The Winter Session of Parliament resumed proceedings today morning with Samajwadi Party’s Dimple Yadav taking oath as a member of the Lok Sabha. During Question Hour, the Opposition attacked the Centre over the depreciation of the Indian Rupee. In response, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated that the Indian currency remains the strongest. The pre-lunch session in the Rajya Sabha saw a tumultuous Zero Hour as AAP MP Sanjay Singh questioned the misuse of investigating agencies against Opposition members and said the Enforcement Directorate raided about 3,000 opposition members in the past eight years. Peace resumed during the Question Hour, and the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for a lunch break.
Later in the day, the Rajya Sabha is set to debate the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill and Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, while the Lok Sabha considers the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, which seeks provisions for the repression of piracy on the high seas.
So far, it has been business as usual in both Houses, as opposed to a turbulent Monsoon Session. The Winter Session will conclude on December 29.
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RJD MP says Energy Conservation Bill should have been sent to Parliamentary Committee for scrutiny
Manoj Kumar Jha says the Bill relates to areas not very familiar to all the members and in the Indian context while western countries have been deliberating on these issues for longer. He cites this as a reason the Bill should have been referred to a committee for legislative scrutiny.
He adds that there is a “domain conflict” vis-a-vis the Bill, i.e. in other countries Bills of this nature come from their Environment Ministries but here it has been brought by the Power Ministry.
Carbon markets should be equitable, says DMK MP
P. Wilson, DMK MP from Tamil Nadu points out that the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill proposes the setting up of carbon credit markets but does not clarify how carbon credit certificates will be traded or who will be regulating such trading.
The member says that while the introduction of carbon markets in India is a welcome step, he argues that the scheme might “end up just providing an escape route mechanism” to carbon-intensive industrial sources. He asserts that a successful carbon market requires a high-enough carbon price that will disincentivise polluting behaviour. The carbon markets in India, he says, should be planned in such a way that the value of the carbon certificates is increased and can actually make an impact on the ground.
He points out that the penalties mentioned in the Bill should not be uniformly applied to all industries, fearing that it they may not be equitable or stringent enough for the bigger players in the carbon-intensive sector. The penalties should be based on the profit margins of the companies rather than the rate of carbon emissions, he argues, as done in many countries.
What are carbon markets?
Carbon markets are trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought. Carbon credits are generated through activities that reduce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the air like afforestation. The United Nations Development Programme defines one carbon credit to be equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided. These carbon credits are sold to polluters to offset their emissions as a way to helping them to meet thier emissions targets to curb global warming.
Proceedings resume in the Lower House. House is taking up matters under Rule 377.
Session resumes in Upper House, discussion on Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill begins
The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was passed in the Lok Sabha in August and in the Upper House in the current session. It seeks to amend the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 and provides for the establishment of carbon credit markets.
It brings large residential buildings under the energy conservation regime and mandates the use of non-fossil sources, including green hydrogen, green ammonia, biomass and ethanol, for energy and feedstock, according to the statement of objects and reasons.
Pre-lunch session concludes in Lower House
Proceedings will resume at 2 p.m.
Congress’ Manish Tewari demands pensionary, health benefits for non-permanent officers
Congress MP Manish Tewari demanded the government to introduce One Rank, One Pension for Short Service Commission and Emergency Commissioned Officers and those admitted under the Women Special Entry scheme.
“These officers perform the same roles and responsibilities when compared to those granted permanent commission. Unfortunately, they are denied pension and health benefits. Most of these are war veterans. I appeal to the government to give such officers one rank, one pension on a pro-rata basis and extend health benefits to them so that they can live their lives in dignity and respect that they deserve.”
Rajya Sabha breaks for lunch
The Rajya Sabha stands adjourned till 2.00 p.m.
Focusing on last-mile connectivity: Civil Aviation Minister
MPs asked questions about the UDAAN scheme for domestic travel in Odisha and other states, including a question about Rourkela airport.
We have good connection from tier-1 to tier-2 cities, but we should see last-mile connectivity, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said. Saying that the ministry introduced a small aircraft scheme for less than 20-seater planes, he said that they had provided awards for connectivity across the country, from Telangana to Lakshadweep to northeastern hilly states.
Union Minister fields questions about urban transportation
MP Fauzia Khan asks about what the Ministry is doing for the safety of women in urban transport. INC MP Dr. Amee Yaignik asks about electrification of public transport and how the ministry proposes to encourage adoption of public transport of the people.
Most of the new rollout of vehicles will be electrified, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri says.
Agnipath scheme raised during Zero Hour
Rashtriya Loktantrik Party leader Hanuman Beniwal expresses concern over Agnipath defence recruitment scheme. The RLP leader said the scheme is neither in favour of aspirants nor the armed forces as he urged the Centre to reconsider the scheme.
Government seeking to rehabilitate Delhi slums: Union Minister
Responding to a question about the demolition of slums in Delhi, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri says that the government is seeking to achieve slum rehabilitation. He says the law states that jhuggis, zhopdis and bastis which came before January 1, 2006, and jugghis before January 1, 2015 cannot be demolished before compensation, and no new ones are allowed.
