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I do not have the luxury of being a former finance minister: Arun Jaitley responds to Yashwant Sinha

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A day after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha slammed the Modi government’s handling of economy in a stinging article in The Indian Express, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the government policies saying they are aimed at ending corruption.

Speaking at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Jaitley defended the government’s decision of demonetisation and the launch of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and took a dig at his predecessor and said he does not have the luxury of being a former finance minister.

Refusing to respond to the charges made by Sinha, Jaitley said, “I must confess that I do not have the luxury as yet of being a former finance minister. Nor do I have the luxury of being a former finance minister who has turned a columnist.”

He added, “Therefore I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis, 4 billion reserves left in 1991 and I can switch over and change a narrative. Speaking of persons and then bypassing the issues is something which is very easily done.”

The minister also rejected the notion that the economy is in a downward spiral as suggested by Sinha. He mentioned the figures of tax collection to substantiate his claim of a strong economy. “Direct tax figures are 15.7% over and above last year’s figure, so this so-called slowdown visualized by some, hasn’t even impacted,” said Jaitley.

On GST, Jaitley said that the decision was taken with consensus and it was everybody’s call that a single rate should be introduced. He said that while some Congress leaders have been critical, most of the state governments have been supportive. Some teething problems were always expected, he added.

Calling fiscal prudence a difficult job, he said that there has been no reduction in the collection of direct taxes during his tenure. He said that the GST collection in the first two months has also been on expected lines and will pick up pace soon.

Speaking about slow down of growth in the private sector, Jaitley said some harsh steps were taken to control the effects of the “reckless lending” that took place during the UPA era.

On ease of doing business, Jaitley said that the government has ended rep-tapism. Earlier there was a lot of government discretion, which led to corruption. PM Modi has scrapped government discretion and left it to market forces, he said. This, he said, has made India a more attractive destination.

“Today the challenge really is during the boom period of 2003 to 2008-09, our private sector expanded when global economy slowed down. Private companies had undertaken large liabilities from bank, did not find demand. When global commodity prices went down, many of them did not find their loans serviceable.

“Then came a situation in 2012-14 when the governmet virtually gave up, there was no policy initiative, they allowed things to drift on their own. When you allow this, the figure (NPAs) mounted up. I must say that those in government, those in banking industry, those in RBI, when reckless lending took place, all looked the other way.

“Then suddenly some harsh steps were required. so debate is are all those steps taken a bit too harsh. Bankers believe the steps with regard to excessive provisioning are a bit too hard on them. therefore the private sector area itself was one area we have not grown…several areas of private sector have grown.

“Large industry is borrowing more from the bond market than the banks itself. that is the problem that needs to be addressed by us.

Talking about the criticism against demonetisation, Jaitley said it “one of the smoothest possible replacements of currency itself.” He said, “People saw riots would begin, starvation would take place. It was one of smoothest possible replacements of currency itself.”

He also said that the note ban targeted the shadow economy. “Demonetisation was to make sure that the anonymous tender which operated in market gets identified to its owner. The prime minister has a strong agenda on creating a new normal as far as countery’s shadow economy was concerned,” said Jaitley.

The minister added that the government is serious at checking the improper political funding. He added that illegtimate political funding has corrupted the society and tarnished the country’s image globally.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal moves Women’s Reservation Bill in Rajya Sabha, says census, delimitation necessary

Congress MP Rajneeth Ranjan stated that they want rights, adding that women don’t want to be pitied.

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Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal moves Women’s Reservation Bill in Rajya Sabha, says census, delimitation necessary

Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal moved the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Addressing the house, the Union Law Minister noted that census and delimitation are necessary for the quota bill. He further expressed that the historic bill would bring equality to women. 

The Union Law Minister underlined that through the Constitutional Amendment Bill, a section will be inserted in Article 330, Article 332 and Article 334. Through these, 1/3rd of the seats will be reserved in Lok Sabha and all State Assemblies of the country, he continued. Arjun Ram Meghwal further hailed that this bill is a major step ahead. 

