Creating a record of sorts, the upper house on Tuesday took up all the 15 listed starred questions in the Question Hour. This preceeded a highly productive Zero Hour where 18 members spoke on various issues, as well as Special Mentions.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu lauded members for the completion of business in the proceedings, a record achieved after 15 long years.
“The Rajya Sabha today made history. For the first time, all Zero Hour submissions, all Special Mentions were fully completed,” said Naidu amid thumping of desks by members in the House of Elders.
Last time this feat was achieved in 2002 during the 197th Session of the House when all the listed Starred Questions were taken up during the Question Hour.
The Upper house has often been mired with disruptions and protest by the Opposition members on separate issues during the last few sessions, leading to the washout of proceedings.
The Chairman also expressed hope that in future too, the members would not waste time and stick to the schedule. “Your cooperation is good, so my operation was very smooth…that’s why the House was able to set this record,” he said.
In all, the House took up all 11 Zero Hour submissions. The House also paid obituary reference to a former member, R Margabandu.
Before taking up the Question Hour, he suggested that the ministers concerned should go through the Zero Hour submissions and Special Mentions and reply to the members at the earliest as it would enhance productivity of the House.
In the Question Hour, members sought government’s response on several important issues including GST filing, poor rating of Indian Renewal Energy Companies, contribution to bit-coin and regulation of crypto currency, NPAs, Clinical Trials of drugs, Air India’s operating losses, World Bank’s loans for Andhra Pradesh capital.
The Chairman also allowed the members present to raise supplementaries on issues though some members in whose name questions were listed were absent. While, TMC leader Derek O` Brien who raised a question about clinical trials of drugs was not in the House, the Chiar allowed Nadimul Haq and Dola Sen to raise supplementaries.
Similarly, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma raised supplementaries regarding Air India’s operational losses even as the original questioner T Devendra Goud was not in the House.
Earlier, in his Zero Hour mention, Naresh Agrawal (SP) highlighted the “plight” of mediapersons, particularly those working at the district level.
Senior Congress member T Subbarami Reddy highlighted “frequent” close shave at various airports involving aircraft.
In his Special Mention, Motilal Vora (Congress) raised the issue of infant deaths in hospitals of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat among others.
Other members who made Special Mentions included Ram Nath Thakur (JD-U), R Vaithilingam (AIADMK), Naryana Lal Panchariya (BJP) Husain Dalwai and Chhaya Verma (both Cong).
Due to recent instances of disruptions and demands for time for various items of business, texts of Special Mentions are usually allowed to be laid towards of the end of the day’s proceedings. However, the Chairman was keen about members going on record reading out the Special Mentions before lunch instead of going un-noticed with the laying on the table.