New Delhi: Stormy proceedings on a variety of debates starting with the criticism on withdrawing Question Hour to the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput opened the Monsoon Session of the Parliament on Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Plastic shields of varied sizes separated benches as parliamentarians in both houses wore face masks and maintained a social distance to protect themselves from the deadly viral infection. Also Read - Despite Farmer Protests, Opposition Uproar, President Signs All Three Farm Bills Passed in Parliament
The central government introduced as many as eight bills, including on reduction in the remuneration of ministers, essential commodities, empowerment of farmers trade and commerce, and protection of healthcare professional amid epidemic, in the first sitting of the COVID-curtailed monsoon session. Also Read - With no Respite at India-China Border, Indian Army Gets Combat Ready For Long Winters in Ladakh
While the Lok Sabha sat from 9 AM to 1 PM on Monday — day one of the session — Rajya Sabha functioned from 3 PM to 7 PM. Meanwhile, on all other days, including Saturdays and Sundays, the Upper House is set to function from 9 AM to 1 PM and the Lower House would function from 3 PM to 7 PM. Also Read - China, India Must Not Unilaterally Change Border Situation Along LAC: MEA Insists Ahead of Bilateral Talks
Here are the top developments of the day:
1. At least 17 MPs of the Lok Sabha and nine Rajya Sabha MPs tested positive for the deadly coronavirus infection on the first day of the Monsoon Session. BJP has a maximum number of 12 COVID affected Lok Sabha MPs and 2 from Rajya Sabha. Two MPs belonging to the YSR Congress Party and one each from the DMK, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) and the Shiv Sena tested positive.
2. Ahead of the Lok Sabha session this morning, PM Narendra Modi surprised everyone by addressing the media for the first time in a long time since his election in 2014. PM Modi hoped that all members of the Parliament give “an unequivocal message that the country stands with our soldiers” at the border. PM Modi also spoke on possibilities of coronavirus vaccine this year and said, “Jab tak dawai nahi tab tak koi dhilai nahi. We want that a vaccine be developed at the earliest from any corner of the world, our scientists succeed and we succeed in bringing everyone out of this problem.”
3. Congress MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and K Suresh gave an Adjournment Motion notice in Lok Sabha over Chinese incursion in Eastern Ladakh, in a border tension that has been going on for over four months. The India-China standoff is likely to be taken up tomorrow.
4. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MLAs in Tamil Nadu staged a protest at the state legislative assembly and in parliament premises against the NEET 2020 exam, that was held this Sunday, and the newly introduced National Education Policy.
5. As expected, the Congress and opposition parties slammed the government for “trying to strangulate the democracy” by scrapping Question hour which is the “golden hour of Parliament”, along with the Zero Hour. Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi asserted that the Centre is not running away from a discussion and will reply to all questions which the Opposition parties are going to raise in a written reply.
6. Actor and BJP MP Ravi Kishan raised the issue of drug allegations on the film industry that emerged during the investigation into the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. Alleging that ‘Pakistan and China’ are behind the drugs spread in the industry, the Bhojpuri actor praised the work of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Mumbai.
7. The Union government sought Parliament’s approval for spending an additional Rs 2.35 lakh crore to meet its commitment towards Atmanirbhar Bharat package and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, as well as additional allocation towards post-devolution revenue deficit grants to states and other Covid-19 relief measures.
8. The Parliament also gave its nod to two bills of the AYUSH Ministry that propose an improved medical education system with access to affordable and quality medical education by ensuring availability of adequate and high-quality homoeopathy and medicine professionals across the country.
9. Both houses paid rich tributes ex-President Pranab Mukherjee, legendary Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj, ex-Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi, MP Governor Lalji Tandon, UP Ministers Kamal Rani & Chetan Chauhan and ex-union minister Rahguvansh Prasad Singh & others who passed away this year. Rajya Sabha observed one hour break in the honour of the departed souls.
10. Rajya Sabha re-elected Janata Dal (United) parliamentarian Harivansh Narayan Singh as the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House by voice vote. Harivansh defeated Opposition candidate Manoj Jha to become Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.
What to expect on Day 2 of Monsoon Session
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to make an important statement on the ongoing India-China border tensions in Ladakh. According to reports, Chinese troops are laying a network of optical fibre cables to establish secure lines of “high-speed” communication on the south bank of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Meanwhile, Congress is trying to muster support to oppose the agriculture Bills in the Rajya Sabha which have also faced stiff opposition from farmers. Congress also claimed that there will be widespread support for the party’s stand and there are other issues in Parliament like draft EIA notification and airport privatisation.