This year's Winter Session looks like it's a washout. Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's grouse that the Opposition has been stalling the proceedings, not letting him address the Parliament on demonetisation and instead addressing the "Jan Sabha", the Winter Session has left a lot of bills in the cold.
There are only three more days left for the Winter Session to end (16 November to 16 December) and the government says it's ready for a debate on demonetisation, so is the Opposition but with certain conditions. According to The Tribune, many key legislative bills face a logjam in Parliament and "every minute of running a session costs over than Rs 2.5 lakh". Earlier this month, Firstpost put out a similar piece on how Rajya Sabha scores zero on the productivity scale and that both the Houses have failed to conduct any meaningful business, unless you count slogan-chanting and disrupting the motion.
Delhi think tank PRS Legislative that tracks the functioning of Parliament found that this Winter Session the productivity of Lok Sabha was 14 percent and that of Rajya Sabha was 20 percent. The data also showed that Rajya Sabha spent zero hour on questions, whereas the Lok Sabha spent 5.1 hours. Rajya Sabha spent 11.8 hours on non-legislative issues while the Lok Sabha spent 4.3 hours on the same.
The future of the GST Bill especially hangs in the balance — Bloomberg Quint reports that the GST Council met for the sixth time on Sunday and will continue to discuss the central and state GST Bills on 22 December. The GST rollout from 1 April
next year looks impossible now, reports PTI.
In 2013, when the BJP was the Opposition it wasn't any different: The party has disrupted Parliament the most in the last five decades. PRS Legislature noted that in the 2013 Winter Session of Parliament that ran from 5 to 18 December, both the Houses of Parliament adjourned sine die on 18 December, and that several hours were lost thanks to the disruption on issues relating to Telangana's separate statehood. Lok Sabha worked for six percent of the scheduled hours and Rajya Sabha for 19 percent; six legislative bills were introduced and one legislative and two appropriation bills were passed by both Houses, and two bills were withdrawn during the session, it noted.
BJP, which has been crying about being interrupted in Parliament, should note that in 2013 more than half the Parliament's time was wasted — Parliament met for 63 days and was productive for only 44 percent of the time, according to this Business Standard report. The Winter Session was also the shortest, that of 10 days and since it wasn't prorogued, the second part was held from 5 to 21 February, 2014. This again witnessed several disruptions with a pending non-confidence motion not taken up. Lok Sabha worked for a total of 21 percent and Rajya Sabha, 27 percent. PRS Legislature's report on that session says that 15 bills were introduced and 12 of them were passed (of those 5 related to General and Railways budgets).
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Dec 12, 2016 15:05:06 IST