Monsoon Session Day 2: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dominated the second day of Monsoon Session in the Parliament with his fiery speech on the India-China border row along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), while an ugly war of words exploded on the government’s reply to Opposition parties demanding information on migrant deaths, as well as Bollywood’s nexus with drug traffickers.Also Read - Gandhi-Savarkar Row: Don't Think Mahatma Gandhi is Father of Nation, Says Veer Savarkar's Grandson | WATCH
In a befitting warning to China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Lok Sabha that the Indian Army was “prepared to deal with all contingencies” and stand a long haul against the Chinese troops in Ladakh. Also Read - India, China Hold 13th Round of Military Talks Over Eastern Ladakh Standoff
Singh said that India wants a peaceful resolution but China “doesn’t recognise the traditional and customary alignment of the Line of Actual Control (LAC)”. Also Read - India Successfully Tests 'Akash Prime' Missile, Destroys Aerial Target | Watch
Here are the top developments of the day:
Lok Sabha Passes Key Bills
Amid the raging debates, two major bills – Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – were passed in the Lower House of the Parliament today.
While the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 seeks to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses and onion, a move aimed at transforming the farm sector and raising farmers’ income, the Congress described it as a direct and deliberate assault by the Centre on the farmers’ interests.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha also passed a bill to cut salaries of all MPs by 30 per cent for a year, to meet the exigencies arising out COVID-19 pandemic. The new bill will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.
The MPs, including the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers, would take the salary cut for the financial year 2020-2021. However, several other MPs said while they were willing for a further cut in their salaries, they would want the MPLAD Fund to be restored.
After Rajnath’s Statement, Congress Walks Out of Parliament
“We consider that this alignment is based on well established geographical principals. Any activity at the LAC will impact the relationship between the two countries,” Singh noted, adding that India will not tolerate any changes to status quo on the Ladakh borders.
Following the speech, Congress MPs demanded Speaker Om Birla initiate a discussion on the issue. When their demands were not met, the Opposition staged a walkout as a mark of protest.
Home Ministry on Bollywood And Drugs
Amid a call against defamation in the drug nexus case by veteran Bollywood actor and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said that “no actionable inputs” were received by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) regarding the alleged nexus between the film industry and drug traffickers.
Replying to a written question, Reddy said the NCB carries out searches, seizures, arrests and investigations continuously throughout the year on the actionable inputs developed on its own or received from other sources.
“During the period of COVID-19 lockdown, no such actionable inputs were received by NCB revealing the nexus between people in the film industry and drug traffickers. However, a case in this regard has been registered by NCB Mumbai zonal unit on August 28, 2020. Till date, in this case 10 persons have been arrested. Drugs such as Ganja, Hashish, Tetra Hydro Cannabinol and Lysergic acid De-ethylamide have been seized in the operation,” he said.
‘Fake News’ Caused Migrant Exodus?
In a shocking response to a written query raised by Trinamool Congress MP Mala Roy on the migrants walking to their home states and dying on the way, the Home Ministry said that the mass exodus was caused by “panic created by fake news” regarding lockdown rules.
“The migration of a large number of migrant workers was triggered by panic created by fake news regarding the duration of lockdown, and people, especially migrant labourers, were worried about an adequate supply of basic necessities like food, drinking water, health services and shelter,” said Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, adding that the government was “fully conscious” of the situation and was taking necessary measures to ensure no citizen is deprived of basic necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second day the migrant crisis and deaths has been raised in the Parliament.