Venkaiah’s 12 tips on how to be an effective Parliamentarian

Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday offered 12 tips to the newly elected members of the House to make a difference in House proceedings and nation building by becoming effective Parliamentarians.

He counselled the members on their conduct both within and outside the House while inaugurating a two-day orientation programme for the newly-elected members of Rajya Sabha.

Naidu stressed that criticism of the government should be informed and credible, instead of being just for the record.

“The opposition has the right to criticise the government. In fact, it is their duty. But the criticism should be informed so that it looks credible. Opposing every move of the government for the sake of record dents its credibility. The quality of criticism should really sting the government of the day and catch the eye of the media and the people,” said the veteran BJP leader.

Urging the members to acquire deep knowledge of the state of the nation to make effective contributions to its transformation, Naidu said: “It is also your duty to ensure and further strengthen the unity and inclusivity of our multi-cultural society by checkmating the attempts to create divisions based on caste, colour, region and religion. Each one of you must emerge as the spokesperson of the aspiring, emergent, capable, resilient and united India.”

He also cautioned the members about the attempts to block the progress of the country, the voice of which is finding an echo in the global order in the form of disturbances along the boundaries, misplaced criticism of the country based on some sporadic incidents, discrediting India’s democracy, economic restrictions, cross- border terror etc. and urged them to effectively checkmate such attempts in every forum.

Naidu reminded the members of their solemn duty to defend the integrity and sovereignty of India by being alert all the time about the threats facing the country.

Elaborating on the challenges of time management in the House, Naidu asserted that what is important is not the length of the interventions, but the content and the perspectives presented.

He urged the members to be specific and avoid repetitions which even kill media interest. He suggested the members to avoid giving notices as a matter of routine like the notices under Rule 267 for suspension of the business of the day.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman urged the members to develop in depth knowledge of issues being taken up in the House so as not to be general and vague in their interventions when complex issues with wider implications are discussed.

Expressing concern over the rising ‘negative perception quotient’ among the public about the functioning of the legislatures in the country, Naidu urged the members to abide by the elaborate rules of procedure and conventions of the House evolved over the years to enable its smooth functioning.

“These rules provide for every contingency. During my 20 years in the Rajya Sabha and three-and-a-half years as its Chairman, I have never witnessed a situation when inadequacy of Rules was felt in addressing procedural matters in the House,” he said.

Stating that the members have the right to seek their due in the House as per the rules and conventions, and that the presiding officers are their custodians, Naidu said that it is in the interest of the members and of the House to abide by the decision of the Chair in the end.

“You should appreciate that disregarding the Chair amounts to disrespecting the House. I am sure you would not like to end up doing that,” Naidu said.

The Chairman also urged the members to acquire a thorough understanding of the provisions and philosophy of the Constitution, which provide the pathway for socio-economic transformation of the country besides offering the operational matrix for the members.

Noting that becoming a legislator is the most sought after assignment in the public life of the country, which is more difficult than entering the IAS, the Rajya Sabha Chairman urged the newly elected members to seize the opportunity and contribute towards the progress of the nation by moulding themselves as effective parliamentarians.