Facts revealed during Question Hour of the Lok Sabha

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During the current session of the parliament, questions regarding various administrative activity were asked by the Members of Parliament and were answered written/orally by the concerned Minister who is obliged to answer to the Parliament. Here is the takeaway from the recent  Q&A session from both the Houses.

22 fake universities are functioning in the country

HRD Minister Smriti Irani told the Rajya Sabha that 22 ‘fake’ universities are functioning in the country, with a maximum of nine in Uttar Pradesh and five in Delhi. 

Besides UP and Delhi, there are two in West Bengal and one each in Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Concerned states have been asked to initiate action against these.

India currently has 34 operational satellites

Minister of state of the department of space, Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that currently 34 Indian satellites are operational in the space of which 13 are for communication, 12 for the purpose of earth observation and seven for navigation purpose.

  • 13 communication satellites :  Of the 13 communication satellites five are of INSAT series-3A, 3C, 4A, 4B, 4CR and eight of GSAT series GSAT-6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16.
  • 12 Earth Observation Satellites:  There are 12 earth observation satellites namely Resourcesat-2, RISAT 1 and 2, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A, 2B, Oceansat-2, SARAL, Kalpana-1, Megha-Tropiques and INSAT-3D. 
  • 7 Navigational Satellites: Seven navigational satellites which are operational are Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (INRSS)-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F and 1G.
  • 2 Space science Satellites: Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and Astrosat. 

Dropout levels in NE states far above national average

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said that Nagaland has the highest dropout rate at primary level of 19.4 per cent in the country closely followed by Manipur at 18 per cent while most other north eastern states have a dropout rate far above the national average.

In a written reply to a separate question, she said that lack of toilet facilities in schools for girl child has been one of the reasons for girls to dropout from schools. 

However overall the annual average dropout rate at primary level has reduced from 5.6 per cent during 2012-13 to 4.3 per cent during 2014-15.

23.6 per cent of sanctioned posts in KVs lying vacant

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, HRD minister Smriti Irani said that as of March 1, 2016, 10,644 teaching positions or 23.6 per cent of total sanctioned posts are lying vacant in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) which includes 252 posts of principal and 133 posts of vice-principal.

Corporate houses owe Rs 5 lakh crore to PSU banks

PSU banks are owed about Rs 5 lakh crore by corporate houses and of this roughly Rs 1.4 lakh crore are owed by just five companies, which include Lanco, GVK, Suzlon Energy, Hindustan Construction Company and a certain company called the Adani Group and Adani Power.

272 Indian fishermen currently lodged in foreign jails

Minister of state for external affairs VK Singh told the Rajya Sabha that 272 Indian fishermen are currently lodged in foreign jails, including 220 in Pakistan and 34 in Sri Lanka. However as on date there are only 34 fishermen and 19 boats which are in custody of Sri Lanka because from time to time, government secures the release of Indian fishermen.

541 board-level posts lying vacant in central public sector enterprises

G M Siddeshwara, minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha said that 541 posts including those of full-time and part-time directors  are lying vacant in various central public sector enterprises such as MTNL, Hindustan Cables, ITI Ltd, Oil India, Eastern Coalfields, Scooters India, Hindustan Paper Corporation, Jute Corporation of India and others.

Number of RTI applications have declined

Minister of state in PMO, Jitendra Singh said in Rajya Sabha that the  number of RTI applications has come down to around 7.55 lakh in 2014-15 from over 8.34 lakh a year before as departments and ministries are putting more information in public domain on their own.

Govt to build 1,000 km of expressways for Rs 16,680 crore

To ensure quicker connectivity, the government plans to build 1,000 km of expressways at an investment of Rs 16,680 crore under its National Highways Development Project programme, which include the Vadodara-Mumbai project (400 km) in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Delhi-Meerut (66 km) on NH 58 in Delhi/UP and Bengaluru-Chennai (334 km) on NH 4 in Karnataka-Tamil Nadu.

182 PhDs awarded by IITs in humanities, social sciences

HRD Minister Smriti Irani said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha said that IITs awarded 182 PhDs for research in subjects like literature, art, culture, history, economics, psychology, sociology, which are taught under humanities and social sciences, in the last three years.

What is Question Hour ?

Question Hour is the first hour of a sitting session of India's Lok Sabha in which  Members of Parliament raise questions about any aspect of administrative activity. The concerned Minister is obliged to answer to the Parliament, either orally or in writing, depending on the type of question raised. Questions are one of the ways Parliament can hold the Executive accountable.

Types of Question :

There are two main types of question :

(i) Starred Questions 
(ii) Non-starred Questions

  • Starred Questions :  Starred Questions are those for which an oral answer is expected. The member is allowed to ask a supplementary question, with the permission of the Speaker, after the reply is obtained from the Minister concerned.
  • Non-starred Questions : Non-starred questions are those for which a written reply is expected. After the reply has been provided, no supplementary question can be asked. A notice period is to be given to the minister to reply to a question. If the question is so urgent that a Member  cannot wait for the duration of the notice period, then the member can do so provided it is accepted by the Speaker. Such questions are called supplementary questions.
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