Parliament disruptions costs Rs.20 cr to exchequer New Delhi (PTI):
The exchequer lost more than Rs 20 crores on account of disruptions in Parliament during 2007. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha lost over 130 hours of time due to repeated uproar and pandemonium in the year gone by. However, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee hopes that it will be a different story in 2008. "I hope that Parliament will be able to identify and deliberate on the real national issues concerning the common people of the country," he said when asked about the outlook for the new year. He prefaced his remarks by saying that he was an optimist and hoped that democracy would further consolidate in spite of "some hiccups, which generally are part of any evolving democracy".
The disruptions cost a fortune in view of the fact that the per minute expenditure of running the Lok Sabha alone was put at Rs 22,089 during 2006-07 which is likely to go up to Rs 24,632 this year. This way the Lok Sabha alone lost a whopping Rs 17,22,94,200. The Speaker's remarks came against the backdrop of 2007 turning out to be yet another year of sound and fury in Parliament which saw the nuclear deal and Nandigram providing enough cannon and fodder to the lawmakers.
The MPs also targeted Indian envoy in Washington for his "headless chicken" remarks. Incidentally, a proposal for "no-work-no-pay" for the lawmakers for disrupting the House proceedings failed to take off in the year gone by. The proposal found no support at a meeting of leaders of various parties convened by Chatterjee. Fresh efforts are expected in the new year for smooth running of Parliament. There has also been suggestions that Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha meet for at least 100 days annually and the Speaker has assured to hold an all-party meeting in this regard. Year 2007 also saw the exit of veteran Bhairon Singh Shekhwat, bowing out of office as Rajya Sabha Chairman with Hamid Ansari, a career diplomat, taking his place. Suspended BJP MP Babubhai Katara brought shame to Parliament after being caught in a human trafficking case and the year also saw Parliament setting out on the task of finding out what could be construed as a misconduct of a member.
The only consolation was that unlike in 2006 there were no expulsions of members.t was a dubious distinction for Parliament that year as 11 members were stripped of their membership in the wake of the cash-for-query scam. An RJD member of the Lok Sabha Rajesh Manjhi was reprimanded for taking another woman impersonating as his wife to a tour of a Parliamentary committee.