Fate of Insurance, Coal bills hangs in balance

With only two working days left in the winter session of parliament, the fate of the government’s economic reform agenda…

With only two working days left in the winter session of parliament, the fate of the government’s economic reform agenda, particularly the Insurance Bill and the Coal Bill, hangs in balance in view of strong opposition by some parties.

The Insurance Bill, which provides for raising FDI cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha due to disruptions even though it was listed on four days last week.

Proceedings of Rajya Sabha, during the entire last week, were washed out as opposition stalled the House by pressing the demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi reply to a debate on religious conversions.

The Coal Bill, which will pave the way for auctioning of mines de-allocated by the Supreme Court, also remained pending in the House. Lok Sabha has already passed it.

Other crucial bills stuck in the Upper House include the one on extending beyond December 31 this year protective cover to unauthorised colonies in Delhi from demolition.

The four weeks of the winter session has seen a contrast in functioning between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, with the Lower House being more productive and calmer than the other House.

Lok Sabha functioned for over 126 hours during the stipulated 20 sittings with a productivity of over 105 per cent. Against this, the productivity of Rajya Sabha has been only 68 per cent.

During this period, Lok Sabha passed 17 Bills as against 11 by the Upper House.

Lok Sabha lost only 2 hours and 10 minutes so far due to interruptions. The House however, worked overtime on eight days for a total additional duration of 8 hours 36 minutes with a net gain of additional working hours of 6 hous 26 minutes.

Rajya Sabha, on the other hand, witnessed interruptions during 15 of the 19 sittings, losing 44 hours and 9 minutes.

However, members of the Upper House worked overtime on seven days making up 8 hours 46 minutes. The net loss of time on account of interruptions in Rajya Sabha has been 35 hours 38 minutes.

Lok Sabha has already set up a record in terms of the number of Bills passed and productivity vis-Ã -vis the last budget session of this year and the winter session of last year.

The Lower House has passed 17 Bills during the current winter session so far as against 12 Bills during the last budget session and 17 Bills passed in last year’s winter session.

Productivity of Lok Sabha during the current session so far has been 105 per cent as against 104 per cent during the last Budget session this year.

On the contrary, productivity of Rajya Sabha so far during the current winter session has been 68 per cent against 106 per cent during the budget session this year.

The Upper House passed 12 and 17 Bills respectively during this year’s budget session and last year’s winter session.

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