Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament has recorded 96% productivity in the current Budget session, as on date, losing only 96 minutes to disruptions in nine sittings. The house has functioned for a total 38 hours and 30 minutes, against the scheduled 41 hours and 10 minutes, with 155 members getting a chance to speak through it.
The house data says that on Feb 3, the Rajya Sabha lost 5 hours and 32 minutes owing to disruptions and forced adjournments, but members sat longer hours on the same day, covering up 3 hours and 56 minutes.
This report on productivity of the legislature stands in contrast to the times to those days in the last few years when the house simply could not function for complete sessions, due to disruptions and walkouts.
There have a total of 323 interventions, zero hour and special mentions by 155 members - out of these 83 got a chance to speak for two or more times. The most participative member was V Vijaysai Reddy of YSRCP, who got nine such opportunities.
On Feb 10, the Supreme Court has passeed an order saying that police have no right to detain children in conflict with law at a lockup or jail, in light of recent media reports of such actions in Delhi and UP during anti-CAA protests.
When a juvenile (child in legal speak) is found in conflict with the law, they are to be placed under the care of the special juvenile police unit or a child welfare officer. They should then be produced to the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).
Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose took cognisance of reports of children detained and being held in police custody from the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi and UP. Some reports suggested that they were even being tortured.
The judges said, once a child is produced before the JJB, they ought to receive bail as a rule. If that can’t be granted, they should be sent to an observation home or a place of safety, NOT behind bars.
Laws for juveniles are meant to protect children and not detain them in jail or put them in police custody. The Bench has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Commissions for Protection of Child Rights and directed them to file their response in the matter within three weeks.
25 foreign envoys have reached Srinagar on a 2 day visit to assess the ground situation in the valley. They are here to check the ground reality after the state has been under a lockdown since August 5 last year, with most of its political leadership behind bars.
The special envoys team is led by Dinah Grace Akello, Uganda's High Commissioner to India. They wish to experience, first hand, what efforts have been made by the Indian government to normalise the situation in the valley. This is the second batch of foreign envoys who have visited the valley and include representatives from Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada and the Czech Republic.
The team includes ambassadors from countries like Afghanistan, Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Tajikistan, Slovakia and Rwanda. Unlike the last team, this time ambassadors from other parts of the world have been included into a fact-finding mission to assess the ground situation after the 6-month long clampdown in the wake of the removal of Article 370.
Last month, a team of 15 delegates, including the US ambassador to India had visited Jammu and Kashmir on January 9 and 10. They had spoken to the general populace to assess the truth and aspirations of the people. They had also met members from various civil societies in srinagar.
The February visit is very significant as it lies ahead of US President Donald Trump's visit to India and EU's plan to discuss the CAA and the Article 370 in the European parliament in March.
The Union Home Ministry has assured Assam that all recorded on Assam’s final National Register ofCitizens (NRC) was ‘safe’, following an uproar in the state after it could not be accessed on the government portal for some time.
A Ministry spokesperson said, “some technical issue regarding visibility in cloud storage was being resolved soon.”
NRC data for Assam is hosted on a cloud platform run by Wipro. The company had issued a statement saying that their IT services contract had not been renewed by the authorities after it expired in October 2019. They had still continued to pay the hosting service fee as a gesture of goodwill till January-end 2020.
A change in NRC coordinators had led to the lapse, officials said.
The data went offline in February and some inclusions and exceptions could not be seen. This lead to an uproar in the Assam state assembly as the opposition questioned the state government’s move. Some even called this loss of data a deliberate step by the BJP, to derail the current exercise and demand a new one that would be independent from the Supreme Court.
The final NRC published on August 31, 2019 was uploaded on www.nrcassam.nic.in. Around 19 lakh of the 3.4 crore applicants were excluded from the final list.
The opposition has moved the Registrar General of India to look into the matter and check whether the action was a mala fide act.
The Union Cabinet has approved the Major Ports Authority Bill 2020, which would boost trade and regulation of all 12 major ports in India. Shipping Minister Mansukh Madaviya announced the step and said that this will now be introduced in the parliament.
