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Rajya Sabha to drop 'no, sir' usage and give gender-neutral responses

Rajya Sabha to drop no, sir usage and give gender-neutral responses

In a landmark decision, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has decided to use gender-neutral terms in responses to parliamentary questions from the next session onwards.

The announcement, which was made Tuesday, came in response to a request made by Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi last month (8 August). In a letter addressed to Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, Chaturvedi said that the use of the phrase "no sir" in response to questions asked by women parliamentarians were "concerning".

She urged the minister to issue appropriate directions on addressing the concerned parliamentarians as per their respective gender. "Although this may seem like a small change, it will go a long way in giving women their due representation in the Parliamentary process," she said.

To this letter, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat replied, "as per conventions and rules of procedure and conduct of business in Rajya Sabha, all the proceedings of the House are addressed to the Chair, and replies to Parliamentary questions being a part of proceedings are also addressed to the chairperson only. However, the ministries will be informed to furnish gender-neutral replies to the Parliamentary questions from the next session of Rajya Sabha onwards."

In a tweet thanking the Rajya Sabha for the initiative, Chaturvedi said it will make a big difference even though it's a small step.

"Small step, big difference. Thank the Rajya Sabha Secretariat for correcting the anomaly in Parliament question responses from ministries to women MPs. Henceforth the replies will be gender neutral from the ministries (sic)," she tweeted.

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