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Monday, Nov 28, 2022

Parliament Budget Session Highlights: Budgetary allocation for MGNREGA cut despite scheme’s benefits during pandemic, Sonia Gandhi says in LS

Budget Session 2022 India, Parliament LIVE Updates, Rajya Sabha Members Retiring, Nominations by BJP, Congress and AAP Latest Updates, 31 March: The Lok Sabha will continue its discussion on climate change raised by DMK MP Kanimozhi.

By: Express Web Desk
New Delhi | Updated: March 31, 2022 10:37:59 pm
Sonia Gandhi urged the Centre to allocate a proper budget for MGNREGA and pay wages to labourers withing 15 days of work.

Parliament Budget Session 2022 Updates: Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi lamented the constant cuts in budgetary allocation to MGNREGA, even though timely help was given to crores of affected poor families during COVID and lockdown under the scheme. “This is weakening the legal guarantee of timely payment and jobs. This year’s MGNREGA budget is 35 per cent less than that of 2020 even when unemployment is rising continuously. Due to cuts in the budget payment of workers gets delayed. Supreme Court has called this forced labour,” Gandhi said.

During his farewell speech to the 72 retiring members of the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that academic knowledge often has limitations, but “experience brings easy solutions to problems and reduces the margin of error”. “When such experienced members retire, the House and the country feel the void. Those that remain have added responsibilities and to take forward the work done by these members,” he said. He urged all retiring members to take their experience in all directions of the country.

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The Lok Sabha on Thursday is scheduled to discuss The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022. The Bill amends the SC order to exclude Gond community as a Scheduled Tribe in four districts of Uttar Pradesh – Chandauli, Kushinagar, Sant Kabir Nagar and Sant Ravidas Nagar. The Lower House will also continue its discussion on climate change raised by DMK MP Kanimozhi.

Live Blog

Parliament Live Updates: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 which seeks to unify the three municipal corporations of Delhi; Follow this space for Latest Updates

22:33 (IST)31 Mar 2022
ATF price in Delhi has jumped from Rs 76.1/litre on Jan 1 to Rs 110.7/litre on Mar 16: Govt

The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) in Delhi has increased from Rs 76.1 per litre on January 1 to Rs 110.7 per litre on March 16 and one of the contributing reasons is the Ukraine-Russia war, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said on Thursday.

"Since the cost of ATF accounts for approximately 40 per cent of the operational cost of airlines, this price escalation may have an adverse impact on the financial results of the airlines," Singh said in his written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. The war began after Russia launched a "special military operation" against Ukraine on February 24. (PTI)

21:39 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Counting of votes for two Assam RS seats delayed following Congress complaint

The counting of votes for the two Rajya Sabha seats in Assam, for which polling was held on Thursday, has been delayed following the demand of the opposition Congress to cancel the votes of five MLAs, including three of the ruling BJP, for allegedly violating rules. The Congress also suspended its MLA Siddeque Ahmed for not following the procedure "intentionally", violating the whip.

Seniors leaders including AICC in charge of Assam Jitendra Singh, Abhishekh Manu Singhvi and state party president Bhupen Kumar Bora in a video conference urged the Chief Election Commissioner to cancel votes of the five MLAs and take action against them for "violating the election rules", party spokesperson Manjit Mahanta said. (PTI)

20:55 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Around 40-50 Indians still in Ukraine, of which only few willing to return: Govt

As many as 22,500 nationals have returned to India from Ukraine since February and around 40-50 Indians are still in the war-torn country, of which only a few are willing to return, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

"Overall, 22,500 nationals have returned to India since February 2022. Around 40-50 Indian nationals are still in Ukraine, of which only a few are willing to return to India. Their return is being facilitated by the Embassy," said Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi said in written response to a question on the number of people evacuated from Ukraine.

The Ukrainian authorities had shut down the country's airspace for civilian aircraft after the Russian attack on February 24. To another question on the number of operations carried out to evacuate stranded Indians and other nationals during the last five years, she said during the global Covid pandemic, the government launched the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indian nationals and to facilitate the travel of passengers between India and other parts of the world. (PTI)

20:25 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Solar cells import jumps to USD 3,447 mn in April-Jan; maximum shipment from China

Solar cells import rose to USD 3,447 million (around Rs 26,000 crore) during April-January 2021-22 as compared to USD 572 million in the previous financial year, Parliament was informed on Thursday. The imports were worth USD 1,684 million in 2019-20 and USD 2,160 million in 2018-19, New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

During April-January 2021-22, the maximum import was from China at USD 3,117.78 million. In another reply, the minister stated that the government has set a target of installing 100 GW solar power capacity by December 2022 in the country. Against this, projects of 108.91 GW have either been commissioned or are in the pipeline. (PTI)

19:10 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Only 49 air ambulances operating in India: Govt

Only 49 air ambulances are currently being operated in India by 19 operators, according to Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh.

