Tag Archives: Parliament

President Ram Nath Kovind condemns Republic Day violence

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New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday 29 January condemned as “‘very unfortunate” the Republic Day violence and “dishonour” to the tricolour by farmers’ unions protesting against the 3 new farm laws and asserted that the benefits of the farm reforms have started reaching 10 crore small farmers.

The President was delivering the customary address to the joint sitting of Parliament marking the start of the Budget session.

Without naming China, the President took head on the neighbouring country for its efforts to disrupt peace at the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in “utter disregard” of bilateral relations.

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PM lays foundation of stone of new Parliament building

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Country’s interest paramount

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the New Parliament Building on Thursday 10 December 2020.

The new building is an intrinsic part of the vision of ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ and will be a landmark opportunity to build a peoples’ Parliament for the first time after independence, one which will match the needs and aspirations of ‘New India’ in the 75th anniversary of independence in 2022.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said today is a milestone in India’s democratic history, filled with the idea of ​​Indianness. He added that the start of the construction of Parliament House of India is one of the most important stages of our democratic traditions. He gave a call to the people of India, to build this new building of the Parliament together. He said it can’t be more beautiful or more pure than the new building of our Parliament witnessing  when India celebrates 75 years of its independence.

The Prime Minister recalled the moment when he entered the Parliament House for the first time in 2014 as an MP. He said that when he entered the Parliament House for the first time, he bowed his head and saluted this temple of democracy, before stepping into it. He remarked that many new things are being done in the new Parliament House that will increase the efficiency of the MPs and modernize their work culture. He said if the old Parliament House gave direction to post-independence India, the new building would become a witness to the making of a ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat.’ If work was done to fulfill the needs of the country in the old Parliament House, then the aspirations of 21st century India will be fulfilled in the new building.

The Prime Minister remarked that democracy elsewhere is about election procedures, governance and administration. But democracy in India is about life values, it is the way of life and the soul of a nation. He added India’s democracy is a system developed through centuries of experience. There is also a life mantra, an element of life as well as a system of order in the democracy in India. He said it is India’s democratic strength that is giving new energy to the development of the country and giving new faith to its countrymen. He said democracy in India is constantly being renewed every year and it is seen that voter turnout is increasing with every election.

The Prime Minister remarked that democracy in India has always been a means of resolving differences along with governance. Different views, different perspectives empower a vibrant democracy. He said our democracy has moved forward with the goal that there is always room for differences so long as it is not entirely disconnected from the process. He stressed that policies and politics may vary but we are for the service of the public and there should be no differences in this ultimate goal. He added whether debates occur within the Parliament or outside, the determination towards national service and dedication towards national interest should be reflected in them constantly.

The Prime Minister urged the people to to remember that it is the responsibility of the people to awaken the optimism towards democracy which is the basis of the existence of the Parliament House. He reminded that every member who enters Parliament is accountable towards the public as well as the Constitution. He said there are no rituals as such to consecrate this temple of democracy. It is the representatives of the people who come to this temple that will consecrate it. He said their dedication, their service, conduct, thought and behavior will become the life of this temple. Their efforts towards the unity and integrity of India will become the energy that gives life to this temple. He added when each public representative will offer his knowledge, intelligence, education and experience fully here, then this new Parliament House will gain sanctity.

The Prime Minister urged the people to take the pledge to keep India First, to worship only the progress of India and the development of India, every decision should increase the strength of the country and that the country’s interest is paramount. He asked everyone to take the pledge that there will be no greater interest for them than national interest. Their concern for the country will be more than their own personal concerns. Nothing will be more important to them than the unity, integrity of the country. Dignity and fulfillment of the constitution of the country will be the biggest goal of their life.

Drop in Terrorist Activities after scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir

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New Delhi: After 5 August 2019, with the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, the number of terrorist incidents, stone pelting cases registered, civilians killed and security force personnel martyred in terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have reduced significantly.

This was stated in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Monday 21 September 2020 by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy.

 Before 5 August, 2019 from 7 July 2018 to 4 August 2019 (393 days)After 5 August, 2019 from 5 August 2019 to 31 August 2020 (393 days)
No. of terrorist incidents443206
Number of stone pelting cases registered703310
Civilians killed in terrorist incidents5445
Security forces martyred in terrorist incidents12549

The Minister told the House that the Government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and has taken various measures, such as strengthening of security apparatus, strict enforcement of law against anti-national elements, intensified cordon and search operations to effectively deal with the challenges posed by the terrorist organisations. While keeping a close watch on persons who attempt to provide support to terrorists and initiating action against them, other steps by Law enforcing agencies include enhanced interaction between police and public at various levels, sharing of intelligence inputs on real time basis amongst all security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir, intensified area domination of militancy affected areas by deployment of additional Nakas and patrolling by security forces etc.

In order to bring about overall development for the benefit of people of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister had also announced a package of Rs. 80,068 Crores under PMDP-2015. This package consists of 63 major development projects in Road sector, Power generation and transmission, health infrastructure, establishment of 2 AIIMS, IITs, IIMs and tourism related projects etc. These projects are at various stages of implementation. Training and employment opportunities for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir are also provided under many schemes such as HIMAYAT and PMKVY.

In order to mainstream the youth, special emphasis is being given to Watan Ko Jano programme, student exchange programme, sports as well as civic action programme of CAPFs.

Parliament clears Bills on Agricultural Reforms

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Harvesting Kueri (small millet), Desughati. Pic: Subrat Kumar Nayak (representative photo)

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 on Sunday 20 September. Both Bills have already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The passage of these bills reflects PM Modi ji’s unwavering resolve towards the overall development of our farmers and strengthening of the agriculture sector. This is the beginning of an unprecedented era of development in India’s agriculture sector. These agriculture reforms of the Modi government will liberate our farmer brothers from the clutches of middlemen who have deprived them of their dues. Through these agriculture reforms, farmers will be able to fetch the right price for their produce by selling it anywhere they want, this will lead to an increase in their income. Even after this decision, the system of MSP will remain in place and government procurement will also continue – Home Minister Amit Shah

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to provide for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-State and intra-State trade.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 seeks to provide for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Monsoon Session of Parliament begins amidst unprecedented precautionary measures

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PM Narendra Modi addressing the media ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament in New Delhi Click for PM’s remarks at the start of Monsoon Session of Parliament

New Delhi: The much-awaited monsoon session of the Parliament began amidst unprecedented safety measures in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic Monday 14 September 2020 with the Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urging the members to make optimal use of the time by deliberating meaningfully and legislating through consensus.

For the first time in the history of Indian Parliament, both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha halls are being used for the sitting of one house at a time to enable members to fully adhere to social distancing norms. The Rajya Sabha now includes not only its own Chamber and Galleries but also the Chamber of the Lok Sabha.

In his opening remark, Naidu pointed to the substantial business agenda before the House and appealed to all the members to enable the smooth conduct of the proceedings. He sought to remind them that people have lot of expectations from them in respect of providing valuable guidance on management of the pandemic, revival of the economy and return of normal social life.

Referring to the schedule of only 18 sittings during the brief Session, Naidu stressed that primary focus would be to ensure meaningful discussions on important legislations and the issues concerning the nation, including COVID-19 pandemic.

Expressing his happiness to meet with the Members after a gap of 175 days, he observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest disaster to strike humankind since the Spanish Flu about 100 years ago. He said that in spite of India being the second most populous country, the damage due to the pandemic has been contained to the minimum– both in terms of scale of infections and case fatality ratio.

Stating that COVID-19 pandemic has defined a new normal and severely affected the nation and economy, he lauded the remarkable services being rendered by the frontline warriors, including Doctors, Nurses, Police, Paramilitary forces, sanitary workers, media personnel and essential service providers. He also complimented the farmers for having achieved record production despite the lockdown restrictions. He also expressed the hope that the efforts of scientists for a vaccine would come to fruition in the near future.

Stating that the Department Related Standing Committees have started functioning after the ease of travel restrictions, Naidu said they examined various aspects of the pandemic and its impact during the inter-session period. Seven such Committees of Rajya Sabha have held 26 meetings since July this year and spent a total time of 56 hours and 40 minutes deliberating on various issues of which over 50 hours was spent discussing various aspects of the pandemic, its impact and management

Naidu, who completed three years in office as Chairman of the august House last month, said that he had directed the Secretariat to undertake detailed research on various aspects of the functioning of this House since its inception.

