Winter Session of Parliament ends: Compared to Monsoon Session, Lok Sabha performed better, Rajya Sabha slumped

As the 14-day long Winter Session of the Parliament concluded on Friday, the 545 members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha managed to spend 101.9 hours debating, disrupting, passing bills and raising questions.

When Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced the House was adjourned sine die, she said the session, which commenced on 15 December, had 13 sittings spread over 61 hours and 48 minutes. The House lost about 15 hours due to disruptions and adjournments.

The Speaker said that 16 bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha by the government in the session, of which 12 bills including the triple talaq bill was passed. Important bills passed during the session also included the Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Bill, the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill and the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill.

File image of Parliament. PTI

File image of Parliament. PTI

Despite the government pushing hard to pass the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha, it failed to yield a fruitful discussion with the Opposition adamant on sending the bill to a Select Committee to vet it properly.

According to PRS Legislative Research, Lok Sabha's productivity surged to 78 percent this Winter Session from 67 percent during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. However, productivity in Rajya Sabha dropped drastically to 54 percent from 72 percent in the Monsoon Session.

During the 19-day Monsoon Session, which concluded on 11 August, 2017, both Houses had passed only nine out of the 25 bills on a range of subjects. The Lok Sabha had witnessed a heated debate and verbal duels between the Opposition and Treasury benches during the session on vital issues like cow-lynching and mob-violence, agrarian crisis, and the attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat, allegedly by BJP workers.

However, during the Winter Session of the Parliament, the focus remained largely on the triple talaq bill, the National Medical Commission Bill, repealing 245 obsolete and archaic laws, the Bhima-Koregaon violence, Assam NRC, and Kulbhushan Jadhav, among others.

This Winter Session also witnessed a fall in combined hours spent on legislative business. Both the Houses spent 46.5 hours on legislative business, a fall from the 54.6 hours on the same during the Monsoon Session. While Lok Sabha registered an increase in the amount of time spent on legislative business during the Winter Session, the Rajya Sabha spent a mere 17 hours legislating compared to 24 hours spent during the Monsoon Session. However, the Upper House spent a large chunk of its time on legislative business during the Winter Session than questions, non-legislative business, and other tasks.

It is necessary to note that the Winter Session began amid hue and cry over its delay. Rajya Sabha faced several disruptions during its course. On Thursday, the Upper House was adjourned four times amidst uproar on Maharashtra Bandh and triple talaq bill. The Bhima-Koregaon violence was a contentious issue in both Houses with leaders demanding a judicial inquiry into the same.

While adjourning Rajya Sabha sine die on Friday, chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu, urged members to seriously introspect on their conduct in the House which lost almost 34 hours due to frequent disruptions. The Rajya Sabha passed just nine bills during this period, which is same as that during the Winter Session.

"It is unfortunate that despite discharging its responsibilities to a great extent, the august House ends up losing some degree of the esteem of the people on account of disruptions and substantial loss of functional time," Naidu said.

"Intense and passionate submissions and debates are the order of democracy, but disruptions are certainly not. I urge upon members to seriously introspect in this regard," he added.

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Updated Date: Jan 05, 2018 17:40 PM

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