NEW DELHI: A great smile ran through Rajendra Prasad face when a 41-year-old speaker MR Masani raised a simple query in the sprawling Constitution hall on December 17, 1946- whether the State is to own the people or the people are to own the State? As Chairman of Constituent Assembly, who later became the first President of India, Prasad was pleased by Masani’s appeal that democracy needs to be extended from the political to the economic and social spheres.
Almost 71 years later, Modi Sarkar has made a fervent appeal to the Ministries that controls absolute power, to listen to the lawmakers, who represent people’s voice. The government has reviewed the matters of urgent public importance raised by the members in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and it is not too pleased with the lackadaisical attitude of the ministries in responding the issues related to people’s welfare. After noticing that 1248 matters raised by members of Lok Sabha are still pending with various ministries, the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has shot off a letter asking them to take the issues related to public good on the priority.
“A review of such matters of public importance raised in the house during previous sessions has brought out following- Pending matters under Rule 377 in Lok Sabha on January 10, 2017, is 1248 and public matters raised by way of special mentions in Rajya Sabha is 377.”
“Needless to say these matters of public importance need to be replied by Ministries on an urgent basis and before the second leg of the session resumes during the current budget session,” said the letter reviewed by the Express.
As per the rule matters of public importance once raised in the house need a reply from the Ministry concerned within a period of one month from the date of raising the issues in the parliament.
Rama Devi, a BJP MP from Lalganj, Bihar had raised the issue of road construction almost a year ago on February 24, 2016, and still awaiting the response. Similarly, MB Rajesh, CPI (M) lawmaker from Palakkad had raised the matter of MNREGA wages in his constituency on March 8 last year, which remains unattended.
The details accessed by this newspaper shows that maximum 223 queries raised by members are pending with Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, followed by 120 pending matters with Ministry of Human Resources Development and 97 public importance matters are pending with Ministry of Environment and Forests. At least 85 pending matters raised by the members are related Ministry of Health and Family Welfare while issues are pending with Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Of the 377 pending matters with the upper house, 85 matters are yet to be addressed by the Ministry of Human Resources Development while 18 issues are pending with Ministry of Environment.
In October 2015, the government had noticed that replies are not given within the stipulated time by the Ministries and some of the matters continue to be pending for more than two years inviting adverse comments from the members.
According to sources subsequent to writing a letter, the government has also held a meeting with senior officials of the ministries to ensure that in cases where several stakeholder ministries are involved, an interim reply is at least forwarded to the lawmakers so that public occupies the centre-stage in the government machinery.