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Friday, October 23, 2020

Parliament Highlights: Sitharaman takes dig at Cong, says launching MGNREGA is one thing, using it effectively is another

Parliament Monsoon Session Highlights: Amid fresh cases of Covid-19 among MPs, reporters and parliamentary staff entering the Parliament complex will have to undergo mandatory antigen test on a daily basis, according to the latest protocol.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 18, 2020 11:11:47 pm
parliament, parliament live, parliament live updates, parliament monsoon session, farm bill, farmers bill, parliament monsoon session 2020 live, parliament today, parliament today live, parliament live news, parliament news, rajya sabha, india china, rajya sabha today live, lok sabha, lok sabha live, lok sabha live news, lok sabha live news updates, coronavirusIn most bills, the members participation was sparse and the minister's reply brief.(File)

Parliament Monsoon Session Highlights: Responding to Opposition’s remarks that the BJP criticised MGNREGA when introduced by the UPA government, yet using the scheme now, Sitharaman said, “Launching Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is one thing and using it effectively is another. According to CAG (Comptroller & Auditor General of India), MGNREGA funds were sent in ghost accounts (under UPA).”

After being adjourned four times over ruckus by the opposition parties on MoS Anurag Thakur’s Gandhi-Nehru remarks on Friday, the Lok Sabha proceedings resumed at 6 pm. On the insistence of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Thakur apologised to the House, saying his aim was not to hurt anybody’s sentiments through his words. “I am pained if my words hurt anybody,” he added.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 6 pm after Opposition was irked and demanded apology from Thakur over his remarks on Gandhi Family. While opposition leaders such as Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticised the PM CARES fund during the discussion on The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, Thakur accused Gandhi family of ‘cheating’ public by pooling public money through creation of various funds under different names.

While defending the PM CARES fund, Thakur said, “From the high court to the Supreme Court, all courts have validated the PM CARES fund. Even children have contributed to it from their piggy banks. Nehru had set up a fund that has not been registered to date. You (Congress) only made a trust for the benefit of the Gandhi family. You made Sonia Gandhi its chairman. It should be probed,” said Anurag Thakur. “Nehru ji ordered the creation of Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund in 1948 like a royal order but its registration has not been done even till today. How did it get FCRA clearance?” Thakur asked. This irked the Opposition and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury lashed out at Thakur calling him chhokra (boy) from Himachal, he also demanded Thakur’s apology for allegedly maligning Nehru-Gandhi family.

Live Blog

Fifth day of Monsoon Session of Parliament today. Get highlights here.

22:52 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Lok Sabha adjourned till 3 pm Saturday

Lok Sabha adjourned till 3 pm Saturday.

22:52 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Lok Sabha approves supplementary demands for grants of additional spending of Rs 2.35 lakh crore in 2020-21

Lok Sabha approves The Supplementary Demands for Grants of additional spending Rs 2.35 lakh crore in 2020-21 through voice vote.

22:41 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Not contemplating increasing taxes to compensate loss in revenues: Sitharaman

"We are not contemplating increasing taxes to compensate loss in revenues due to coronavirus pandemic," FM Sitharaman said.

22:27 (IST)18 Sep 2020
'Launching Mahatma Gandhi NREGS is one thing, using it effectively is another': Sitharaman's dig at Congress

In reply to the Opposition's arguments that the BJP criticised MRNREGS when introduced by the UPA government, yet using the scheme now, Sitharaman said, "Launching Mahatma Gandhi NREGS is one thing and using it effectively is another. According to CAG (Comptroller & Auditor General of India), MGNREGS funds were sent in ghost accounts."

22:26 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Additional resources sought under supplementary demand for grants will be used for people-centric activities: Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the additional resources sought under supplementary demand for grants will largely be used for people-centric activities. She added that Under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, one-time cash transfer of Rs 1,000 has been done for 8.3 crore poor families. In another measure, one-time cash transfer of Rs 1,000 done for 3 crore senior citizens.

21:23 (IST)18 Sep 2020
3 vaccine candidates in advanced stage of clinical trials: Vardhan

Three of the nearly 30 coronavirus vaccine candidates in the country are in advanced stages of clinical trials, while four are in pre-clinical development stage, Science and Technology Ministry Harsh Vardhan said on Friday. A high-level expert group is looking into matters related to vaccine distribution and immunisation, he said. "Nationally, nearly 30 vaccine candidates are under development, by both industry and academia. These vaccines are in different stages of pre-clinical and clinical development of which three candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage," Vardhan said in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha. (PTI)

20:24 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Govt can now blame all policy failures on Act of God: BSP Pandey

This government has got Covid-19 as a blessing in disguise, said BSP MP Ritesh Pandey. "The government can now blame all its policy failures on this Act of God. But people shouldn't forget that failure of once-promising economy is not an act of god but an act of bad governance," he said. He demanded a policy that can ensure education, health and employment in India.

20:21 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Bhartruhari Mahtab should focus on urban poor: BJD MP

Bhartruhari Mahtab, BJD MP, said government is working for rural poor but should focus on urban poor.

19:45 (IST)18 Sep 2020
FM should show us way out of this dark tunnel: Saugata Roy

Demand-side interventions are required. Govt should allocate more funds to schemes like MNREGA. There are formulas available to revive the economy but govt is busy selling airports. Finance Minister should show us way out of this dark tunnel, Saugata Roy said.

19:32 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Govt reacted to Covid late: TMC MP Sougata Roy

Admitting that the present state of economy is a result of the pandemic, TMC MP Sougata Roy said the economy was in a downward spiral even before the pandemic struck. "We reacted to Covid late. We knew about the virus in January, still we welcomed Donald Trump. Later, we imposed a lockdown abruptly."