With the data available since 1978, he said the productivity of the House has been steadily declining over the last 25 years. However, there has been silver lining. The overall productivity of the last three sessions of the House has been 94.60%, the best for three consecutive sessions in the last five years. “I sincerely hope that this ‘new normal’ would stay”, the Chairman added.

The Chairman has observed that the attendance of 8 Department Related Standing Committees of Rajya Sabha has crossed for the first time 50%– clocking 50.73% during 2019-20 (September 2019-March, 2020). It was 44.87% during 2017-18.

Observing that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, he expressed optimism that these testing times would be overcome with forbearance, discipline and determination.

The Rajya Sabha began its day one at 3.00 p.m. with 15 newly/re-elected Members taking oath/affirmation.

A few Members sought leave of absence for the entire Monsoon Session citing MHA’s guidelines of 29th August, 2020 for Phased Re-Opening (Unlock 4). All those Members were granted leave of absence with the approval of the House.

On the occasion of Hindi Divas, Chairman said that all Indian languages are equally important. He said that our efforts should be to learn and promote all Indian languages along with Hindi.

The House elected its Deputy Chairman. Harivansh has been elected as the 14th Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. Chairman conveyed his congratulation and best wishes to the newly elected Deputy Chairman.

PM takes opposition head-on in Parliament

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New Delhi: Without naming Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said in his reply to the motion of thanks on the President’s address in Lok Sabha he heard an Opposition MP saying- “we will beat Modi with sticks in 6 months.

Modi said: “I have also decided- will do more Surya Namaskar. This will make my back even stronger to face abuses. In any case, I have been abused so much for the last 2 decades, their negativity hardly matters.”

Modi further said that President Ram Nath Kovind’s address instills a spirit of hope and it presents a roadmap for taking the nation ahead in the times to come.

“His address comes at a time when we enter the third decade of the century. Rashtrapati Ji’s address instils a spirit of hope and it presents a roadmap for taking the nation ahead in the times to come”, PM said.

Prime Minister said that now people of the country are not ready to wait. They want Speed ​​and Scale, Determination and Decisiveness, Sensitivity and Solution. Our Government has worked at a fast pace and the result is that in five years 37 million people have bank account, 11 million people have toilets in their home, 13 million people have cooking gas in their homes. Today dream of 2 crore people to have a home of their own is realised. Long wait to own a home has ended for 40 lakh people in over 1700 illegal colonies of Delhi.

Agriculture budget has risen five times

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that increasing the farmer’s income is our priority. The issues of higher MSP, crop insurance and irrigation related schemes were pending for decades. We raised the MSP to one and half times and spent one lakh crore rupees spent to complete the stalled irrigation projects.

“More than five and a half crores of farmers joined the Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme; farmers were paid a premium of thirteen and a half crore rupees, insurance claims of more than 56 thousand crores are settled”, PM added. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that the agriculture budget has risen five times during the government’s tenure. “PM-KISAN Samman Yojana is transforming the lives of many farmers. A sum of Rs 45,000 Crores have been transferred and several farmers have benefitted due to this. In this scheme there are no middlemen and no extra file-work,” he said.

Our vision is for greater investment, better infrastructure and maximum job creation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha said that his government has kept the fiscal deficit in check. “Price rise is also under check and there is macro-economic stability,” he added.

Shri Modi dwelt on the many steps taken by the Government to increase the confidence of investors and strengthen the economy of the country.

“We have taken many initiatives in: Industry Irrigation Social infra Rural infra Ports Water ways”, he said.

“Stand up India and Mudra are adding prosperity in the lives of many. Substantial number of the Mudra beneficiaries are women. Under Mudra Yojana loans more than 22 crore rupees have been approved benefitting crores of youth.”

“Government is working on labour reforms and that too after consulting the labour unions”, Prime Minister added.

Prime Minister said, “For us infrastructure is a combination of aspirations and achievements, about connecting people to their dreams, people’s creativity to consumers. Infrastructure is connecting a child to her school, a farmer to the market, a businessman to his customers. It is about connecting people to people.”

Dwelling further on the subject the Prime Minister said that among the things that will drive India’s progress is next-generation infrastructure.

“In the earlier days, infrastructure creation brought “economic opportunities” for a select few. Not any more. We have made this sector transparent and are working to boost connectivity”, he said

In the coming days we are going to invest over Rs 100 Lakh Crore in the Infrastructure Sector and this would boost growth, economy and employment”, he said.

In Rajya Sabha

Prime Minister Modi, in his reply in Rajya Sabha, to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address said that in the last five years Government has brought new thoughts and new approach to the governance. Referring to Digital India as one of the examples of this new thinking and new approach governance, Prime Minister said that only 59 Gram Panchayats had Broadband connectivity before 2014 but in the last 5 years over 1.25 lakh panchayats have been provided with Broadband connectivity.

Pragya Singh Thakur has become target of condemnation over Godse remark, removed from parliamentary panel

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My party completely condemns the mindset that treats Nathuram Godse as a patriot – Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament on 28 November 2019

New Delhi: Pragya Singh Thakur, who has become a target of condemnation, after she described Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, as “patriot” during Lok Sabha proceedings on Wednesday 27 November 2019 was today dropped from Parliament’s Consultative Committee on Defence.

BJP working president Jagat Prakash Nadda has condemned Pragya Thakur’s remarks, and said the BJP didn’t support such statements.

In Lok Sabha, immediately after the House met for business on Thursday morning, there was commotion and the proceedings were disrupted repeatedly as the Opposition members lodged their protest over Pragya Thakur’s Godse remark. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh intervened and said that far from calling Nathuram Godse a patriot, his party completely condemns the mindset that treats Nathuram Godse as a patriot. As far as Mahatma Gandhiji is concerned, he is our ideal. He was always our guide and shall remain our guide in future. His ideology was relevant in the past and is also relevant today. Even in times to come, it will be relevant in totality. Everyone, irrespective of political affiliations, caste or religion, all consider Mahatma Gandhi as their ideal, the Home Minister said.

The opposition members were not ready to relent. At this stage, Adhri Ranjan Chowdhury, Kalanidhi Maran, Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil, Prof. Saugata Roy, Asaduddin Owaisi and some other Members left the House.

Earlier Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary said “You want to gobble up Indira Gandhi, gobble up Jawaharlal Nehru. Now there is an attempt to gobble up Mahatma Gandhi.The whole world condemns this, entire nation condemns this. The government should give a statement.”

Prof. Saugata Roy also lashed out at Pragya Thakur on her “patriot” remark.

The proceedings were continuously disrupted while the Speaker tried his best to give a ruling in this matter.

When Asaduddin Owaisi intervened and sought permission to speak, the Speaker told him that he would not be allowed to speak as the House was not having a debate. There will be a debate only if something is brought on record, he pointed out and stated categorically that he has already given his ruling and it (Pragya Thakur’s remark) has been removed from record.

Abrogation of certain provisions of Article 370 & bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir mark the first session of Parliament after General Election

Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die on 7 August; Lok Sabha adjourned sine die on Tuesday 6 August

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New Delhi: The most important business transacted during first session of Parliament after the general elections is the abrogation of certain provisions from Article 370 and Presidential Orders thereunder. This will ensure equal opportunities to all sections of Society in Jammu & Kashmir particularly with the restoration of applicability of the provisions of the Constitution of India and all socio-economic legislations thereby ensuring rule of law and equity. Further for ensuring better administration and for curbing terrorism, the State of Jammu & Kashmir has been reorganized with the formation of two Union Territories – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

The First Session of Seventeenth Lok Sabha commenced on Monday, the 17th of June, 2019 and 249th Session of Rajya Sabha commenced from Thursday, the 20th June, 2019.

Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on Tuesday, the 6 August 2019. Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, 7 August 2019. The Session had a total of 37 sittings of Lok Sabha and 35 sittings of the Rajya Sabha.

Being the first Session of the 17th Lok Sabha, new Members took Oath/Affirmation during the first two days i.e. 17th and 18th June, 2019. Election of Speaker, Lok Sabha was held on 19th June, 2019.

