Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also vice-president, and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met at the former’s residence on Wednesday to mark the 68th anniversary of the first sitting of both the Houses of Parliament on May 13, 1952. The Council of States was constituted on May 13 of the same year and given the “Indian name of Rajya Sabha in 1954”, Naidu told Birla. On the first day of the Council of States, 197 members, including nine women, were administered the oath. The first member to take the oath was N Gopalaswami Ayyengar, then minister of defence who was later appointed leader of the House. The first woman to take the oath was Pushpalata Das. Some prominent members in this group were Kunwarani Vijaya Raje, Violet Alva, B R Ambedkar, B Pattabhi Sitaramayya, and Lal Bahadur Shastri. The list also included actor Prithvi Raj Kapoor and Rukmini Devi Arundale.
The Punjab government is set to allow home delivery of liquor, and is also likely to impose a Covid-19 cess on its sales. It has decided to compensate liquor vends for the losses incurred by them because of the lockdown from March 23 to May 6. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has asked a group of ministers, comprising Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, as also the education and housing and urban development ministers, to work out the Covid-19 levy on liquor “as has been done by certain other states in the wake of losses incurred due to the prolonged lockdown”. Excise from sale of liquor is one of the principal sources of revenue for the state government. Singh has said Punjab lost 88 per cent in revenue in April, and had been requesting the Centre to allow such sales. On the issue of home delivery, he has cited the Supreme Court’s observations of May 8, when it suggested home delivery of liquor to ensure social distancing during
The Congress on Wednesday set 5.30 pm as the time for senior leader P Chidambaram’s briefing on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements on the financial stimulus. As Sitharaman’s press conference ended late, the start of Chidambaram’s briefing was delayed by half an hour. It eventually started at 6 pm and ended 40 minutes later. Until then, none of the other opposition parties expressed any reaction to Sitharaman’s announcements. It soon became clear they first wanted to listen to what Chidambaram had to say.