Md Nadimul Haque asks a Question on losses faced by e-commerce companies due to internet shutdowns


Will the Minister of COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY be pleased to state:

(a) whether e-Commerce companies have seen economic losses due to internet shutdown in different parts of the country;

(b) whether Government has estimated the same and if so, the details thereof; and

(c) if not, whether Government plans to estimate the impact of internet shutdowns on e-Commerce companies?


Sir, over 150 days of internet shut down in the State of Jammu & Kashmir has led to many businesses and start-ups, especially in IT and E-commerce, to shut down or leave for better opportunities. Young entrepreneurs have been discouraged from starting online businesses. Sir, my question is, when will the Government take actual steps and not totalistic measures to address this serious crisis?


The order for internet shut down is rarely open to the public. It has been reported that only secretary-level officers can issue such orders like internet shut down, even DMs can also order, Sir.

So my question is, how has the Government allowed internet shut down to be imposed so easily, especially when the repercussions are not just on an area but across whole of India?


Md Nadimul Haque speaks about misuse of public data on govt mobile app


Sir, it has been reported that public data published by a Government of India mobile application called the ‘Vahan App’, is being misused. There is serious concern that this transport ministry app, which allows users to identify vehicle owners, is being used by miscreants for targeted violence through ascertaining identity of vehicle owners.

The Vahan app makes all vehicle registration records across India publicly available. It allows people to look up the name of a car owner by simply using their vehicle registration number. Such open access to citizens’ personal data poses not only a huge privacy risk but may also lead to a potential risk to human life and private property.

However, in March 2019, the Ministry for Road, Transport and Highways rolled out the Bulk Data Sharing Policy, under which it chose to make the vehicle registration database public. Individual consent was not sought for this. It allowed organisations to pay an annual fee of 3 crore rupees, and research and education institutions 5 lakh rupees, to access these databases. In July 2019, the databases were sold to about 87 private and 32 government entities, at a cost of Rs 65 crore.

In the absence of a personal data protection law to protect people’s online privacy, such selling and misuse of data is deeply worrying. I urge the ministry to conceal personal details of individuals in the database and even stop public as well as private access to the data on the portal.

Sir, may I take this opportunity to urge to protect all of us members not only from our right to data privacy but also to ask for clarification from the Minister after he delivers his speech. Sir, what happened yesterday, when Opposition members were not allowed to seek clarification, was totally unacceptable.


Md Nadimul Haque makes a Special Mention on the impact of demonetisation and of flood on tomato prices


Tomato is a household staple without which no meal is usually complete. Especially, during the month of shravan, many Indian communities throughout the country avoid onion and garlic and rely mostly on tomato. Despite a good monsoon season, tomato prices have escalated to Rs 60-80 per kg in retail markets across the country.

The major concern for this rise is attributed to ‘note bandi’, that is, demonetisation. Demonetisation came on top of a bumper autumn/kharif crop. Earlier in November, when demonetisation was rolled out, tomato prices were as low as Rs 2 or 4 per kg. Since the farmers were unable to recover money by summer, they terminated the crop, the impact of which is being felt now. Farmers, therefore, were inclined to plant less tomato in summer 2017. As a result, the early part of summer saw very low prices, which were followed by an unusual spike.

Consumers are feeling the brunt of demonetisation now, even after a good monsoon. Because of the flood-prone areas of West Bengal (Purulia) and the Jhalawar and Jaipur-Chomu belt in Rajasthan, many other crops have also been destroyed. Demonetisation, along with heavy flooding, has resulted in the rise of tomato prices which needs to be seen to immediately by the Central Government. The inconvenience and the long-run costs to the economy need to be raised as both food output and consumption are affected.


