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Committee formed to revise ‘inadequate’ Rajya Sabha rules

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu, Photo Credit Twitter

New Delhi, (IANS) A two-member committee to revise the rules and procedure of conduct of business in the upper House of Parliament has been formed by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu, Rajya Sabha Secretary General Desh Deepak Verma said on Monday.

The two-member committee would be headed by former Rajya Sabha Secretary General V.K. Agnihotri, while S.R. Dhaleta, a former Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, would serve as a member.

Although the committee would have a holistic relook at the rules, the provisions dealing with the disruptions in the House and the provisions, which seem “inadequate” as compared to the rules in Lok Sabha, would get special attention.

The Secretary General pointed out that during the recently concluded 245th Session of Rajya Sabha, out of a total of 165 available working hours, more than 120 hours were lost to disruptions in the House.

He said that of late, a need was being felt for further amendments in the rules of procedure in Rajya Sabha to “enlarge the scope of some rules and make them more effective and robust in certain aspects for the smooth conduct of proceedings of the House”.

“For example, there is no specific provision in the Rajya Sabha rules for automatic suspension of the members who persistently and wilfully obstruct the proceedings of the House by shouting slogans or otherwise by coming into the well. But Rule 374(A) of the Lok Sabha proceedings provides for automatic suspension of such members,” Verma said.

“As a result, many a time the Chair is left with no other option but to adjourn the House in the eventuality of grave disorder. Moreover, when there is disruption in the House, passage of a bill becomes difficult. The current rules of procedure relating to voting procedure on a bill become inadequate in such a situation. Therefore, there is a need to amend such rules to make them effective and robust in future,” he added.

Besides, he said, some of the upper House rules related to point of order, suspension of listed business, discussion on matters of public interest, notice of privilege, etc., were not “very specific”.

He said the committee’s recommendations would be placed before the Rules Committee of the Rajya Sabha which would examine them by taking views of members of the committee, Members of Parliament and leaders of political parties.

“Thereafter, the report of the Rules Committee will be presented to the House and consensus would be evolved to amend the rules, so that the issues of disruptions and frequent adjournments could be addressed effectively,” he said.

The committee has been mandated to submit its report in three months, and the panel may give some of the recommendations before the monsoon session of Parliament.

IANS

India

Time magazine lists PM Modi in ‘100 Most Influential People 2020’ but adds a stinging note

While featuring PM Modi in the influential people’s list, Time did not shy away from suggesting that Modi, as India’s PM, had “brought into doubt” India’s secular nature.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it to Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People 2020’ list. PM Modi is the only politician from India to have been featured in the ‘Leaders’ category.

Other world leaders who feature in the Time list include US President Donald Trump; Chinese President Xi Jinping; Joe Biden, presidential challenger to Trump in 2020 US elections; Kamala Harris, US Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 2020 election; Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

While featuring PM Modi in the influential people’s list, Time did not shy away from suggesting that Modi, as India’s PM, had “brought into doubt” India’s secular nature where “Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other religious sects – all have abided in India”.

Time noted that “the Dalai Lama (who has spent most of his life in refuge there) has lauded the country as ‘an example of harmony and stability’.”

However, PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, labelled as Hindu-nationalist, has “rejected not only elitism but also pluralism, specifically targeting India’s Muslims,” claims the short write-up on PM Modi in Time, written by editor at large, Karl Vick.

“The crucible of the pandemic became a pretense for stifling dissent. And the world’s most vibrant democracy fell deeper into shadow,” it concludes, seeking to build a narrative on PM Modi’s rule.

Questioning the populist vote which PM Modi and his BJP got in two successive General Elections in 2014 and 2019 – the second one being a bigger mandate – Time argues “free elections only tell who got the most votes” and does not necessarily represent “those who did not vote for the winner”.

It may be recalled here that during his more than six years’ rule so far, PM Modi has stressed on taking all along the path of development with the motto: “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas,” meaning “together, for everyone’s growth, with everyone’s trust”.

In May last year as well, Time had in an article called PM Modi “India’s Divider in Chief”. However, just weeks later, the magazine published an article titled ‘Modi Has United India Like No Prime Minister in Decades’.

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India

Modi destroyed “web of relationships” that Congress built with countries over decades: Rahul Gandhi

“Living in a neighbourhood with no friends is dangerous,” former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Living in a neighbourhood with no friends is dangerous, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had destroyed the “web of relationships” that the Congress had built with countries over decades.

Attacking the government on Twitter, Gandhi also tagged a report in The Economist titled ‘As Bangladesh’s relations with India weaken, ties with China strengthen’.

“Mr Modi has destroyed the web of relationships that the Congress built and nurtured over several decades,” Gandhi alleged.
“Living in a neighbourhood with no friends is dangerous,” the former Congress chief added.

The Congress has been critical of the Modi government’s foreign policy, alleging that ties with neighbours have been weakened. The government has denied the charge and said India’s ties have deepened with several countries and its position has strengthened globally.

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India

Sonia Gandhi, Son Rahul Return From US After Her Medical Check-Up: Reports

Sources had said her medical check-up was overdue and was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sonia Gandhi and Rahul

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi returned from abroad early today, sources said.

Mrs Gandhi, 73, had gone to the United States for her routine medical check-up on September 12, two days ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. Rahul Gandhi had accompanied her during the visit.

Sources had said her medical check-up was overdue and was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sonia Gandhi had cleared the Congress’ organisational restructuring before leaving for the US.

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