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End of winter session of Parliament

india Updated: Dec 19, 2006 23:02 IST
Saroj Nagi

Towards the end, the government managed to salvage the winter session of Parliament.

The OBC quota in education, the Tribal Rights and the Prevention of Child Marriage bills were passed; the Sachar report on muslims was presented to Parliament; the Standing Committee report on the Forward Trading bill was tabled on the last day on Tuesday; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened in the nuclear debate in the Lok Sabha and took on his skeptics and the opposition BJP while assuring that the country's interests would be protected.

The government scored high in enacting social legislations though it failed to bring the women's reservation bill---an issue that saw three adjournments in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday when women MPs of the BJP, Congress, CPM and other parties competed with each other in raising the matter.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi later claimed that the bill would "definitely" be tabled in the Budget session. 

The Left's opposition saw the UPA shelving the insurance, banking regulation and Pension funds bills. For want of time, the debate on the 11 th Plan and the Sachar report--to be implemented either by law or through allocation of resources---was postponed to the Budget session where the UPA's focus will be on implementing its other CMP promises.

The short session was marred by adjournments and the BJP's boycott of Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. 

"Things are now peaceful," Chatterjee quipped at a press conference. He substantiated his claim of accommodating the opposition by noting that their issues, including price rise and internal security, were debated in the House.

"There have been six adjournments and 96 call attention motions in the 14 th Lok Sabha so far in comparison to two adjournments and 60 call attention motions in the 13th House," he said.

On Tuesday, he and BJP's LK Advani agreed that the proposal could be explored of allowing the media to attend Standing Committee meetings when it hears evidence.

"I have to talk to the panel chairmen about it," Chatterjee said.

He added that the 38 panel reports tabled this session are in in-depth study of issues.

Accordingly, he has asked their chairmen to talk about them on the Lok Sabha TV channel. Disputing the impression that Parliament sittings have reduced, he noted that a large part of Parliament's work is done by these committees.

Reacting to queries that several issues were not discussed in the House, he quipped: "Just as you cannot print everything in your newspaper for want of space; similarly we cannot discuss everything for lack of time."

Email Saroj Nagi: snagi @hindustantimes.com

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