Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are set to continue the responses to Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is delivering his response to Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address as well, after the Question Hour in the Upper House.

Here are the latest updates:

Rajya Sabha | 1.15 pm

Amar Patnaik (BJD) says the Bill tries to solve the issue of deficiency of officers.

Rajya Sabha | 1.10 pm

Mohammad Mir Fayaz (PDP) says the government claims normalcy has returned to the region. If that is true, why not bring a Bill to restore Statehood, instead of this Bill.

“People of Kashmir still don’t have a train.”

“We were told on 5th August 2019 when our State was demoted to a UT, we were told that statehood will be restored soon. Our PM hailed the fact that municipal elections were done. Mr Manhas spoke about development that has come about in two years. If everything is normal then, I wish today instead of this bill, the govt could have brought in bill to restore the statehood.”

“You speak on DDC elections, but counting has been halted in two seats even now.”

Rajya Sabha | 1.00 pm

Visit Jammu to witness development: BJP MP

Samsher Singh Manhas (BJP), also a member from Jammu and Kashmir, responds to Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state now has three AIIMS. The Centre has alloted an IIT and IIM. Ring roads are coming up, These are all developments.

I urge people to visit Jammu and see themselves, he says.

Every State has regular municipal elections but in J&K’s  history only four elections have been held so far, he says.

J&K didn’t have revenue on its own. We were totally dependent on Centre. Today, with industries coming up in the region, we have some hope, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 12.55 pm

Sushil Kumar Gupta (AAP) wants to know which Union Territories have more number of officers than required. He also wants to know what steps were taken to improve the situation of Jammu and Kashmir.

What will be the fate of officers are the statehood has been restored to Jammu and Kashmir?

Rajya Sabha | 12.50 pm

Ashok Siddharth (BSP) supports the Bill.

“The families of people who would go to work in J&K were worried for their safety. “

“Everyone wants to visit J&K but the IAS/IPS are reluctant to work there. This bill will curtail the promotion of local officers  This should be corrected.”

Rajya Sabha | 12.47 pm

Manoj Jha (RJD) asks if this reorganisation is permanent or temprorary.

He says he is concerned about education in the region. “My two PhD students couldn’t join college,” he says.

The narrative of Kashmir is woven on land. It has to be on people. Normalcy should not be rehtoric. A few of us MPs wanted to visit there. But we weren’t allowed to go, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 12.45 pm

A. Navneethakrishnan (AIADMK) speaks in favour of the Bill. There is a huge deficiency of officers in the region. This move will aid in eliminating it, he says.

Considering the attitude of Pakistan and China, it is better if the region is under the direct rule of the Centre. It should remain a Union Territory, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 12.30 pm

‘Three families ruled J&K’

BJP MP Dushyant Gautam speaks in Rajya Sabha.

BJP MP Dushyant Gautam speaks in Rajya Sabha.  

 

Dushyant Gautam (BJP) says the people of Kashmir got “freedom from Article 370.”

“For last many decades, three families have ruled the J&K, thanks to the Article 370. In the recent municipal elections, the J&K residents felt that they finally have the freedom to chose their representatives,” he says.

He says he saw border patrol in Poonch during his recent trip. He claims there was once a time when tri-colour were not allowed in the territory. After Article 370 was abrogated, the tri-colour is flying high, he says.

He recalls the Republic Day violence and hits out at Congress for supporting them.  “It is unfortunate that a Congress leader went to visit the family of one man, who died while doing a ‘stunt’ and did not visit dozens of policemen who were injured on Jan 26,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 12.20 pm

Restore Statehood: Azad

Batting for statehood to be restored to Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad also the former Chief Minister, says Article 370 had only two conditions — outsiders couldn’t buy land or can’t work there. This has been the case since Raja Hari Singh’s time.

It is because the State is mountainous. Most of the land is forest. “Even I couldn’t afford to buy land there.” Prices are also on the higher side in the State. We still don’t have proper train connectivity in the region. The law ensured locals got the jobs in the land.

