I return with another four weeks of fun and frolic at the expense of our elected leaders in Parliament!
Last week, a shiny new cabinet was sworn in, a spirited discussion on Kashmir crisis (and TN Fishermen and Bangladeshi infiltrators) happened, an unknown rule was invoked unknowingly and shot down promptly and many legislations were passed.
Let’s get right into it!
Shiny new Cabinet sworn in
Apart from the 53 new members that were sworn into Rajya Sabha, PM Modi introduced his new ministers to both houses. Prakash Javadekar replaced Smriti Irani as Minister of Human Resource Development, Vijay Goyal was given Ministry of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports and Anil Madhav Dave was sworn in as the new Minister of State (Independent charge) of Environment forest and Climate Change. A whole host of new Ministers of State were also sworn in.
I know what you’re thinking.
What’s the difference between a Cabinet Minister, Minister of State (Independent Charge) and Minister of State?
Cabinet Minister: Person is given full control over a Ministry and is eligible to attend cabinet meetings (which is the highest decision-making body of the country).
Minister of State (Independent Charge): Person is given charge over a ministry, but the PMO keeps a close watch on how the ministry is functioning. These ministers are allowed to attend cabinet meetings only if the PM’s permits them to do so.
Minister of State: Person is given charge of a specific department or just a part of a Ministry, especially when the Ministry is large (Eg: Home, Defence or Finance). The Cabinet Minister has complete authority to decide what tasks are to be given to the MoS within the Ministry. MoS cannot attend cabinet meetings.
Casual Observation: Out of all those who were sworn in, Arjun Ram Meghwal seemed to have gotten the loudest thumps and cheers. He used to be the Chief Whip of BJP in Lok Sabha and has now been made MoS of Finance. Seems like he won’t be able to bicycle to Parliament anymore .
Bonus: Here’s the mother of all government directories, in case you want to find out how to reach ministries. This includes state ministries and PSUs as well. Explore away!
Kashmir Crisis… Bangladeshi Infiltration and Tamil Fishermen
Discussions were held in both houses of Parliament regarding the ongoing agitation happening in the Kashmir Valley. While accusations flew thick between the Congress and BJP, regional parties like AIADMK and TMC decided to bring in their own international border issues into the discussion.
Kalyan Banerjee from TMC started speaking about infiltration from Bangladesh to West Bengal when he was interrupted by Ananth Kumar, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers. He pointed out the Mr Banerjee was going off topic.
You're killin it Khargeji!
AIADMK’s A Anwar Raajhaa (With the kind blessings of Puruchithalaiva Amma ) spoke about Kashmir and then switched to talk about the problem of fishermen in Tamil Nadu who are being harassed by the Sri Lankan Navy. Raanjhaa demanded that this should be declared as a national issue as well.
Parliament resumes, Lok Sabha Adjourns
The Parliament was summoned on July 18 for the monsoon session and the news was splattered with headlines like “Parliament resumes, Lok Sabha adjourns”.
Everyone was like, “What?! Why do these politicians keep disrupting the house? Why don’t these people want to work?”
Well, they do, but they couldn’t help it this time round.
The adjournment wasn’t because of disruptions, which is usually the cause, but for paying respects to a sitting member of Parliament who passed away. Mr Dalpat Singh Parasate of Shahdol constituency in Madhya Pradesh passed away on June 1 (#RIP).
It’s a followed practice that in case of the death of a sitting member, Parliament will not transact any business on the first day of sitting as a mark of respect. In case an MP dies while the Parliament is in session, the house is adjourned for the following day. In the Budget session, Mr PA Sangma passed away and a similar adjournment followed. His son Conrad Sangma now occupies his seat of Tura (Meghalaya).
The first order of business for this session in Lok Sabha was his swearing in .
Interestingly enough, Rajya Sabha has decided in May 2016 to curtail this practiceif the Member of Parliament passes in the interim period. The upper house will now only adjourn if an MP dies during sessions. Lok Sabha sticks to its ol’ ways.
Thou Shalt not read out Speeches
While giving his speech on the Kashmir crisis, A Anwar Raajhaa of the AIADMK happened to just read it out from a few sheets of paper. He even mixed up the sheets in the middle and went off course a few times.
Rao Indrajit Singh, MoS of Urban Development, took strong offence and got up to object. He asked the chair to stop him because there is a rule against reading out speeches in the Parliament. Well, he goofed up a little though. The person in the chair was Deputy Speaker Dr M Thambidurai. He’s from the AIADMK.
Thambidurai seemed visibly upset that the chair was being questioned and asked Singh to sit down. Although a lot of the conversation was not put on record, witnesses of LSTV will vouch about the use of the word “he’s speaking nonsense” being thrown around rather loudly. At one point, Mr Singh seemed to have given out the impression to the Deputy Speaker that he was being partial towards his own party member. The otherwise calm and gentle Thambidurai seemed to be visibly upset.
The funny thing is that this is actually a rule. Rule 352 of the Procedure and Conduct of Business says:
“A member while speaking shall not…. (xi) read a written speech except with the previous permission of the Chair.”
So in this case, there was no clarity whether or not the prior permission of the chair was taken. If only Mr Rao Indrajit Singh quoted the rule number, he might have been able to achieve his objective.
Mods, pliss to tweet the correct rule to him?
A few other interesting rules (for teh lulz)
Rule 349: Whilst the House is sitting, a member-
(iii) shall bow to the Chair while entering or leaving the House, and also when taking or leaving his seat
(iv) shall not pass between the Chair and any member who is speaking
(x) shall not applaud when a stranger enters any of the Galleries, or the Special Box
Legislations passed last week
- Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016