Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is hopeful that when the budget session of the Lok Sabha convenes, it would finally transact the listed business and not be stalled by an adamant opposition. “We are very optimistic,” she said here on Saturday.

Most of the listed agenda during the winter session of Parliament could not be taken up as the opposition stuck to its demand for constituting a joint parliamentary committee to probe the allotment of 2G spectrum. The Parliament meets for the budget session from February 21 and the opposition, led by the BJP has made it clear that it will carry forward the demand for a JPC.

Responding to a comment made by the Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan Parliament, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on the happenings in the Lok Sabha, she admitted that there were times “when the Parliament becomes turbulent. But our deep faith in the system and our strong desire to run it smoothly overcomes all problems. We are very optimistic,” she said, deviating from the prepared text of her speech at opening ceremony of the third Asia Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Mr. Wickremesinghe referred to the stalling of the parliament in India and to other instances, and said that the task of the Speaker was not easy. He said the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth must be upheld.

National consensus for empowering poor

In her remarks at the conference, Ms. Kumar urged parliamentarians to take the lead in evolving a national consensus for empowering the poor by displaying the political will to democratise and decentralise at a faster pace.

She noted that inclusive growth has been hampered by several problems like poverty, food and water shortage, health, particularly that of mothers and infants, environmental degradation, climate change and human rights abuse. “Above all these, are the challenges arising out of terrorism. Our endeavour is to achieve inclusive development without compromising peace and security in the region. The 3rd CPA Asia Regional Conference is extremely relevant as it seeks to address some of these concerns,” she said.

Singling out poverty as “the most daunting challenge facing us today” she said that despite global commitments the overall achievements towards poverty eradication have been slow and uneven. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2010 has pointed out that under-nutrition among children under five continues to be widely prevalent, she added.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, who inaugurated the conference, said that the event was being held at a time when all the countries in the region faced serious challenges. “In Sri Lanka, we have successfully defeated the separatist terrorist movement…We have been dealt a severe economic blow by the recent floods.”

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