Parliament Monsoon Session: 127th Amendment Bill passed in Lok Sabha, Pegasus continues to be raised by Opposition
Monday’s Parliamentary monsoon session saw Lok Sabha introduce the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order of 1950 and thereby allows the Parliament to revise its list of notified STs. The aim of this Bill is also to restore states’ power to help identify backward classes.
Today’s session also saw two other bills that were passed in the Lok Sabha — Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
In Rajya Sabha, the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009, was passed. It is aimed to provide for the establishment of a university in the Union territory of Ladakh.
This year’s monsoon session is scheduled to culminate on August 13. So far the session has witnessed many adjournments and protests by Opposition. The Opposition has raised demands on discussing key issues like Pegasus spying, farm bills, fuel prices hike and other issues. With just a week for session ending, it seems unlikely that there would be any smooth functioning in coming days.
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt told the Rajya Sabha that the government had no transactions with the Israeli NSO group that founded the Pegasus spyware. This was in response to continuous allegations that the government used the spy software for snooping on politicians, activists, journalists, etc. “Ministry of Defence has not had any transaction with NSO Group Technologies,” Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said while replying to a question in Rajya Sabha.
IT and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw dismissed reports by media that government was using Pegasus software to spy on Indian citizens. Vaishnaw said in a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, that with several checks in place, “any sort of illegal surveillance” by unauthorised entities is not possible in India.