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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Parliament HIGHLIGHTS: Lok Sabha passes Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill; both Houses adjourned

Parliament Session 2019 India Today HIGHLIGHTS: Rajya Sabha passes the POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 24, 2019 8:40:29 pm
amit shah, amit shah NRC, Amit Shah Kashmir, Amit Shah home ministry, home minister amit shah, Amit shah west bengal, amit shah BJP Home Minister Amit Shah. (File)

Parliament HIGHLIGHTS: The Lok Sabha Wednesday passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, popularly known as the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Introducing the bill in the lower house, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the amendments to the bill will ensure anti-terror laws are not misused. “There’s a need for a provision in the UAPA bill to designate a person suspected to have terror links as a terrorist. It is necessary to root out terror,” Shah said in the Lok Sabha. As Congress MPs staged a walkout from the lower house demanding to send the bill to the Standing Committee for reconsideration, the House Speaker Om Birla directed the House to cast their vote.

Meanwhile, the Opposition also walked out of the lower house when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh denied that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had any discussion with US President over the Kashmir issue. “There was no discussion on Kashmir during the meeting between the Prime Minister and US President Trump in June. There is no question of any mediation on Kashmir issue,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which will make stringent provisions relating to ‘aggravated penetrative sexual assault’. The bill was introduced by Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani.

Concluding the session, Lok Sabha passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019, which was introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Live Blog

Lok Sabha passes the UAPA Bill, while the much-debated RTI Bill has been sent to the Joint Select Committee by the Rajya Sabha. Follow this space for latest updates:


    20:40 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Lok Sabha adjourned for the day

    Lok Sabha passes the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill and concludes the session for the day. 

    18:21 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Rajya Sabha adjourns for the day

    After a prolonged discussion on the POCSO Amendment bill and passing it thereof, the Rajya Sabha adjourns for the day. 

    18:13 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Rajya Sabha passes POCSO Amendment Bill

    Rajya Sabha passes the POCSO Amendment Bill. The bill was introduced by Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani on July 18. The Bill amends the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. 

    Irani said, over six lakh sexual offenders have been registered under the National Sexual Offenders Registery (NSOR). Irani further asserted on the importance of defining the penetrative aggravates sexual assault under the POCSO Act.  Proposal to teach children about "good touch and bad touch" has been discussed with the HRD Minister, Irani said. 

    17:50 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Centre sanctions 123 fast-track courts: Smriti Irani on POCSO Amendment bill

    Speaking on the amendments to the POCSO bill, Irani says: "Around 123 fast-courts have been sanctioned by the government expecially for women. More than one lakh cases are pending across the country and 18 states have given consent to establish these courts. The government has sanctioned over Rs 700 crore for the expenditure and by 2021, we aim to form these courts."

    17:42 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Smriti Irani addresses Rajya Sabha on POCSO Amendment bill

    Aftre 28 MLAs spoke on the POCSO Amendment bill, Smriti Irani addresses the Rajya Sabha. Recounting O'Brien's abuse, that he faced during his teens, Irani stresses how such incidents leave an imprint on mind. "After 46 years of the incdient, O'Brien revealed to the world what happened to him. We should applaud this," Irani says. 

    17:34 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    What is POCSO Amendment bill?

    An intense debate on the POCSO Amendmenrt bill follows in the Rajya Sabha. Opposition stresses on introducing POCSO courts in cities, along with district courts. 

    * The bill increases the minimum punsihment for 'penetrative sexual assault' from seven years to ten years, adding that if a person commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below the age of 16 years, he will be punishable with imprisonment between 20 years to life, with a fine.

    * Adding two more grounds to the defintion of 'aggravated penetrative sexual assault', the bill includes, assault resulting in death of child, and assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar situations of violence. The bill also increases minimum punishment from ten years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.

    * The bill further adds wo more offences to the definition of aggravated sexual assault. These include — assault committed during a natural calamity, and administrating or help in administering any hormone or any chemical substance, to a child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.

    * The bill defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including photograph, video, digital or computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child and enhances the punishment for certain offences.

    17:03 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    More people should talk to save more children: Cong O'Brien on POCSO Amendment bill

    Urging people to speak about sexual assault or harassment, Congress leader Derek O'Brien spoke on the POCSO Amendment bill and recited an incident where as a 13-year-old, he was "sexually molested". He urged the known figures including the MPs and the actors to speak about their sexual assault or harassment. "The more people will talk about it, the more children will be save," O'Brien said. 

