Rajya Sabha question hour at noon from next session

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Times of India, August 12, 2014

The crucial question hour that kick-starts Parliament’s proceedings each day and often falls victim to disruptions may no longer be lost amid chaos, at least in the Rajya Sabha, as it has been moved to 12 noon. The new timing will be operational from the winter session of Parliament.

On Monday, the general purpose committee decided to effect the major change in its daily schedule. Day’s proceedings will now begin with Zero Hour at 11am during which MPs get the chance to raise matters of public importance that need immediate attention of the government. It has also been decided that the Upper House will sit from 11am to 6pm daily.

The change in the timing of question hour should have an immediate impact and help restore its sanctity. The tendency of MPs to raise issues, often based on media reports, and demand immediate suspension of question hour could become a thing of the past. This time is the only instrument through which MPs, even those belonging to the ruling party, can hold the government accountable.

A better part of UPA-II witnessed adjournment of question hour repeatedly due to various reasons ranging from the demand for joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on 2G scam, Coalgate and other issues.

Though even now, there has been demand by MPs to adjourn the question hour on several occasions, the ongoing Budget session has been relatively successful with fewer disruptions in the Rajya Sabha. Irked by repeated adjournments of question hour, chairperson Hamid Ansari had changed the timing of question hour to post-lunch session from 2pm to 3pm in 2011.

But after one session, the original timings were back on the request of members.

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