Lack of discussion during passage of bills a concern: Om Birla

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Less than two weeks before the winter session of Parliament begins, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that presiding officers’ focus remains on making discussions more “disciplined, substantive and dignified.” He also pitched for more effective working of the parliamentary committees and said lack of discussion during passage of bills is a “matter of concern.”

“The decreasing number of meetings of the legislatures and the lack of discussion at the time of making laws are also a matter of concern for us. During Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, we should prepare such a model document that when the hundred years of our independence are completed, there should be uniformity in the rules and procedures of all the legislatures and legislative bodies work to fulfil the aspirations of the people,” Birla said.

The Speaker’s comments at the 100th year of the legislative presiding officer’s conference on Wednesday assumes significance as both the treasury bench and the presiding officers are bracing for a stormy winter session of parliament starting from November 29.

The Congress and other Opposition parties are likely to raise issues such as Pegasus, Rafale , price rise and extension of CBI and ED chiefs’ tenure through ordinance route. Possibilities are strong that this too would be a disruptive session after the monsoon session was a near washout.

“Our focus has also been that the discussions in the legislatures should be more disciplined, substantive, dignified, clarity should be brought in parliamentary privileges, the working of parliamentary committees should be made more effective in the changing context,” Birla said at the inaugural event of the conference.

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Speaking before Birla, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh also spoke on importance of discipline and decorum in the House. He also cited examples of the science committee of the British parliament and the future committee of the Finnish parliament to advocate that Indian parliament and its committees too need to focus on the future.

Birla, who faced repeated appeals for allowing online meetings of House panels during the pandemic, said, “there should be greater use of information technology so that the people’s representatives can properly discharge their parliamentary responsibilities.” However, any immediate switch over to digital meetings was ruled out by officials, who said IT will be used for better connectivity and making it easier for lawmakers to work as public representatives.

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