Naidu meets political leaders day before winter session

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, Dy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, and others at a meeting of All Partys of Rajya Sabha, in New Delhi, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. and others. PTI

On the eve of Rajya Sabha's landmark 250th session, ‎Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday met leaders of all political parties and highlighted the contribution of the upper house in the socio-economic transformation of the country but said it still has "miles to go".

Referring to the highly productive last session, the best in several years, Naidu urged the leaders to ensure that this positive momentum is sustained during the nearly month-long session.

Celebratory events to mark the 250th session include a discussion on 'Role of Rajya Sabha in Indian Polity: Need for Reform' and release of a coin, a postal stamp and two publications, one of which would detail the house journey since 1952, according to a Rajya Sabha Secretariat statement.

The vice president shared details of the accomplishments of the house and also concerns over its functioning at the meeting at his official residence.

"The upper house, since its inception in 1952, has come a long way contributing to the socio-economic transformation of the country but still has miles to go towards proper functioning," he said.

He cited the passage of the Hindu Marriage and Divorce Bill in 1952, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in 2019 to highlight the upper house's importance.

From imposition of additional excise duty on dhotis in 1953 to GST in 2017, from the passage of Andhra State Bill in 1953 to JK Reorganisation Bill in 2019, from clearing the AIIMS Bill in 1955 to the National Medical Council Bill in 2019, and from setting up of the UGC in 1954 to empowering children with the Right to Free and Compulsory Education in 2009, Rajya Sabha has come a long way in addressing the challenges faced and meeting the requirements of the nation, he said.

"But we still have miles to go in letting our country realize its full potential by making up for the missed time and opportunities and in respect of the functioning of the House itself," he said.

Naidu also expressed concern over absenteeism in Committee meetings.

On reports of absenteeism during meetings of the department-related standing committees, he urged leaders to ensure proper attendance of MPs so that the committees could effectively examine and report on various subjects and bills in a bipartisan and detailed manner.

To mark the landmark 250th session of Rajya Sabha, beginning Monday, celebratory functions include the release of a publication titled 'Rajya Sabha: The Journey since 1952' providing glimpses of various aspects of the functioning of the House and its Hindi version.

Also, a commemorative volume on the evolution of Rajya Sabha and its functioning with 44 articles in Hindi and English by the sitting and former members and those associated with the functioning of the House will be released.

There would be a discussion in the House on the 'Role of Rajya Sabha in Indian Polity: Need for Reform' on the first working day.

A silver coin of Rs 250 and a postal stamp of Rs 5 will also be released, the statement added.

Naidu said a joint sitting of members of both the houses of Parliament will be held in the Central Hall on the 26th of this month marking the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of India by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949.

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