Parliament adjourned sine die, speaker satisfied

Parliament adjourned sine die, speaker satisfied

The budget session -- scheduled to be held in two parts, Feb 21 to March 16 and then from April 5 to April 21, with a recess in between -- had to be curtailed due to the April-May assembly elections.

During the five-week session, the two houses of parliament saw animated debates and raucous scenes over allegations of corruption against the government on the 2G spectrum allotment to mobile operators, Devas-ISRO deal and the WikiLeaks cables.

Parliament passed the 2011-12 budget and seven new legislations, excluding finance and appropriation bills, in either of the houses, according to the data by PRS Legislative Research.

The government had, however, planned to get approved 34 new legislations, including the finance bill, during the session.

In addition to the finance bill, the legislations passed during the session include a bill to make a minor correction - rectifying a clerical error - in the transfer of foreign prisoners act. The phrase "martial law" was replaced with "military law" in the act.

Other bills passed include one providing for the merger of the State Bank of Indore with the State Bank of India and one to extend the moratorium on sealing of unauthorised buildings in Delhi. The Lok Sabha on the last day of the session passed a bill prohibiting melting or destruction of coins.

The government had also planned to introduce 32 bills in the session, including the controversial woman's reservation bill, the bill suggesting comprehensive measures against communal violence and the land acquisition amendment bill. 

Only 11 bills could be introduced in either house, among them the pension regulatory authority bill.

In the economic segment, the government had proposed to introduce a constitutional amendment bill to pave the way for the introduction of the long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

“The list of bills not introduced yet is a long one, and includes bills to set up regulators for biotechnology, higher education, medical education, mines and minerals, amendments to the land acquisition act, and one to provide for rehabilitation and resettlement of people displaced on account of land acquisition,” the PRS said, pointing towards the dismal legislative performance of the budget session.

But Meira Kumar was satisfied with the business in the Lok Sabha.
“Considering the unfortunate logjam which the house witnessed during the previous session, the successful transaction of the business of the house in this session is a matter of satisfaction,” she said in her valedictory address, before adjourning the Lok Sabha sine die.

“There have of course been differences and divergent views, which is quite understandable in a vibrant democracy like ours. What is commendable though is these differences could, by and large, be sorted out through mature consultations among leaders of all the parties,” she said.

Meira Kumar said the house had 23 sittings spread over approximately 116 hours 40 minutes during the session.

“We lost over 25 hours 18 minutes of time due to interruptions followed by forced adjournments. But the house sat late for 26 hours and 36 minutes to compensate for the time lost,” she said.

Quoting rules, Meira Kumar justified cutting the session short which led to the government's proposed expenditure being passed without being scrutinised by the concerned standing committees.

“In view of the assembly elections, the sittings of the second part were cancelled and the first phase was extended,” she said, adding that the discussion and voting on the demands for grants was suspended with rules of procedure and conduct of business allowing that.

She said about 371 matters of urgent public importance were raised by the members.
In the Rajya Sabha, chairman Hamid Ansari in his valedictory remarks at the end of the budget session, said the decision to shift question hour from morning to post-lunch period had been taken to optimize its output and to provide members regular opportunity to raise matters of concern.

"The chair appreciates the cooperation in the matter of the honourable members. Initial results have been encouraging. I have also received some feedback which will help fine tune the new arrangement," Ansari said.

Ansari had announced shifting of question hour to the post-lunch period March 4.
The Rajya Sabha had 23 sittings during the budget session.

About 20 hours were lost due to the opposition's demands relating to WikiLeaks expose of US diplomatic cables, separate statehood for Telangana and appointment of P.J. Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner.

Rajya Sabha officials said 12 hours of the lost time were compensated by the house by sitting late and skipping lunch break.

Besides the railway and the general budgets and return of the concerned appropriation and financial bills, the house passed the Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010 along with the Constitution (One Hundred and Thirteenth Amendment) Bill, 2010.

Two calling attention notices on "unprecedented and untimely heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh" and "utilisation of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes" were discussed.