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Why can’t Parliament meet virtually, asks Jairam Ramesh

The leaders of both the Houses have met several times and discussed the issue on how to convene Parliament amid the Covid pandemic.

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Jairam Ramesh

New Delhi, Aug 4 : Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has kicked up a row by questioning the government over not convening the Parliament session and even comparing it to Pakistan.

Jairam Ramesh questioned, “How is it that even Pakistani Parliament can convene, but India, the world’s largest democracy and a tech-savvy nation can’t even meet virtually?”

Ramesh said that even parliamentary committees are not meeting virtually. “Not even smaller groups like parliamentary committees can meet virtually? What happened to Digital India?” he said.

The Congress has been demanding a Parliament session to discuss the current political situation and has been accusing the government of running away from parliamentary oversight.

The leaders of both the Houses have met several times and discussed the issue on how to convene Parliament amid the Covid pandemic.

The government is mulling options to adhere to the social distancing norms and convene the session. It is mandatory to convene a session once in six months but this time period has not passed yet as Parliament was in business till March 23. The stipulated six months will be over in September and the government has time, experts say.

The parliamentary committees have started meeting since July 10.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat is exploring seating for members of the Upper House in the chamber as well as the galleries in conformity with the physical distancing norms and to enable virtual participation of other members from either the Central Hall or the Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament premises for the monsoon session.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu had detailed discussions on various options for conducting the proceedings of the Upper Hhouse during the ensuing monsoon session of Parliament with the Secretary General and other senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

India

Akali Dal to submit memo to Punjab Governor on farm laws

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Sukhbir Singh Badal

Two lakh people will join three separate marches by farmers in 40,000 vehicles starting from all three Sikh religious ‘Takhts’ to Chandigarh on Thursday where the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will hand over a memorandum demanding revocation of the recently-passed agricultural laws to the central government through the Governor of Punjab.

SAD Senior Vice President Daljit Cheema said while party President Sukhbir Singh Badal would lead the march from Sri Akal Takht in Amritsar, former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal would lead the march from Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo and Prem Singh Chandumajra from Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib.

Giving details, the party spokesman said the march from Amritsar would travel via Jalandhar, Phagwara, Nawanshahr, Ropar, Kurali and Mullanpur before culminating in Chandigarh.

Cheema said while the March from Amritsar would start at 8 a.m., that from Talwandi Sabo would start at 8 a.m. and from Anandpur Sahib would start at 10 a.m.

–IANS

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PIL in SC seeking CBI probe in Hathras gang-rape and murder

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Supreme Court

A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking a CBI probe or SIT investigation under a sitting or former Supreme Court or High Court judge in the gruesome gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

The PIL has been filed by social activist Satyama Dubey and advocates Vishal Thakre and Rudra Pratap Yadav. The petitioners urged the apex court to pass appropriate order for a fair investigation – either by the CBI or the SIT under a sitting or retired judge of Supreme Court or High Court – and transfer the case to Delhi, as Uttar Pradesh authorities had failed to take certain actions against the accused.

The plea said the victim was first raped and then brutally assaulted, and according to a medical report, her tongue was chopped and her neck and back bones broken by the accused, who belonged to an upper caste. The victim succumbed to her injuries at Safdarjung hospital in Delhi.

The petitioner said on September 14, the accused persons raped and brutally assaulted the victim when she was in the fields to collect fodder for her cattle.

It also said that the police have said the victim’s cremation was being carried out as per the wishes of the family, which was not true, and the police personnel set fire to the body of the deceased, even as media persons were banned, as per the information received, said the plea.

The plea claimed the police did not perform their duties towards the victim, and were, instead, trying to shield the accused persons. “Because there was no arrest in this matter, the accused persons are moving freely and they have no fear at all… the family of the victim has been victimised by the upper caste persons and no action has been done by the authorities/police officials,” said the plea.

The plea has also cited the statement of the victim’s older brother, saying: “… I came to know about my sister being targeted by these men only when she recorded her statement. They told her if she didn’t submit to their ‘demands’, they would shoot her brother dead.”

The brother also added that the family was threatened when the victim was in hospital.

Source: IANS

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DJB water bill waiver extended till Dec due to Covid

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Corona-Virus

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the water bill waiver scheme of Delhi Jal Board has been extended by three months, till December 31.

“In wake of the pandemic, the water bill waiver scheme of the Delhi Jal Board has been further extended by three months and will now end
on December 31,” DJB Vice Chairman, Raghav Chadha, said in a tweet.

Director (Revenue) Paras Ram stated in a circular that the Chairperson Delhi Jal Board through an order dated September 23 has approved
extension of the scheme up to December 31.

The scheme involves waiver of 100 per cent Late Payment Surcharge (LPSC) amount and slab wise waiver on accumulated arrears depending on
categorization for House Tax in respect of all domestic (individual and bulk) and 100 per cent LPSC waiver for commercial consumers.

All revenue officers should give wide publicity to the scheme and ensure necessary action for raising bills as per scheme and wherever
possible, it added. The deadline has been extended several times before.

In August last year, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced a one-time water arrear waiver for over 13 lakh defaulting
consumers with functional meters in a bid to make consumers pay their pending bills.

The scheme will cover the consumers whose bills were pending till March 31, 2019. Under the scheme, 100 percent Late Payment Surcharge
(LPSC) waiver will be given to all the domestic as well as commercial consumers.

The rebate in principal amount will be on the basis of category of colonies. In Delhi, colonies are graded from categories A to H by the
municipal corporations for the purpose of imposing house tax. The E, F, G and H category areas will be completely exempted from paying the
pending bills till March 31, 2019.

A 75 percent exemption will be given to the consumers residing in D category areas. People living in C category will receive 50 percent
exemption while A and B category areas will be given exemption up to 25 percent on the water bills.

Consumers who will install the meter after the commencement of the scheme are required to submit an application intimating their Name,
Address, and document of meter installed to the respective Zonal Revenue Office. The form may be dropped in the “Meter Installation
Intimation Box” placed at the ZRO offices.

Source: IANS

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