Parliament has reconvened today for the 2022 Winter Session, which will see 17 sittings over 23 days. The session begins a day before the counting of votes of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, along with those of six assembly and one Lok Sabha bypolls.
As per the notified schedules, the government plans to introduce 16 new Bills during the session. These include a draft law to increase accountability and reform the electoral process in multi-state cooperative societies. The Cantonment Bill deals with the administration of cantonments to impart democratisation and increase efficiency. The session is all set to be stormy as the Opposition prepares to corner the Centre on issues such as the border situation with China, price rise, unemployment and the alleged misuse of government agencies. At a meeting called by the Centre to discuss the legislative agenda, the Opposition listed over a dozen issues for raising during the session. The women’s reservation bill is also back in the spotlight after several opposition parties demanded that it be introduced and passed in this session.
Read more about what’s on the agenda here: Explained | What’s on agenda for the 2022 Winter Session of Parliament?
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EAM Jaishankar responds to queries on India’s foreign policy
On India’s abstinence in the UN vote on Sri Lanka’s human rights, Mr. Jaishankar said: We have had a consistent approach for years even before we came to power, that we continue to support all communities in Sri Lanka, and do not wish to interfere in a country currently embroiled in economic crisis
On the comment that India’s policy ignores contributions before 2014, he said that he was not suggesting that what transpired before 2014 was irrelevant, but insisted that India’s foreign policy has become more focused since 2014 and it was a watershed moment for India.
On Palestine issue, Mr. Jaisankar reiterated that India wants a two-state solution.
On the Ukraine crisis, he said: “We have encouraged dialogue and diplomacy. We have tried to soften the blow on India. It is my duty to ensure the Indian public does not pay the price for other countries’ actions.” He added that the government is doing all it can to help students whose education was affected by the war.
On the agenda of G20 presidency, he said women-led development would be one of India’s priorities. “We will celebrate the presidency of G20 across all Indian states, unlike anything before,” said the EAM.
On ex-servicemen detained in Qatar, Mr. Jaishankar said the Indian Ambassador is in touch with Qatari government on this, and assured the house that they are “strongly in India priorities”
Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi briefs the house on the latest developments with respect to India’s international diplomacy
Ms Lekhi apprised the house about India assuming the presidency of the G20 that represents two-thirds of the world population. She stated the endeavour is to organise 200 of these meetings in 32 different sectors in multiple locals across India.
“The summit to be held next year would be the highest profile international gatherings to be hosted by India,” she said.
Clarifications sought on EAM S. Jaishankar’s statement on India’s foreign policy
Members of the house requested for clarifications from EAM S. Jaishankar on India’s foreign policy in matters such as the G20 plans, on India abstaining in in U.N. Human Rights Council vote on Sri Lanka and the Ukraine war.
Amar Patnaik of the BJD asked whether India would consider setting up a body like the WTO when it comes to cross-border data flow and dealing with virtual digital assets.
Vaiko of MDMK and Thambidurai of the AIADMK raised concerns about India’s stance on Sri Lanka’s human rights record. Manoj Kumar Jha, RJD, asked why India’s foreign policy shaped only by events after 2014, “undermining everything done before 2014”.
John Brittas of the CPI(M), noted that India has avoided dealing with Palestinian cause for which, he said, India has always been steadfast. Sujeet Kumar, BJD, asked for information on eight ex-Naval officers who are detained in Qatar for close to 100 days with little information about their well-being.
There were also concerns raised about the impact on India of EU’s price cap on Russian oil, and rehabilitation of Indian medical students who were stranded in Ukraine.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar briefs the house on the latest developments with respect to India’s international diplomacy
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar briefed the house on the latest developments in India’s foreign policy and initiatives, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s travels abroad and the visits to India by foreign leaders.
