The glaring comparison between the functioning of the new Lok Sabha and the previous one could be gauged from the fact that this time, the House ran for 167 hours as against 19 hours and 36 minutes during the Budget session of 2013.
The Budget session of Parliament, the first in the dispensation of the new NDA government, ended on Thursday with fewer disruptions and adjournments, and more debates and discussions unlike in the recent past. The glaring comparison between the functioning of the new Lok Sabha and the previous one could be gauged from the fact that this time, the House ran for 167 hours as against 19 hours and 36 minutes during the Budget session of 2013.
Now Parliament has been adjourned sine die. No doubt it will eventually be adjourned, only to wake up again for the winter session. One thing struck me throughout these months that parliament convened shortly after the swearing in of the new government; that parliament actually worked with minimal adjournments and disruptions, which is a great thing. There have been some good debates to listen to and several pieces of legislation passed which is a good thing, whether one agrees with all the content of the laws passed or not. Again , whether one fully Agrees or acknowledges the ideology of the current NDA regime, one must admire its quiet efficiency in getting things that need doing and that are within in one's control done and finished with.
If the proper and structured function of parliament itself is maintained throughout the course of the next 5 years, that itself would be am achievement for the current government to be proud of, even though this would have been only possible because of the brute majority that the NDA has in terms of numbers. A gratifying act was to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi
refuse to cut short the session of parliament after the Railway and the General Budget was passed and ask the government to examine what other legislative business
could be conducted. As a matter of fact, it is because of the increased number of sittings that the Bill relating to FDI in Insurance could be tabled and debated and subsequently referred to a select committee of parliament. It was also during these sittings that the bill on judicial appointment commission bill replacing the collegium system was passed along with the accompanying Constitutional Amendment
And yet though parliament has worked, some key laws have been passed as well as the budget too after a genuine discussion, there are things that remain to be done. When the tenure of the 15th Lok Sabha ended, there were 62 pending bills in Rajya Sabha while around 60 had lapsed in the Lower House. These bills need to be examined on merit. Besides this, there are outdated and obsolete laws that need to be scrapped and this was something that the Modi government had identified as a priority very quickly after coming to power. According to the Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, there are close to 300 laws some of them dating back to the 18th century that have outlived their utility and need to be repealed to avoid clogging the statute books. That too needs work by parliament. Meanwhile one hopes that the signs of parliamentary gloom and shame are over ?. At least for a season.
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