Monsoon washout: Rajya Sabha worked for only 9% of allotted time

Times of India, August 14, 2015

Only one legislation was passed by Parliament during the 17-day monsoon session with Rajya Sabha working for barely 9% of the allotted time, only marginally up from the infamous winter session of 2010 when the House functioned for just 2% of the time. Lok Sabha, aided by the expulsion of 25 Congress members for five days, managed to work for almost half the time (48%) allotted to it.

The Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill 2014 was the only bill ? excluding money bills ? to have been passed by both Houses. According to Parliament data, the Lower House lost 47 hours and 27 minutes, the Upper House lost 82 hours to disruptions with important legislations like the land acquisition bill, GST Bill and whistleblowers protection bill getting delayed.

This session witnessed the lowest number of bills being passed in the last five years. This productivity is in sharp contrast to the budget session this year, which was the most productive session in the last 15 years. During the last session, Rajya Sabha had a productivity of 101%.

As a result of continuous disruptions during question hour, only 2% of questions were answered orally while only 1% of the time was spent on legislative business in Rajya Sabha.

In comparison, Lok Sabha spent 17% of its productive time on legislative business, and 45% on non-legislative business. About 13% of questions were answered orally during question hour.

Three bills including the Negotiable Instruments (Amendments) Bill 2015, SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Bill 2014 and Repealing and Amending (fourth) Bill 2015 were passed in Lok Sabha but were discussed for less than three hours, says analysis by PRS Legislative Research.
Despite a lame duck session, the performance of individual parliamentarians was enthusiastic. PRS data show that overall attendance was as high as 75%. Attendance in LS was at 84%, while in RS it was at 78%.

In LS, the highest participation was seen in MPs between 56 to 70 years of age. A LS MP participated in about 20 debates on average. However, 48 MPs (9%) from that House did not participate in any debates, of which 27 were first time MPs. Among parties with more than 10 MPs, Shiv Sena MPs had high participation, with 25 debates on average for each MP. This was followed by BJD and Congress, with about 20 debates per MP.

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