“I have seen two different governments in my tenure. I have seen more after that. This disruption just keeps happening. It is not right. I really need to find out a way to ensure that the parliament works on developmental politics. I would like to give a surprise assignment for the students of IIM-Shillong at the end of my speech. I would ask them for innovative ways to make Parliament more productive. ” –Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s words to his advisor Shri Srijan Pal Singh during their trip to Shillong.
The nation mourns the sudden demise of Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. When we lose someone we are most proud of, the grief cannot be expressed in mere words and expressions. The heart laments like there’s no tomorrow. Even though my hand and heart seem not in harmony right now, I shall write. The reason why I will have to persuade my heart is the vision that Dr. Kalam has left behind, the dream that he shared with us back in 1998 through his book- India 2020- A Vision For New Millennium. The dream to make India a developed country by 2020. We may be on the right track right now, but we are not moving forth.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament commenced on July 21, 2015. Let me present before you the progress report of one week of the parliament session so that it is understood why we aren’t moving forward. Number of bills discussed or passed in Lok sabha is Zero. In seven days, hardly seven questions have been raised during the Question Hour. The House sits at 11 a.m, gets adjourned at 11.15 a.m, sits back at 12.00 pm only to be again adjourned in 5 minutes till 2.00 p.m and you guessed it right- again adjourned till 11.00 am, the next day. The situation in Rajya Sabha is no different. So now we know the reason why Dr. Kalam was so worried about the functioning of the parliament.
Dear Parliamentarians, you are matured enough to know that the court cases cannot be discussed in the House. Why are we wasting time in Parliament in finding who helped Lalit Modi and in what way. Who signed that affidavit in favour of Lalit Modi and why? This session is so crucial. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill has to be discussed and passed in Rajya Sabha. You very well know how important it is to enact this law. It will make the Tax system more transparent, easy and hassle-free. This will also help generate a lot of revenue. Many other bills and issues are pending which include ‘The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill 2015’, ‘The Juvenile Justice Bill’, ‘The Whistleblower Protection Bill’ and so on.
In the session expected to last till August 13, legislative agenda includes discussion and passing of 11 legislative bills currently pending in Parliament, 9 new bills to be introduced and many other important issues to be discussed. But the only thing we got so far is adjournment. We are not interested in blame-game of who is responsible for what. The smooth functioning of the House is the responsibility of all the parties and not just the government. The salary, perquisites and allowances (including the daily allowance of Rs 2000 to attend the parliament) which the MPs get is the hard-earned money of the taxpayers- you and me. Everything we buy has a tax element to it, whether it is in the form of Excise duty or VAT or Service tax levied on services. In an year, the parliament runs for approximately 90-100 days. Each day the business of both the houses is conducted for around 6 hours. As per former Parliamentary Affairs Minister, each MINUTE of running the House costs Rs 2.5 lakhs to the Exchequer of India.
We request all the Members of Parliament to kindly concentrate on productive discussions rather than counting how many CCTV cameras are working. People are watching keenly how you are working. Don’t compel us to think whether our decision to choose you was the right one or not. Though the die is cast now; just to remind you, this die is cast every five years in democratic India. People have faith in you that is the reason why you have got the opportunity to sit inside the temple of democracy. Please respect this faith. We hope the coming sessions will prove to be fruitful for the nation.
Post by: Anup Sharma