Mr. Jaishankar also spoke on India’s plans for the G20 presidency, and India’s involvement at the recent G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
The Minister listed the foreign trips by other government officials, and noted that President Droupadi Murmu’s first overseas visit in office was to the U.K. to attend funeral of Late Queen Elizabeth II.
India will host the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to honour the contributions of Indian overseas from January 10 to 13, he said. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisichief has agreed to be the chief guest for the 2023 Republic Day.
House clears for introduction The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022; Zero Hour resumes
Rajya Sabha resumes post-adjournment
Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankar read out the names of former parliamentarians who had passed away recently. The house observed a moment of silence after the obituary references, following which papers were laid on the table
Opposition MPs rise to oppose the introduction of The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022
Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari notes that the house does not have the legislative competence of the house.
He observed that cooperatives are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the states. He added that the amendments strike the very autonomous functioning of cooperative societies, specifically pointing to the proposed provisions about over-riding of the board and appointing an administrator in its place who may not even be a member of the society.
He concluded saying, “I request the treasury benches should be withdrawn, reconsidered because it violates the federal spirit of the constitution. It actually attacks it with a sledge hammer.”
Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 introduced in Lok Sabha
Proceedings have resumed in the Lok Sabha. The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to “strengthen governance, enhancing transparency, increasing accountability and reforming electoral process” in the multi-state cooperative societies, has been introduced.
House stands adjourned till 2.30 p.m.
Post the conclusion of Mr. Dhankar’s address, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for an hour.
Deeply moved by words from members: Chair Jagdeep Dhankar
Mr. Dhankar expresses his gratitude for the kind words from the members of the House. He says that he is deeply moved.
He moves on to talk about the issues facing the House. Authorities under the Constitution are expected to behave with decorum and propriety, he says, asking the members to foster a cordial, wholesome environment to promote “synergic functioning.”
He says that there is hope that India’s growth trajectory will bring peace. He refers to the fact that India takes on the mantle of the G20, and says that the various events during this time will allow India to demonstrate its richness and the progress in its development.
Leader of the House Piyush Goyal expresses his wishes for Mr. Dhankar
Mr. Goyal invokes Star Wars and says, “May the Force be with you.”
He expresses the hope that the enthusiasm with which members spoke today will also be maintained for the session and for work. We will learn from the journey of the farmer’s son who has now become the Vice-President, who is an inspiration, and attempt to show this spark in our work, he says.
Lok Sabha adjourned till 2 p.m.
Speaker Om Birla has adjourned the House for lunch. Proceedings will resume at 2 p.m.
YSRCP MP Chinta Anuradha demands menstrual leave for public, private employees
The YSRCP MP urged the Centre to grant a two-day menstrual leave for those in public and private sectors. Saying that a period leave is long overdue, Ms. Anuradha said, “Many women suffer from menstrual disorders and may even suffer from illnesses like ovarian cysts. In such a scenario, paid leaves in form of menstrual leave ensure women have direct pathways to rest when they need it the most, be more productive at work and find it easier to remain in the labour market. I request the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to enforce a two-day menstrual leave every month for employees of private and public sector.” She said monthly period leave will ensure an equitable approach.
MPs from small parties request time to speak
Birendra Prasad Baishya, AGP MP from Assam, raises the point that Northeastern states have a limited number of seats in the house, and requests that they be allowed to speak.
MDMK MP Vaiko also supports the point, saying that the smaller parties should be given an opportunity to protect the cornerstones of the Constitution. Saying that social justice is now a question mark, he says that the brutality of the majority should not bulldoze the minority.
Congress MP Hibi Eden raises Vizhinjam port issue
Congress leader Hibi Eden has demanded a central package for the rehabilitation of those protesting against the Vizhinjam sea port project. The project, which began on August 17, 2015, was scheduled to be completed by December 3, 2019. However, the project suffered repeated delays.
