The 18-day monsoon session of the parliament began on the 14th of September, 2020. The uniqueness of this particular session highlights the no question hour and restricted zero hour in the parliament due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The session has been held under strict Covid-19 protocol. It started with many MP’s catching the unfortunate virus and even the Congress walking out of the Lok Sabha!
Though, this session of the parliament has been held under special circumstances, its importance is heightened. This monsoon session is the first after the nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This session enables the government to discuss and deliberate various issues pressing the country at hand.
On Day 4 of the parliament session, let’s understand what went down! The Lok Sabha passed two provoking legislation that is, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 through voice vote. Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture commented that these legislations aimed at making farming profitable and would not have any impact on the Minimum Support Price (MSP). It is to be noted that in the agrarian states of Haryana and Punjab, the farmers are on an indefinite protest since against the ordinances out of which one is passed by the lower house. While farmers are protesting against all three ordinances, their objections are mostly against the provisions of the first and it emerges that their concerns are mainly about sections relating to “trade area”, “trader”, “dispute resolution” and “market fee” in the first ordinance. (Source: Indian Express) While opposition parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress, RSP opposed the bills, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur, belonging to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which is a member of BJP-led NDA, resigned from the government in protest over the ordinances.
“I would like to assure Parliament that India will not step back from taking any harsh decision and that our forces are in a better position to retaliate,” Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister. Rajnath Singh addressed the Rajya Sabha and said that the Chinese troops do not recognise the traditional customary alignment of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India. The recent conduct of the PLA troops showed the disregard of bilateral relations of the two sides. He also commented that the timely action by India along the Pangong Tso restored the status quo. This was a much-needed speech on behalf of the Minister of Defence to provide clarity on the Indo-China Border dispute which has been going on for a while. During his address, Singh also said that China continues to illegally occupy a large area of Ladakh. He shared the area and figures for the same.
Rajya Sabha MP and PDP leader, Mir Mohammad Fayaz demanded the release of all political prisoners including PDP party chief, Mehbooba Mufti who is under house arrest for over a year. He raised this during the zero hour of the upper house.
These are the major issues that were discussed during the fourth day of the parliament.