The new bill seeks to fill shortcomings seen in the current law, which had come into place in 1963.
The Major Ports Authority Bill 2020 was approved by the Cabinet in a meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi. It aims to cover disputes with private companies and PPP operators, which can’t be covered under the previous law.
The new bill was also improve infrastructure at these 12 ports.
A Pakistan court has convicted Jamaat-ul-Dawa supremo Hafiz Saeed in two terror funding cases. The anti-terror court has sentenced him to 11 years in jail in two separate cases. It has also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case.
Hafiz saeed is the mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He has been imprisoned in the matter of terror funding for 5 years. He will face jail term for these two cases concurrently.
He has also been sentenced to six months imprisonment for being a member of a proscribed organisation. The other case charged him for having illegal property, sentencing him for 5 years for it.
Hafiz Saeed is also the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba.The arrest and conviction of Hafiz Saeed has been a longstanding demand of both US and India from Pakistan. As a mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, his actions led to the merciless killing of 160 people.
Both the Jamaat-ul-dawa and Lashkar-e Toiba are banned organisations in Pakistan and are listed under the Pakistani 'anti terrorism law'.
Saeed's conviction comes a few days before the Paris-based FATF (Financial Action Task Force) sits for a meeting to decide whether Pakistan has taken sufficient steps against terror. FATF, which monitors terrorism and terror financing laws, had put Pakistan on the grey list for actions against terror funding and would decide whether the country should be ‘ blacklisted’ or not.
If FATF blacklists Pakistan, then the country’s economy would be isolated from the international banking system. There would also be stricter checks on transactions involving Pakistan.
The congress-ruled union territory of Puducherry has adopted a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment act. It has thus become the first union territory to say no to the newly formed law.
Before this step, similar resolutions have been taken by multiple states like West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab and Rajasthan.
Since the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December, there have been multiple protests against the law nationwide, involving non-BJP political parties, students and civil society. There has been a similar protest against the law, the NRC and the NPR in Puducherry as well.
The UT assembly passed this resolution after its Chief Minister V Narayannasamy tabled the resolution against the law in the assembly.
The resolution has urged the centre to withdraw the law as it stands against the principles of secularism which are the basis of the Indian constitution. The resolution has stated that it had caused 'pain and chaos' among the people at large in the country. The resolution also stated that there was a hidden agenda in the law as its against the Muslim community, as they have been ignored. The law has been stated as "total injurious" as its against the sacrifices made by Mahatma Gandhi for the protection of secularism in the country.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind presented ‘colour’ to INS Shivaji in Lonavala, Maharashtra, claiming that the naval station had distinguished itself with stellar service to the nation in its lifetime.
The naval station was commissioned on February 15, 1945 as HMIS Shivaji and houses the Indian Coast Guard and the Naval College of Engineering, an important epicentre for training officers of the Indian navy.
Addressing naval persons at the occasion, Kovind commended the station’s record of professional excellence and the manner in which it discharged its responsibilities with distinction. “The nation salutes it for its dedication and devotion to duty. We are all proud of achievements of INS Shivaji and appreciate its remarkable contribution to the Indian Navy.”
Kovind linked the country’s maritime interests to its economy and well-being. He called the role of the Indian navy in economic security and nation-building crucial, as 90 per cent of our trade (volume-wise) occurs on sea routes.
As a leading global power, India plays a crucial role in terms of international security , trade and commerce. This role is safeguarded by the country’s capable armed forces. He hoped that INS Shivaji was continue to excel in stature and accomplishments. It would also capably discharge its roles and responsibilities competently.
The Department of Sports has gotten over 1200 players to bring their best game forward under the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ (EBSB) campaign. The department did this through nine events it had organised for the month of January.
The ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ campaign aims to promote the spirit of national integration in sports. Under the scheme, the department held zonal-level championship events in Tug of War, Sqay, Kalarippayttu, Shooting ball and Handball for both boys and girls.
This time, the events were held with a fresh concept - they fielded paired state teams. The winning teams would qualify for the finals at the zonal championship events.