Parliament meeting in extraordinary times; make it memorable one: Naidu to MPs

by Times of India

NEW DELHI: Stating that Parliament is meeting in extraordinary and

challenging times

due to the Covid-19 crisis, Rajya Sabha Chairman

Venkaiah Naidu

on Monday urged the MPs to make the

Monsoon session

“memorable” by enhancing productivity and responding to the expectations of “anguished people” who are keen to breathe normally and reclaim their social and economic space . On the first day of the Monsoon session, Naidu said the country rose as “

Team India

” to meet the situation and has been able to “minimise” the damage by the pandemic despite being the world’s second-most populous country.

Parliament is “seized” of the crisis as seven Rajya Sabha panels have discussed during the inter-session period the various aspects of the pandemic, contingent and mitigation plans, the preparedness of educational institutions and functioning of virtual courts during the pandemic, impact of the pandemic on tourism and civil aviation sector besides attracting investments in the post-Covid economy, he added.

Naidu appreciated frontline workers for their dedication during the pandemic and farmers for record foodgrain production despite the Covid-19 challenges.

“We are meeting amidst challenging times that our nation has been going through along with other countries due to the Covid pandemic. …Covid-19 pandemic has been the biggest disaster to strike mankind since the Spanish Flu about a hundred years ago.

“The governments across the globe, medical and scientific communities and civil socities were caught unaware. The experts are still to claim to have mastered all aspects of this virus…,” he said.

Observing that this crisis has given a new normal, he said, “We have to live with social distancing norm and other precautions for some more time. As members of Parliament, it is our duty to help the fight against Covid-19 in the best possible way.”

He mentioned that despite being the second-most populous country in the world, India has been able to contain the damage due to the pandemic to the minimum both in terms of the scale of infection and mortality.

“I am happy to note that the nation rose as Team India to handle this crisis,” he said after which the House observed brief silence as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives due to natural calamities in 10 states during May-August period.

More than 1,000 persons have lost their lives and over 1.5 crore people have been affected besides heavy damage to crops and property due to heavy rains and other natural calamities in these states.

Asserting that extraordinary times call for

extraordinary measures

, the Chairman said this adage can’t be more true than in the present context.

“Let us make this session, happening in troubled times, really memorable one. This is my appeal to everyone at the beginning of the session,” he said and added all arrangements have been made for the smooth functioning of the session.

Mentioning that there is substantial business agenda before the Upper House for 18 sittings, Naidu sought the cooperation of all MPs.

“I sincerely urge all of you to sustain and try to enhance high productivity record of this august House,” he said, it is because people have a lot of expectations from MPs in respect of providing valuable guidance in the management of pandemic, the revival of the economy and return of the normal social life.

“In short, they (people) are keen to breathe normally and reclaim their social-economic space. It is for you to decide how each one of you like to respond to such expectation of anguished people of this country,” he noted.

The chairman also mentioned that the department-related standing committees examined various aspects of pandemic and its impact during the inter-session period.

“This goes to suggest that the Parliament is already seized of the various issues related to Covid pandemic, its impact and the way forward. I hope the reports to be submitted by these committee soon will enable the country for better preparedness for the future,” he added.

Sharing the findings of a research report prepared by

Rajya Sabha Secretariat

, Naidu said the productivity of the Upper House had been steadily declining for the last 25 years. From 1978 till the mid-90s, the productivity of the House was over 100 per cent but it fell to 89 per cent and further down to 78 per cent.

“Since 2014, the overall productivity of the 20 sessions have been 74 per cent. This shows a declining curve of the productivity of the House. However, there is a subtle silver lining, the overall productivity of the last three sessions of the house was 94.60 per cent. The best for three consecutive sessions in the last five years. I sincerely hope this new normal will stay,” he said.

The Chairman also congratulated

the Indian Chess Team

led by

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi

for winning the first-ever gold medal and being declared joint champions with Russia at

the FIDE Chess Olympiad

2020 that was held online.

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