NEW DELHI: Before the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day due to lack of quorum, opposition party members continued their attack on the government over demonetisation on Friday too. Now the House will meet on December 14.
Amidst protests on demonetization, angry opposition protested government's move to slash import duty on wheat from 10 per cent to zero. They alleged that this was meany to benefit multinational firms. This led to adjournment of the House till noon after the House proceedings for the day started at 11 am.
Opposition members from Congress, SP, BSP, JD (U), left amongst other members alleged that the government’s decision to slash import duty on wheat from 10 per cent to zero will hit the farmer hard as the country already has enough buffer stock. The move ahead of the winter wheat crop will help MNCs to dump cheap wheat from US, France and Ukraine in the country, they said.
However, reacting to opposition claims, food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said there was no shortage of wheat in the country and the decision was taken to cool down domestic prices which has shown an upward trend in recent weeks. Paswan said wheat prices are on the rise in last few days. This is not a permanent decision, he pointed out.
Raising the issue, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said he had given a notice under rule 267 to suspend business of the day to discuss the decision that will ruin Indian farmers while MNCs will rake in super-profits. He said the farmers are already hit hard by demonetisation as they are unable to buy seeds and fertiliser due to cash shortage.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said "unfortunately the opposition members are not allowing the House to function. The President also appealed to members to do their job by allowing the House to function. They should be ashamed of themselves and take his advise to allow important issues to be discussed."
As enough number of members did not assemble even after ringing of the bell twice, Kurien adjourned the House for the day, within minutes of its recovening, citing lack of quorum. As per the rules, at least 10 per cent of the total strenght of the House is required to be present for quorum. In the case of 245-member Rajya Sabha, the quorum number is 25.