14:30 (IST)

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Rajya Sabha proceedings extended till 3 pm

14:11 (IST)

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Agitating farmers not summoned by NIA: Govt tells Rajya Sabha

Farmers participating in the ongoing protests against newly enacted three agri laws were not summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the government told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, reports PTI.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi borders for more than two months, demanding a complete repeal of three farm laws enacted in September 2020.

“No sir,” Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in a written reply to a query whether the NIA summoned farmers, participating in the ongoing farmers’ protests. NIA probes terror-related crimes. The question was asked by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and two other members.

14:00 (IST)

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Over 1,940 people arrested under UAPA in 2019: MHA in Rajya Sabha

As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report 2019, 1,948 people were arrested under UAPA that year. Total number of persons arrested and persons convicted in 2016 and 2019 under UAPA are 5,922 and 132 respectively, said MoS (Home) G Kishan Reddy in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

13:52 (IST)

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BJP does vote-bank politics in Budget and ‘note-bank’ politics off-Budget: Sibal 

Speaking on the Union Budget, Congress leader Kapil Sibal Wednesday said while the NDA government accused its predecessor UPA government of doing vote bank politics, they themselves have done the same in the Budget this year by awarding infrastructure projects to the poll-bound states.

“You say Congress did vote-bank in budgets. What has BJP done? National highway budget for Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu. BJP does vote-bank politics in Budget and ‘note-bank’ politics off-Budget,’ the Congress leader said.

13:28 (IST)

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‘Can Indians be atmanirbhar after COVID-19?’ asks Kapil Sibal 

Citing economic indicators in a pre-pandemic situation, Congress’ Kapil Sibal said, “Can Indians be atma nirbhar after COVID-19? You have forgotten the people of India in this Budget. How does this government justify what it has done?”

13:08 (IST)

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Debate on Union Budget begins

Speaking on the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said, “The minister spoke of self-reliant India and we all want that. But are we moving towards that? Are farmers, Dalits, minorities, MSME sector self-reliant? You will have to answer this question.”

13:04 (IST)

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At least 96 arrests in 93 sedition cases in 2019: Centre tells RS

As many as 93 cases of sedition were registered in different parts of the country in 2019 in which 96 people were arrested, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said chargesheets were filed against 76 people while 29 were acquitted by the courts in 2019.

The highest number of 22 sedition cases in 2019 was registered in Karnataka where 18 people were arrested, he said in a written reply to a question.

12:51 (IST)

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Rajya Sabha votes on Major Ports Authorities Bill

Minister Mandaviya moved  that the Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 be passed. “We developed the Kolkata port on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. We paid the liabilities for all pensioners. The loss making port is now profitable. This is because of reforms,” he said, illustrating the benefits of the model.

“The Narendra Modi government believes in the federal structure and state government representatives will not be removed,” he added.

12:41 (IST)

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Opposition oppose Major Ports Authorities Bill, says reduction in SC and ST representation 

Expressing objection to the Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020, NCP’s Fauzia Khan on Wednesday said “there is an example of deliberate disintegration of the federal structure in this Bill”.

Ramji of BSP said there is no provision in the Bill for SC and ST port employees to raise their voice. “They should be represented on the Boards,” he said.

Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD said: “No political establishment is forever so whenever you make a legislation, don’t look at the prevalent media channels, look at how it will be seen by history, he says. The Bill reduces participation of states and does not include representative of labour unions.”

12:28 (IST)

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Congress MP gives notice in LS to discuss rising cases in Kerala

Congress MP K Suresh has given adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha demanding to discuss the “alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in Kerala”.

12:07 (IST)

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Frame rules to give Indian consultancy firm preference in contracts: Demand in RS

A demand to frame rules giving Indian consultancy companies preference in contracts on the lines of the new US federal spending policy was made in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Raising the issue through a zero hour mention, BJP’s Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe said the new US President Joe Biden last month asked federal agencies to purchase products and services produced in America.

The government of India, too, should frame a new policy giving preference to Indian consultancy firms over foreign entities. Local consultancy often lose out to foreign firms due to eligibility criteria requiring certain experience, he said.

Consultancy, he said, is a big industry that is dominated by foreign agencies.

– PTI

11:40 (IST)

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Pilot project for new Indo-Pak border fencing completed last March: Centre 

Pilot project for new design modular fencing on Indo-Pak border in Punjab has been completed in March 2020, said MoS (Home) Nityanand Rai in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

11:36 (IST)

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Rules under Citizenship Amendment Act are under preparation: Nityananda Rai

The Rules under the Citizenship Amendment Act are under preparation. The Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have granted an extension up to 9 April 2021 and 9 July 20201 respectively, said MoS Home Nityananda Rai in Rajya Sabha.

10:59 (IST)

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Major Port Authorities Bill taken up in RS 

Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya moves the Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 for consideration and passing.

10:54 (IST)

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Cong MP gives notice in Lok Sabha over VK Singh’s statement

Congress leader Manish Tewari gives adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over BJP leader and former army chief VK Singh’s statement on LAC transgression.

