By Santosh Kumar Pathak
New Delhi, July 24 : Proceedings of the Monsoon session of Parliament during the first seven days were yet again marred by Opposition protests which led to a decrease in the overall functioning of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and repeated adjournments stalling several important bills which were to be tabled by the Union government.
There has been barely any work done in both Houses of Parliament since the session began on July 18 due to massive protests by the Congress and other Opposition parties demanding an immediate discussion over GST imposed on essential food items, high inflation and price rise.
The first three days of the were a complete washout due to the protests.
On July 21, Congress MPs protested against the Enforcement Directorate’s questioning of the party’s National President Sonia Gandhi in both the Houses of Parliament, while other opposition parties raised the issue of GST and inflation on the same day.
It remains unlikely that the second week of the session will function smoothly given the impasse between the Treasury and the Opposition benches.
Due to the continuous disruptions, the Rajya Sabha could only function smoothly for only an hour and 16 minutes during the first three days.
On the fourth and fifth day of the session, the Rajya Sabha functioned only for five hours 31 minutes.
The Upper House has so far suffered a loss of 18 hours 44 minutes. During the first week of the Monsoon session, only 27 per cent of the business in the Rajya Sabha was done.
The percentage of business in the Lok Sabha was even lower as compared to the Rajya Sabha. On the first day, only 10 per cent business was done, which further reduced to just 8 per cent on July 19. On July 20, only 15 per cent business was done in the Lower House of parliament.
On July, after the Lok Sabha was adjourned once during the Question Hour against the ED’s questioning of Sonia Gandhi, Congress MPs left for the ED office to protest against the Union government while other opposition parties accused the Modi government of not taking up issues raised by them and staged a walkout from Parliament. Therefore, during this week, only 30 per cent work was done on July 21.
The productivity in the Lower House was only 17 per cent on July 22. Overall, during the first week of the Monsoon session, on an average, only 16 per cent business has been done in the Lok Sabha.
Majority of the opposition parties want a discussion over GST imposed on essential food items and inflation immediately in the House, but the Union government says that during the discussion over these important issues as well as to hear the views of the Opposition MPs and to respond on behalf of the government, it is necessary for the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to be present in the House.
With the permission of the Rajya Sabha Chairman and the Lok Sabha Speaker respectively, the Union government is ready to discuss GST and inflation at a specific time in the Business Advisory Committee as soon as Sitharaman attends parliament after recovering from Covid-19. The government has also said that Opposition parties can raise their issues even during the Zero Hour.
However, it is clear from the business in both Houses of Parliament during the first week of the Monsoon session that if the opposition parties disagree with the government’s views and in such a situation, if both the Treasury and opposition benches stay adamant on their respective viewpoints, then during the second week of the Monsoon session starting from July 25, the possibility of functioning of Parliament remains low.
Therefore, continuous efforts are also being made to bring the Union government and the Opposition on same side in both the Houses so that the parliamentary proceedings can run smoothly.