National News

Rajya Sabha creates record, completes entire Zero Hour agenda

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha made a record of sorts as it took up all the Zero Hour issues and special mentions listed in the agenda for that period, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday.

“The Rajya Sabha today made a history. For the first time, all Zero Hour submissions, all Special Mentions were fully completed,” said Naidu amid thumping of desks by members in the House of Elders. Naidu said this record depended on the cooperation of the members.

“Your cooperation is good, so my operation was very smooth…that’s why the House was able to set this record,” he said. The chairman expressed hope that in future too, the members would not waste time and stick to the schedule. Before taking up the Question Hour, he also suggested that the ministers concerned should go through the Zero Hour submissions and Special Mentions and reply to the members at the earliest as it would enhance productivity of the House.

Uproarious scenes and adjournments have been witnessed on several occasions in the past two weeks due to various reasons during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.

In all, the House took up all the 10 listed and one additional Zero Hour submissions on Tuesday. The members also paid obituary reference to a former member of the House, R Margabandu. In his Zero Hour mention, Naresh Agrawal (SP) highlighted the “plight” of mediapersons, particularly those working at the district level.

He said there was a trend to hire correspondents on contractactual basis and there was no provision for pension or provident fund for them. Those working at the district level were paid according to the number of stories approved. Agrawal said media supports the government and if a correspondent writes facts, pressure is built to get them removed.

The Samajwadi Party member also said nine prominent journalists, including Gauri Lankesh and Naveen Gupta, were killed. He also alleged that mediapersons who were injured in the violence while covering court proceedings relating to self-styled preacher Ram Rahim in Panchkula were not paid for their hospital treatment.

Senior Congress member T Subbarami Reddy highlighted “frequent” close shave at various airports involving aircraft. In his Special Mention, Motilal Vora (Congress) raised the issue of infant deaths in hospitals of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat among others.

Other members who made Special Mentions included Ram Nath Thakur (JD(U), R Vaithilingam (AIADMK), Naryana Lal Panchariya (BJP) Husain Dalwai and Chhaya Verma (both Cong).

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