Vice President and ex-officio Chairperson of Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu held a meeting with floor leaders of various political parties in the Upper House at his residence on Saturday to discuss the forthcoming session. Representatives from 20 parties participated in the meeting which was attended by 15 union ministers, including Leader of the House Piyush Goyal, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Government proposes to bring 29 Bills, including six on Ordinances which were passed after the budget session, and two legislations related to finance during this session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi informed those present in the meeting. He sought cooperation of all parties in smooth conduct of business and passage of these legislations.
Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said the Covid situation in the country and the fightback as well as the looming threat of a third wave of the pandemic should be discussed on the floor of the House. Growing unemployment- aggravated by Covid- as well as poverty, the farmers’ agitation over the three Farm Laws, and developments at the India-China border should be taken up. He also mentioned the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as one of the issues that need to be debated.
The Opposition is likely to raise objections to the formation of the ministry of cooperation on the grounds that cooperatives is a state subject and this move is an infringement of the rights of states. Congress and NCP have raised this issue and the matter is likely to be raised in the House.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar suggested that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and its repercussions on India should be discussed in this session. TMC leader Derek O’Brien called for sending more Bills to Standing Committees for scrutiny instead of rushing them through Parliament.
The smaller parties demanded allocation of more time to them during discussions on Bills and debates on issues. Naidu assured them that he will look into the matter.
The Vice President urged all parties to cooperate in effective functioning of the House in these times of Covid pandemic and the gloom all around. He asked ministers to reach out to the Opposition and to take all along in conduct of business of the House.
This session will also see the newly inducted ministers in action. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed them to spend more time in the House to learn the ropes. They have been asked to watch the debates in the Upper House where the quality of discussions is arguably better than the Lok Sabha.
The House will function from 11am to 6pm and there are 19 sittings scheduled for this session.