Winter session worked just 9 hours, but cost 172 crore

Most disruptive session in 25 years; Four bills passed out of 36 planned

And that is the price the tax payers paid for passing four Bills out of a total 36 planned as the Opposition stalled Parliament proceedings for 22 consecutive days demanding JPC probe into the 2G scam.

The winter session, which was adjourned sine die on Monday, has become the  least productive of Parliament sessions in the last 25 years. Only one full day of work was conducted in the Lok Sabha (November 9) and not even a day in the Rajya Sabha.
Even the eighth Lok Sabha, when the Bofors scam was unearthed and caused furore in Parliament, the entire session was not a complete washout.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal said the total annual budget for running Parliament is Rs 350 crore. It costs Rs 19,000 to conduct the business of Parliament per minute.

According to PRS Legislative Research, the Lok Sabha this time worked for 5.3 per cent of the scheduled hours and the Upper House only 2.1 per cent. The Lok Sabha had scheduled 114 business hours in 19 days but met for only six hours and 53 minutes, while the Rajya Sabha functioned for about two hours.

The session, which commenced on November 9, has been the most disrupted since at least 1985. Debates took place over just 6 per cent of the time available.

The logjam was over Opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into 2G spectrum allocation and the government equally determined not to set up such a panel. The Congress and the Opposition are blaming each other for the stalemate and the consequent loss of time and money.

The highest number of sittings were in 1956—151 days for the Lok Sabha and 113 for the Rajya Sabha.

In 1996, a CBI raid on former telecom minister and Congress leader Sukh Ram's residences in Delhi and Mandi and recovery of cash had led to a 13-day uproar in Parliament by the BJP. According to Bansal, Parliament was paralysed for eight days in 2001 over the demand for a JPC into the securities scam allegedly involving Ketan Parekh. Bansal said proceedings in Parliament were stalled only for one-and-a-half days in July 1987 on the demand for JPC into the Bofors kickback issue.

However, this was disputed by BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu who claimed that Parliament was disrupted for “43-44” days over the demand for a JPC on Bofors. There was no disturbance in Parliament over the demand for a JPC probe into the Harshad Mehta case in 1992.

Cost factor apart, the important legislation which could not be taken up due to disruptions included the already-delayed Prevention of Torture Bill and the Educational Tribunal Bill.

The bills, which could only be introduced but could not be debated and passed included the much-awaited the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill and the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill.

The list also had the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore Bill, 2010, the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Amendment Bill and the Forward Contracts Regulation (Amendment) Bill.

The Supplementary Demands for Grants (Appropriation Bills) were passed in both Houses without any discussion.

In 1996, a CBI raid on former Telecom Minister and Congress leader Sukh Ram's residences at Delhi and Mandi and recovery of cash had led to a 13-day uproar in Parliament by the BJP.

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