Akali MP wants extra sessions of Parliament

Akali MP wants extra sessions of Parliament

Akali MP wants extra sessions of Parliament
At a time when lawmakers are capturing headlines for the wrong reasons, a senior Akali Dal MP wants to restore the dignity of Parliament by working harder. Naresh Gujral (68), the Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab, has moved a private member’s bill, seeking to compensate the hours wasted due to disruptions, and ensure at least 100 sittings of Parliament a year.

Naresh, the son of former prime minister I K Gujral, came up with the ‘Enhancement of Productivity of Parliament Bill, 2017’ as he feels productivity is “on a decline” and people are “gradually losing faith in the relevance of this institution”. According to the bill, “the number of hours unutilised due to disruptions shall be compensated by extending each session by as many hours as the sittings were adjourned due to disruptions”.

A productive day in Parliament should at least be seven hours. The bill is introduced at a time when continuous disruptions, in some cases leading to the complete washout of an entire session like the 2016 Winter session, have come under the public scanner. The recent assault on an Air India manager by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad and former Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao abusing a police officer have also evoked sharp reactions among the public.

The bill is also aimed at avoiding logjams in Parliament, besides preventing washout of sessions by giving an equal and adequate voice to the Opposition in deciding the agenda of Parliament so as to increase the accountability of the government.

It also seeks the introduction of a 15-day special session in addition to the existing Budget, Monsoon and Winter sessions when at least two subjects of public importance are taken up and not any other business. During this session, at least half of the time is to be allotted to MPs of non-ruling parties.

“Since the inception of Parliament of India in 1952, Parliament used to devote 100 to 120 days of a year to sit in session. This trend, however, witnessed a decline over decades, bringing down this number to 70 to 80 days in a year,” the bill said.

“Over the years, disruptions in the smooth functioning of the Parliament sessions have become a rather common feature in the Indian democracy. This causes grave monetary loss, wastage of time and most importantly, delay in the decision-making on essential issues of public importance or hasty passing of laws without sufficient deliberation,” it said.