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Parliament highlights: Sushma says Doklam issue can be resolved through talks

The Parliament reconvened for the ongoing monsoon session on Thursday, with the Congress mounting an attack on the Narendra Modi-led government over its foreign policies.

india Updated: Aug 03, 2017 21:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Parliament Live,Congress,Karnataka I-T raids
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.(PTI Photo)

The Parliament reconvened for the ongoing monsoon session on Thursday , with the Congress mounting an attack on the Narendra Modi-led government over its foreign policies.

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday saw multiple adjournments as the Opposition relentlessly protested the income tax raids at the official residence of Karnataka power minister DK Shivakumar and at a private resort near Bengaluru where 42 Congress lawmakers from Gujarat are staying.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed legislation to extend the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to Jammu and Kashmir, making it part of the “one nation, one tax” regime.

Watch Live proceedings in Rajya Sabha

Highlights:

8.20pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 11am on Friday.

8.10pm: Lok Sabha passes the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

8pm: Rajya Sabha is adjourned for the day.

7.30pm: Jairam Ramesh raises the question why institutions like IIT, IIMs are not attracting best faculty.

7.15pm: Our foreign policy has ensured we have friends all sides of every geopolitical divide. Both EU and Britain are India’s allies; both Saudi Arabia and Yemen are our allies; both Israel and Palestine are on India’s side: Sushma Swaraj.

7.02pm: Israel might be our friend. But India will never let down the Palestinian cause: Sushma Swaraj.

7pm: Even America and Russia are supporting India today in the fight against terrorism: Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha.

6.52pm: Diplomatic channels and patience help in finding solution to problems with neighbhours: Sushma Swaraj.

6.50pm: India tried to be Pakistan’s friend, until they called Burhan Wani a martyr: Sushma Swaraj.

6.47pm: At present, Bhutan is India’s dearest friend: Sushma Swaraj.

6.45pm: India is the very definition of a ‘friend’ in the neighbourhood, says Sushma Swaraj.

6.40pm: India lent assistance to Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal during natural disasters, says external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

6.30pm: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj begins her address in Rajya Sabha. She is expected to inform Parliament about the government’s stance on the standoff involving China at the tri-junction border with Bhutan.

6pm: Pakistan is constructing six dams on the Indus river in PoK with China’s assistance and India has made demarches to both Islamabad and Beijing conveying that it is in violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

5.30pm: “Narendra Modi has visited US five times, but there is still no increase in FDI. There is zero investment in the defence sector. Furthermore, there are five lakh Indians in the US, but their future is in doubt because H1-B visas haven’t been resolved,” Sitaram Yechury said in the Rajya Sabha.

5pm: Lok Sabha passes Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Bill, 2017 by voice vote.

4.30pm: India is moving towards the unipolarity led by the US, which is not a good idea. This is not in India’s interests. We need to move towards a multi-polarity approach: CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury in the Rajya Sabha.

4pm: JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav lamented the loss of Russia as a friend for India.

“India managed to hold its ground through the 70s because a superpower like Russia was by our side. Indira Gandhi was secure in the knowledge that she had Moscow’s friendship,” Yadav said in the Rajya Sabha.

3:45pm: You can see Pakistan is giving our territory to China. There is an axis of four nations: Ram Gopal Yadav.

3:35pm: Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav -- who was in the centre of the controversy regarding the party’s internal split -- says only solutions should be discussed, instead of trading accusation, while debating on a topic like this (foreign policy).

3:25pm: Opposition, Centre MPs over their government’s contribution to ensuring the nation’s role in the UN.

India played an important role in the Paris accord. India, instead of a rule-breaker, has become a rule maker, says government. 

“The days of non alignment are over. We are now aligned with everybody... India is no longer a land of snake charmers. It has now become one of the most attractive places of investment.”

3:20pm: Lok Sabha resumes, takes up Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Bill.

3:10pm: After Congress’ brazen attack, BJP’s Maharashtra MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe says he hoped the short discussion wasn’t trivialised.

Sahasrabuddhe counters Sharma, calls the PM a “masterfull” planner. “It is very sad the other party decided to ridicule him (Modi)... Is that the way you treat your head of the government! Such criticism is churlish.”

The world doesn’t look at India the way it was before, says BJP, crediting PM Modi for the change.  

3:05pm: Anand Sharma concludes: We must not lose sight in the region. We have a special relationship with Israel but we cannot depart from our policy of support for the Palestine region.

“Please ensure there is a balance. Whether it is Pakistan or Russia or China or Israel.”

Ensure that those who are taking forward our engagement are capable. We recognise them... Please ensure we do not deviate from our tried-and-tested policies, Sharma says, ending his speech.

3pm: The Prime Minister is very effusive. He likes to hug his counterparts: Sharma says on a lighter vein.

2:57pm: On India-US relationship, the PM hasn’t told us what he and President Trump spoke about. “What have we achieved?” questions Sharma. 

What about the H1-B issue. We don’t want just one paragraph on India IT industry. What is the transactional value between the two nations: Congress continue the rigorous attack on PM Modi

:55pm: Anand Sharma goes on to slam the government over its foreign policies.

“This government has mishandled the issue of NSG membership... Govt could have ensured China didn’t veto.”

2:45pm: Anand Sharma resumes his address. On the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, he says the government should look at how India can thoroughly engage without isolating itself.

India will play a strong regional role if it manages its neighbours correctly: Sharma.

The CPEC (part of OBOR) -- a cluster of road, rail and energy projects -- will connect Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port city on the Arabian Sea and Kashgar in China’s far-western western Xinjiang province.

India has reservations about the project as it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, which New Delhi says challenges its sovereignty by lending legitimacy to Pakistan’s claim over the territory.