He urges the government to restore statehood and conduct elections as soon as possible.

“You must restore statehood as soon as possible in J&K. It is a border state and our enemy is sitting on our heads from both ends- Pakistan and China. Any intelligent person can see that one can fight Pakistan and China later but one should mend the relationship with J&K.”

Mr. Azad says the people of Kashmir are always with India. He recalls how Kashmiris resisted Pakistan’s bid to capture the region in 1948, till the Indian Army reached there.

The Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs of Kashmir are united. Even though it is a Muslim-majority State, the executive is largely Hindus. “You are making Kashmir a guinea pig for experiments,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 12.10 pm

‘Are you going to keep J&K UT permanently?’

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad speaks in Rajya Sabha on Feb. 8. 2021.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad speaks in Rajya Sabha on Feb. 8. 2021.  

 

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad is the first speaker. He opposes the Bill. He recalls the government’s assurance that Statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir. “Are you going to keep it an UT permanently,” he asks.

“I want to ask Home Minister Amit Shah if the present cadre was working well so far then why do you want to merge it? You had promised that the statehood will be restored. Bringing this bill makes it clear that you want to permanently keep J&K as UT,” he asks.

The govt’s argument to convert J&K into UT was that, development had been stalled,  industry couldn’t enter the states and thus the employment opportunity were shrinking.

I will talk about industry. Usually, no one from outside puts up an industry there  and even in Jammu only two districts get industry. Now let me clarify no new industries have been set up in J&K, he says.

Even existing firms shut down due to uncertainty, he says. In fact, 7107 industries have shut down in J&K and new industries have not come. So your logic rings hollow. No new one came and the old one left, he adds.

The roads are in terrible shape. Ceasefire violations have increased. There are issues with water supply, he says.

The responsibility of an elected representative cannot be replaced by an executive, says Mr. Azad. “If there was an elected government then it could have improved the situation.”

Rajya Sabha | 12.00 noon

Kishan Reddy moves The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021.for consideration and passing. This Bill also replaces an ordinance.

K.K. Ragesh, Elamaram Kareem, Binoy Viswam, and M.V. Shreyams Kumar move a statutory resolution against it.

Both are being taken up together.

The Bill seeks to replace ordinance to merge J&K cadre of IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service with Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory cadre.

Rajya Sabha | 11.57 am

Hardeep Singh Puri introduces The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Bill replaces an ordinance.

Rajya Sabha | 11.55 am

Motion passed

The motion is being taken up for voting. Tiruchi Siva’s amendments are being taken up. His amendments are negated.

Digvijay Singh’s amendments are also negated. K.C Venugopal’s amendments are also negative. So are amendments moved by Deepender Hooda, Viswanbhar Prasad Nishad, Sukh Ram, Chhaya Verma, Elamaram Kareem and other Opposition members.

The Motion is passed.

I am happy that we had a meaningful discussion, says Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

Rajya Sabha | 11.50 am

Mr. Modi speaks on border security. He pays tribute to Galwan heroes. We have a clear stand on LAC. We are concentrating on border infrastructure, he says.

In his closing comments, Mr. Modi quotes a Vedic hymn to say he has the support of crores of people.

The policy being formed today are created with keeping in mind 2047, when India celebrates its 100 years of Independence, he says.

Mr. Modi praises the debate. “The debate was good, the atmosphere of the debate was good too. A lot of attack was directed at me. But I am glad I was of use to you. In this Corona season, you must be stuck at home, and I am sure there must be strife at home. At least this way you could take your anger out,” he says as his ending remarks.

Rajya Sabha | 11.45 am

Rural Economy is an essential pillar of Atmanirbhar Bharat, says the Prime Minister.

In COVID pandemic, the government has ensured that no woman suffers, whether it is providing them free gas or jan dhan yojana. Women will be integral part of self reliant economy.

