'Parliament passed key bills without much discussion'

Apr 07, 2009 Financial Express: The 14th Parliament had passed several significant legislations without much discussion, the Citizen's Report on Governance and Development 2008-09 by civil society organisation National Social Watch (NSW) on Monday said.


The 14th Parliament had passed several significant legislations without much discussion, the Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2008-09 by civil society organisation National Social Watch (NSW) on Monday said. The report said several key bills like the Special Economic Zone Act, was introduced on a day that was occupied with long debates on the Right to Information Act and passed after less than two hours of discussion. “The budget worth of Rs 700,000 crores was passed with only 6-10 hours of discussion in the last parliament, the Citizens report said. Non-financial business took up more than 35% of the Lok Sabha's time and over 45% of the Rajya Sabha's time in during 2007-08. The house passed nearly 40% of the Bills with less than one hour of debate, the report commented.

Members intervention in the parliamentary debates is a telling indicator of their participation, the Report pointed out that participation of younger members (in the age group of 25-45) is lower. According to the report, none of these MPs attended parliament for more than 20 percent of its 34 sittings in 2007. The sittings were held over 64 days in two sessions. “In the few days they showed up in the Lok Sabha, the Who’s Who of India did not take part in the debates more than four times. In the Rajya Sabha, they were only a shade better with three members joining in the debates 10-18 times, the report by NSW said. None of them raised even one percent of the almost 80,000 questions asked in both the houses. ‘As many as 55,145 questions were asked in the Lok Sabha and 22,794 in the Rajya Sabha during last five year, it said.

According to the performance of the 14 th Lok Sabha as it comes to an end was a telling tale on the ‘falling standards’. ‘The conduct of business in Parliament, marked by reduced number of sittings, insufficient apportionment of time to the main functions of deliberating and legislation as well as the frequent and prolonged disruptions due to commotions and pandemonium is ‘cause for high concern’, the report commented. “There is not a single session of parliament during these two years that has not lost valuable man-hours on account of unruly incidents. The year 2008 even witnessed the virtual abrogation of a whole session of Parliament,” John Samuel, Convener, National Social Watch Coalition said.

 

 

 

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