The Week in Parliament
CPI(M) Parliamentary Office
THE second part of the budget session of parliament began on April 25 on a stormy note in both the houses over the imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. In Lok Sabha, the opposition staged a protest in the well and in Rajya Sabha disruption continued, and forced an adjournment without transacting any business.
In Rajya Sabha two new MPs took oath – Jharna Das Baidya who has been re-elected from Tripura and K Somaprasad from Kerala.
When the issue of President's Rule was raised in Rajya Sabha, the government pointed that this cannot be raised in the present form as it was sub judice. In reply, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury pointed that the house had discussed before the recess the incidents occurring in universities such as JNU, which too was sub judice. "The leader of the house had (then) said: being sub judice does not prevent us from discussion" and asked the house to apply to itself its own precedent.
Rajya Sabha discussed the matter on prevailing drought and heat wave conditions and resultant water crisis in the country. Speaking on this Tapan Kumar Sen pointed that drought has affected 33 crore people in more than eleven states. It is not just the nature's cruelty. It is the result of the ad hoc manner in which the successive governments had addressed the recurrence of drought. Rural occupations in drought affected areas are in real distress. The first step is immediate relief and the next is a long-term approach in addressing the issue at the root. When drought kills crops, the whole rural society is affected. People flock to the towns for work and join the vast army of the unemployed. So, the government should take into account the problem in its entirety. There is no work available to the labour and in some of the villages where work is available, wages have not been paid for more than two months. The Rourkela Steel Plant township has completely dried up because the Koel river has no water. This crisis has extended to towns as well. The reality is that just three percent of water is there in most of the dams in the drought-affected areas. So, in these areas, some immediate arrangement must be made to give them employment, keeping in view not only the agriculturists but the entire affected population. The works under MNREGA should be stepped up and also the supply of water must be taken up on a war-footing. At least, the availability of drinking water must be taken care of urgently. It is shocking that more than 240 irrigation projects are lying incomplete for more than two decades. The government should take this issue seriously and fix the responsibility. Tapan Sen urgeg the government to rush immediate relief and respond positively to the needs and the urgent demands made by different state governments.
DEMANDS FOR GRANTS –
In Lok Sabha, demands for grants (railways) was discussed and passed. From our Party, Md. Badaruddoza Khan participated and pointed that the government should give top priority to electrification of rail lines. He demanded a new rail line from Behrampur to Krishna Nagar via Domkal, Chalangi and Karimpur under Sealdah Division. The survey work on this line should be undertaken. The other demand was that the Howrah-Farakka via Katua rail line should be electrified and funds should be allocated for the purpose. Thirdly, the minister had talked about elevated corridors for suburban areas. He demanded that an elevated train line from Dumdum to Sealdah should be constructed and funds should be allocated for the purpose. The bridge on the Bhagirathi river is almost complete but some dispute has cropped up there and this has stalled the work on this bridge. Funds have already been allocated for construction of two over bridges in Behrampur City. But the government has not yet given no objection letter required for the purpose. Therefore, the central government and state government should find a way out to this issue because the common man is at the receiving end due to this. The toy train in Darjeeling, West Bengal has already been declared a world heritage site. He requested the railway minister to provide some specific allocation for this toy train in this budget itself.
DEMANDS FOR GRANTS - MINISTER OF
DEVELOPMENT OF NORTH EASTERN REGION
Jitendra Chaudhary in Lok Sabha while discussing the general budget - demands for grants for the minister of development of north eastern region said it was promised when ministry of development of north-east region was formed that 10 percent fund of each and every ministry will be allocated to it but that commitment has not yet been fulfilled. In their culture, there has never been such violence but it has dragged them to this situation today because of their backwardness, under-development since independence. The Brahmaputra can irrigate almost half of the north-east if a project is taken up there on the lines of China. There is NEC but it is not yielding the desired results mainly because of the absence of the needed policies. He suggested that the communication in the north-east region should be improved. The NEC, which was formed long back should be either scrapped or be upgraded.
DEMANDS FOR GRANTS - MINISTER OF
SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Speaking on this, Md. Badruddoza Khan pointed there is no doubt that India needs to equip its own work force with employable skills and knowledge. Today, the total work force in our country is nearly 487 million and out of that approximately 241 million are either skilled or they have some informal training. There are three major challenges which we are facing in our country now. The first major challenge is creation of jobs for the skilled youth. Secondly, women are almost half of the total population. The key challenge here is to increase their participation in the country's labour force which is directly linked with the economic growth of our country. Thirdly, according to NSDC, there is a severe quality gap and lack of availability of trainers in vocational education and training sector. Not only that, but some polytechnics and some professional institutions also have no qualified teachers. In this situation, how can we develop the skill of the youth of our country? Then, there are some other problems. “I got the name of a nodal agency from the minister. Actually that agency has no good infrastructure for such quality training. It is the situation they will give some certificate for skill development after a certain period. Actually, they will earn some money from this. I do not know how skill will be developed. We are in a hurry to do this,” he said and urged upon the government to allocate funds to set up at least two good working skill development centres in his constituency which has none so far. He suggested the concerned ministry that after the elementary education, there should be a mechanism of selection within the students who are fit for higher education and the rest could go for vocational training.
DEMANDS FOR GRANTS - MINISTRY OF
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EMPOWERMENT
Md. Badruddoza Khan in Lok Sabha pointed that it is true that after 69 years of independence a large number of people in our country are socially and economically backward. The population of SCs, STs, dalits, adivasis and other backward classes is near about 50 percent of the total population. Ignoring these weaker sections, the country will not go ahead. The budget allocation in 2015-16 was Rs 6,524.82 crore and in 2016-17, it is Rs 6,565.95 crore. There is an increase of only Rs 40 crore. Under-utilisation of funds also is a major problem for the schemes under the ministry of social justice and empowerment. It is a matter of great regret that the primary reason for under-utilisation of funds is the late submission of proposals by the states. In CAG report 14 of 2007, it is observed that actually most of the weaker sections of our society do not know about the welfare schemes for their upliftment. He concurred with the opinion that a separate unit should be created with NITI Aayog with powers to review and monitor the concerned ministries and departments to ensure effective implementation of SCSP and TSP.
Lok Sabha passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill. Speaking on this Sankar Prasad Datta pointed that bio-technology is gradually increasing throughout the world. We are having a population of 18 percent but till now we engage only two percent amount of money in the field of biotechnology. In the budget of 2015-16, the allocation to this sector was only a meagre sum of Rs 7,288 crore. For boosting the production of generic medicines, for boosting agricultural production and productivity of our country, for boosting energy production and water supply in our country, biotechnology plays a very important role. He hoped the government would look into the matter in all seriousness and see that biotechnology advances in our country in the near future.
Rajya passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2016. Speaking on this, the newly elected MP K Somaprasad while supporting the bill, pointed that the inclusion of 'Peruvannan' in Scheduled Castes is a genuine thing. Certain sections of the people, even though they belong to the Scheduled Caste community, are denied this benefit. Migration of the SC people is going on, and they are settling in other states. A person whose community is included in the ‘Scheduled Castes’ list in his native state may not be a member of the Scheduled Castes in the state where he is now settled. This is unfair and against the constitution. The central government should interfere in this crucial issue. Privatisation is against the interests of the Scheduled Caste people. So, he demanded that reservation should be implemented in the private sector also.
Rajya Sabha also passed the Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015.