PM asks ministers to cut down on tours during Parliament session
New Delhi: Ahead of Parliament's winter session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked his Council of Ministers to cut down on unnecessary tours to ensure their maximum presence during the month-long affair. He also asked the ministers to be ready with bills pending in both Houses of Parliament along with new legislative proposals.
Chairing a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers a day after a rejig of the Cabinet, the Prime Minister also gave a pep talk to the newly-appointed ministers on how to go about their job.
He also discussed with his colleagues the strategy to ensure that the session beginning from November 24 and ending on December 23 remains a “smooth affair” for the government during which it plans to pass most of the old pending bills as well as some key new bills.
He advised the ministers to come prepared with proper answers for questions which are posed during Question Hour. Known as a workaholic, Modi is learnt to have said that ministers do not have offs and they should be prepared to work even on public holidays.
Modi's focus on ensuring that Parliament functions without any hitch comes in the backdrop of the budget session that saw several disruptions.
The Prime Minister also chose the occasion to remind the Ministers of State that they should prove to be “assets” to their ministries. He said the Ministers of State should be given due responsibilities and the Cabinet ministers should ensure that they meet their junior colleagues in the Council of Ministers regularly.
After a two-hour long meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister chaired a 20-minute long meeting of the Union Cabinet, official sources said. Modi asked the ministers to direct the concerned departments to work effectively and ready the bills by the time the session begins.
He also directed the ministers to pay attention towards the completion of old pending bills. The Prime Minister told the ministers that they should avoid unnecessary tours and be present during the session. The instruction came a day before he leaves for a 10-day visit to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Home Kiran Rijiju could not attend the meetings as they were on tour.
Union minister Anant Geete, from the estranged ally Shiv Sena, was present, the sources said.
The month-long session will have a total of 22 sittings in which four days have been earmarked for Private Members' business.
A total of 67 bills -- 59 in Rajya Sabha and eight in Lok Sabha—are pending and the government will push for passage of “at least 30 to 35” legislations, a senior minister said. This will be the second major session since the Narendra Modi Government took over in May.
Congress has attacked the Prime Minister on Cabinet expansion accusing him of including “tainted” ministers in the government contrary to his election promise of “cleaning up” Parliament of criminals, a charge vehemently countered by the government and the BJP.
Indications are that Congress would raise the issue in a big way in the upcoming session to put the government on the backfoot.