December 16, 2016 15:01 IST
The winter session of Parliament has come to a close and no business has been transacted in the last 20 days.
With the exception of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill and the amendment to the Income Tax Bill, even Bills that were to be introduced have been ignored as uproar hijacked every day of the session.
In his valedictory remarks, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari said,
“I had fervently hoped that I would not have to repeat what I said at the conclusion of the the 221st session in December 2013. My hope stands belied.
”Regular and continuous disruptions characterised the session. The symbolism of dignified protest, so essential for orderly conduct of parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned. This deprived Members of the opportunity to seek accountability of the Executive through Questions and discussions on matters of public concern.
The prohibition in the Rules against shouting slogans, displaying posters and obstructing proceedings by leaving their assigned places, was consistently ignore by all sections of the House. Peace prevailed only when obituaries were read.
All sections of the House need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, diruption and agitation.”
Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan too pointed out that the House needed more discussion and less disruption.
Secretary General states that divisions will be given. Voting begins on amendment moved by Kavitha Kalvakuntla. The noes take it. “Subject to correction, the result of the division is Ayes – 43, Noes 121,” says Speaker.
Clause by clause voting continues.
Mr. Gehlot moves that the Bill be passed, as passed by the Rajya Sabha.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is passed.
Speaker gives valedictory remarks and wishes Members a happy new year. “I hope that proceedings will not be disrupted in the coming sessions, that there will be more discussions.”
Vande Mataram is played.
House is adjourned sine die.
“On disability certificates,” continues Mr. Gehlot, “presently district boards decide. But their certificates are not accepted in other districts. We have decided to have universal cards. An agency has been set up and plans are to link it to Aadhar.”
“We are acquiring techjology from a German company which specialises in making prosthetic/artificial limbs. We organised 4,500 district camps. 5.80 lakh people benefited in two and a half years. We got a world record in the distribution of hearing aids. We are distributing motorised tricycles.”
“I request the House to pass the Bill.”
Overwhelming votes are for the Bill.
Clause by clause consideration and voting, along with voting on amendments begins.
Dushyant Chautala of the INLD says children with disabilities should be able to study in good schools. “Parents of children with disabilities should also given due consideration in public transport.”
Rajesh Ranjan of the RJD also speaks about admitting children with disabilities in private schools. “We should go into the socio-economic reasons behind the discrimination. We should link the benefits to employment opportunities. We should also target the NGOs exploiting the cause to their advantage.” He also asks for pension of Rs. 3,000.
Mr. Gehlot rises to reply. “We have, at every level, made arrangements for the disabled. Mr. Venugopal raised apprehension that private sectors would not follow rules. It should not be presumed. On reservation, 2.2 per cent of population comes under the disabled category. The 21 categories will cover most of the affected. Four per cent reservation would practically suffice. We assure that benefits would reach all the disabled.”
“There is a suggestion of district level committees. The intent is the same. Such committees will be set up in coordination with state governments.”
“At the international level, the term is ‘persons with disabilities’. The name of the Bill is valid. We discussed with State governments and almost all of them were ready for use of the word ‘Divyang.’ NGOs too agreed. We have renamed government departments accordingly.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the Lok Sabha.
Mohammad Salim of the CPI(M) says the Bill was pending for two and a half years. “I congratulate the House, the Speaker and the Minister.”
“The old bill has been strengthened. Discrimination is a major issue which is being addressed. Private sector is also being included. Women and children are already marginalised, and that has also been considered. I welcome it.”
“On the issue of certificates, there is no coordinated move. The role of State government agencies comes in. It is good that we make it centralised. There should be a universal certificates.” He also raises the issue of decrease in reservation percentage. “Punishment provided in the old Bill has also been diluted. There should be branches of NIMHANS in eastern and western India.”
Varaprasad Rao of the YSR Congress says India is not disabled-friendly. He supports the Bill.
Kaushalendra Kumar of the JD(U) also supports the Bill, seeks five per cent reservation and Rs. 3,000 as monthly pension.
“They should also talk about the initiative taken by UP government,” says Mulayam Singh Yadav. “We have addressed the problems of the marginalised and downtrodden.” Speaker reminds him that the discussion is on the Disabilities Bill. He supports the Bill.
TDP MP Ravindra Babu says he feels justified in taking back his salary today. “I wholeheartedly support the Bill. Disorders could have been categorised as congenital and acquired.”
Kavitha Kalvakuntla of the TRS also supports the Bill. “While the number of disabilities have been increased, why have we reduced the percentage of reservation? This shouldn’t be charity, but needs a rights-based approach.” She refers to the proposal for introducing colour coded cards for persons with disabilities. “There are enough queues in the country. Please don’t add to that. Instead, if something can be indicated in Aadhaar cards, it will be better.”
Vinayak Bhaurao Raut of Shiv Sena supports the Bill.
Tathagata Sathpathy of the BJD rises to speak. “We support this Bill on behalf of my leader Naveen Patnaik and the BJD. In this age of bionic prosthetics, a lot of research and advancement is happening all over the world. But unfortunately in India, we have very little of the sort.”
