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Saturday, December 31, 2011

30-35 pc of Parliament's time lost due to disruption: study

Parliament sat for a total of 73 days last year in three sessions but 258 of the 803 hours earmarked for business were lost due to disruptions over several issues, including price rise and corruption.

According to a study by PRS Legislative Research, Lok Sabha is scheduled to sit for six hours a day and Rajya Sabha for five hours. It meant that the Lower House had 438 hours and the Upper House 365 hours to transact business.

"Out of the available time, approximately 30 per cent time was lost to disruptions in Lok Sabha and 35 per cent in Rajya Sabha," the study said.

However, on a positive note, it said Parliament fared better in 2011 compared to 2010 as one session was completely washed out then.

"Productive time in 2011 in Lok Sabha was 70 per cent while in 2010, it was 57 per cent," it said, adding out of 54 bills listed for consideration and passing, 28 were passed.

Interestingly, in Lok Sabha, 18 per cent of the bills were passed in less than five minutes like Chartered Accountants (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2011.

Presently, 97 bills are pending before Parliament for passage, which includes the contentious Lokpal Bill, Judicial Accountability Bill, Land Acquisition Bill, Direct Tax Code Bill and the UID Bill, among others.

The study said that time allotted to Question Hour was often lost owing to disruptions in both the Houses.

Though Rajya Sabha tried to experiment with shifting the Question Hour to 2 pm, the change did not bring any improvement in the functioning of Question Hour. As a result it was moved back to 11 am.

"Of the 1,220 starred questions listed in Lok Sabha, only 139 were orally answered. The situation was similar in Rajya Sabha. Of the 1,240 starred questions, only 166 could be answered orally," the study said.

Eighty-one Private Members' Bills were introduced in Lok Sabha but only four came up.

The study noted that both the Budget and Monsoon sessions had been disrupted on the issue of corruption. In addition, the Monsoon session was disrupted due to the agitation led by Anna Hazare and the appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta by the Governor.

The recently concluded Winter session saw disruptions on issues such as the opposition's call for an adjournment motion on price rise, the issue of FDI in retail, Telangana and Mullaperiyar dam, it said.

Through the Lenses !

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