10:47 (IST)

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Education of girl child impacted during pandemic: Jyotiraditya Scindia

Pointing out that the education of young girls was impacted during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said “The period saw an increase in child marriages. As per an RTI reply, the child helpline recieved,324 distress calls. I request Women and Child Development Minister to collect data on child marriages, mobilise anganwadi workers on mission mode so that the girls can go back to school.”

10:18 (IST)

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BJP issues three-line whip to its MPs to be present in LS today

The Bharatiya Janata Party has issued a three-line whip to its Lok Sabha MPs to be present in the House on  Wednesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address.

10:10 (IST)

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KC Venugopal raises question on rising petrol prices 

Speaking on the prices of petrol hitting a new record high on Tuesday, Congress MP KC Venugopal in Rajya Sabha asked why the price of petrol is at an all time high despite crude prices being at an all time low.

“How many times has the Centre increased excise duty?” asked Venugopal.

09:49 (IST)

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Opening up air routes to over 80% depends on decisions by air carriers: Hardeep Puri

“Our decision to raise the frequency of commercial flights beyond 80 percent depends on the behaviour of the virus and commercial decisions to be taken by the air carrier,” said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri.

09:41 (IST)

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Increase time for debate on Budget: Jairam Ramesh

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh Tuesday sought to increase the time allotted for discussion on Union Budget in the Rajya Sabha from 10 hours to 12 hours.

“There is a lot of interest among the members in discussing the Budget. I suggest that the time to debate the Budget be increased from 10 hours to 12 hours,” said Ramesh in Rajya Sabha.

09:22 (IST)

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Debate on Budget in Rajya Sabha likely today 

The discussion on Union Budget is listed after consideration of Major Ports Bill in Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday. In Lok Sabha, it is listed after the ongoing discussion on Motion of Thanks on the President’s address.

09:19 (IST)

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Reports to be presented in RS today:

1) Reports of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural gas

2) Reports of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution

3) Reports of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce

09:13 (IST)

Rajya Sabha convenes for the day

09:08 (IST)

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Bills for consideration and passing in RS:

1) The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020

08:26 (IST)

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Rahul Gandhi to speak in Lok Sabha today 

Rahul Gandhi will lead the Congress attack during debate on the Union Budget and will be the first speaker from his party in the discussion likely to be taken up by Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The discussion on union budget 2021-22 is slated to be taken up after reply to the motion of thanks on the President’s Address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Wayanad MP has been critical of the Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1 February and said that the Budget proposals will adversely impact the common man.

08:17 (IST)

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PM’s reply to motion of thanks to President’s address likely in LS today

Sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to reply to the debate on Wednesday evening. Lok Sabha usually sits between 4 pm and 9 pm but the timing was increased as members were willing.

08:14 (IST)

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RECAP: LS sits till 1 am as members participate in debate on Motion of Thanks

Sitting past midnight, Lok Sabha members participated in the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address. After most of the participants had made their point, Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House at 1 am Wednesday.

President addressed the joint sitting of Parliament on 29 January in the beginning of the Budget Session. .

Parliament LATEST Updates: Speaking on the Union Budget, Congress leader Kapil Sibal Wednesday said while the NDA government accused its predecessor UPA government of doing vote bank politics, they themselves have done the same in the Budget this year by awarding infrastructure projects to the poll-bound states.

Mansukh Mandaviya moved that the Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 be passed. “We developed the Kolkata port on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. We paid the liabilities for all pensioners. The loss making port is now profitable. This is because of reforms,” he said, illustrating the benefits of the model.

The Rules under the Citizenship Amendment Act are under preparation. The Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have granted an extension up to 9 April 2021 and 9 July 20201 respectively, said MoS Home Nityananda Rai in Rajya Sabha.

“Our decision to raise the frequency of commercial flights beyond 80 percent depends on the behaviour of the virus and commercial decisions to be taken by the air carrier,” said the civil aviation minister.

The discussion on Union Budget is listed after consideration of Major Ports Bill in Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday. In Lok Sabha, it is listed after the ongoing discussion on Motion of Thanks on the President’s address.

Gandhi will lead the Congress attack during debate on the Union Budget and will be the first speaker from his party in the discussion likely to be taken up by Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Rajya Sabha on Tuesday bid farewell to four retiring members of the Upper House with Deputy Chairman Harivansh heaping lavish praise on the leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, terming him a repository of rich experiences.

The veteran Congress leader and Nazir Ahmed Laway (PDP) will retire on 15 February while the terms of Mir Mohammad Fayaz (PDP) and Shamsher Singh Manhas (BJP) will end on 10 February.

“It was my fortune that I got to sit next to Ghulam Nabi Azad in the House. He has connected the entire country with Jammu and Kashmir. I have not come across a person like him who has such rich experiences. Have learnt a lot from his guidance, decency, conduct,” Harivansh said.

