The Budget Session of the Parliament was adjourned sine die on Wednesday. A total of 19 Bills were introduced during the session and 13 were passed in addition to the Finance and Appropriation Bills, according to PRS Legislative Research. The Lok Sabha worked for 108% of its scheduled hours when counting non-legislative work, and the Rajya Sabha for 86%, the research agency said.
Of the eight Bills that were both introduced and passed within this session, four were on the levy of Goods and Services Tax and one was on the exchange of demonetised currency notes. These Bills were passed by the Lok Sabha within a few days of being introduced.
Other Bills passed during the session, which lasted from January 31 to April 12, were: The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016, The Finance Bill, 2017, and The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) Bill, 2017.
One of the highlights of the Session was that a lower percentage of Bills was referred to committees for scrutiny in the current Lok Sabha (29%), compared with the 15th Lok Sabha (71%) and the 14th Lok Sabha (60%), which were elected in 2009 and 2004. Another was the passing of The Finance Bill, 2017 as a Money Bill, even though it contained provisions related to structural changes to existing tribunals. The Rajya Sabha returned the Bill with four amendments. All of them were rejected by the Lok Sabha.
While the Rajya Sabha spent a majority of its productive time (41%) on non-legislative business, the Lok Sabha spent 21%. The Upper House discussed the President’s address, implementation of Aadhaar and electoral reforms. The President’s address was discussed for over 25 hours in both Houses with 141 MPs participating in the discussion.
Both Houses were in attendance for a larger proportion of their scheduled time during this session than the average for the 16th Lok Sabha. Since 2014, the average productivity of Lok Sabha has been 95% and Rajya Sabha is 73%. In comparison, during the first three years of the 15th Lok Sabha, the average productivity of Lok Sabha was 74% and Rajya Sabha was 76%.