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Parliament Updates: Rajya Sabha passes Bill prohibiting e-cigarettes; don't doubt Centre's intention, says Harsh Vardhan

Parliament Updates: Rajya Sabha passed The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019. Meanwhile, both the Houses saw discussion on the Hyderabad rape and murder case, with the Opposition and Treasury benches uniting voices against the spate of crimes across the country.

FP Staff December 02, 2019 18:18:03 IST
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Parliament Updates: Rajya Sabha passes Bill prohibiting e-cigarettes; don't doubt Centre's intention, says Harsh Vardhan
  • Nirmala Sitharaman will move the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha

  • Rajya Sabha will discuss The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019

  • Congress is expected to protest the gruesome rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Hyderabad reported last week

Highlights

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Dec 02, 2019 - 18:15 (IST)

Lok Sabha latest updates
 

Tax collection needs to be increased for social equality, not decreased, says Owaisi


AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi said tax collection needs to be increased for social equality but it is being decreased. Core-sector production in September has gone in the negatives, he said.

He also mentioned the plight of the auto industry and the increase of retail inflation. He criticised the increase in consumer food prices. "All this is empirical data. This clearly shows that this country is in recession," he said.

"I am charging this government by saying that this government is obsessed with the corporates. They hate the common people," he accused.

Congress’ Benny Behanan said that the government is busy feeding corporates while unemployment is at its peak.

DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran said Indian businesses need to be focused on for survival of the Indian economy. "Adanis and Ambanis are only making money. The rest of India is draining out," he said.

Dec 02, 2019 - 18:10 (IST)

Lok Sabha latest updates
 

Govt hides facts and is far from reality, says Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi


BJP’s Ajay Misra accused Rahul Bajaj of wrongdoing pertaining to three sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh, while supporting the Bill. In November, tax collection crossed Rs 1 lakh crore, he said, while elaborating on the government's measures to improve the economy.

Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi said the current government does not want to heed any form of criticism. “The government hides facts and is far from ground reality. When the auto industry is affected, they blame the millenials. They hid unemployment data, did not reveal off-book borrowings,” he said.

Gogoi criticised demonetisation and GST. “This Bill is a multi-layered corporate tax structure. Just like GST is a complicated corporate tax structure, so is this Bill,” he added.

Only 10-12 percent of the businessmen who are corporate giants are benefited by the corporate tax reduction, said RSP’s NK Premachandran. “The benefit should effectively percolate to the smaller manufacturer," he said.

Dec 02, 2019 - 18:05 (IST)

Rajya Sabha latest updates
 

Rajya Sabha passes The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019

Dec 02, 2019 - 17:50 (IST)

Rajya Sabha latest updates
 

Do not be suspicious of Centre’s intentions, says Harsh Vardhan


Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan says, "In a country as vast as India, when a particular product has a very wide consumer base and social acceptance, it becomes very difficult to ban it. I was the first one to bring in anti-tobacco legislation."

Why didn’t you ban these products when you were in power, Harsh Vardhan asks Opposition.

India ranks among the topmost countries in the fight against tobacco, he added, going on to enumerating what measures have been taken to tackle the tobacco menace. "You should not be suspicious of our intentions," he says.

“We cannot effect ban on alcohol, cigarettes, etc because there are so many people employed in that ecosystem. Joint fight on global level is being fought by tobacco lobby itself,” he said, adding that vaping-related deaths in America had reached an epidemic level.

Dec 02, 2019 - 17:32 (IST)

Lok Sabha latest updates​
 

Supriya Sule questions lack of holistic approach towards tax reforms


NCP’s Supriya Sule stood to support the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill. She asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman if the direct tax collection has dropped significantly and how inflation will be stemmed. “Why is there no holistic approach towards tax reforms throughout the country,” she asked.

She said that the rural economy needs the biggest push, give that it is in dire straits. She also criticised Sitharaman’s statement against Rahul Bajaj's statement on economy.​

TDP’s Jayadev Galla said the PM-KISAN scheme has not made an impact as rural distress continues. “Unemployment is also at a 40-year high,” he said, blaming it on low consumption. He said that individual tax-payers need to be given tax relief and the farmer needs to be made viable.

Galla also said that selling PSUs to recover from fiscal deficit is a wrong step. "By doing this, a time will come when there will be no PSUs to sell," he said. Demand and consumption are declining, he said.

Dec 02, 2019 - 17:24 (IST)

Rajya Sabha latest updates
 

We could ban e-cigarettes, but we don't live in Ordinance-raj, says KK Ragesh


CPM's KK Ragesh said he is not opposing to a ban on e-cigarettes. "But we do not live in an ordinance-Raj. We live in a democracy," he said.

"This House has time and again discussed how this House has been promulgating Ordinances," he added.

