Nation
Congress, government tussle blocks GST bill during winter session
The winter session of parliament that concluded on Wednesday saw a tussle between the opposition and the government on a range of issues with many crucial bills, including the GST and real estate bill, not getting parliamentary approval.
 
The session, which started on November 26 with a two-day special session on "Commitment to Constitution" to mark the 125th birth anniversary of the Constitution's chief architect B.R. Ambedkar, saw the Congress repeatedly targeting the government and forcing adjournments of the two houses.
 
The Rajya Sabha gave its nod to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, against the backdrop of the release of the juvenile convict in the brutal gang rape of a young girl in the capital in December 2012.
 
Parliament also decided to refer the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015, which proposes a single bankruptcy code with deadlines for processing insolvency cases, to a joint committee of the two houses.
 
The Lok Sabha, where the government has a comfortable majority, passed 14 bills and registered productivity of over 100 percent.
 
The Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks majority, passed nine bills and had a productivity of only 46 percent.
 
The Congress protests were more vociferous in the Rajya Sabha.
 
In the Lok Sabha, the party staged repeated walkouts after raising slogans against the government during question hour.
 
Unlike the washed out monsoon session, when the Congress had forced repeated adjournments over its demand for the resignation of three BJP leaders, the party raised many different issues during the winter session.
 
Congress leaders accused the government of political vendetta after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's complaint in the National Herald case led to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi's appearance in a trial court.
 
The party also put pressure on the government for the resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.
 
The party demanded the resignation of Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh (retd) over his controversial remarks after an incident in Haryana in which two Dalit children were burnt to death.
 
The Congress also strongly protested the actions of Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa relating to the state assembly and the alleged withdrawal of invitation for a function to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
 
Both the government and the Congress blamed each other for disruptions in parliament. 
 
The push by the government for passage of the Goods and Services Tax bill did not bear fruit as the Congress said it did not want "diluted solutions" to its three demands that include a cap on the GST rate at 18 percent, deletion of the provision for one percent tax by additional levy and an independent dispute resolution mechanism.
 
The GST bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier held a meeting with Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh to break the ice on the GST bill.
 
The Lok Sabha also took up discussion on incidents of intolerance with the government firmly rejecting allegations by the Congress and some other opposition parties.
 
According to PRS Legislative Research, which tracks the work of parliament, eight bills were introduced and eight bills were passed by both houses during the session.
 
It said the Lok Sabha passed six other bills including those related to Indian trusts, salaries of high court and Supreme Court judges, carriage by air, Bureau of Indian Standards and national waterways.
 
"The end of the session saw building of political consensus which resulted in passage of bills in the upper house. However, their passage without debate raises serious questions about the rule of parliament as the highest law making body," said Chakshu Roy of PRS Legislative Research.
 
PRS said the Lok Sabha was more productive than the Rajya Sabha in the last four sessions.
 
The bills passed by the Rajya Sabha included those on negotiable instruments, commercial courts, atomic energy and payment of bonus.
 
The house also passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill and the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill.
 
Industry body Assocham said another opportunity was missed for passage of the GST bill "which is the most important tax reform ever proposed in the country".
 
"It is rather unfortunate that as important an economic issue which would have made a positive difference to India's GDP by 1.5 percent has fallen to expediency of some political parties," Assocham president Sunil Kanoria said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Parliament adjourned sine die, Ram temple issue rocks Rajya Sabha
Parliament's winter session ended on Wednesday with both the houses adjourned sine die amid opposition uproar over various issues including the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya and alleged financial irregularities in Delhi's cricket board.
 
Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari asked members to "introspect" over the state of affairs in the house. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan hoped the parliamentarians would "take a conscious decision to ensure less disruptions".
 
The upper house, however, on Wednesday passed the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill and Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill without discussion.
 
The Rajya Sabha's proceedings were briefly disrupted twice in the pre-lunch session over the issues of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and the ongoing Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) row before taking up the three bills for passing.
 
Soon after the upper house met for the day, Janata Dal-United member K.C. Tyagi raised the issue of stones being transported and carved for constructing the proposed Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
 
"A similar situation (to what prevailed earlier) is being created in Ayodhya once again. Tension is being incited," Tyagi said.
 
