Govt says Lok Sabha cleared record number of 17 bills

Business Standard, December 20, 2014

The government on Saturday said while the Rajya Sabha lost 44 hours to disruption in the current session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha had ?set a record?, passing 17 Bills during the session. Productivity of the Lower House stood at a stellar 105 per cent, the parliamentary affairs ministry said.

While the National Democratic Alliance government enjoys majority in the Lower House, this isn?t the case in the Rajya Sabha. Through the past week, the functioning of the Rajya Sabha was washed out, with the Opposition demanding the prime minister make a statement on the issue of religious conversions in the House.

The government claims the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) Bill in the Lok Sabha and the passing of labour reform Bills have been the ?high points of this session?.

On Saturday, the government stressed the importance of the legislation awaiting clearance by the Upper House, especially the coal Bill that ?seeks to facilitate auction of coal blocks further to the Supreme Court striking down the allocation of about 200 coal blocks, holding the allocation process arbitrary and illegal?. Citing the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill as one that has been ?pending since 2008 in the Rajya Sabha?, the government said this had been held up due to the stalemate in the House. Though the Bill has been listed the past few days, it couldn?t be taken up.

Another important Bill the government pointed to was the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Amendment Bill, 2014, which has to be cleared by the end of this month.

While the Lok Sabha lost only two hours and 10 minutes to interruptions, it cleared 17 Bills and logged an impressive 126 hours, with productivity of 105 per cent, spread over 20 sittings. The Congress, however, claims several Bills had been passed with ?brute majority of numbers?, adding these should have been sent to a standing committee first. The GST Bill, a priority for the government, was tabled by the finance minister in the Lok Sabha on Friday, surprising many.

This session, the Rajya Sabha?s productivity stands at 68 per cent. While the House had passed 17 Bills in the previous winter session of Parliament, this time, the number stood at 11.

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