Md Nadimul Haque speaks on The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 & The National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017


Sir, I am grateful for the opportunity to address this House on this important matter. The welfare of backward classes is a very important issue to our party, Trinamool Congress. The Government in West Bengal has been working tirelessly in this regard. We have constituted 16 development/cultural boards under the Department of Backward Classes Welfare and Department of Tribal Development in order to focus on the welfare and development of the respective communities. Seventeen per cent reservation for OBCs has been granted by the West Bengal State Higher Education Institution (Reservation in Education) Act, 2013. I am pleased to inform this House, through you, Sir that this has been done without reducing the existing general category seats. The Government has also introduced 17 per cent reservation for OBCs in State Government jobs. A special recruitment drive has been initiated to fill up vacant posts in the reserved categories of various departments with an objective to maintain the overall percentage of reservation in services and posts. Almost 10,000 vacancies in 16 departments have been identified and a recruitment process has started to fill up about 3,500 vacancies in the first phase.

Sir, the Trinamool Congress is committed to working for the welfare of backward classes and we welcome the creation of a National Commission for Backward Classes with constitutional status. However, we wish to raise a few important points of contention that we have with this amendment.

Firstly, I request you to peruse Clause 4 of the Constitutional Amendment Bill. It seeks to insert Article 342 (A) into the Constitution. Article 342 (A) (1) reads: ‘The President may, with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the socially and educationally backward classes’.

We wish to raise strong objection to this provision. We feel that this provision erodes the federal structure of our polity and gives the Centre power that should fall within the domain of the State Governments. My colleague, Mr Sukhendu Sekhar Roy had submitted a dissent note in the Select Committee that was considering this Bill. He made a reference to the Supreme Court’s nine-judge bench judgment in Indira Sawhney vs Union of India. The judgment identified the importance of commissions for backward classes at both the national as well as the State level. It was pointed out in the same note that through this Bill, the Centre is seeking to create a national commission that has sweeping powers and centralised authority which includes advising on the socio-economic development of backward classes and evaluating the progress of their development under the Union or any State.

Further, the Bill mentions that the President may identify backward classes for any State, in consultation with the Governor. We submit that this phrase is not sufficient. The combined reading of Article 342 (A) and 366 (26) (C) makes it clear that after the 123rd Amendment only the Union Government would have the power to determine whether a caste is educationally and socially backward or not.

There is no language in the Bill to ensure that this consultation shall be effective or that the President is bound to take into account the opinion of the Governor. We submit that the proposed amendment to the Constitution undermines the role of State Governments and State Commissions for Backward Classes.

Additionally, the Bill mandates that every State Government shall consult a National Commission on all major policy matters that affect socially and educationally backward classes. We perceive this provision as an unnecessary intrusion on the functioning of State Governments. A mandatory consultation with the National Commission will have the effect of slowing down the pace of important policy decisions to be taken by State Governments such as the ones I highlighted in the beginning of my speech. This is a fetter on the States and, in my humble opinion, has no place in our Constitution.

I would be amiss in my duty if I do not point out that this Bill is only one example in a trend of erosion of the federal structure of this country. This Government has simply refused to respect the role of the States in its functioning. The drastic move of demonetisation was taken without taking the State Governments into confidence. Many rules have been made in colourable exercise of legislative power and now the power of the States to identify backward classes is sought to be taken away. Clearly, under this Government, there is a complete breakdown of the federal structure. It was the desire of the makers of our Constitution that India follow the principle of cooperative federalism. This is embodied in the very first Article of our Constitution, which says ‘India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States’. The Central and State Governments were considered partners in the project that this wonderfully diverse country is. We fear that this trend of centralisation under the present Government shall do great harm to this great idea embedded in our Constitution.

Sir, I submit that this Constitutional Amendment Bill will deprive the States from making provisions for the socially and educationally backward classes under Article 15 (4) of the Constitution. The Bill undermines the role of the States and the State Commissions for Backward Classes. It will create hindrances to the development of communities who may be inadequately represented in the States.

Trinamool Congress is a strong proponent of inclusive development. We believe that not even one person should be left behind in the development agenda of this country. We fear, however, that empowering a national body with the task of looking after the backward classes for the States shall have this very undesirable effect.

