The Budget Session of Parliament came to a close Wednesday, registering the passage of record official business during the past five years.
It is another matter though that the government had to refer two important bills to parliamentary panels — The Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to a joint parliamentary committee and the GST Bill to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha. The reference of the first bill, better known as the Land Acquisition Bill, marked the failure of the government for a second time to push it through. The government was keen on passing the GST Bill, basically a constitutional amendment, to eventually showcase it as a major achievement on the financial reform front before the completion of its one year in office.
However, the government did have occasion to celebrate when both Houses unanimously passed the 100th Constitution Amendment Bill for the operationalisation of the Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh. The Rajya Sabha also created history of sorts by passing a private members’ bill, the first in 36 years, seeking equal opportunities for transgenders. The bill was moved by Tiruchi Siva of the DMK.
“In terms of the number of Bills passed during the Budget sessions in the past five years, 24 were passed by both the Houses during this Budget session,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu told the media. As for official bills, a total of 22 Bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha and two in the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha cleared 23 bills and the Rajya Sabha 24.
The Lok Sabha held 35 sittings, highest in the past five years. The Rajya Sabha tally was 32 sittings, next only to 34 in 2012. Elaborating, Naidu said it was the most productive budget session during the last decade in terms of time, with the Lok Sabha working for 117 per cent of the scheduled time and the Rajya Sabha also slightly exceeding the allotted time with a productivity of 101 per cent.
Disruptions and interruptions made the Lok Sabha lose a total of six hours and 54 minutes, but the loss was made up by the members who skipped their lunch break and put in 42 hours and 41 minutes of extra work.