Stalemate in Rajya Sabha affects its productivity; Opposition draws the battleline

Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 1

Two weeks of stalemate between the Opposition parties and the government in Rajya Sabha over Pegasus controversy has paralysed the functioning and productivity of the House.

The abysmally low productivity calls in question the parliamentary ethics and pragmatism in the context of huge amount of taxpayers’ money going down the drain along with psychological resources and sap of the country limping back to normalcy after the nightmare of lockdowns and shutdowns due to Covid pandemic.

Sample the data collated by the Rajya Sabha’s Secretariat regarding productivity of the House in the first two weeks, ending Friday, of the current Monsoon Session.

The productivity fell to 13.70 per cent during the second week from 32.20 per cent during the first week, resulting in an overall productivity of 21.60 per cent for the first two weeks.

Of the total 50 working hours available, 39 hours 52 minutes have been lost due to disruptions.

The House sat for 1 hour 12 minutes beyond the scheduled time, but for which the productivity would have been much lower. 

During the nine sittings of these first two weeks, the Rajya Sabha could have only 1 hour 38 minutes of Question Hour which is primarily meant for ensuring the accountability of the executive to the Parliament.

A paltry 1 hour 24 minutes was used for legislative business in which only four Bills were passed with only seven members intervening.

There was total of about one minute of Zero Hour and another four minutes on Special Mentions.

Covid-19 related issues were discussed for 4 hours 37 minutes during the first week.

During the first two weeks, 130 Zero Hour Submissions and 87 Special Mentions, through which the members raise issues of public importance, could not be taken though they were admitted by House Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

Union Labour and Employment Ministry directed UT Administrations of J&K and Ladakh Bills passed so far are The Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021; The Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill, 2021; The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021. 

The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were among the four Bills introduced in the Rajya Sabha. 

The disruptions of the House continued with vengeance by the Opposition Benches in spite of appeal by House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu to political parties during Business Advisory Committee (BAC) to maintain discipline and decorum and smooth functioning of proceedings.

The Opposition members have drawn the battleline: Nothing less than a full-fledged debate on Pegasus issue. The government’s counterpoint is that it is willing but not with conditions imposed by them.

The general feeling is that while the Benches seem to have attached a catch net to their innovative protests, including blowing a whistle in the House, they have walked straight into a rabbit hole dug by the government embattled by alleged bleak job growth, handling of second wave of Covid and country’s preparedness against projected third wave, inflations, border and farmers’ issue, etc.

It suits the government just as well if the issues remained blind spots in the House, especially with the upcoming Assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. 

Source

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