Complimenting Mallikarjun Kharge on becoming the new Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Chairman M.Venkaiah Naidu expressed confidence that the vast and diverse experience of Kharge will benefit the House significantly.
Naidu said so during his observations in the House on the first day of the second part of the Budget session on Monday.
Regarding the new Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Naidu observed that Kharge is one of the long-serving leaders of our country with vast legislative and administrative experience having been member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly for a record 9 times without a break and twice member of the Lok Sabha. Kharge was also the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly twice besides being the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha.
Naidu further said; “Leader of the opposition has a major role in enabling the smooth functioning of the House as per the Rules of Procedure and conventions of the House. I am confident that this august House will benefit significantly from the rich and diverse experience of Kharge ji who has witnessed the functioning of the legislatures, both from the right and left side of the Chair.”
Chairman Naidu also gave an account of the examination of the Demands for Grants for 2021-22 of various ministries undertaken by the 8 Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees of Rajya Sabha during the 3-week recess after the first part of the ongoing Budget session of Parliament. He referred to several positives that emerged during the Budget scrutiny by the Committees of Rajya Sabha and some concerns as well.
8 Committees of Rajya Sabha spend 12% more time on scrutiny of Demands of Ministries this year
Naidu informed the House that the 8 Committees of Rajya Sabha have spent 12% more time this year on examination of Demands for Grants of 18 ministries over that of last year. These Committees have held 21 meetings for a total duration of 70 hours 27 minutes this year as against 20 meetings for a duration of 63 hours last year.
Participation of members of Rajya Sabha in Budget scrutiny improves substantially
Referring to the substantially improved participation of Members of Rajya Sabha in the Budget scrutiny by the Committees this year, Naidu stated that the attendance of the Members of the Council of States increased to 58.24% this year from 52.57% last year. Also, 50% of Members of Rajya Sabha attended all the meetings of respective Committees as against 36% last year.
In respect of the Members of Lok Sabha, the overall attendance has declined to 31.86% from 46.37% last year and the number of members who attended all the meetings of the Committees has fallen to 26.21% from 35% last year.
The 8 DRSCs of Rajya Sabha have a total of 242 MPs as members including 78 from Rajya Sabha and 164 from Lok Sabha.
As per the information shared by Chairman Naidu, the average duration of the 21 meetings held this year by the 8 Committees of Rajya Sabha comes to 2 hours 36 minutes. Naidu who has been urging the Chairmen and members of these Committees to ensure longer duration of meetings given the time, energy and costs involved in holding such meetings informed the House that 4 of the 8 Committees met for a duration of 5 hours 25 minutes to 6 hours 25 minutes in a day.
The Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law & Justice has reported the highest attendance of 51.19% this year while the Committee on Commerce reported the highest improvement in attendance of 40% as against only 32% last year.
There was the required quorum in each of the 21 meetings this year while 3 of the 20 meetings held last year did not have the quorum.
Naidu however, expressed concern over low attendance of members of non-BJP and non-Congress parties in the meetings held for scrutiny of Demands for Grants. He informed that the attendance of such other parties and groups has fallen to 27.60% from 40% last year. Consequently, the overall attendance this year in the 21 meetings has fallen to 42% from 48% last year.
Naidu urges MPs to make effective use of Parliament Library for quality debates
Stressing that homework based quality contributions to the debates in the House enrich the proceedings, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu urged the MPs to make effective use of the Parliament Library which has a rich collection of about 14 lakh books besides hundreds of journals in several languages. He referred to the need for an in-depth and analytical understanding of the issues taken up in the House for which the 100-year-old Parliament Library is the best source, he said.