Appointment of next CDS, NEET exam, higher investments in Assam: Issues raised in Rajya Sabha

On the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) which is the qualifying test for MBBS and BDS courses, the AIADMK leader said all parties from Tamil Nadu are seeking exemption for state students.
File photo (Source: ANI)
File photo (Source: ANI)

New Delhi

Early appointment of the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), giving exemption to Tamil Nadu students from NEET examinations and higher investments in Assam were some of the key demands made in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday during the motion of thanks to President's Address.
Continuing the motion of thanks to the President's address in the Upper House, RJD leader A D Singh said, "I would like to pay tribute to Late General Bipin Rawat, our first CDS. But I am disappointed that such a sensitive post has been lying vacant since the tragic accident. I would urge the government to find his successor."
The delay in the appointment of CDS appears to show that the government has no succession plan or proper personal planning, he said, adding that a number of high level posts are lying in both the executive and the judiciary.
Singh said while the President's Address listed out the achievements of the Modi government, this success will be even better if accompanied by social cohesion and unity.
"Unfortunately, the nation's progress has slowed down by division that we see emerging in society. This needs immediate course correction," he said.
Singh also urged the government to inform the House about the actions taken so far against those who publicly called for genocide and targeting specific communities.
"The house will support strictness of action against all such individuals irrespective of their political affiliations. A strong government cannot be seen as going down to a handful of fringe elements, who are sowing discord in our society on a daily basis," he said.
Referring to the 20 soldiers killed in June last year defending the border, the RJD leader said, "The threats have not diminished. ...More conflicts have arisen. And despite regular talks, there are no signs of illegal occupation of our land ending anytime soon."
He also said India's response has been muted and the government's silence only encourages the aggressor who sees this as a sign of weakness.
He further attacked the government for its half hearted economy counter measures that have been ineffective as the trade deficit has reached a very high level last year.
With regard to India-Afghanistan relations, the member urged the government to stand firmly with the people of Afghanistan and facilitate travel and trade and continuing education of Afghans in India.
Raising the issue of continuous attack on Tamil fishermen from neighbouring Sri Lanka, AIADMK's M Thamidurai said, "I believe our government will take a firm policy decision to safeguard the interests of our fishermen and protect their livelihood."
Recently, the Sri Lankan government seized the boats of Tamil fishermen and announced that they would be auctioned. "This is unfair. I request the Centre to take necessary steps to get back the boats."
On the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) which is the qualifying test for MBBS and BDS courses, the AIADMK leader said all parties from Tamil Nadu are seeking exemption for state students.
This is because the NEET exam affects our medical students, especially rural students who cannot afford expensive coaching classes, he said.
He also demanded the Centre to promote regional languages and declare them as national and official languages since the government plans to start nearly 200 education channels in regional languages.
Supporting the motion, Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP) praised the Modi government for steps taken for the development in the health, infrastructure, agriculture and sports arena. He specially thanked the government for improving railway connectivity to the northeastern region.
"All the capital cities in the northeastern region have railway connectivity. It has better air connection. The shipping ministry has announced water connectivity in future," he said.
Baishya, however, brought to the notice of the government the plight of small tea growers of the northeastern region and sought immediate intervention to protect the interest of the economy of the area.
He also sought more investment in the region to harness the potential of oil besides setting up a speciality hospital for treatment of cancer.

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