scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Sunday, January 23, 2022

In speeches, PM called for ‘quality debates’; in House, Govt pushed 15 Bills in under 10 mins last session

Just a few hours before the Bill was passed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that the government was willing to discuss all issues with an “open mind” and ready to answer all questions — a statement he has often repeated, advocating debate and discussions in Parliament.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
Updated: November 30, 2021 6:21:00 am
New Delhi: Opposition leaders stage a protest in Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

Nine minutes in Rajya Sabha and three minutes in Lok Sabha: that’s how long the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, took to be passed Monday — without any discussion.

Just a few hours before the Bill was passed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that the government was willing to discuss all issues with an “open mind” and ready to answer all questions — a statement he has often repeated, advocating debate and discussions in Parliament.

“Victory teaches us many things and we should learn also. Victory teaches us to be humble. I give my trust to this Parliament, I believe that the seniors here, from whatever group they may be, with their blessings, we will get that strength which will save us from arrogance. It will teach us every moment to be humble. Whatever be the number here, but I will not move forward without you. We should not move on the basis of numbers. We should move on the basis of the power of collective approach (samoohikta). We want to move forward with the feeling of collective approach,” Modi said in his maiden speech in Lok Sabha on June 11, 2014.

Just a few days ago, addressing the inaugural session of the 82nd All India Presiding Officers’ Conference on November 17, Modi said “meaningful discussions in the House are very important”. “How to add value to debates and how to set new standards for quality debates? Can we think of setting aside time for quality debate? Such a debate in which there is dignity and seriousness and there is no political slander. In a way, it should be the healthiest time of the legislature. I’m not asking for everyday. It can be two hours, half-a-day or a day sometimes. Can we try something like this? It should be a healthy day, healthy debate and quality debate, a debate that does value addition and which is absolutely free from everyday politics,” he had said.

On September 15, speaking at the launch of Sansad TV, he said his experience was that “content is connect”. “When you have better content, people automatically engage with you. As much as this applies to the media, it is equally applicable to our parliamentary system. Because there is not only politics in Parliament, there is also policymaking. When Parliament is in session, debates are held on diverse subjects, and there is so much for the youth to learn. When our honorable members also know that the country is watching them, they also get inspiration for better conduct, better debates inside the Parliament. This also increases the productivity of Parliament, and public interest works also become popular,” he said.

In 2019, speaking in Rajya Sabha, Modi had asked members to draw a distinction between “checking and clogging” legislation. “In a way, many of our dignitaries say this again and again, that the House should be for discussion, dialogue and debate. There can be debates in loud voices; there is no harm in it. However, it is necessary that we choose the path of dialogue instead of interruptions,” he said.

On Monday, he said: “This session should be rich in ideas and positive debates, should have far-reaching impact… Parliament should be judged on how it functions and its significant contributions, rather than who disrupted Parliament forcefully. This cannot be the benchmark. The benchmark would be how many hours Parliament worked and how much positive work was done. The government is willing to discuss every issue with an open mind. The government is ready to answer every question. And we would like that there should be questions in Parliament and peace should also prevail.”

The passage of the farm laws in the Monsoon Session of 2020 was marred by disruptions, with the Opposition in Rajya Sabha alleging their demand for a division of votes was ignored. But there was a debate then. Lok Sabha discussed the farm Bills on September 17, 2020, for two hours and 48 minutes; three days later, the Rajya Sabha discussed the Bills for two hours and eight minutes. While 44 members participated in the discussion in Lok Sabha, 32 members took part in Rajya Sabha.

The BJP government has often faced criticism for rushing Bills. The last session saw 15 Bills — 14 in Lok Sabha and one in Rajya Sabha — being passed in less than 10 minutes, and 26 Bills in less than half-an-hour. In its second term, over six Parliament sessions, the Modi government has passed 42 Bills in less than half-an-hour, and 19 in less than 10 minutes, according to PRS Legislative Research data. While many of the Bills were ordinary in nature, some deserved serious discussion.

For instance, the 14 Bills passed in less than 10 minutes in Lok Sabha in the Monsoon Session included the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill (discussed for 8 minutes), The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill (5 minutes), The Tribunals Reforms Bill (9 minutes), and The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill (6 minutes). The Opposition wanted the general insurance Bill to be referred to a standing committee; in Rajya Sabha, the Bill was passed in 22 minutes.

According to the PRS data, the Monsoon Session perhaps holds the worst record when it comes to Bills being rushed through in Parliament. The other Bills passed in under 10 minutes were: The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, The Inland Vessels Bill, The Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, The National Commission for Homoeopathy (Amendment) Bill and The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (Amendment) Bill.

In Rajya Sabha, the Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill was passed in less than 10 minutes.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement