RS proceedings washed out
Proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were washed out on Tuesday due to relentless protests by the opposition members over vacancies in the commissions for SCs, STs, backward classes and minorities.
The government sought to address the concerns by saying the process was underway for filling up these vacancies but the parties like the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the JD(U) and the BSP kept demanding a commitment that it will be done within a week.
The House was repeatedly adjourned and finally for the day at 3.10 pm as the opposition parties insisted on an immediate discussion on the issue.
The Chair, however, said that their notices for a discussion under an Adjournment Motion have been disallowed.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, who spoke amid the din, said the delay in appointments to the statutory commissions was due to the Model Code enforced because of elections in five states recently.
He said the process of filling up the vacancies has started and the Chairmen for the SC Commission and the Safai Karamchari Ayog have been appointed.
He said the process to fill up other vacancies was also underway and would be completed soon. He added that it was not for the first time that there have been delays in filling up such vacancies.
"The appointments will be made and many such appointments have already been made. The delay was due to the enforcement of Model Code following assembly elections in five states," Gehlot said.
He said that in 2007 and 2010, when Congress-led government was in power, there was a delay of three and five months, respectively, in filling up such vacancies.
The SC Commission chairmanship fell vacant on October 31 last year, the minister said.
The unrelenting opposition members, however, did not allow the Minister to speak despite repeated requests by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien.
While the House saw three adjournments during pre-lunch, including two in the Question Hour, there were two more adjournments post lunch after which it was finally adjourned for the day at 3.10 pm.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the issue was very important and required a discussion as members have already given notices.
He sought to know whether the government would commit itself to appoint the chairmen and members in all the commissions within a week and whether an immediate discussion on the issue is allowed or not. "Never has it happened in the country that all three commissions are headless and they are without members too. The SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities account for 80 to 85 per cent of total population and the various commissions implement the schemes for their welfare and upliftment.
"If commissions are not formed for welfare of 85 per cent population, then who is the government representing? The leadership of the ruling party, both at the level of states and the Centre, are not interested in upliftment of SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities. This shows how much the BJP government cares for these classes," Azad said.
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