Sonia Gandhi says Congress deserves being leader of opposition at Lok Sabha
After being denied for days on, Sonia Gandhi, the President of Congress, has finally come out in vociferous support of her party and said that by virtue of being the single biggest party in the opposition it should be accorded the position of leader of opposition in Lok Sabha. In her party’s defence, she has also stated that Congress has an alliance that has been there before the assembly elections happened this year. The chairperson of CPP has also stated that the party is yet to decide if it needs to approach the judiciary regarding this issue. This was the first time she was making a comment on this issue.
BJP, in this particular matter, has alleged that Congress is showing desperation for the post and has been unable to accept the defeat. The Congress president has negated these claims and stated that the party is indeed aware of the situation that it finds itself in. Regarding the said post being denied to Congress, BJP has said that it is for the Speaker of Lok Sabha to make a decision on the issue but Kamal Nath, a senior leader for Congress, has termed the excuse to be an unsubstantial one.
Indian government planning to increase FDI in insurance
The central government has proposed that there be an increase in the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) being made in the insurance sector. However, it has also given the condition that the international organizations will have a maximum voting limit of 26 per cent on any issue. In fact, this particular proposal is a part of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008. As of now foreign companies can only put in 26% by way of investment.
The bill has been in the offing since 2008 and now the finance ministry is looking to make some changes – the above mentioned ones – to the same. The insurance sector requires a lot of capital and in order to make sure that the necessary resources can be arranged the proposal in question is being made. The proposal is concerned about equity shares in aggregate paid-up equity capital of the insurance companies. It also necessitates that most of the directors of these companies should be Indians. The Department of Financial Services has prepared a draft cabinet note of the same so that it could be circulated among the relevant entities.
Indian government served notice by apex court regarding e-rickshaws
The Supreme Court has sent across a notice to the Indian government as well as its state level counterparts regarding a request that has asked a ban on e-rickshaws from being allowed on roads across the country. The main argument of the said plea is that these these vehicles are not safe for the people who are availing them. The notice was issued by a branch comprising Justice RM Lodha, Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Kurian Joseph. They have sought to know if the Motor Vehicles Act and the various rules under the same are applicable for these automobiles.
The said petition has stated that the transport departments of various states have failed to take sufficient action against these automobiles and used words such as “illegal”, “malafide” and “arbitrary” to describe this lack of action. It has also said as per Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, the national government was responsible for protecting the citizens’ lives and their property. This petition was made by a gentleman named Bibhash Karmakar from South 24 Parganas in West Bengal. The court had asked him what would be the danger in case an e-rickshaw met with an accident to which Karmakar had replied that the vehicles travel at a minimum speed of 40 km per hour perhaps implying that the damages could be substantial.
Lok Sabha proceedings brought to a grinding halt on very first day
The first day of the parliament’s budget session started on a worrisome note with opposition MPs indulging in vociferous protests and then walking out owing to a wide range of issues. The main areas of concern for the opposition leaders were increase in prices of necessary commodities such as petrol and related products, increase in rail fares, and the ordinance pertaining to Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Bill. The last issue was brought forward by Telangana Rashtriya Samiti.
In the Rajya Sabha, the problems were dealt with successfully with Arun Jaitley giving his nod right away to a discussion around the critical issue of price rise. However, at the lower house of the Indian legislature, M Venkaiah Naidu stated that the government was ready to discuss the matter under Rule 193 whereby a vote was ruled out. Upon receiving this proposal, the opposition demanded that the house be adjourned as per Rule 56. This meant that even though Rajya Sabha saw a detailed discussion on this issue the Lok Sabha was affected by continuous adjournments and finally called it a day at 14.10 hours.
Government looking to increase taxes on tobacco to bring down addiction
The Indian government is under some pressure from health experts to increase the taxes on tobacco products by a significant margin in order to reduce the levels of addiction across the country. If Harsh Vardhan, the union health minister, is successful in increasing the prices of tobacco products then there will obviously be a marked increase in the prices, which will harm the affordability factor and have a negative impact on the use of the same.
At the moment, there are plenty of tobacco products that are available in India for next to nothing. It is being assumed that once they are subjected to heavy taxation even the most economical options will be too expensive for many. As per health experts cigarettes and other tobacco products have been responsible for destroying many a life across India. In many parts of India there are many consumers of raw tobacco and there are other products such as pan masala, bidi and gutka that have been creating health problems for many people in the country. It is expected that any surfeit in taxes will benefit the children, who take to smoking from a young age, the most by putting these products out of their reach.
Rajnath Singh assures new governors would be appointed within a few days
Home minister Rajnath Singh has revealed that in the next few days to come the NDA government will be making its first batch of gubernatorial appointments. This is expected to be done while the ongoing session of parliament is on. It was previously being thought that with the budget session in progress the NDA may wait till it is over to announce the names of new governors who will be taking the place of some governors who had been appointed by the previous UPA regime.
However, with the said announcement such speculations have been laid to rest. On July 6, 2014 the central government had shifted Kamla Beniwal, the governor of Gujarat to Mizoram, where she will now see out her remaining term of half a year. She will replace Vakkom Purushothaman who will assume his duties at Nagpur, where the governor Ashwani Kumar, tendered his resignation a few days back. Margaret Alva, the Rajasthan governor, who is taking over at Gujarat, is supposed to serve till August 2014.