By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, Dec 13 | The winter session of the Lok Sabha registered 116 per cent productivity, one of the highest compared to the previous monsoon session, and broke many records, but concluded on a sour note on Friday due to an uproar following Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “Rape in India” remark.
The Lok Sabha Speaker “for the first time” faced disturbance during his valedictory remarks because of commotion on the concluding day of the winter session which commenced on November 18 and provided 20 sittings spread over a period of 26 days that included 130 hours and 45 minutes.
Amid the din, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House sine die mentioning the House introduced 18 Bill and passed 14 and that “the productivity of the House was approximately 116 per cent”.
Hitting out at Gandhi over his “rape in India” remark at a press briefing, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said he has been in the House for years and this was the “first time when the Speaker was trying to make his valedictory remarks and he was disturbed.”
“It is unfortunate. And also the statement of Mr Rahul Gandhi on ‘Rape in India’ is an insult to all women.”
He sought the Congress’ apology on Gandhi’s behalf, saying “I am quite sure and confident that Rahul Gandhi doesn’t have any sense. So, he will not react. Congress party has some sense, its president or some senior leader of the party should express regret.”
“This is condemnable. What message do they want to send to the international community? His ‘rape in India’ remarks are highly derogatory at a time when Prime Minister is talking about ‘Make in India’.”
The Lok Sabha Speaker had to adjourn the House sine die after two short adjournments due to a ruckus after the treasury benches attacked Gandhi over his “rape in India” remark.
Gandhi made the remarks during a public rally in Jharkhand’s Godda district on Thursday in a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over crimes against women, saying: “the Prime Minister had launched ‘Make in India’ but, nowadays, it is ‘Rape in India’.”
The issue was raised by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal after the Lok Sabha Speaker paid tributes to the security personnel who sacrificed their lives in the December 13, 2001 Parliament attack when the House assembled for the day.
It followed a heated attack from BJP members, including Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani.
While adjourning the House sine die, the Speaker said the House passed major Bills including the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, SPG (Amendment) Bill, Chit Fund (Amendment) Bill, and the Arms (Amendment) Bill.
Besides, the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories), Bill, the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, Advertisement) Bill, and National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Public Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill.
The Lok Sabha also passed the Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill, 2019 to extend the reservation of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) for the next 10 years up to January 25, 2030.
Other Bills passed by the House include the National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Recycling of Ships Bill, Appropriation (No 3) Bill, the International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill and the Central Sanskrit University Bill.
A total of 364 matters of public importance were raised during the session. Of which, 121 were raised in the House while 243 were tabled.
The House assembled two short duration discussions on “Air Pollution and Climate Change” and “Crop Loss and its Impact on Farmers”.
During the session, First Batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2019-20 were also discussed and approved.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)