He says that jugghi owners, eligible or not, have gotten stays from courts, he says. We have provided alternative accommodations to the eligible ones.
Question hour underway
A turbulent Zero Hour comes to an end and the House moves to Question Hour.
Heated debate over currency depreciation
Members of Parliament engaged in a heated debate as Congress’ Anumula Revant Reddy raised a query on the Centre’s efforts to improve the value of the Indian Rupee. In her reply, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attacked the Opposition, saying the entire economy was in the ICU when they were in power. “India is now the fastest-growing economy despite the pandemic and Ukraine-Russia war. The Opposition is jealous when they should be proud. They should be ashamed,” the minister said.
“Indian Rupee has been strong against every currency. The US dollar is getting stronger because of US Fed’s policies,” the minister added. “The Reserve Bank has used foreign exchange reserves to intervene in the market just to make sure that the Dollar-Rupee fluctuation does not go too much… volatility of that fluctuation can lead to several consequences. And so foreign exchange reserves, to some extent, were used by RBI,” the Finance Minister said.
Meanwhile, Question Hour has concluded.
House erupts in chaos over AAP MP Zero Hour issue
House erupts in chaos as AAP MP Sanjay Singh says there has been misuse of investigating agencies against Opposition members and that the Enforcement Directorate raided about 3000 opposition members in past 8 years, with a conviction rate of only 0.5%.
He also said that people like Nirav Modi, or those connected to the government, are not investigated and that they should be arrested.
Mr. Jagdeep Dhankar addresses the house and says that he asked the member to table his question, since they should see if matters are verified.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge pointed out that members are using information obtained from media reports, responses to starred and unstarred questions, and words spoken by the Prime Minister. Leader of the House Piyush Goyal says that members are making unsubstantiated claims. He says that these matters are before competent courts.
Mr. Dhankar says he will have a conversation with the floor leaders and the leaders of smaller parties. He also asks Sanjay Singh to substantiate his claims and leave it on the table.
Zero hour underway
BJP MP Pabitra Margherita says that tea should be made the national drink of the country. He also says that what is being sold as “blue tea” is not actually tea. Further, he asks for the economic rights of tea workers to be protected. Later, DMK MP M. Shanmugam also raises a tea-related issue, asking for minimum support price (MSP) for tea and that pay for tea workers should be fixed.
Unemployment, rise of personal loan apps, the requirement to extend the operation of GST-related provisions, and doubts about whether the Rs. 2000-note is legal tender are all raised with the permission of the Chair.
Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda also tables a Zero Hour notice to raise the matter of medical bond policy.
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Luizinho Faleiro on medical leave for winter session
Dr. Manmohan Singh and Luizinho Faleiro request leave on medical grounds for the entire session for December 7 to 29 via letter. Leave is granted by majority assent.
Mr. Dhankar also requests parties to assign seats in the Rajya Sabha, indicating that several parties such as Bhartiya Janata Party, Indian National Congress, AAP, TRS, YSRCP, J(DU), NCP, AIADMK, Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena, have not done so yet.
SP leader Dimple Yadav takes oath as Lok Sabha MP
Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav has taken her seat in the Lower House. Question Hour is now underway in the Lok Sabha.
Rajya Sabha resumes session, Chair congratulates P.T Usha
The Rajya Sabha kicks off its proceedings for the day. The Chair Jagdeep Dhankar congratulates P.T Usha on becoming the first woman and Olympian to be the president of the Indian Olympic Association on December 10, 2022. Enumerating her achievements, the chair said that both as President and member of the house, Ms. Usha contributes to the sustenance of a sports-friendly ecosystem in the country. Her contributions are bound to be inspiring and motivating, he said.
Lok Sabha reconvenes; Congress MP gives adjournment motion notice
Proceedings have resumed in the Lok Sabha. Congress’ Sonia Gandhi is in attendance.
Meanwhile, Congress MP Manish Tewari has given a notice for an adjournment motion to discuss the alleged tensions between the judiciary and the Centre.
What is the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill?
The Bill seeks a revision of the lists of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) of Uttar Pradesh. It excludes the Gond community from the SC list in four districts of Uttar Pradesh — Sant Kabir Nagar, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Kushinagar and Chandauli — and adds the community to the ST list in these four districts. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in April.
Legislative business in the Rajya Sabha
The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022 will be taken up for discussion.
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Second Amendment) Bill seeks a revision of the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) of Uttar Pradesh. It excludes the Gond community from the SC list in four districts of Uttar Pradesh — Sant Kabir Nagar, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Kushinagar, and Chandauli — and adds the community to the ST list in these four districts.
What’s on the list of business in Lok Sabha?
1. Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav will take oath as a member of the Lok Sabha today. Ms. Yadav defeated the BJP’s Raghuraj Singh Shakya by 2,88,461 votes in the Mainpuri bypoll.
2. Discussion and voting on the first batch of supplementary demands for grants for 2022-2023, followed by discussion and voting on demands for excess grants for 2019-2020.
3. On the legislative business is the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will move to further consider and pass the Bill.