NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said in Rajya Sabha that the members of the Upper House should debate relations between Centre-state and the Centre should consult the Rajya Sabha, which was a council of states, before taking drastic measures.
“Converting Jammu and Kashmir to a Union territory has such far-reaching consequences. The government should consult the council of states before such drastic measures can be considered by the House," Singh said in the Upper House.
Speaking during the 250th session of the Rajya Sabha, the former prime minister remarked that the time has come to introduce structural changes in the functioning of Rajya Sabha.
“It is our duty to ensure no law is passed in haste or in heightened emotion. The Rajya Sabha gets more time to deliberate since it is half the size of Lok Sabha and members get more time to share insights and criticism. The House must get access to bills much earlier and members should get resources such as research staff to allow them to study issues in more depth and members be allotted more time for their speeches," Singh noted.
Commenting on former Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari's decision to change the timing of zero hour and question hour to the current time of 12 noon and 11am, respectively, Singh said Ansari's decision allowed the members of Upper House to “raise important issues during zero hour".
“In 16th Lok Sabha only 25% bills were referred to committees as compared to 15th and 14th LS. Regardless of what other the House does, it is crucial for our House to form select committees to ensure bills received go through detailed scrutiny. RS select committees have done a commendable job to improve legislation and the practice must be followed for all bills that come to this august house," Singh said.
Earlier on Monday (November 18), Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed the Rajya Sabha and said that the Upper House is for checks and balance, but one must understand the difference between checking and clogging; balance and blocking.