Over 70% MUDRA loans were taken by women, he says.

The National Education Policy has given thrust to benefit the youngsters.

Right from beginning we have been talking about Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. Which is why our problems in naxal affected areas have reduced. I can see very clearly that the Eastern India will play an important part in country’s progress, he says.

Mr. Modi praises Ghulam Nabi Azad for his suggestion and his style of speaking. “I am praising you but I am afraid your party shouldn’t misunderstand this,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 11.40 am

Praise for Sikhs, not for protest

India’s strength has been to find solutions to challenges. there are some people that want India to be unstable, we have to recognise such people. Should not forget what happened to Punjab during partition and 1984 riots.

Innocents were hacked to death in J&K, in NE violence took many lives. Who are the powers behind this?

Some people are feeding wromg things in the minds of Sikh people. This country is proud of the Sikhs. What have they not done for this country? However much we praise them is not enough, he says. “The kind of language used for them, people who try to mislead them, this is not going to benefit anyone”.

There are some people who make a living out of protests. You can find them in every protest site, Mr. Modi says and warns the opposition that such people might harm their governments too.

There is another FDI coming to the country. This has to be discouraged. It is called Foreign Destructive Ideology, Mr. Modi says.

Rajya Sabha | 11.30 am

Population is increasing, while land is shrinking. We have to do something that dependence on farming is reduced and family members get an opportunity to work elsewhere, says the Prime Minister.

If we indulge in politics, then we will push the farmers to darkness, he adds.

We have encouraged fisheries, Rs 20,000 crore has been allocated. We have started a sweet revolution to tap honey.

Rajya Sabha | 11.25 am

Modi draws parallel with Green revolution

Mr. Modi compares new farm laws with the green revolution.

This was a huge cry in the country, to recall the Green revolution. No one was ready to become Agri minister in Shastriji’s time. Planning commission also opposed the agri reforms then.

But Shastriji moved forward. Left said the same thing then that it is being done on the instructions from America. Congress leaders were called ‘American agents.’

Thousand protests were organised then, but Lal Bahadur Shastri moved forwards and today we have surplus production.

We accept good suggestions. I want to invite you to take the country forward by explaining the good features to the farmers who ware agitating.

Agriculture minister is talking to farmers. There are no tensions yet. Protesting is your right but want to request that old farmers are sitting, ask them to go home. I want to extend the invitation through this house, he says.

We should not lose this time, should progress, do not take the country backwards. We should give these refirms and opportunity and see if this benefits you. If there is a lacuna, we will fix it.

MSP was there, MSP is there, MSP will continue, Mr Modi says.

Rajya Sabha | 11.15 am

‘You should be proud that Modi has implemented what Manmohan Singh said’

PM Gram Sadak Yojana is not about just laying roads. It is the lifeline of farmers. Kisan rail made it possible for farmers to sell their produce in big cities like Mumbai directly. The farmers of northeast are utilising air connectivity, Mr. Modi says.

Every party had promised farm reforms at some point of time, he says and lauds Jyotiraditya Scindia’s speech.

Mr. Modi quotes former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “It is our intention to remove all those handicaps which come in the way of India realising its large potential” You should be proud that Modi is implementing Manmohan Singh’s dream, he says.

The fun part is people who do politics, they have also implemented the laws in some form or the other. They have not questioned the spirit of law, he says.

Look at milk production, either private or cooperatives, a strong supply chain has emerged. This was not done during my government. Market does not play a role in fruit and vegetable sector, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 11.00 am

Modi on farm reforms

“We also face challenges. We have to decide if we want to be a part of solution or part of the problem,” says Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Rajya Sabha.

A major part of the discussion was about farmers agitation. He lauds Agriculture Minister for his reply. Mr. Modi also praises former Prime Minister Deve Gowda’s speech.