I wish to explore the rationale behind leaving this particular power with the States. It is the State Governments that have a closer and a more day-to-day interaction with the people of this country. It is the State Government that is responsible for the implementation of welfare schemes and supervising basic services such as schools and hospitals. They are also in a better position to understand the nature of structural barriers that may inhibit the development of certain classes of people. As such, it would be more effective to leave this power to the States. A National Commission is wholly unequipped to identify classes that are in need of special protection by the States. Such a body will be unable to appreciate the particular requirements of small communities in different parts of the country.

My colleague here has pointed out that this would be a five-member body. I wish to say that at least one member should be a woman and at least one member should a member of a minority community.

I conclude by reiterating that we are all for giving the National Commission for Backward Classes constitutional status. However, this must not come at the cost of introducing anti-federal elements in our Constitution.

Sir, I thank you very much.



Nadimul Haque speaks on the need to urgently release funds under BRGF


Sir, the State of West Bengal has been neglected for the release of various funds. Under MNREGA, the Centre owes us Rs 1546.87 crore, under Swachh Bharat Mission, Rs 1514 crore, under BRGF, Rs 2330 crore, under the food subsidy for 2015-16 and 1016-17, Rs 1584 crore, and further owed under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and other schemes. The State of West Bengal owed a total of Rs 10,469 crore. It’s a matter of great concern that these funds are not being released. The BRGF scheme covers 250 districts in 27 States. It is a unique sector fund as it puts the panchayats and the municipalities at the forefront of planning and implementation. In rural areas, it benefits 56 per cent SCs and STs, and 40 per cent OBCs; in urban areas, the figure is 47 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively. We have used the money granted under this fund for the development of the backward districts of Bengal through myriad ways which includes setting up of schools, multi super-speciality hospitals, it is, polytechnics, Kisan Mandis, girls’ hostels and electrification of villages.

Out of the water supply schemes sanctioned for six towns, those for four have already been completed; those for the other two are pending are funds are yet to be released. We have even started innovative programmes like the National Fibre Mission, a rural livelihood generation programme that helps leverage national fibres which are common throughout the State. One of the biggest success stories of the Trinamool Congress in the implementation of this fund has been to ease the Left Wing Extremism in the Jangalmahal region of Bengal, where there has been progress from violence to welfare. Numerous schools and hospitals have been built, and new blood banks, sick newborn care units (SNCUs) and sick rehabilitation centres have been established. However, the BTGS funds have been stopped by the Centre and the payment of Rs 2,330 crore is owed to the State of Bengal. The reasoning behind this is that since the Twelfth Five-Year Plan has ended, al payments under it have been stopped. It is clear that the Trinamool Congress Government attaches serious importance in improving the lives of people in the backward districts, and the money owed to it is absolutely essential for various critical welfare schemes.

I demand the immediate release of funds already mentioned so that the progress in the State of West Bengal can take place.


Nadimul Haque speaks on interest cut in small savings schemes


Thank you Hon. Deputy Chairman Sir.

Sir, the population of senior citizens in our country is 10.38 crore, which is about 8.6 per cent of the total population. Recently, the interest rates on major savings schemes like Public Provident Fund (PPF), Kisan Vikas Patra and Senior Citizens Saving Scheme were cut by 10 basis points. The interest on PPF is now at 7.9 per cent, which is the lowest since 1980.

When bank fixed deposits offer much less returns, these types of savings schemes are the only feasible options for senior citizens and retired persons. The Government has said that this is necessary because Government bond yields fall due to market fluctuations.

Sir, small savings have two important incentives – one, it has tax benefits, and two, it is safe when compared to the market.

This type of market-influenced small savings is hurting investors, especially old people, farmers and women. 1.61 lakh senior citizens’ savings schemes are in operation. About 85 lakh Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana accounts have been opened, with more than 5 lakh in Bengal itself.

This step is causing hardship to them as their savings are being hugely hit. There are apprehensions that these rates will fall more sharply in the future as they are linked to the market.

