Parliament proceedings on Thursday saw sharp exchanges of words as well as, rather unexpectedly, singing sessions as legislators spoke at length on air pollution in Delhi and lack of transparency in electoral bonds.
Union minister Babul Supriyo belted out a few lines of the popular Bollywood song 'Hawa ke sath sath, ghata ke sang sang' in the Lok Sabha to drive home the point that the government is taking steps for "cleaner" air. On a more prosaic note, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said several initiatives were taken by the Centre under the chairmanship of the principal secretary to the prime minister.
Meanwhile, raising the issue of electoral bonds in the Lok Sabha, the Congress alleged that the scheme has made corruption "official", with party members walking out of proceedings. Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari raised the issue during Zero Hour and said that despite reservations expressed by the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission, the government went ahead with the scheme.
Don't blame farmers for stubble burning, say legislators
Members cutting across party lines said in Lok Sabha on Thursday that stubble burning alone cannot be blamed for rising levels of air pollution in and around Delhi and urged the government to provide incentives to farmers so that they dispose of stubble in a more scientific manner.
Congress member Shashi Tharoor said the government should follow a legislative approach to implement the national clean air programme.
The discussion on "Air Pollution and Climate Change" continued for the second day and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar would respond on Friday afternoon.
AAP member Bhagwant Mann and Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel said that farmers should not be blamed for stubble burning, considered as one of the main reasons for air pollution in the national capital region, and demanded that they should be encouraged to grow crops which do not leave stubble.
They also said that the government should explore ways of using stubble in biogas and cardboard manufacturing to encourage farmers to sell it.
Participating in a discussion, Mann said farmers should be encouraged to grow crops including pearl millet (bajra) and sunflower as they do not leave stubble after harvest.
He said farmers grow crops which leave stubble as they get minimum support price (MSP). If the government announces a reasonable MSP on pearl millet and sunflower, then farmers would be encouraged to cultivate it, Mann, who represents Sangrur in Punjab, said.
Patel said stubble can be used for biogas and cardboard manufacturing and farmers should be encouraged to sell it.
Electoral bonds made corruption official, says Congress
The Congress in the Lok Sabha accused the Union government of making "government corruption official" by introducing anonymous electoral bonds, and said the earlier regulation over the influence of the rich on politics is no longer there.
Manish Tewari raised the issue during the Zero Hour, saying that there used to be control over the influence of the rich on politics earlier, but the scheme introduced through the 2017 budget made donations anonymous. However, his reference to the role of the Prime Minister's Office prompted Speaker Om Birla to turn off his mic and ask another member to raise his issue, prompting protests from Congress members.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who was in the House, then left her seat and led a walkout by her party members.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2019 20:23:06 IST