the Chair by the retiring Members. I hope they will continue to serve the people with the same zeal. You are only retired but not tired from offering public services.”
Rajya Sabha | 10.15 am
Minister Anurag Thakur says market forces determine the value of the Indian currency. “RBI intervenes only in extreme cases. We have seen 58 billion dollar FDI and 590 billion dollars forex so far. The value of rupee has seen an appreciation of 3.39.”
MoS Finance says, “Our banks are doing well. In a country like India, we need more and stronger banks.”
“98.5% deposits in cooperative banks is safe as most people have under Rs. 5 lakh as deposit that is insured as per a policy brought by the Modi government,” says Mr. Thakur.
Question Hour ends for the day.
Rajya Sabha | 10 am
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan during the Rajya Sabha proceedings on february 9, 2021.
Minister Anurag Thakur says 92 Chinese companies are registered in India, of which 80 are active. “Law regarding FDI was revised during the pandemic so that Indian companies cannot be taken over,’ he says, on being asked what action was taken against Chinese companies.
“We are getting investments from Taiwan like other countries,” responds Mr. Thakur on a question regarding Taiwanese investments.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says all steps are being taken to control the pandemic, including financial support to States. PM-Cares fund is supporting the vaccination program, he says.
He says that under the PM-Garib Kalyan Yojana, there is a provision to provide Rs. 50 lakh to the kin of health workers who died due to COVID-19 in private and public hospitals.
Rajya Sabha | 9.45 am
MoS Finance Anurag Thakur says, “in the past one year, the number of errors on GSTN network has come down to 0.03%. GST portal was active 99.49% of the times from January to December 2020 and there was no incident of the entire portal crashing.”
MoS Finance says the RBI does not have a legal framework to regulate crypto currencies to a question on regulation of Bitcoins. “The existing laws are inadequate. Inter-Ministerial Committee has given a report, the empowered technology group has met, the Cabinet Secretary has given a report, a Bill to regulate crycpto currencies is being finalised and will be sent to the Cabinet soon,” he says.
“RBI took initiative and banned the use of crypto currencies,” MoS Finance says, on being asked why the government has not filed a review petition against the SC ruling on crypto currencies.
Rajya Sabha | 9.30 am
Question Hour begins
K.R. Suresh Reddy asks what relief has been given to the tourism industry affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel says he has held four meetings with tourism representatives. “Despite their losses they are standing with the country,” he says.
“7.29 lakh touristsare seen in J&K. Hotel industry will revive if domestic tourists travel,” says the Culture Minister.
Deepak Prakash of BJP asks how many people in Jharkhand have benefited from power projects. Union Power Minister R.K. Singh says Jharkhand has less power capacity than the rest of the country. “29 MW of electricity capacity in Jharkhand. Jharkhand policies are good but they must be implemented. Rs. 18,000 crore has been allotted to Jharkhand for first the phase,” he says.
Rajya Sabha | 9.20 am
Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP raises the issue of lateral induction to the posts of Joint Secretary by the government.
“The IAS fraternity is upset. Lakhs of aspirants prepare for the UPSC, they are anguished. There is no scope of reservation. In the last nine recruitments no SC or ST was inducted. Please give instructions and stop this for the administration will suffer.”
N. Gokulakrishnan of the AIADMK seeks for an increase in the budgetary grant for Puducherry.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shiv Sena, says “Indian sailors are still stuck on China sea on MV Anastasia. It should be our priority to bring them back. They are stuck there since July 2020.” Union Minister Mansukh Mandavdia responds and says that two Ministries are in touch with authorities of China on the issue.
Vandana Chavan, NCP, says India will require 30 million hectares for afforestation to stop CO2 emissions.
Tiruchi Siva, DMK, says, “There are 49 Kendriya Vidyalayas in Tamil Nadu. None of them have Tamil language teachers. This is injustice to the local students. It is against the federal structure of the country. Students are enrolled into KVs because the fees is low and education level is good. The poor students are being disadvabtaged. Tamil should be made a compulsory language in KVs in the State. And also respective regional languages in other States,” he says.
Chairman says this is a matter to be looked into by the Education Ministry.
Sasmit Patra of BJD speaks in Odiya.
Rajya Sabha | 9.10 am
Home Minister Amit Shah to make a suo motu statement at 11.30 a.m. on the Uttarakhand disaster.
Zero Hour begins
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi says whatever happened yesterday is not acceptable. Heasks Vijai Sai Reddy to apologise.
Vijai Sai Reddy says his intention was not to bring disrepute. “Yesterday, I was in a state of anger, I take back my words and regret it,” Mr. Reddy says.
Mahesh Poddar of BJP raises the issue of Netflix and other OTT platforms hosting content that “affect Indian values”. “The language used in the programs reflects gender discrimination, body parts are displayed, women are objectified. The government should not delay and regulate these platforms at the earliest,” he says.
I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar says guidelines to regulate OTT platforms are ready and they will be implemented soon.
Rajya Sabha | 9 am
Rajya Sabha proceedings begin
Chairman Venkaiah Naidu condoles the death of former Member Mohinder Singh Gill; Amadou Toumani Toure, former President of Mali; Mamadou Tandja, former President of Niger; and Mr. Ambrose Madvulo Dlamini, former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Reports to be presented:
Reports of Committee on Estimates;
Reports of Public Accounts Committee;
Reports of the Committee on Government Assurances;
Reports of Standing Committee on Water Resources.
Motion regarding the report of joint committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019- Extension of time
Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address
General discussion on the Union Budget
Bills for consideration and passing:
The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Obituary references to the passing away of:
1. Shri Mohinder Singh Lather, (ex-Member);
2. Mr. Amadou Toumani Toure, former President of Mali;
3. Mr. Mamadou Tandja, former President of Niger; and
4. His Excellency Mr. Ambrose Madvulo Dlamini, former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Reports to be presented:
Report of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation;
Reports of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources;
Reports of the Public Accounts Committee.
Bills for consideration and passing:
The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021;
The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020.
General discussion on the Union Budget
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