Updated: July 18, 2021 7:46:31 am
Two days ahead of the beginning of the monsoon session, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu Saturday met floor leaders of Opposition parties and the government to ensure a smooth and productive session, saying a “dysfunctional Parliament adds to the prevailing gloom”.
The Opposition is raring to put the Government on the mat on a host of issues – ranging from its handling of the pandemic, farmers’ agitation, management of the economy, joblessness and border tension with China.
“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 told a meeting attended by floor leaders of various opposition parties and several senior ministers, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce Minister and Leader of the House Piyush Goyal.
Naidu said the second wave of the pandemic sprang several surprises and severely tested India’s health infrastructure, and pointed out that Parliament is the right forum to get updated about various aspects of fighting the disease and draw benefit from ground-level experiences of members of the House from different states. This is important in the context of a possible third wave which is being talked about a lot, he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said the government has identified 29 Bills, including six Bills which will replace ordinances and two items of financial business during the session. He sought the cooperation of all parties for smooth running of the session.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said issues of broader concerns should be discussed in the House. He said the Covid-19 situation and its impact on the economy, the continuing farmers’ agitation, issues related to cooperative federalism, China’s actions along the border and matters pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir should be discussed. NCP leader Sharad Pawar suggested a discussion on the Afghanistan situation. TMC’s Derek O’Brien called for more scrutiny of Bills by the parliamentary committees.
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