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Parliament Monsoon session: Appropriation Bills passed in LS; Opposition parties slam govt over economic situation

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Here are the highlights from Day 4 of the Parliament Monsoon Session on September 17.

Parliament Monsoon session: Appropriation Bills passed in LS; Opposition parties slam govt over economic situation
Here are the live updates from the Parliament Monsoon Session today:
Excess grants for 2020-21 and 2016-17 have been passed by a voice vote in Lok Sabha. The Appropriation Bills too have been passed. House is adjourned until Saturday 3 pm.
  • FM says money transferred to states is more than Centre's gross tax revenue
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on September 18 that the additional resources sought as part of the first demand for excess grants is being used for "people-centric activity" and "schemes like the PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana". "The total transfer to states exceeds the centre's gross tax revenue -- it is at 107%," she added.
    • FM replies to arguments against supplementary demand for Rs 2.35 lakh crore grant
    • In her rely on supplementary demand for Rs 2.35 lakh crore grant in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, the net cash outgo in this supplementary demand for grants is one of the highest ever. The additional resources in this first supplementary demand for grants is going to people-centric activities. Rs 1.66 lakh crore outgo is for meeting SDRF, health and Food subsidy and credit guarantee scheme. MNREGA has an additional demand of Rs 40,000 crore over and above the budget allocation. Highest spend of Rs 1 lakh crore is happening this year for MNREGA.
      • Lok Sabha extended until 10 pm
        • Opposition parties slam government over economic situation, lack of data on migrant deaths
        • The Narendra Modi government was in for some bashing on September 18 from the Opposition over the current economic condition of the country, lack of transparency over migrant deaths and other failures. BSP MP Ritesh Pandey criticised the Centre over poor management of the coronavirus pandemic. He said in the Lok Sabha, "This government has got COVID-19 as a blessing in disguise. The government can now blame all its policy failures on this Act of God. But people shouldn't forget that failure of once-promising economy is not an act of god but an act of bad governance."
          Moreover, TMC MP Saugata Roy said that the Centre needs to focus on reviving the economy and that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "should show the way out of this dark tunnel". "Demand-side interventions are required. Government should allocate more funds to schemes like MNREGA. There are formulas available to revive the economy but government is busy selling airports. Finance Minister should show us way out of this dark tunnel," he said.
          Adding that the weak state of economy was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Roy stressed that the "economy was in a downward spiral even before the pandemic struck".
          • Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticises BJP for seeking supplementary grants
          • Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticised the government for seeking supplementary grants and accused the Centre of a "complete breach of trust" over revenue sharing with state governments. "There has been a complete breach of trust by the Centre when it comes to revenue sharing with the States. This is completely unacceptable. States are being told to relinquish their rights to collect taxes," he said.
            • BJP seeks supplementary grant of Rs 2.35 lakh crore in Lok Sabha
            • Stating that a 'huge' amount has been allocated in the battle against COVID-19, the BJP has sought an additional sum of Rs 2.35 lakh crore in the Lok Sabha on September 18. In the discussion for the grants, BJP MP Jayant Sinha claimed that as the number of job demands under MGNREGA has fallen from 6 crore to below 2 crore and stressed that the "the economy is recovering", thanks to 'Unlock' guidelines issued by the government.
              Arguing in favour of the supplementary grants, BJP MP Jayant Sinha said, "We have been able to stabilise the economy, RBI's role cannot be ignored. The government, in coordination with the RBI, has maintained the credit market well. In India, the rupee has appreciated against the dollar. The world.has confidence in our leadership. Other indicators of economy have shown growth. We know that oil prices in world market are the lowest, so funds have been allocated for creating more oil reserves."
              He added: "We are seeking supplementary demand for Rs.2.35 lakh crore, in which huge amounts have been allocated for meeting expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The impact of expenses incurred is that right now we are conducting 10 lakh tests per day for Covid-19, work on vaccine candidates are under way, Covid care centres have been set up, ventilators are being manufactured. In 70 days, we have provided 50,000 ventilators. We should praise and thank the frontline workers."
              • BJP's Anurag Thakur apologises, Lok Sabha reconvenes
              • The Lower House resumed proceedings at 6 pm, and Speaker Om Birla addressed MPs and appealed them to maintain decorum. He acknowledged the Opposition's allegation that he was favouring MPs of the Treasury Benches, and said that he was not partial towards anyone. He sought an apology from Thakur over his controversial remarks, about the PMNRF fund being made "only for the Gandhi family". Thakur finally apologised. Nonetheless, BJP MP Jayant Sinha took up the discussion on the supplementary demand for grants for 2020-21. He praised Narendra Modi for the COVID-19 response and said that the supplementary demands for grants is a manifesto for "Aatma nirbharta".
