May 22, 2016

The Week in Parliament

CPI(M) Parliamentary Office

IN the concluding week, Lok Sabha discussed about the situation arising out of drought and drinking water crisis in many states and the need to consider inter-linking of rivers and water resource management for sustainable solution to mitigate the crisis. Speaking on this, Md. Salim said farmers are worst affected by drought. They are not able to repay their debts due to crop failure and are driven to commit suicide. Drinking water crisis has also arisen due to the drought like situation in the country. We have not been able to increase the irrigated area during the last 20-25 years. Farmers do not get the money in time under the crop insurance scheme nor are they getting bank loans easily. The allocation for the Central Ground Water Board and the Central Water Commission is merely Rs 2000 crore in this budget. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana is also included in this. He asked the government what works have been undertaken by the government under this scheme. We will have to adopt short-term, mid-term and long-term policies together to deal with the drought situation. Our state West Bengal has been facing the drought like situation for the last 100-200 years. Drought creates starvation like situation and as a result of which people migrate from their villages because they do not get farm related jobs. Cattle are not getting fodder due to drought and they are dying for want of fodder. It is the marginalised sections of the society which bears the brunt of drought like situation. Therefore, the government will have to tackle this problem on a war footing. Besides, the government should also waive the bank loans of farmers, he said.




Rajya Sabha passed the Finance Bill, 2016. Speaking on this CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that decrease in direct tax collections is a concession to the rich. Increase in indirect tax collections has imposed a burden on the poor and working people. Exemption of duty on gold and diamonds is like giving incentives to the rich. Collection of legitimate due on the part of the government, making public investment and building infrastructure will enable crores of young people in getting new jobs. The financial proposals made in this bill will be disastrous for the vast majority of people.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 was passed in Rajya Sabha. Speaking on this Tapan Kumar Sen pointed that while addressing the insolvency and bankruptcy, the prospect of revival also should be seriously exercised upon. 'Indian Cables' company has been lying sick for more than two decades. The case is languishing because BIFR is not having a presiding officer and the government wants to revive the manufacturing sector in the background of its ‘Make in India’ slogan, he said. But, if these things go unattended, then ultimately it will not give the desired results. So, it needs to be taken care of so that the things are speeded up and revival is made possible, he said. Workers are the first victims when an industry starts getting sick. Their statutory dues are not being paid although these are deducted from their salaries in terms of PF, ESI and others. Two years time from the date of liquidation to clear the dues of the workers is absolutely unjust. He appealed the government to think about the fate of those workers and urged upon the minister to include the entire legitimate earned dues of the workers, including the statutory dues. Workers' equal rights have to be settled while clearing the dues of other stakeholders.

Lok Sabha passed the bill – the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016. Speaking on this, Sankar Prasad Datta pointed that the bill seeks to repeal the Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982 to give effect to the Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, 1970 and the Beijing Convention of 2010 to which the government of India is a signatory. There would be no objection in the case of punishment clause particularly to death penalty, as we have seen that race and place determine who lives and who dies. He concluded the speech by urging the minister that death penalty should not be there and other stringent actions should be there for people who are involved in cases of hijacking.

The Uttarakhand Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill, 2016 was passed in Lok Sabha after discussion. While opposing the bill, Jitendra Chaudhury pointed that in Uttarakhand, in an undemocratic way, the government has been dismantled. Now, the NDA is committing the same sins that were started by the Congress Party in 1959 when they dismissed a popular government in Kerala. In the SR Bommai's judgement of the Supreme Court, it said, "Issues of majority or minority are not matters to be determined by the government or for that matter anywhere else except the floor of the house." It was a shameless assault on democracy and a blatant violation of constitutional norms, he said.

The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha and joint committee of both houses (JPC) was formed consisting of 30 MPs, 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.  Jitendra Chaudhury has been nominated in the committee.

In the Lok Sabha, submission was made by the MPs including Md Salim regarding the situation arising out of verdict of Supreme Court to conduct National Eligibility Entrance Test for medical courses in the country especially, the medium of examination.

In the upper house, the last day farewell was given to the retiring members. Tapan Kumar Sen spoke at this session.

On May 11 the Lok Sabha adjourned sine-die and Rajya Sabha adjourned sine-die on May 13.