The monsoon session of the Parliament, the first to be held since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, began on September 14. Both the chambers of the Indian parliament were integrated for this session, for the first time in Indian history.
Cabinet Minister @JoshiPralhad moves motion to suspend Question Hour and introduction of Private Members’ Business
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) September 14, 2020
This monsoon session of the Parliament was marked by the scrapping of the Question Hour, which was opposed strongly by members of the opposition on the first day of the session, including Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi from AIMIM and Berhampore MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from INC, who argued that this was strangling democracy.
The three recent ordinances relating to agriculture, which have received widespread opposition from farmer’s groups and civil society members for promoting the interests of agriculture businesses more than farmers, were replaced with similar bills, including the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. The Congress opposed the Bills, saying they will give ‘freedom to corporates to brutally exploit farmers and take away protection that minimum support price provides’. MPs from Left parties protested against the same in front of the Gandhi Statue in the Parliament.
The Parliament passed the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill and the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill. It is not clear what the “Indian system” of Medicine is and it can be suspected that these bills will promote unscientific medical practices, the likes of which have already been promoted by various BJP members.
During the Rajya Sabha Zero Hour, Samajwadi Party MP, raised the issue of the entertainment industry being harassed by social media. Congress MP KC Venugopal raised the issue of the Adani group winning bigs to operate and develop 6 airports, calling it a violation of norms and avoidance of the advice of various ministeries and departments, to give airports to a single private entity.
The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was passed by the Rajya Sabha, which amends the 1934 Act. The Bill seeks to change three regulatory bodies to statutory bodies which will be headed by a Director General appointed by the Centre, no doubt to allow the BJP-led government to ensure the implementation of business interests without interference.
Meanwhile, Union Labour Ministry ignored the crucial issue of the widespread deaths of migrants during the lockdown, saying that no question of compensation arises as there is no data on migrant deaths.
TMC MP Mahua Moitra pointed out the written answers given in Parliament, highlighting the need for a Question Hour.
Yesterday’s written answers in LS:
No date on migrant deaths
No data on compensation
No data on hit to unorganised sector
No data on state & sector wise COVID job losses
No data on ₹20 lakh cr infusion
Still No Need for Question Hour @BJP?
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) September 15, 2020