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Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill passed

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The Bill also allows the Central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of the period of his term, without assigning any reason.

Parliament has passed the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019, with Rajya Sabha approving it today. The Lok Sabha had passed this Bill in the last session.

The Bill seeks to amend the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951. It has a provision to remove the President of the Congress party as a trustee and clarifies that when there is no Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the leader of the single largest Opposition party will be the trustee.

The Bill also allows the Central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of the period of his term, without assigning any reason.

Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said there is no politics involved in it. He questioned as to why the Congress Party is raising objections over the removal of its President as a trustee.

He said now, leaders chosen by the people will hold this post. The Minister said the government’s intention is to build a Memorial so that the sacrifice of martyrs is remembered by generations to come.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Pratap Singh Bajwa of Congress objected to the Bill terming it cynical. He said Congress has a history in India’s freedom struggle and removing its President as a Trustee is objectionable. He urged the government to withdraw the Bill. Mr Bajwa also demanded to confer Bharat Ratna on freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

Sukhendu Shekar Roy of TMC appealed to the government to renovate the place wherein the mortal remains of the martyr Uddham Singh have been kept and proper arrangements have been made to maintain the museum situated in the Jaliawala Bagh.

He demanded that decedents of the families who lost their lives during the massacre must be brought in the trust.

Prof. Ramgopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party demanded that the list of the martyrs should be displayed at the memorial. He also asked the government to provide all kinds of facilities to the family members of the martyrs of Jaliawala Bagh.

KK Ragesh of CPI(M) questioned the Bill, alleging that it has been brought with ill intentions. Tiruchisiva of DMK also opposed the Bill. On the other hand, RCP Singh of JDU supported it.

Shwait Malik of BJP also supported the Bill and said, there should be no politics on martyrs’ place. He said, there should be no dominance of any party on the trust.

Prasanna Acharya of BJD, Manoj Jha of RJD, and others also participated in the discussion.

The Rajya Sabha also took up Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2019 for consideration and passing.

The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy. Its provisions include establishing National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Board and appointment of appropriate authorities for the regulation of practice and process of surrogacy.

Moving the Bill, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vadhan said India has emerged as a hub of surrogacy in recent years.

He informed that there are around 3000 surrogacy clinics running illegally in the country.

Dr Vardhan said the purpose of the Bill is to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy. He said it will prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born out of surrogacy.

The Minister said commercial surrogacy is banned and considered illegal in many countries, including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland.

Initiating the discussion, Professor Rajeev Gowda of Congress questioned certain provisions of the Bill, saying he is not satisfied with them. He added that the rules are complicated and must be simplified.

Professor Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Kahkashan Parveen of JD(U), P Wilson of DMK, and others also participated in the discussion. The discussion remained inconclusive.

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