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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

'Least productive' 15th Lok Sabha headed for further trouble

PTI  New Delhi, May 01, 2013
First Published: 14:08 IST(1/5/2013) | Last Updated: 14:11 IST(1/5/2013)

Already termed as the "least productive", the 15th Lok Sabha may be headed for further trouble with new escalation in the government-opposition stand off.

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The Budget Session of the House may move towards an early closure following disruptions over CBI's coalgate report, deadlock on JPC's draft on 2G scam and BJP's decision to boycott meetings convened by the Speaker and parliamentary affairs minister.

As the session is scheduled to conclude on May 10, the issue of parliamentary disruptions and the productivity of the House has come to the fore again.

Like the present session, the previous session of Parliament saw repeated adjournments and frequent disruptions.

According to the 'Resume of Work Done by the Lok Sabha' during the 12th (Winter) Session, the House lost 58 hours and 36 minutes of its time due to adjournments "following interruptions".

The time lost due to interruptions was 31 minutes even as the previous session witnessed six walkouts by opposition members over a variety of issues, the resume, prepared by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, said.

The House took 16 hours and 50 minutes for government bills and MPs utilised 6 hours and 34 minutes to raise matters of urgent public importance. A total of 61 hours and 45 minutes were utilised for transacting various kinds of business in the previous session, including 11 hours and 15 minutes for questions.

According to PRS Legislative Research, out of the 146 hours allocated for question hour in both Houses of Parliament, roughly 57 hours were utilised in 2012.

Since the beginning of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009, approximately 43 per cent of the allocated time has been spent on question hour.

"It is important for House to run, especially when it is the Budget Session as we have to pass financial bills which is constitutional requirement," Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday on the sidelines of a function.

Kumar, who has been been appealing to all members to ensure that the House functions, however, refused to respond to questions on BJP's decision to boycott meetings convened by her and parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath.

"I don't want to discuss the matter in public," she said.

Since last year, over 30 bills are pending parliamentary approval. While some bills are before Standing Committees, most of them could not be taken up following differences between the government and opposition parties.

The Land Acquisition Bill is one such legislation. While the government has been able to take BJP on board, the Left is still critical of some of its key provisions.

The much-hyped Lokpal Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha despite the fact that it was cleared by a Select Committee of the Upper House last year. The Cabinet had earlier this year accepted most of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha panel.

Members of the two Houses did clear the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 which provides for stringent punishment for sexual crimes against women.

During the previous session, 16.50 hours were used by Lok Sabha for government bills, which is 27.26% of the total time taken.

But the biggest washout of the 15th Lok Sabha is said to be the Winter Session of 2010 when the opposition disrupted proceedings over demands to set up a joint parliamentary committee on 2G scam. Over 124 hours were lost due to disruptions then.


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