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Budget Session: LS spent only 1% of allotted time on work, RS 6% | India News

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NEW DELHI: In the budget session which concluded on Friday, the Lok Sabha spent just 1% of its allotted time on legislative business even as the Rajya Sabha spent 6%. The actual hours that the Houses sat as against those available was 21% for the LS and 27% for the Upper House. In all, 250 hours were wasted while issues like the PNB scam and alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act couldn’t come up for discussion.

The budget session of Parliament was divided into two parts – the first consisted of seven sittings and the second of 23. According to the provisional statement of work, the actual hours the Lok Sabha functioned was 34 hours and 5 minutes while in the Rajya Sabha it was a little over 44 hours. The time lost due to disruptions was many times greater: 127 hours and 45 minutes for the LS and over 121 hours in the RS. The Lok Sabha had 29 sittings and Rajya Sabha 30.

According to PRS legislative research, this was the least productive budget session since 2000. The Upper House spent only three minutes on government bills while it was 14 minutes for the Lower House.

Interestingly, though the Upper House spent 2 hours, 31 minutes discussing legislative business, it spent only three minutes of this time on government bills. The rest of the time was spent on private members’ bills. The Lok Sabha spent 19 minutes on legislative business, of which 14 minutes were used up in passing two government bills. In total, while the Lok Sabha passed five bills, the Rajya Sabha passed one. These are fewest since 2014.

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Since 2000, on an average, the Lok Sabha has spent 53 hours discussing the Budget, while the Rajya Sabha spent 23 hours. This time, the Lok Sabha spent around 15 hours and the Rajya Sabha barely 11 hours discussing the Budget. Also, while the brief first half was productive, the second barely functioned as TRS, YSR Congress, TDP and AIADMK blockaded both Houses. No-trust motions submitted by the Andhra and Telangana parties, with Congress also filing one, deepened the logjam.

While several MPs gave notices to move no-confidence motions against the government, none were taken up due to disruptions. This was the first time a notice to move a no-confidence motion was given in the 16th Lok Sabha. A no-confidence motion was also moved in the 15th Lok Sabha (2013) but was not discussed. In the 14th Lok Sabha, a no-confidence motion was converted to a confidence vote, which the government won.

In the second part of the session, the Finance Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in 18 minutes, without any MP’s participation. This was the lowest time spent on discussing the Finance Bill since 2000. The longest time spent was 12 hours and 48 minutes in 2003. The Finance Bill typically contains only tax proposals. However, this year, it included amendments to 18 Acts unrelated to taxation, said PRS analysis.

More importantly, the number of discussions on matters of public importance was the lowest since 2014. While the budget and monsoon sessions in 2017 had over 20 discussions in the Lok Sabha, this session, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had only one discussion. Matters of public importance include discussion under Rule 193, Rule 176, calling attention motion and motion of thanks.

Updated: April 6, 2018 — 8:06 pm

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