Tussle between Govt and opposition severely affected productivity of Parliament

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Updated: February 13, 2019 9:09:42 PM

A combative opposition led by the Congress has succeeded in stalling most crucial bills of the NDA government in the Rajya Sabha including Triple Talaq Bill and the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Budget Session of Parliament.Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha.

Productivity of Parliament was severely affected in the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government could not push through its legislative agenda despite publicly seeking the support of opposition in the last two sessions.

In fact, as per the official data, productivity of the Rajya Sabha came down to just 8% in this session as against 27% in the previous session that highlights how a combative and united opposition can stop the government in the house where it lacks the number.

In a big setback for the NDA government, its floor managers in the Rajya Sabha could not ensure passage of two crucial bills, first one is about an important social reform pushed by Prime Minister Modi to ban instant and oral divorce practiced by some members of Muslims community and another one was about relaxing the criteria for giving Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. However, in a stark contrast to the Rajya Sabha, the productivity of Lok Sabha was almost 90% where the NDA government has a clear majority.

The budget session, being the first session of the year started with a Presidential address to a joint sitting of both the houses. In a face saver, Modi government’s floor managers were able to get the motion of thanks to the President’s address in both the houses passed without any amendments. In an embarrassment, a combative opposition has already twiced amended motion of thanks during PM Modi’s tenure. In its entire history, the Rajya Sabha had only amended motion of thanks to Presidential address three times in past, once each during the time of Indira Gandhi, VP Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In another major achievement for the government, it was able to get the approval of Rajya Sabha for the bills related to the interim budget. Although, the government was not required to get the finance bills passed by the Rajya Sabha to implement its tax proposals made in the interim budget as being money bills these bills are deemed to be passed by both the houses after 14 days from the date of their passage in the Lok Sabha.

During the budget session, a total of 9 Bills (3 in Lok Sabha and 6 in Rajya Sabha) were introduced. Five bills were passed by the Lok Sabha and five bills were passed by Rajya Sabha too, four bills were passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Three of them are related to interim budget 2019-20 (i) the Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill, 2019 (ii) the Appropriation Bill, 2019, (iii) the Finance Bill, 2019 and (iv) the Personal Laws (Amendment), Bill, 2019.

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