“Along with computers, several diseases have also come up, like posture problems, affecting day-to-day life. In a situation where society is evolving, we also need to adapt to it.” He lists many conditions that have not been listed in the Bill as disabilities.
“In Odisha, the High Court has already fixed 50 per cent reservation. Now you have four per cent reservation. I support the Bill.”
“There is not much mandatory power given to the Commission,” says Mr. Venugopal. “Public representation should be there in State level committees. I support the Bill.”
Manoj Rajoria of the BJP continues the discussion. “I am happy the way the House is functioning today in public interest.” He suggests changing the word ‘disability’ to ‘special ability.’ He also raises the issue of accessibility to public spaces. He supports the Bill.
Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress says, “I am so happy with the condition of the House today. All MPs are in their seats.”
“A comprehensive legislation has been brought forward for the aid of persons with disabilities. There has been two year delay in passing the Bill, which has many many good features.”
“For the first time learning disorders like dyslexia have been included. I did not know of such a disorder until I watched Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par. Victims of acid attacks, people suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and those with blood disorders have been included. I also agree with Mr. Venugopal’s request of increasing reservation to five per cent.”
“In the matter of reservation I agree with Mr. Venugopal, and as suggested by him, District Advisory boards should have public representation. Our country is not disabled-friendly. In other parts of the world, government buildings, airports are disabled-friendly.”
“I have worked with the disabled for several years. There are no sufficient doctors to treat orthopedic patients. I also request ceritifcates for persons with disabilities be made optional and not mandatory. I support this Bill wholeheartedly. I also ask the government to bring in the Bill for Rights of Transgenders.”
“The Bill is being considered with 59 amendments as suggested by the standing committee,” says Mr. Gehlot. “Reservation for persons with disabilities has been increased from three to four per cent.”
“There will be 21 categories instead of seven earlier to cover all disabilities. Medical and education facilities are also given.” He moves that the Bill be considered for passing.
K.C. Venugopal of the Congress begins the discussion. “This legislation is very important. The Bill was actually brought by Mallikarjun Kharge in 2014. We are ready to pass the Bill. The Bill addresses the most marginalized sections of society. I have given 12 amendments. The Bill introduced by Mr. Kharge gave five per cent reservation. You are giving just four per cent.”
“For reservation in private sector, a condition of economic viability has been introduced, which should be revoked.”
House proceedings begin. Speaker disallows all notices of adjournment motion. Papers are laid on the table.
Members begin protesting immediately.
Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan introduces the Merchant Shipping Bill. On behalf of Nitin Gadkari he also introduces a Bill for regulation and operation of major ports.
Thaawar Chand Gehlot moves that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill be passed.
“5.8 lakh will be benefited by this move,” says Mr. Gehlot.
“Regular and continuous disruptions characterised this session,” says Chairman Hamid Ansari.
“I had fervently hoped I would not have to repeat what I said in December 2013. Peace prevailed only when obituaries were read. All sections of the house need to introspect and understand the difference between dissent and disruption.”
“Before we disperse, I wish you season’s greetings and a happy new year.” The national anthem plays.
House stands adjourned sine die.
Lok Sabha proceedings begin. Question Hour begins, amid requests by some Opposition members for time. “Yesterday we were ready to discuss,” says Mallikarjun Kharge, “but the Parliamentary Affairs Minister made reckless charges, in our absence.”
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan earlier said she has given time after noon. Congress MPs start sloganeering. House adjourned till noon.
House proceedings begin. Obituary references are given. Papers are laid on the table.
Private Members’ Bills
– The Compulsory Health Insurance for Senior Citizens, Mentally Retarded Children and Disabled Persons Bill, 2016.
– The Youth (Eradication of Unemployment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2016.
– The Water Conservation Authority of India Bill, 2016.
– The High Courts (Use of Official Languages) Bill, 2016.
– The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of articles 109,117, 198 and 207).
– The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016.
– The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of Tenth Schedule).
– The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of article 324).
– The National Waterways (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of article 51A).
– The Central Himalayan States Development Council Bill, 2016.
– The Voluntary Organisation (Regulation) Bill, 2016.
– The Abolition of Capital Punishment Bill, 2016.
– The Children with Specific Learning Disabilities (Identification and Support in Education) Bill, 2016.
– The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Indian Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Right to Adequate Housing Bill, 2016.
– The Surrogate Advertisements (Prohibition) Bill, 2016.
– The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2015 (Amendment of article 324).
– The Compulsory Gender Sensitisation Curriculum in Educational Institutions Bill, 2014.
– The Farmers of Arid and Desert Areas (Welfare and Other Special Provisions) Bill, 2014.
– The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of the Eighth Schedule).
– The Population Stabilization Bill, 2012.
– The Medical Consultancy and Other Services (Rationalisation of Fees) Bill, 2013.
– The Appropriation (No. 4) Bill, 2016.
– The Appropriation (No. 5) Bill, 2016.
– The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014.
– The Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016.
– The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
– Discussion on demonetisation of currency
– The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016.
– The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016.
– The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016.
– The Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016.
– The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016.
– Discussion under rule 193 on demonetisation of currency.
Courtesy- The Hindu