19:23 (IST)18 Sep 2020
FM is diluting GST compensation issue with 'Act of God' excuse: DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran

Finance Minister is diluting GST compensation issue with 'Act of God' excuse. How can centre expect states to carry on the additional burden of borrowing? This is nothing short of deception. We don't see any green shoots in the economy, said Dayanidhi Maran, DMK MP, Lok Sabha.

19:21 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Centre released over Rs 3,024 crore under Nirbhaya fund to states/UTs: WCD ministry

The Centre has released an amount of over Rs 3,024 crore under the Nirbhaya fund out of which states have utilised around Rs 1,919 crore, the Women and Child Development Ministry said on Friday. The Nirbhaya fund was set up in 2013 by the UPA government to improve the safety and security of women in the aftermath of the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedic student, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, in December, 2012 in a moving bus in Delhi. Responding to a question in the Lok Sabha, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani gave out state-wise data of release and utilization of the Nirbhaya fund. The data showed the Centre has released an amount of Rs 3,024.46 crore under the Nirbhaya fund out of which states have utilised Rs 1,919.11 crore. (PTI)

19:18 (IST)18 Sep 2020
GST was hurriedly introduced hurriedly to cover up man-made economic disaster: Dayanidhi Maran

GST was hurriedly introduced in November last 2019 to cover up man-made economic disaster, said Dayanidhi Maran, DMK, Chennai. Now, to avoid GST compensation, government is giving 'act of God' excuse, he added.

19:00 (IST)18 Sep 2020
What is the fate of 5 Trillion economy, Adhir Chowdhury asks Sitharaman in Lok Sabha

"We (our GDP) are already at 23% low, which may further go down to 35%, according to experts. What is the fate of 5 Trillion economy?" Adhir Chowdhury asked Sitharaman in Lok Sabha. "What is the state of PSU monetisation?" he asked the Finance Minister.

18:54 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slammed govt for not maintaining data on migrant deaths, job losses during pandemic

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slammed the government for not maintaining data on migrant deaths and job losses during pandemic. "It has become a no-data government," he said.

18:48 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Covid economic stimulus is a bluff: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

"5% of the economic stimulus is the actual push to the economy. It is a bluff," said Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

18:44 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Job demand under MGNREGA has come down to below 2 crore from 6 crore

BJP MP Jayant Sinha during discussion on 'Supplementary Demands for Grants 2020-21' in Lok Sabha said, "The number of job demands under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has come down from 6 crore to below 2 crore because our economy is recovering after unlocks."

18:42 (IST)18 Sep 2020
1,100 indigenous PPE kit makers have been developed by govt till date: Smriti Irani

As many as 1,100 indigenous manufacturers of PPE kits have been developed by the government till date and most of them are from the MSME sector, Parliament was informed on Friday. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said the capacity and production of PPE coveralls for COVID-19 touched a peak of 5 lakh per day in mid-May 2020. "From zero manufacturers in March 2020, 1,100 indigenous manufacturers of PPE kits have been developed by the government till date, most of them being from the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprise) sector," she said. (PTI)

18:36 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Rupee appreciated against Dollar, macro-economic stability not compromised: BJP MP

"We are going through a very strong (economic) recovery stage," said BJP Jayant Sinha. "Rupee has appreciated against dollars showing that our macro-economic stability is not compromised."

18:29 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Discussion on grants in Lok Sabha

Discussion on The Supplementary Demands for Grants 2020-21 and The Demands for Excess Grants for 2016-17 in Lok Sabha.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during his address in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. (Screengrab)

The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 were passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. While several MPs supported the idea of salary deductions, they also sought the resumption of MPLAD funds to contain the impact of Covid-19.

Besides this, The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 were also passed by voice vote in the Upper House today. Earlier in the day, the Upper House paid their tributes to Karnataka MP Ashok Gasti, who succumbed to coronavirus late on Thursday.

Amid fresh cases of Covid-19 among MPs, reporters and parliamentary staff entering the Parliament complex will have to undergo mandatory antigen test on a daily basis, according to the latest protocol. Members of both Houses will require to undergo RT-PCR test at regular intervals on a voluntary basis, a senior Parliament official told news agency PTI. Journalists covering the Monsoon session from press galleries of both the Houses will also have the option to undergo the RT-PCR test which is valid for 72 hours.

Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the situation in Ladakh, two days after he made a similar statement in Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the government wants to assure 130 crore people of the country that it will not let India “bow down” its head. At the same time, he said, it does not want to bend anyone else’s head.

“Yudh ki shuruat toh hamari haath mein hoti hai, lekin uska ant nahin hota hai. Aur mujhe kai baar tajjub hota hai ki shanti ka yeh sandesh jis dharti se poore vishwa ko mila hai, us dharti ki shanti mein vighna daalne ke prayas kiye jaate hain (One can start a war but ending it is not in one’s hands. Many a time, I am surprised that attempts are made to disrupt peace in the very land which gave the world the message of peace),” he said.

Citing operational reasons for not giving detailed replies to questions from members, Singh, responding to a query from Congress leader and former Defence Minister AK Antony, said there will be no change in the patrolling pattern of Indian soldiers.

With all Opposition parties backing the government, the Congress, which had been demanding a full-fledged discussion on the issue, did not register any protest.

Singh also agreed to Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s suggestion that he consider meeting some prominent leaders in his chamber and brief them on the ground situation.

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