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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Parliament HIGHLIGHTS: Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 passed by the Lok Sabha

Parliament HIGHLIGHTS: The ongoing second part of this year's Budget Session that commenced on March 8, is set to conclude on April 8.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 19, 2021 10:41:47 pm
Rajya Sabha, Lok SabhaOn Thursday, despite witnessing four brief adjournments amid opposition uproar, the Rajya Sabha cleared the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Parliament Highlights: The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 has been passed in the Lok Sabha today by voice vote. According to Union Minister for Mines, Coal, and Parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi, the passage of the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill would bring transparency, renew the auction process of minerals and coal rights and also create employment opportunities. The new bill seeks to amend the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act of 1957. Union Minister Pralhad Joshi also said that “The reform in the mining sector would generate 55 lakh direct and indirect employment. To enhance mining activity, we will allow private sector with enhanced technology in mineral exploration,”.

The government has planned to introduce the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) Bill 2021 in the Lok Sabha for setting up a government-owned DFI to fund infra projects. Earlier this week, the union cabinet had approved a budget proposal which is required for setting up a Development Finance Institution (DFI), which will enable fundraising from investors, this will lead to tax benefits.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said that the government has planned to monetise the railway’s assets to generate resources to boost growth, but the railway infrastructure will never be privatised. Piyush Goyal said “When you privatise, you sell off the assets permanently and it no more remains a part of the government ownership. In the railways, the plan to is monetise in terms of how it will generate resources, further investment and growth. The infrastructure of Indian Railways will never be privatised,”. He also added by saying that “Asset monetisation would help in generating more resources towards infrastructure creation. Passenger train operations taken up through Public Private Partnership (PPP) is targeted to bring a total investment of about ? 30,000 crore,”.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday reiterated in Lok Sabha that no one should cast doubt on the Covid-19 vaccines as he urged all to take the shots.

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Parliament HIGHLIGHTS: Track all the highlights from parliament session today.

19:42 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Lok Sabha adjourned till Monday

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till Monday, 22nd March.

 
17:51 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Rajya Sabha adjourned till Monday

The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till Monday, 22nd March.

17:34 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Govt has taken number of steps to bring down pollution in Delhi: Javadekar

The government has taken a number of steps to address the issue of air pollution in Delhi, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday, and took a jibe at the AAP dispensation for taking credit for the work done by the Centre.

Responding to a question on pollution in the national capital during the Question Hour in Lok Sabha, Javadekar said air pollution in Delhi is the 'most serious problem', and noted that the air quality along the Indo-Gangetic belt is poor.

'The Centre has taken a number of steps to address the problem of Delhi's air pollution,' he said. To address the issue of pollution in 100 cities, a National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was also launched and a plan has been made for every city, Javadekar said. (PTI)

16:56 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Mumbai CST railways' pride, not altering its facade, structure during redevelopment: Goyal

Terming the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai the pride of railways, Union minister Piyush Goyal Friday said there is no question of altering its facade, structure or beauty after its development under the PPP model.

The station is being redeveloped to add more facilities, but its heritage part would not be altered, he assured Rajya Sabha. Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, Goyal said he is particular about ensuring that wherever stations are redeveloped, their local identity, culture and traditional look are not hurt or damaged. (PTI)

16:49 (IST)19 Mar 2021
COVID-19 vaccination drive to be extended in coming days: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the COVID-19 vaccination drive will be extended in the coming days and asserted that there should not be any misconceptions about the two Indian vaccines being administered in in the country.

During the Question Hour in Lok Sabha, Vardhan said India has vaccinated 3.5 to 4 crore people so far and side effects of the vaccines has been recorded at 0.000432 per cent. (PTI)

16:47 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Railways created 14.14 lakh mandays employment under Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan: Goyal

The railways generated 14.14 lakh mandays employment under the Centre's Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan in identified districts of six states to expeditiously re-start economic activities post-lockdown, Union minister Piyush Goyal told Rajya Sabha on Friday.

In a written reply to a question on estimated job loss or work loss post-lockdown especially for those indirectly dependent on the Railways for their livelihoods, he said the Ministry has not undertaken any such study. (PTI)

16:46 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Railways infra will never be privatised, assets to be monetised: Goyal

The government Friday said in Rajya Sabha that railways infrastructure will never be privatised but it plans to monetise its assets to generate resources to boost growth.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal also said that passenger train operations taken up through Public Private Partnership (PPP) is targeted to bring a total investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.

The Ministry of Railways plans to monetise assets including through Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors after commissioning, induction of 150 modern rakes through PPP, station redevelopment through PPP, railway land parcels, multi-functional complexes (MFC), railway colonies, hill railways and stadiums, Goyal said during the Question Hour. (PTI)

16:27 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Many foreign tourists don't come here because of lack of facilities: Jaya Bachchan in RS

"If you want to attract international tourists, they want facilities and cleanliness. It is essential to be looked into. Many foreign tourists don't come here because of lack of facilities," SP MP Jaya Bachchan said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. 

15:42 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 passed by the Lok Sabha

The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 has been passed in the Lok Sabha. 

Yesterday, Coal and Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi had introduced the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha to streamline the renewal of the auction process for minerals and coal mining rights.