This being the first Session after the General Elections, the President addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together in terms of Article 87(1) of the Constitution, on 20th June, 2019. Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address in Lok Sabha was moved by Pratap Chandra Sarangi and seconded by Dr. Heena Gavit. This item engaged the Lok Sabha for 13Hrs 47minutes against allotted 10 Hours. In Rajya Sabha it was moved by Jagat Prakash Naddaand seconded by Smt. Sampatiya Uikey. This item engaged the Rajya Sabha for 14 Hrs against allotted 12 Hours. Motions of Thanks were discussed and adopted by the two Houses.

The Union Budget for 2019- 20 was presented on Friday, the 5 July 2019. General Discussion on the Union Budget was held in both Houses. This engaged the Lok Sabha for 17 Hours 23 minutes against allotted 12 Hours and Rajya Sabha for 12 Hours 30 minutes against allotted 12 Hours.

In Lok Sabha, Demands for Grants relating to Ministry of Railways, Road Transport & Highways, Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth Affairs & Sports were discussed and adopted. Thereafter rest of the Demands for Grants of the Ministries/Departments were put to the vote of the House on Wednesday, the 17thJuly, 2019. The related Appropriation Bill was also introduced, considered and passed on 17.07.2019. The Finance (No.2) Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha on 18.07.2019. Rajya Sabha returned the Appropriation (No. 2) Bill, 2019 and the Finance (No.2) Bill, 2019 on 23.07.2019. As such the entire Financial Business was completed before 31stJuly, 2019.

During this Session a total of 40 Bills (33 in Lok Sabha and 07 in Rajya Sabha) were introduced. 35Bills were passed by Lok Sabha;32Bills were passed by Rajya Sabha and 30 Bills have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament. A list of Bills introduced in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Bills passed by Lok Sabha, Bill(s) passed by Rajya Sabha, Bills passedby both Houses are attached in Annex.

The productivity of Lok Sabha was approx. 137% and that of Rajya Sabha was approx. 103%.

This Session has been historic in many ways as legislations relating to almost all walks of socio and economic activities have been passed. 30 Bills have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament in this Session which is a record in single first/effective Session after constitution of new Lok Sabha.

Health Sector Reforms – During this Session four Bills namely the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019, the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Dentist (Amendment) Bill, 2019 have been passed by both the Houses. Particularly the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 is a revolutionary reform in medical field which provides for constitution of a National Medical Commission for development and regulation of all aspects relating to medical education, medical profession and medical institutions and a Medical Advisory Council to advise and make recommendations to the Commission.

Social and Gender Justice – Certain Bills to further strengthen Social and Gender justice system in India were also passed during this Session. The Consumer Protection Bill,2019 seeks to revamp the consumer protection mechanism by repealing earlier Law and providing for establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers; to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products besides additional provision for “mediation” as an alternate dispute resolution mechanism to cope up with the drastic transformation of consumer markets for goods and services. The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 extends the benefits of reservation as available to persons residing in the areas adjoining actual line of control to the people residing in the areas adjoining international border. The Protection of Children form Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 makes punishment for the sexual offences against children more stringent which may extend upto twenty years or in certain cases imprisonment for remainder of natural life besides declaring depiction of child in pornography as crime. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 which declares the triple talaq/talaq-e-biddat void is a major step towards grant of gender justice to the Muslim women.

National Security – So as to strengthen National Security apparatus and striking a balance between National Security aspects and Human Rights the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 and Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 have been passed during this Session.

Economic Sector/Ease of doing Businessmeasures – The New Delhi Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment)Bill, 2019 promote and strengthen the alternate dispute resolution system and Non Performing Asset management system respectively and as such are a big leap forward for facilitating the ease of doing business and confidence building among investors. The Special Economic Zone (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to include “Trust or Entity” within the definition of person under the parent Act so as to expand the scopeof entrepreneurs who can setup units in SEZ. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019 provide comprehensive mechanism to ban the unregulated deposit schemes other than deposits taken in the ordinary course of business and to protect the interest of depositors.

Labour Reforms – The Code on Wages Bill, 2019 has been enacted after amalgamating the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and is a much awaited labour reform which will facilitate the ease of compliance of labour laws thereby widening the scope of minimum wages to all workers – a big step for equity promotion and setting up of more enterprises thus catalyzing the creation of employment opportunities.

Transport Reforms – The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to address the issues relating to road safety, citizen facilitation, strengthening public transport, automation and computerisation besides increasing the fines and penalties for violation of provisions of the Act and to make a provision for protection of good Samaritans. The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019 enables to adopt tariff-based bidding system for engaging private partners in infrastructure projects at airports besides amending the definition of major airport – having annual passengers’ throughput in excess of three and a half million.

The above result could be achieved due to excellent floor coordination in both the Houses by Ministers in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister. During discussion on the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 and the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha on suggestions being made by opposition members, Ministers concerned accepted the suggestions and moved official amendments in this respect which are perfect examples of coordination and cooperation among political parties on the floor of the House.

It is also worth mentioning that now from this Session onwards departing from earlier practice of adjourning the Houses for the day in the event of death of a sitting Member of the particular House, a new practice has been developed of adjourning the House for an Hour or Two and then meeting again for transacting essential business of the day. This has contributed for increase in overall productivity of both the Houses which has been 137% in Lok Sabha and 103% in Rajya Sabha.

The extra-ordinary output of this Session has become possible due to tireless efforts of all agencies and individuals involved in the transaction of Business before two Houses of Parliament.

Click here for details of the bills introduced and passed in the two houses of the Parliament 

Parliament abrogates special status under Article 370, passes J&K bifurcation Bill

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Amit ShahNew Delhi: Lok Sabha on Tuesday, 6 August 2019, approved the resolution abrogating special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and also the Bill to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Laddakh.

The resolution and the Bill were approved by Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The resolution to abrogate Article 370 was passed by Lok Sabha with 351 members voting in favour and 72 against it. One member abstained.

The Bill to create two UTs – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh – was passed by 370 votes in favour and 70 against.

After the resolution and the Bill were adopted, Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was greeted with thumping of desks and loud applause when he entered in the House and took his seat before the resolution and Bill were put to vote.

Home Minister Amit Shah, while responding to the debate on the resolution for abrogating provisions of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019, said that Article 370 was creating doubts over Jammu and Kashmir’s relations with India. He also said that India will continue to claim the territories of Jammu and Kashmir under the occupation of Pakistan. He categorically ruled out any talks with separatist Hurriyat Conference.

Shah said the Modi government will restore statehood to Jammu and Kashmir when normalcy returns.

“This is not a historical blunder but we are setting right the historical blunder,” Shah said and dismissed the opposition charge that the government was committing a mistake. He went on to point out that Article 370 was discriminatory and against development, different minority groups and women.

Shah withdrew the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2019, in Lok Sabha, saying that the clauses incorporated in the legislation will automatically come into effect in
the two new Union Territories. The Bill will also be withdrawn from Rajya Sabha.

Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq Bill

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Talaq talaq talaq
Talaq talaq talaq

New Delhi: The controversial Bill that would make instant triple talaq a criminal offence was passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday, 25 July 2019.

Lok Sabha passed Triple Talaq Bill with 303 votes in favour of the Bill & 78 votes against the Bill.

As the triple talaq bill was passed with 303 votes in favour, the Congress staged a walkout to protest against the bill. Earlier, Janata Dal (United) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs, also staged a walkout in protest against the bill that criminalises instant divorce.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in Lok Sabha: “There have been 345 cases of triple talaq after the judgment till July 24. Should we leave these women on roads? I am a minister in Narendra Modi govt and not in Rajiv Gandhi Government”.

The Government will face hurdle in Rajya Sabha regarding the passage of this Bill.

Participating in the discussion on triple Talaq Bill, N K Premachandran of Revolutionary Socialist Party said in Lok Sabha: “Why are you not enforcing imprisonment for divorce in the Hindu and Christian communities? Why alone in Muslim community? This is discrimination against Muslim community”.

