By Suchitra Mukherjee
New Delhi [India], July 18 (ANI): Ahead of the Monsoon Session in the Parliament, CPI MP Binoy Viswam asserted that the concerns and issues raised by the opposition or smaller parties should also have a place in the House, adding that they should get an opportunity to discuss issues like farmers' protest, COVID-19, among others in a proper manner.
Speaking to ANI after a meeting with Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday over the agenda for the Monsoon Session, Viswam said: "It was a general meeting. The Government side assured us that all the problems can be discussed and requested cooperation from the Opposition. We also expect Parliament to function in a meaningful way."
"Parliament should be a place to discuss people's issues. We specifically demanded that the concerns and issues raised by the smaller parties will also have a place in the House," he said.
The Rajaya Sabha lawmaker further told that his party wants to raise farmers' protest, COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and fuel prices hike in the House. "We should have an opportunity to discuss these issues in a proper manner in the House. We told them we will try to make all the opportunities given to us by the rule book- maybe 267, maybe call in attention or maybe short duration discussion."
Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, earlier in the day chaired a meeting of leaders of various parties in the Rajya Sabha for the Monsoon Session beginning on Monday. "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," Naidu said.
Regarding the agenda for the Monsoon Session, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi informed the meeting that the Centre has identified 29 bills including six ordinances replacing Bills and two items of financial business for the session.
Leader of the House Piyush Goyal, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Railways and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw were among the 15 ministers who attended Saturday's hour-long meeting chaired by Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikharjuna Kharge proposed various issues for discussion in the House including the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and employment, poverty, potential third wave and preparedness, ongoing farmers' agitation, cooperative federalism, China's actions along the border and Jammu and Kashmir.
Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar suggested a discussion on the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops and its implications.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien called for more scrutiny of bills by the Parliamentary Committees.
Other leaders while stressing the need for smooth functioning of the House suggested adequate time allocation for State-specific issues and more time for regional and small parties.
Following this, Naidu assured regional and small parties of improvement in time allocation. (ANI)