Question Hour should be held in monsoon session of Parliament: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Wednesday, 2 September 2020 () Addressing a press conference, Chowdhury, who is Congress leader in Lok Sabha, said he had told the government that Question Hour should not be cut or curtailed. "Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asked me to agree on scrapping of Question Hour as parliament session is being convened in an extraordinary situation. I told him Question Hour should be held. We demand its reinstatement," he said.
A massive showdown was witnessed in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the monsoon session over the government’s decision to scrap the question hour in view of the coronavirus crisis. The opposition cornered the government and said that the move is ant-democratic. Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the government is trying to stifle the voice of the opposition and strangulate democracy. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi urged the executive not to encroach into the territory of the legislature. Defending the government’s move, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that in the last five years, 60% of the session in Lok Sabha and 30% in Rajya Sabha have been wasted over Question Hour. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also defended the government’s move and said that talks had been held with leaders of all parties on the matter. He further added that a 30 minute long zero hour would be held where the opposition could put their questions to the government. Watch the full video for all the details.
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As the Parliament's monsoon session approaches, the Opposition is objecting to the cancellation of Question Hour for this sitting. Question Hour is when Members of Parliament get an opportunity to grill ministers on various governmental activities, policies, and decisions. The Opposition is calling this a bid to prevent accountability amid a pandemic and economic crisis. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party's Asaduddin Owaisi said that this was also a violation of the principle of separation of powers. He has written to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Om Birla, that he has the power to restore the conduct of the Question Hour. However, the government has countered all criticism, claiming that almost all leaders of Opposition parties had agreed to cancellation of Question Hour during discussions. Parliament will hold the monsoon session from September 14 to October 1 with various new rules like shorter hours and sittings in shifts to ensure social distancing. Watch the full video for more.
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 19 said that West Bengal government did not share data of returning migrant labourers with the Centre and no district of the state could be included as a beneficiary under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan (PMGKRA). She was answering a query by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in Lok Sabha. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated PMGKRA for migrant labourers who came back to their villages during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. This scheme was introduced on June 20 this year and will be effective for 125 days. The minister said 116 districts spread across six states - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are benefiting from this scheme. The selection of the districts was made on the basis of the return of at least 25,000 migrant labourers to the concerned districts by May 30. After the launch of PMGKRA, there were demands from Tripura and Chhattisgarh to include more districts but it was not entertained. In the case of West Bengal, there was no data shared by the state government then how could the districts of the state be included in the scheme," said Sitharaman.
During Lok Sabha session, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called Centre a 'no data government'. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, "Government told the Parliament that it didn't maintain any data on deaths of migrant workers who were trying to reach their homes after lockdown. Reports say over 1,000 died. When we ask questions on jobs, govt says it doesn't have data. This is a 'no data govt'." He further said, "More than 2 crores salaried employees have lost their job. 14 lakh workers have no work now. How can we expect growth in such a scenario."
A huge ruckus broke out in Lok Sabha after MoS Finance Anurag Thakur attacked Nehru and Sonia Gandhi during a discussion on PM CARES fund. Defending the fund, Thakur slammed the opposition’s constant attempts to question PM CARES fund and said that the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund created by then Prime Minister Nehru had not even been registered till now. ‘From 1948 till today, it has not been registered. How did it get (foreign contribution) FCRA clearance? The trust is not registered. PM CARES is a registered public charitable trust. This is for 130 crore people. You created a trust for the Gandhi family. Nehru, Sonia Gandhi were members of the PM National Relief Fund,’ Thakur said. Hitting back, a furious Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the Congress party had never dragged in PM Modi’s name and accused ‘Himachal ka Chokra’ of lowring the standard of discussion. Watch the full video for all the details on the tussle over PM CARES fund in Lok Sabha.
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Farmers of Haryana blocked National Highway-09 during the protest against the new agricultural Bills. Farmers also held 'road roko' protest in Jind and Ambala. "8 DSP, 20 inspectors and 800 police personnel has been deployed in to maintain law and order," said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), of Jind City, Dharambir Kumar. "Protesters are allowed for peaceful demonstration but will take strict action violates," DSP added. The bills got passed in the Lok Sabha on September 17. It is on table in Rajya Sabha. Congress opposed the bill in Parliament.
Opposition MPs stormed the well of upper house and staged protest on September 20. TMC MP Derek O'brien approached the Dy chairman and brandished the rulebook. A scuffle also broke out between protesting MPs and RS staff over Dy Chair's microphone. The Rajya Sabha discussion was on the controversial farm laws when the fracas occurred. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed his views on the ruckus in Parliament. “Whatever happened in Rajya Sabha during a debate on 2 agriculture-related bills, was saddening and highly shameful. Running the Parliament smoothly is the government's responsibility, but the Opposition's cooperation is also expected. The Opposition should perform its duty while adhering to Parliamentary protocol. This is expected from the Opposition. By planting a misconception among the common people, the farmers, there is an attempt to reap political dividends. This is not in keeping with healthy democratic tradition,” said Singh. Watch the full video for more.
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Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal expressed disappointment over the senior ministers not condemning Deputy Chairman's behavior in their press conference on September 20. He further claimed the Rajya Sabha ruckus to be a conspiracy, built by BJP leadership. KC Venugopal said, "I saw the press conference by Rajnath Singh and 5 other Ministers. They're justifying Deputy Chairman's action and attitude. That was very unfortunate. We expected decent reaction from senior Ministers. They should've at least condemned the practice." "But they are justifying the Deputy Chairman, and the procedure. It means today's entire episode was a conspiracy, built by BJP leadership. They want to suppress the voice of farmers in the House," he added.
Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor on September 20 hit out at the Central government over the COVID-19 handling and management of the economy. "We have the worst of both worlds. We have neither managed to limit the spread of the virus nor have we managed to keep the economy afloat. GDP for the first time in 41 years has actually shrunk," said Tharoor in Lok Sabha.
Farmers of Maharashtra's Dhule district welcomed the new agriculture reform bills. The bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha today amid oppositions' ruckus. One of the farmers said, "The Bills introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Modi government has removed all the compulsions that farmers have had for so long. Now we can sell our harvests all over the country."
Congress opposed the new agriculture Bills in Rajya Sabha. Congress' Member of Parliament (MP), Partap Singh Bajwa said they will not sign on this death warrant of farmers. "Congress opposes these ill-conceived and ill-timed Bills. Congress rejects these bills. We will not sign on this death warrant of farmers," Partap Singh Bajwa at Rajya Sabha. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar moved Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, in Rajya Sabha. With this, Communist Party of India's (Marxist) KK Ragesh, TMC's Derek O'Brien and DMK's T Siva have moved an amendment to send the two Bills to Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.
More than 30 members of parliament have tested positive for the coronavirus over last week raising concerns that the contagion could spread among more politicians who are attending the monsoon session..
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