Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday urged all political parties to evolve a code of conduct for MPs and MLAs both within and outside the Houses for effective functioning of legislatures to restore the confidence of the people in parliamentary institutions. He also urged the parties to come together, transcending political considerations, on issues of national importance.
He also voiced concern about the functioning of legislators in the country after release of a book titled “Moving On…Moving Forward: A Year in Office” on his first year as Vice President, by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Sunday. He described the book as a report to the people on his mission and it’s outcomes during the year since he was sworn in as Vice President on August 11 last year.
“While there is cause for a great deal of celebration in the way Indian economy is shaping up and how India’s standing in the comity of nations has been steadily going up, I am a little unhappy that our Parliament Is not functioning as it should,” the Vice President said.
He suggested five reforms to improve the functioning of Parliament and State legislatures. These include: Code of conduct for legislators both within and outside the Houses, Legislators to resign before changing party and Anti-defection cases to be decided in three months time, Election petitions and criminal cases against political leaders to be decided quickly by special benches of higher courts, A national policy to ensure consistency in having upper houses in States and Cleansing of polity.
Vice President Naidu also urged political parties to consider issues concerning women dispassionately to ensure their safety and dignity and by ending discrimination against women on the basis of religion and other factors. He called for reservation for women in all spheres including in legislatures.
Stressing that agriculture is the basic culture of the country, the Vice President called for a clear bias towards farmers in resource allocation to ensure remunerative farming and a robust food security.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Venkaiah Naidu as a person ‘’ driven by a holistic vision aimed at improving the lot of common man”.
He recalled that when former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was keen to offer to Naidu an important portfolio, Venkaiah Naidu unusually requested to be given the Ministry of Rural Development. PM Modi noted that the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) launched by Venkaiah Naidu became hugely popular among the MPs, given the importance of rural roads.
Referring to the 50 years of public life of Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister said that he has set high standards of discipline, commitment and passion to do justice to any responsibility given to him which is the secret of his success.
PM Modi further said that while many compliment Naidu for his energy and dynamism, he himself was surprised to see how he restrains himself while presiding over the Upper House. Referring to Naidu’s punctuality and discipline, Modi said he used to be on alert whenever he was required to travel with Naidu.
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said that running the legislatures had become a lot more complicated and Venkaiah Naidu was doing his best to run the Rajya Sabha by protecting the interests of all sections of the House.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said “Shri Naidu has enormous political and administrative experience and it was amply reflected during his first year in office”.
He said that the four themes that Naidu explored during his extensive travels during the last one year through extensive travels could become the national agenda to be pursued. These include; Untapped demographic dividend, An effective eco-system to ensure sustainable and remunerative agriculture, Orienting scientific and research gains to improve quality of life of people and Enhancing public awareness about the country’s rich cultural heritage and harmonious world view.
Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan said that the book on the first year of Venkaiah Naidu in office, is a chronicle of how a person from humble origins could rise to an exalted position and give effective leadership. She further noted that the book was perhaps inspired by Naidu’s quest for an honest introspection to find out if he was on the right course.
Recalling his 45 year long association with Venkaiah Naidu, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said “The unique feature of Shri Naidu is he is 24 x 7 x 365 without even a day’s rest and is intensely committed to farmers. He is more guided by heart and so is emotional. His last one year has been an act of balancing protocol and natural tendency. Venkaiah Naidu has been promoting consensus on issues of national importance”.
Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma was also on the dais at the book release. A large number of union Ministers, MPs, MLAs and Mayors, senior serving and retired government officials, diplomats from several countries, officials from armed forces, lawyers, farmers, students, scientists and others attended the event.