The uproar over farm laws and the alleged snooping using Pegasus spyware continued in Parliament on Monday, with both Houses being repeatedly adjourned amid the din.
In Rajya Sabha MPs belonging to Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), and other opposition parties rushed into the well of the House, raising slogans against the government. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said members are being prevented from raising issues of public importance.
Congress leader and Chairman of Parliamentary Standing committee on IT, Shashi Tharoor, demanded a Supreme Court judge-monitored probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations and indicated that opposition parties would continue to disrupt Parliament’s proceedings until the government agrees to a debate on it. He alleged that it appears that the government used public money for snooping for its “selfish political interests”.
Speaking to reporters in the Parliament complex after the Lok Sabha was adjourned, Tharoor said, “We want the government to agree to a debate on the issue, but it is not ready. What we are saying is that if you (government) do not agree to this and answer our questions, then why we should allow you to transact your business.”
Stepping up the heat on the government over the farm laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday drove a tractor to reach the Parliament to register his protest against the three farm laws. The Congress leader said that he has brought farmers’ message to the Parliament.
“I’ve brought farmers’ message to Parliament. They (Government) are suppressing voices of farmers and not letting a discussion take place in Parliament. They’ll have to repeal these black laws. The entire country knows these laws favour 2-3 big businessmen,” the 51-year-old leader was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. “As per the government, farmers are very happy and those (protesting farmers) sitting outside are terrorists. But in reality, farmers’ rights are being snatched away,” he added.
Bills taken up
Amid the uproar, the Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Factoring Amendment Bill and National Institute of Food Technology Bill without debate.
Moving the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the changes in the legislation are aimed at helping the MSME sector.
The amendments to the factoring law are based on the recommendations of the U K Sinha Committee. She further said the government has accepted the recommendations of the Standing Committee which had last year scrutinised the bill.
The bill was approved by the Lok Sabha by voice vote without any debate.
“Increase in the availability of working capital may lead to growth in the business of the micro, small and medium enterprises sector and also boost employment in the country,” according to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill.
The amendments are expected to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) significantly by providing added avenues for getting credit facility, especially through Trade Receivables Discounting System.
The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021 was piloted by the new Food Processing Industries Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras for consideration and passage.
The bill seeks to declare certain institutions of food technology, entrepreneurship and management as institutions of national importance and to provide for instructions and research in these fields.