"Around 4,100 patients have hired the ambulances during the last three years," Singh said in his reply to a written question in Lok Sabha on Thursday. Air ambulance services are available in rural areas on a need and availability basis, he noted.

"There are 49 air ambulances (aeroplane and helicopter) operating under aero medical transportation (AMT) by 19 non-scheduled operators in the country," Singh said. While Delhi has 39 air ambulances, Maharashtra has five, he noted. Kerala has two air ambulances, while Odisha, West Bengal and Gujarat have one each, he said. (PTI)

18:25 (IST)31 Mar 2022
NTPC project in Bihar affected due to sanctions on Russia

Construction of state-run NTPC's Barh thermal power project in Bihar that has involvement of Russian entities has been affected due to various sanctions against Russia, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

"In so far as Ministry of Power is concerned, NTPC's Barh Super Thermal Power Project, Stage-I (3X660 MW), which is presently under construction, has involvement of Russian entities," Power Minister R K Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

About the impact in terms of various sanctions on this project along with project cost, expenditure incurred and anticipated date of commissioning, the minister told the House that there is difficulty in payments and renewal of bank guarantees due to exclusion of Russian Banks from SWIFT international payments system. The minister stated that supplies of balance equipment/material from Russian entities may get affected. The visit of engineers/technical advisors from Russia for project commissioning activities may get affected, he added. (PTI)

18:23 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Lok Sabha adjourned till tomorrow 11 am
18:05 (IST)31 Mar 2022
In last four years, august House lost over 35% of its functional time: RS Chairman

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said that the functioning of the legislature is being marred by persistent and often unjustifiable disruptions.

"During last four years this august House has lost over 35% of its valuable functional time," he added.

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17:42 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Over 37,000 accidents involving trucks or lorries occurred in 2019

As many as 37,078 accidents involving trucks or lorries occurred in 2019, causing 13,532 deaths, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, the Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that as many as 23,868 people were killed in road accidents in which impacting vehicles were trucks or lorries in 2018, while the total number of accidents involving trucks or lorries stood at 57,441. Gadkari said the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken various steps in the interest of drivers including truck drivers such as wayside amenities, food court, truck parking bays etc. on National Highways. (PTI)

16:52 (IST)31 Mar 2022
NHAI plans cashless treatment facility on Golden Quadrilateral for road accident victims

State-owned National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning a cashless treatment facility for road accident victims on all four arms of the Golden Quadrilateral stretch, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

 Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari. (PTI)

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the success of the scheme may be assessed only after it is implemented on the ground after the conclusion of the bidding process and on-boarding of the selected insurance company.

"NHAI is planning a cashless treatment facility for the road accident victims, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians/cyclists on identified National Highway stretches between Delhi-Mumbai/ Mumbai-Chennai/ Chennai-Kolkata/ Kolkata-Agra & Agra-Delhi Corridors of the Golden Quadrilateral (NH) for treatment of the bodily injury caused by and arising out of road accident," Gadkari said. (PTI)

16:48 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Rajya Sabha adjourned till tomorrow 11 am
16:25 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Congress questions govt over emissions due to infra projects under PM Gati Shakti scheme

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi on Thursday questioned the government on the effects of the PM Gati Shakti scheme, the Centre's big-ticket infrastructure project, on India's commitment to cut emissions to net-zero by 2070.

Taking part in a discussion on climate change in the Lok Sabha, Gogoi said while he supported the development, the scheme, which is a national master plan for multi-modal connectivity entailing large-scale construction, will raise emissions. "Lakhs of rupees have been allocated to PM Gati Shakti for infrastructure for railways, airports and highways. This scheme is the greatest challenge for India.

"We would need coal, high-emission producing technology will be required. It will raise emissions. What is the model that will keep emissions low? Will the government make a rule that only lower-emission technology will be used?" he asked. Gogoi also said while the environment minister had stated in Glasgow during COP26 that India will reduce the use of coal, the transition to alternative fuel has to be planned just to ensure that people connected to the sector do not suffer. (PTI)

15:42 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Watch: PM Modi bids farewell to retiring members of Rajya Sabha

15:08 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Airlines adhering to hand baggage policy: Scindia

Airlines have been told to strictly follow the 'one hand bag' rule, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had issued a circular on February 24, 2000 to enforce the rule, he said during the Question Hour.

Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia speaks in the Lok Sabha. (PTI)

However, ladies hand bag, an overcoat or wrap, a rug or a blanket, a camera or a pair of binoculars, reasonable amount of reading material for flight, umbrella or walking stick, infant's feed for consumption during flight and infant's carrying basket provided an infant is carried, collapsible wheel chair or a pair of crutches or braces for passenger's use if dependent on these and a gift item purchased from duty free shops are among the items that can be carried along with the hand bag. (PTI)

15:03 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Parliamentary proceedings till now

Members of the Lok Sabha are discussing climate change today. While, the Upper House is bidding farewell to its 72 retiring members. 

14:19 (IST)31 Mar 2022
DGCA has licensed 18 remote pilot training centres: Scindia

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia informed the Lok Sabha that there are 18 remote pilot training centres licensed by the DGCA.

Scindia stated that number of pilots for drone operations and training centres would increase in the coming years.

14:16 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Over 10 lakh registered electric vehicles as of March 2022: Nitin Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari informed the Lok Sabha that as of March 13, 2022, India has 10,95,746 registered electric vehicles with 1,742 charging stations.

He added that on a year-over-year basis, overall electric vehicle sales had risen 162 percent. Two-wheeler sales had increased more than five times (at 423 per cent), three-wheelers by 75 per cent, four-wheelers by 238 per cent and buses by 1,250 per cent.

13:56 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Loss incurred by AI, AI Express, Alliance Air Rs 17,032 in Apr 2020-Dec 2021 period: Govt

Air India, Air India Express and Alliance Air suffered a total loss of Rs 17,032 crore between April 2020 and December 2021, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in the Lok Sabha.

He said the highest loss was incurred by the now privatised Air India with Rs 9,373 crore loss in 2020-21 and Rs 6,927 crore in 2021-22 (upto December 2021).

Air India Express incurred Rs 184 crore profit in 2020-21 and Rs 161 crore loss in 2021-22 (till December 2021), he said during the Question Hour. The minister said Alliance Air's loss was Rs 440 crore in 2020-21 and Rs 315 crore in 2021-22 (till December 2021). (PTI)

13:51 (IST)31 Mar 2022
'Come again': PM Modi bids farewell to retiring 72 members

Giving his best wishes to those retiring from the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told them to "come again" to the House. He also told them to pen down their experiences and contributions. "We want the members to come again. As the Chairman said, some retiring members have long experience. That means the repository of experience lies with these members." 

Express photo by Renuka Puri
13:45 (IST)31 Mar 2022
Historic time for civil aviation in India: Scindia

As many as 1,783 flights are being operated by foreign airlines every week from India beginning March 27, while 1,465 flights are being run by domestic airlines, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in Lok Sabha.

He also said that two new airlines -- the new avatar of Jet Airways and Akasa Air-- will take to the skies this year.

"On March 27, we have opened all international sector capacity. Foreign airlines will fly 1,783 flights per week and domestic airlines will fly 1,465 flights (per week)," he said during the Question Hour. (PTI)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha during the second part of Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday. (PTI)

Finance minister underlines growth, flags war challenges: Oil prices, supply disruption

THE Budget will help keep the focus on sustained growth recovery but the Ukraine war poses a fresh set of challenges, from disruption in supply chains to rising oil prices, said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

Replying in a debate on the Appropriation and Finance Bills, Sitharaman reiterated that the Centre “is conscious of the need to balance the imperatives of growth and also make sure India’s recovery post-Covid is sustained and sustainable.”

“….this Finance Bill has been presented at a time when the revival from the pandemic days is still an ongoing job and we are focusing on a sustained growth recovery, with a predictable taxation regime and ensuring newer challenges before us. At the time of the Budget presentation, I had not taken on board the Omicron(wave) and now we are also facing the situation of a full-blown war in Ukraine which is not some war in some corner of the world but it seems to be having an impact on all countries like the way the pandemic had but this impact is disruption to very many supplies,” Sitharaman said.

Chartered Accountants Bill: Amendment an attempt to tinker with ICAI autonomy, says Opposition

Members of the Opposition parties on Tuesday accused the government of interfering with the functioning of autonomous bodies and taking control of independent institutions. The accusations were made in the Lok Sabha during the debate on a Bill to amend the Chartered Accountants Act that gives the government greater control over the disciplinary committee of the Indian Chartered Accountants Institute (ICAI).

The Bill — to amend the Chartered Accountants Act 1949, the Cost and Work Accountant Act 1959, and the Companies Secretary Act 1980 — was introduced by MoS (Corporate Affairs) Rao Inderjit Singh.

Most members objected to the proposal that the disciplinary committee of the ICAI, which has five members, should have three non-CAs and Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), as the chairman. The committee is supposed to coordinate the efforts of the three professions.

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First published on: 30-03-2022 at 09:16:32 am
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