Two Houses, over 300
hrs, 18 bills passed
April 13, 2017
ends as ‘one of the most productive’, govt thanks Opposition for
some bills, criticises over others.
Describing it as “one of the most productive sessions”,
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the two Houses
passed 18 bills during the budget session that closed Thursday.
The session, divided into two parts, had begun on January 31,
with a month-long recess in between.
Ananth Kumar thanked the Opposition for the passage of various
bills, including those relating to the budget and GST, but was
also critical of its stance on the Constitution amendment bill
aimed at forming a new National Commission for Backward Classes
and the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha after Lok
Sabha had passed them. “The Congress will have to reply to
questions about the delay,” he said.
The bill for facilitating the new backward classes commission
faces a three-month delay as the Opposition forced the
government to refer it to a select committee. The government
needs the Congress on board because a constitution amendment
requires a two-thirds majority. The Opposition scuttled the
government’s attempt to introduce the Motor Vehicles Amendment
Bill in Rajya Sabha on the ground that it had not been listed in
the day’s business. Ananth Kumar said Transport Minister Nitin
Gadkari had spoken to Opposition leaders to try persuading them
but they did not agree.
Parliament held 29 sittings, with Lok Sabha in session for 176
hours 39 minutes and Rajya Sabha for over 136 hours. Lok Sabha’s
productivity, according to the minister, was 114 per cent. This
was despite the fact that the House lost 8 hours 12 minutes due
to disruption, including one forced by the Shiv Sena over the
flight ban by airlines on its MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who had
allegedly assaulted an Air India employee.
Rajya Sabha’s productivity was lower than Lok Sabha’s, but still
high at 92 per cent. “This session will go down as a golden
chapter in the parliamentary history of the country,” Ananth
The three highlights of the session, according to the minister,
were the advancing of the session, the passage of four GST bills
to enable the implementation of the new indirect tax regime from
July 1, and the presentation of an integrated general budget
incorporating the railway budget.
He said for the first time in the Indian legislative history,
all financial business of the government, including the Finance
Bill, Demands for Grants and the Appropriation Bill, had been
disposed of before the beginning of the new financial year.
Lok Sabha, according to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, disposed of 560
starred questions, of which 136 were taken up for oral answers.
The members raised 494 matters under rule 377 and 158 private
members’ bills were introduced. Ministers gave 51 statements.
Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari said Rajya Sabha saw 205
zero-hour submissions, 76 special mentions, 435 starred and
4,629 unstarred questions.
The session was marred by a sudden death of IUML leader E Ahamed.
The bills passed included Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill;
Enemy Property (Amendment & Validation) Bill; Constitution (SC)
Orders (Amendment) Bill; Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill; HIV &
AIDS (Prevention & Control) Bill; Employees Compensation
(Amendment) Bill; Central GST Bill; Integrated GST Bill; Union
Territory GST Bill; GST (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) Bill;
Mental Healthcare Bill; Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill;
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