Prez favours longer Parl & Assembly sessions

PTI, SHILLONG | 21 October 2013 21:15 IST

President Pranab Mukherjee today favoured longer sessions of Parliament and state Assemblies for extensive deliberation on various financial plans of the government.

"This is one area where I would like to suggest that more time should be given to debate, discussion and scrutiny, so that the executive is kept on its toes," Mukherjee said at a special session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. 

Criticising the fact that many state Assemblies meet for just five to six weeks in the whole year, he said "nothing prevents from calling frequent sessions of Parliament and Assemblies, and to meet for longer period" even though Constitutional provisions say the time gap between the last day of the previous session and the first day of the next session should not be more than six months. 

Stressing the need for legislators to devote more time in discussion and deliberation on finance, money, plan, budget, expenditure and proposals, Mukherjee said this is important because the financial plan size of the country has gone up from a mere Rs 271 crore in 1947-48 to a mammoth Rs 16 lakh crore in 2013-14. 

"Every amount sanctioned was scrutinised by the CAG, their AGs, report placed before the Assembly where the Public Accounts Committee scrutinises all the executive expenses before approving them. The committee is manned by you (MLAs)," he said. 

On the importance of dialogue with NGOs and members of the civil society, the President said divergence of democracy can be narrowed down to dialogue, adding 787 MPs, 4,225 MLAs of 28 states cannot speak on behalf of more than 122 crore people. 

"Therefore, civil societies and NGOs have to play a role and express views of the people," he said. 

Mentioning the importance of institutions on which India's democracy rests, Mukherjee said, "An independent judiciary is the most important institution in which our Constitution has entrusted the right to interpret the law. Lawmakers make laws and the courts have the right to interpret the laws in the context of the Constitution.

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