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In Budget session, LS spent 12 pc time and RS 6 pc on legislation
March, 28th 2011

Though Parliament's main job is to legislate, only six per cent of the productive time in the Rajya Sabha and 12 per cent in the Lok Sabha was spent for that purpose in the just-concluded Budget session, according to a new analytical study.

The study by non-profit group PRS Legislative Research also noted that this budget session was the shortest in a non-election year in the last two decades. Both Houses sat for a total of 23 days, it said.

"The session was cut short due to the impending Assembly elections in five states. As a result, the Parliamentary Standing Committees were not able to scrutinise the budget and it was passed without their consideration," it said.

The study also pointed out that usually, the Budget session is divided into two parts with a brief recess in between. The Committees use this recess period to analyse the budget proposals in detail, but this year, this was done away with.

"Lok Sabha spent 44 hours discussing the budget, and Rajya Sabha spent 23 hours," the study said.

Nine legislative bills were introduced during the session, it said. During the February 21-March 25 session, five bills were passed and one bill was withdrawn.

"This session saw a significant amount of time being spent on non-legislative debates. Over 30 per cent of the total productive time in both Houses was spent on issues such as the constitution of JPC, revelations made by WikiLeaks, etc.

In the Lok Sabha, 38 per cent of the productive time was spent in discussing the budget, another nine per cent was spent on the President's Address and only 12 per cent of the time was spent on legislation," the PRS said.

It noted that in comparison, the Rajya Sabha spent lesser time on legislation. Only six per cent of the productive time was spent in bill discussions.

Lok Sabha worked for 85 per cent of the scheduled hours and Rajya Sabha for 70 per cent, according to the study. "The Budget session began on a positive note, with the government and the Opposition arriving at a consensus on key issues such as the formation of a JPC. However, by the second week, both Houses saw frequent disruptions," it pointed out.

The study took note of the fact that the Question Hour was shifted to 2 pm in Rajya Sabha to contain disruptions.

"After the shift was affected, the average duration of Question Hour in Rajya Sabha was 43 minutes. During the same period, the average in Lok Sabha was 50 minutes," it said.

Six bills were taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha and five bills in the Rajya Sabha. The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2010 saw the longest discussions which continued for approximately three hours with participation from 21 MPs.

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