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Opposition questions extending RS sitting ‘without’ following norms

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New Delhi: Opposition parties Wednesday slammed “bypassing” of rules and procedure in extending the current winter session by a day in Rajya Sabha saying the members were neither informed nor their consent taken for the move. Congress, TMC and AIADMK members cited rule book to criticise the extension.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh said that it may be considered his “personal lapse” and a “lapse in his understanding” in not conveying at the time of adjourning proceedings on Tuesday that the sitting of the House has been extended by a day.

He said the extension of the sitting of the House was on agenda of the BAC meeting of Tuesday after a request was received from the government.

 

BAC minuted acceptance of the request, he said adding when he on Tuesday adjourned the proceedings of the House till 11 am on Wednesday, it was “implied” that the sitting of the House has been extended by a day.

“If it was not communicated (in so many words), please consider it owing to my personal lapse and a lapse in my understanding,” he said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley conceded the rules provide for taking a sense of the House for extending the sitting but added “We don’t question the ruling of the chair.”

The government, on the other hand, maintained that the Chairman was within his rights to extend the sitting in view of important legislation, including the one to provide 10 per cent reservation in educational institutions and government jobs to poor from upper castes, pending.

When the House met for the extended one day on Wednesday, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) cited Rule 12 of Rajya Sabha to state that the sitting can be extended by the Chairman after making an announcement in the House and the change being published in the Rajya Sabha Bulletin.

“No announcement from the Chairman was made,” he said adding no one was questioning the power of the chairman to extend the session but that the rules were not followed.

He said the issue was an utter disregard of parliamentary procedures and the session being extended “illegally”. Anand Sharma (Cong) said no one is challenging the right of the government but that the House has to be run by rules.

No decision on extending the sitting of the House was taken at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting and no time was allocated, he said adding this is the first time that there is no dialogue between the government and the opposition on that matter.

It is the government’s responsibility to take opposition into confidence for the smooth running of the House, he said. “The Government has not taken the initiative to run the House.”

Sharma said it is the established practice in Rajya Sabha that no bill be brought without the scrutiny of parliamentary committees but this was not being followed.

Sensitive bills are being brought bypassing Parliament scrutiny and treating the House as a rubber stamp, he said. S R Balasubramoniyan (AIADMK) said rules provide for variations in the sitting of the House to be done by taking a sense of the House but that it was not done in case of extending winter session of the House by a day.

Jaitley said since important legislations were pending, the sitting of the House was extended.

“We don’t question the ruling of the Chair,” he said. The House had not functioned on normal days and so it was decided to have one extra day, he said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said members should have been concerned about half of the 20 days of the session being washed out in pandemonium.

It is the right of the government to change or increase sitting of the House, he said, adding the decision to extend the House was first taken at the BAC meeting and then the Chairman holding an informal meeting with leaders of opposition parties.


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Pramod Sawant sworn in as 11th Goa CM

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Mumbai : Vijai Sardesai from the Goa Forward Party and Sudin Dhavalikar from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both alliance partners, have been inducted as Deputy Chief Ministers, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik told reporters on the sidelines of the oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
Sawant, 45, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at a formal ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan in the early hours of Tuesday.
Apart from Sawant and the two deputy Chief Ministers, nine other MLAs, all of them who were part of the previous BJP-led coalition cabinet headed by Parrikar, were also administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor and inducted as ministers in the state cabinet.
The Chief Minister said portfolios would be allotted to his ministers within eight days.
Sawant succeeds former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday due to complications arising from advanced pancreatic cancer.
The new Chief Minister heads a coalition government which has the support of 12 MLAs from the BJP, three each from the Goa Forward and MGP, and two independent MLAs, taking the tally of the treasury benches to 20 in the 36-member state legislative assembly.
“Parrikar is not among us now and this responsibility has been given collectively to me by my party, alliance partners and independent MLAs. This is a big responsibility,” Sawant told reporters soon after he was sworn in.
“I am committed to the development of Goa and to take forward the teachings of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with a positive outlook,” Sawant also said, adding that he would focus on completing all infrastructure related projects started by his predecessor.
He was sworn in after a marathon session of hectic negotiations anchored by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP national president Amit Shah, who over a series of meetings, spanning more than 24 hours, with legislators from regional parties and independent MLAs forged a coalition together.

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2008 Mumbai attacks one of the ‘most notorious’ terrorist attacks: China

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Mumbai/Beijing: In a rare acknowledgment, China described the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistan-based LeT terror outfit as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”.
In a white paper on its massive crackdown against terrorists in the restive Xianjiang province, China said the global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years had inflicted agony on humanity.
The paper described the Mumbai terror attacks as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”, adding that the “global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years has inflicted agony on humanity”.
The release of the paper, “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang”, interestingly coincided with Pakistan foreign minister’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to China.
Throughout the world, terrorism and extremism gravely threaten peace and development, and endanger the life and property of individuals, said the white paper released by China’s State Council Information Office.
The paper came days after China for the fourth time blocked a bid in the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to designate Pakistan-based chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by putting a technical hold on the proposal, a move India termed as disappointing.
The JeM has claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead and escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.
“Striking aggressively at terrorism and furthering the de-radicalisation effort is the common responsibility of the international community and essential to the protection of human rights,” it said.
China opposes all forms of terrorism and extremism, and opposes double standards on fighting terrorism, said the white paper, adding that Beijing opposes linking terrorism and extremism with specific countries, ethnic groups or religions.
China advocates comprehensive measures to address both the symptoms and the root causes, with the dual purposes of striking at terrorist activities and eliminating poverty, so that there will be no room for terrorism to breed, it said.

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Pak did not do a favour by returning Abhinandan, says Sitharaman

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Mumbai: Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.

“It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kolkata on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, the minister said.

 

On February 26, the IAF conduct air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps. The strikes came after a suicide bomber from the terror group on February 14 rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, killing 40 personnel, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Modi did what former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not do after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, possibly because of Pakistan’s continued propaganda that “it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them”, she said.

“‘Chowkidar’ gave Pakistan the right answer,” she said.

The defence minister said though there is no direct war being waged between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.

Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot. There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.

“So, not to wage war but to neutralise the terrorists at their training camps. They were eliminated (at Balakot),” she said, adding, India did what Pakistan ought to have done.

Sitharaman said Pakistan claims it is a victim of terrorism, but itself trains and sends them to India.

“Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim?” she asked.

The minister said that after the Pulwama attack, evidence was given to Pakistan, but it did not act.

Noting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed itself claimed responsibility for the strike, she said, “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”

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