Rajya Sabha sees 106% productivity in 3rd week

Rajya Sabha sees 106% productivity in 3rd week amid call for adjourning Parliament over coronavirus

In the third week starting March 16, the House functioned for 106 per cent as it sat for 30 hours and 28 minutes in its five sittings

 Opposition members protest in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (PTI Photo)

After Rajya Sabha witnessed disruptions till Delhi riots was disuccused, the functioning of the Upper House has gathered pace with the third week of the second leg of Budget Session clocking 106 per cent productivity. Though demands for adjourning the Parliament due to spread of COVID-19 gathered pace.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed largescale disruption between March 2 and March 11 with the Opposition demanding an immediate discussion on Delhi communal clashes which claimed 52 lives and left over 500 injured, besides damaging houses and business establishments. The government agreed to discuss the issue on March 12, only after the Holi festival was over on March 10.

In the third week starting March 16, the House functioned for 106 per cent as it sat for 30 hours and 28 minutes in its five sittings. Normally, the House is scheduled to sit for 28 hours and 30 minutes in a week. The House had lost 1 hour and 10 minutes but sitting for extra and skipping lunch for 3 hours 10 minutes, resulted in an effective zero loss.

While the second week saw a productivity of 82.6 per cent, the first week saw an almost washout with the House managing to conduct business for just 9.5 per cent of the allotted time, mainly because the government made statements on the situation due to spread of COVID-19.

The third week also saw growing demands for adjourning the Budget Session for a few weeks due to coronavirus, though the government has insisted that shutting down Parliament would sent a wrong message.

Trinamool Congress Chief Whip Sukhendu Shekhar Roy has sought leave from the House in the third week, saying he wanted to be in self quarantine while party's floor leader Derek O'Brien also confined himself to his house in Delhi after he came in contact with BJP MP Dushyant who attended a party hosted by a Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muralidharan, who is in charge of Rajya Sabha, is also in self quarantine after a doctor who attended a seminar where the former was present, tested positive for the virus. Similarly, BJP's senior Rajya Sabha MP and former Minister Suresh Prabhu is also in self quarantine after his return from an official trip to Saudi Arabia.

A total of 34 questions were answered during Question Hour, which functioned to the fullest except on March 18. Last Wednesday, Question Hour could be conducted only for two minutes as Congress MPs protested against the detention of senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh in Bengaluru.

During the week, the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine and the National Commission for Homeopathy were passed by the House after a discussion of seven hours. Fifty-six MPs participated in the discussion on the Bills.

The discussion on the working of three Ministries -- Railways, Law and Justice, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises -- were discussed for 11 hours and 24 minutes during which 59 MPs participated.

72 Zero Hour submissions and 33 Special Mentions were taken up during the week.

On Friday, two hours and 18 minutes were spent on the Private Members’ Business. One Private Members’ Resolution on the ‘Need for a comprehensive and holistic report as to the current situation of unemployment and future action plan to address the same’ was moved by CPI Parliamentary Party leader Binoy Viswam. Nine MPs participated in the discussion as the demand raised by Vishwam to have Bhagat Singh National Employment Guarantee Scheme. 

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