The Centre on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha during a session of the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament that the personal data of at least 21 out of approximately 121 Whatsapp users may have been accessed by the attacker involved with the Pegasus software row in November.
A bill to grant ownership rights to residents living in Delhi's 1,731 unauthorised colonies was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Introducing the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019 in the House, minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri said about 40-50 lakh people live in unauthorised colonies in Delhi.
The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on November 28.
Puri said the ownership rights will be given to residents of the identified colonies based on five documents.
He said maps of the all the 1,731 colonies will be uploaded on the website of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) "within days".
Stating that Nanjangud Wayanad Nilambur railway line has been in the pipeline for several years now, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday asked the Centre to lend support to the Kerala government to take up the crucial infrastructure project.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, the Wayanad MP said that the railway line "has been a dream of the people... unfortunately the project has been in the pipeline for several years now".
The poor rail connectivity, he said, coupled with night traffic ban on NH 766 has severely reduced mobility and restricted inter-state trade and commerce.
"Unlocking Wayanad potential is contingent on improving both intra and inter-state connectivity. This project will considerably reduce travel time between Bangalore and Trivandrum and create new opportunities for people of Wayanad," he said.
Given the socio-economic significance of the project, "I urge the government of India to lend all possible support to the government of Kerala to take up this crucial infrastructure project," he said.
As many as 14,500 NGOs, registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), were banned in the last five years from receiving funds from abroad, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai also said so far this year, the ministry has cancelled FCRA registration of 1,808 NGOs.
"Registration certificates of approximately 14,500 associations have been cancelled during the last five years," he said in a written reply.
Certificates of registration of 1,808 FCRA registered NGOs have been cancelled recently for non-submission of mandatory annual returns for 2017-18.
As many as 234 prisoners belonging to Jammu and Kashmir are currently lodged in different jails of Uttar Pradesh and 27 other inmates in prisons in Haryana, Union minister G Kishan Reddy informed Parliament on Wednesday.
He also said a total of 3,248 prisoners are lodged in the jails of Jammu and Kashmir and the total number of prisoners belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, within the state as well as outside, is 3,509.
In 2019, up to November, altogether 234 prisoners belonging to Jammu and Kashmir are in jails in Uttar Pradesh and 27 in Haryana prisons, Reddy said, replying to a written question asked by member M P Veerendra Kumar in the Rajya Sabha.
Retired and off-duty policemen, family members of police personnel and general public largely formed part of a crowd that had gathered outside the Delhi Police headquarters to protest against action taken against some of their colleagues after a scuffle with lawyers, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
Replying to a written question, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy informed the house that the crowd had peacefully dispersed.
Top officials from Twitter India appeared before a parliamentary committee examining the issue of cyber safety and security of women on Wednesday.
The Twitter India representatives are expected to make a presentation on the issue before the parliamentary panel on women empowerment.
The panel, headed by BJP MP Heena Gavit, has all women members.
It has also called Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram representatives to appear before it on Thursday.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday sought regularisation of 60-70 residential colonies falling in the 'O' Zone on banks of River Yamuna in the national capital, saying residents are unable to undertake construction due to rules.
Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention in Rajya Sabha, the party's MP Sanjay Singh demanded re-defining of the no-development land on the Yamuna riverbed here.
He said previously 300 to 500 meters along the Yamuna banks was the no go zone for any time of construction.
Amid demand by members for a separate law to curb mob lynching, Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said in Rajya Sabha that the government has set up a committee to suggest necessary amendments in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to deal with it.
Responding to a series of queries during Question Hour, Shah said he has also written to all state chief ministers and governors to send recommendations on making changes to IPC and CrPC after consulting with experienced investigating officers and public prosecutors
"Under the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), a committee has been set up to make changes in the IPC and CrPC. We will start working on amendments after receiving recommendations from the committee," Shah said in the Upper House
Opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said it undermines the fundamental tenets of the Constitution.
