New Delhi: Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, on Wednesday dubbed Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla as the ‘Hero of Zero Hour’ for giving chance to each parliamentarian to raise matters of urgent public importance in the House.
Speaking on the concluding day of the Monsoon Session, which began on September 14, Joshi said: “For the first time MPs, I want to say that it was one of the biggest things when we would get a chance to speak once in the entire session of the House during Zero Hour when I was elected as a first time member. But I think you (Birla) have been the ‘Hero of Zero House’. You give each MP proper time and everybody is happy with you,” Joshi said.
The Zero Hour gives the MPs a platform to discuss matters of current concern without the requirement for a question to be put before the Chair.
The Assembly does not make a judgement on the matter by way of resolution. Under this procedural device, an MP may, with the prior permission of the Speaker, call the attention of a minister to any matter of urgent public importance, and the minister may make a brief statement thereon. There are no debates on such a statement.
After the statement is made, brief clarifications can be sought from the minister by the member who initiated the Calling Attention notice and other members, whose names appear in the List of Business, are then called by the Speaker.
Only those matters which are primarily the concern of the Union government can be raised through a Calling Attention notice. The procedure is an Indian innovation that combines asking a question with supplementaries and making brief comments; the government also gets an adequate opportunity to state its case.
Giving special thanks to the Speaker as well as Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu for holding the Monsoon Session at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, Joshi said the proceedings of both the Houses were held in a very systematic manner amid the “politically tensed” situation during the last 10 days.
“Under these special circumstances, the Parliament proceedings were held very smoothly. In politically tensed situation, you ran the House proceedings in a very good manner,” Joshi said.
The minister also thanked all the MPs for supporting the session.
Joshi said, “Despite a huge number of people present in the Parliament premises, we did not face any problem because of your management and with the grace of the God.”
The Monsoon Session of the Parliament, which began on September 14, held its last proceeding on Wednesday after cutting short the session by eight days due to a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.