Mr. Modi quotes Chowdhury Charan Singh on small farmers. Today, 68% of farmers are small and marginal farmers. Over 12 crore farmers have less than 2 hectares of land, he says.

“Don’t we have a responsibility towards the 12 crore farmers? This question of Charan Singh still exists, shouldn’t we find a solution?” Loan waivers don’t benefit small farmers as they don’t approach banks for loans, he says. Such farmers don’t even have a bank account.

After 2014, we transformed the crop insurance scheme to make it inclusive to small farmers. Rs.90,000 crore were disbursed through crop insurance, he says. We have included fisherfolks also in the scheme now. Mr. Modi also speaks on PM-KISAN scheme. This is being given to 10 crore families. The numbers would have been higher had Bengal government didn’t block it, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 10.50 am

‘India is the mother of democracy’

Mr. Modi now speaks on farmers issue. “Sermons were given regarding democracy here. Some objectionable remarks were used. India’s democracy should not be skinned this way. When I was listening to the members, I told myself are they talking about Bengal or the entire country?”

Our democracy is a human institution, he says. India’s nationalism is based on Satyam, Sivam, Sundaram, he says quoting Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. We have lost Netaji’s vision over the years, and today we are searching ourselves, he says. We have failed to tell our younger generations that India is the mother of democracy, he says.

Mr. Modi remembers Emergency.

At a time when world is facing recession, we have invited record FDI. We are marching towards double digit growth. We are the leaders in smart phones. We have record numbers of start-ups and unicorns, he says.

World saw India’s capability through Surgical strikes and air strikes. My government is committed towards the welfare of the poor. We will eradicate poverty, he says. He lists the populist reforms taken up by the government.

Rajya Sabha | 10.40 am

‘Coronavirus, an unknown enemy’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalls the extraordinary situation due to COVID-19. Even family members couldn’t help each other. The world was worried on how India would tackle the crisis. He calls the virus “an unknown enemy.”

With the grace of God, we have managed it well. The credit to win this war goes to the people of India, not an individual or any government, he says.

“This country has done it, even the poorest. A woman sitting in a roadside hut also lit a diya, are you making fun of her beliefs?”

So not indulge in things that weaken the country, he says.

Polio was once a deadly disease. Today, we have eliminated polio. Today, India has come up with more than one vaccine within a year (for COVID-19),  he says adding that the world’s biggest vaccination drive is underway in India.

India is a pharma hub. We exported drugs to over 150 countries, he recalls. Indian doctors are working in every country.

Our strength is the federal structure. Centre and States worked together to fight Corona, he says.

Rajya Sabha | 10.30 am

Modi’s speech

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rises to speak on the Motion of Thanks to President’s Address.

More than 50 members participated in discussion regarding Motion of Thanks to the President’s address.

Trinamool MPs walk out in protest as PM starts reply to Motion of Thanks

Mr. Modi says the President’s address came at uncertain times when the world was in the midst of a pandemic. His speech had the vision of self reliance, says the Prime Minister thanking the President.

He thanks the members who participated in the debate. “It would have been nice if the members took part in President’s address,” he says in a veiled dig at Opposition members boycotting the address.

India is a land of opportunities, he says. When we look at the young India’s mind, we realise that India is a land full of opportunities and hope.

We are entering 75th year of Independence, we should make it a festival of inspiration. World expects a lot from India, he says.

Mr. Modi quotes Hindi poet Maithilisharan Gupt. “Opportunity is waiting for you, but you are standing idle…. Wake up India, every minute is important.”

Rajya Sabha | 10.20 am

Next set of questions pertain to road development. Minister Nitin Gadkari is answering questions.

A sixteen lane road is being constructed to connect Delhi to Meerut. This is a world’s first such road, he says. 

Vijaisai Reddy asks about releasing funds to Polavaram project. Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekavat says the revised costs estimate committee has submitted its report. We’ll take a decision after cabinet meet, he says.