 

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Extradition of Economic Offenders: “Names will not be disclosed in Public interest”

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  • There are 28 individuals who are accused in criminal cases being investigated by Enforcement Directorate (ED).
  • They are either residing abroad or have left the country before initiation of investigations by ED.
  • As these cases are at various stages of investigations by ED, it will not be in larger public interest to disclose names of such persons, amount involved and status of investigation as this could adversely affect these investigations.

Nirmala sitharaman

New Delhi: Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman in gave this information in a written reply to a Parliament Question in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, 25 June 2019.

The Finance Minister told the House that Necessary action has been initiated for bringing the accused persons back to India. In this regard, Red Corner Notice (RCN) has been issued against 25 persons; Extradition requests have been issued for 14 persons; action under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA) have been initiated against 7 persons and 3 persons accused under PMLA have been brought back to India.

There are adequate legal and administrative measures in place to tackle economic offenders who have either fled from the country or are likely to flee during the course of investigations. Whenever there is apprehension that the accused person may leave the country during the pendency of PMLA investigation, Look Out Circular (LoC) is issued by the Directorate of Enforcement. In case any of the accused person against whom LoC is issued tries to leave the country the Immigration Authority informs the Directorate and such person is apprehended. Further, some of the accused persons may already be residing abroad or may have left India before the commencement of the investigation under PMLA. In such cases action is taken by issuance of RCN and Extradition Request. Action under the newly enacted FEOA, 2018 is also initiated in suitable cases against economic offenders who have left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution or who, being abroad, refuse to return to India to face criminal prosecution and the total amount involved in the economic offence is more than Rs. 100 crore.

 

Modi Government wins no-Trust Vote: Rahul caps speech by hugging the PM

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New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Parliament today (20 July 2018) during the no-confidence debate which culminated with him walking to the ruling side to hug Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become a topic of discussion across the country more than the issues confronting the people that should have got prominence.

Rahul Gandhi was more emphatic in his speech when he bracketed the PM, ruling BJP and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh) together and took a dig at them by underscoring how they have contributed in bringing him closer to Lord Shiva and making him a true Indian and a Hindu. He also said that profanities were being thrown at him and he was being called “Pappu” (a little boy). They may hate him, but he does not hold any grudge nor hatred towards them.

The controversial multi-billion dollar Rafale jet deal between India and France was one issue that was raised strongly by the Congress President. In this context, he said that the PM was a “bhagidar” (partner) and not a chowkidar (security guard) implying thereby that this was contrary to what he keeps shouting from rooftops.

Later, speaking during the motion, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Rahul Gandhi for trying to make him stand from the seat when he hugged him in Lok Sabha. Modi said that what the Congress President did shows his arrogance and hurry to get the PM’s chair. It is the 125 crore people of this country who elect or remove the Prime Minister, he said adding “what’s the hurry”.

The Narendra Modi Government won the Trust Vote at the end of a 12-hour long debate loaded with blistering attack and counter attack between the ruling NDA members and those from the  opposition side.,

Monsoon session of Parliament from July 18 to August 12: GST Bill tops Modi Government agenda

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Parliamentarians of  India by Anoop SwaroopNew Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs today recommended convening of Monsoon session of Parliament this year from 18 July 18 till 12 August 2016 subject to exigencies of government business.

This was announced by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs M. Venakaiah Naidu after the meeting of CCPA, held after the Cabinet meeting today.

Naidu told media persons here that the coming Monsoon session will have a total of 20 sittings spread over 26 days.

Giving details of the meeting he held with about 30 Ministers to discuss legislative agenda for the coming session of Parliament, Naidu said that there are 11 Bills pending in Lok Sabha and 45 Bills pending in Rajya Sabha. He said that the Ministers have been asked to take necessary action in respect of the pending and new Bills to be introduced by the third of next month so as to ensure that about 20 to 25 Bills could be taken up for introduction, consideration and passing.

Talking to media persons, Naidu expressed the hope that the GST Bill would be passed during the Monsson session of Parliament. He said “there is a broad consensus on GST Bill with almost all the State Governments and political parties favouring the Bills. If some parties still have some issues, the Government is keen to discuss the same. Given the importance of the Bill, it would be appropriate if GST Bill could be passed unanimously. As Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, I prefer consensus on such important Bill before exploring other options. Introduction of GST is in the larger national interest and I appeal to all parties to support it”.

Three Bills are to be taken up in the coming Monsoon session to replace three Ordinances. These three Ordinances are:

1.The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016;
2. The Dentists (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 (Both relate to exemption this year from National Eligibility cum Entrance Test); and
3. The Enemy Properties (Amendment and Validation) Third Ordinance,2016.

The 11 Bills pending in Lok Sabha are:

1.The Factories (Amendment) Bill,2014;
2.The Electricity (Amendment) Bill,2014;
3.The Lok Pal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill,2014;
4.The Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill,2015;
5.The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Amendment) Bill,2015;
6.The Consumer Protection Bill,2015;
7.The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill,2015.

In respect of these 7 Bills, the Department Related Standing Committees have presented their reports.

8. The Indian Trust (Amendment) Bill,2015 (agreeing to of amendments made by Rajya Sabha)
9.The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (referred to Standing Committee)
10.The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill,2016 (referred to Joint Committee); and
11.The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill,2015.

Some of the 45 Bills pending in Rajya Sabha are:

1.The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 1987 (as reported by Joint Committee);

(Bills passed by Lok Sabha)

2.The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill,2015;
3.The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill,2016
4.The Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill,2016;

(Bills as passed by Lok Sabha and reports presented by Select Committee of Rajya Sabha)

5. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Second Amendment) Bill,2014 –GST Bill;
6. The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill,2016;

(Bill referred to Select Committee)

7.The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill,2013;

(Bills on which reports were presented by Standing Committees -34 Bills)

8.The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill,2012;
9.The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill,2014; and
10. The Pesticides Management Bill, 2008.

Delhi records highest incidence of crime against foreign tourists

Newsroom24x7 Staff

crime against foreign touristsNew Delhi: The Union Territory of Delhi recorded the highest incidence of crime against foreign tourists followed by Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in 2014. The data for crime against foreign tourists in 2015 is not available with the Government of India.

The overall picture regarding the incidence of crime against foreign tourists across India gets reflected from a written reply given in Lok Sabha today by the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Dr. Mahesh Sharma.He told the House that the Ministry of Tourism does not compile the data regarding crime against foreign or domestic tourists. However, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under the Ministry of Home Affairs has started collecting data on crime against foreign tourists since 2014. Hence data on crime against foreign tourist prior to 2014 is not available with NCRB. The total number of cases registered under crime against foreign tourists were 384 during 2014.

The State-wise/UT-wise number of reported incidents against foreign tourist during 2014 is given below:

 

Sl. No. State/UT Total Crimes Committed against Foreign Tourists
1 Andhra Pradesh 2
2 Arunachal Pradesh 0
3 Assam 0
4 Bihar 13
5 Chhattisgarh 0
6 Goa 66
7 Gujarat 3
8 Haryana 6
9 Himachal Pradesh 2
10 Jammu & Kashmir 1
11 Jharkhand 0
12 Karnataka 11
13 Kerala 7
14 Madhya Pradesh 2
15 Maharashtra 25
16 Manipur 0
17 Meghalaya 0
18 Mizoram 1
19 Nagaland 0
20 Odisha 0
21 Punjab 3
22 Rajasthan 31
23 Sikkim 0
24 Tamil Nadu 2
25 Telangana 2
26 Tripura 0
27 Uttar Pradesh 64
28 Uttarakhand 0
29 West Bengal 4
TOTAL STATE(S) 245
30 A & N Islands 0
31 Chandigarh 2
32 D&N Haveli 0
33 Daman & Diu 0
34 Delhi UT 135
35 Lakshadweep 0
36 Puducherry 2
TOTAL UT(S) 139
TOTAL (ALL INDIA) 384

In his reply in Parliament, the Tourism Minister underscored the steps being taken by his Ministry to ensure the safety and security of tourists including foreign tourists.

