india-news

Parliament's winter session washed out

New Delhi, Dec 18 : The winter session of Parliament Dec 5 to 18 was a complete washout with just one legislation, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, passed in both houses, one bill passed in the Lok Sabha and six other bills introduced in both houses.


This was the second last session of the 15th Lok Sabha before it finishes its tenure.

In the 12 sittings through the session, the government hoped to consider and pass 29 pending bills.

According to PRS Legislative Research (PRS), a think tank tracking the work of parliament, the Lok Sabha was productive for just six percent of the total available time and the Rajya Sabha for 19 percent time.

Together, parliament was productive for just 12 percent of its total time, said the PRS.

"The session saw very little business being transacted. Debate in the house took a back seat, with one bill being passed in the Lok Sabha without any discussion. This session was the last opportunity for anti-corruption, economic and higher education bills to be passed. Many of these bills will lapse when the 15th Lok Sabha is dissolved in a couple of months," Chakshu Roy, Head of Outreach, PRS Legislative Research, told IANS.

Parliament was adjourned for three days each over the death of labour minister Sis Ram Ola Dec 15 and former South African president Nelson Mandela Dec 6; and on Dec 5 over the death of Bharatiya Janata Party Lok Sabha MP from Sarguja Murarilal Singh and Rajya Sabha sitting member Mohan Singh (Samajwadi Party), and to condole deaths of former members of the upper house Ram Naresh Kushwaha (Samajwadi Party) and Dinanath Mishra (BJP).

The most productive days of parliament were Tuesday and Wednesday when the Lokpal bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, respectively.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi spoke in support of the Lokpal bill in the lower house and suggested extending the parliament session to pass the pending anti-graft bills.

Seeing that the house was being disrupted regularly over some or the other issue, the Congress managers advised the speaker to adjourn the lower house sine die Wednesday, two days before the scheduled date Dec 20.

But Congress sources hinted the house could be reconvened for a few days if all parties agree to it to pass pending bills, including economic reform bills related to pension and insurance.

The lower house also passed the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2013, Wednesday.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha passed the Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) for 2013-14 in four minutes and the Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways) for 2013-14 in two minutes Dec 12.

Much of the days were lost due to protests on issues such as the Joint Parliamentary Committee report on allocation of telecom licences, death of children in Muzaffarnagar relief camps, price rise and the creation of Telangana state.

Embarrassing the ruling Congress, six of its own members in the Lok Sabha and four from the Telugu Desam Party submitted no-confidence motions against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government while opposing the creation of Telangana.

Fortunately for the Congress, the speaker could not take them up as the house was not in order.

Taking strong objection to adjourning the Lok Sabha sine die without taking up burning issues, YSR Congress said the government skirted discussions on people's problems.

"We had given an adjournment motion on the undemocratic division of Andhra Pradesh and a no confidence motion against the UPA government. While the speaker rejected the former, we have asked her to take up the second motion after the Lokpal bill but the house was adjourned sine die after the bill was passed," YSR Congress leaders M.V. Mysoora Reddy, S.P.Y. Reddy and Mekapati Rajmohan Reddy told reporters.

The six bills introduced during the session were The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 regarding the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013, the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, 2013, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2013, the Assam Legislative Council Bill, 2013, the Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies (Third) Bill, 2013.

The bills pending in the Lok Sabha are Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2013, Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013 (as passed by the Rajya Sabha), Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2013, Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2012 (as passed by the Rajya Sabha), Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011 and Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2011.

The bills pending in the Rajya Sabha are the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2013 (as passed by the Lok Sabha), the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2013 (as passed by Lok Sabha), the North-Eastern Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, according to PRS.

--IANS (Posted on 18-12-2013)

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