On the first day of the Monsoon Session, both Houses of Parliament saw repeated disruptions, which resulted in the Question Hour and Zero Hour not taking place.
In Lok Sabha, the newly-appointed Minister for Electronics and IT Mr. Ashwini Vaishnav made a statement on news reports surrounding the Pegasus Project. He said that the publisher of the original news report has stated that it cannot say if the numbers in the published list were under surveillance. He further added that the company whose technology was allegedly used has denied these claims outrightly, and reiterated that there are well-established procedures in the country to ensure that unauthorised surveillance cannot occur.
In Rajya Sabha, the Chairman Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu made opening remarks in which he highlighted the functioning of the Standing Committees during the intersession period. He informed the House that the eight Committees under Rajya Sabha met for a total of 20 meetings, with each meeting lasting for 2 hours and 32 minutes on average. These meetings also saw an average attendance of 48.5%.
In the afternoon, the House took up the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021 for consideration and passing. The bill replaces the 1927 Lighthouse Act and provides a framework to regulate the development, maintenance, and management of marine navigational aids in India. However, the House adjourned amid disruptions before the debate could conclude.
Numbers to Note
The Ministry of Finance informed Lok Sabha today that the Department of Biotechnology provided financial support to 9 private industries for the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. The total allocation is ₹489 crore, of which ₹148 crore has been disbursed.