Earlier in the day, the Union Cabinet cleared the bill that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there, sources said.
"I think the bill is fundamentally unconstitutional because the basic idea of India has been violated in the bill. Those who believe that religion should determine nationhood... that was the idea of Pakistan, they created Pakistan. We have always argued that our idea of nation was what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehruji, Maluana Azad, Dr Ambedkar have said, that religion cannot determine nationhood," Tharoor told reporters in Parliament premises.
Railways have been spending an additional Rs 22,000 crore on salaries and pensions of its employees following implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, which has hit its financial health, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Responding to a question on operational losses of railways, Goyal said construction of new lines and operating trains in economically unviable areas under its social obligations also take away a sizeable amount of its funds.
"After the implementation of 7th Pay Commission recommendations, there has been an over expenditure of Rs 22,000 crore for salaries and pension of railway employees.
This has contributed to the overall operating loss," he said during Question Hour.
The minister said railways spend a lot a funds on cleanliness, running suburban railway trains, gauge conversions and others.
New benches of any high court are established only on recommendation of the principal bench of the particular high court, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Prasad also said the Law Ministry is yet to receive a recommendation of the Allahabad High Court to set up its bench in Meerut.
"There is a ruling of the Supreme Court that new bench of any high court has to be established only after receiving a recomendation of the principal bench of that particular high court," he said during Question Hour.
Besides, the minister said, a commitment is also necessary from the state government concerned for providing necessary infrastructure like buildings, bungalows for the judges.
"We are yet to receive a recommendation of the principal bench of the high court to establish a bench in Meerut and also the commitment of the Uttar Pradesh government. Without these two, it is not possible to open a new bench in any place," he said.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday asserted that the government will not be a postman on the issue of appointment of judges but be a stakeholder and have a say on it.
Prasad said there is a process while appointing judges of high courts and the Supreme Court and a collegium of senior judges recommends names to the government for appointment of judges.
"In the appointment of judges, we are a stakeholder. We are not a postman and we will have a say," he said during Question Hour.
More than 92,000 employees of BSNL and MTNL have opted for voluntary retirement, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday as he asserted that the government will make the two telecom companies profitable as they are strategic assets.
The Communications Minister told the Lok Sabha that the merger of BSNL and MTNL will have pan-India foot print, synergy in operations, reduction of fixed costs and overheads, among others.
The merger would resultantly help the two companies to "provide better quality services to customers on a pan-India basis," he said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said in Lok Sabha that there are perceptional differences between India and China on border issues but the Indian Army is fully alert and the border is secured.
Responding to a statement by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury about Chinese activities along India's border regions, Singh said transgression by Chinese forces do take place and Indian forces too go for patrolling along forward locations
"Our border is secured and forces are fully alert," he said.
Singh said forces of the two countries are mature enough and settle their disputes amicably.
Chowdhury raised the issue in the wake of spotting of a Chinese ship in India's exclusive economic zone in the Andaman sea.
India is destined to be surrounded by two hostile neighbors - China and Pakistan, Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said. “We can change history but not geography. We raise our voices against Pakistan, owing to its terror activities and our government deals with their activities strongly. Terrorists are shielded by Pakistan and Pakistan is shielded by China,” he said.
China has started sending ships to Andaman and Nicobar islands, he said. “50-60 kilometers of our territory are held by China, I would like to submit,” Chowdhury said.
“If we are so strong in our responses to Pakistan, why the weakness in the way we respond to China. Are we scared of China?” he asked.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, said sources.
The Bill, which amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants in select categories eligible for citizenship, has been attacked by the opposition, minority outfits and others for leaving out Muslims and also on the ground that it is at odds with the Constitution, which does not differentiate between citizens on the basis of their faith.
The Bill has been opposed vehemently by opposition parties like Congress, Trinamool, DMK, Samajwadi Party, RJD and the Left and even regional parties like BJD have expressed reservations.
