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Lok Sabha creates fresh record, burns midnight oil for Public Importance matters

This is the fourth session of the 17th Lok Sabha in a row when the lower House registered a new record by concluding its business in late-night proceedings involving debate on major issues linked to the common people.

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New Delhi, Sep 21 : The Lok Sabha inked another record in the history of Parliament by hearing ‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ during midnight proceedings of the ongoing Monsoon Session when most of the Indians were sleeping. The lower House which began its proceedings at 3 p.m. on Sunday concluded its session at 12.34 a.m. on Monday, spending more than two hours to hear the ‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ raised by the parliamentarians.

Several parliamentarians and officers in the Lok Sabha secretariat said it was the first time in the history of Parliament when the Lok Sabha (House of the People) held ‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ or ‘Zero Hour’ after the Lower House was constituted for the first time on April 17, 1952, following the first General Elections – held from October 25, 1951, to February 21, 1952, and the First Session of the First Lok Sabha that had commenced on May 13, 1952.

‘Matters of Urgent Public Importance’ gives Members of Parliament (MPs) a vehicle to discuss a matter of current concern without the requirement for a question to be before the Chair.

The Assembly does not make a judgement on the matter by way of resolution.

Under this procedural device, a Member may, with the prior permission of the Speaker, call the attention of a Minister to any matter of urgent public importance and the Minister may make a brief statement thereon.

There shall be no debate on such a statement at the time it is made. After the statement, brief clarifications can be sought from the Minister by the Member who has initiated the Calling Attention and other Members whose names appear in the List of Business are called by the Speaker.

Only those matters which are primarily the concern of the Union Government can be raised through a Calling Attention notice.

The Calling Attention procedure is an Indian innovation that combines asking a question with supplementaries and making brief comments; the government also gets an adequate opportunity to state its case. The Calling Attention matter is not subject to the vote of the House.

Known as ‘Zero Hour’, the matter of public importance started on late Sunday night after the House passed three major Bills — two related to the Union Home Ministry and one of the Finance Ministry — on the recommendation of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Announcing to start the ‘Zero Hour’ of the Monsoon Session, for the first time in the night, Birla, however, requested Members of Parliament to conclude their matters within one minute. “I will give enough opportunities to every MP during Zero Hour but not enough time,” Birla said before creating the history by running the Zero Hour which began around 10.30 p.m. on Sunday and crossed 12 midnight.

Generally, the ‘Zero Hour’ time immediately follows the Question Hour. It used to start at around 12 noon (hence the name) and members can, with prior notice to the Speaker, raise issues of importance during this time.

Due to Covid-19 precautions, it was decided that the half-an-hour time slot will be fixed for the ‘Zero Hour’ during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament which started on September 14 and is set to conclude on October 1.

Soon after the clock hits 12 O’clock, the Speaker again extended the time of the House for more half-an-hour to give chance to all MPs who got a chance to speak during the ‘Zero Hour’.

Birla again extended the time of the ‘Zero Hour’ at 12.30 a.m. on Monday, saying “the time is extended till the end of all matters to be raised”.

The House was finally adjourned at 12.34 a.m. on Monday. The Lok Sabha earlier has held various late-night proceedings.

On March 12 this year during the Budget Session, the Lok Sabha conducted its business till late night in a marathon sitting that crossed 12 hours while concluding debate on the demands for grants under the control of the Ministry of Railways for 2020-21, skipping lunch as well as dinner breaks.

The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, which provided Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, was also passed in the Lok Sabha on December 10 last year in the late-night hearing though it was vehemently opposed by the major opposition parties which described it as “anti-Muslim”.

This is the fourth session of the 17th Lok Sabha in a row when the lower House registered a new record by concluding its business in late-night proceedings involving debate on major issues linked to the common people.

The Lok Sabha created an undefeated record On July 25, 1996, when a discussion on demands for grants on Railways began on the day after the lunch and ended on July 26, 1996, at 7.17 a.m.

Ram Vilas Paswan, the senior Bihar-based politician from Lok Janshakti Party and the present Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, was the Railway Minister at that time.

Cities

Maharashtra extends ongoing Covid-19 lockdown till November 30

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Lockdown in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government on Thursday extended the ongoing lockdown by another month as cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continue to rise in the state. It will now remain in effect till November 30, officials said.

