New Delhi: After washout of two consecutive parliament sessions, there were apprehensions of Budget session meeting the same fate owing to irreconcilable differences between two major political parties namely BJP and Congress.
The working of both houses of parliament in Budget session, however, has belied all such fears. In a pleasant surprise, till Friday i.e. March 12, productivity of Lok Sabha stands at a staggering 111% of its scheduled time while that of Rajya Sabha stands at a commendable 97%.
What makes the news even better is the fact that both houses took Question Hour more seriously in this session. In fact, Question Hour, in both upper house as well as lower house, functioned for 83% of its scheduled time.
Sane voices from all across the country including a good number of parliamentarians cutting across the political lines were calling for smooth functioning of Question Hour given the fact that it’s the most informative part of a parliament session. Even the government spends huge amount of money on conducting Question Hour in both houses. It seems the message has reached to the targeted ears.
The impressive performance of the two houses becomes more significant because there were apprehensions of the opposition not allowing the smooth functioning of the parliament on account of serious differences with the government on issues like Rohit Vemula suicide and JNU sedition
Honestly, the credit should go to both the ruling alliance as well as the opposition parties. The ruling NDA agreed for a discussion on these contentious issues and the opposition did not insist on disrupting the parliament the way they did in last two sessions. And that’s the reason behind Budget session turning out to be a productive session after two back-to-back disruptive
This session has witnessed positive movement on some crucial legislation as well. For example, the much awaited Real Estate Bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha with consensus and it is set to be passed in Lok Sabha offering a huge relief to homebuyers who were facing harassment from a section of powerful builders.
Similarly, Lok Sabha has passed the Aadhar Bill that will help in streamlining the subsidies being given to the underprivileged section of the society.
Interestingly, with Aadhar Bill , the government has given the indication of changing its strategy in tackling opposition in Rajya Sabha where Modi government is in minority. The government, determined to get Aadhar Bill passed without any hassle, introduced it as a Money Bill. It means that the Rajya Sabha can’t stop this Bill.
They can offer their suggestions but that will not be binding on the Lok Sabha.
The opposition has protested against government’s move to present Aadhar Bill as a Money Bill but the Modi government has the backing of the Lok Sabha Speaker who has the sole authority of categorising such bills.
In fact, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had given enough indication in last few weeks that if the opposition continues with its obstructionist approach then the government will be forced to go for alternate ways and means of getting crucial legislations passed. Through Aadhar Bill, Jaitley has come up with a solution that he was perhaps contemplating for long.
The Budget session of parliament will close for a recess next week on March 20 and the second part of Budget session will commence next month from April 20 and continue till May 8.
If the trends of first three weeks are any indication then we can hope for a more fruitful parliament session this time which will definitely bring cheers to faces of those among us who want democracy to function in letter and spirit.