AMN / WEB DESK
Despite several adjournments, protests and sloganeering the Parliament on Monday Dec 20 witnessed some legislative and scheduled business as well.
The Lok Sabha passed electoral reforms bill amid din while the Rajya Sabha has referred the Mediation bill to the Standing Committee.
The Lok Sabha started proceedings in the morning, by paying tributes to three former members who passed away recently.
As the House met after the weekend break at 11 am, opposition Congress, DMK and TMC members stormed into the Well and began protesting, displaying placards. Congress and the TMC members were demanding the removal of Union Minister for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence as his son Ashish Mishra is one of the accused arrested in the case.
The DMK members protested against the arrest of 55 Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. During the Question Hour, while the protesting members of Congress, DMK and TMC are at the well, the members of NCP, Shiv Sena, BSP and IUML stood near their respective seats in solidarity. Amid Opposition protests, the House took up several questions.
Meanwhile,the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla urged the members to maintain the decorum of the House and go back to their seats. Pointing the protesting members, Mr. Om Birla appealed the members to develop a good tradition in the House as the public have sent them here to raise their problems.
After the first and brief adjournment, the Lower House met again at 12 noon. Mr. Rajendra Agarwal, who was in the chair, accepted the introduction of the Election Laws (Amendment)Bill 2021, after taking voice votes. Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju introduced the Bill in the House.
Ministers laid papers of their respective ministries and made the Statements relating to the reports of Standing Committees during the period. However,as opposition continued protests over various issues, including on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, Mr. Aggarwal adjourned the House till 2 pm.
In the Post Lunch session, when Lok Sabha met at 2 pm, Supplementary Demands for Grants – Second batch for 2021-22 was passed.
Similarly, the Appropriation (No.5)Bill, 2021 was introduced and passed by the Lower House. Following this, the House referred the Biological Diversity Bill, moved by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav to a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament.
Earlier, Lok Sabha cleared second batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants amid din, authorising the government to spend an additional 3.73 lakh crore rupees during the current fiscal year amid protest by the opposition over various issues.
The extra spending include infusing over 62,000 crore rupees into the company that holds residual assets and liabilities of Air India, 58,430 crore rupees by way of additional fertilizer subsidy, 53,123 crore rupees towards payment of pending export incentives and 22,039 crore rupees to rural development ministry for transfer to National Rural Employment Guarantee Fund.
Replying to a discussion on the demands, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaan assured the House that the government would take action to moderate prices of edible oil and other essential items.
She said banks have recovered about 13,109 crore rupees from asset sale of fugitives, including Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
However,as the protest demanding for sacking of Minister of State Ajay Kumar Mishra continued,the chair adjourned the House for the third time, till 2.45 pm.
When the House met after adjournment, the Chair allowed discussion on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, amid din. The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, piloted by Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju, was passed by a voice vote after a brief discussion during which some opposition members demanded that it be referred to a parliamentary panel.
While moving the Bill for passage, Mr. Rijiju said unlike earlier, now a person could get an opportunity to enroll as a voter four times in a year on the 1st Day of January, April, July and October.
He said linking of Aadhar number with electoral rolls is not compulsory or mandatory but voluntary.
He also said the Government has thoroughly discussed the recommendations with ECI and the states as well.
Congress leader Adhir Rajan Chowdhury, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Kalyan Banerjee of TMC , NK Premchandran of RSP, Ritesh Pandey of BSP opposed the Bill. The Opposition pointed out that the Government is bringing an important bill in hurry and not allowing a thorough discussion on the contents.
Later,the house was adjourned for the day amid continuous protest by opposition members.