Speaker concerned over legacy of 15th Lok Sabha

We did not work for as many hours as we should have, says Meira Kumar

Speaker concerned over legacy of 15th Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is pained at repeated disruptions witnessed during the 15th Lok Sabha and worried about the legacy it would leave behind.

Kumar, the first woman Speaker, voiced her feelings after the all party meeting she had convened on the eve of the final session of the 15th Lok Sabha to ensure its smooth functioning.

The 15th Lok Sabha has met for 345 days and 1,331 hours much less than the average of 600 days and 3,700 hours of the first three Lower Houses from 1952 to 1967.

“Yes, we did not work for as many hours as we should have. Yes, we did not pass as many bills as we should have,” Kumar said to a question on the legacy the 15th Lok Sabha would leave behind. However, she hastened to add the people of the country have retained their faith in Parliament. “Time and again, they have shown it. When it is their turn, they go to the hustings and vote.”

The final session of the 15th Lok Sabha and that of the UPA-II government would begin on Wednesday and have 12 sittings till February 21.

The government has listed 39 bills for consideration and passing during the resumed winter session of Parliament. This includes six key anti-corruption legislation as well as the controversial Telangana Bill, the Women’s Reservation Bill, and other bills such as the Educational Tribunals Bill and the Street Vendors Bill.

The Vote on Account (Railways) would be placed before Parliament on February 12 and the Vote on Account (general) has been slotted for February 17. However, the mood at the all party meeting on Tuesday was that the government should leave aside legislation and focus on issues. “This session should only pass the financial bills and leave other legislation,” said a prominent leader of a regional party.

The first part of the winter session in December saw the passage of just the Lokpal Bill when 31 bills were listed for consideration. An analysis by PRS Legislative found that the 15th Lok Sabha was productive for 63 per cent of the total scheduled time and only a fifth of the meeting time was spent on legislative work.

Only 165 bills have been passed till date – about half of the 333 bills that the first Lok Sabha (1952-1957) had passed.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath contended that the 15th Lok Sabha has enacted fewer laws in numbers but transacted substantive business in terms of substance.

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