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Oppn. stall LS, RS over JPC probe on 2G scam
Published on 23 Nov. 2010 6:49 PM IST
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Both houses of parliament were Tuesday again adjourned for the day as the opposition continued pressing its demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
A day after Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee’s all-party meeting to resolve the issue failed, parliament was adjourned without transacting any business for the eighth successive day.
The Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha saw the first adjournment as soon as the houses met at 11 a.m.
Opposition members, including from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and the AIADMK shouted slogans in both the houses for a JPC and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a clarification.
In the Rajya Sabha, ruling party members were also on their feet displaying placards demanding action against the “Bellary brothers” in Karnataka.
Parliament’s winter session that began Nov 9 has witnessed repeated adjournments over the opposition’s insistence for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the scam, even after then communications minister A. Raja, who was at the heart of the controversy, resigned.
Eight days of adjournment cost nation Rs.63 crore
The eight successive days of adjournment of parliament without any major business translate into a loss of a staggering Rs.63 crore with the expenditure for each day of a session calculated at Rs.7.8 crore.
The controversial 2G spectrum allocation may have caused colossal losses to the national exchequer, but the continuing opposition protests over a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) also have led to a huge financial drain. Barring the first day of the ongoing winter session that began Nov 9, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have not functioned normally for even one full day to transact legislative business. According to official figures, the total budget of the two houses of parliament and the ministry of parliamentary affairs for 2010-11 is nearly Rs.535 crore.
In a year, parliament meets thrice, for the budget, monsoon and winter sessions. In the past five years (2005-2009), there have been an average of 68 sittings per year. That means, the expenditure for each day of a session is nearly Rs.7.8 crore.
Though parliament’s establishment works round the year, the expenditure per day has to be worked out according to the number of sittings because the entire staff, logistics and other expenses are incurred solely for the institution to conduct its legislative business. Otherwise, there would be no need to have the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha secretariats and their sprawling offices.
The ruling and opposition parties blame each other for the stalemate and the consequent loss of time and public money. Congress MP Ashwani Kumar said the opposition was making the democratic institution dysfunctional by not allowing debates in the houses.
“Parliament is a forum for debate. The government is prepared to discuss all issues. The opposition is seeking to destroy essential pillar of constitutional morality by making parliament dysfunctional,” Kumar told IANS.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the country has an economist heading the government and he should be more sensitive to the loss incurred due to stance adopted by his government.
“The PM (Manmohan Singh) should be more forthcoming… The basic suspicions on 2G spectrum scam are disturbing for the nation. The solution is in transparency,” Ruddy said. Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta said his party did not want parliament to be disrupted but the “government is so adamant”.
“It is ignoring joint voice of the opposition,” Dasgupta said.
On Nov 15, the government did manage to table in the Lok Sabha seven papers and two reports in a span of less than 10 minutes.
Among the highlights of that business was a bill by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee seeking an approval from parliament for an additional expenditure of nearly Rs.45,000 crore during the current year.

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