These are:

  • 24X7 “multi-lingual helpdesk” is available in the designated languages to provide support service in terms of providing information relating to Travel & Tourism in India to the domestic and International tourists and to assist the callers with advice on action to be taken during times of distress while travelling in India and if need be alert the concerned authorities. The languages handled by the Tourist Helpline include ten International languages besides English and Hindi. The languages are Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The calls made by tourists (both international and domestic) while in India will be free of charge.
  • Adoption of code of conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism, which contains a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect to basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents, in particular women and children.
  • All the Chief Ministers of the State Governments and Administrators of Union Territory Administration have been asked to take effective steps for ensuring a conducive and friendly environment for all tourists and also requested to publicize the steps being taken/proposed to be taken to increase the sense of security amongst the present/prospective visitors and also to counter the negative publicity, if any.
  • The National Tourism Ministers’ Conference was convened on 18 July, 2013 and 21 August 2014 in New Delhi which resolved that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will work for ensuring the safety and security of tourists, especially women. The State Governments/UT Administrations of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha have deployed Tourist Police, in one form or the other.
  • grant of Central Financial Assistance to the State Governments of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh for setting up of Tourist Facilitation and Security Organization (TFSO) on a pilot basis.
  • In the wake of some unfortunate incidents involving foreign tourists, Ministry of Tourism posts an advisory on its website http://www.incredibleindia.org
  • The Ministry of Tourism has issued the Guidelines on Safety and Security of Tourists for State Governments/Union Territories and Tips for Travellers in September 2014. These guidelines were sent to the State Governments/Union Territories and other relevant authorities to stress the importance of safety and risk management, assist in identifying best practices and encourage closer cooperation for ensuring a pleasant experience to the tourists. The Guidelines are indicative references that may be useful to the States in sharing or adopting the best practices and design their domestic measures to better protect tourists. In addition to these guidelines “Tips to Travellers” are also offered to make the visit of tourists to Incredible India, a memorable experience.

Heavy financial and legislative agenda for third week of Budget session

.Newsroom24x7 Desk

Budget Session 2016

  • Aadhar Bill, Whistle Blower Protection Bill, Child Labour Bill and time permitting Real Estate Bill among 12 Bills proposed for next week
  • Both the Houses debate contentious issue during the first two weeks; Lok Sabha passes one Bill and Rajya Sabha clears 3 Bills

New Delhi: Heavy financial and legislative agenda awaits the third week of Budget session of Parliament beginning Tuesday next week and has only four working days, with Monday being a holiday on account of Mahashivratri.

A total of 12 Bills are on the agenda of the Government for the next week including 7 in the Lok Sabha and 5 in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bills proposed to be taken up in the Lok Sabha next week are :

1.Introducton, Consideration and Passing of the Enemy Property (Amendment & Validation) Bill, 2016 to replace an Ordinance;

2. Two Appropriation Bills relating to Demands for Grants on Account (Railways) for 2016-17 and Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways) for 2015-16, on conclusion of ongoing discussion;

3.Two Appropriation Bills relating to Demands for Grants on Account (General) for 2016-17 and Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) for 2015-16 (after initiation and conclusion of discussion);

4.Consideration and Passing of the Adhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016; and

5.Consideration and Passing of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill,2016.

In addition to further consideration and return of Appropriation Bills relating to Railway and General Budgets to the Lok Sabha, the Legislative agenda proposed for the next week in Rajya Sabha is :

1.Consideration and Passing of the Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015, as passed by the Lok Sabha;

2.Consideration and Passing of the National Waterways Bill,2016, as passed by the Lok Sabha;

3.Consideration and Passing of the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill,2015, as passed by the Lok Sabha;

4.Consideration and Passing of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill,2012.

While making a Statement in the Rajya Sabha on the Business of the House for the third week of Budget session, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi informed the House that the Government would like to also move the Real Estate (Development & Regulation) Bill which is pending in the Upper House.

During the first two weeks of the ongoing Budget session, both the Houses passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill,2016 giving voting rights to the people who became Indian Citizens following the exchange of conclaves between India and Bangladesh.

In addition, Rajya Sabha has passed two more Bills which were earlier passed by the Lok Sabha viz., The High Court and Supreme Court (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill,2015 and The Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Both the Houses also discussed incidents happened in the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Hyderabad Central University. Besides, Rajya Sabha also took up two Calling Attention Motions on the breakdown of law and order in Delhi and the comments attributed to a Union Minister allegedly against minorities.

While the Lok Sabah adopted a Motion of Thanks to the President for his address to both the Houses at a Joint Session, discussion in this regard is in progress in the Upper House.

You cannot defend Indian flag by destroying relationships between Indians: Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul GandhiNew Delhi: Leader of the main Opposition Congress Rahul Gandhi today said in Lok Sabha that you cannot defend the Indian flag by destroying the relationships between Indians.

Addressing the Lok Sabha today. Gandhi cited the examples of the splitting of czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and partition of Pakistan leading to the creation of Bangladesh. Drawing an analogy, he cautioned against moves to disrupt the relationships that the Flag of India represents.

When I salute the flag I am not saluting the cloth. I am saluting the relationships that the flag represents, Gandhi said adding “A nation is the relationship between its people. It is nothing but the conversation between its citizens. When I protect the flag, I protect the conversations on which those relationships are built. I protect every single voice. But I pay special attention to the weakest- those that are most difficult to hear.”

On his recent visit to join the students protesting against the arresting of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and others and charging them with sedition for some alleged slogans raised at a students’ rally on the JNU campus, Rahul said: “When I went to JNU, your ABVP workers waved black flags in my face, they taunted and abused me. I felt no anger, I felt proud that I lived in an India where it was possible for me to be confronted by people who held a different opinion than me. I protected our Indian flag when I let your people wave those black flags in my face.”

He asked “Whose opinion does the PM respect except his own? You have been taught by your teachers in the RSS that there is only one truth – Yours. The Prime Minister cannot run the country on only his opinion. The country is not the Prime minister. The Prime Minister is not the country, said Gandhi.

Rahul went on to inform the House that the Prime Minister had told the Congress President that he had solved the Nagaland problem and signed a historic accord. Following this the Congress President had asked us to check what had happened because none of our CMs had mentioned anything about the Naga accord. Gandhi went on to reveal that when contacted the Chief Ministers of North-East were stunned and they had not heard a word about any accord. What had the government signed?.

As per the media reports, Gandhi said, even the officials in the Home Ministry and even in the Intelligence Bureau were not privy to the discussions.

Gandhi further said Pakistan directly attacked us in Mumbai on 26/11. “They trained and sent killers into the heart of Mumbai. Almost 200 people were butchered.The operation to stop the terrorists was on, our soldiers and citizens were dying. The Government of India begged the then CM of Gujarat again and again not to go to Mumbai because he would disturb the operation. Did he care? No.He went right ahead to Mumbai- to the Oberoi hotel itself and disturbed the entire operation. He grabbed his headlines while our people die,” said Gandhi.

After Mumbai, Gandhi said, the UPA Government had worked tirelessly to trap Pakistan. We isolated them internationally. We spent thousands of hours of diplomacy to put Pak in a diplomatic cage. We convinced the world that they were the global supporter of terror.

Directly targeting the PM, he said: What does the PM do? He decides to have a cup of tea with Nawaz Sharif. Without any thought, without any vision he decides to take a detour to Pak. He did not bother to ask anyone. Not the armed forces, not the intelligence people not even the diplomats. The PM destroyed 6-years of our work. In one move he let Pakistan out of the cage we had forced them into. He gifted them a status equal to ours.

Carrying forward the attack, Gandhi said: “When the PM stopped over at Pak without talking to the professionals in our government, he disrespected our flag. He disrespected those who died in Mumbai and Pathankot. He disrespected the talent of our bureaucrats and the tremendous talent of the Indian people.The PM still has the option to listen to what the country is trying to tell him. Listen to those around – to Rajnathji, Advaniji, Sushma ji. Listen to us across the aisle-we are not your enemies. Listen to the voice of our people- to the farmers and workers who have so much wisdom. Especially listen to the voice of the next generation. They are the future of this country. Allow them the dignity of their voice.”

