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Winter dud at House

Disruptions have made this session the least productive ever for Parliament. Prasad Nichenametla reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2010 01:28 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

Thanks to the 2G spectrum row, the winter session in Parliament is turning out to be the least productive ever.

On Friday, the Parliament stood disrupted for the 22nd consecutive day. Even during the Bofors row, House proceedings weren't hit as much. Monday is the last day of the session.

The present session - 6th of the 15th Lok Sabha had scheduled 114 business hours (in first 19 days) but it sat for only 6 hours 53 minutes, says PRS Legislative Research, "which takes the productivity to 6% - lowest since 1985 (records available)".

During the 8th Lok Sabha, the Bofors scam had caused uproar and 105 opposition members had resigned, but sessions were not entirely disrupted. The question hour was treated as sacred and private member bills were allowed, an MP said.

This time round opposition parties are firm on their demand for a JPC probe into the "biggest ever scam".

While disruptions are going up, the number of days Parliament sits for business is coming down drastically over years. Though parties stress on the need to have at least 100 sittings between three sessions - Budget, monsoon and winter - in a year, there is no consensus.

"The power to convene Parliament lies with the government. But when faced with issues, the numbers are being brought down like during N deal crisis in 2008," CV Madhukar, director, PRS Legislative Research said.

A private member bill by Mahendra Mohan of Samajwadi Party in 2008 - to make 100 sitting days compulsory - was not endorsed by the government.

"What is the point of making sittings compulsory (where they can still disrupt)... but the way things are turning out to be, it seems we need take some measure," minister for parliamentary affairs Pawan Kumar Bansal said.