Unlike recent Parliament sessions when a large part of the sittings were complete washouts, the just-ended monsoon session saw passage of 10 legislations including UPA’s flagship bills – food security and land acquisition.
An official statement from parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath listed details of bills passed by both the Houses and legislations that were cleared separately by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Nath had said on Saturday that “substantive work” was done in the month-long session including passage of a major economic legislation, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, which was hanging fire for long due to political differences.
An analysis done by PRS Legislative Research on monsoon sessions in the past four years showed this was the second most productive sitting. While in 2012, the Lok Sabha was productive for 20% and Rajya Sabha for 27% of the total time, in this session, the Lok Sabha sat for 73.13 hours and productivity was 58%. The upper House had a better record, sitting for 99.65 hours and clocking 80% productivity.
There were four late night sittings of the Lok Sabha beyond 10pm while Rajya Sabha sat till 11pm twice this session. The longest time spent discussing a bill was on the National Food Security Bill with nine hours of discussion in Lok Sabha and 9.3 hours in Rajya Sabha.
This came as a big relief considering the first couple of weeks saw several disruptions, adjournments and even suspension of members from the Lok Sabha for the first time. The cause of disruptions were on account of coal scam allegations, Telangana, Robert Vadra’s land deal controversy, Chinese incursions in Ladakh, killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistanarmy and fuel price.
The government was successful in getting the support of opposition parties, particularly BJP and extended the session to pass important legislations including Companies Bill, SEBI Bill, Waqf Board (Amendment) Bill besides two others — Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill and Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, which brought all political parties together.
Rajya Sabha also passed the legislation for prohibition of manual scavenging, a social commitment that the UPA has made.
“While the government was able to get some key social legislations and financial legislations passed in this session, by and large, legislative business has slowed down in the 15th Lok Sabha. Most of the anti-corruption legislations and those related to reforms in higher education are stuck at various stages in the parliamentary system. Government faces the uphill task of getting political consensus built around these legislations before the winter session of Parliament,” said Chakshu Roy of PRS Legislative Research.