14:27 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Govt to introduce DFI Bill in Lok Sabha next week

The government will next week introduce in the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) Bill 2021 in Lok Sabha to pave way for setting up of a government-owned DFI to fund infra projects. 
       
The union cabinet earlier this week had approved a budget proposal of setting up a Development Finance Institution (DFI), which will have tax benefits to enable fund raising from investors.
     
The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) will be set up with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore and the government will give an initial grant of Rs 5,000 crore. The government expects the DFI to leverage this fund to raise up to Rs 3 lakh crore in the next few years. (PTI)

14:16 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Changes in mines act to generate jobs, allow pvt sector with enhanced tech in mining: Minister in LS

Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi on Friday said the amendments in the mines and minerals act will help create employment opportunities and allow private sector with enhanced technology in mining activities. 
       
Moving the Mines and Minerals Development (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the Lok Sabha, Joshi said India produces 95 minerals and has same potential like South Africa and Australia, but still import minerals like gold and coal.
     
"The reform in the mining sector would generate 55 lakh direct and indirect employment. To enhance mining activity, we will allow private sector with enhanced technology in mineral exploration," Joshi added.
     
Mining sector is the biggest employment generator, but still we are underexplored. The minister said the bill has been drafted after consultation with stakeholders and state governments. (PTI)

14:12 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Govt flagged concerns with Welthungerhilfe on accuracy of data on India's hunger level: Tomar in RS

The government has flagged its concerns with German organisation Welthungerhilfe on "appropriateness, accuracy and representativeness of data" used to calculate the level of hunger in India, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed Parliament on Friday.
      
Tomar, during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, said the Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report 2020 -- published jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe -- has given a score of 27.2 for India and ranked the country at 94 out of 107.
    
Whereas in the GHI Report 2019, India had scored 30.3 and was ranked 102 out of 117. "This shows improvement towards reducing hunger in the country as the GHI score has reduced from 30.3 to 27.2 during the period 2019 to 2020," the minister said. (PTI)

13:47 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Drug for spinal muscular atrophy disease already exempt from import duty: FM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday in Parliament said imported life-saving drugs including those for spinal muscular atrophy disease for personal use are exempted from basic customs duty but they attract five per cent GST.
       
However, adhoc exemption from goods and services tax (GST) on imported life-saving drugs are given on a case-to-case basis during exceptional nature and when such a request is received, she said.
     
Giving a clarification on the issue raised by Congress Vivek K Tankha during Zero Hour on March 17, Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha said the member had day before yesterday stated that there is one medicine to treat spinal muscular atrophy disease which costs about Rs 16 crore and there is a tax component at Rs 7 crore. (PTI)

12:23 (IST)19 Mar 2021
No one should have any doubts about Covid-19 vaccines: Union health minister

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, speaking in Lok Sabha on Friday said no one should have any doubts about the COVID-19 vaccines as he urged all to take the jabs.

11:10 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Insurance Amendment Bill 2021 has flaws, says Mallikarjun Kharge

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said the Insurance Amendment Bill 2021 has flaws, and that it should be sent to a Standing Committee.

"They have introduced a provision of ownership and control to foreigners. If FDI comes, there will be West India Company brought in by PM Modi to help people from Gujarat," Kharge was quoted as saying by ANI.

11:07 (IST)19 Mar 2021
LS: TMC MP gives Adjournment Motion Notice over need for uniform COVID vaccination

TMC MP Saugata Roy gives Adjournment Motion Notice in Lok Sabha over the 'need for uniform COVID-19 vaccination due to rise in cases in the country'.

10:44 (IST)19 Mar 2021
BJP MP gives Zero Hour Notice in RS over increasing phone tapping by state govts

BJP MP Bhupender Yadav has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha on 'concern over increasing phone tapping by State governments'

10:43 (IST)19 Mar 2021
Congress MP gives Zero Hour Notice in RS on impact of LPG price rise on the poor

Congress MP Akhilesh Prasad Singh has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha on 'concern over poor families returning to traditional fuels due to LPG price rise'

Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari during a press conference on the issue of scrapping policy in New Delhi.

Here are some highlights from yesterday's Parliamentary proceedings:

New scrapping policy: mandatory fitness test for vehicles, incentives for owners

India will put in place a new “ecosystem” of mandatory fitness testing of vehicles, and ensure that those that fail are de-registered, according to Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. At the same time, he said, the government will approach carmakers to consider a five per cent discount on purchase of new vehicles for those who give up their old vehicles for scrap — and push for relief in GST.

Announcing the “Voluntary Vehicle-Fleet Modernisation Programme” in Lok Sabha on Thursday, Gadkari said that commercial vehicles over 15 years old and personal vehicles over 20 years old will be marked for scrapping if they fail to pass the test. “They will be seized and destroyed,” he said.

Rajya Sabha clears Bill to raise FDI in insurance sector to 74%

Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to raise the FDI in insurance sector to 74 per cent from the current 49 per cent, despite opposition push to refer the Bill to a standing committee.

“The FDI policy is brought in only to supplement domestic capital. This will only supplement what is available in the country because what is now available is not sufficient,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the House.

Responding to the opposition’s criticism against the amendment, Sitharaman said the law has “enough safeguards” built in.

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