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Parliament LIVE: Delhi’s Pollution Crisis Will be Key Focus on Day 2, JNU Protests May Also Get Discussed

Gaurav Gogoi

The 250th session of Rajya Sabha started on Monday and PM Narendra Modi addressed the House saying the Upper House comes second but it shouldn’t be made secondary as it has made some historic decisions.

New Delhi: The second day of Parliament’s Winter Session on Tuesday is expected to be action-packed with the pollution crisis in Delhi and neighboring states being the prime focus, and MPs discussing ways to combat the problem. Several crucial and controversial bills are also expected to be tabled on day two.

The 250th session of Rajya Sabha started on Monday and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the House saying the Upper House comes second but it shouldn’t be made secondary as it has made some historic decisions. The first day also saw massive protests by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and a showdown with police when they marched towards the Parliament. Here’s a look at key discussions on day 2 and developments from Monday:

• The Parliament’s Winter Session had a stormy start on Monday as the Opposition cornered the government over the situation in Kashmir. MPs from the Congress, National Conference, and the DMK protested in the well of the House against the instability in the Valley more than 100 days after the abrogation of Article 370.

• PM Modi said on Monday that the government is ready to discuss all issues in the Winter Session of Parliament. The winter session is from November 18 to December 13. During the session, which will be the last session of Parliament in 2019, there should be a high quality of debates in which all MPs should contribute, Modi said. “We are open to discussions on all issues,” he said addressing journalists at the Parliament complex ahead of the beginning of the session.

• The issue of JNU protests may get picked up on the second day after Binoy Viswam, leader of CPI Parliamentary Party and secretary, National Council, wrote to the Rajya Sabha chairman urging him to suspend the business of the House on Tuesday and take up the matter urgently. “On November 18, over 2,000 students had planned a peaceful protest march from the JNU to Parliament against the actions of the JNU administration. The students were manhandled and detained by the police, resulting in injuries to numerous students,” Viswam said, adding that the change in the university fees and hostel charges will affect all students, especially those belonging to vulnerable sections of society.

• Calling it a “black mark” on India’s democratic values, he said, “The assault on students of India’s premier educational institute threatens the very idea of education in India. I urge you to suspend the business of this House on November 19 and take the issue up urgently.”

• The government has listed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighboring countries, for passage in this session. The Modi government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure as well but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties, which criticized the bill as discriminatory on religious grounds. The legislation seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan if they have fled their respective country due to religious persecution.

• The government is also set to table Personal Data Protection Bill – which proposes to put a restriction on the use of personal data without the explicit consent of citizens – in the current session of Parliament. As per the proposal, hefty penalties on entities found violating the privacy of users will be imposed. The draft of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 – which is based on the recommendations of the government-constituted high-level panel headed by Justice BN Srikrishna – restricts and imposes conditions on the cross-border transfer of personal data, and suggests setting up of Data Protection Authority of India to prevent any misuse of personal information.

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