New Delhi: The opposition's persistent protest over rising fuel prices led to adjournment of both Houses of Parliament without transacting any legislative business on Monday.
Both Houses met for the first time in the second part of Budget Session and saw repeated adjournments as the Opposition continued protests.
Rajya Sabha witnessed four adjournments -- first around 10.05 am till 11 am and again till 1 pm and then two quick adjournments of 15 minutes each -- before it was adjourned for the day.
Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge gave a notice for suspension of business for Monday and demanded a discussion on the "huge and frequent" rise in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG even when global prices were "low".
The Chairman disallowed the discussion, saying the issue can be discussed during the course of discussion on the Appropriation Bill, but asked Kharge to mention the subject of his notice considering his seniority.
Kharge said price of petrol was touching Rs 100 and diesel Rs 80 per litre, while LPG rates have increased and prices of petroleum products have gone up.
He claimed that that there has been nearly 820 per cent increase in the prices of petrol and around 258 per cent in excise duty after 2014. He said the central government has made a "profit" of Rs 21 lakh crore in the last six years from tax and cess on petroleum products.
Describing it as a "burning subject", he said people are agitating across the country.
"That's why we are requesting you to suspend all the rules under Rule 267 and give us a chance to speak on this subject. Ultimately, what is the government going to tell about this," he said.
When the Chairman asked him to stop raising the issue and take up the Question Hour, the Opposition members began shouting slogans demanding a debate.
Naidu kept asking members to return to their seats and not deprive members of Question Hour, but the Opposition members were relentless in their demand and kept on shouting.
As members continued to shout, he adjourned the House till 11 am.
When the House re-assembled at 11 am, Congress members again raised their demand forcing another adjournment till 1 PM.
When the House met again, Congress members asked about the fate of their demand and Vandana Chavan, who was in the chair, adjourned the House twice for 15 minutes each at 1 PM and 1.15 PM.
To mark International Women's Day, the Chairman lauded the role of women and said said it is a time to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political contribution and achievements of women across the globe and honour their indomitable spirit.
"We need to ensure an environment that allows women to express themselves to their full potential in the form of both words and deeds", he said, wishing more power to women.
A number of women MPs spoke on the occasion, with some raising demanding reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies to enable them to get adequate representation.
Lok Sabha was adjourned at 5.15 pm till 7.00 pm amid protests by the opposition over rising fuel prices. When the House reconvened at 7 pm, the Chair announced a discussion on the issue of women empowerment on the occasion of International Women's Day.
The discussion continued for about 20 minutes amidst continued protest by Opposition members.
Rama Devi of the BJP who was on the Chair appealed to the protesting members several times to let the House function so that women members can raise their issues on International Women's Day.
However, the Opposition did not yield prompting the chair to adjourn the House for the day to meet on Tuesday 11 am.
Earlier, the House was adjourned twice on the first day of the second part of the Budget Session. The House was first adjournment for an hour after paying tributes to two sitting and seven former members who died recently.
When the House convened at 5 pm, Speaker Om Birla had to adjourn the House till 7 pm following protest by opposition members over rising prices of petrol, diesel and LPG.
During discussion on the issue of women empowerment under the Rule 193, various women MPs spoke about various government initiatives for emancipation of the women in the country.
The 17th Lok Sabha has the record 78 women representatives, highest in the history of the House.
As many as four women MPs B V Satyavathi (YSRCP), Sanghmitra Maurya (BJP), Satabdi Roy (TMC) and Navneet Rana (Ind) participated in the discussion.
On Women's Day, LS Speaker meets women MPs, scribes
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday met women parliamentarians and journalists in Parliament House complex on International Women's Day.
The event was also attended by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani. Acknowledging that women have held the highest positions in the socio-political and economic fields with distinction and have made outstanding contributions, the Speaker said women have led from the forefront while holding important positions such as the president, the prime minister and Lok Sabha speaker.
44 cos get defence FDI approvals
A total of 44 Indian companies, including public sector units, have got approvals related to foreign direct investment (FDI) till now for joint production of defence items with foreign companies, said Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik on Monday.
"So far, FDI inflows of about Rs 4191 crore have been reported by the companies operating in defence and aerospace sector in the country," Naik said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
As on date, FDI approvals have been given to 44 companies -- including DPSUs -- for joint ventures or co-production of various defence items, he stated.
These items include fixed-wing aircrafts, aerospace and aero structures components, simulator, unmanned aerial systems, optical goods and optical instruments, radar systems, mortars and tactically protected vehicles, he added.
On September 17 last year, the government had permitted FDI in defence production up to 74 per cent under automatic route.
It had also permitted FDI in defence production above 74 per cent under automatic route if it is "likely to result in access to modern technology".