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Budget session concludes in India; productivity suffers due to daily adjournments, disruptions

NEW DELHI: The Budget session of Indian Parliament ended on Thursday amid noisy protests by the Opposition over the Adani issue, a matter which virtually washed out the 25-day-long second leg and all six bills including the crucial Finance Bill were passed without any debate.

The Rajya Sabha recorded its lowest productivity since 2019, functioning only around for 24 per cent of its scheduled time. In the Monsoon Session of 2021, its productivity was around 28 per cent.

When Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar were delivering their valedictory addresses in the respective House, opposition members were raising slogans.

While the Opposition pressed for a probe by a joint parliamentary committee into the Adani issue, BJP members countered by demanding an apology by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his ”democracy in danger” remark made in the United Kingdom.

Rahul Gandhi since stands disqualified as a Lok Sabha member following his conviction in a criminal defamation case by a Gujarat court.

As opposition members raised slogans and displayed placards demanding a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into allegations of fraud against the Adani Group. Birla said, ”You have lowered the dignity of the House. This behaviour is not good for parliamentary system and the country.” ”This House is always for high level of debate and discussions. But you systematically disrupt the proceedings which is not good,” he lamented.

This session, Lok Sabha functioned for only 45 hours as against its scheduled 133.6 hours because of disruptions, according to a think tank that compiles the data.

Rajya Sabha worked for just over 31 hours out of 130 hours in the session, the data said. The Budget session of Parliament was held from January 31, 2023 to April 6, 2023, with a recess from February 14 to March 12.

According to data compiled by PRS Legislative Research, the productivity, which is the percentage of time the House functioned against the total schedule, was 34.38 per cent for the Lower House in the Budget Session.

The only time the Lok Sabha’s productivity was lower than this was in the Monsoon Session of 2021, when it functioned only for 20.93 per cent of the scheduled time.

Rajya Sabha could devote around just two minutes to legislative business, while it was less than an hour in Lok Sabha. Financial Business took 17.25 hours in Lok Sabha and 18.23 hours in Rajya Sabha.

Throughout the Session, noth Houses witnessed repeated adjournments of the Question Hour. In his concluding remarks, Birla said the House held discussions on the General Budget for 14.45 hours, and 145 MPs participated in it. Discussions on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address were held for 13.44 hours with participation of 143 MPs.

Excluding the Finance and Appropriation Bills, The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was the only Bill passed during this session. Both bills were passed without any discussion by either House.

Three bills were introduced, one of which, the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.

In both the Houses, productivity was higher in the first half of the Budget Session.

In Lok Sabha, the productivity of the first part was 83.80 per cent, which dropped to 5.29 per cent in the second half.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, meanwhile, informed the House that its productivity in the first part of the Budget Session was 56.3 per cent, which plummeted to an abysmal 6.4 per cent.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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