Fifth day of Winter Session in Parliament: Chennai floods, intolerance debate dominate both Houses
Five days into the winter session, Parliament continues to be dominated by discussions on intolerance and the rains in TN. On Thursday, Rajya Sabha is slated to continue a discussion on the flood situation in the state.
Massive floods in Tamil Nadu and debate on intolerance continue to dominate both the Houses of Parliament. Five days into the Winter Session, Rajya Sabha on Thursday is slated to continue a discussion on the flood situation in Chennai.
On Wednesday, Rajya Sabha members offered to use their MPLADS funds for relief work in the state, and some also announced contributions separately. However, with Chennai having been declared as a disaster zone and the rain fury yet to abate in the state, the issue is likely to dominate discussion in the House.
A significant amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, which was moved in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, is also expected to come up for discussion. While the amendments enhance punishments for bribery and also seek to punish the bribe-giver, they also extend protection from prosecution to public servants to the post-retirement period.
Meanwhile, the debate on intolerance took a turn for the worse on Wednesday with protests after the remarks by Kumari Selja that she was asked about her caste in a temple in Gujarat. On Wednesday, sloganeering by the Congress had drowned out much of the proceedings, with the discussion on the flood situation only being allowed to take place later in the day.
The party was protesting the remarks of Power Minister Piyush Goyal's statement that Selja's claims were an instance of 'manufactured problems and manufactured discrimination. As no statement of apology, as demanded by the Congress, has yet been made, it remains to be seen whether the war of words will continue.
In the Lok Sabha, one bill — the Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill —was debated and passed, marking the beginning of legislative business in the Lower House. The bill deals with liability for airlines in cases of damage caused in accidents.
However, the fate of several bills, including the GST bill, still hangs in balance. Despite the much-talked about meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh earlier this week, there seems to be a deadlock on the crucial bill. While Modi has avoided taking a confrontational approach with the Oppotition, it remains to be seen whether this has any effect on the passage of the legislation.
With inputs from PTI
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