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Monsoon session a clear victory for Congress

New Delhi, Sep 7, 2013, DHNS: 1:41 IST

Govt successful in pushing socio-economic agenda

Despite disruptions on a range of issues, the monsoon session of Parliament, which concluded on Saturday, turned on to be a success for the government, which succeeded in pushing its socio-economic agenda with the passage of the landmark food security, land acquisition and pension fund regulator bills.

The 21-day session, including a week-long extension, saw alternating spells of calm and fury as members got together to pass the key food security and the land acquisition bills following a series of disruptions on issues ranging from a separate Telangana state to the condition of the economy.

The session began on a stormy note on August 5, with protests by Congress and TDP members on the Telangana issue washing away the entire first week.

The issue of the missing files on coal-block allocation and the state of the economy saw the BJP corner the government. But the BJP looked like the B-team of the government when it agreed to the passage of the key food and land bills that form the poll plank for the Congress in next year’s Lok Sabha election.

It was not surprising when Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath described the monsoon session as “successful”.

The government also managed to get Parliament's nod to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, which was hanging fire for nearly a decade due to political differences.

The bill is considered key economic reform legislation, particularly at a time when the economy is navigating choppy waters.

The Lok Sabha lost 42 per cent of its scheduled time to disruption, with Question Hour being the biggest casualty. The Question Hour could be held in the Lower House on just one day.

In the Rajya Sabha, only 24 of the 300 listed starred questions could be answered orally.
An analysis by PRS Legislative said that for both the Houses, this was the third-worst session for the Question Hour since the beginning of the 15th term of a government.

The Rajya Sabha lost more than 44 of its 98 hours scheduled for transacting business. However, the House made up for it by skipping lunch recess and sitting late for 30 hours to complete legislative and other important businesses.
The Lok Sabha sat beyond 10 pm on four days and Rajya Sabha sat till 11 pm on two days.

“Greater effort was made by the Houses collectively to adhere to the rules of procedure and norms of etiquette. This needs to be sustained,” onserved Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari in his valedictory remarks.

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