Despite clashes, parliament session winds up on a high

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Hindustan Times, May 13, 2016

In Lok Sabha, not a single minute was lost; Rajya Sabha utilised 96% of its time

The Budget session of Parliament that ended in Lok Sabha on Wednesday proved to be one of the most effective sessions despite the frequent clashes between the BJP-led government and the Congress.

While not a single minute was lost due to disruptions in the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, a vibrant battle ground of the government and the Opposition, has utilised 96% of its time so far.

The Lok Sabha utilised 119% of its time, working overtime to pass bills or discuss issues. The Upper House faced repeated disruptions in its initial days, but still managed to work for 80% of its allotted time.

The Lower House passed six bills apart from the financial business while the other House managed to clear nine bills.

The session which began on February 23 was scheduled to conclude on March 16. But the BJP and other parties agreed to cut it short in view of the May 16 assembly elections in Kerala, Pudduchery and Tamil Nadu.

The session had witnessed heated debates over the Augusta Westland helicopter scam and the dismissal of the Congress government in Uttarakhand. The political temper, however, didn?t come in the way of passage of key bills like the insolvency and bankruptcy bill and the anti-hijacking bill, pending before Parliament for a long time.

Question Hour, the 60 minutelong section where MPs ask questions to ministers, saw a revival after being victim of disruptions for a long time. ?Earlier, only two or three questions on an average could have been answered in a session. But we now see more then five questions being answered orally in the House on an average,? said Chaksu Roy of PRS Legislative Research.

During the budget session, the productivity of question hour, in terms of questions answered orally has been the highest in 15 years, according to PRS Legislative Research.

Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day as a mark of respect for sitting Congress member from Gujarat Praveen Rashtrapal who passed away on Thursday. The Upper House will now be adjourned sine die on Friday, after customary farewell speeches by the retiring MPs.

Born in 1939, Rashtrapal was a former civil servant and trade unionist who began his stint in Parliament as a Lok Sabha member in 1999 and was elected to the Upper House for the first time in April 2006.

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