PTI, July 16, 2022, 8:22 p.m. IST
New Delhi: Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Saturday sought cooperation from all parties to ensure the proceedings were conducted smoothly with “decency, dignity and discipline”, even as the opposition demanded a discussion of the Agnipath program, unemployment, and farmers’ problems.
At a multi-stakeholder meeting ahead of the session beginning Monday, Birla briefed the leaders on preparations for the session.
He said later that the leaders of all parties had assured that they would cooperate in conducting the business of the House with dignity.
Several opposition political parties – TMC, TRS, Shiv Sena, NCP, BSP, SP, TDP, SAD and leftist parties – skipped the meeting. The BJD also had no representation.
However, Congress and its allies DMK and IUML attended the meeting. While the Congress was represented by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, TR Baalu of DMK participated.
YSR Congress leaders and NDA-LJP constituents, Apna Dal were also present at the meeting.
The government was represented by Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Minister of State in the same ministry Arjun Ram Meghwal.
In a tweet after the meeting, the president said he urged all parties to “cooperate in order to conduct the proceedings with decency, dignity and discipline in accordance with the high traditions and values of the House”.
He further said that efforts will be made to have in-depth discussions and dialogue on matters related to the public interest.
He also said that by “celebrating #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav (celebrations surrounding 75 years of Indian Independence), we can achieve the desired results that meet the hopes and aspirations of the public.”
During the meeting, discussions were also held on the issues to be addressed during the session and the allocation of time for the discussion of the various bills.
Issues, such as the recently released list of unparliamentary words, were also reportedly discussed at the meeting.
The Speaker holds this customary meeting of all parties before the start of each parliamentary session.
The monsoon session of Parliament will begin on July 18 and is expected to continue until August 12.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the opposition demanded a discussion of the Agnipath military recruitment scheme, unemployment and farmers’ issues during the upcoming monsoon session of parliament.
The meeting was held in the premises of Parliament in the evening and brought together the leaders of several political parties.
“We demanded that discussions take place on Agnipath, unemployment and farmer issues and that sufficient time be given to the opposition to raise these issues in the House,” Chowdhury told reporters after the meeting. Baalu also demanded a discussion on these issues.
Joshi listed government business for the session, which includes 14 pending bills and 24 new bills.
Birla also informed members that there will be 18 sittings during the session and a total time of 108 hours will be available, of which approximately 62 hours will be devoted to government business.
The remaining time was allocated for Question Time, Zero Hour and Members’ Business, Birla said in a statement issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
Birla also informed that as with previous sessions, proper COVID-19 protocol will be followed in this session and adequate arrangements have been made in this regard.