Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Stormy Monsoon Session

The just-concluded Monsoon Session of Parliament could be described as one of the best ever of the current Lok Sabha. The session saw several ups and downs but overall, a lot of useful work was done.

The top agenda of the session was the Nuclear Liability Bill. Despite the Government's repeated attempts to hoodwink the Opposition and rush the unacceptable bill through, the Opposition and the Media teamed up and after a lot of jostling, a final, acceptable version of the Bill was passed by Parliament.

The issues of the blockade in Manipur was also taken up and fortunately, the blockade was lifted after two months. However, the very fact that the blockade was allowed to happen, thus causing a humanitarian crisis, shows poorly on the Union Government and the Opposition did point this out.

The lowest point of the session was seen over the MP (Salaries and Allowances Amendment) Bill, wherein some Opposition parties not only stalled proceedings but chaired a mock session in total disregard for decency. MPs should not be able to set their own salaries in this manner. It is necessary that we find a way for an Independent body to do that.

Apart from these three key issues, the bogey of 'Saffron Terror' also took some time from the Session. Also, several bills were referred to Committees (most significantly the flawed Prevention of Torture Bill) and will be taken up in the Winter Session, including the conversion of IT-BHU to an IIT. Overall, this session was highly productive and the Opposition, particularly the BJP, did a good job in most cases.

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