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Parliament: Opposition to Push for Discussion on Agnipath Recruitment Scheme This Week

PTI |
Sources said the RLD, RJD, SP and Congress have already filed notices demanding a discussion on Agnipath in both Houses.
Lok sabha

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

New Delhi: The Opposition is likely to demand a discussion on the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme in Parliament this week after the debate on price rise is taken up in both the Houses, according to sources.

A discussion on price rise has been listed in the Lok Sabha for Monday and in the Rajya Sabha the next day.

Opposition leaders said while there is a consensus among them about the need for a discussion on Agnipath, which had sparked widespread violence across the country, they have varied stands on the subject.

With barely 10 working days remaining before the Monsoon Session gets over on August 12, it is unlikely that the parties would be able to extract a debate on the new armed forces recruitment scheme in either House.

"We will definitely raise the issue in Parliament, however there is very little time to force a discussion on it as the session is ending on August 12 and in between there is a weekend, the vice presidential election as well as the farewell for (outgoing vice president) Venkaiah Naidu," said an Opposition leader.

Also, some leaders said the parties have also different stands on the issue with those based in northern region demanding a complete withdrawal of the scheme, while some like the TMC asking that state governments be freed of the liability to provide jobs for the 'Agniveers'.

Congress leaders such as  Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana Deepender Singh Hooda has demanded a complete rollback.

Sources said the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party and the Congress have already filed notices demanding a discussion on Agnipath in both Houses.

Opposition leaders have indicated the government has conveyed to them informally they have no plans of accommodating their request on Agnipath as the matter is sub-judice.

The government has also listed two Bills -- The Central Universities(Amendment) Bill, 2022 to be introduced and the The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 to be passed in the Lok Sabha.

In the Rajya Sabha too two Bills will come up for consideration and passing on Monday -- the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005; and a Bill to provide for the national measures for protecting the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems and to give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

Both these Bills have been passed by the Lok Sabha.

RS proceedings adjourned till noon

Rajya Sabha proceedings on Monday were adjourned for about an hour after protests over arrest of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and other issues.

Even as official papers were being laid, Shiv Sena MPs were up on their feet protesting against the arrest of Raut.

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the matter has nothing to do with the House and asked them to go back to their seats.

Other Opposition MPs also joined in raising issues such as price rise.

Lok Sabha adjourned till 12 noon due to Opp protests

The Lok Sabha was on Monday adjourned till 12 noon after a few minutes of business following protests by Opposition leaders demanding withdrawal of suspension of four Congress MPs.

As the House met at 11 am after the weekend break, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla congratulated Indian sportspersons who have brought laurels to the country in the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

While Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga and Achinta Sheuli have bagged gold,  Bindyarani Devi and Sanket Sargar got silver and Gururaja Poojary got bronze, he noted.

When he took up questions related to different ministries, Congress members started protests demanding the withdrawal of suspension of four of their colleagues.

Initially they protested standing at the aisles but later came to the well of the House.

The Speaker appealed to them to go back to their seats and allow the House to run.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal accused the Opposition of disrupting the proceedings and not allowing the House to function by their protests.

Four Congress MPs -- Manickam Tagore, Ramya Haridas, TN Prathapan and S Jothimani -- were suspended last Monday for the rest of the session for protests and carrying placards inside the House.

Lok Sabha proceedings have been disrupted mostly due to the opposition protests, seeking a discussion on price rise and GST rate hike on some food items, even since the Monsoon Session began on July 18.

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