With the Winter Session that was lost because of deadlock on 2G scam, the UPA government on Thursday assured the Lok Sabha that it would “travel the extra mile” to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.
“We will be accommodative,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee said, while winding up a debate on a motion to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G scam.
Mukerjee raised concern over the increasing trend of disruptions in Indian legislature and diminishing quality of debate.
“Our first budget was of Rs 293 crore and the three-fourth of the time was spend on discussing budget, finance and the plan. But, no plan has been discussed since the eight five year plan,” he said.
He also exhorted the members to work on a suitable mechanism to prevent disruption of the house while ensuring that grievances of members and parties are heard.
Defending its earlier stand of not having a JPC, Mukerjee said the NDA government had refused a JPC on Tehelka scam on the ground that the best place to discuss issues of public concern was the floor of the house. “We were giving the same reason for not holding the JPC,” Mukerjee said.
Earlier, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal clarified that he never gave a clean chit to anyone and just said there was no loss to exchequer as the 2G licences were allocated on first come basis and not auctioned. The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) assumption of a loss of Rs 1,76,000 crore was based on the assumption of the spectrum being auctioned.
Going by the CAG report, Sibal said, as much as Rs 12,214 crore loss to exchequer took place during the NDA rule. He also negated the charge against him that he was attacking a Constitutional body like CAG saying the BJP had accused Constitutional bodies like the National Human Rights Commission for filing a petition in the Supreme Court in Best Bakery case and Election Commission for postponing Gujarat elections after 2002 riots.