Rajya Sabha passes AERA, Central Universities Amendment bills; Lok Sabha deliberates farmers' woes

  • Rajya Sabha passed a Bill on Tuesday allowing the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) to bid out any new airport at a pre-determined tariff structure

  • The Upper House also passed the Central University (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009

  • The Lok Sabha discussed the issues of farmers’ suicide and agrarian distress, with the Opposition pressing the need for adequate water supply.

Rajya Sabha passed a Bill on Tuesday allowing the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) to bid out any new airport at a pre-determined tariff structure.

Replying to questions raised by leaders in the Upper House, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, "As many as 16 airports will be in the purview of AERA. All other airports continue to be looked after by the Civil Aviation Ministry." The Bill sought a change in the definition of major airports to any aerodrome which has or is designated to have annual passenger capacity of three-and-a-half million.

Addressing concerns about jobless employees of some of the private airlines that shut operations in India, Puri said, "Government cannot assume responsibility of failure of business of private party. The case of Jet Airways is already there in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for resolution." He also assured the members that government is making efforts to see that jobless employees of the beleaguered airline get jobs in other airlines, adding that the government has developed a portal to help such employees.

 Rajya Sabha passes AERA, Central Universities Amendment bills; Lok Sabha deliberates farmers woes

Member of parties from Tamil Nadu, led AIADMK, staged protests in the Rajya Sabha, leading to three adjournments in the House. PTI

Noting that the number of airports which are carrying high traffic has increased considerably, Puri said, “With the advent of privatisation and increasing number of airports being privatised, all that we are seeking to do is and in addition, it will be said that the Airports Authority shall not determine the tariff or tariff structures in the case of airports which are privatised because there the tariff structure is part of the bid which is offered at the time of privatisation.”

Congress’ Vivek K Tankha said the Bill will not protect the interests of 344 million people (figure of airline passengers) but will deeply affect their pockets. Samajwadi Party’s Surendra Singh Nagar said that privastisation of airports and bidding system would impact the growth rate of sector. JD(U)’s RCP Sinha said there is need to monitor new private airlines coming in, citing the examples of beleaguered carriers Sahara Airlines, Deccan, Kingfisher and Jet Airways.

The Cabinet had approved the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment), Bill on 24 June. AERA is a regulator that has the powers to set the tariffs charged at airports.

The Upper House also passed the Central University (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009, which establishes universities for teaching and research in various states. The Bill, which was introduced in the House by Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, provides for the establishment of two central universities in Andhra Pradesh to be known as the Central University of Andhra Pradesh and the Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh. The Central Tribal University will take additional measures to provide higher educational and research facilities in tribal art, culture and customs, primarily to the tribal population of India.

The Rajya Sabha also saw three adjournments earlier in the day after AIADMK members protested to register their demand that the exam for postmen be held in Tamil language. Tamil parties have been protesting that questions in the postal department's examination for appointments of postmen and assistants in rural areas held on Sunday were only in Hindi and English, and not Tamil. DMK, CPI and CPM also joined these protests, with the first adjournment till 12 noon. On reconvening, members continued the protest and stormed the well, disrupting the Question Hour. The House was adjourned again with 15 minutes of reconvening. For the third time, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm.

The Lok Sabha discussed the issues of farmers’ suicide and agrarian distress, with the Opposition pressing the need for adequate water supply, quality seeds and remunerative prices for farm produce

During the debate on Demand for Grants for Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, and Ministry of Rural Development in the Lok Sabha, Congress’ Uttam Kumar Reddy said nearly 12,000 peasants commit suicide every year even as the government turns a blind eye to their issues.The Economic Survey 2018 revealed that farmers’ income in the last four years had remained flat and that the government's promise of doubling farmers' income by 2022 remains a far cry, he added. He also criticised the government’s failure to ensure adequate MSP and lashed out at the PM-Kisan scheme, that promises Rs 6,000 per annum to croppers.

Shiv Sena’s Prataprao Jadhav said that if farmers get the three requirements listed by Reddy, they will not need assistance from the government.DMK’s SS Palanimanickam echoed Reddy and Jadhav’s thoughts, suggesting that special thought be given to sectors like dairy, poultry and fishery.

JD(U)’s Kaushlendra Kumar said the government should focus on Bihar and Assam as these states are reeling under severe flood situation.

Updated Date: Jul 16, 2019 21:16:37 IST