The government issued a statement about the same and said, “Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the powers, conferred under The Disaster Management Act. 2005. the undersigned, in his capacity as Chairperson, State Executive Committee, hereby issues directions that the guidelines issued vide orders dated 30’h September, 2020 and 14° October. 2020 to operationalize MISSION BEGIN AGAIN for casing of restrictions and phase-wise opening, will remain in force till 30th November 2020 for containment of COVID- I 9 epidemic in the State and all Departments of Government of Maharashtra shall strictly implement these guidelines.”

“The activities already allowed and permitted from time to time shall be continued and all earlier orders shall be aligned with this order and shall remain in force up to 30th November, 2020.”

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India

West Bengal Dy-Speaker Sukumar Hansda Dies Of Cancer

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Sukumar Hansda

Kolkata: West Bengal Legislative Assembly deputy speaker and Trinamool Congress MLA from Jhargram constituency Sukumar Hansda died of cancer at a private city hospital on Thursday. He was 67.

The Trinamool lawmaker was admitted to the state-run SSKM Hospital but was shifted to a private medical facility a few days ago. Earlier, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Deeply grieved to hear about the passing away of West Bengal Assembly Deputy Speaker and Jhargram MLA Shri Sukumar Hansda. He was also serving as All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) state vice-president. His relentless service for people shall always be remembered,” West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, condoling Hansda’s bereaved family members.

A doctor by profession, Hansda took charge as the Deputy Speaker in December 2018 after the demise of former deputy speaker Haider Aziz Safwi.

He became the minister for Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs between 2011 and 2016 after the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government stormed to power in Bengal in 2011. But he was included in the state cabinet despite being re-elected for the second term.

His father, Subodh Chandra Hansda, was a Union minister in a Congress government during 1957-62.

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India

National Lost A Stalwart Leader: President On Keshubhai’s Death

The BJP leader was the Chief Minister of Gujarat twice — in 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. He was a six-time MLA. He was replaced by Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001.

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keshubhai patel

New Delhi: Conveying his condolence to the kin of former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said the nation has lost a stalwart leader.

The President took Twitter to express his condolence, saying “Keshubhai Ji’s dogged determination for social service and committment to Indian ethos will remain exemplary for all. My condolences to his family and friends”.

“With the demise of Keshubhai Patel, former Gujarat Chief Minister, the nation has lost a stalwart leader. His long public life was dedicated to improving the lives of millions, especially in villages. As champion of farmers’ causes, he enjoyed extraordinary rapport with masses.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed sorrow over the death of Patel who breathed his last at a hospital in Ahmedabad on Thursday morning at the age of 92 years.

The Prime Minister expressed deep sadness at the death of Patel, calling him an “outstanding leader” who devoted his life towards the progress of Gujarat.

Mentioning as “our beloved and respected Keshubhai”, Modi in a series of tweet said, “I am deeply pained and saddened” on his passing away.

“He was an outstanding leader who cared for every section of society. His life was devoted towards the progress of Gujarat and the empowerment of every Gujarati.”

The Prime Minister said that Keshubhai travelled across the length and breadth of Gujarat to strengthen the Jana Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“He resisted the Emergency tooth and nail. Issues of farmer welfare were closest to his heart. Be it as MLA, MP, Minister or CM, he ensured many farmer friendly measures were passed,” Modi said.

Modi reminded how Keshubhai mentored and groomed many younger Karyakartas including him.

“Everyone loved his affable nature. His demise is an irreparable loss. We are all grieving today. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers. Spoke to his son Bharat and expressed condolences. Om Shanti.”

Expressing condolence at the sudden demise of Patel, Shah said: “While in the BJP, Keshubhai played an important role in strengthening the organization in Gujarat. As a trustee of Somnath Temple, he always supported the development of the temple. Keshubhai will always remain in our memory with his actions and behaviour.”

In his condolence message, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Keshubhai Patel ji was an effective administrator who left an indelible mark in public life.

“I offer my tributes to the departed leader. In this hour of grief, I express my heartfelt condolences to his family and well-wishers. Om Shanti,” Singh said in a series of tweets.

Singh said that Keshubhai Patel will always be remembered for his unwavering commitment to serve the people.

“Former Chief Minister of Gujarat, Keshubhai was a political stalwart who played a significant role in strengthening the BJP in the state. Deeply pained by his demise today.”

Patel was hospitalised after he complained of difficulty in breathing on Thursday morning. He breathed his last during treatment.

The BJP leader was the Chief Minister of Gujarat twice — in 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. He was a six-time MLA. He was replaced by Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001.

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