During his ternure as the Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu took a keen interest in the functioning of department related standing committees of the Rajya Sabha and also reviewed their functioning.
The vice-president, who is also the ex-officio chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, is entitled to review the works of Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees of the Upper House. Though the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees were introduced in 1993, their working was never reviewed till Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did in 2019 for the first time, informed government sources.
Naidu has been reviewing before and during each session and sharing the findings with the Members of the House, they said.
Between August 2017 to June 2022, a total of 558 meetings were held by the eight standing committees of the Rajya Sabha with an improved average duration of over two hours and attendance of over 45 per cent per meeting.
A total of 369 reports were presented by the eight Committees of Rajya Sabha. The average duration of meetings has improved by 20 per cent and attendance by about 6 per cent over that of 2016-2017.
The average duration of two hours 36 minutes and attendance of 58.24 per cent for the meetings of the Committees on Demands for Grants in 2021 was the best performance.
While only two Committees reported an average duration of over two hours in 2017-2018, it has been so for six Committees during 2020-2021. While no Committee reported 50 per cent attendance in 2017-2018, three Committees did so during 2020-2021, said the government.
On average, about 78 per cent of the Rajya Sabha members daily signed the attendance register as required for the daily allowance to be paid while 2.56 per cent never attend the proceedings on a daily basis. About 30 per cent of the members reported full attendance during different sessions.
Naidu always urged the House Members to speak in their mother tongue in the House. The use of Indian languages in the proceedings of the House has substantially increased by about four times during 2018-2020 in comparison with the same during the period of 14 years from 2004-2017.
Four languages viz., Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani and Santhali have been used for the first time in 2020 since the House came into being in 1952. Six languages viz., Assamese, Bodo, Gujarati, Maithili, Manipuri and Nepali were used after a gap of several years.
MP Sarojini Hembram became the first Member to speak in Santhali during the Zero Hour in the Winter Session of 2019, sixty-seven years after Rajya Sabha came into being.
During these 13 sessions of Rajya Sabha under Naidu, the House has made amendments to 14 Bills that were passed by the Lok Sabha and the same were accepted by the other House.
These include s the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019; The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2021; The Dam Safety Bill, 2021 and The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2021, according more say to the States in the matters covered there under.
Four Constitution Amendment Bills were passed including those granting constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes in 2019 and providing for maximum of 10% reservations for economically backward sections.
The other major Bills passed by Rajya include the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018; The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019; The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019; The Code on Wages, 2019; The Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019; The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019; The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020; The Code on Social Security, 2020 and The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2021.
The chairperson of the Rajya Sabha presides over the house, conducts its proceedings and gives rulings on matters of disagreement and friction between the opposition and treasury benches inside the house. (ANI)