    Congress says the Amendment talks about punishment instead of focusing on the children. Let the court decide on the punishments.

    16:52 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Discussion on POCSO Amendment bill underway in Rajya Sabha

    Rajya Sabha discusses the POCSO Amendment Bill. Stringent punishment for child sexual abuse and formation of committies are some of the suggestions that members discuss. 

    The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani on July 18, 2019. The Bill amends the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  The Act seeks to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.

    16:34 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    What does ban on unregulated deposits mean?

    The Unregulated Deposit Scheme Bill, 2019 will help put a check on illicit deposit taking activities that dupe poor and the financially illiterate of their hard earned savings. It will replace the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance, 2019. 

    The ban on unregulated deposits and its promotion is expected put a closure to this illicit activity. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme Ordinance has provisions which ban deposit takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any unregulated deposit scheme. Many depositors have been taken for a ride by illicit entities running such scheme and duping people. An outright ban empowers the government to take action against such entities, while it strengthens the case of regulated banking activities.

    16:24 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Lok Sabha resumes; discussion on Unregulated Deposit Scheme Bill underway

    Resuming the House, Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur discusses the banning of the Unregulated Deposit Scheme Bill, 2019.

    16:00 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Lok Sabha adjourned till 4.15 pm; here are highlights

    After receving majority votes in favour, the Lok Sabha passed the UAPA bill today. After Home Minister's introduced the bill, the Congress staged a walk out demanding that the bill should be sent to the Standing Committee for reconsideration. However, the voting on the bill was initiated by Speaker Om Birla. 

    The Congress also staged a walkout when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh denied Modi having any discussion with US President Donald Trump over Kashmir. "There was no discussion on Kashmir during the meeting between the Prime Minister and US President Trump in June. There is no question of any mediation on Kashmir issue," Singh said. 

    "We want ot hear from the horse's mouth," Congress demanded the House asking PM Modi to answer on the Kashmir issue. 

    15:47 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    What is UAPA Bill?

    * Instead of designating only an organisation as a terrorist organisation, the bill additionally empowers the centre to declare an individual as a terrorist.

    * The bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.

    * Apart from officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above, the bill empowers officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.

    * The bill adds another treaty to the list that defines terrorist acts committed within a scope of treaties listed in a schedule to the Act. This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) will be added with Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).

    15:47 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Lok Sabha passes Unlawful Activities Amendment Bill

    Lok Sabha passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, approving the amendments to the bill. The bill, also known as the Anti Terrorism Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.  The Act provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things, according to PRS Legislative Research. 

    15:11 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Cong MPs walk out of Lok Sabha

    While Congress MPs stage  a walk out of Lok Sabha demanding to send Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act Bill to a Standing Committee, voting on the bill begins in the lower house. 

    15:06 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    There's need for provision to declare terrorist: Amit Shah on UAPA Bill

    Union Home Minister Amit Shah stressed on the need for a provision to declare an individual as a terrorist. "There's a need for a provision to declare an individual as a terrorist, UN has a procedure for it, US has it, Pakistan has it, China has it, Israel has it, European Union has it, everyone has done it," Shah said. 

    14:46 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Primary aim is to stop terrorism: Amit Shah on UAPA Bill

    Home Minister Amit Shah on Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act Bill: "When you question us you don't see who brought the law & amendments, who made it stringent. It was brought when you were in power, what you did then was right & what I'm doing now is also right."

    14:14 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    RTI Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha to be sent to Joint Select Committee

    The Opposition has decided to demand that seven bills out of 16 bills, including RTI amendment bill, Triple Talaq Bill and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act Bill, in Rajya Sabha be sent to Joint Select Committee.

    14:04 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Congress, BJP have both brought draconian laws against Muslims and Dalits: Asaduddin Owaisi

    AIMIM, Telangana, Asaduddin Owaisi opposing the UAPA Bill said, "By bringing such a bill, it will mean we are disrespecting freedom fighters, as it violates of Article 21 merely on the basis of the feeling of the government or suspect. This is social ostracisation as had happened in the Maneka Gandhi. The bill lacks judicial review and I want to know where is parliamentary sovereignty going?" He added: "We are outsourcing nationalism to the international convention- undermines dual structure of the country." He questioned Home Minister Amit Shah. "What about zero tolerance miscarriage of justice as officials don't get suspended. I blame Congress for this, they are are the culprits for bringing in this law. It allows for the seizure of property and where is judicial scrutiny? I believe IPC is good enough. Draconian laws, earlier by Congress and now by BJP have been used against Muslims and Dalits."

