Takeaway: For every
hour of work done,
one House lost 5, other 4
February 03, 2017
The disrupted winter
session of Parliament came to a close Friday, the least
productive session during the term of the 16th Lok Sabha so far.
officers of both Houses registered their unhappiness over the
frequent disruptions. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the
loss of 91:59 hours tarnished the image of members. Rajya Sabha
chairman Mohammad Hamid said all sections of the House need to
introspect on the distinction between dissent, disruption and
Lok Sabha worked for
just 19 hours while losing 92, Rajya Sabha for 22 hours while
losing more than 86. In other words, for every hour of work
done, Lok Sabha lost five hours while Rajya Sabha lost four.
Figures released by
the Lok Sabha secretariat showed this was the lowest during the
term of the current Lok Sabha in terms of hours, while data from
PRS Legislative Research showed that productivity hit a low in
percentage terms, too, during the same period.
“Rajya Sabha worked
only for 21 per cent of the time it was scheduled to. In the
case of Lok Sabha, the working time was even lower, just 17 per
cent,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.
So far in the 16th
Lok Sabha, the average productivity of Lok Sabha has been 92%
and that of Rajya Sabha 71%, according to PRS Legislative
Soon after the two
Houses adjourned sine die, the Cabinet Committee on
Parliamentary Affairs recommended their prorogation to the
President. Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the meeting. The
recommendation put an end to speculation that the government
might not go in for a prorogation of at least one House so that
Parliament could be reconvened for a brief special session to
clear bills aimed at putting the GST regime in place. Sources
indicated that the budget session may be convened early, either
towards the end of January or the beginning of February.
Ananth Kumar was
noncommittal when asked about the government plans on the GST-related
bills. He said proposals were pending before the GST Council.
“It will meet on December 22 and 23 and let it decide,” he said.
“Once it gives its mandate, it is our duty to give it
legislative shape.” Pressed further, he said, “We will cross the
bridge when we reach it.”
In Lok Sabha, the
Speaker expressed the hope that “there will be no disruptions
during future sessions and we will all work in a better manner,
resulting in meaningful discussions and a positive exchange of
views”. “I am confident of receiving cooperation from leaders of
all parties,” she said.
In Rajya Sabha, the
chairman said, “Regular and continuous disruptions characterised
this session. The symbolism of dignified protests, so essential
for orderly conduct of parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned…
The prohibition in the rules about shouting slogans, displaying
posters and obstructing proceedings by leaving their assigned
places was consistently ignored by all sections of the House.
Peace prevailed only when obituaries were read.”
The two Houses
hardly transacted any legislative business. The only exception
was the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill
by both Houses. Rajya Sabha had cleared it two days ago and Lok
Sabha hurriedly passed it on the final day after a short
Sabha could boast of having passed more bills, but these other
bills were urgent financial matters, which included that
Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, the Supplementary Demands
for Grants (General), the Demands for Excess Grants (General)
and Appropriation Bills.
Rajya Sabha went
through an incomplete debate on demonetisation the first day of
the session before a deadlock set in over the demand for the
presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the entire
discussion. Lok Sabha could not discuss the issue because of
disagreement between the two sides on the rule under which it
could be taken up.
parliamentarian and BJP stalwart L K Advani hit the headlines
after he expressed his despair over the manner in which
Parliament was functioning. He remarked that he felt like
resigning his seat.
Bill: one issue that united MPs in both Houses
After Rajya Sabha
earlier this week, members of Lok Sabha put aside their
differences Friday and joined hands to pass the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016. The bill covers 21 kinds of
disabilities and provides for protection of persons with such
disabilities against discrimination.
An amendment moved
by Kavitha Kalvakuntla of the TRS, seeking a raise in job
reservation from four per cent to five, was put to vote
following a demand by K C Venugopal of the Congress. It was
defeated 121 to 43. Replying to a brief debate, Minister of
Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot announced a
scheme for a universal identity card for disabled people; this
would also be linked to the Aadhar card.
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