New Delhi: Outgoing Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday lamented that over 47 hours were lost due to disruptions in the upper house that prevented members from raising issues of public importance.
As he adjourned Rajya Sabha sine die four days ahead of schedule, Naidu said the house had 16 sittings during which it conducted business for more than 38 hours. Five government bills were discussed and passed.
”As we move towards the conclusion of the session, I have to report to the house that session 257 of Rajya Sabha, which commenced on July 18, 2022, comes to a close today,” he said.
”However, more than 47 hours were lost due to interruptions which is a sad reflection of the functioning of the upper house of Parliament,” Naidu, who was presiding over his last session, said.
”The session was characterised by regular and continuous disruptions which deprived members of the opportunity to discuss matters of urgent public importance and seek accountability of the executives through questions,” Naidu.
Proceedings were disrupted since the start of the Monsoon session, as opposition parties protested to press for an immediate discussion on issues like price rise and GST and later over the suspension of 23 members.
Government sources said that the members of various parties were in favour of the earlier conclusion of the session as they wanted to visit their constituencies due to upcoming festivals. However, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien hit out at the government for cutting short the Monsoon session.
”This is the seventh consecutive time parliament session has been cut short.
”Stop mocking #Parliament. We will fight for its sanctity and prevent PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah from turning this great institution into the Gujarat Gymkhana,” O’Brien said in a tweet.
Addressing the House, Naidu said that out of 235 starred questions, only 161 could be answered orally and Question Hour could not be taken up on seven days.
”Only 25 matters could be raised by members with the permission of the Chair and only 60 special mentions could be made during the entire session.
”Only five government bills were discussed and passed during the session, 27 private members were also introduced and only one private member bill regarding the right to health could be partly discussed during the entire session. No private member resolution could be taken up,” Naidu said.
Earlier, members cutting across party lines bade farewell to vice president Naidu, lauding his role as Rajya Sabha chairman and recollecting how he inspired and allowed them to speak in their native languages.
While some Opposition members urged him to pen an autobiography, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge appreciated how Naidu functioned despite being ”under pressure”.
Noting that the productivity of the house increased under Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the outgoing chairman encouraged dialogue and his legacy will continue to guide his successors.
During the day, Rajya Sabha also passed a bill to convert the National Rail and Transportation University, a deemed-to-be-university, into Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya, an autonomous central institution. The session was scheduled to be held from July 18 to August 12.