New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Keen to ensure orderly functioning of the Upper House of Parliament, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday asked MPs to follow rules, maintain discipline and dignity while discussing issues of national and public importance in the House.
Making a veiled reference to the ugly scenes witnessed in the House during the passage of farm bills in the last session, Naidu asked members to make the current budget session 'more purposeful' where issues are discussed threadbare in 'a peaceful, orderly and dignified manner.' 'Last time some unfortunate incidents happened,' he said without going into the details.
In September last year, opposition MPs tore the rule book, climbed on the podium and created a ruckus during the passage of three farm sector reform bills.
'It is binding on all of us to see that the House functions properly, members follow rules and regulations, maintain discipline and dignity and also participate in debates in a meaningful manner,' Naidu said.
'I have all along been appealing to members to prevent any such situation which will affect the interest of Parliament and also the nation,' he said.
On the first full-day functioning of the House in the current Budget session which started on Friday, Naidu said the nation has completed 100 years of representative democracy.
The first direct elections to the imperial and provincial legislative councils were held during the winter of 1920.
'Democracy is all about the participation of people in the management of public affairs and policy-making through their elected representatives,' he said.
'The occasion of being a 100-year-old modern representative democracy calls for serious reflection on the state of democracy and the functioning of legislatures in our country, he said.
On this occasion, the House should resolve to enhance the dignity through 'disruption-free proceedings as per rules and conventions,' Naidu said.
Over 20 hours have been allocated for discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address to members of both houses and the General Budget for 2021-2022, offering ample opportunities to raise and discuss a wide range of issues of public concern to which the Government will respond, he said and referred to discussions he had with leaders of all parties on Sunday.
'I sincerely hope that this important Budget session will turn out to be highly productive in the spirit of the last four sessions,' he said.
Naidu said he could sense the enthusiasm on the part of all sections of the House to further move on with this important session with the President presenting the vision of the government to members of both the Houses and the government presenting the General Budget for the next financial year with a focus on post-COVID-19 recovery and health.
'I once again reiterate the importance of this Budget session and the need to ensure the smooth and effective functioning of the august House,' he added.
Referring to work between two sessions of Parliament, Naidu said eight department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees of Rajya Sabha worked overtime and held a total of 55 meetings during the inter-session period.
'These committees met for a total duration of 110 hours and 4 minutes which comes to an average duration of 2 hours and 7 minutes. This is an improvement over the previous average of 1 hour 54 minutes per each meeting,' he said.
The committee on Commerce has reported substantial improvement in holding 10 meetings during the inter-session period for a total duration of 26 hours 18 minutes. The average duration of each meeting has increased to 2 hours 37 minutes against the average duration of only 1 hour 42 minutes earlier.
The committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture held the highest number of 11 meetings for a total period of over 22 hours. The committee on Education, Women, Child, Youth and Sports reported the highest average attendance of 53.45 per cent in 7 meetings.
Six committees of Rajya Sabha, during the inter-session period, spent 38 hours and 34 minutes discussing various aspects of the outbreak of the pandemic, its consequences and management.
'These committees of Rajya Sabha have examined the pandemic related issues in a bipartisan and constructive manner and not as fault finding so as to provide guidance for such sudden challenges in future.
'These committees have also complimented the governments, the people and all other stakeholders for rising to the occasion in handling the pandemic challenge,' he said.
Noting that the change between the same time last year and now is perceptible, he said India has moved from being a nation with few testing facilities, quality masks and personal protection equipment to one that 'successfully contained' the pandemic and has emerged as the hope for other countries with indigenously made vaccines and as the vaccine factory for the world.
'This is a remarkable transformation. This House places on record its appreciation of the people and all others concerned for the same,' he added. PTI ANZ ANZ DV DV