The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today stressed the need for legislatures, including that of North-Eastern States, to meet more often and for longer duration so that there is adequate time for law making, discussing issues of larger public interest and ensuring accountability of the executive.
Addressing the members of Mizoram Legislative Assembly, the Vice President suggested that the Assembly sessions should also be planned over a reasonable period of time so that there is enough time to deliberate, discuss, debate and finally, decide. “We must have more sittings of legislatures and more constructive debates in each session”, he added.
Referring to Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations to mark the completion of 75 years of Independence, Shri Naidu said “we must resolve, take a Maha Sankalp, to strengthen the grand democratic tradition of our nation. We must ensure that our State Assemblies and the Parliament become effective instruments for shaping the New India, we all are dreaming of. Our democracy is one of the oldest and the largest democracies in the world. Let us make it the best”, he observed.
Shri Naidu expressed concern about recent occurrences in some State legislatures and said that constitutional offices should always be respected. He said legislators should meaningfully debate and not disrupt the proceedings of the House. ‘People’s aspirations must be heard and respected’, the Vice President added.
Flagging the issue of inadequate representation of women in Parliament and State legislatures in the country, including the North-Eastern States, the Vice President said there is a strong case for involving more women members in law making. While noting that the Assemblies of Mizoram and Nagaland do not have any women members, he said the Manipur and Tripura Assemblies have two and five members respectively. Of the total 498 Members in the eight Legislative Assemblies of the region, there are only 20 women Members constituting a mere 4%. Even in the Parliament women constitute only about 11%, Shri Naidu lamented.
Describing the International Women’s Day as an occasion to recognize that our development strategy must fully involve women, he said their participation in all walks of life can accelerate development and makes the development process more inclusive.
Conveying his greetings to the members on the 50th Anniversary of the Mizoram Legislative Assembly with the Golden Jubilee Celebration slated in May, he said that it was a happy coincidence that the country is also celebrating the 75 years of development as an independent nation. “Your Assembly’s Swarna Mahotsav and the country’s Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrate India’s remarkable progress on its democratic journey” Shri Naidu added.
Expressing his happiness at the way Mizoram has deepened our country’s democratic roots by peaceful electoral processes, graceful conduct of legislators in the Assembly and sustained, inclusive development endeavour over the last five decades, the Vice President said “It is gratifying to note that the sessions of the House are conducted with utmost discipline, diligence and decorum. You have, indeed, upheld the trust, hopes and aspirations that people have reposed in you as their representatives. I congratulate all of you in setting a high benchmark that other state legislatures and even the Parliament can emulate”, he told the legislators.
Referring to the signing of the historic Memorandum of Settlement between the Government of India, the Government of Mizoram and the Mizo National Front in 1986, which ended more than two decades of unrest and strife and ushered in peace and progress, Shri Naidu said that Mizoram has demonstrated the power of dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes so essential in a democracy.
He said the Peace Accord has served as an example upon which similar peace agreements have become a reality in other parts of the North Eastern region.
Praising Mizoram for not only being counted as one of the most peaceful states in the country and having embarked upon the developmental journey with a rare earnestness, he said “this is ultimately what our constitution makers had dreamt of. They wanted our country’s governance to be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people and resolve differences through peaceful, democratic conversation”, he added.
While lauding Mizoram for improving its ranking in the latest Sustainable Development Goals- SDG India Index 2021 from the 21st position in 2019-20 to 12th position, the Vice President noted that the State Government was focusing on infrastructure development, apart from agriculture and allied activities like horticulture and floriculture.
Recalling that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has often spoken about the strengths and possibilities of the region and the immense collective potential it possesses, the Vice President said that within the renewed Act East Policy of the Government of India, Mizoram is set to occupy the centre stage as it will serve as the all-important gateway of South East Asian economies in the region and the country.
Mizoram Governor, Dr. Hari Babu Kambhampati, Chief Minister, Shri Zoramthanga, Assembly Speaker, Shri Lalrinliana Sailo, Deputy Chief Minister, Ministers, MLAs and Commissioner and Secretary, Legislative Assembly, Mizoram were present on the occasion.