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The Big Picture – Has Parliament become a mere game of numbers?

Summary:

After having a relatively quieter and more productive budget session, the winter session has witnessed a strange situation. The Lok Sabha had 105% productivity and Rajya Sabha had 68% productivity. In the last session RS had witnessed 106% productivity.

This situation seems to have emerged from the way the numbers are stacked in the two houses.

The Winter Session began on the 22nd of November.  However, both houses of Parliament continue to be stalled over several controversial issues.

The Winter Session of Parliament adjourned sine die on December 23, 2014.  Lok Sabha functioned smoothly and worked beyond scheduled hours on most of the days.  Rajya Sabha saw disruptions over issues related to a minister’s remark, religious conversions and arrest of state minister by CBI and opposition’s demand for a statement from the Prime Minister. Lok Sabha worked for 98% of the scheduled hours and Rajya Sabha for 59%.

17 Bills were introduced. 12 including one related to the supplementary demands for grants, were passed by both Houses. In addition, seven Bills were passed by Lok Sabha. Six Bills were withdrawn by Rajya Sabha.

With a clear majority and along with its allies the government has nearly 350 members in the LS, while in the upper house it is in a minority.

The Lok Sabha Question Hour functioned for 77% of the allotted time and the Rajya Sabha Question Hour for 32%.

Political consensus is necessary for the smooth functioning of the parliament.

There is a general feeling that the opposition is stalling the government in RS.

The government’s efforts in Parliament to deflect responsibility onto state governments and distance itself from the Sangh has met with little success.