The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which started on July 20, was adjourned on the first day without doing any work due to opposition parties’ protests concerning the situation in Manipur. This is the fifth day in a row, the Parliament has ended in a stalemate, however, questions arise, how are these logjams affecting the policies, and welfare of people, and how much money does the country lose on a daily basis?
Similarly, the Budget Session got washed out the same way as the opposition parties slowed down the process. The session, divided into two legs from January 31 – April 6 and February 14 – March 12, recorded the lowest productivity of a budget session in five years. A report by PRS Legislative Research (PRS) stated, “As of now, the 17th Lok Sabha has completed 230 sitting days and is in its final year of term. The 16th Lok Sabha holds the record for the shortest sitting days, with only 331 completed in its full five-year period. With an average of 58 sitting days per year, it is highly unlikely that the 17th Lok Sabha will surpass this number. Therefore, it is possible that the 17th Lok Sabha could become the shortest full-term Lok Sabha since 1952”.
As per the same reports, during the Budget session, the Lok Sabha functioned only for 45.9 hours out of the targeted 133.6, and the Rajya Sabha functioned only 32.3 hours out of the 130 targeted hours. NDTV initiated a report after the sheer time wastage during the Monsoon session and came across the numbers which were absolutely baffling. More than Rs 133 crore of taxpayer money went to bin due to the disruptions during the Monsoon session.
During the 2012 Monsoon session, when the Congress-led UPA was in power, that particular session was completely washed out due to the coal block allocations. The government then released an official figure according to which each minute of running parliament cost around Rs 2.5 lakhs. Now if we adjust the same amount according to the inflation rates, the cost will definitely come out to be more than Rs 2.5 lakhs.
Even after the construction of the new Parliament building, the old habits of constant disruption have prevailed. Only time will tell how efficient will our lawmakers be and how will they ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament.