Political parties have been voicing concern over the spike in prices of essential commodities but when the time came to question the government on Tuesday, only 25 members were present in the Rajya Sabha.
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Pawar began his reply on the issue in the evening with the 235-member House nearly empty.
Rajya Sabha Vice-Chairman K. Rahman Khan was heard whispering to the staff to see if any of the members were outside and could be called in.
Pawar said the price situation was serious but so was the government to address it. A number of steps had been taken and should start yielding results, he said.
Earlier, the opposition and ruling UPA members asked the government to act immediately to bring the situation under control.
Dissatisfied with Pawar’s reply, the small group of opposition members, walked out.
“The situation is quite serious and disturbing. On many occasions I have been blamed for this and I would like to address your concerns,” he said.
The government is in the final stages of forming an Empowered Nodal Group that could act as a single point authority to disburse news in crisis situations like the 26/11 terror attacks.
I&B Minister Ambika Soni informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the group was being set up following a suggetion from the News Broadcasters Association.
“The way the attacks were telecast by the media had angered the entire nation,” she said.
In the past six months, Soni said, her ministry had issued 30 notices for violating the Advertising Code under the Cable Regulatory Act.
Some members demanded strict action against the news channels for presenting distorted information and violating the set guidelines.