Budget session turned out to be yet another wasted opportunity

Vice Presidetn M Venkaiah Naidu, who is chairman of the Rajya Sabha, today deplored that the short but important Budget session of Rajya Sabha turned out to be yet another wasted opportunity. In his valedictory remarks, on conclusion of the budget session, he said that this only reinforces the ‘dysfunctional pattern’ that has been evident over the last few years which is a matter of serious concern as it poses a serious threat to parliamentary democracy.

He said that it is time for all sections of the House to evolve a ‘collective conscience’ to enable effective functioning of the House further to deep introspection to prevent any further damage to the standing of this august House which is also known as the House of Elders. Elders are usually expected to show the way to others.

Since June, 2014, after 2014 general elections, Naidu said that Rajya Sabha held 18 sessions and 329 sittings till today and passed only 154 bills. This comes to less than a bill in two sittings. The bills passed during this period is 34 lesser than the 188 bills passed during 2009-14 and an astonishing 58 bills lesser than the 251 bills passed by this House during 2004-09. These statistics clearly show that the legislative output of this House has substantially declined since 2014, he added.

Since June,2014, he observed that the productivity of this august House, in terms of the time available and the time utilized for taking up legislative business and the issues of public concern is only 60%. Who is to be held accountable for wasting 40% of the valuable time of this august House?, he asked.

Of the total 18 sessions over the last five years, the productivity of the House has been below the five year average of 60% in respect of 8 (Eight) sessions. In terms of bills passed, it ranged from just one Bill in case of the Winter session of 2016 and the Budget session of 2018, two bills passed during the Monsoon session of 2015 to a maximum of 14 bills each passed during the monsoon sessions of 2016 and 2018.

While the sittings of the House per year during the last five years has been as per the trend of 60-70 days, the declining productivity and legislative output is a matter of deep concern. A large number of bills are pending consideration of the House, he added.

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