                • Lok Sabha adjourned once again, until 6 pm
                • The Lok Sabha reconvened at 5.30 pm, but was adjourned almost immediately as the Opposition continued to raise slogans demanding an apology from BJP's Anurag Thakur for his remarks against the Gandhi family over the PM Cares Fund. The Chair appealed Opposition MPs to pay heed to COVID-19 precautions and allow House proceedings, failing which, the House was adjourned until 6 pm.
                  • Lok Sabha adjourned for third time until 5.30 pm
                  • Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned until 5.30 pm on Friday following ruckus by the Opposition over controversial remarks by BJP's Anurag Thakur. As the House reassembled at 5 pm, opposition members continued to demand that Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur apologise for making remarks on the Gandhi family. Rama Devi, who was chairing the proceedings of the House then adjourned it for 30 minutes. The ruckus began during the introduction of the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020. After speaking for some time, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said her deputy Thakur will talk about the PM-CARES Fund. Thakur alleged that the Congress had misused the PM Relief Fund, following which Congress members walked out of the House.
                    The PM Cares Fund is not being introduced by Narendra Modi in April 2020, is not being audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India as the BJP claims is consists of private donations and not public funds.
                    • What BJP's Anurag Thakur said about Gandhi family
                    • The Congress raised objections in the Lok Sabha over MoS Finance Anurag Thakur's comment that the PMNRF fund was made "only for the Gandhi family". The Lower House was adjourned till 5 pm amid ruckus over the remark, despite the controversy surrounding the PM Cares Fund, which PM Modi created when the COVID-19 pandemic hit India.
                      Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was introducing the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, which seeks to provide the same tax treatment to PM Cares Fund as available to Prime Minister National Relief Fund.
                      • Lok Sabha adjourned until 5 pm amid ruckus over Anurag Thakur's remarks on PM Cares Fund
                      • As the Lok Sabha reconvened and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attempted to introduce '​The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020', the Opposition raised slogans against MoS Finance Anurag Thakur and demanded an apology from Thakur for his comments on PMNRF and the Gandhi family. The Lok Sabha was earlier adjourned for 30 minutes over controversial remarks made by Thakur.
                        • Lok Sabha adjourned after ruckus over BJP's Anurag Thakur PM CARES Fund remark
                        • The Lower House has been adjourned for 30 minutes after Opposition MPs took objection to BJP MP Anurag Thakur's remarks on the PM CARES Fund. Thakur, MoS Finance, in a response to the Opposition's argument over the PM CARES Fund said that the MPs questioning it were "against every move the government takes".
                          "Your intentions are wrong," he said, after which MPs raised objections. Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slammed Thakur for "politicising the issue".
                          • Nirmala Sitharaman introduces Taxation and Other Laws Bill
                          • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, which attracted strong opposition from Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, AM Arif, Sougata Roy. The Bill, seeks to replace an ordinance and extend the deadline for paying taxes and duties in view of COVID-19 pandemic. The Bill also seeks to provide the same tax treatment to PM CARES Fund as available to Prime Minister National Relief Fund, which is what the Congress leaders are opposed to, as the PM Cares Fund lacks transperancy. Opposition MPs questioned the need for a new fund and asked why was it not being audited by CAG, since it is a public fund and sought more transperancy.
                            • Mandatory daily antigen test for reporters, Parliament staff
                            • Amid fresh cases of coronavirus among MPs, reporters and parliamentary staff entering the Parliament complex will have to undergo mandatory antigen test on a daily basis, according to a new protocol put in place. Members of both Houses are undergoing RT-PCR test on regular intervals on a voluntary basis, said a senior Parliament official. A member of Parliament can undergo RT-PCR test as many times he or she likes. Journalists covering the Monsoon session from press galleries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also have the option to undergo the RT-PCR test which is valid for 72 hours. Since the report of the much reliable RT-PCR takes time, antigen test has been made mandatory on a daily basis.
                              • Parliament on Friday passed a bill to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs by 30 percent "to meet the exigencies arising out of COVID-19 pandemic".
                              • Rajya Sabha passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020. It had got the approval of Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The bill was introduced in the upper house by Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Thursday.  The upper house also passed the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which proposes to reduce the salaries and allowances of ministers by 30 per cent for a year, to meet the exigencies arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy moved the bill. Both the bills were taken up simultaneously and passed by voice vote.
                                • Congress govt had made the APMC Act in favour of farmers. But now, any big trader can open a Mandi & under these new anti-farmer Bills, any dispute at Mandi will be handled by officials. All these anti-farmer 4 ordinances should be seen in totality: Digvijaya Singh, Congress Leader
                                  • Rajya Sabha passes Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill 2020.
                                    • Rajya Sabha passes Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                      • Raising another issue during the Zero Hour, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) demanded 90 percent representation in jobs to residents of the state in local enterprises, saying at present there is an unequal representation of states in Central government jobs. In the recently conducted exams in the state for various central government undertakings including Chennai Petrol, the percentage of locals was minimum, he said. In Tamil Nadu alone, 84 lakh people have registered themselves with employment exchanges and the percentage of unemployment was 7.6 percent despite the youth there being qualified and securing top ranks in the UPSC, he said. He also noted that highly qualified people had applied for the post of sanitary workers due to high unemployment in the state.
                                        • A member of the House called the reform and regulation of the Indian systems of medicine being undertaken through the bills, as promoting 'quackery'. I am pained by the use of this word: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in Rajya Sabha.
                                          • Most Bills have taken state govt powers, says DMK MP: This is one more attempt of this government to strike at roots of federalism. From the day they assumed office, most Bills passed have taken away powers of state governments: DMK MP T Siva in RS, on Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill and Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill.
                                            • Liquor mafia operating in Punjab, Centre should probe, says Cong MP in RS: Charging that a liquor mafia was operating in Punjab under political patronage, a Congress MP from the state on Friday demanded the Centre's intervention and probe into the matter through the CBI or independent agencies. Congress MP Shamsher Singh Dullo raised the matter during the Zero Hour in the Upper House of Parliament, saying "no action" has been taken in the matter despite 136 people losing their life in the state recently after consuming spurious liquor. Dullo said, in the recent hooch tragedy in the state, 150 people were hospitalised in addition to 136 deaths. While several people have turned blind after drinking spurious liquor, kidneys of many have been impacted but no action has been taken against the perpetrators of the crime, he said, demanding compensation for the family of those killed and impacted. He charged that the "liquor mafia in the state was operating under political patronage" and there was a police nexus.
                                              • Congress MP K Muraleedharan moves notice of Adjournment Motion in Lok Sabha on GST compensation to the states.
                                                • Congress MP Gives Adjournment Notice in Lok Sabha: Congress MP Manickam Tagore has given adjournment notice in Lok Sabha 'to discuss about the need to initiate probe over Facebook's alleged interference in the country's electoral democracy.'
                                                  • Sanjay Raut gives zero hour notice in Rajya Sabha: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has given Zero Hour notice in Rajya Sabha over farmers' agitation over ban on the export of onion.
                                                    • CPI(M) MP KK Ragesh has given Zero Hour notice in Rajya Sabha over non-payment of GST compensation to states.
                                                      • BJP MP Ashok Bajpai has given Zero Hour notice in Rajya Sabha over 'the issue of missing children.'
                                                        • Rajya Sabha adjourned for 30 minutes: Rajya Sabha proceedings were on Friday adjourned for 30 minutes till 9.35 am as a mark of respect to sitting member Ashok Gasti and former nominated member Kapila Vatsyayan, who passed away recently. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu read out obituary references for Gasti as well as Vatsyayan. Gasti, who represented Karnataka, was a first time Rajya Sabha member. He had taken oath on June 26 this year and could not even participate in the proceedings of the House, he said. Gasti passed away on September 17 at the age of 55, while Vatsyanan, who served the House twice, died on September 16 at the age of 91. Members stood in silence after the obituary references were readout. Naidu adjourned the proceedings of the House for 30 minutes as a mark of respect to the memory of the departed. Traditionally, the proceedings of the House are adjourned for the day when a sitting member dies. However, in view of the short 18-day session being held under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proceedings were adjourned for 30 minutes.
                                                          • Parliament schedule for Friday, September 18:
                                                          • Lok Sabha: Bills to be introduced
                                                            -The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020
                                                            Bills for consideration and passing
                                                            -The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                                            -The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020.
                                                            -The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020
                                                            Rajya Sabha
                                                            Obituary reference
                                                            Bills for consideration and passing
                                                            -The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020
                                                            -The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                                            -The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                                            -The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020
                                                            -The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

                                                            Here are the main highlights from the Day 4 of the Parliament session
                                                            • Farm Bills passed in Lok Sabha, Cong and DMK walkout during Bill passage
                                                            • 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 have been passed. Lok Sabha has been adjourned until 3 pm on September 17.
