Setting a record after 15 years, the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday took up all the 15 listed starred questions during the Question Hour, while 18 members spoke on issues of public importance during the Zero Hour. It was back in 2002 when all listed starred questions were taken up during the 197th Session of the Upper House, officials in the Rajya Sabha secretariat told PTI. This was made possible as 10 of 20 members in whose names questions were listed were absent from the House, but the Chairman allowed many members to ask supplementary questions.
House Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said at the end of Question Hour: “So, all questions are completed today.” During the Zero Hour, members of Parliament raise issues of public importance, while they question the government on various issues during the Question Hour. Earlier, when a number of members asking questions were found absent, Venkaiah said “Something special is happening!”. After seeing many members absent during Question Hour, the chairman also said that surprisingly, five or six members who had questions listed against their names did not turn up.
“They have the liberty. I don’t question them. At the same time, we have a responsibility. If you file a question, so much time, energy and resources are spent. Not coming to the House is not a good practice. Keep that in mind,” he said. When some members complimented the Chairman for smooth conduct of business, Naidu returned the compliment saying, “Your cooperation is good, so my operation was very smooth… that’s why the House was able to set this record.” Members sought government’s responses on several major issues including GST filing, poor rating of Indian Renewal Energy Companies, regulation of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, non-performing assets, clinical trial of drugs and Air India’s operating losses.
As many as 11 members were allowed to speak on issues of public importance during Zero Hour, while another eight were allowed to read out the text of their special mentions. Due to disruptions and scarcity of time, texts of Special Mentions are usually laid on the table of the House towards of the end of the day but the chairman has suggested that they be taken up in the pre-lunch period. “The Rajya Sabha today made history. For the first time, all Zero Hour submissions, all Special Mentions were fully completed,” said Naidu amid thumping of desks by members in the House of Elders.
The Chairman expressed hope that in future too, the members would not waste time and stick to the schedule. Uproarious scenes and adjournments have been witnessed on several occasions in the past two weeks for various reasons during the Winter Session of Parliament.
(With inputs from PTI)