Why not create a revolving fund, the MP asks. Mr. Shekavat says there is no issue with flow of funds.

When will the Polavaram project be completed, GVL Narasimha Rao asks. The minister doesn’t give a clear timeline, but says it will be completed soon.

Question Hour concludes.

Rajya Sabha | 10.10 am

Why are wild animals straying into human habitats?

On the issue of man-animal conflict, Mr. Javadekar says, “animals should not come out of wildlife areas. They come out when they do not get enough water and fodder in forest areas. Rs. 47,000 crore has been allocated for it – for water and fodder.”

Rajya Sabha | 10.00 am

Ceasefire violations

Why is India not taking stern action against Pakistan against ceasefire violations, asks P. Bhattacharya of the Congress. “Pakistan’s actions have been limited to the border areas,” says the Defence Minister.

“We are extremely proud of our soldiers. What is the government policy to stop these ceasefire violations from Pakistan?” asks Mr. Bhattacharya. Mr. Singh responds, “What steps and what weapons are used, I cannot go into those issues. Pakistan uses ceasefire violation as a cover to infiltrate and exfiltrate terrorists at the border. Ceasefire violation has increased because of the rise in infiltration activity from Pakistan. Pakistan can answer how we are responding to their ceasefire violations.”

Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress asks why ceasefire violations have increased during this government’s tenure.

If civilians are killed in border firing, the State government announces compensation for it, answers Mr. Singh to Mr. Azad’s question about cmpensation. “The compensation was much lesser earlier. The amount was increased when I was the Home Minister.”

“Ceasefire violation happen when Pakistan wants to carry on some attack such as Pathankot and Pulwama. After Pakistan signed the ceasefire pact in 2003, ceasefire violations have gradually increased. 4,649 ceasefire violations have occurred in 2020,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 9.50 am

Rafale procurement

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh says, “a big delegation from France came during the induction ceremony of Rafale. I was also there. As far as resources are concerned, the money was spent from the public fund. It is not the first time this has been done, it was done for the induction of Chinook also. The cost of ceremony increased due to the simultaneously held bilateral meeting.”

Mr. Singh says that the focus is on indigenisation of the military equipment. “101 items will not be imported, but made in India,” he says.

Mahesh Poddar of BJP asks how many Rafales have been delivered and how many are battle read. The Defence Minister says 11 Rafales have been delivered so far and 17 Rafales will be delivered by March. “By April 2022, all Rafales will come to India.”

Rajya Sabha | 9.45 am

Man-animal conflict

KC Venugopal of Congress raises the issue of man-animal conflict in wildlife areas. “Rahul Gandhi wrote a letter to the Minister, government is going to notify a buffer zone in Wayanad.”

Mr. Javadekar says the Central government does not pick eco-sensitive zones, it is the State governments that suggest it. “That is why first draft suggestions are published. Last year, 100 elephants were killed but 500 people were also killed, we should not lose sense of proportion.”

Seema Dwivedi of BJP mentions the issue of biomedical waste.

Rajya Sabha 9.35 am

Question Hour begins

78 habitations are affected by arsenic, 60 in West Bengal, says Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Dr. Amar Patnaik asks if a study has been conducted to determine city specific pollution causes. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says each city is mapped for different pollution variants; that is why the AQI of each city is different.

M. Thambidurai (AIADMK) complains of non-removal of garbage.

Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar says it is an issue of legaciness, where huge hills of garbage are formed. We now have bio mining. “In Indore, there was a huge landfill site. It is now completely gone and a beautiful garden has come up in its place now. This has been replicated in many cities,” he says.

Jyotiraditya Scindia (BJP) says pollution is an invisible enemy. “How much does field burning contribute to pollution in Delhi?”

Mr. Javadekar says, “The issue of stubble burning affects Delhi every year from October 1 to November 30 every year. The direction of the wind is such that it comes to Delhi and turns into smog. 40,000 machine worth crores given to States but not being used. In Haryana, 25% less crop burning, but it increased 25% in Punjab from 50,000 to 75,000. We are looking at solutions and in next few years we will find one. Stubble burning contributes 2-40% pollution in Delhi.”

Mr. javadekar says that the suggestion to dedicate more funds for conservation of Red Panda will not be an issue. “The number of tiger, rhino and birds has increased.”

Dinesh Trivedi of TMC says no answer has been given on the pangolin census. Mr. Javadekar responds that they are in the thousands, and “we are looking for solutions”.

Rajya Sabha | 9.30 am

Chair tells Binoy Viswam that since rescue operations are on in Uttarakhand, his notice for suspension of Business Hour to discus the flood is not allowed.

“As long as the Health Ministry and MHA guidelines for do gaz ki doori and mask is there, we will be sending a wrong message to the country if we allow more members to sit together,” Mr. naidu says.

I appeal to all Members, children of the country deserve to be taught in their mother tongue. States need to promote the mother tongue. I am happy that the Prime Minister said that engineering and medical colleges should teach in mother language,” Mr. Naidu says.

Rajya Sabha | 9.25 am

Responding to comments made by Congress’ Jairam Ramesh, Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said that he will not be cowed down by efforts to make the Chair dysfunctional.

“If any member is speaking, objectionable comments will be examined. Nothing was brought to my notice. These continuous allegations… I won’t be cowed down by such efforts to make the Chair dysfunctional. I resigned from the party even before I accepted the proposal to become the Chairman,. Since then, I have not attended any party function. My heart is with the Constitution and the people of India,” he says.

On Uttarakhand glacier burst

Speaking on the Uttarakhand glacier burst, Mr. Naidu says: “As far as issue of Uttarakhand is concerned, entire country is concerned. Today morning, I spoke to Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, and he told me all efforts are on. There is no certainty on number of casualties as the tunnel is long. Multiple agencies are working on rescue mission. Let us wait for some time and get full details, MHA is looking into this and PM is reviewing it.”

“Wait for the full report and then I will ask the Home Minister to apprise the House of the situation,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 9.20 am

P. Wilson of DMK, Tamil Nadu, raises the issues faced by sugarcane farmers.

“Nearly 1,000 crore is owed to sugarcane growers in Tamil Nadu, and about 1 lakh farmers are in distress. They are not getting State advisory price as well,” says Mr. Wilson.

Nabam Rebia of BJP from Arunachal Pradesh demands a separate cadre for Arunachal Pradesh. “We need a dedicated and committed cadre of All India Services officers for the State of Arunachal,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 9.10 am

Zero Hour continues.

Dr. Santanu Sen of TMC, West Bengal, brings up the issues with COWIN App.

“The App to help COVID vaccination hangs, and it says no person can be vaccinated offline. Another issue is random selection of people for vaccination. Many people who are selected are not interested in getting vaccinated, and those interested are not getting selected. The COWIN App should function properly,” he says.

Rajya Sabha | 9 am

Rajya Sabha proceedings begin.

Subrata Bakshi of Trinamool Congress takes oath in Bengali.

Vijai Sai Reddy of YSR Congress raises certain remarks made by a TDP member few days ago, and demands action. Chair refuses to acknowledge his objection.

Zero hour begins in the House.

Subhash Chandra Singh of BJD, Odisha is the first speaker, followed by Syed Zafar Islam of BJP. The MP from Uttar Pradesh speaks on how the RBI guidelines addresses only NBFC’s asset side, and not the liabilities side. RBI should come with a framework to address this, he says.

 

Rajya Sabha

Bill for Introduction

– National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021

– Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address

Highlights of the President’s Address 2021

Bill for Consideration and Passing

– Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Lok Sabha

– Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address

Highlights of the President’s Address 2021

– General Discussion on the Union Budget for 2021-2022

Bill for Consideration and Passing

– Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021

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