A discussion on the continuance of the concept of Special Category Status for states and holding of a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) for the purpose, could not be taken up by the Rajya Sabha today due to the non-availability of the Finance Minister.
The calling attention on the need to convene a meeting of the country's apex decision-making body NDC to discuss the necessity for continuance of the concept of Special Category Status, was not taken up due to the unavailability of the minister, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said.
He told the House that it would be taken up later and the date would notified.
Since the calling attention could not be taken up, the House straight away took up the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention) and Control) Bill, 2014 for consideration and passage.
However, opposition members including Jairam Ramesh (INC), Madhusudan Mistry (INC) and Tapan Sen (CPI-M) lodged their protest with the Chair, saying this should not be the practice for dealing with calling attention in the House.
Ramesh said it was "very strange" that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was available "all through the Question Hour today".
When Ramesh said the government wanted to avoid this discussion, Kurien said, "You are reading too much (between the lines)" and pacified him saying that the date of the discussion will be notified later.
He also said that the Chairman has accepted the notice for calling attention knowing about it, so there is no question of avoiding discussion on the issue.
Sen said at least one calling attention should be taken up every week as a matter of rule in the Upper House which should not be violated.
Kurien said he will convey this message to the Chairman of the House.
The calling attention notice was given by the Congress member Dr K V P Ramachandra Rao.
Under the special category status, the states including seven Northeastern states, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir get funds from the central government as 90 per cent grant and 10 per cent loan.
The concept also provides for allocation of 30 per cent of planned funds, now classified as capital expenditure, are provided to these special category states.
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