Parliament proceedings | No surveillance, no intrusion of privacy, reiterates Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Budget Session of the Parliament resumes after Wednesday’s session in which the Lok Sabha passed the budgetary proposals for Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, among other business.

Amidst arguments that the Parliament should disperse early in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the BJP parliamentary party that the ongoing session of Parliament will continue until April 3 as scheduled.

Here are today’s updates:

 

 

12.10 pm | Parliament

 

Practicing caution…

Congress leader P. Chidambaram arrives wearing a mask at the Parliament House during the ongoing Budget Session of the Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday.

Congress leader P. Chidambaram arrives wearing a mask at the Parliament House during the ongoing Budget Session of the Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday.
 
| Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

 

 

 

11.50 am | Rajya Sabha

 

“Instant food means constant disease,” Speaker Venkaiah Naidu quips during a Special Mention by BJP MP Rakesh Sinha on the ills of fast food that uses spices that are harmful to health.

Lighter moment ensues.

 

11.35 am | Rajya Sabha

No surveillance, no intrusion of privacy, reiterates Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Congress MP Anand Sharma raises questions of the data privacy issue with regard to the Department of Telecommunications statement issued on Wednesday.

“The government DoT is seeking call data records of millions of subscribers, not randomly, but on a regular monthly basis, including in Delhi where we all live,” says Mr. Sharma.

“Under the guidelines and license conditions of the mobile operators, the law enforcement agencies alone can seek the call data records, which they have to preserve and make available but in specific cases, not for general surveillence purposes. In 2013, the issue of unauthorized access of CDR of several political leaders, including then leader of opposition, late Arun Jaitley. As a response, then UPA govt moved to tighten guidelines for obtaining the call records. Under new guidelines, such call data records can only be called for after clearance from Home Secretary and officers of rank of Superintent of Police and above alone are authorised to seek such details. SPs have to give mandatory declaration to District Magistrate about the CDR obtained every month. Nothing of this has been done, which is why concerns havee been raised abt India being converted into a surveillance state. This is a serious breach of privacy of citizens,” he says, reminding the House that in Delhi alone, there are around 53 million subscribers.

Mr.Sharma asks the govt to place on record the Home Secretary’s orders, and the  SP’s declaration to the DM.

Speaker gives Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad a chance to respond to this.

“I want to assure this House that there is no surveillance, there is no intrusion of privacy, no individual phone is being tapped, conversation recorded,” says Minister of Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad, in response.

The Minister says that the dept issued a public statement on Wednesday to address the issue of calls being dropped, and to use a new technology to address it. This is being done with the cooperation and approval of the operators, he added.

 

 

11.10 am | Lok Sabha

Questions on renewable energy sources

Question hour in progress in the Lower House. Questions on growth and investment in clean energy sector, and its impact on the rural agricultural population being raised.

On the use of solar energy, a member asks the Minister how much energy produced from the hydrocarbons went down, and the that from renewable sources went up in the past years.

Minister of State, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh said that the percentage of energy from hydrocarbons has gone down from 9.89% to 9.21% in the past years.

Energy produced from renewable sources touched 50,000 MW in last 5 years, he said.

11 am | Rajya Sabha

 

Ranjan Gogoi takes oath

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday took oath as member of Rajya Sabha amid uproar by opposition members.

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi takes oath in the Rajya Sabh as a nominated member

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi takes oath in the Rajya Sabh as a nominated member
 

 

As Mr. Gogoi reached the designated spot to take the oath, opposition members raised slogans prompting Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu to say that it was unbecoming of members.

Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defends the government’s decision, says that it is done in accordance to existing laws.

 

 

Lok Sabha

Bills for Consideration and Passing

  • Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020
  • Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Rajya Sabha

Bill for Consideration and Passing

Discussion on the Working of Ministry

  • Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Law and Justice, Rural Development and Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare

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