Congress MPs led by Sonia Gandhi staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha on Friday to protest against the government's alleged "indifference" to the farmers' plight and demanded that the Centre announce a farm loan waiver at the earliest.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Congress member Deepender Singh Hooda said while the House has debated on the farm distress on 19 July, the members of his party were not satisfied with the response of Agriculture Minster Radha Mohan Singh. The Opposition raised slogans and demanded Prime Minister's reply on the crisis.
Hooda said during the discussion the Centre did not make it clear whether it intended to implement recommendations made by the M S Swaminathan Commission. He added that the BJP had promised in its election campaign of 2014 to implement the commission's recommendations.
However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anant Kumar countered the accusations, saying the Opposition party was "shedding crocodile tears". "You all are not genuinely concerned about the farmers. You are only shedding crocodile tears," Kumar alleged. The minister wanted to know why the Congress members were not present in the House till 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday when the House took up a long-drawn-out discussion on the agrarian crisis. "You are now showing false sympathies," Kumar said.
Immediately, several Congress members including Sushmita Dev, Ranjeet Ranjan and Rajeev Shankarrao Satav rushed to the Well and continued protesting and shouting slogans.
Citing schemes like farm insurance and easy availability of fertilisers, Kumar said no government had done so much for farmers as the Modi government had in the last three years.
The Lok Sabha had to be adjourned for the whole day on Thursday due to disruptions from the Opposition. On Friday, the Speaker conducted Question Hour and took up matters of public importance after the Congress walkout.
Shell companies: During Question Hour, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in response to a query said the task force constituted by the government with regard to shell companies had submitted its report and action is being taken on it. Last year, more than 1.6 lakh shell companies were de-registered. Jaitley's response was to a query on whether a large number of shell companies and entities that are primarily used as conduits for dealing in black money and hawala transactions have come to the notice of the government. Later, Jaitley introduced a Bill to repeal the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959, the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956, and further to amend the State Bank of India Act, 1955.
Inadequate doctors: On the issue of health care, the government told the Lok Sabha that India has less than one doctor for every 1000 population which is less than the stipulated minimum laid down by the World Health Organisation. Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel said as per information provided by the Medical Council of India, there were a total 10,22,859 allopathic doctors registered with the state medical councils or Medical Council of India as on March 31 this year.