Highlights of Rahul Gandhi’s address in Parliament

  • We broke the back of insurgency in Kashmir.
  • We convinced world that Pakistan is a global supporter of terrorism.
  • Did the home minister know about Naga accord? Where has the accord gone now?
  • The PM is not the country, the country is not the PM.
  • You have been taught by teachers at RSS that there is only one truth.
  • When media, teachers, students were attacked, why did you (govt) not speak?
  • 60% students in JNU come from backward communities. The monthly income of their parents is less than Rs. 6000 per month.
  • Govt is targetting JNU students because they come from poor sections of society.
  • Modi is a very powerful person, but you people should say something, the ruling party MPs were told.
  • How much employment did Modi generate?
  • The government came up with a ‘Babbar Sher’ (lion) of Make In India.
  • They launched a “Fair & Lovely” yojana (scheme), to convert black money to white money.
  • Modi had promised that he will put people with black money behind bars, now they have come up with way to save those people.
  • They launched a “Fair & Lovely” yojana, to convert black money to white money.
  • Before elections PM Modi said Dal (pulses) is 70 Rs/Kg and he promised to bring down prices, but now Dal is 200 Rs/Kg.

AIADMK stalls Lok Sabha proceedings over ED action against Chidambaram’s son

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P Chdambaram-Karti ChidambaramNew Delhi: The Lok Sabha was today adjourned briefly amid slogan shouting by the AIADMK members over the reported Enforcement Directorate’s action against a firm allegedly controlled by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti.

Amidst slogan shouting by AIADMK members former Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Rajya Sabha that the protest was stage-managed by the ruling side to deflect attention from others from the ruling side who were facing action.

Karti has denied all charges and said all his dealings are fair.

Chidambaram is presently at the centre of a raging controversy after the former Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told a television news channel that Chidambaram had got the LeT reference reoved from the Ishrat Jahan case affidavit. The former Home Minister has lashed out against Pillai and questioned the credibility of his charge.

Budget 2016-17: India has held ground despite slowdown in global growth says Jaitley

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley began presenting the Budget for the financial year 2016-17 in Parliament today by pointing out that amidst slowdown in global growth and trade the Indian economy has held its ground firmly and the growth of GDP has accelerated to 7.6%.

The Finance Minister told the House that we are committed to eliminating black money and announced a voluntary disclosure scheme for this purpose. He said that Fiscal deficit for 2016-17 is  targeted at 3.5% and revenue deficit estimate for FY 2015-16 is down to 2.5%. He went on to annoiunce  that no changes have been made in the existing income tax slabs.

Since the Budget proposals were more project specific and not based on macro economics,  there was a direct and immediate impact on the stock market as the Sensex dropped 500 points when the Budget was being presented.

Sensex falls 500 points amid Jaitley’s Union budget tax proposalsSensex falls 500 points amid Jaitley’s Union budget tax proposalsThe Finance Minister  presented Tax proposals to provide relief to small taxpayers through rebates. He also announced relief to those in rented houses by staying that deduction is proposed to be raised from Rs 24,000 to 60,000 under Section 88G.

Jaitley further said that revenue deficit target for FY16 is 2.5% against budgeted estimates of 2.8%.

Focusing on Corporate income tax, the Finance Minister said incentives for new manufacturing companies, small enterprise companies are proposed..

The Finance Minister said that foreign exchange reserves are at highest ever level and CPI inflation has declined to 5.4%

Jaitley said that recapitalization of banks will be done during next FY. He further said we have to create a prudent fiscal policy, raise domestic demand and carry out reforms.

The Budget is also committed to increase investment in asset reconstruction companies

Foreign exchange reserves are now 350 billion US dollars, Jaitkey told the House.

Important announcements:

Rs 55,000 crore to be allocated for roads and highways and 10,000 km of national highways to be approved.

Govt to provide health insurance of upto Rs 1 lakh per family.

National Skill Development Mission gave training to 76 lakh youth,1500 institutes to be set up.

Rs 9,000 crores allocated to Swaccha Bharat Abhiyaan.

Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan: New restructured scheme to increase the governance capabilities of PRIs to be launched.

Appreciation for 75 lakh Middle class and lower middle class for willingly giving up LPG Subsidy.

Stand Up India scheme allocated Rs 500 Crores for SC, ST and women entrepreneurs.

100 % village electrification to be achieved by 1st May, 2018

Rs. 87,765 crores for rural development as a whole have been allocated in the budget.

300 rurban clusters to be set up under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Mission

Rs 9,000 crores allocated to Swaccha Bharat Abhiyaan

New restructured scheme to increase the governance capabilities of PRIs to be launched: Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

Appreciation for 75 lakh Middle class and lower middle class for willingly giving up LPG Subsidy

National SC/ST Hub in partnership with  industry associations to support SC/ST entrepreneurs

85% of stalled road projects back on track

Total allocation to road sector including PMGSY: Rs. 97,000 crores

There will be a new policy for management of assets of public enterprises

100% FDI through FAPB route in marketing of food products produced in India

Department of Disinvestment to be renamed as Dept of Investment and Public Asset Management

RBI Act being amended to provide statutory basis for monetary policy framework

100% FDI to be allowed through FIPB route in Food Products Produced and Marketed in India

RBI Act being amended to provide statutory basis for monetary policy framework

100% FDI to be allowed through FIPB route in Food Products Produced and Marketed in India

Comprehensive Code to provide mechanism for bankruptcy of banks/insurance companies

Banking Board Bureau will be operationalised, we stand behind public sector banks

Rs 900 crore for Market Stabilization Fund for pulses

A bill on targeted delivery of financial services using Aadhar to be introduced

DBT on pilot basis in fertilisers to be introduced in some districts

Rs 100 crore to celebrate birthday of Deen Dayal Upadhyay

Service tax exempted for general insurance schemes under Niramayi Swasthya Bima Yojna

Suitable changes to be made in customs and excise duty rates to boost Make In India

Relief of Rs 3000 per year to taxpayers with income below Rs 5 Lakh per year

Rs 100 crore to celebrate birthday of Deen Dayal Upadhyay

Service tax exempted for general insurance schemes under Niramayi Swasthya Bima Yojna

Suitable changes to be made in customs and excise duty rates to boost Make In India

Relief of Rs 3000 per year to taxpayers with income below Rs 5 Lakh per year

100% deduction for profits of undertakings from housing projects in cities during June 2016-March 2019

Services provided by EPFO exempted from service tax

Service Tax exemption for services under the Deen Dayal Gram Jyoti Yojana

Krishi Kalyan Cess of 0.5% on all taxable services

Deendayal Upadhyaya’s philosophy guides all programmes of NDA Government: Pranab Mukherjee

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 President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Speaker, Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan, Vice President Mohd. Hamid Ansari, Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu arrive for the opening day of the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on February 23, 2016

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Speaker, Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan, Vice President Mohd. Hamid Ansari, Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu arrive for the opening day of the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on February 23, 2016

New Delhi: President of India Prannab Mukherjee today addressing both Houses of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session commemorated the memory of the leading founders of the erstwhile Jan Sangh Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and recalling his philosophy of Ekatma Manavata (single spirit of humanity), said it envisages Antyodaya, where the empowering rays of opportunity reach the last person.

This principle Antyodaya guides all the programmes of the NDA Government at the Centre, the President said adding that the central government, in particular, is focused on “Garibon ki Unnati” (Poverty Eradication), “Kisaano ki Samriddhi” (Farmers’ Prosperity) and “Yuvaon ko Rojgaar” (Massive Employment Generation).

Also quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Mukherjee said: “Poverty is the worst form of violence” (unquote). The essence of progress lies in bringing a sense of fulfillment to the poor and the deprived, the marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society. The poorest of the poor are entitled to the first charge on the nation’s resources. Removing the scourge of poverty and destitution is our most sacred moral responsibility.

Last year, I had spoken of the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna,the President sais adding today I am proud to say that it is the world’s most successful financial inclusion programme. Under the programme, out of over twenty one crore accounts opened, fifteen crore accounts are operational with an aggregate deposit of over Rupees thirty two thousand crore. The programme has gone beyond mere opening of bank accounts, to becoming a platform for poverty eradication, by offering basic financial services and security to the poor.

In terms of targeted subsidies the President said that Direct Benefit Transfer has so far been extended to 42 schemes funded by my Government. PAHAL has become the largest direct cash transfer program of its kind in the world, with nearly 15 crore beneficiaries. Since June 2014, the food security coverage has more than doubled to cover over 68 crore persons.

