Budget session least productive in last 18 years with 250 working hours wasted

Another washout session.

Latest News

The washed out second leg of Parliament's Budget Session as both Houses were adjourned sine die, capping a month of relentless disruptions and stated to be the least productive since 2000 with nearly 250 working hours being wasted. As a blame game erupted between the BJP and the Congress over the opposition protests that paralysed both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the rival parties announced protest fasts by their MPs and workers next week. An anguished Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the budget session was "eminently forgettable".

The disruptions and adjournments were caused by protests over issues like special status to Andhra Pradesh, bank scams, demand for Cauvery water management board, vandalising of statues, review of the recent Supreme Court order on SC/ST Act and law and order situation in Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh. The second leg of the Budget session, that started on March 5, had 22 sittings that were mostly disrupted.

Speaker Mahajan said a total of 127 hours and 45 minutes were affected by "interruptions and forced adjournments" while Naidu said the Rajya Sabha lost over 121 hours. Just five bills, including the crucial Finance Bill 2018 for which the Budget Session is convened, were passed and five were introduced during the Budget session in the Lok Sabha. Besides, The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017 were among those passed.

According to data provided by Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar, the productivity of the Lok Sabha(LS) was 134 per cent, and that of the Rajya Sabha(RS) around 96 per cent during the brief first part of the session. The first part had seven LS and eight RS sittings. But the second part of the session saw productivity taking a nose dive due to daily disruptions and adjournments. The productivity of the LS was four per cent and that of the RS eight per cent, the minister said.

"The productivity of the complete Budget session was 23 per cent for the LS and 28 per cent for the RS," he said. Accusing the Congress of taking parliamentary proceedings "to a new low" with its conduct, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a fast by BJP MPs on April 12 to protest the impasse "caused" by the opposition party in Parliament. In a counter-offensive, the Congress said its workers would hold a day-long fast at all state and district headquarters on April 9 to expose the BJP's "lies" on various issues. 

According to PRS Legislative Research, "this was the least productive Budget session for both Houses since 2000". During the session on an average, Lok Sabha worked for 21 per cent of its scheduled time, while Rajya Sabha worked for 27 per cent, it said.

Find your daily dose of news & explainers in your WhatsApp. Stay updated, Stay informed-  Follow DNA on WhatsApp.

Live tv