President decries frequent disruption of legislatures
President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday expressed concern over frequent disruption of proceedings in parliament and legislatures.
"It is a disturbing thing," he said addressing Karnataka legislators, parliament members and central ministers from the state in this north Karnataka town at the new 'Suvarna Soudha', the state's second secretariat, he inaugurated earlier in the day. Belgaum is about 500km from Bangalore.
Mukherjee, on his first visit to the state as president, reminded the parliamentarians and legislators that there were procedures to draw the attention of the executive without resorting to disruption of the legislative business.
The central finance minister before his elevation to the presidency, Mukherjee pointed out to the gathering the powers enjoyed by the state assemblies and Lok Sabha over financial bills.
He said that compared to early days after Independence, parliament and the state legislatures were devoting much less time to scrutinizing the financial bills.
Mukherjee recalled that the first budget of Independent India in 1947-48 totalled just Rs.293 crore (Rs.2.93 billion) whereas the last budget he presented last year ran into hundreds of billions of rupees.
Giving details of the taxes imposed in the 1947-48 budget, he evoked peals of laughter when he said there was special duty on imported alcohol totalling Rs.2.5 crore (Rs.25 million).
Mukherjee suggested that the legislatures (including parliament) should meet at least 20-25 weeks in a year.
Earlier, inaugurating the 'Suvara Soudha', he recalled the glorious contribution of the people of Belgaum and north Karnataka to the freedom struggle and in arts, music, particularly Hindustani music, and culture.
He noted that Rani Chennamma of Kittur had valiantly fought the British and Mahatma Gandhi had visited Belgaum during the freedom struggle.
Mukherjee hoped that the coming up of the second secretariat in the state would ensure rapid progress of north Karnataka.
Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, presiding officers of the assembly K.G. Bopaiah and D.H. Shankaramurthy, respectively, central ministers M. Veerappa Moily, Mallikarjun Kharge and K.H. Muniyappa, several parliament members from the state and former chief ministers - B.S. Yeddyuappa, D.V. Sadananda Gowda and H.D. Kumaraswamy - participated in both the events.
The Suvarna Soudha is built at a cost of Rs.391 crore on a 127-acre sprawling land atop a hillock on the city's outskirts.
The magnificent structure is a replica of the imposing Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore, which was constructed in the Indo-Saracen style in 1956 by Kengal Hanumanthaiah, second chief minister of the erstwhile Mysore state.
Mukherjee inaugurating the Suvarna Soudha and addressing a meeting of state legislators and parliamentarians in the new building came as a morale booster to Karnataka as Maharashtra has been staking claim to Belgaum, which has a sizeable Marathi-speaking population.
Shiv Sena had opposed the president inaugurating the Suvarna Soudha.