The Government has also changed the process by revising rates every quarter instead of annual revisions. People are being forced to invest directly in the market, which is risky. The Government is in favour of corporates rather than its people.

Savings are the backbone of the Indian economy, and hence the Government’s policy should be towards encouraging and incentivising the same. I hope the Government will take into consideration the distress caused by this move to the people and take a decision on the revision of rates so that lakhs of people do not lose on their return on savings.

The Government should take the example of West Bengal and set up a toll-free senior citizens’ helpline to raise awareness and help them in such matters. The National Policy for Senior Citizens must be revised at the earliest.

Like the White Revolution and the Pink Revolution, we should introduce a Grey Revolution to protect the senior citizens of our country, who have dedicated their lives to its welfare.

Sir, as many people requested, I want to end with a couplet:

Peeche bandhe hain haat
Magar sakht hain safar
Kis se kahein ki paon se
Kaante nikaal de.

Week 1: Trinamool protests against the Centre’s unfair policies and actions

The first week of the first part of the 2017 Budget Session of Parliament started on January 31 with the President’s Address.

On February 1, the Leader of the Party in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien gave his Motion of Thanks speech on the President’s Address, where he highlighted Trinamool Congress’ views on the severe shortcomings of the BJP-led Central Government.

Earlier that day, he had given a Notice under Rule 267 regarding the political vendetta being carried out against Bengal by the Centre, during which speech he had also spoken out against the apathy of the Centre to the 135 deaths that have occurred across the country till now as a result of the promulgation of demonetisation. (You can read the full notice here)

On the same day, in the Rajya Sabha, Md Nadimul Haque asked a question on the empowerment of rural women.

February 3 began with the Trinamool Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) protesting inside Parliament complex against the political vendetta by the Centre.

Derek O’Brien demanded Parliament observes a minute’s silence for the unfortunate victims of demonetisation.

On the same day, the Leader of the Party in the Lok Sabha, Saugata Roy, intervened to oppose the introduction of Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill, 2017.

Later, he raised the issue of misusing of CBI for political purposes by the Central Government, during which time BJP MPs disrupted the House, leading to the adjournment of the Lok Sabha.

Thus, the first week saw Trinamool Congress protesting strongly against the unfair policies and actions of the Centre.



Week 5: Despite the Opposition’s efforts, Treasury benches prevented discussion on demonetisation

The final week of Parliament also saw the Opposition parties, including Trinamool Congress, demand discussions on demonetisation. However, the treasury benches continuously tried to disrupt proceedings.

On December 14, 16 leading Opposition parties held a joint press conference in New Delhi. Sudip Bandyopadhyay of Trinamool Congress said that the “voice of Opposition is being gagged” in Parliament and that “what is happening is not just unfortunate but disgraceful”.

In the Rajya Sabha, on December 14, Nadimul Haque spoke on behalf of the party supporting the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014. A speech supporting the same Bill was given by Saugata Roy in the Lok Sabha on December 16.

On December 15, the Trinamool Members of Parliament held a protest against demonetisation outside Parliament.

On that same day, in the Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandyopadhyay even said that “a discussion could have been initiated, without any Rules”. However, the ruling party did not let it happen.

The 241st session of Parliament (Winter Session) ended today, that is, on December 16.



শীতকালীন অধিবেশনের পঞ্চম সপ্তাহে সংসদ চলতে দিল না সরকারপক্ষ
সংসদের শীতকালীন অধিবেশনের শেষ সপাহেও নোটবাতিল নিয়ে আলোচনা হল না। বিরোধী দলগুলি আলোচনার দাবি জানালেও সরকার পক্ষ সমানে বাধা দিয়ে আলোচনা হতে দিল না।

ডিসেম্বরের ১৪ তারিখ বিরোধী দলগুলি যৌথ সাংবাদিক সম্মেলন করে। লোকসভায় তৃণমূল কংগ্রেসের দলনেতা সুদীপ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় বলেন, “বিরোধীদের কণ্ঠস্বর রোধ করা হচ্ছে। যা ঘটছে তা খুবই অনভিপ্রেত ও দুর্ভাগ্যজনক।”

