At the start of the monsoon session, the opposition made a hue and cry on the suspension of question hour, ignoring the fact that even Congress-ruled state assemblies have cancelled question hour citing time constraints that the administration faces. Nevertheless, Parliament did allow unstarred questions, many of which got a written answer on the first day of the monsoon session. While you may like to read Suspending Question Hour Equals Muzzling Opposition’s Voice? Here is A Fact Check, it is also worth looking at some of the facts and figures placed on the floor of the House while answering certain questions on the first day of this year’s monsoon session in Lok Sabha.
Glimpse of Service to People
While there is a higher chance of negative events such as an unparliamentary response of a MP or disruptions making more news, here are some figures that silently convey the work of administration during the troubling times like Covid-19.
₹9,670.41 crore is the amount that Oil Marketing Companies(OMCs) have transferred to PMUY beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana to buy LPG during April to August 2020. It is to be recalled that Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, a scheme for providing free of cost LPG cylinders for three months to PMUY beneficiaries was initiated from April 1, 2020.
The scheme has since been extended till 30th September for those beneficiaries who have been credited with the advance for buying refills, but have not been able to buy the free cylinders till June 30, 2020.
Answer to another question revealed that a total of ₹68,820 crores of cash transfers to eligible persons has taken place under various components of PMGKP as on September 7, 2020. So far 178.85 Lakh MT of foodgrains and 6.82 Lakh MT of pulses have been distributed free of cost to approx. 75 crores beneficiaries under NFSA and this scheme will continue till November 2020.
Selp-Help Groups are another focus area of the Modi government. How are they faring? A Lok Sabha reply informs that as on March 31, 2020, 102.43 lakh SHGs are savings-linked, out of which 88.32 lakh are exclusive women SHGs. Besides, 56.77 lakh SHGs which includes 51.12 lakh women SHGs are having loan outstanding to the tune of about ₹1,08,075 crore.
Reply to another query revealed the social security that unorganised sector workers are receiving. Large number of people are now availing the benefit of Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan which was launched in March 2019, a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for providing monthly minimum assured pension of ₹3,000 on attaining the age of 60 years. Now, the total number of enrolments under Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan stands at 44,42,634.
Not only is there an opportunity to ask questions in the present parliament session despite the suspension of question hour, some of the queries are also resulting in the emergence of a positive picture which is so much needed in times like this when the life is threatened by pandemic.