Two petitions to end the Parliament logjam—a PIL and an online one put up by CII, endorsed by top industrialists—capture the disillusionment among a large section about reforms getting derailed even in the NDA regime, due to Parliament disruptions. Thanks to the Congress insisting on the resignations of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in the Lalit Modi controversy and of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam scam, the monsoon session of Parliament that ended today, was a complete washout, barring the last couple of days. The Parliament logjam ensured that the joint parliamentary committee on the land acquisition Bill could not give its report in the current session, despite the BJP backing out on dilution of the consent and social impact assessment clauses of the UPA’s 2013 Act, and the GST Bill also could not be passed—this almost ensures that GST will miss the April 1, 2016 implementation deadline.
Foreign investors are already wary of the uncertainty on the land and labour laws changes and GST, and Moody’s Analytics points out in its latest report that lack of reforms will derail India’s prospects of a sustained
8-10% GDP growth. So, while the BJP and the Congress blame each-other for the current mess, both parties must find ways to ensure that legislative work doesn’t suffer in the winter session due to political bickering. On its part, the BJP did try for this by relenting on several suggestions of the Congress party on the GST and the Land Bill. The Congress must think hard about its gains from being seen as a party blocking reforms in Parliament. Supporting the GST Bill passage in the special session of Parliament that the NDA government plans to convene could be a good beginning.