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Persecuted people compelled to seek refuge in India: Kovind

By KALYAN BAROOAH

NEW DELHI, Jan 31 - In yet another indication of the NDA government�s determination to list the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Rajya Sabha, President Ram Nath Kovind said that those people who were compelled to seek refuge in India cannot be blamed since they were victims of circumstances.

Addressing a joint session of Parliament marking the beginning of the Budget Session, the President said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will help those victims, who were persecuted and were compelled to seek refuge in India, in securing Indian citizenship. �These people cannot be blamed since they were victims of circumstances,� he said.

The President�s comment came on a day when the Congress firmed up its stand on the Bill after meeting a delegation of Assam Pradesh Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC president Ripun Bora and State opposition leader Debabrata Saikia, among others.

A senior AICC leader told newsmen that the party is likely to issue a whip to vote against the Bill in Rajya Sabha. The initial efforts would be to stop the government from bringing the Bill for discussion, sources said.

On the other hand, a senior TMC MP said that they would push for referring the Bill to Parliamentary Select Committee. Select committees are temporarily formed for specific purposes, often to study a particular issue.

The government is likely to disclose the business at the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) scheduled tomorrow morning. At an all-party meeting held today, the government told members of both the Houses that there was a backlog of at least 46 Bills.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 proposing to grant ST status to the six communities are among the Bills to be listed.

�The government�s focus lies on issues of national importance and finding solutions to problems of the people. The country expects from all of us to perform our duties as Parliamentarians in a positive manner and we must deliver to the expectations of the people,� said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the floor leaders of parties in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha here today.

The government�s priority is to pass the three Bills to replace ordinances. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019; the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019; and the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 are required to be passed during the Interim Budget Session, 2019 itself.

At the all-party meeting, opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the opposition will not allow the government to bring any controversial Bill in Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the President in his address said there were many projects where delays in completion had become synonymous with injustice to common people of this country such as India�s longest rail-road bridge at Bogibeel in Assam. He also said the Government of India believes that eastern part of India, comprising eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and the states of the Northeast, has the potential to become a new �growth engine�.

�Therefore, my government is relentlessly striving to strengthen the infrastructure related to railways, highways, waterways and airways in Eastern India,� he said. Similarly, the work on the �gas cracker project� which is important for Assam and Paradip Oil Refinery in Odisha has also been expedited, he said, adding, the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge named after Dr Bhupen Hazarika, linking Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has already been dedicated to the nation.

The President said out of the 18,000 villages electrified by the government, about 13,000 villages are in Eastern India and out of these 5,000 villages are in remote areas of the Northeast. �My government is working towards bringing about a transformation through transport and tourism in order to make the lives of the people of the Northeast easier,� he added.

�Almost all the railway lines of the Northeast have been converted to broad gauge. Efforts are under way to provide rail connectivity to the capital cities of all the eight states. For this, the work on 15 new rail lines is under progress at a cost of approximately Rs 50,000 crore,� the President said.

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Persecuted people compelled to seek refuge in India: Kovind

NEW DELHI, Jan 31 - In yet another indication of the NDA government�s determination to list the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Rajya Sabha, President Ram Nath Kovind said that those people who were compelled to seek refuge in India cannot be blamed since they were victims of circumstances.

Addressing a joint session of Parliament marking the beginning of the Budget Session, the President said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will help those victims, who were persecuted and were compelled to seek refuge in India, in securing Indian citizenship. �These people cannot be blamed since they were victims of circumstances,� he said.

The President�s comment came on a day when the Congress firmed up its stand on the Bill after meeting a delegation of Assam Pradesh Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC president Ripun Bora and State opposition leader Debabrata Saikia, among others.

A senior AICC leader told newsmen that the party is likely to issue a whip to vote against the Bill in Rajya Sabha. The initial efforts would be to stop the government from bringing the Bill for discussion, sources said.

On the other hand, a senior TMC MP said that they would push for referring the Bill to Parliamentary Select Committee. Select committees are temporarily formed for specific purposes, often to study a particular issue.

The government is likely to disclose the business at the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) scheduled tomorrow morning. At an all-party meeting held today, the government told members of both the Houses that there was a backlog of at least 46 Bills.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 proposing to grant ST status to the six communities are among the Bills to be listed.

�The government�s focus lies on issues of national importance and finding solutions to problems of the people. The country expects from all of us to perform our duties as Parliamentarians in a positive manner and we must deliver to the expectations of the people,� said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the floor leaders of parties in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha here today.

The government�s priority is to pass the three Bills to replace ordinances. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019; the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019; and the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 are required to be passed during the Interim Budget Session, 2019 itself.

At the all-party meeting, opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the opposition will not allow the government to bring any controversial Bill in Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the President in his address said there were many projects where delays in completion had become synonymous with injustice to common people of this country such as India�s longest rail-road bridge at Bogibeel in Assam. He also said the Government of India believes that eastern part of India, comprising eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and the states of the Northeast, has the potential to become a new �growth engine�.

�Therefore, my government is relentlessly striving to strengthen the infrastructure related to railways, highways, waterways and airways in Eastern India,� he said. Similarly, the work on the �gas cracker project� which is important for Assam and Paradip Oil Refinery in Odisha has also been expedited, he said, adding, the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge named after Dr Bhupen Hazarika, linking Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has already been dedicated to the nation.

The President said out of the 18,000 villages electrified by the government, about 13,000 villages are in Eastern India and out of these 5,000 villages are in remote areas of the Northeast. �My government is working towards bringing about a transformation through transport and tourism in order to make the lives of the people of the Northeast easier,� he added.

�Almost all the railway lines of the Northeast have been converted to broad gauge. Efforts are under way to provide rail connectivity to the capital cities of all the eight states. For this, the work on 15 new rail lines is under progress at a cost of approximately Rs 50,000 crore,� the President said.