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Thursday,22-October-2020

National News

Rajya Sabha passes two agriculture Bills amid pandemonium

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The Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed two agriculture-related Bills amid a pandemonium due to protests by opposition members.

The Upper House gave the nod to The 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, as opposition MPs continued to shout slogans during their passage. Some lawmakers even staged a walkout in protest.

Earlier, replying to the debate on the Bills, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured the House that the Minimum Support Price regime will not be scrapped. Some of the amendments moved by the opposition lawmakers were not pressed for voting while those pressed for voting were negated.

The opposition also demanded that the Bills be sent to the Select committee of the Upper House but it was not accepted by the government.

Earlier, the House witnessed unruly scenes when TMC MP Derek O’Brien went near the Chair and tried to snatch a mike while citing from the rule book. When his objections were overruled, an aggressive Derek O’Brien tore the rule book by calling the Bills “Kala Kanoon” or black laws, leading to adjournment of the House for a brief period.

The Trinamool leader was also heard saying: “You cannot do this” to the Chair. At one point in time, the aides of the Deputy Chair, who was conducting the House proceedings, had to come forward to shield him.

Despite repeated requests, many opposition members reached the Well of the House to register their protests.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that discussion on the Bills be continued on Monday. “To decide this, we should go by the consensus among the members, not by the numbers of the ruling party,” Azad said.

The opposition as well as BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal termed the Bills an “anti-farmers” move by the Centre, with some staging a walkout.

Thousands of farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting since the government introduced these Bills in the Lok Sabha on September 14, the opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The Bills seek to replace the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 promulgated on June 5.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to provide a new ecosystem in which farmers and traders, as per the government, will enjoy freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of their produce and facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter- and intra-state trade and commerce.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, aims to provide a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers.

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PM Narendra Modi lauds Amit Shah on his birthday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday lauded the “dedication and excellence” of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in India’s progress.

The Prime Minister expressed his views while extending wishes to Shah on his 56th birthday.

“Birthday wishes to Amit Shah ji. Our nation is witnessing the dedication and excellence with which he is contributing towards India’s progress,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

The Prime Minister recalled Shah’s “noteworthy” efforts to make the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stronger and wished: “May God bless him with a long and healthy life in service of India”.

Shah, who is currently serving as the Union Minister of Home Affairs, served as the President of the BJP from 2014 to 2020. He was elected to the Lower House of Parliament in the 2019 Indian general elections from Gandhinagar constituency.

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National News

Lalu Prasad hits out at Nitish and Sushil Modi again

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Neither can you take Lalu Prasad out of Bihar politics nor Bihar out of the RJD supremo, who though in Ranchi jail has been closely monitoring and directing the action in the Assembly poll campaign.

On Thursday, he slammed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi as Mukhya Mauka Mantri (Chief Opportunist Minister) and up-mukhya dhokha mantri (Deputy Chief Deceive Minister) while referring to a cartoon uploaded from his tweeter handle.

“People have given many opportunities to you but you have only deceived them,” he said.

In the cartoon, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi can be seen urging voters to give them one more chance and the public saying: “how many more you need?”

Four days back, Lalu Prasad had taken another jibe at the Nitish Kumar government in a similar Twitter post in which the Chief Minister had tried to make an excuse of the fact that Bihar is not a maritime state and hence misses out on trade and commerce.

He also suggested that Nitish Kumar should retire and call it quits as he has toiled enough.

Like in 2019 parliamentary elections, the Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo is not present in person to campaign for his party in the Bihar assembly election starting October 28, but is monitoring every single step his son Tejashwi Yadav is taking.

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Delhi High Court slams AAP government over fund scarcity in district courts

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for not providing funds to meet the basic requirements of the lower courts, which, it said, generate huge revenues through collection of fines, court fees and traffic challans.

“What do you want? You want to kill the goose that lays golden eggs,” a division bench of the high court comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad asked the Delhi government.

The question came in after the bench was informed that in the year 2018-19, the district courts had collected fines to the tune of Rs 80 crore, which was remitted to the Delhi government, and court fees worth Rs 96 crore was sold in the said year.

“In the year 2019-20, fines worth Rs 89 crore was collected by the district courts and court fees worth Rs 102 crore was sold. Between 01.07.2019 and 12.10.2020, traffic fines to the tune of Rs 115 crore have been collected by the virtual traffic courts and deposited with the Delhi government,” officer on special duty (OSD), Reetesh Singh, said while appearing before the bench.

Following these submissions, the bench said, “Despite the aforesaid revenues generated by the district courts over the past three years, they are being starved of finances for the basic facilities required to run the courts efficiently, which cannot be countenance. Any obstruction in the discharge of constitutional function of the courts must be viewed seriously.”

In order to meet the requirements of the 119 cars pending at the end of the Delhi government, the bench directed it to start with releasing funds for purchasing 20 per cent of the required pool cars, which will come to 23 cars, within three months from Wednesday.

The bench further noted that as 150 judicial officers are due to be posted in the next couple of months and their courts cannot be made functional without adequate support staff, it directed the Delhi High Court to release the required sum of Rs 2,52,10,178 from its budget to the district courts without any delay.

However, the same was done with a condition that the said amount shall be returned to the Delhi High Court immediately using funds being made available by the Delhi government to the district courts, an exercise to be completed on or before December 31, 2020.

The bench said, “Thank god we have our own funds. You (Delhi government) are making the subordinate judiciary run from pillar to post.”

The court was hearing a petition seeking to enlarge the functioning of the courts, particularly family courts, in the prevalent times.

The petition sought direction to all the family courts to allow recording of evidence via video conferencing during the restricted functioning of the courts owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, either by the presiding judge of the family court or by a commission.

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