NEW DELHI: Rama Devi, a BJP MP from Lalganj in Bihar, raised in the Lok Sabha the issue of road construction in her state on February 24, 2016. M B Rajesh, a CPM lawmaker from Palakkad in Kerala, raised the matter of MNREGA wages in his constituency on March 8 last year. Both queries have remained unanswered.
As per the rule, ministries are required to respond to an MP’s query within a month.
However, no less than 1248 issues raised by MPs in the Lok Sabha and 377 in the Rajya Sabha are piled up in the 'in' trays of various ministries.
The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has now shot off a letter asking ministries to give priority to lawmakers’ queries. "A review of matters of public importance raised in the House has brought out the following: the number of pending matters under Rule 377 in the Lok Sabha as of January 10, 2017 is 1248 and the number of public matters raised by way of special mentions in the Rajya Sabha is 377," the letter said.
“Needless to say, these matters of public importance need to be replied to by ministries on an urgent basis and before the second leg of the session resumes during the current budget session,” it said.
The highest number of pending queries, 223, are with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, followed by 120 pending with the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) and 97 pending with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). At least 85 are in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Of the Rajya Sabha’s 377 pending queries, 85 remain to be addressed by MHRD and MoEF.
This is not the first time that response delay have come to the notice of the government. In October 2015, the government found that replies were pending for more than two years.
After writing a letter this time round, the government has followed up with a meeting with senior officials of the ministries concerned and advised them to ensure that in cases where there are several stakeholder ministries involved, at least an interim reply should be forwarded to the lawmaker concerned.