PM concerned over disruptions in Rajya Sabha


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday expressed concern over repeated disruptions by MPs in the Rajya Sabha and their “regrettable unwillingness” on occasion to engage in informed discussion.

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Addressing the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister said he hoped “we can restore to this house a sense of dignity and decorum that is expected of a house of elders”.

Welcoming Vice President Hamid Ansari as Rajya Sabha chairperson, Manmohan Singh said his wide-ranging experience as diplomat and educationist “provide guidance and balance to the proceedings of the house”.

The prime minister, who has been a Rajya Sabha member for over 16 years, said: “I say with all sincerity that you come in a long line of distinguished chairpersons, and you come with great distinction. You have had a distinguished service as a diplomat, representing our country in important capitals of the world and the United Nations.

“More recently, you have also served the cause of education as vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University, and the cause of empowerment of all our minorities, as chairperson, Minorities Commission.”

The prime minister said Ansari’s professional record, sincere commitment to the ideals and values that define the republic, patriotism and concern for the well- being and welfare of the people have earned respect and admiration.

“I am sure all of this will stand you in good stead in the years to come as you discharge your onerous responsibilities,” he added.

The prime minister said the Rajya Sabha is unique as it is both a house of states and a house of elders. As house of states, it offera a unique platform for every region of the country to have its voice heard in the highest councils of government.

As house of elders, it is called upon to reflect, with patience and sobriety, on the issues of the day and legislation at hand, he said.

“All of us must work together to ensure that this house echoes the heartbeat of the Indian people and lives up to their expectations,” the prime minister said.