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Rajya Sabha deputy chairman expresses displeasure over members stance



Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien today expressed his displeasure and anguish over display of what he said was lack of confidence in the chair by some members of the upper house.

“If you do not have confidence in me… if I cannot call a person to speak, why am I sitting here?” a visibly exasperated Kurien said after members from various parties, including the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress, raised objections when Kurien called CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury to speak on the Aadhaar Bill.

TMC’s Derek O’Brien questioned as to how the time allotted for the principal opposition Congress in the house was passed on to the Communist Party of India-Marxist members.

“Is it because of any deal?” Derek O’Brien asked and was countered strongly by Yechury and other Left members.

“I cannot take these insults,” Yechury said.

Read More: Uproar in Rajya Sabha, Left demands probe into sting operation

Earlier, Yechury and other opposition members like Naresh Agrawal of the Samajwadi Party objected to the government move to call the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, a “money bill”.

A piece of legislation declared as a “money bill” can be debated and discussed in the Rajya Sabha but not rejected by it. If the upper house votes amendments to it, but the Lok Sabha rejects these, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the houses in its original form.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, defended the status and said the Lok Sabha speaker’s ruling on the issue was binding on all.

The Aadhaar Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 11 with a voice vote after a brief debate.

Wefornews Bureau


Covid19: Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).



Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, April 7 : A day after her telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister on the fight against Covid-19, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting five measures to curb government “expenditure” and to divert money in fighting the deadly virus.

Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi #Covid19

🔴 Suspend all govt, PSU ads

🔴 Suspend Central Vista project

🔴 30% reduction in Expenditure Budget (not salaries) to use as economic safety net

🔴 Put all foreign visits on hold

🔴 Transfer money from PM CARES to PMNRF

Sonia Gandhi in her letter suggested to Scrap Central Vista project of approximately Rs 20000 crore, suspension of government advertisements and foreign visits of ministers and other dignitaries, and asked to divert the money to PMNRF from PM-CARES fund.

Sonia Gandhi in her letter wrote to convey her support to the decision taken by the Union Cabinet to reduce salaries for Members of Parliament by 30 per cent. Austerity measures which can be used to divert much needed funds to the fight against Covid-19 are the need of the hour, she said.

“In this spirit, I am writing to offer five concrete suggestions. I am certain you will find value in them.”

The first suggestion Sonia Gandhi made was to impose a complete ban on media advertisements – television, print and online – by the Government and Public Sectors Undertakings (PSUs) for a period of two years.

“The only exceptions should be advisories for Covid-19 or for issues relating to public health. Given that the Central Government currently spends an average of Rs 1250 crore per year on media advertisements (not including an equal or greater amount spent by PSUs and Government companies), this will free up a substantial amount to alleviate the economic and social impacts of Covid-19.” wrote Sonia Gandhi

The Congress President suggested to suspend Rs 20,000 crore ‘Central Vista’ beautification and construction project forthwith. “At a time like this, such an outlay seems self-indulgent to say the least. I am certain that Parliament can function comfortably within the existing historical building and this sum could instead be allocated towards constructing new hospital infrastructure and diagnostics along with equipping our frontline workers with Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) and better facilities.”

Proportionate reduction of 30 per cent in the expenditure budget (other than Salaries, Pensions and Central Sector Schemes) should be done for the Government of India as well. This 30 per cent (i.e. Rs 2.5 lakh crore per year approximately) can then be allocated towards establishing an economic safety net for migrant workers, labourers, farmers, MSMEs and those in the unorganised sector, wrote Sonia Gandhi

“All foreign visits including that of the President, the Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, State Ministers and Bureaucrats must be put on hold in a similar fashion,” she said.

The Exceptions can be made in case of special emergency or exigencies in national interest to be cleared by the PM. This amount (which is around Rs 393 crore for just the Prime Minister and Union Cabinet’s trips in the last five years) can be utilised extensively in measures to combat Covid-19, Sonia Gandhi added.

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).

“This will ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability and audit in the manner in which these funds are allocated and spent. It seems like a waste of effort and resources to have and create two separate silos for the distribution of funds. I understand that Rs 3800 crore approximately are lying unutilised in the PM-NRF (at the end of FY2019). These funds, plus the amount in ‘PM-Cares’, can be utilised to ensure an immediate food security net for those at the very margins of society.” wrote Sonia Gandhi.

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Kapil Sibal to PM Modi: You gave in to Trump’s threats

On Saturday, India had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which the country manufactures in large quantities.



Kapil Sibal

New Delhi, April 7 : Congress leader Kapil Sibal has slammed the Prime Minister for lifting temporary ban on hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol which are presumed as preventive life saving drug for front line workers against COVID-19.

Kapil Sibal said “Modiji :UPA remembers your advice on Chinese intrusions . You said Look them in the eye. But this was time to look Trump in the eye. But he threatened, you gave in. Where is the 56 inch chest ?” tweeted Sibal.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, party leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jaiveer Shergill on Tuesday slammed US President Donald Trump’s alleged threat to retaliate in case India did not supply a drug requested for by Trump to fight coronavirus.

Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said: “Never in my decades of experience in world affairs have I heard of a Head of State or government openly threatening another like this.”

“What makes Indian hydroxychloroquine ‘our supply’, Mr President? It only becomes your supply when India decides to sell it to you,” said Tharoor.

Trump called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and allegedly said that the US could “retaliate” if India did not release drug that he termed “game-changer” in the fight against Covid-19. On Saturday, India had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which the country manufactures in large quantities.

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MPs to get over Rs 1 lakh monthly allowance for one year





New Delhi, April 7 : All Members of Parliament (MPs) will be paid Rs 1.03 lakh per month for “constituency allowance” and “office expense” for a period of one year from April 1.

A gazette notification issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Tuesday said that the decision was taken under the Members of Parliament (Office Expense Allowance) Amendment Rules, 2020. A The order will come into effect from April 1, 2020 and will be implemented till March 31, 2021.

The move followed the Union Cabinet’s nod to an ordinance cutting salaries of the Prime Minister, all Ministers and sitting MPs by 30 per cent for one year in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and also to suspend the MP Local Area Development Schemes (MPLADS) for two years.

Of the Rs 1.03 lakh, the MPs will receive an amount of Rs 49,000 as “constituency allowance” and Rs 54,000 for “office allowance”. Of the 54,000, the MPs will be paid Rs 14,000 for meeting the expenses of stationery items and postage and Rs 40,000 for a person that will be engaged by the MP for obtaining secretariat assistance.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (f) of sub-section (3) of section 9 of the Salary,Allowance and Pension of Member of Parliament Act, 1954 (30 of 1954), the Joint Committee, after consultation with the Central government, hereby makes the following rules further to amend the Members of Parliament (Constituency Allowance) Rules, 1986 and (Office Expense Allowance) Rules, 1988, which have been approved and confirmed by the Chairman of the Council of States and the Speaker of the House of the People has required under sub-section (4) of that section,” the notification said.

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