New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed hope that the winter session of Parliament will be productive and urged party leaders and floor managers to ensure that new members, particularly the younger lawmakers, are given adequate opportunity to participate in discussions and deliberations in the House. He also said the G20 summit will be an opportunity to showcase India’s capabilities.
In his customary address before the start of Parliament session, PM Modi referred to India assuming presidency of the G20 grouping and said expectations from the country have gone up. He said India’s participation on the world stage is also increasing. “At a time like this, the presidency of G20 is a big opportunity for our country. This G20 summit is not only a diplomatic event but a chance to present India’s strength to the world in a holistic manner,” he said.
The PM said the G20 is an opportunity for world to know India, “the mother of democracy, with its diversity and courage” and for India to showcase its resilience and strength.
Earlier his week, while addressing the national office bearers meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the PM told his party colleagues to ensure that the G-20 platform is used to showcase India’s culture, diversity and Indianness and come up with innovative programmes that will allow for the participation of people in the events linked to the summit.
Referring to parliamentary proceedings and the importance of debates, the PM said it was incumbent on floor leaders to ensure that the younger lawmakers are groomed and get a chance to participate in House proceedings.
“I request all party leaders and floor leaders that those who have come to Parliament for the first time and those who are new members of the House particularly the young ones… for their bright future and to create a new generation, we should give more and more opportunities to them to participate in discussions,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that during his interaction with young MPs, he realised that most of them see disruptions in Parliament as a loss. “They said if Parliament doesn’t function then they cannot participate in debates. All floor leaders and party leaders should understand their pain…,” he said, calling for the session to be productive.
The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha could use only 47% and 42% of their alloted times in the monsoon session this year due to heavy disruptions. In the budget session of 2022, the productivity was 123% in the Lok Sabha and 90% in the Upper House, according to the PRS data.
Expressing hope that the current session that is scheduled to conclude on December 29 will be free from disruption and chaos, he said the agreeable interaction with leaders of other political parties in recent days gave him hope that this amicability will be reflected in Parliament too.
“…Hopefully we will hear voices from Parliament that will showcase India’s resilience. In this session efforts should be made to take India to greater heights and find new ways of taking India ahead,” he said.
The PM, who has in the past iterated the importance of debate and discussions on the floor of Parliament, said he is confident that all political parties will add value to the discussions with their opinions and give new direction to decision making.
The list of business for the session includes 16 bills that the government plans to introduce, including The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 that aims to strengthen governance and bring more transparency in such bodies; the Cantonment Bill, to ensure administration of cantonments, and The Old Grant (Regulation) Bill, 2022, to ensure better management of land given for defence estate before Independence. According to official data, there are about 49,000 Old Grant sites covering an area of about 7,500 acres.
The opposition parties, meanwhile, held a joined strategy meeting at the office of Congress president and Rajya Sabha leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, with even the Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party joining in.
According to people familiar with the matter, the Opposition has identified a total of 22 issues it plans to raise during the session, with Kharge flagging the threat to India’s national security, the India-China border dispute, the cyber-attack on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and inflation and rise in prices of essential commodities.