ALSO READ18th All India Whips' Conference to focus on efficient Whips' conference will strengthen parliamentary democracy: Minister 'Whip's duty not just monitoring party men but also motivating 18th All India Whips Conference to start from Jan 8 Union Budget on Feb 1; Parliament session to begin on Jan 29
Reform of Zero Hour, concept of committee hour for discussion on parliamentary panel reports and reforms in structure of private members business were among the recommendations made during the 18th All India Whips' Conference which ended here today. The two-day meet hosted around 90 delegates representing the Centre and 19 states. Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said during different sessions in the conference, consensus were reached on several issues, including disruption of House proceedings by lawmakers who storm to the well. He said 'whips' of various parties were of the opinion that disruption of house proceedings should be curbed. Goel told reporters that the 'whips' were of the view that issue-based quality debate and discussions should be promoted and skills of legislators should be upgraded. Reform of Zero Hour for more prompt reply and action taken report from the ministry concerned was one of the recommendations, he said. Zero Hour is the designated time in legislatures and Parliament to raise urgent matters of public importance. Participants at the conference noted that of late, important item of business was not being taken seriously by the ministries and departments concerned by not replying or giving summery reply thereon. One of the recommendations made at the conference was introducing a concept of Committee Hour, whose frequency can be suitably worked out later. The existing committee system of Parliament is an effective oversight for examining bills and other documents of the government. At the conference, it was discussed that reports submitted by panels were not discussed in the legislatures and the governments sometimes only accept selective recommendations. "In order to mitigate the situation, a system may be evolved wherein these reports may be discussed and replied to in the House.
Keeping that in view, the conference suggested that the concept of Committee Hour could be developed," the recommendation document of the conference stated. The 'whips' also recommended that reforms in the structure of Private Members' Business need to be carried out. At present, Private Members' Business is discussed on the evening of every Friday in the House. To enhance sittings of Houses, the conference also opined establishment of a legislative framework for more working days in both legislatures and Parliament. For upgrading skills of lawmakers, the conference mooted developing Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training (BPST) as a national academy for their training. The conference also expressed desire to embrace e-Vidhan to enable state legislators to become paperless, more transparent, productive and accountable to the citizens and economise the entire legislative process.
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