Social justice with inclusion is the first promise of our Constitution and the poor and the backward are the focus of my Government, Mukherjee said as he pointed out that the Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been further strengthened by suitable amendments. The 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is being celebrated across the country to foster the spirit of social inclusion. 26th of November, the day on which the Constitution was adopted, is now celebrated as Constitution Day to deepen Constitutional values amongst the citizens of the country. My government is working to preserve the Panchatirthas, the five sites of Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy.

The President said that eeducation empowers people and to serve this end, the Centre has allocated more than 50% of the Ministry of Minority Affairs budget to scholarship funds. Two new schemes; Nai Manzil and USTAA Daimed to empower the minorities, have been launched. Currently about 20,000 madarasa children are undergoing skill training under the Nai Manzil scheme. Everlasting Flame, an exhibition to showcase the life, history and the culture of the Parsi community is being organized next month.

Click here for full text of President’s address

Sushma Swaraj – Indo-Pak talks will mark a new beginning for peace and development

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Parliamentarians of  India by Anoop SwaroopNew Delhi : External affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a suo motu statement in the Parliament and shared her experience with legislators in the house. While addressing the MPs (Members of Parliament) in Rajya Sabha, Swaraj expressed hope that re-engaging with Pakistan under a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ would mark beginning of peace and development. Recapitulating her last week’s visit to Islamabad, and the recent developments relating to ties between the two neighbors, the Minister said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the environment conference in Paris and had taken an initiative of ‘again re-engaging with each other.’

Swaraj said — The underlying sentiment, on which I am confident that this House concurs fully, was that the continued estrangement of two neighbors was a hurdle to the realization of our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous region. She elaborated on the principal obstacles which posed deterrant to the growth of ties, and bringing the house’s attention directly on the matter of militancy, Swaraj stated that the matter of terrorism would have to be clearly and directly addressed, for which the PM had laid a discussion carpet earlier, which was spread further by the respective country’s NSAs recently, thereby, which Swaraj herself took forward and weaved into discussions with Pakistani counterparts during her recent tour.

She read out her statement amidst protests from the usual suspects — the members of several opposition parties, who, dug into the well and vociferously raised slogans on several issues. Swaraj said, the comprehensive ‘Bilateral Dialogue’ with Pakistan is aimed at removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern. Also, it focused on avenues for exploring and establishing cooperative ties. She stated, initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues would all, together, contribute to welfare of the entire region and promote better understanding and mutual trust. In her exact words — The new Dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region.

Ideals of the Constitution are being challenged: Sonia GandhI

Newsroom24x7 Staff

sonia gandhiNew Delhi: Paying tributes to the framer of  the Induan Constitution Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said in Parliament on the opening day of the winter session that the ideals of the Constitution are being challenged and incidents of the past few months are against the Constitution.
Giving full credit to Dr. Ambedkar for shaping the Constitution and protecting the rights of the Scheduled castes and Tribes, Ms Gandhi also recalled the role played by Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr. Abul Kalam Azad and other members of the Constituent Assembly in leaving the Consitution as the most precious legacy for the whole nation.

Parliamentarians of India: Democracy by Disruptions

Weekly Column – Thinking Beyond

Anoop Swarup

Parliamentarians of  India by Anoop SwaroopThe headlines on most media channels screamed. Yes, a black day for Indian democracy! No work no pay! Hypocrisy all around! Promise of a constructive opposition falls flat! Why no respect for the Parliament by the Parliamentarians themselves! A terrible crisis!

Where are the pillars : the parliamentary democracy and the right to protest! Congress broke the rules of the House! Will the Parliament of India function? A crude attempt at bullying by the party in opposition: what happens to the conscience of my country’s representatives? Wasting public resources and tax payers money, why – let me ask! The disruption bill is footed by the poor electorate of India. Why should not be a pay cut for the MPs. And the list goes on.

Where have the so-important pillars of governance vanished? What about the Democratic approach of the members of Parliament? And, what has been done to the Right to Protest? Congress defied its own stand and broke the rules of the House. How will the Indian Parliament function? What happens to the monsoon session? Congress wears the opposition-boots, does a deja vu and makes a disruptive attempt of bullying the ruling party! Where has the conscience of these dignified representatives of my country disappeared? Wasting public resources and tax payers’ hard earned money, WHY? Let me ask ! This disruption bill is levied upon the poor electorate of India, the tax paying citizens. Why then, should not be imposed, a Pay-cut for these MPs? This is just the tip of the iceberg,…the list goes on

Well, lest we forget ‘The Right to dissent is Democratic BUT the Right to disrupt is Obstruction’ and totally uncalled for in a democracy! At the heart of the matter is the confrontationist politics that ails India’s democratic fabric. Perhaps the Speaker of Lok Sabha Sumatra Mahajan had no other option but to suspend the 25 Congress members for five sittings of the House out of the total of 44 for causing ‘grave disorder’ and ‘wilfully obstructing’ the House for over almost a fortnight. The House was adjourned with no business as the Congress MPs displayed placards in the House on Monday. These 25 Congress members were carrying placards and shouting slogans in the well demanding for the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over Lalit Modi row, and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam. Prime Minister Narendra Modi while expressing Government’s readiness to discuss issues and offer intervention made it clear that there would be “no resignation” as the NDA ministers have done nothing illegal or immoral.

The Congress Party President termed this as a black day for Indian democracy. Indeed a black day for disruption – considering the impasse and logjam despite repeated requests by the Speaker. The recourse under Rule 374(A), by the Speaker implies “Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less”

Though a number of regional parties, including Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal did voice anguish over the persistent disruption of the Houses and had requested the two national parties to resolve the matter the JD(U) and Left parties, backed the Congress in the meeting. The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad stated that ‘Democracy is “give and take’ perhaps forgetting the ultimate stakeholder in the democracy the common man who would have liked the Parliament to function. In contrast, the opposition insists that the ‘Government has not taken any initiative’. They want to pass Bills but do not want to take concerns raised by Opposition parties on board. There appears to be little doubt that the Congress would up the ante in the next few days and the main ruling party – the BJP is yet to make its mind to walk the extra mile for the sake of democracy. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu insists that the government has always “walked the extra mile” to accommodate Opposition’s views and justifies the same with the example of the reference of the GST and Real Estate Bills to Select Committee on the demand of Congress.

In retrospect it may be said that indeed it was an unprecedented move by the Speaker who had no other resort. The question remains: with 25 MPs suspended will Parliament function with a responsible opposition any more ? Obstructionism has become the norm in our parliamentary democracy. The thought remains – is ours indeed a wonderful vibrant democracy? Is the political class in our country being driven more by narrow political rivalry than by the real concerns that confront our nation? From even the opposition’s point of view, it appears that the Congress may have lost a great opportunity by going all over the place. Perhaps they, though misconceived, felt that disruption was the only way out. The Congress Party in its mad rush to settle its past scores with the ruling BJP should heed to to the Gandhian adage ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’. Yet it keeps happening all the time with most parties even in the state legislatures! In the present imbroglio the nation has to bear a huge financial drainage, with 72 crore already lost, and simple math suggests that the loss for the whole session would be a stupendous 270 crore. Yet, once again our great democracy foots the disruption bill with many critical Bills pending such as – the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, the National Waterways Bill, The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill,  the Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill and the list goes on.

When a prominent media channel argued ‘No work no pay’ should apply to MPs as well, most of my fellow countrymen, including me, for once would like to agree! For the disruption, for ruckus, for sloganeering, for a boycott, for placards, for protesting, storming of the well of Lok Sabha our parliamentarians have to be held responsible. As in the past, once again the Monsoon Session is becoming a national waste so why the charge be not put on the party in question ? Many countries have serious rules for penalising disruption and absenteeism. We have rule in the University for 75% attendance by our students, well why the same be not applied to our Parliamentarians. The integrity, the accountability and the credibility of not only the opposition is in question now but the functioning of our polity as such.  The shocking regularity of the disruptions through politicking within the Parliament and not outside as laid down in our democratic process put a question mark on our political masters and their ability to lead. Extraneous reasons for disruption should never be encouraged by the whips of the political parties as the country watches their unruly behaviour. Most of them may well find it difficult to understand that the Parliament is not for politicking, but for good governance, laying down of laws and good practices, and for legislation by both the opposition and the ruling party. Dereliction of this sacred cause is a very serious matter and should be dealt with as much of a seriousness and in any case should not be the last resort of scoundrels.

