17th Lok Sabha set to open today
The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will commence from Monday, during which the passage of the Union Budget and key legislation, such as the triple talaq bill, will be on top of the agenda for the government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chairing an all-party meeting on the eve of the first session, invited heads of all parties who have an MP either in the Lower House or the Rajya Sabha to a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the "one nation, one election" matter.
The meeting will also discuss the issue of celebrations of 75 years of India's Independence in 2022 and Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary this year, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said.
Modi also invited all MPs from both houses of Parliament for a dinner on Thursday, where they will interact freely and exchange views. As there are many new faces in this Lok Sabha, Modi said the first session of the Lower House of Parliament should begin with "fresh zeal and new thinking".
At the all-party meeting, the Congress raised issues of unemployment, farmers' distress, drought and press freedom, while also calling for early Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
Opposition parties at the meeting demanded a discussion on all such issues in Parliament, with the Congress asserting that it is still a "fight of ideologies".
The prime minister, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress lawmakers Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, K Suresh, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and TMC leader Derek O'Brien were present at the meeting.
The Lok Sabha will have 30 sittings and the Rajya Sabha 27 sittings between 17 June and 26 July. Among the bills that will be introduced in this session, the one on triple talaq can be contentious for the government and the Opposition.
The Speaker will be elected on Wednesday and the next day, the president will address a joint sitting of both Houses.
The Union Budget will be introduced on 5 July.
Lok Sabha MPs to take oath as members of the Lower House
The first two days of the session starting on Monday will be used for administering the oath of office to all Lok Sabha MPs by Protem Speaker Virender Kumar.
The prime minister is expected to speak at around 10.15 am, while the session itself will begin at 11 am.
The oath-taking ceremony will be held for all MPs, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to be the first to take oath as an MP. He will be followed by the Union Council of Ministers. and the other MPs will continue to take oath according to the alphabetical order of the states they represent.
Toll in encephalitis cases rises to 93 in Bihar
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday visited the families of the children suffering from suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), as the toll rose to 93 in the district. Vardhan, his deputy Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey visited Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), where 76 children of the total of 93 died. The other children died at Kejriwal hospital in Muzaffarpur.
"I assure the people of the area, especially the affected families, that the government will extend all possible help and measures to the state government," the Union health minister told reporters in Patna, adding that a "state-of-the-art" research centre will come up at Muzaffarpur.
However, state government officials have maintained that the majority of the victims had died due to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance.
Also, attributing heat and humidity as a possible reasons behind the encephalitis outbreak in Bihar, Vardhan said the Ministry of Earth Sciences will help formulate an action plan with the state government to deal with the situation.
Bengal doctors' strike: IMA to hold nationwide strike; AIIMS doctors to protest in Delhi
The Resident Doctor's Association of AIIMS will organise a protest on Monday morning in solidarity with the junior doctors of Kolkata who have been agitating following an attack on a junior doctor in the West Bengal capital.
A protest march will be organised in front of Jawaharlal Auditorium of the All India Institute Medical Sciences in New Delhi and will commence at 8 am, a press statement by the doctors' body said, adding that "patient care services will not be hampered".
Expressing concern over what they called "situation of doctors", AIIMS authorities said they were in touch with the doctors on strike in West Bengal. "We are hereby hopeful that the West Bengal administration considers the demands of the striking doctors and resolves the matter amicably at the earliest in the best interest of the people," the press release said.
According to ANI, doctors associated with the body had met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday with regard to the violence against doctors in the Mamata Banerjee-led state and demanded security for their fraternity.
On Saturday, Mamata accepted the protesting doctors' demands and promised to not invoke the stringent Essential Services Maintenance Act against them for not performing their duties, urging them to resume work immediately.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the country's largest medical body, will also hold a nationwide protest on Monday against the alleged attacks on doctors in West Bengal.
The doctors' strike in West Bengal will enter the seventh day on Monday.
High alert in J&K after Pakistan shares inputs about possible terror attack in Pulwama
Jammu and Kashmir has been put on alert after Pakistan shared inputs about a possible terror attack near Awantipora in Pulwama, a top security official said.
"Pakistanis shared this information regarding the possibility of such an attack with our High Commission in Islamabad. They had also shared this information with the Americans, who too, informed us. So this information has come directly as well as via the Americans to us," an official said.
Intelligence inputs said an improvised explosive device (IED) mounted on a vehicle in Awantipora may be used in the attack, a method akin to the one used in the 14 February car bomb attack which targeted a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, killing 40 security personnel.
A police officer confirmed the alert and said the forces are always on their toes in South Kashmir.
The inputs were received by both India and the United States on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit held in Kyrgyztan's Bishkek last week. At the summit, also attended by his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told Chinese president Xi Jinping that Pakistan needs to create an atmosphere free of terrorism, adding that all attempts of peace talks with the neighbouring country have been derailed.
61 die due to heatwave in Bihar
At least 61 people died in three districts of Bihar as a blistering heatwave swept several places in the state. As many as 30 people lost their lives in Aurangabad, 20 in Gaya and 11 in Nawada district since Saturday, Disaster Management Department's Principal Secretary Pratyaya Amrit said.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the deaths due to "loo" and heatstroke in the three districts and has announced a payment of Rs 4 lakh as ex-gratia to the next of kin of those who died. He directed the officials concerned to take necessary steps and measures in dealing with the heat and also provide all medical help.
Patna registered a maximum temperature of 45° Celsius on Sunday, eight notches above normal. On Saturday, the city recorded a maximum temperature of 45.8° Celsius, the highest for June in the past 10 years.
A heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature is recorded 4.5° degrees above its normal maximum for two consecutive days, a MeT official said.
Gaya witnessed a high of 44.4° Celsius, while Bhagalpur recorded 41° Celsius, both the readings well above normal for this time of the year.
MeT officials said Patna is likely to witness heatwave for the next three days, while in Gaya, the extreme heat will be experienced for at least two days.
West Indies, Bangladesh look for World Cup win to move up in table
West Indies will take on Bangladesh in Match 23 of Cricket World Cup 2019 at Taunton on Monday. Both sides have three points after four matches and have failed to convert good starts into victories.
West Indies lost their last match to England after a batting collapse led to a meek target. Bangladesh, on other hand, have regularly come short in crucial stages of the game. A win for either side on Monday can put their campaign back on the right track.
The match is scheduled to begin at 3 om (IST), unless there is a rain delay.
Electoral bonds worth over Rs 5,800 crore bought in over 14 months
Donors bought electoral bonds worth over Rs 5,800 crore were bought to fund political parties between 1 March, 2018, and 10 May, 2019, a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query has said.
As much as 76 percent of these bonds, worth Rs 4,444.32 crore, were bought in the sale of the last three tranches, which took place between 1 March and 10 May this year at the height of Lok Sabha campaigning, the RTI reply furnished by the State Bank of India said.
As per the Union government's Electoral Bond Scheme 2018, only 29 SBI branches are authorised to issue and encash these bonds in 10 phases.
Lyrics provider Genius.com accuses Google of stealing its content
Genius Media provides lyrics of songs all across genres internationally where music lovers visit to figure out what their favourite singers are actually singing. The company is highly dependent on Google Search results because that's how fans reach the service.
However, it has claimed that its traffic has been dropping since Google started publishing lyrics on its own platform right in the search results. And now, Genius is accusing Google of stealing its content, claiming to have proof against the software giant.