                                                              • Voting begins on farm Bills in Lok Sabha
                                                              • Voting begins on 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. Members of Congress and DMK walk out during bill passage.
                                                                • Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigns in protest against farm Bills
                                                                • Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) member and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has resigned from the Narendra Modi government in protest against the new farm Bills being pushed in Parliament. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal informed the Lok Sabha about the development. Congress MPs from Punjab earlier in the day burnt copies of the farm Bills inside the Parliament complex even as the party staged a protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue. The Congress is opposed 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 that the NDA government has proposed in Parliament during the ongoing monsoon session, replacing the ordinances issued by it earlier.
                                                                  • Farmer organisations protest against Ordinances
                                                                  • Farmer organisations in Punjab have decided to intensify their protest against the Centre's three farm-related Bills and have said that they would stop trains in the state from September 24 to 26. "We have decided to hold a 'rail roko' agitation from September 24 to 26 in the state against the farm bills," said Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher.
                                                                    • AITC's Mahua Moitra says 'I vehemently oppose the Bills'
                                                                    • "I vehemently oppose the Bills", said AITC MP Mahua Moitra. "Behind every single new Bill, Bill replacing another ordinance, is the singular sinister motive of this government to destroy fedralism, to undermine the authority of states and to encroach illegally into every subject included in the state list," she said.
                                                                      • Opposition says no to farmers' Bills, says farmers will be forced to enter agreement with middlemen
                                                                      • AITC MP Kalyan Banerjee says that farmers' Bills are unconstitutional. "In our state, we have the West Bengal Agriculture Produce Marketing Regulation Act, 1972. The Bills allow enterprises and middlemen to force marginal farmers to enter into an agreement forcefully. Banerjee added that making an agreement under contract employment of the Bills will be an "agreement" between two unequal parties."
                                                                        • Congress, RSM oppose Farmers' Bill as discussions begin in Lok Sabha
                                                                        • As soon as discussions began on farmers' Bill in the Lok Sabha, Congress MP from Ludhiana Ravneet Singh Bittu opposed it and said, "If we talk about provisions… it is not your domain, why are you dealing with it? Will you bring everything under the ambit of Parliament?" Similarly, RSM MP from Kerala NK Premachandran said: "My humble submission to the government is that the bills be sent to the standing committee for scrutiny, otherwise, it will be another disaster for the farming community in India. Ordinances are promulgated under extra-ordinary circumstances. I ask what is the urgency for the Ordinances? The reasons given by the government cite COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown and to protect the livelihood of farmers. But these ordinances promote contract farming. How will the government justify this?"
                                                                          • 3 Bills to be taken up in Lok Sabha on September 17
                                                                          • Three Bills will be taken up in the Lok Sabha on September 17:
                                                                            The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020
                                                                            The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020.
                                                                            The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
                                                                            • Less than 3% people in tribal-dominated districts are COVID-19 positive, govt claims in RS
                                                                            • Less than 3 percent population in 177 tribal-dominated districts in the county has been detected as positive for coronavirus, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda also told the Upper House that so far, there has been "no report of a major outbreak of the disease in tribal areas". Citing a recent study conducted by IIT Delhi, the minister said, Less than 3 percent of the population in 177 districts with 25 percent tribal population or more has been detected as corona positive. The minister also said the COVID response team of his ministry has formulated a pandemic response plan to protect the livelihoods and health of Scheduled Tribes. The same has been approved by the Secretary, Tribal Affairs, and circulated among various stakeholders for necessary action. States and Union Territories have been asked to utilize funds from state-tribal sub plans and submit a comprehensive proposal on these lines under various schemes of the ministry, he said.
                                                                              • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on India-China border tensions in Rajya Sabha: Chinese actions on the ground don't match diplomatic assurances, Singh told RS. He added that the Indian troops did not allow the Chinese forces to transgress the Indian territory in South Pangong. The Defence Minister further said that India will not shy away from taking tough decisions if needed. We have made substantial counter deployments and our armed forces will deal with any eventuality successfully.
                                                                                • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on India-China border tensions in Rajya Sabha: Chinese actions reflect a disregard of our various bilateral agreements. The amassing of the troops by China goes against the 1993 and 1996 agreements, he adds.
                                                                                  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh giving a statement on India-China border tensions in Rajya Sabha: On 15 June, Col Santosh Babu, along with his 19 brave soldiers, made the supreme sacrifice in Galwan Valley towards the cause of defending the territorial integrity of India. Our PM himself went to Ladakh to boost the morale of forces, said Defence Minister in Rajya Sabha. China claims approximately 90,000 sq. kms. of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.
