Lok Sabha changes rules to prevent collapse of Question Hour

Emulating the Rajya Sabha, which recently amended rules to ensure uninterrupted proceedings, the Lok Sabha Rules Committee has also amended rules to prevent collapse of the Question Hour

In a major change aimed at better functioning, the Lok Sabha has amended rules to prevent collapse of the Question Hour, reports PTI.

It has also sought to break from the past practice of banning Members of Parliament (MPs) from wearing badges by now permitting them to wear the tricolour in the House.

Emulating the Rajya Sabha, which recently amended rules to ensure uninterrupted proceedings during Question Hour, the Lok Sabha Rules Committee has agreed that all listed questions must be taken even if the member who tabled it is absent.

"If on a question being called it is not asked or the member in whose name it stands is absent, the Speaker may direct that the answer to it be given," the Committee has said.

The Committee also took a series of decisions to ensure that the proceedings of the House were not stalled for some reasons.

Amending the Rule 39(3), the Committee said that if the Question Hour on any day is dispensed with for any reason, the answers to questions included in the lists of questions for oral as well as written answers for the day shall be deemed to have been laid on the Table by the ministers to whom such questions are addressed and shall form part of the proceedings of the day.

If the House does not continue with its sitting after dispensing with the Question Hour, the answers for oral as well as written questions for that day shall be deemed to have been laid on the Table after the Question Hour at the next sitting of the House and shall form part of the proceedings of that day, it said.

Through another amendment, the Committee said that a question not reached for oral answer may be answered after the end of the Question Hour with the permission of the Speaker if the minister represents to the Speaker that the question is of special public interest to which he desired to give a reply.

In order to put Question Hour to maximum use, the Rajya Sabha Rules Committee had recently amended the rules under which even if the mover of the question was absent, it would be taken up.

Under this initiative, if the main questioner is absent, the Chair will allow three other members to put supplementaries during Question Hour, considered an important avenue to get the government's response on various issues.

In the last Winter Session, Question Hour in the Lok Sabha collapsed on 30th November when 28 members who had given notices for questions were absent.

In order to honour the national flag, the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha has made an exception and allowed members to wear the tricolour as a lapel pin.

The Committee, which met for the first time yesterday after the new Lok Sabha commenced, has amended rule 349 under which MPs shall not wear badges of any kind in the House except the national flag in the lapel pin.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had last year streamlined proceedings during Zero Hour by restricting members to raise their mentions only for three minutes after which the microphone will go off.
 

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Minister wants better land deals for farmers

After the recent spate of land-acquisition controversies, heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has told the industry to adequately compensate displaced farmers

Concerned over the unrest regarding land acquisition, heavy industries and public enterprises minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday asked the industry to adequately compensate displaced farmers, reports PTI.

"I personally feel that if you acquire land, it should be properly compensated as land is the main source of farmers' bread and butter," Mr Deshmukh said at the National Manufacturing Summit, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce at New Delhi.

He said that Parliament is likely to take up amendments to the land-acquisition laws in the budgetary session.

With farmers and political parties agitating over land acquisition in different parts of the country, acquiring land for new investments has become a challenge for industries.

Investment plans of many companies, including the Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Posco and ArcelorMittal, have been affected by land-acquisition problems.

The new policies will focus on giving a fair compensation—determined by market price—to farmers, instead of the government finalising the package.
 

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Reliance Retail JV to open outlet at Aditya Birla's 'More'

The JV in which Reliance Retail has 50% stake will move into rival Aditya Birla Group's 'More' hypermart by opening an outlet in Baroda on Saturday

Vision Express, the joint venture (JV) between Reliance Retail and Dutch optical retailer Pearle Europe, on Friday said that it is embarking on an expansion spree with plans to open 60-70 outlets every year and tap large format stores and malls, reports PTI.

Interestingly, in a significant departure from the earlier strategy of opening outlets either in a standalone format or in Reliance Retail's stores, the JV in which the Mukesh Ambani-promoted retailer has 50% stake, will move into rival Aditya Birla Group's 'More' hypermart by opening an outlet in Baroda tomorrow.

"Our plan is to open 60-70 outlets every year. For that, going forward, some of the areas we are looking to tap are the malls and large format stores," Vision Express chief executive Guillame Brouwet told PTI.

He, however, refused to share the company's investment plans.

Asked about the significance of the Baroda outlet at More's hypermart, Mr Brouwet said, "We will tap all avenues (irrespective of who is running the mall) provided they are positioned in the same price point as us."

Vision Express is Europe's largest optical chain and offers its expertise in several countries across the world.
 

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