Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday pitched for parliamentary reforms to find a way to ensure that the bills passed by the Lok Sabha do not lapse in the Upper House with the dissolution of the Lower House.
He also expressed concern over frequent disruptions and low productivity in Parliament.
Making observations at the start of the session, the first after the elections, he said it was an opportune time now for all to reform the functioning of the Parliament so that the lives of the people can be transformed as they have reposed immense trust in each one of the members.
He also said that the committee set up to look into the rules and suggesting ways to stop growing dysfunctional tendencies has submitted its reports and urged the members to give their suggestions so that the House could reach a feasible solution.
"Twenty-two bills passed by the 16th Lok Sabha were pending in the Upper House. They got lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. This means that the Lok Sabha has to take up these bills again for passing. It would take a minimum of two sessions for doing so," Naidu said.
The Rajya Sabha chairman said that the bills that got lapsed were of socio-economic importance.
"Can we make any changes in this regard?" he said suggesting the members have a wider debate on the matter of automatic lapsing of bills in the Upper House.
The Bills include Triple Talaq Bill, Motor Vehicle Amendment bill, Citizenship Amendment Bill and Consumer Protection Bill.
"Three bills were pending for more than 20 years and six bills were pending for 10-12 years. Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill, the oldest pending bill, has been pending for more than 32 years. All these bills are important and merit timely consideration and passing," he said.
In order to streamline the process, the Chairman suggested that if a Bill is not taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction of such Bills, such pending Bills should be treated as deemed to have lapsed.
"Let us have a wider debate in this regard as well," he said.
Calling for examining the reasons as to why there was a wide gap between the number of bills passed by the 16th Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, especially when compared to the 15 th Lok Sabha.
"I am not for a moment suggesting that one House of the Parliament should blindly follow the other House. Careful consideration by both Houses is absolutely required. Informed debates and reasoned argumentation is the heart of Parliamentary democracy," he said.
Expressing concern over repeated disruptions in the House, Naidu urged the members to think of every Indian before they debate or disrupt.
"There is a need to reassure each citizen that the Parliament can bring about a distinct change in their lives," he said.
The environment of disruptive politics must change, Naidu said urging the members to use their time in a constructive manner.
"I don't get sleep on some days," he said adding that due to disruptions, a negative public perception is being made against the parliamentarians.
"A committee has been set up to look into the rules and also some of the suggestions for improvement (in functioning of the house). The committee has submitted its reports and the report has been sent to the leaders for further considerations," Naidu informed the Upper House.
"I request all the members to seriously ponder over the issues and see to it that the House functions smoothly, effectively and meaningfully and everybody be it small or big party get a reasonable opportunity to raise their issues," he added.
He said every Question Hour lost means an opportunity of seeking answers from the government on eight issues of policy, implementation, and governance by 40 members.
"Every Zero Hour lost means depriving 15 members of raising issues of immediate public importance.
"Ultimately, this August House would be what you want it to be. A performing one or a dysfunctional one. People of the country want it to be a performing one. If you have other ideas, you owe an explanation to the people, the ultimate masters. There is a growing perception that our democracy is in danger through dysfunctional legislatures," he said.
The Chairman said to realize the vaulting aspirations of people cutting across the boundaries of caste, creed, region, and religion, Parliamentarians need to redefine and recalibrate their ways of thinking and acting and have to make a clear break from the past.
"We have to be more agile, forward-looking and capitalize on our collective wisdom. NITI Ayog and the government have come out with a vision and a set of goals for 2022. Our Parliament over the next few years has a very crucial role to play in the making of a New India by 2022 in which we all can take pride," he said.
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