    13:22 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    UAPA is used to just detain people in jail and deny them a trial: BSP

    The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 is being discussed in the Lok Sabha currently. BSP's Danish Ali says that a large percentage of those in prison are under trials. He says the UAPA is used to just detain people in jail and deny them a trial. He asks if laws are made just to target citizens. He wants to know if the government has any plans in place to prevent the misuse of this law. He urges the withdrawal of the Bill.

    13:21 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2:00 pm

    The Upper House has been adjourned till 2:00 pm after the first half of the session saw the five MPs retire today

    13:18 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    UAPA Amendment puts different interpretation of 'deshbhakti': Bihar Congress MP

    Bihar Congress MP Mohammad Jawed opposing the UAPA (Amendment) Bill, 2019 said, "The bill puts out different interpretation of 'deshbhakti' and 'secularism'. The idea of this bill is not to take on terrorism but gives government absolute power to wrongly implicate people. I'd rather be happy if the government gives jobs to people who have suffered due to such agencies. The UAPA gives the government to put people behind prison without bail for a long period of time and their acquittal will take a long time."

    13:13 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Govt passing bills in Parl without scrutiny, send RTI amendment bill to select panel: TMC

    The TMC on Wednesday demanded that the RTI amendment bill be sent to a select panel and alleged that the government was passing bills in Parliament without any "scrutiny". TMC MP and national spokesperson Derek O'Brien charged that the government used its "brute majority" in Lok Sabha to bulldoze the "faulty RTI Bill". "We demand that the RTI amendment bill be sent to a select panel," O'Brien told reporters in Parliament. Earlier, in the morning, he had said bills are being passed in Parliament without any scrutiny. (PTI)

    13:02 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Amit Shah says questions on Muzzaffarnagar riots doesn't fall in 3-year ambit

    RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha raised a question about communal riots in Muzzaffarnagar in which 40 accused have been acquitted. He questioned what is being done for witness protection. To this, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the minister will respond when he has the information on the specified time period. He said that the question was on the Muzzaffarnagar incident which doesn't fall in the three-year ambit on which the question was raised.

    12:53 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    'Why is anyone who opposes the government an anti-national?': Mahua Moitra

    West Bengal AITC MP Mahua Moitra talking on the  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Bill, today questioned, "Why is anyone who opposes the government an 'anti-national'?" She further added: "Truth is truth, even if I am a minority of one. Why do you think people are pro-govt or anti-country but I prefer being Pro-India and anti-govt.

    This bill seeks to do two things—
    in Clause 5, Section 25, National Investigation Agency (NIA) can go into any state and search the properties of any individual without the permission of the state Police which questions the federal structure of the country.  In Clause 5, Section 35, it the amendment to the bill allows for individuals to be designated as terrorists without due process. This bill is anti-federalism, anti-constitutional and anti-people. So I urge the Home Minister to withdraw the bill."

    12:29 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    'Kashmir issue was not discussed during Trump-Modi meet in Osaka': Rajnath Singh

    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh replying to the Opposition's demand seeking PM Modi's reply on Trump's remarks, he said, "There is no question of mediation in Kashmir as it will be against Shimla agreement."

    12:25 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Congress walks out of Lok Sabha

    After Lok Sabha was engulfed in ruckus over PM Modi's lack of response on Trump's remark, Opposition MPs led by Congress, staged a walk-out insisting that the prime minister clarifies the claims made by the US President to act as a mediator in Kashmir issue. Leader of Opposition before walking out of the House questioned the PM's silence over the issue. 

    12:14 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    'We have to empower the poor', need to uphold Ambedkar's values, says D Raja in farewell address

    Meanwhile, in the Rajya Sabha, bidding farewell to the Upper House, Member of Parliament, DMK leader D Raja said: "We consider the parliament is the supreme institution in our democracy. I wish the parliament remains as how it was visualised by Ambedkar and other reformers. We, the people should be our understanding. In a country like ours, very diverse. People must be safeguarded. Politically marginalised people must be treated as human beings. Citizens don't need empathy or sympathy. They need to have their human rights and democratic rights."

    12:10 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    'We want to learn the fact from the horse's mouth' Oppn demands Modi's reply to Trump's remark

    "We do not know what US President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi talk during the G20 Osaka summit? Today the prime minister was supposed to be present here but he is not here. In 1971, after the war, we had settled some terms and then during the Shimla Agreement, it was said that India and Pakistan can discuss it bilaterally," Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said. The Leader of Opposition added: "We want to learn the fact from the horse's mouth, i.e. PM Modi's mouth whether what Donald Trump lied or not."