2:40pm: Kurien objects to Anand Sharma’s claim that it wasn’t fair of the House Chair to not allow more time to speak. He says he was only helping Sharma.

A rattled Kurien announces discussion will go on till 6pm today.

2:35pm: House deputy chairman PJ Kurien asks for more time to complete his address, Sushma Swaraj clarifies that she already spoken on the border issue with China, there’s not need to stall proceedings in the Lok Sabha.

BJP says Sushma Swaraj has no objection to keep proceedings on in the Rajya Sabha till 6pm on Thursday after Kurien asks the “sense” of the House on continuing short foreign policy matters.

2:30pm: Lok Sabha passes the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

2:25pm: We have concerns that China’s role in Pakistan is increasing. There are sovereignty concerns. China is being unusually aggressive. We would like to know what is India’s response to the latest Chinese statement (by President Xi Jinping): Sharma continues tirade against government.

Diplomacy should be given a chance, to de-escalate; that doesn’t mean retreat, says Congress on border issues with China.

2:15pm: Our PM has gone to 65 countries and he has never told us what those foreign trips resulted in: Anand Sharma to Rajya Sabha

Sharma questions the “boastful” attitude of PM after army’s surgical strikes across PoK.

“Indira Gandhi didn’t do that even after we won war for Bangladesh... You don’t even remember Indira Gandhi’s sacrifices, Bangladesh. But I’m afraid no government, no leader, not even dictators can change history. History will triumph... Irrespective of which government sits, those who did something for the country cannot be insulted, they must be respected.” 

2:10pm: Anand Sharma (Congress) hails the contribution of soldiers to the nation.

Referring to Pakistan, he says: “We hope that there will be a realisation across the border that peace is in larger interest... Pakistan, like India, is a nuclear-armed state”

We are very clear that Jammu and Kashmir is Indian territory. But China also has claimed area illegally ceded in the 1960s.

“Isolation of Pakistan is irresponsible and factually incorrect... There is a strong military cooperation between Pakistan and China. Russia has entered into a defence MoU for the first time. We should avoid making this boastful claim that we have isolated (Pakistan). India is a big nation. India should engage and resolve issues. Your (govt) policies keep changing: Anand Sharma

You were going to Afghanistan and got down at Lahore mid-way, but till date PM hasn’t told what talks took place, says Sharma.

2pm: Rajya Sabha reconvenes for discussion.

1:45pm: Arun Jaitley addresses Parliament on the banking regulation bill, says today India has a power surplus and the steel sector constitutes the country’s biggest chunk of NPAs (non-performing assets).  

“The RBI will lead the consortium of banks... Let us trust the RBI.”

1:15pm: Lower House begins discussion on Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 as BJP leaders laud the government’s efforts to introduce the amendment.

1pm: Question Hour over in Rajya Sabha, House adjourned till 2pm.

12:55pm: INC’s Kumari Selja accuses govt of reducing funds for upliftment of SC/STs. Social justice minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot defends and recites the measures taken by his ministry.

12:45pm: Congress’ Digivijaya Singh rakes up the propagation of fake news on TV channels. Minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore says there is a redressal mechanism to deal with fake news, including the cable news television network act.

12:40pm: Protests erupt after heated discussion on attacks motivated by political rivalry in Kerala. Lok Sabha chairperson Sumitra Mahajan requests parliamentarians to stay calm.

12:30pm: Ruckus in Lok Sabha as Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia speaks about rehabilitation of people due to construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam. BJP responds to the charges, listing out the measures taken by the Centre for resettlement and rehabilitation of people affected by the project.

12:20pm: Responding to D Raja on fishermen, Swaraj explains the 2+2 initiative and says both the countries will monitor deep sea fishing, so the process of fishing can be environment friendly and security concerns can be waived.

12:15pm: On the issue of Indian fishermen captured by Sri Lanka navy, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj says the government actively attempts to free them as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attending the Rajya Sabha.

12:10pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 12:30pm.

12pm: BJP’s Vinay Sahasrabuddhe says Dalits in Kerala were targeted by CPI(M), listing out incidents of violence between the two parties in the state. CPI(M) reacts sharply to the charges and protests against Sahasrabuddhe’s remarks in the Upper House.

Earlier this week, RSS leader E Rajesh (34) was allegedly waylaid and attacked by a group of CPI(M) workers when he was returning home after work. He received more than 52 stab wounds and later succumbed to injuries.

11:40am: Parliamentarians question transport minister Nitin Gadkari on probe into allegations of bribery for contracts. The government has started the process to probe alleged $ 1.18 million bribery to NHAI officials by an American firm, says Gadkari.

Over 100 bridges across India on verge of collapse, need immediate attention: Gadkari informs the LokSabha.

11:35am: In Rajya Sabha, Amar Shankar Sable (BJP) talks about the impact of the controversial Blue Whale game, which is suspected to be the reason behind the suicide of a Mumbai boy.

Dr Vikas Mahatme responds and explains the functioning of such games that can be addictive for teenagers. Samajwadi Party’s adds to the discussion, saying the government should introduce regulations.

11:30am: Rajev Shukla, from the Congress party, brings up the issue of women sportspersons and the importance of providing infrastructure and facilities to help them.

“Because the men haven’t got enough medals in decades, it’s time to get women the chance.”

11:25pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley defends the State Bank of India’s decision to cut interest rate on savings accounts of less than Rs 1 crore, saying the move was in sync with reduction in lending rate.

Responding to a Zero Hour mention of the SBI’s decision to cut interest rate on savings accounts with less than Rs 1 crore deposit to 3.5% from 4%, he said to protect the interests of senior citizens, the government has already floated a deposit scheme that guarantees 8-plus % interest rate.

11:15am: Matters of discussion taken up in Rajya Sabha. The Lower House begins with the Question Hour.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 03, 2017 11:30 IST