When the Bharatiya Janata Party managed to get the largest Lok Sabha majority in three decades, it seemed like the days of stalled Parliament and extraordinary executive action would be in the past. Yet after just the second Parliamentary session with the new regime in charge, things are starting to look a lot like 2013 again.

That was the year that the United Progressive Alliance, frustrated by several years of logjam in Parliament, issued the most number of executive ordinances since the messy coalitions of the 1990s. Last Tuesday, unable to pass key pieces of legislation because of its limited numbers in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP government instead issued three ordinances on the day Parliament was adjourned. On Monday, it again used the executive route to amend the Land Acquisition Act.

What is an ordinance?

The separation of powers laid down in the Constitution leaves broad policymaking to the legislative branch of government, and expects the executive to implement these policies. Since Parliament doesn't sit through the year though, the Indian system allows the executive to promulgate an emergency executive ordinance that has essentially the same effect as passing a law, without having to get a majority in Parliament. The only difference is that an ordinance has to be placed before Parliament within three months of its promulgation and passed by lawmakers if it is to remain law.

What ordinances has the Modi government passed?

*Coal auctions:  The Supreme Court's decision to scrap coal block allocations because of unconstitutional and arbitrary decision making meant that the government had a lot of blocks on hand that it needed to reallocate. This ordinance, re-promulgated after having first been issued soon after the SC verdict, calls for the blocks to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

*Insurance FDI cap: Implementing the same policy change that gave lots of legislative trouble to the UPA, the government has raised the cap on Foreign Direct Investment in the insurance sector from 26% to 49%. The move has always been seen as being unpopular with the public, but should cheer investors and the financial markets.

*FDI in pharma: The government has decided to carve out a separate category within the pharmaceutical sector for medical devices. India currently imports up to 70% of these, but under the ordinance, 100% FDI has now been allowed for medical devices under the automatic route rather than having to get the clearances that are required for other pharma manufacturing.

*Land Acquisition Act: The BJP has complained from the beginning that the UPA's Land Acquisition Act would stifle industry and, indeed, no land has been acquired under it. This ordinance removes restrictions on land acquires for defence, rural electrification, rural housing and industrial corridors, but keeps the compensation at four times the market price.

*Delhi colonies regularisation: With the Delhi state elections in the horizon, the government has changed the cutoff date for buildings that can be regularised. It's been moved forward from 2002 to 2014, meaning an extra 60 lakh potential could potentially benefit from a regularised home.

Why did they use this route?

After one relatively smooth session, the new government got a taste of the same medicine that it doled out to the previous administration over the past few years: legislative logjam. The Opposition refused to let Parliament function, particularly in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP is still in a minority, and thus prevented the government from implementing its policies.

It's a reminder that the Rajya Sabha will remain a challenge for at least the next two years, until the BJP has more lawmakers elected to the upper house. It also underlines the need for the ruling party to work on floor management in the Parliament even if it got a massive mandate from the people earlier this year.

What happens next?

The government will need to lay the ordinances before Parliament in the next session, in March. Numbers in the Rajya Sabha would not have changed enough and the less-than-overwhelming response to the BJP in the just-concluded elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand is a sign that the Modi wave is not an inevitability for state elections this year.

This means the government will have to try different approaches. It could attempt to cut deals with other parties in the Rajya Sabha and improve its floor management.

Another option, one the party has spoken about, is resorting to a joint session of Parliament where its superior Lok Sabha numbers would allow the legislation to pass. Because of how rarely joint sessions are called, however, that would be an even more extraordinary measure than an executive ordinance. Or else, the government go reuse a UPA tactic of simply re-promulgating an ordinance every time it lapses.