    11:58 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Tamil Nadu MP breaks down in Rajya Sabha during farewell speech
    11:52 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    How is the Ministry of External Affairs monitoring the issues faced by people living abroad?

    Answering the question raised during Question Hour in Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, "There is an e-migrate mother platform which looks after the welfare of labourers and tracks difficulties of the people living abroad. I can tell you there is enormous help given for monitoring people who are facing difficulties living outside the country and the positive approach of our government ensures this."

    11:48 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Question Hour in Lok Sabha: How many startups have benefited under the Startup scheme?

    "Startup India scheme has given young boys and girls to bring new firms in India attracting more investment into the country. All startups have formed an ecosystem which has created jobs and this is the direction in which young India wants to engage with rest of the world," said Union Minister for Commerce and Industry. 

    11:44 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Shashi Tharoor gives Adjournment Motion Notice in Lok Sabha

    Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had moved the Adjournment Motion Notice in Lok Sabha earlier today seeking 'clarification from Prime Minister on the statement of US President Trump that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked Trump to mediate in Kashmir issue' following which the Opposition is continuously raising slogans on the issue in the House making it difficult to proceed with the session.

    11:42 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Five MPs from Tamil Nadu retired today from Rajya Sabha

    As the proceedings in the Upper House were initiated, Rajya Sabha bid farewell to five MPs from Tamil Nadu, who are retiring today. The House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu lauded the MPs and said, "The House will miss their vivacious, aggressive and progressive action." The members retiring today are: D Raja, KR Arjunan, Dr R Lakshmanan, T Rathnavel, and Dr Maithreyan.

    11:33 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Sonia Gandhi will hold a meeting with Congress Lok Sabha MPs

    Congress Parliamentary Chief Sonia Gandhi to hold a meeting today with all Congress Lok Sabha MPs

    11:32 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Ghulam Nabi Azad to hold a meet with Rajya Sabha MPs today
    11:29 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Ruckus in Lok Sabha over Trump's remarks on Kashmir

    As Question Hour in Lok Sabha begins, Opposition raises slogans and unrest takes over the House over Trump's remarks on PM Modi over the Kashmir issue. Minister of State (MoS) Jitendra Singh is answering questions on the protection of interests of outsourced employees. 

    11:10 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    What are the government’s stated grounds for bringing the amendments?

    The statement of objects says “the mandate of Election Commission of India and Central and State Information Commissions are different. Hence, their status and service conditions need to be rationalised accordingly”. While introducing the Amendment Bill, Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh said, “Probably, the then government of the day, in a hurry to pass the RTI Act, 2005, overlooked a lot of things. The Central Information Commissioner has been given the status of a Supreme Court judge but his judgments can be challenged in the High Courts. How can that exist? Besides, the RTI Act did not give the government rule-making powers. We are merely correcting these through the amendment.” Read the Explained copy

    11:07 (IST)24 Jul 2019
    Nirmala Sitharaman to introduce two bills today

    Parliament on Tuesday gave its approval to Modi-2.0 government's maiden budget with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying tax proposals aim at redistribution of funds to bring more equitable development. The Appropriation (No 2) Bill, 2019 and the Finance (No 2) Bill, 2019 -- cleared by Lok Sabha last week -- were returned by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday after voice vote. This completed the three-stage Parliamentary approval process, which also included a debate on the general budget and working of some of the ministries. 

    11:05 (IST)24 Jul 2019

    Welcome to our LIVE blog. After Opposition MPs created an uproar in the Lok Sabha over the Right To Information Act (Amendment) Bill being passed, it will be moved in the Rajya Sabha today. MoS Jitendra Singh would be moving the bill in the Upper House today. Stay tuned for the latest updates.

    On Friday, the government introduced in Lok Sabha the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which proposes to give the Centre the powers to set the salaries and service conditions of Information Commissioners at central as well as state levels. The government’s move triggered protests from the Opposition.

    The Bill amends Sections 13 and 16 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Section 13 of the original Act sets the term of the central Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners at five years (or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier). The amendment proposes that the appointment will be “for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government”.

    Why are Opposition parties protesting?

    The original Act had quantified the tenures, and defined the salaries in terms of existing benchmarks. The amendments are being viewed as implying that, in effect, the terms of appointment, salaries and tenures of the Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners can be decided on a case-to-case basis by the government. The Opposition has argued that this will take away the independence of the RTI authorities.

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