First session of 17th Lok Sabha may be most productive under NDA

Live Mint, July 18, 2019

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha has been very productive so far in the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) getting a brute majority in the recent general elections.

The productivity of Lower House as of Tuesday is 120%, according to data by the New Delhi-based PRS Legislative Research. This is based on the amount of time spent by members on discussions and other productive work as a percentage of the stipulated time.

If this trend continues till next week, this session could likely be the most productive under the NDA. On days of the session assessed, the Lok Sabha has seen 100% productivity on all days except three.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has often reminded members during proceedings about the importance of maximum utilization of the time available by keeping questions and responses during Question Hour and Zero Hour brief and giving more opportunity to first-time MPs to speak.

On at least three working days in the session, proceedings have continued till after 11pm. Lawmakers feel that the decreasing number of MPs of the Congress and key Opposition parties has led to reduced disruption and zero adjournments till now in Lok Sabha. However, the Congress, has protested and walked out over the ongoing political crisis in Karnataka last week.

Similar productivity has been witnessed in the Rajya Sabha with the current session seeing 98% productivity, which is a massive increase from the last budget session of the 16th Lok Sabha which saw 7% productivity.

“High productivity means that bills and amendments can be passed which is good. The Parliament doing so much business is a welcome step. The reality is that the BJP enjoys a majority in the Lower House. On the Opposition front, it is necessary to see if there is enough debate on the issues and amendments,” said N. Bhaskar Rao, a New Delhi-based political analyst.

“There have been bills which the Opposition parties, including the Congress, has opposed. They have been raising their reservations about those bills, they have staged walkouts and normal parliamentary procedure is being followed. The Opposition parties have done their homework, they come prepared and have done their parliamentary work,” he said.

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