New Delhi, Jul 18 : Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday urged Parliament to stand by the people in the light of the situation caused by Covid-19 and discuss all related issues to dispel the gloom caused by it in the country.
He chaired a meeting of leaders of various parties and groups in the Rajya Sabha ahead of the monsoon session beginning from Monday next.
Naidu stressed that “a dysfunctional Parliament adds to the prevailing gloom and hence, all sections of the House should ensure a smooth and productive session as it offers an opportunity to address the concerns of the people affected by COVID-19.”
The RS chairman further said that the second wave sprang several surprises and severely tested the health infrastructure in the country and Parliament is the right forum for updating ourselves with various aspects of fighting the disease with the benefit of the ground level experiences of leaders and members of the House and of different States as well in the context of the third wave being talked about.
Regarding the agenda for the monsoon session, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi informed the meeting that the Government has identified 29 Bills including six Ordinance replacing Bills and two items of financial business for the session. He sought the cooperation of all parties for enabling a smooth session.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikharjuna Kharge proposed issues of broader concerns for discussion in the House. These include; the situation caused by COVID-19 including its impact on the economy and employment, poverty, strong potential of a third wave and preparedness, ongoing farmers’ agitation, issues relating to cooperative federalism, China’s actions along the border, J & K issues etc.
While NCP chief Sharad Pawar suggested a discussion on situation in Afghnistan further to withdrawal of US troops and it’s implications, TMC leader Derek O’Brien called for more scrutiny of Bills by the Parliamentary Committees.
Other leaders while stressing on the need for smooth functioning of the House suggested adequate time allocation for State specific issues and more time for regional and small parties. In all, leaders of 20 parties spoke in the meeting and made various suggestions. They also sought cooperation of the Government in taking up various issues of wider public concern.
In his opening remarks, Naidu complimented Union Minister Piyush Goyal on being nominated as the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha.
Responding to the observations and suggestions of the leaders, Naidu urged the Ministers of Parliamentary Affairs and other ministers to reach out to leaders of various parties before the commencement of the proceedings of the House for better coordination and smooth functioning of the House.
Naidu assured the regional and small parties that a certain improvement has been ushered in time allocation for them and further improvement will be considered.