The Budget Session of Parliament was the least productive in the last 18 years, a legislative research agency has said. Parliament was adjourned indefinitely on Friday, the last day of the session, after weeks of uproar in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha led to repeated washouts.
The agency, PRS Legislative Research, said that the first part of the Budget Session comprised seven sittings, and the second part 23 sittings. During the entire session, the Lok Sabha worked for 21% of its scheduled time, and the Rajya Sabha for 27%.
However, in the first part of the session, the Lower House had worked for 89% of its scheduled time, and the Upper House for 96%. This dramatically fell to 4% for the Lok Sabha in the second part of the Budget Session, and 9% for the Rajya Sabha.
The agency said that the Finance Bill – which was not discussed in the Lok Sabha – was passed within 18 minutes, the lowest time taken to pass it since 2000.
Expenditure relating to grants for several ministries, amounting to 28% of total government expenditure, was also not discussed in Parliament. PRS Legislative Research said such “guillotining” of expenditure happened in 2004-’05 and 2013-’14 as well.
The agency added that Question Hour functioned for 11% of its scheduled time in the Lok Sabha, and 3% in the Rajya Sabha. Only 4% of the starred questions were answered orally in the Lower House, while it was worse in the Upper House at just 1%.
The second half of the Budget Session has seen persistent protests by Opposition parties and repeated adjournments since it began on March 5. Telugu Desam Party MPs have protested over special category status for Andhra Pradesh, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MPs over constitution of the Cauvery Management Board, and the Congress has taken on the government over the Supreme Court verdict on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
No-confidence motions filed against the government in the Lok Sabha were not taken up due to the disruptions.