New Delhi: Enthused by the passage of bills including real estate, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday expressed confidence that the pending GST bill can also get Parliament's nod in the second part of the Budget session.
However, he castigated Congress for pressing an amendment to the President's address in the Rajya Sabha.
Referring to the passage of 10 bills by both Houses, he said, "If we can pass real estate bill, I do not think there is a problem in passing GST bill in next part of the Budget session" and noted happily that disruptions of proceedings have substantially come down.
Training guns on Opposition for pressing amendments to the Motion of Thanks to the President's address in Rajya Sabha, he said this is an embarrassment to Opposition, particularly the Congress and not to the NDA government. It accused the main Opposition party of "depriving" millions of people the basic education even after 68 years of independence.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had given an amendment in a division in which 94 voted for the amendment and 61 against. The amendment regretted that President's address did not commit support to rights of all citizens to contest panchayat elections in the backdrop of law in Rajasthan and Haryana where matriculation has been fixed as the criteria for contesting the polls.
Naidu said the amendment got approved "because Congress is numerically more in Rajya Sabha. Now they are calling it a set back to the Modi government".
"But I personally feel that the opposition, particularly Congress has embarrassed itself. Let us consider the basic issue; who is responsible for depriving millions of people the basic education even after 68 years of independence. Congress and its supporters were in power for most of the time, both at the Centre and in the states."
He said that having neglected that Congress is now "criminally" trying to spread "disinformation" against NDA.
"By moving such an amendment, Congress admitted that basic education during their tenure was in shambles and it was glaring that they failed miserably. So moving an amendment on such issue was an embarrassment to the Congress reflecting its failure to fulfill the basic right of the citizen," he said.
He also argued similar provisions existed in Haryana, which Congress never tried to amend despite being in power there for long.
"The Congress party during its tenure never bothered to amend it and was now crying hoarse. After having failed in fulfilling its responsibility, it now has the audacity to bring in an amendment to the Motion of Thanks to the President's address. By making this amendment, the opposition has endorsed all other aspects of the President's address which is a policy statement of our government. I need to thank Opposition for this," he said.
Noting that as a whole, the productivity of both the Houses was good, Naidu said Lok Sabha has worked 123 per cent of scheduled time, an extra 24 hours 58 minutes, while the productivity of Rajya Sabha was 103 per cent.
"This Budget session has been the most significant and rewarding on several counts. This session gave me a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment because it has given us some of the key takeaways. This session saw Rajya Sabha witnessing a rare occasion of the opposition and treasury benches giving credit to each other for introducing and piloting the real estate Bill.
"The manner in which the bill was passed in upper house clearly highlighted what the highest legislature of the land could do to further the aspirations of the people. The spirit of camaraderie demonstrated in the upper house underlined what we could do collectively for the betterment of the lives of the people," he said.
Naidu noted that this Budget session was happening in the backdrop of increased public and political demand for a productive session.
"In various meetings at the level of Prime Minister, Vice-President, Speaker and the all party meeting convened by me ahead of this Budget session, serious concern was expressed over persistent disruptions over the last two sessions of Parliament.
"Public was getting restive over the functioning of the highest legislature of the land. I am sure this has impact on the conduct of parties concerned which ultimately is resulting in the smooth running of the house," he said.
Reeling out figures, Naidu said that the Lok Sabha sat beyond scheduled business hours on 10 days while Rajya Sabha did so on 6 days.
"Disruptions of proceedings have substantially come down and I thank the Members and Parties for the same. There were quality debates on Motion of thanks to President's address, Real Estate Bill, General and Railway Budgets.
"In Motion of thanks to President's address, 129 members from Lok Sabha and 30 members from Rajya Sabha participated.
On the General Budget, 170 members from Lok Sabha and 04 (till now) from Rajya Sabha have participated. On the Railway Budget, the numbers from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are 203 and 37 respectively," he said.
Naidu referred to the passage of Real Estate Regulation Bill, Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, The Carriage by Air Bill and a bill regarding anomalies in the salaries and allowances of judges among the important legislative business having been carried out so far.
Claiming that the government has presented path-breaking General and Railway Budgets, which is the main function of any Budget session, Naidu said the General and Railway budgets reflected the government's commitment to trigger economic growth through inclusive development.