Initiating a debate on the Women’s Reservation Bill, BJP President J P Nadda praised Prime MInister Narendra Modi for the quota bill. He mentioned that the bill will strengthen women’s empowerment. The BJP President further expressed confidence that the Women’s Reservation Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha unanimously without any obstacles. 

On the other hand, debating on the historic bill, Congress MP Rajneeth Ranjan stated that they want rights, adding that women don’t want to be pitied. Referring to the name of bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, the Congress MP remarked that the government should not bow down to them, but provide them equal rights and equal opportunities. 

As far as reports are concerned, the Rajya Sabha will allocate seven and a half hours for the bill’s discussion and it is widely expected to receive approval in the Upper House. After the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will require the approval of the majority of state assemblies. Notably, the implementation of the historic bill will occur following a delimitation exercise based on census data completion. Reportedly, this is the seventh attempt to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

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Women Reservation Bill: Here’s a look at 20 states with 50% quota for women in panchayats, municipalities

At present, there are 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and municipalities across the country. 

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Women Reservation Bill: Here’s a look at 20 states with 50% quota for women in panchayats, municipalities

Taking a significant step ahead, the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the special session of the Parliament on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the Opposition to unanimously pass the bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. The Women’s Reservation bill was stuck for almost three decades.

While the Women’s Reservation Bill that seeks to provide a 33 per cent quota for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies remained stuck, around 20 states witnessed 50% reservations for women in local government bodies. As far as reports are concerned, at present, there are 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and municipalities across the country. 

States like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have made provisions for 50% reservation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions in their respective State Panchayati Raj Acts. 

Evidently, the move for reservation for women in local bodies dates back to 1992 and 1993, when the then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao reintroduced the Constitution Amendment Bills 72 and 73, which reserved one third (33%) of all seats and chairperson posts for women in rural and urban local bodies. The Bills were passed by both the houses. Earlier,  in May 1989, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill to provide one-third reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha but failed to get passed in Rajya Sabha in September 1989.

Echoing the contribution of the aforesaid leaders in Women’s Reservation, several Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi, KC Venugopal took the credit of the bill. However, though the Women’s Reservation Bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha, the legislation will come into effect after the next delimitation exercise, which might be carried out after 2026. At present, only 14% of the members in the Indian Parliament are women. 

Furthermore, it is to be noted that in 1988, the National Perspective Plan for Women recommended the provision of reservation for women at various political levels, from Panchayati Raj institutions to Parliament. 

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Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury holds Constitution of India in hand as Congress MPs enter new Parliament building | Watch

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury emphasized the importance of the old Parliament building.

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Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury holds Constitution of India in hand as Congress MPs enter new Parliament building | Watch

Leader of Opposition in the Parliament Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury held the Constitution of India in hand as Congress MPs including Rahul Gandhi, Gaurav Gogoi entered into the new Parliament building, designated as Parliament House of India. Following the programme at Central Hall on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other MPs moved towards the new Parliament building. 

Earlier, addressing at the Central Hall, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury emphasized the importance of the old Parliament building. He expressed that he feels elevated and elated for standing in the podium that has witnessed a caravan of historical episodes and events in the midst of the galaxy of luminaries who had racked up their brains and burned the midnight oil to frame the Constitution of India.   

In addition, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also questioned the timeframe that the Centre has set for the nation to turn into a developed nation. He asked why India cannot become a developed country before 2047. He also called for sustainable solutions and measures to resolve the nation’s issues.

Meanwhile, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge recalled Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech, and thanked the Prime Minister for remembering it during his opening speech on Monday. Speaking at the Central Hall, the Congress President said working together is the only way to build the country. He also remembered the contributions made by Rajendra Prasad, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, BR Ambedkar, GV Malvankar, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan among others.

The parliamentary proceeding will now shift from the old building to the state-of-the-art new facility. Notably, the historic shift takes place on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. On the first day of the Parliament Special Session, all members of the Parliament gathered at the old Parliament building to recall their experiences there. PM Modi also paid tribute to every brick of the old Parliament building, mentioning that it would inspire the coming generations.

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