Union Ministers ‘roster duties in Parliament

The cherished concepts of answerability and accountability to the people are an inalienable and non-negotiable part of the law makers, not to speak of the Union Ministers. It is not a thing to remind them by the first among the equals as all ‘equals’ must give no opportunity to the first among them, to remind them about the importance of abiding by the roster norms in the supreme legislative body of the Republic, the Parliament. We do not, in the least, point out fingers towards deliberately skipping their such duties, though not as a routine, as either in the office or in respect of some official assignment or an important unavoidable tour, such skipping could take place but when the Parliament is in session, honourable members having important questions to ask must get prompt, pointed and relevant answers. It is, therefore, a natural corollary that the Ministers must ensure their presence at all costs, in the absence of which, the Government was likely to face an embarrassing situation. It is this aspect, which Prime Minister has referred to recently.
Should there be reasons extraneous to extremely unavoidable nature emerging which results in Union Ministers skipping presence in either house of the Parliament, some alternate arrangements needed to be made but presence of a minister in the house was not only required but all the details and information regarding one’s ministry about which a question was expected to be raised or some important debate, needed one’s presence . There must have been deliberate instances of absenteeism which has been taken seriously by the Prime Minister or else why should a heavily busy PM ask for being informed by every evening, the names of absentees? India is under the process of a transformation as the issues and problems facing the country are so much and of so complex in nature that hardly was there any scope of fiddling with time thus the critical duties of Ministers being self explanatory, needed a serious thought and action.
It is not that the Ministers alone, in certain cases, were taking such liberties, the rate of attending the Parliament and the ‘sitting capacity’ of the MPs too, when assessed, especially post lunch sessions, raised many questions. That the Prime Minister like a monitor in a school class should discipline the honourable members of his Party augurs not well especially when people are watching each and every minute of the proceedings in both the Houses of the Parliament. The MPs hardly needed to be lectured even on the issue of being present in either of the House for which Modi has pulled up MPs in the past on many occasions. Agreed, the MPs were entitled to certain privileges but that does not allow them to behave as if they enjoyed autonomy of treating attending, leaving and absenting the Parliament to their sweet will. What, if the current session could be extended to deal with the legislative agenda if such remained the position of skipping and absenteeism?
The opposition, generally always on the ‘prowl’ to corner the treasury benches over various issues especially when deliberate goofs were apparent, have many a time, raised the issue of such absenteeism. What is the problem in not attending the Parliament regularly and religiously for which the people have elected them? It is tantamount to violation of their mandate and if persistently such ‘conduct’ took place, it could jeopardise their chances of re-election. Not only attending the august house was mandatory but the MPs needed to be constantly in touch with their constituencies, to nurse them and develop them and carry the development agenda of their Government forward to each and every corner of their constituencies, such feelings were conveyed by the PM. Social causes needed their attention. The message is clear and bold that not only what was required as a routine to be done was to be done but walking some extra steps and sweating a bit more, was what resolution of the problems India faced, needed at every level. Union Ministers and the MPs of the ruling dispensation, therefore, had added commitment with no exception.