Lalit Modi, VYAPAM claim opening day of Parliament’s monsoon session

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Lalit Modi
Lalit Modi

Vyapam logo
Vyapam logo

New Delhi: The first day of the monsoon session of Parliament was stormy as the Congress refused to relent and demanded the resignations of Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister on the cricket tycoon Lalit Modi issue and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh shivraj Singh Chouhan due to the massive recruitment and medical entrance examination scam.

While the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day immediately after obituary reference, the Upper House witnessed noisy scenes and was repeatedly adjourned. Earlier, the opposition gave notice in Rajya sabha for suspension of rules to discuss the Lalit Modi issue. Former Union Minister Anand Sharma drew attention to the issue of Sushma Swaraj writing to the British authorities to provide travel documents to Lalit Modi. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley immediately responded by saying the Government is ready for discussion on anty issue but it appears that the Congress members are not prepared for it.

Answering questions by media-persons in the Parliament premises, Prime Minister Narendra Modi restricted his reply to saying: “I hope important decisions would be taken during the current session.”

At Jantar Mantar here, which is not far from Parliament, the women’s wing of Congress also held a protest demonstration today.

Aam Aadmi Party leaders instigated farmer to commit suicide: Delhi Police

Newsroom24x7 Desk

delhi-policeNew Delhi:The Delhi Police has accused the Aam AAdmi Party leaders of instigating farmer Gajendra Singh to commit suicide duting a party rally at Jantar Mantar here on Wednesday.

The allegation against AAP leaders stands out in the FIR registered by the Parliament street police station in New Delhi after the farmer’s suicide. It has also been recorded by the police that AAP leaders and activists did not allow the police to intervene and reach the spot to bring the situation under control during their party rally.

The Delhi police has also taken the stand that the district magistrate has no jurisdiction and cannot conduct an inquiry into this incident.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after a discussion on this issue.

The suicide by Gajendra Singh, the farmer from Nangal has been reduced to a tug of war between the BJP led Union Government and AAP. This is apparent as the union Home ministry that controls Delhi Police has used the uniforned force to check and corner the AAP led Delhi government by telling the DM that he cannot conduct a probe into the farmer’s death. Not just the Delhi police, even Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said that AAP leaders and workers had instigated the farmer by shouting slogans.

Kashmir at the crossroads of History

Anand K Sahay

The BJP’s hankering for power in Jammu and Kashmir – the country’s only Muslim-majority state – has been brazen. Its opportunist posturing to secure that end is striking. Its footwork has been crude. The party’s own rank and file are confused about what the party may be up to, and fear it is giving up its known positions.

modi_sayeed
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed

The Massarat Aalam episode has provoked bitter chauvinist rhetoric in Parliament and the media on Kashmir in a way that can open wounds without offering India the smallest benefit.

On the other hand, we should be alert to the fact that after a long time a new opportunity may just have come our way — thanks to processes that have evolved over the years — that can help us work the Kashmir conundrum in a manner that can broadly satisfy the principal constituencies, namely the people of Kashmir and the rest of the country.

Does India have the mettle to grasp the chance which history offers?

The BJP’s hankering for power in the country’s only Muslim-majority state has been brazen. Its opportunist posturing to secure that end is striking. Its footwork has been crude. The party’s own rank and file are confused about what the party may be up to, and fear it is giving up its known positions. Its spokesmen on television are clearly nervous when confronted with questions relating to Kashmir. But it would be a mistake to be so consumed by BJP’s discomfiture as to not see that the Centre, in tandem with the J&K government, whatever their hue, can gainfully move in a direction that brings a wider sense of relief to the Valley and helps bury old ghosts.

In such an enterprise, chasing after issues such as the release of a trouble-making minor political operative, who enjoys little standing in the Valley, is a sterile diversion. Mr Aalam, it appears, has come to be known in the Valley more now — after the tabloid-style Indian television broadcasters began calling him names, and typically uninformed Indian MPs began shouting blue murder — than he was ever before, not excluding 2010, when he became the designer of the stone-pelting agitation that claimed many lives.

It is indeed unlikely that even the separatist combine, the Hurriyat Conference, will be overjoyed at Mr Aalam’s release. Seen in political terms, the Muslim League activist walking free is a non-event, although it has made the BJP squirm and has made national headlines. More to the point, however, should a pro-Pakistan Kashmir political activist be locked away for good? What message does that send for Indian democracy?

No less foolish than all the fuss over Mr Aalam, and infinitely more dubious, is the attempted vilification of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed by some in our visual media as “the pro-Pakistan chief minister”. The Mufti may be all full of warts — like politicians tend to be. For instance, most recently, he tried to short-change history when he said that Pakistan and the separatists allowed the November-December Assembly election to be held peacefully, while the truth was that the extremists didn’t issue their traditional boycott call as this may have enabled the BJP to pick up seats in the Valley (and they didn’t want that) with as few as a thousand votes in a constituency.

For all that, Mr Sayeed is not a pro-Pakistan politician. He has never been that. But he, like many others in Kashmir, may want to keep Pakistan suitably placated — unlike people in other parts of India — because Pakistan has shown itself capable of consciously causing dangerous levels of harm in Kashmir on a sustained basis, historically. This is an important distinction to keep in mind.

It is also necessary to remember that extremist politics is likely to gain in Kashmir (and that will benefit the likes of Mr Aalam) if New Delhi seeks to torpedo the Mufti. Close to 70 per cent voting was recorded in the last state election. If a government born of such a propitious exercise, regarded as probably the most transparent ever in Kashmir, can’t fetch relative stability, it will reflect poorly on our capacity to conduct democratic politics.

With just 28 seats, Mr Sayeed is not in as strong a position as he may have liked since both the National Conference and the Congress picked up way more seats than their rivals bargained for, with the Congress becoming the only party to win seats in all the three regions of the state — the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh. If the chief minister is sought to be weakened further through reckless play by his alliance partner, then it would be handing an easy advantage to extremist tendencies.

This brings us to the question of the special conjuncture — a happy one — that Kashmir finds itself in today, a “sweet spot”. Ordinary Kashmiris have long realised that the ’90s were Kashmir’s lost decade. In the main, they fell for the Pakistan-inspired illusion that a revolutionary situation was at hand. But it soon became clear to all, including to Pakistan, that the capacity of the Indian state to defend its interests had been vastly underestimated.

Kashmir’s simple folk suffered a double blow. Their so-called liberators — the terrorists who came from Pakistan and the home-grown jihadists — killed more Muslim Kashmiris than suffered at the hands of the Indian security forces, as scholarly writing and episodic evidence alike show. The Pakistani journalist-author Arif Jamal offers a specially sturdy endorsement of this.

Subsequent events took a heavy toll of indigenous support for a cause that had been nursed with external help, and some 10 years on the structures sustained by ground-level encouragement to extremist and terrorist violence have withered, effectively speaking. Occasional militant strikes do not disprove this.

Something else has also happened, meanwhile. Pakistan’s capacity for mischief has been vastly degraded partly because Islamabad has lost credibility in the Valley (no matter how many meetings Pakistan’s high commissioners in Delhi have with Hurriyat leaders), and also because using the instrument of terrorism as state policy has begun to bite Pakistan hard. Its repeated attempts to infiltrate and shoot and kill on the Line of Control are but flickering flames of a dying lamp.

The context offers India the opportunity of a generation to stabilise Kashmir on a humanitarian basis. For instance, prisoners who are not serving time for brutal murders can be set free and helped with rehabilitation. This would be a meaningful gesture with Valley-wide appeal, unlike the case of Aalam. Young Kashmiris who had crossed over to the other side of the LoC in the militancy years (many are virtual hostages there) but yearn to return home could also be encouraged to do so. Some of these young people could go astray again, but structures to absorb them are no longer standing. A good deal depends on the wisdom we can summon.


 

♦The author is a political commentator based in Delhi