Conclusion of the 18th All India Whips Conference at Udaipur on Tuesday, 9th January witnessed interesting recommendations by over 90 participating members representing 19 states along with the Centre. Among the major recommendations was the need to split the Zero Hour session.
Alongside reform of the Zero Hour, members deliberated on the establishment of a Committee Hour to specifically discuss Parliamentary Panel reports. Reforms in structure of Private members business was another recommendation made during the conference.
A desire to incorporate e-Vidhan across all Legislatures was expressed and agreed upon. e-Vidhan will ensure the state legislatures to become paperless, more productive, transparent as well as accountable to the public in addition to making the entire legislative process more economical.
Disruption of House proceedings
According to a statement given by Vijay Goel, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Whips across all the parties were of the consensus that strict policy should be incorporated to ensure that house proceedings are not disturbed by members storming into the well of the house while proceedings are on.
Goel added that Whips were also of the view that skills of legislatures should be upgraded so that quality discussions and debates on issues could take place in the house.
Whips also agreed on reforming the Zero Hour, which is that specified time in the house proceedings, which is used to raise urgent matters of public importance. Prompt response and action taken report from the Ministry needed to be ensured by reform in the Zero Hour, concluded the Whips.
Introduction of a Committe Hour, which will ensure that the current system, which overlooks important examination of Bills and other documents of the government is made more effective. Committee Hour, the ferquency of which will be decided later on, will ensure that important issues are taken seriously by the concerned departments and ministries and suitable and timely reply is provided to the policy makers. Currently reports given by panels are not discussed inthe legislatures and governments at times accept selective recommendations as the entire findings and suggestions are not comprehensively discussed. Committee Hour will ensure that a system to discuss and reply such matters is evolved.
Private Members Business
Currently PMB in the House is carried out in the evenings every Friday. The Whips agreed to reform in the structure of PMB.
Skills and Time
The conference opined to establish a legislative framework for more working days in both Parliament and Legislature. Skills enhancement programs will be ensured through developing the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training (BPST), which will be a National Academy for their training purposes.