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Government Running Away From JPC Probe In Allegations Against Adani Group: Venugopal

Speaking on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in Rajya Sabha, Venugopal said the truth will not come out with a JPC probe.

Government Running Away From JPC Probe In Allegations Against Adani Group: Venugopal
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Rajya Sabha Congress MP K C Venugopal on Wednesday alleged that the government was "running away" from an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the allegations against the Adani Group as it wants to "hide something".

Leaders from different opposition parties in the Upper House also alleged that the President's speech missed out key issues, especially the "attacks" on minority Muslims, price rise and unemployment, and demanded a caste-based census. Several of them demanded a JPC probe into the Hindenburg-Adani issue.

Speaking on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in Rajya Sabha, Venugopal said the truth will not come out with a JPC probe.

"This House has the greatest tradition. That House also has the greatest tradition. Whenever this type of big scam is raised in the public domain, it is the right of the parliamentarians to ask for an inquiry from the government

"If the government does not need to hide any truth, then it should come forward for a JPC inquiry, like during the UPA rule, how many JPC inquiries we have done.. we are asking why are you running away from JPC.. something is there somewhere," he said.  

He claimed there was high unemployment in the country and that some media platforms were spreading venom in the country in the name of Hindu-Muslim.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Bhupender Yadav hit back at the Congress, saying the opposition old party does not believe in any data put out by the goverment as he reeled out numbers related to employment generations, rise in internet users, vaccination, MUDRA loan, and free cooking gas connections.

The Congress does not appreciate anything on which India takes pride, he alleged. 

Ajit Kumar Bhuyan (Independent), who belongs to Assam, said the people of the region had developed some hope after the prime minister told the nation that the Naga conflict was resolved when the Centre inked the framework agreement in August, 2015 but the President's Address does not reflect any concern on the Naga conflict.

Vivek Thakur (BJP) spoke about the various development works and initiatives by the Modi government that have empowered the poor, farmers, dalits, tribals, and rural India during the last nine years.

Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Jaya Bachchan demanded that the government conduct a caste-based census so that Other Backward Community (OBC) people can avail the benefits of government welfare schemes and jobs.

She said beneficiaries for the government's welfare schemes are identified based on caste data of scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST). 

After 1931, a caste-based census - that would have helped get the data on OBCs - was not undertaken, she said.

"We demand... a caste-based census so that they (OBCs) get advantage and their due share in the welfare schemes and the government jobs," she added.

Bachchan, also a Bollywood actress, alleged that the President's speech failed to mention what the government has achieved in improving the lives of women, sanitation workers and senior citizens.

There was no mention of the Nirbhaya fund in the speech, she said, adding that the government also showed complete disregard towards the artist community.

NCP leader Fauzia Khan alleged that the ruling government was using the Enforcement Directorate to target the opposition party members, and alleged there is no politics with principles at present as "fear and exclusion" are used as a strategy for polarisation.

She also expressed concern over China's alleged "water bomb" being developed by building river bridges and airports in neighbouring Nepal and Tibet. "This is a water bomb. Is the government thinking of signing a treaty with China?" she asked.

Pressing for a JPC probe on the Hindenburg-Adani issue, Abdul Wahab (IUML) alleged that the President's speech did not address the struggles of the Muslims.

"India's largest minority, that is Muslims, were not even once discussed by the President. We know there has been an increase in targeted attacks and demolition of houses in Muslim-dominated localities in UP, Uttarakhand, Assam and Madhya Pradesh," he said.

The participation of Muslims in higher education has declined to 4.6 per cent from 5.5 per cent. The quality of public education deteriorated, and as a result, private tuition and coaching centres thrived. Financial aid to higher education students decreased, he added.

Wahab said the President's address should have set a roadmap for addressing the common concerns of people in areas like rising unemployment, increase in gas cylinder and petrol price and hike in prices of essential food items.

Sulata Deo (BJD) talked about women's empowerment and emphasised the need for the Women's Reservation Bill.

Pabitra Magherio (BJP) praised the Modi government for taking steps to end terrorism in the Northeast. "There has been a 74 per cent decline in terrorist activities. Terrorists and rebel groups are in dialogue now."

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Terrorist activities have reduced and as a result, G-20 meetings are being held there also, he added.

Sonal Mansingh (BJP) drew attention to the government initiatives taken to promote and preserve India's rich cultural heritage.

"Government has chosen the path of consolidating heritage and giving priority to development", she said.

The government's endeavour has been to focus on preserving India's glorious past, and paying homage and tribute to great freedom fighters, she said.

She mentioned initiatives such as upgrading five iconic museums to international standards, the Statue of Unity, and the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate.

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She said that millions of people have for centuries yearned for the temple of Lord Ram, for which the prime minister led the bhoomi pujan.

"It was an emotional moment for millions since many people had wondered if they would ever see Shri Ram in a grand temple instead of a makeshift tent," she said.

Kavita Patidar (BJP) said the government has taken a number of policy measures for the welfare of farmers, right from the PM-KISAN scheme to One Nation One Fertiliser scheme, and PM Kisan Samruddhi Kendras.

Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP) recounted that in 2014 after taking over as the prime minister, Narendra Modi announced that the Northeast region is a priority.

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"He not only announced, he has implemented," Baishya said. Before 2014, Assam had only one cancer hospital, and now that number has grown to nine, he added.  

Ramchandra Jangra (BJP), Brijlal (BJP) and Rwngwra Narzary (UPPL) also participated in the debate. 

Radha Mohan Das Agarwal (BJP) focused on the health sector. He said the health budget has increased to Rs 86,200 crore in 2022-23 from Rs 33,700 crore in 2013-14.

Santhosh Kumar P (CPI) accused the central government of weakening institutions like SEBI. 

"It is actually now a Silent and Embarrassed Body of India," he alleged. 

A D Singh (RJD) also raised the demand for JPC probe. 

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"What is the harm if a JPC is constituted? At least, you can show to the world that everything is transparent here, and in case, the Opposition is saying something wrong, we will also get embarrassed if the JPC clears everything that a particular industrialist has done," he said.

While supporting the motion of thanks, Manas Ranjan Mangaraj (BJD) highlighted that banking services are absent in many Panchayats of Odisha. 

"These also need to be provided by the Centre," he said, and added that because of the implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer, the people of Odisha will not be benefitted unless Brick and Mortar (Physical) banks are there in the panchayats.

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TMC MP Abir Ranjan Biswas said the immediate inquiry into the "big scam" which is currently creating much furore can happen in two different ways. It could be through a JPC or a time-bound probe by a Supreme Court-monitored Committee.

"So, we demand the second, of course, if the first plan is touching the weak nerve of the government," he said.

-With PTI Input

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