Members of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress too supported him.
 
BSP leader Mayawati accused the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of trying to derive political mileage by again raking up the Ram temple issue.
 
"There should not be anything that is in contempt of the Supreme Court. It's the responsibility of the Uttar Pradesh government to maintain law and order," she said.
 
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi replied, saying stones are being polished since 1990, and "the site is around one-and-a-half km from the disputed site. Second, both the government and the BJP firmly believe the court's decision should be respected and we will respect it". 
 
"There is no restriction on carving of stones; it does not mean the Ram temple is being constructed," he said.
 
However, members of the Congress and SP trooped near the chairman's podium and raised anti-government slogans.
 
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the house for 10 minutes.
 
As the house reassembled at 11.34 a.m., Congress members again trooped near the chairman's podium to demand Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's resignation over the DDCA issue.
 
Chairman Hamid Ansari then adjourned the house till 1 p.m.
 
Before adjourning the house sine die, Ansari in his valedictory address, asked members to "desist from approaches and practices that demean the stature of the Rajya Sabha, and also urged them to "make the fullest possible use of the instrumentalities of accountability and discussion available to them under the Rules of Procedure".
 
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan hoped that parliamentarians will "take a conscious decision to ensure less disruptions" as she adjourned the house sine die at the end of the winter session of parliament that began on November 26.
 
"I hope that in the new year we will take a conscious decision to ensure less disruptions and more debates in the house while using all available parliamentary instruments to forcefully register our dissent and disagreement, if any," she said.
 
Earlier in the day, the Speaker assured Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge that she will expunge two words from her remarks made on Tuesday about members raising slogans near the Speaker's podium.
 
Kharge said the remarks which “do not have any national interest, they have only vested interest” were about the Congress party and had caused hurt.
 
The Speaker said the protesting members should also think others can also feel hurt. Mahajan, however, said she did not name any party. "The way the house was being disturbed, it should be reflected upon." 
 
The Lok Sabha lost a total of 8 hours and 37 minutes due to interruptions followed by forced adjournments. The house later sat for 17 hours and 10 minutes to compensate for the time lost.
 
Congress members continued to raise slogans against the government during the question hour. They later staged a walk out.
 
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress members had not allowed question hour to run properly for the past many days.
 
Naidu said the Speaker was like the mother of the house. " Today is the last day. I request the Speaker not to take what they said to person because you are like our mother."
 
He accused the Congress of being intolerant towards the mandate of the people and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "the most powerful leader in the world now".
 
Mahajan adjourned the house sine die.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Jaitley to file defamation case against Kejriwal, Azad, AAP leaders

Jaitley, who headed the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for 13 years till 2013, has been accused of corruption by Delhi's ruling AAP

 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will file a civil and criminal defamation case against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BJP MP Kirti Azad and five leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party on Monday, BJP sources said on Sunday.
 
The other AAP leaders are Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chadha, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai.
 
"No legal notice would be sent to the Delhi chief minister. Apart from Kejriwal, a defamation case will also be filed against Kirti Azad. Cases will be also filed against other AAP leaders. The civil defamation case will be filed in the high court and the criminal case will be filed in the Patiala court," said a Bharatiya Janata Party source.
 
Jaitley, who headed the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for 13 years till 2013, has been accused of corruption by Delhi's ruling AAP.
 
Kejriwal has demanded Jaitley must resign or be removed from his post as union finance minister to enable an independent probe into DDCA matters.
 
Former India player Kirti Azad on Sunday alleged massive financial irregularities in Delhi's cricket board even as the city government said it has ordered a probe into the DDCA's working.
 
Addressing the media with another former player Bishan Singh Bedi, Azad sought an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate into the working of the DDCA.
 
Reacting to this, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh tweeted: "Mr Jaitley don't threaten us with defamation. Answer the questions we had asked? You will take us to court, we will take u to people's court."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 
 

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COMMENTS

Subramani P K

2 years ago

The DDCA corruption case against Jaitley & defamation case contemplated by him should be handled by a fast track court and the truth brought out. In case the charges are found to be false not only defamation compensation to Jaitley but law should be enacted to punish those who make false allegations.

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