MPs told to lay speeches on table due to paucity of time

With only one day left for Parliament to go into a month-long recess, the Rajya Sabha on Thursday “returned,” without debate, the Union budget 2013-14 and the budget for Jharkhand, which is under President’s rule, with the Chair directing members to lay their speeches on the table. The Lok Sabha has already passed both the budgets.

This triggered a wave of protests from members of the Opposition parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Janata Dal (United), the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress. BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said a wrong precedent was being set. “It is the government’s failure to manage the situation that has resulted in this,” he said.

The DMK and AIADMK members, who forced an adjournment of the House during question hour, did not disrupt proceedings when the taking up of the budget was announced at noon. Debate was foregone due to “paucity of time.”

E.M.S. Natchiappan, in the Chair, said a decision had been taken in the Rajya Sabha that members could lay on the table their speeches, limited to 400 words, or send it later electronically and it would become part of the proceedings.

Laying down the papers with “pain and agony,” Mr. Naidu, who was to initiate the discussion, dismissed the budget as “uninspiring and deceptive.” It failed to address the two major issues which were eating into the resources of the country, namely corruption and inflation, he charged.

“Slow growth rate, growing unemployment, agriculture crisis and the presence of black money within the country and stashed away abroad — the Finance Minister could not address any of these challenges. Mismanagement of economy and policy paralysis has led to the present situation.”

Some members said they had not prepared written texts.

When all members insisted that the Finance Minister go through the speeches and respond, P. Chidambaram said he would cull out the important points raised by the members and send a comprehensive response to them. The department will reply to other queries.

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