Azad’s political stature is unparallel, he said and added that the Congress leader has risen to such a position in national politics from a block level worker in Kashmir.

He appreciated him for the mammoth work in the health sector like National Urban Health Mission and setting up of medical colleges.

Retirement from the house is only a temporary thing and not a break in his chosen path of serving the nation, Harivansh said.

Azad said he is among those lucky people who never went Pakistan and feels proud to be a Hindustani Muslim.

He spoke for almost 28 minutes, quoting several couplets and hoping for restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir and return of Kashmiri Pandits back to the valley.

Fayaz in his speech said, “We work for this country. We have taken the flag of the country to villages. It hurts and saddens us when we are called anti-national by the media and others.”

He recalled his journey from Kupwara, near Pakistan border and from the municipal committee there to Rajya Sabha and said he worked for the mainstream and against separatist calls.

He praised the government for the work in the areas of schemes like Ujjwala and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, both of whom were present in the House, to “do justice to people to J&K” by restoring statehood and special status and thereby winning and strengthening their faith.

In his speech, Manhas said: “I come from Kashmir, the mukat mani (crown jewel) of the country, and am sitting among others from the country. I have worked for this mukut mani and will work for it in the future too.”

He said he has visited all parts of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and learnt a lot from Modi about conduct in public life.
Another retiring member Laway appealed for restoration of statehood besides rail connectivity.

He remembered his party leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who sent him to this House and said he developed a relationship with all the members and people because he came to Rajya Sabha.

He urged the prime minister and the home minister for human and other resources development work in Jammu & Kashmir saying they have to take care of the union territory because now there would no representation in the House from there.

Satish Chandra Misra (BSP) said that the retiring members would “remain torch bearers for us in future and show us the way forward”.

He said that if his Congress wants to bid farewell to Azad then in that case people would bid farewell to the party not him.
“It is not easy to lose Ghulam Nabi Azad,” he added.

Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) said he could not believe that Azad is retiring from Rajya Sabha.

He suggested that since Azad has seen a long tenure from days of Indira Gandhi to Narendra Modi, he should write an autobiography titled “From Indira to Modi”.

He told the House that the Azad has very rich political experience which is very rare in politics. Addressing Azad, he said that you would never retire.

Raut also said that there is no dearth of leaders in the Congress, but “Azad Sahib, there are few leaders whom people know across the country”.

He added he would not bid farewell to Azad but wait for him to come back again here in the House.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said the name may be Ghulam (slave) but all remained Azad (free).

He said that Azad will always be remembered because “you are a large hearted person”.

He also said that Azad should be elected again to Rajya Sabha and if Congress does not want that then he and his party RPI would do that. He added that Rajya Sabha needed Azad back.

Abdul Wahab (IUML) thanked Azad for the “wonderful leadership” in the House.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said Azad has a very long and rich experience in various ministries and states.

He also said that Azad is the only person in the party who remained general secretary of all states at different points of time including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Haryana.

Sharma termed Azad as very frank and hardworking. He said that Azad was always of the view that one should not get personal for ideology and there should not be bitterness on the basis of ideology.

He also said that Azad has risen through the ranks and started from the bottom and reached top position by working hard unlike overnight rise of leaders of today.

Sharma said Azad would play an important role in the elections of Jammu and Kashmir whenever they are held and would continue to provide his services to the nation.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray (TMC) lauded Azad’s nature and hoped his party renominates him and brings him back in the House.
A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) said J Jayalalithaa had asked him to interact with Azad and other leaders and he learnt a lot from him.

Prasanna Acharya (BJD) said Azad has the ability to befriend everybody in the shortest possible time. He added Kashmir is in his heart and mind and whenever he speaks about Jammu and Kashmir, his emotions come out.

Tiruchi Siva (DMK) said today was one of the painful moments as he had to speak on the farewell of a member from the house. He said due to the concern of Azad, he has developed friendship with everyone. “The house will be lacklustre in the coming days,” he said, hoping he returns to the House soon.

KR Suresh Reddy (TRS) and Y Vijaisai Reddy (YSR-CP) recalled their association with Azad. Vijaisai Reddy wished that he may contribute his best to the country.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said Kashmir is beautiful and it is represented in the House by beautiful people.

“Ghulam Nabi Azad acted as a bridge whenever there was a deadlock in the House. He is a very calm and polite person. I wonder who will fill the gap in the house. I wish he comes back to the house. This house will be poorer with Azads going. I hope he becomes chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir after its statehood is restored,” he said.

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JDU) said Azad has played a great role in this house and wished him good.

Elamaram Kareem (CPM) said as leader of opposition, Azad tried to unite the Opposition parties but also united them the ruling parties.

“As leader of opposition, he gave us perfect view. He always was a role model for all members. He is not just a leader of the Congress party, but of the entire country. I saw him roar like a lion on 5 August, 2019,” he said, recalling the day when Article 370 was revoked in Jammu and Kashmir.

Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) and Satish Chandra Misra (BSP) wished Azad good in the life.

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