After Parliament washout, Jairam Ramesh writes to Venkaiah Naidu requesting special session
A day earlier, the Congress party has also proposed a short sitting of both Houses of Parliament before the commencement of monsoon session to discuss issues of national importance following the washout of second half of the budget session.
After half of parliament’s budget session was washed out due to disruptions, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has written to Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu requesting a special two-week session in May-June to pass important legislation and facilitate debate and discussion.
Ramesh’s suggestion came after the Congress proposed to the government for a short sitting of both the Houses of Parliament before the monsoon session, which usually starts in July, to discuss issues of national importance.
Saying he was making this suggestion in his personal capacity, Ramesh urged the chairman to convene the special session as the disruptions have “inflicted great damage” to Parliament as an institution and they might “help retrieve some of its lost prestige”.
Both houses of parliament were adjourned sine die on Friday at the end of the budget session, half of which was washed out due to the disruptions over the TDP’s demand for granting Andhra Pradesh special status, demonstrations by the AIADMK for forming the Cauvery Management Board demands by the Congress to discuss the multi-thousand crore PNB scam.
Naidu on Friday wondered if the House “could justify its existence and the resources spent on it”.
In his letter, Ramesh wrote: “I wish to make a suggestion purely in my personal capacity. Why don’t you try and persuade the government to convene a special two-week session sometime in late May or early June to both pass important legislation and also have debate and discussion on burning political, economic and social issues.”
“l am aware that the monsoon session will be called sometime in mid-July but a special session sends a different signal altogether. There is no doubt that the complete washout has inflicted great damage to Parliament as an institution and I think a special session may help retrieve some of its lost prestige,” it stated.
Calling the washout session a collective failure, Ramesh said it is the responsibility of the government to communicate and engage in meaningful and serious dialogue with all political parties to ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament.
“That was very much in absence in recent weeks. In fact, it has been absent all through the past four years,” he added.
With Parliament passing only two laws outside Budget-related Bills during the month-long session, the Budget session that concluded on Friday was the least productive Budget session since 2000, data shows.
Besides the Finance Bill and the two Appropriation Bills, the Lok Sabha could pass only the Payments of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill and the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill in its overall 29 sittings, that too without a debate.
It was for the first time since 2000 that the two Houses spent almost no time on discussing the Budget and 100 per cent of the demand for grants were passed without discussion, data compiled by NGO PRS Legislative Research showed.