The Bill has sparked resentment in the northeast, and there are indications that the government is working out a compromise intended to reassure states in the region over the implications of granting citizenship to a large number of Hindus who have come from Bangladesh over the decades.
The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to extend reservation for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies for another 10 years, highly placed sources said.
The reservation for these categories in the LS and the assemblies was to expire on January 25, 2020.
The government will bring a bill to extend the reservation in this session, the sources said.
While reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the legislature is carried out through constitutional amendments, similar reservation in jobs for these categories is decided by respective state governments, a senior functionary explained.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh has given Suspension of Business Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'rising price of onions.'
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury gives Adjournment Motion Notice over the issue of 'Chinese encroachment in Arunachal Pradesh'.
Congress Chief Whip in Lok Sabha Kodikunnil Suresh gives Adjournment Motion Notice in Lok Sabha over the issue of 'Chinese intrusion reported in Andaman & Nicobar islands'.
Nationalist Congress Party MP Vandana Chavan has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'concern on rising sea levels.'
TMC MP Shanta Chhetri has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'need to release central funds for West Bengal due to devastation caused by Cyclone Bulbul.'
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'concern over the safety of girl students in Allahabad University Hostel.'
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) MP Vaiko gives Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'Madras High Court to be renamed as High Court of Tamil Nadu.'
The Wednesday Legislative Business in the Rajya Sabha will see the Bill concerning the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the National Capital Territory of Delhi for consideration and passing. The list of business also includes tabling of several papers and reports.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri will move the Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019. This Bill will provide special provisions for the National Capital Territory of Delhi for recognising the property rights of residents in unauthorised colonies. This Bill will secure the rights of the ownership or transfer or mortgage in favour of the residents of such colonies who are possessing properties on the basis of Power of Attorney, Agreement to Sale, Will, possession letter or any other documents including documents evidencing payment of consideration. The Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is in the Upper House for consideration and passage.
Reports of the department related parliamentary standing committee on coal and steel will be tabled by members Vikas Mahatme and Mukut Mithi. The first report is on the action taken by the government on the observations/recommendations contained in the Forty-eighth Report (Sixteenth Lok Sabha) of the Committee on Coal and Steel on the subject, "CSR Activities in Steel PSUs" relating to Ministry of Steel; and second report is on action taken by the Government on the observations/recommendations contained in the Forty-ninth report(Sixteenth Lok Sabha) of the Committee on Coal and Steel on the subject, "CSR Activities by PSUs under Ministry of Mines".
A final action taken statement of the department related parliamentary standing committee on chemicals and fertilisers will be tabled by G. C. Chandrashekhara and Ahmad Ashfaque Karim. This includes "Statement on Fifty-second action taken report (Sixteenth Lok Sabha) on the observations/recommendations contained in the Forty-fourth (Sixteenth Lok Sabha) report on the subject -- Demand for Grants 2018-19 of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers (Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals).
"Final Action taken Statement on Fifty-third action taken report (Sixteenth Lok Sabha) on the observations/recommendations contained in the Forty-ninth (Sixteenth Lok Sabha) Report on the subject -- Assam Gas Cracker Project of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers (Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals).
"Final Action taken Statement on Fifty-fifth action taken report (Sixteenth Lok Sabha) on the observations/recommendations contained in the Forty-sixth (Sixteenth Lok Sabha) Report on the subject -- Promotion and Coordination of Basic, Applied and Other Research in Areas Related to the Pharmaceuticals Sector of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers (Department of Pharmaceuticals)."
A motion for election to the committee on public undertakings will be moved by V. Muraleedharan.
Besides these, papers will be tabled by some ministers.
The Wednesday List of Business in the Lok Sabha will see two important bills to be moved for consideration by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
She will introduce the Appropriation (No.3) Bill, 2019 for consideration of the House. This bill will authorise payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2019-20.
Sitharaman will also move the International Financial Series Centres Authority Bill, 2019 for consideration. This Bill is to provide for the establishment of an Authority to develop and regulate the financial services in India and for matters connected therewith.