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Monsoon Session may be very short; eye on passing ordinances

Given the huge challenge both LS and RS Secretariats are facing right now to make seating arrangements in Parliament, maintaining social distancing, the monsoon session is likely to be “very short”

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Parliament of India

With the resumption of Parliamentary standing committees, efforts are on to convene the monsoon session of Parliament, with a focus to clear ordinances brought by the Centre. Given the huge challenge both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats are facing right now to make seating arrangements in the Parliament, maintaining social distancing, the monsoon session is likely to be “very short”, suggest informed sources.

On June 5, the government brought ordinances that it claimed would be game changers. It amended the six-a-and-a-half decade old Essential Commodities Act, for ease of doing business with an objective to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses and onions, in bid to raise farmers’ income.

The Centre also brought the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 for “better management & sound regulation of Cooperative banks”, as well as the APMC tweaking with a goal of ‘One India, One Agriculture Market’. But the ordinances, that are crucial for Centre’s effort to boost the economy intake of the lockdown slump, need to be passed by Parliament. Monsoon session’s primary goal will be to get these ordinances okayed by the Parliament, at the earliest.

The treasury bench will also be ready to make a statement on the India-China border stand-off, that killed 20 Indian brave hearts, presuming that the opposition will press for it. The Centre may use the Parliament to send a “strong message of unity”, as far as LAC aggression was concerned.

However, given the monumental challenge the Parliament is facing to reconvene, it is unlikely that a detailed session with a full business transaction can take place.

Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have explored all possibilities including using a substitute venue like Vigyan Bhawan, to ensure seating with “do gaaz ki doori”, but none were big enough to accommodate the entire Indian Parliament, all together.

The capacity constraints have shot down any idea of a larger virtual session. In spite of Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu saying to “scale up capacities for larger virtual Parliament in due course”, Government sources suggest that is not going to happen immediately. Hence, sources say, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat is exploring seating members of the upper house in the house’s chamber as well as the galleries in conformity with the norm of physical distancing and to enable virtual participation of other members from either the Central Hall or Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament premises. The chamber and the galleries of the Rajya Sabha can accommodate 127 members while adhering to the physical distancing norms.

Meanwhile, “For enabling the viewing of participation of the members from outside the chamber of the House through virtual participation, it has been felt that screens need to be arranged both within the chamber of the House and outside as required,” sources said.

As for the Lok Sabha, the challenge is bigger, given the number of members is much higher than the upper house — 543 to be precise. Given that, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has held multiple meetings to brainstorm a solution that government’s need and opposition’s demand alike to bring a monsoon session without subjecting any member to health risks. The budget session this year was cut short abruptly on March 23, after one member Dushyant Singh came in contact with a COVID-19 positive singer. Singh later met other members, causing a sense of panic, with members like Trinamool leader Derek O’ Brien going into self quarantine.

But the treasury bench seems convinced it will find a solution and suggests it does not want to rush without adequate arrangements to keep the health consideration of all members in mind, amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic. The sense of government’s comfort also stems from the fact that the ordinances remain in force for six weeks after the Parliament is reconvened. Once it gathers, it must be approved by both Houses of Parliament for the ordinance to become a law.

So, the government does not find an immediate countdown to start for okaying the ordinances. However, sources in the government say, regardless of that, almost regular meetings are afoot to reconvene the Parliament, this monsoon.

India

Doctor dies by suicide at AIIMS Delhi hostel, fifth such death at hospital in 2 months

In the last two months, AIIMS-Delhi has registered five deaths by suicide – three by patients and two by doctors.

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AIIMS

Asecond-year medical student has died by suicide at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. The student, identified as Vikas, jumped off the roof of hostel number 19 at around 6 pm.

The police, in a statement, said that they received a call about a person jumping off the hostel roof at about 6 pm. “Upon reaching the spot, the injured person was promptly moved to the trauma centre and was given treatment. He was declared dead during treatment.”

The police identified the deceased as Vikas – a 22-year-old medical student from the 2018 batch. Vikas was a permanent resident of Bangalore.

According to the police, the doctor was earlier admitted to a psychiatry ward as a patient as he was experiencing some mental health issues.

The police also revealed that Vikas on duty on Monday and had taken a one-hour leave from the ward. During this break, he allegedly came to the hostel and jumped off the roof. Further inquiry is underway.

This is the fifth case of death by suicide at India’s premier medical institute since June 5.

On July 17, a 32-year-old man was found dead in the bathroom of the hospital’s emergency wing. A resident of Satna in Madhya Pradesh, he had come to the hospital for a follow up on his intestinal surgery conducted last year.

On July 10, a 25-year-old junior doctor had died by suicide at AIIMS-Delhi by jumping off the 10th floor of the hospital building. According to sources, the doctor was suffering from depression.

On July 6, a 37-year-old journalist, who was undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at AIIMS Delhi, had died after he jumped off the fourth floor of the hospital.

A month before that, on June 5, a 22-year-old man was found hanging from the railing of the second-floor staircase at AIIMS-Delhi. He was suspected to be suffering from depression.

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India

Yogi invokes NSA against Peace Party leader Dr Ayub

He was arrested from Gorakhpur on August 1, for issuing an advertisement with derogatory content in a newspaper.

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Dr Ayub Khan Peace Party

LUCKNOW: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against Dr Ayub, president of the Peace Party.

Ayub will not get bail for at least 12 months.

He was arrested from Gorakhpur on August 1, for issuing an advertisement with derogatory content in a newspaper. A complaint against him had been registered at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow.

Ayub, who is the founder of the Peace Party and was elected to the Vidhan Sabha in 2012, is now in Lucknow jail.

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Jitin Prasada urges Yogi to restore Parshuram Jayanti holiday

Parshuram Jayanti had earlier been declared a public holiday but when the Yogi government came to power, the holiday was cancelled.

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Jitin Prasada Congress UP

Former Union minister and senior UP Congress leader Jitin Prasada has written a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, urging him to declare a holiday on Parshuram Jayanti.

Parshuram Jayanti had earlier been declared a public holiday but when the Yogi government came to power, the holiday was cancelled.
In April 2017, the chief minister had cancelled 15 public holidays, including Parshuram Jayanti. The government also cancelled the birth and death anniversaries of several eminent people.

In his letter, Jitin Prasada, who has been leading a campaign against atrocities on the Brahmin community, said that Parshuram is revered as the Lord of Justice and is also seen as the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu.

He said that Parshuram is held in high esteem by the Brahmin community. Prasada has urged the chief minister to restore the holiday on Parshuram Jayanti.

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