‘Attempt to Malign Indian Democracy’: IT Minister in Parliament on Pegasus Row

Catch all the live updates on the Monsoon Session of Parliament here.
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Parliament Monsoon Session 2021 LIVE

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Newly-appointed IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw brought up the Pegasus spyware controversy in the Lok Sabha on Monday, 19 July, calling it a “highly sensational story” around which “many over-the-top allegations” were made.

“Press reports of 18 July 2021… appear to be an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions,” he was quoted as saying on the first day of the Monsoon Session.

Meanwhile, both Houses of the Parliament – the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha – have been adjourned till 11 am on Tuesday, 20 July.

Earlier on Monday, PM Narendra Modi introduced his new Council of Ministers in both Houses, even as the Opposition raised loud slogans, disrupting his speech.

  • PM Narendra Modi chaired an all-party meeting on Sunday, 18 July, ahead of the commencement of the session

  • Ahead of the session, PM Modi said there should be meaningful discussions about the pandemic "that has gripped the entire world"

  • The Monsoon Session comes amid reports that Israel-made spyware Pegasus is believed to have been used to snoop on at least 300 Indian phone numbers

  • Both the Houses – the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – will meet daily from 11 am to 6 pm on all days

  • The session is likely to conclude on 13 August, with around 19 sittings scheduled during this time

  • At least 23 bills have been listed by the Centre to be tabled in the Lok Sabha during the upcoming session

  • SKM has planned daily protests with around 200 farmers to be held outside the Parliament during the Monsoon Session

Congress to Raise Inflation, COVID & Fuel Price Hike in Monsoon Session

The Congress has decided to raise the issues of inflation, fuel price hike, COVID mismanagement, and the border issue in the Monsoon session of the Parliament.

The party strategy group for Parliament, chaired by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, met on Wednesday evening via video conferencing and decided on a six-point agenda to take on the government, reported news agency ANI.

Their agenda includes situations along the LAC in Ladakh, unemployment caused by COVID-19, and the Rafale deal.

Ready to Discuss Any Subject Brought Up As Per Rules: PM Modi at All-Party Meet

PM Narendra Modi on Sunday chaired an all-party meeting ahead of the the Monsoon session of the Parliament and said that the government is ready to hold discussion on any subject if raised as per Parliamentary rules and procedures.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that at the meeting, PM Modi told the attendees that the government is ready for healthy and meaningful discussion in Parliament on various issues, news agency PTI reported.

LS Speaker Assures Solution to All Parliamentary Matters

On Sunday, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla assured all MPs of solutions to all parliamentary matters.

Informing the leaders that extensive arrangements have been made for safety of the members, officials and the media, as per the COVID-19 protocols for the session, Birla further assured that they will be given adequate opportunities for discussion on issues of public interest and appealed to them to cooperate with the Chair in smooth conduct of the House.

Lauding the leaders for their support during the last five sessions, Birla appealed to them to continue the cooperation during the Monsoon Session also.

Sonia Sets up Parliament Groups, Adhir To Stay as Floor Leader

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday reconstituted the party's parliament groups for both houses for effective functioning of the party.

Putting all speculation to rest, Sonia Gandhi has let Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury stay as leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.

Key Bills to be Introduced During Session

Bills such as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021; and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 among others will be introduced.

However, the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, that aims to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies has not been listed.

CPI RS MP Gives Suspension of Business Notice Over Pegasus Snooping Reports

CPI Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam has given a suspension of business notice under rule 267 over revelations about Pegasus spyware being used to snoop on over 40 journalists, three major Opposition figures, one constitutional authority, two serving ministers in the Narendra Modi government, current and former heads and officials of security organisations and scores of businesspersons.

Manoj Jha Gives Suspension of Business Notice Over Data on Deaths Due to COVID-19

RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha has given a suspension of business notice under Rule 267 to discuss "obfuscation of data related to deaths on account of the second wave of COVID-19."

Congress MP Gives Notice for Adjournment of House to Discuss Fuel Price Hike, Inflation

Congress MP Manickam Tagore has given a notice for the adjournment of business of the House to discuss the issues of fuel price hike and inflation.

2 LS MPs Give Adjournment Motion Notice Over Farm Laws

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann has given an adjournment motion notice in the House over the central government's farm laws.

Congress MP Jasbir Singh Gill has also moved an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over the same.

Kharge on Notices Given in Rajya Sabha

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said that the Opposition has given notice on inflation, while others have given on farmers' issues.

"We will see what is approved by the Business Advisory Committee. We will be raising the same issues," he said, according to ANI.

Pashupati Kumar Paras to Move National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill in LS

Union Food Processing Industries Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras will move The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha on Monday.

FM Sitharaman to Move Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in LS

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in Lok Sabha today.

Congress to Raise Pegasus Issue in Lok Sabha Today

Referring to reports about Pegasus being used to snoop on over 300 figures in India, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday said that, "Our national security is under threat. I will definitely raise this issue (in the House)."

Business Advisory Committee Meet of RS at 4 pm Today

A Business Advisory Committee meeting of Rajya Sabha will be held at 4 pm on Monday. Meanwhile, a Business Advisory Committee meeting of Lok Sabha will be held at 2 pm the same day.

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Want Meaningful Discussions Over Pandemic, Says PM

PM Modi on Monday, 19 July, addressed the media ahead of the beginning of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, and said that there should be meaningful discussions during the session about the pandemic "that has gripped the entire world".

