Home States Delhi PM Modi never questioned loyalty of Singh, Ansari to country: Jaitley

PM Modi never questioned loyalty of Singh, Ansari to country: Jaitley

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(G.N.S.) Dt. 27

New Delhi

Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde’s comments on secularism raised a ruckus in both Houses on Wednesday, with the Lok Sabha being adjourned almost as soon as it was reconvened. Minister Harsh Vardhan rises to respond to the Members’ comments. Pradeep Tamta of the Congress too opposes the Bill. Ram Vichar Netam of the BJP rises to speak saying he is a tribal and that the truth is that bamboo cultivation is very difficult.

The INLD’s Dushyant Chautala speaks next. The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendmend Bill is taken up for consideration and passing. Dilip Kumar Tirkey of the BJD speaks next. Harivansh of the JD(U) rises to speak after him. Jharna Das Baidya of the CPI(M) from Tripura says she opposes the Bill.

  1. Raja of the CPI also rises to oppose the Bill. “I think there was no need for this Ordinance. Bamboo is a kind of grass, and the Minister is aware of this. During British rule, bamboo was classified as a tree under the law. This allowed the forest department to control cutting and selling of bamboo.”

“Forest officials have continued to illegally stop people from harvesting and selling bamboo on forest lands.”

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar makes an intervention. He says that the growth of forests has stopped in India because the farmer is afraid of planting trees. “Farmers stopped growing sandalwood trees because of fear. We are importing sandal from Australia.”

Chair asks a question on sandalwood, asking if it can be allowed to be grown. South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri of the BJP speaks in favour of the Bill. Parvesh Sahib Singh speaks next, followed by Kaushalendra Kumar of the JD(U).

Jairam Ramesh rises to speak and asks why an Ordinance was issued for this amendment, a question earlier posed by T. Subbarami Reddy. The Minister said he will respond to this question when it’s time for him to answer everyone else.

“94 per cent of bamboo produced in India is from forest areas. You are bringing a Bill to deal with the interests of the six per cent. This is not pro-tribal, pro-poor or pro-Northeast. This will benefit only private industry,” says the former Environment Minister. Mr. Ramesh opposes the Bill.

Meghraj Jain of the BJP rises to speak next. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien is in the Chair now. Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of the Samajwadi Party speaks now. He too opposes the Bill saying that it affects the livelihood of tribals.

  1. Navaneethakrishnan of the AIADMK calls it a “welcome Bill. Bamboo is cultivated only by poor people in the rural area. Rural economy is ignored by all people. I welcome this Bill brought by the central government.”

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of the Trinamool Congress says that this Bill should not give way to legal felling of trees. He too asks about the necessity or the urgency for the promulgation of an Ordinance. House reconvenes after brief adjournmenty. Discussion on the Bill is taken up.

Leader of the House Arun Jaitley rises to speak on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and former Vice President Hamid Ansari.

“We hold these leaders in high esteem,” says Mr. Jaitley, adding that Mr. Modi had never questioned the leaders’ loyalty to the country.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad rises up to respond saying that they too do not want disruptions, and also adds that the party distances itself any comments made during electioneering.

The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill is taken up for consideration and passing. Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan rises to move that the Bill be passed. “This is one of the most important initiatives by this government. I feel sorry that this amendment had to wait for 90 years.”

This Bill proposes to remove bamboo from the definition of ‘tree.’ Read more about this Bill.

“One tonne of bamboo has the potential to produce 350 man days of employment,” says the Minister. The Bill is taken for discussion. Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai is in the Chair. Matters under rule 377 are laid on the table.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2017 is taken up for consideration and passing. Speaker is in the Chair. Matters of urgent public importance are taken up now.

But Opposition members shout slogans again. Mallikarjun Kharge condemns the treatment received by Kubhushan Jadhav’s family. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says she will give a statement to the House on Thursday on this.

House reconvenes. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair. Opposition members raise the issue of Mr. Hegde’s comments. Ruckus ensues. Members troop to the well of the House, shouting slogans.

The House reconvenes. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair. Shouting of slogans begins almost immediately. Opposition members raise slogans pertaining to the treatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family in Pakistan. The House is adjourned till noon.

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