MPs express concern over absence of minister in LS

DN Bureau

Opposition leaders, including TMC's Saugata Roy, Friday expressed concern in the Lok Sabha over absence of ministers when issues related to their ministries are being discussed in the House.

Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi: Opposition leaders, including TMC's Saugata Roy, Friday expressed concern in the Lok Sabha over absence of ministers when issues related to their ministries are being discussed in the House.

However, Speaker Om Birla said he has the power to allow any other minister to reply in their place. Roy and a few other opposition MPs protested when Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stood up to reply to a question related to setting up of more Siddha units in CGHS dispensaries during the Question Hour.

"This is for the second time that a minister is not present and someone else is replying. This is not acceptable," Roy said.

However, Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi said there was precedence of a minister not related to the ministry concerned giving reply in the House.

"The minister is on leave and has gone to attend a Yoga Day event and the Speaker has given permission. Are you challenging the order of the Speaker," he asked. Roy then said he was not challenging the Speaker's order but it was not proper for a minister to take leave when the House is taking up the issue of his ministry.

Vardhan, however, clarified that the question was related to his ministry as the question was on Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) dispensaries, which come under him. Shripad Yesso Naik is the union minister of state (Independent Charge) for Ayurveda, Yoga Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoepathy. (PTI)

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