It is indeed heartening to note that the just-concluded Monsoon Session of Parliament was one of the most productive ones for Lok Sabha since 2000. The Lower House worked for 110 per cent of the scheduled hours, while the Rajya Sabha mustered 66 per cent, according to analysis by the think tank PRS Legislative Research.
Key legislations like the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 and Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 were passed even as the Triple Talaq Bill could not be cleared. The Lok Sabha witnessed the first no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s hug to the prime minister, followed by a wink, will remain etched in public memory. The Rajya Sabha also elected its new deputy chairperson.
This session has been a marked departure from the earlier ones under the present dispensation, and meaningful debate and discussions on issues took place. The time spent on legislative business in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at 50 per cent and 47 per cent respectively is the second highest since 2004. This is most welcome as a functioning Parliament is paramount for a performing democracy. It is the platform to decide the course of the nation. Every minute of the Parliament is estimated to cost nearly `2.5 lakh. Unfortunately, politics has taken over the space. That the preceding Budget Session’s productivity was a lowly 25-30 per cent is a pointer to the decline.
After his election in 2014, Modi called Parliament the “temple of democracy”. But the temple continues to be desecrated with falling standards of debates, constant disruptions and indifference of members towards the prime duty of legislation. Both the government and opposition lawmakers were responsible for this. We can only hope that the Monsoon Session is a harbinger of the restoration of Parliament’s sanctity, for the good of the nation and its people.