রাজ্যসভায় ডিসেম্বরের ১৪ তারিখ, নাদিমুল হক তৃণমূল কংগ্রেসের তরফ থেকে “The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014″র পক্ষে সওয়াল করেন

ডিসেম্বরের ১৫ তারিখ তৃণমূল কংগ্রেসের সাংসদরা নোটবাতিলের বিরোধিতায় সংসদ চত্বরে ধর্ণা দেন।

ওই দিনই লোকসভায় সুদীপ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় বলেন, “কোনও নিয়ম ছাড়াই আলোচনা হতে পারে।“ যদিও সরকার পক্ষ সেটা হতে দেয় নি।

সংসদের শীতকালীন অধিবেশন শেষ হয় ডিসেম্বরের ১৬ তারিখ।


Nadimul Haque speaks on the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 | FULL TRANSCRIPT

Sir, firstly on behalf of my party All India Trinamool Congress, and also personally, Sir, I wholeheartedly support this Bill. This is a Bill that has come in the correct time. We see that the the number of categories for physically and mentally challenged people have increased from seven to twenty one. We welcome the move.

There is one thing I would like the Minister to make sure. Reservation given in this Bill to specially abled people is four per cent. I would request you to make sure that none of these vacancies are left unfulfilled. Please make sure that they are fulfilled.

Md Nadimul Haque speaks during Zero Hour on adulteration of food

Sir, main aaj ek bahut zaroori subject par baat karna chah raha hoon: adulteration in food. Sir, pehle sabzi ghee mein banti thi. Ab toh aisa ho gaya ki ghee bhi sabzi se banti hain.

Abhi Puja, Dussehra aur Diwali aane wali hain, Jaise hi teohar ka mausam aata hain, jitni mithaiyan hain, sab banna start ho jati hain. Lekin jitni mithaiyan ban rahi hain, uske andar jo ingredients ja rahe hain, us sab mein adulteration hain, Sir. Abhi doodh mein dekhiye, urea se doodh banaya ja raha hain ki mithai me usko lagaya ja sakey.

Ab kisi bhi market mein aap chale jaiyen, toh wahan par jahan par mithai banti hain, sabke haath agar dekhiyega, sab alag alag rang ke hain, jaise lag rahe hain ki Holi ho gayi hain. Kisi ka blue hain, peela hain, sab mithayi mein rang milaya ja raha hain. Aur yeh rang jo hote hain yeh bahut achhe standards ke nahin hote, aur isse aage jakar ke maulik vimari bhi. Sir, abhi TV par dikhaya tha, ki ek drum hain, usme kachhe kela ko dubaya jata aur jab nikala jata doosre din toh pak jata hai.

Toh, Sir, yeh kya ho raha hain? Main bolna chahta hoon ki cigarette mein aap warning dete hain, ki cigarette peene se yeh yeh beemari hoti hain. Toh yeh sab khane par kyon nahin hain? Har khane par bhi de dijiye. Ki wahan par kele par ki mithaiyon par ya iss par bhi, yeh sab khane par aap ko cancer ya aur bimari ho sakti hain.

Sir, healthy people will lead to a healthy nation. Jab nation healthy hogitoh jaise Olympic mein sab hamara contingent gaya hain toh medal bhi jeet ke aayenge.

Sir, one very important issue I want to raise is that of the brand called Maggi. It was recently banned by many States for various reasons, Sir. But only the State of West Bengal gave it a clean chit after examining it. Later on this ban was lifted. Sir, isme jo sabak humko sikhna hain, is that we need to be strict but we should not go on a witch-hunt and genuine manufacturers should not be harassed.

As per the Annual Public Laboratory Testing Report for the year 2014-15, Sir, 17% of the samples tested were adulterated; and it is an increase of 2 to 3% over the previous year. Whereas the conviction rate has gone down – from 3001 in ’75 it has gone down to 1445. Sir, fines collected by the FSSAI has doubled.