                                                                                    • Kejriwal terms three farming-related bills 'anti-farmer', says the party will vote against them in Parliament: Terming three bills related to agriculture "anti-farmer", AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday demanded that the Centre withdraw them, saying his party will vote against the bills in Parliament. The AAP has three Rajya Sabha MPs and one Lok Sabha MP. "The three bills related to farming and farmers brought in the Parliament are anti-farmer. Farmers all over the country are opposing them. The central government should withdraw these three bills. The AAP will vote against them in Parliament," he tweeted in Hindi. The Centre had on Monday introduced The Farmers' Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and 'The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill to replace the ordinances promulgated earlier. These bills seek to provide barrier-free trade for farmers' produce outside notified farm mandis, and empower farmers to enter into farming agreements with private players prior to production for sale of agri-produce.
                                                                                      • Sanjay Raut asks govt to reconsider the decision to privatise Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday asked the government to reconsider its decision to privatise the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) at Navi Mumbai, saying it would be a loss of national property. Raising the issue as part of a Zero Hour mention in Rajya Sabha, Raut said everyone knows that the economic situation of the country is serious. After demonetisation, the country is faced with the coronavirus pandemic, and the situation is such that the GDP, as well as the RBI, are "bankrupt", he said. In such a backdrop, Raut said the government has decided to put the Railways, Air India, and LIC on the block.
                                                                                      • BJP, AAP clash over issue of COVID-19 management during Rajya Sabha debate: The Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP clashed over the issue of COVID-19 management in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, with the AAP terming as "foolish" the prime minister's call to clap and beat utensils in honour of coronavirus warriors. BJP's Sudhanshu Trivedi hit back, saying the PM's move was symbolic and sought to unite the country socially just like Mahatma Gandhi chose the symbol of 'charkha' for national cohesion during the freedom struggle. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in March asked people to clap, beat steel plates and ring bells to express gratitude towards those risking their lives and working tirelessly during the coronavirus outbreak. Singh, while participating in the debate on COVID-19, further used the occasion to accuse the government of looking for an opportunity in times of disaster and alleged corruption in the procurement of equipment to fight the disease including thermometers and oxymetres.
                                                                                      • Social distancing vs physical distancing: We should not use the word 'social distancing' instead use 'physical distancing' to avoid stigma, says MP Gulab Nabi Azad.
                                                                                      • There is a shortage of oxygen cylinders, Remdesivir, says NCP MP Praful Patel: NCP MP Praful Patel says there is no fixed direction of Covid-19. It started with the cities, and now it has spread across the country. We have 1 lakh cases a day now and it is set to reach 2 lakh a day. There is a shortage of oxygen cylinders and remdesivir drug, and the ground reality different than portrayed, he said.
                                                                                      • BJP MP gives zero hour notice in RS over cow smuggling: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Mahesh Poddar has given Zero Hour notice in Rajya Sabha over "cow smuggling in the country especially in the Eastern states."
                                                                                      • Govt has taken up Chinese firms' snooping on Indian leaders with China, says Jaishankar to Congress leader: Amid reports of snooping on some Indian leaders by China-based companies, the government on Wednesday took up the issue with the Chinese envoy here, according to a letter by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Congress leader KC Venugopal.
                                                                                      • The letter stated that the matter has also been taken up with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
                                                                                        "The matter was taken up by the Ministry of External Affairs with the Chinese Ambassador today. Our Embassy in Beijing also raised it with the Foreign Ministry of China. The Chinese side conveyed that Shenzen Zhenhua is a private company and had stated its position publicly," the minister told Venugopal.
                                                                                        "In their part, the Chinese Foreign ministry maintained that there was no connection between the company concerned and the Chinese government," he also said.
                                                                                        • Here’s the Parliament Schedule for today:
                                                                                        • LOK SABHA: Bills to be introduced
                                                                                          -The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020
                                                                                          Bills for Consideration and Passing
                                                                                          -The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020.
                                                                                          -The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020
                                                                                          RAJYA SABHA: Bills for Consideration and Passing
                                                                                          -The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                                                                          -The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                                                                          -The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                                                                          -The Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020.
                                                                                          • Congress raises in Parliament issue of alleged surveillance by Chinese company: Congress members on Wednesday raised in both Houses of Parliament the alleged tracking of over 10,000 prominent Indian individuals and organisations by a Chinese technology company and asked the government to build an "impregnable firewall" to deal with the "digital aggression". Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to inform the minister concerned to "see what can be done and find out the veracity also", after Congress members, K C Venugopal and Rajiv Satav expressed concern over a media report in this regard, during the Zero Hour.
                                                                                          • —With inputs from agencies
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