Disruptions led to the loss of more than 127 hours of the Budget session in the Lok Sabha with just about 0.58 percent of starred questions answered during 29 sittings before the House adjourned sine die today.
Protests by members from various parties on diverse issues marred proceedings almost every day during the two-phase Budget session. The second leg of the session, that started on March 5, had 22 sittings that were mostly disrupted.
In her summary report, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the House functioned for a total of 34 hours and 5 minutes during the 29 sittings. A total of 127 hours and 45 minutes were affected due to "interruptions and forced adjournments". Around 9 hours and 47 minutes went in to transact urgent government business, Mahajan said. According to her, out of the 580 starred questions, answers were given to 17 of them in the floor of the House and this translates to "0.58" questions being answered on an average every day.
Written replies for remaining starred questions and 6,670 unstarred questions were tabled in the House. Just five bills were passed and five were introduced during the Budget session in the Lok Sabha. 'The Finance Bill 2018', 'The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017' and 'The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017' were among those bills that were passed.
Discussions on Presidential address took place for 10 hours and 43 minutes while that on Budget went on for 12 hours and 13 minutes. "This House is a sacred platform for members to raise issues related to public interest and public welfare," Mahajan said even as she emphasised that they need to keep in mind the larger interest of the country. "I have always tried that members who have given notices raise their issues in the House...," she said.
She also thanked all parties for their support in organising the National Legislators' Conference on March 10 and 11. Ministers gave 43 statements on various important issues and 1,185 papers were tabled. Under Rule 377, which pertains to urgent matters of public interest, members raised 238 issues. A total of 61 reports by various department-related Standing Committees were presented during the Budget session.