Congress' Digvijaya Singh asked if there is a special reason behind the government deciding to ban e-cigarettes even as cigarette, gutkha consumption continues.

Dec 02, 2019 - 17:17 (IST)

Rajya Sabha latest updates
 

If cigarettes are 'bad terrorists', e-cigarettes are 'good terrorists, says BJP MP


Comparing the e-cigarette ban with the gutkha ban, BJD’s Amar Patnaik said that the effects of nicotine on the body mentioned in the Bill would also hold true for the consumption of regular products.​

YSRCP’s V Vijaysai Reddy said that electronic nicotine delivery systems are much more attractive as compared to the initial bad taste left by cigarettes. “The WHO convention on tobacco control invited all signatories to ban or regulate e-cigarettes. About 30 countries have banned e-cigarettes and their advertisement,” he said, supporting the ban on e-cigarettes.​

BJP’s DP Vats said that if cigarettes are the "bad terrorists", e-cigarettes are the "good terrorists". It has to be ensured that cigarette-smokers do not convert into e-cigarette smokers, he added.

Dec 02, 2019 - 17:11 (IST)

Rajya Sabha latest updates
 

Why so much haste in banning e-cigarettes, when nothing has been done to ban tobacco, asks DMK MP


E-cigarettes are percent less harmful than cigarettes, JD(U)’s Ram Chandra Prasad quoted data. “But if it does any harm at all, it should be stopped. We do yoga, pranayama to improve lung power. Then why are we getting this (e-cigarettes) from America?,” he asked, supporting the Bill in Rajya Sabha.

He also said that regulation and formulation of rules governing the purchase and sale of e-cigarettes on the dark web needs to be paid attention to by the government.

DMK’s Tiruchi Siva asked the reason behind the urgency to get the Bill in the House. Stating the prediction that by 2020, 13 percent of the total deaths will be because of tobacco use and consumption, he said that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are more harmful than cigarettes.

You have shown so much haste in banning e-cigarettes. What have you done to ban tobacco?” he asked.

Dec 02, 2019 - 16:44 (IST)

Rajya Sabha latest updates
 

Members raise issue over absence of Cabinet Minister


Opposition MPs raised an issue over the absence of a Cabinet Minister as the discussion on the prohibition of e-cigarettes was underway. The Opposition benches only fell silent once Health Minister Harsh Vardhan returned to the Treasury Benches.

Dec 02, 2019 - 16:41 (IST)

Lok Sabha latest updates
 

BJP leaders hit out at Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's 'nirbala' jibe


Hitting out at Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for calling Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman 'nirbala' or weak, BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said, "If such things are allowed then there is so much that we can say against the Congress leadership that they will need to run for cover. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has made a misogynist statement and needs treatment."

Parliament LATEST Updates | Rajya Sabha passed The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019. Meanwhile, both the Houses saw discussion on the Hyderabad rape and murder case, with the Opposition and Treasury benches uniting voices against the spate of crimes across the country.

The Lower House of the Parliament begins discussions post-lunch break. Amid protests as BJP continues to shout slogans asking for Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to apologise for allegedly calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah as 'infiltrators'. BJP MP Prahlad Joshi hits back at the Congress saying that a party that has made a foreigner as a party leader (Sonia Gandhi) shouldn't talk about infiltrators.

BJP MPs raised an uproar in the House after Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury allegedly called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah infiltrators. BJP’s Pralhad Joshi called Chowdhury an infiltrator and demanded an unconditional apology from him. Protests from the Treasury benches continue their protest as Chowdhury rises to respond and says his statement has been misconstrued.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha on Monday, while the Rajya Sabha will discuss The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019, which will be moved for consideration and passage, will further amend the Income-Tax Act, 1961 and the Finance (No.2) Act, 2019.

Home Minister Amit Shah will move the Arms (Amendment) Bill 2019 to amend the Arms Act, 1959. The Centre had moved this Bill in the Lok Sabha on Friday, seeking to rationalise and facilitate the licensing procedures for use of firearms by individuals as well as to curb crimes committed by using illegal firearms and provide effective deterrence against violation of law.

Three bills will be moved for passage and consideration in the Rajya Sabha.

The first will be The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, which was introduced in Lok Sabha by Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan, will replace an Ordinance promulgated in September 2019, if passed. The Bill seeks to prohibit the production, trade, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.

The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will come up for discussion. The Bill, which provides for the constitution and regulation of the Special Protection Group (SPG) to provide security to the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members, was tabled in the Lok Sabha last week by Shah.

Another Bill that will be moved is the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, which looks at the merger of the two union territories. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Lok Sabha MPs GS Basavaraj and Rita Bahuguna Joshi will raise the issue of the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank during the Question Hour and the steps taken by the government in the aftermath of the crisis.

Additionally, the Congress is expected to protest the gruesome rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Hyderabad reported last week.

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