Confusion prevailed in Lok Sabha today as the treasury benches were unclear about which Minister will reply to a debate on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the Opposition sought to corner the government on the issue.
K C Vengugopal (Cong) insisted that that the government should make it clear as to who will reply to the members’ concerns on the SDGs, as Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai suggested that Minister for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who were present in the House, could reply to the debate.
Venogopal was joined by Veerappa Moily (also Cong) and Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) in cornering the government over “lack of seriousness” on an important issue like SDG.
“Where is the concerned Minister?.. There is absolutely no seriousness in the government on the issue,” Moily said as he suggested that the SDG discussion under Rule 193 should be postponed till the time when the Minister comes to the House.
Thambidurai suggested that Prabhu, being a Cabinet Minister, was competent to reply.
Prabhu intervened to say that the SDG was adopted globally by many countries and these goals have to become and are becoming part of national mainstream agenda. The benefits of this should also go down to the common man.
“It is ‘think globally and act locally’,” he said, as he assured members of the House that the suggestions made by them would be taken seriously and incorporated in the government policies.
As the confusion prevailed, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi stood up to say she would reply to the members’ concerns relating to her ministry.
Moily said that since SDGs involve 17 different ministries, the respective ministers should be present.
To assuage the opposition, Thamburai said Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was also present in the House.
Prabhu said “any member of Cabinet present here represents the Cabinet and you will get a holistic answer at the end of discussion”.
With this, the House resumed discussion on the SDG.