Monday 25 October 2021
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Parliament Session: Wishing A New Direction

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The monsoon session of the begins at a time when there are not many issues on which the opposition can hold the lower and upper houses to ransom. The council of ministers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has several new faces, none of whom have given a reason for the nation to be upset about in this short period. Assembly elections of 2022 are still some distance away while there are several issues that the treasury and opposition benches can discuss and sort out with open minds. The left-leaning opposition may try to exploit the remarks of Chief Justice NV Ramana on the law against sedition, but that is not likely to go far. Ministers and MLAs of the non-BJP states enjoy the lack of distinction between working against Indian interests and criticising the government of India in Section 124A more than functionaries of the union government — as is evident from the rampant misuse of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000, by the police forces of states. It will be interesting to observe how the government deals with the MPs of the Trinamool Congress and DMK, who are expected to put up a motivated performance following the electoral victories of the parties in their respective states. Their evident truck with the Modi government some years ago, which ensured the passage of many a bill through the Rajya Sabha — the for which the BJP paid allegedly by going soft on the West Bengal campaign in 2016 and not pressing the CBI hard enough to get A Raja and Kanimozhi Karunanidhi convicted for the 2G spectrum scam — is a thing of the past.

People are eagerly awaiting to know from Mansukh Mandaviya on the health sector things beyond what his ministry concerned shares with reporters every evening, which mostly does not include sharing a comprehensive Covid-fighting strategy. The most important work expected of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is a strategy to face future biological weapon attacks from hostile countries. It is doubtful though that this will ever come up in the parliament. With two deputies — Pankaj Choudhary and Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad — Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman must not entertain usual and monotonous leftist noises over unemployment because trying to tell those with a time-warped communist sense that jobs are not supposed to be public sector jobs alone is a waste of time in this day and age. Rather the trio must place before the nation their formula for economic rejuvenation. Whereas the fracas with appears to be behind us now, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Devusinh J Chauhan must tell the nation how they plan to discipline the American social media companies, which suffer from a delusion of grandeur of running a parallel government, in a manner that will be more effective than that of Ravi Shankar Prasad whom they replaced as the senior and junior ministers of Communications and of Electronics and Information Technology. Another issue on the backburner is what appears a deliberate attempt by OTT platforms to malign the people, religion, culture and civilisation. Anurag Singh Thakur must assure the that his approach will be unlike that of his predecessor Prakash Javadekar at the helm of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Data protection, on which there is a joint parliamentary committee report now, and Chinese aggression are the other concerns besides the nine pending bills that will come up for consideration and 17 bills that will be tabled.

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