The 15th Lok Sabha, formed after the UPA returned to power with a healthier majority, is likely to go down as the most disrupted since 1952, the year of the first general election.
The data analysed by PRS, a research body on the parliamentary system, show the present term of the Lok Sabha has already been disrupted more than any other before, with a 27% shortfall in working hours — a performance worse than 2004-09 or 1999-2004 of the NDA regime.
In November 2008 the Lok Sabha secretariat had said each minute of parliamentary proceedings cost Rs. 29,000.
In the monsoon session, the Lok Sabha sat for about 23 hours against the scheduled 60 hours and the Rajya Sabha for 25 against the planned 50 hours, till Friday. The disquiet over 2G spectrum had washed away an entire session — winter 2010 — and disruptions ever since have marred almost every session owing to issues like the Commonwealth Games, lokpal, price rise and Telangana statehood.
Even as they attribute the present stalemate to the BJP demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, analysts have also highlighted the gaps in dialogue between the ruling and opposing sides.
Subhash Kashyap, a former Lok Sabha secretary general, said: “In parliamentary democracy, it is a government by majority with the consent of the minority. Sadly, the belief is that the opposition, either the BJP or Congress, is to obstruct and disrupt. And the situation deteriorates when the government fails to initiate a discussion.”
In the process the introduction and passage of bills has been affected, and so has the time spent on discussions in the Lok Sabha. Till the end of the budget
session, 40% of the bills took less than an hour of discussion each, and of those, 19% five minutes each, the data compiled by PRS Legislative Research show.