New Delhi: It's not just promises made to citizens, the Centre has failed to implement assurances made to the Parliament as well, according to data compiled by Factly.in, a data-journalism portal.
More than 80% of the assurances made during the 16th (and current) Lok Sabha are pending, while this number stands at 30% for the 15th Lok Sabha, Factly.in reports. About 13% of the assurances made in the Rajya Sabha are still pending.
What are Assurances?
While replying to questions in the Lok Sabha or during discussions on bills, resolutions, motions etc., ministers on several occasions give assurances, undertakings or promises to consider a matter, take action or furnish information later. These are termed as assurances. Some examples of assurances made to Parliament:
• The matter is under consideration.
• Enquiries are being made.
• I shall inform the Hon'ble Member.
• This is primarily the concern of State Government but I shall look into it.
• I assure the House all suggestions by Hon'ble Member will be carefully considered.
Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances & the Process
In order to ensure that these assurances are implemented in a reasonable timeframe, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have constituted a “Committee on Government Assurances” to ensure these assurances are implemented. The process:
• The Lok Sabha Secretariat examines the Lok Sabha debates to mark the replies/statements of ministers to identify assurances. A similar process is followed in the Rajya Sabha.
• This data is reconciled with assurances culled out by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Once they are finalised, the relevant ministries/departments are informed of these assurances.
• The parliamentary committees on government assurances have prescribed three months for the implementation of assurances, to be calculated from the date it was given in parliament. However, if the government foresees a problem in implementing the assurance within that time, the Ministry may request for an extension. In normal course, the committee accedes to such requests for extension unless it finds the request unreasonable.
• If the government finds that the assurance is not feasible, it requests the committee to drop the assurance. If the Committee concurs with the government, then it recommends dropping of the assurance.
In the 14th Lok Sabha, nearly 9 in 10 assurances pending
The data for the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-09) are not complete, but the available data shows that 89% of the assurances made during the 14th Lok Sabha are still pending. Of the 137 assurances for which the data are available, 122 are pending, while only 14 are fully implemented. One assurance was dropped.
In the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14), close to 30% of the assurances made are pending. Of 5,799 assurances made, 3,951 were implemented, 141 dropped and 1,707 are pending. More than 40% of the assurances are pending across 11 ministries, including the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Environment & Ministry of Panchayat Raj.
In the current Lok Sabha, eight in 10 assurances pending
In the current Lok Sabha, more than 81% of the assurances are pending. While the assurances made during the last session may take time to fulfil, 70% and 90% of assurances made during the second and third session of the 16th Lok Sabha respectively are still pending. Of 1,298 assurances made, only 241 are fully implemented, three are dropped and 1,054 are pending.
Prime Minister's Office in list of worst offenders
As many as 100% of assurances are pending in 10 different ministries, including the Prime Minister's office. More than 90% of assurances are pending in 22 ministries. Except in three ministries (Parliamentary Affairs, Mines & Development of North Eastern Region), more than 50% of assurances are pending in all other ministries.
In the Rajya Sabha, the best track record
More than 13% of all assurances made till date are pending in the Rajya Sabha. Of 15,567 assurances made, 12,600 were implemented, 918 dropped and 2,049 are pending. In five departments, all assurances (100%) made are pending.