MPs of all parties felicitate Jagdeep Dhankar, ask for his support
DMK Tiruchi Siva assures the chair that DMK will cooperate with him. Pointing out Mr. Dhankar has a dual capacity- in executive and legislature, and that he is an expert in the Constitution, Mr. Siva says he had great expectations from him. He expressed his gratitude for the Chair saying that he will give time to smaller parties in an earlier meeting.
Raghav Chadha, AAP, touches upon his farming background and also asks for his “love” as the youngest member of the House.
Ramdas Athawale, MoS Social Justice and Empowerment, starts by saying that he “fought against injustice so I am here to congratulate you.” He also recites a poem asking for support, starting with the lines
“Main hoon akela Par haat main hain Sanvidhan ka pelaMain toh aapka hoon saccha chela Mujhe mat chodna akela.”
In a light moment, he asked the Chair to grant him time to speak during the session, “then I will recite poems,” he says.
Proceedings resume in Lok Sabha; Opposition protests
After the Lower House was adjourned, proceedings resumed at 12 noon. Business listed for the day being conducted amid protest by the Opposition after the Speaker declined to allow adjournment motions. Congress MP Manickam Tagore had earlier given an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha to discuss the cyber attack on AIIMS.
Give smaller parties time to talk: MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray
AITC MP Sukendhu Ray says that smaller parties should be given more time to speak. He also stresses that scrutiny of bills is important.
He also recommends that Section 267 matter should be taken up for discussion.
Leader of Opposition congratulates Chair, addresses House
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge says that Jawaharlal Nehru always respected the Parliament. He says that while the opposition is less in number, members have a lot of experience. But numbers are listened to over this, he says.
Due to less sittings, the House does not get time to discuss important issues, and bills are also passed in a hurry, he says, quoting statistics about previous sessions. He hopes that bills are also reviewed by select, joint parliamentary committees.
Prime Minister congratulates new RS chairman Jagdeep Dhankar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Jagdeep Dhankar, who is chairing his first session of Parliament. He hails him as “son of a farmer and a student of Sainik School” identifying with both communities
He refers to the Sanskrit saying “Nayati, iti nayaka” and says that taking the people forward is leadership. He says that the House is lucky to have such a chair. He congratulates Mr. Jagdeep Dhankar and concludes his address.
Lok Sabha reconvenes, adjourned till noon
The Lower House has reconvened with the Speaker paying tributes to MPs of the two Houses who passed away this year. Speaker Om Birla later adjourned the Lower House till 12 noon after the reading of the obituaries.
Prime Minister Modi addresses Rajya Sabha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes everyone on the occasion of Armed Forces Flag Day. He mentions that India has assumed two important positions, including the G20 leadership. India is going to play an important role in deciding the direction of the world, he says.
Proceedings commence in Rajya Sabha
The Winter session kicks off in the Rajya Sabha with the Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar proceeding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the House. Felicitations to the new chairman underway.
Mallikarjun Kharge chairs meeting of Opposition
Congress’ Malikarjun Kharge chaired a meeting of the Opposition to discuss the strategy for the Winter Session. AAP’s Sanjay Singh and TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay attended the meeting hosted by the Congress President.
PM Modi urges MPs to make Winter Session productive
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all political parties to make collective efforts to make Winter Session more productive. The PM has also urged political parties to give young members a chance to participate in debates.
List of business in Lok Sabha
After obituary references, Union ministers to lay papers on the Table of the House. The list of business for today also includes:
1. Report on ‘action taken by the Government on the recommendations/observations contained in the 315th Report on Demands for Grants (2022-23)‘ of the Standing Committee on Industry pertaining to the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises to be tabled.
2. Minister of Extrenal Affairs Dr. S Jaishankar to make a statement on developments in the country’s foreign policy.
3. Dr. Jitendra Singh to follow with a statement regarding the status of implementation of the recommendations in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on demands for grants (2022-2023) pertaining to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology.
4. The Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to be introduced. And Dr. S. Jaishankar to move that the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019 which seeks provisions for repression of piracy on the high seas.