"We want that the pandemic be discussed on priority and get constructive suggestions from all MPs so that there is a fresh approach in the fight against COVID. Shortcomings can be corrected so that everyone moves forward together in the fight," PM Narendra Modi said.

PM Modi said that he wanted to urge all the MPs and all the parties to ask the most difficult and sharpest questions in the Houses but said that they should also allow the government to respond in a disciplined environment.

"This will boost the democracy, strengthen people's trust and improve pace of development," he added.

The prime minister also said that he has urged all Floor Leaders to meet with him on Tuesday evening so he can provide them all with detailed information regarding the pandemic.

"We want discussion inside the Parliament as well with the Floor Leaders outside the Parliament," PM Modi said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla Reaches Parliament

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday arrived at the Parliament ahead of the commencement of the Monsoon Session.

"People want that their expectations and hopes reach the govt through the Parliament. I hope all political parties will play a positive role in this direction," he tweeted ahead of the session.

PM Modi Introduces His New Council of Ministers in LS

As the Monsoon Session of Parliament began on Monday, PM Modi introduced his new Council of Ministers, saying that he felt there would be be enthusiasm in the Parliament as many women, Dalits and tribals have become Ministers.

"This time our colleagues from agricultural and rural background, as well as the OBC community, have been given berth in Council of Ministers," PM Modi said.

However, as the Opposition caused an uproar in the House, PM Modi added that "perhaps some people are not happy if the country's women, OBCs and farmers' sons become ministers.

"That is why they don't even allow their introduction," he went on to say.

Rajya Sabha Adjourned Till 12.24 pm

Members of Parliament in Rajya Sabha on Monday paid tribute to MPs and personalities who lost their lives this year, including veteran actor Dilip Kumar and veteran athlete Milkha Singh.

The House has been adjourned till 12.24 pm.

Rajnath Singh Objects to Uproar During PM Modi's Speech, Lok Sabha Adjourned Till 2 pm

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm on Monday, amid protest by the Opposition, who had also disrupted PM Modi's introduction of his Council of Ministers.

Speaking in the House soon after, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh raised an objection against the uproar during PM Modi's speech.

"The 24-year-old tradition of PM introducing new Ministers has been broken, this is an unhealthy approach," Singh said.

Parliamentary Courtesy Lost: FM Sitharaman on Opposition Disrupting PM's Introduction

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took to Twitter to express her disapproval of the Opposition having disrupted PM Modi's introduction of his new Council of Ministers, saying that this was a "Parliamentary courtesy lost".

SAD Protests Outside Parliament Against Farm Laws

Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday staged protest against the Centre's farm laws outside Parliament, as the Monsoon Session began.

"Farmers want black laws to be repealed. We issued an adjournment notice. We want Opposition parties to stand against the Modi government," SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said, according to ANI.

PM Modi Introduces Council of Ministers in Rajya Sabha

PM Narendra Modi on Monday, 19 July, introduced his new Council of Ministers in the Rajya Sabha, even as the Opposition raised loud slogans in the House.

Rajya Sabha Adjourned Till 2 pm

The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm, amid ruckus created by members of the Opposition.

Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha Adjourned Till 11 am Tomorrow

Both the Houses of Parliament – the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha – have been adjourned till 11 am on Tuesday.

‘Attempt to Malign Indian Democracy’: IT Minister in Parliament on Pegasus Row

Newly-appointed IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw brought up the Pegasus spyware controversy in the Lok Sabha on Monday, calling it a “highly sensational story” around which “many over-the-top allegations” were made.

“The press reports appeared a day before the Monsoon Session of Parliament. This can't be a coincidence… In the past, similar claims were made regarding use of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those reports had no factual basis and were denied by all parties. Press reports of 18 July 2021 also appear to be an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.”
IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Lok Sabha, as quoted by ANI

Pointing out to the contents of the report, Vaishnaw said the report itself clarifies that presence of a number in the list doesn’t amount to snooping.

“Any form of illegal surveillance isn't possible with checks and balances in our laws, and robust institutions. In India, there's a well-established procedure through which lawful interception of electronic communication is carried out for the purpose of national security… Requests for lawful interceptions of electronic communication are made as per relevant rules, under provisions of Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Section 69 of Information Technology Act, 2000. Each case of interception is approved by the competent authority,” he was further quoted as saying by ANI in the Lower House on Monday.

“When we look at this issue through the prism of logic, it clearly emerges that there is no substance, whatsoever, behind this sensationalism,” Vaishnaw added.

PM Modi to Hold Meeting With Floor Leaders of All Parties Tomorrow: Report

PM Modi is likely to hold a meeting with the floor leaders of all parties in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, in which the COVID-19 vaccination policy is expected to be discussed and a presentation on the handling of the pandemic is to be given, sources cited by ANI said.

Home Minister Amit Shah Alleges 'Pegasus' Reports Seek to Disrupt Monsoon Session

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday, 19 June, slammed the publication of reports on the Pegasus spyware controversy as well as the Opposition’s disruption in Parliament on the first day of the Monsoon Session, saying, “This is a report by the disrupters for the obstructers."

“People have often associated this phrase with me in lighter vein but today I want to seriously say – the timing of the selective leaks, the disruptions… aap chronology samajhiye (understand the chronology)!"
Home Minister Amit Shah

Opposition to Meet and Discuss Floor Strategy Tomorrow

Opposition is slated to meet on Tuesday, 20 July, to discuss floor strategy, reported TOI.

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Published: 19 Jul 2021,08:12 AM IST

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