Millennium Post

Stalled Parliament

A range of burning issues such as the banking scam and fleeing away of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, question paper leak of SSC and CBSE exams, farmers' suicide, among others, was lined up for discussion in Parliament. But the most part of the session was washed out without any discussion taking place on any of the significant issues. Except for a 7.5-minute discussion in the Lok Sabha on the Supreme Court ruling on the SC/ST Act and a subsequent nation-wide strike called by Dalit organisations that marked widespread violence, no discussion took place in the Parliament. During the session, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the 39 Indians killed in Iraq by ISIS. Union Minister Rajnath Singh was able to give his statement in the Lok Sabha on the SC/ST Act and the subsequent violence. That was all. Nothing else was discussed in the second part of the Budget session in the last 20 days of the Parliament. The second part of the budget session also witnessed the TDP pulling out of the NDA fold and trying to bring in a no-confidence motion against the government. The TDP had accused the NDA government of cheating Andhra Pradesh on the issue of assigning the state a special category status. A heated discussion was also expected on the data theft of Indian Facebook users by a British firm, amid rumours that the company has been roped in by some political parties to help during the elections in India. The second part of the Budget session has only two days left. So far, over Rs 210 crore has been spent on 20 days of parliamentary business but no discussion has taken place in the two houses of the Parliament. The Lok Sabha proceedings have taken place only for four hours and 52 minutes. The Lok Sabha held discussions only for 7.5 minutes about the six major issues that rocked the country in the last two months. The Home Minister gave a six-minute statement on the violence caused by Dalit protesters on April 2 and the Lok Sabha debated the issue for 1.5 minutes only. As a matter of fact, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised the issue of widespread violence on Monday and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar replied to his question. The entire discussion ended in 1.5 minutes. Apart from this, no discussion could take place on important issues including the PNB Scam, SSC paper leak, data theft by Facebook, farmers' suicide and CBSE paper leak. According to Lok Sabha Secretariat, in the second part of the Budget session till April 3, there have been 2,019 interruptions; the members entered the well of the house and created a ruckus 58 times. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house 44 times. She said 'I am sorry' 42 times and 'Go back to your seat' 60 times. She appealed to the members to allow the normal functioning of the house innumerable times. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned in one to three minutes, 15 times. In the Lok Sabha, written replies were given and no discussion took place at all. The Members of Parliament had asked 17 questions related to Nirav Modi and the PNB scam. Replies were given on three questions about the data theft and Facebook, one question on SSC paper leak and 12 questions about farmers' suicide. The parliamentary session saw disruptions of normal work on a number of issues including Nirav Modi and the banking scam, SSC exam, CBSE paper leak, Facebook data theft, no-confidence motion, Cauvery water dispute and special category status to Andhra Pradesh. The Finance Bills were passed without any discussion amid noisy scenes in the Lok Sabha. Four more bills were passed without any discussions and whenever the government wanted, it continued with the proceedings of the Parliament. In the Rajya Sabha, the members maintained calm when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave a statement on the 39 Indians killed in Iraq. The Lok Sabha also maintained calm and heard Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement on the Supreme Court's verdict on the SC/ST Act and the subsequent acts of violence by Dalit protesters during their nationwide strike on Monday. A lot of money is spent to keep the Parliament in business but when members do not participate in the discussions and other parliamentary business, all the money spent to keep the two houses functioning is lost without any output. The opposition parties which are trying to unify before the 2019 elections should have allowed the normal functioning of the Parliament and held discussions on the key issues. The nation would have been more enlightened about these concerns.
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