Stung by demonetisation, Parliament posts worst performance in last six years

The Winter Session of Parliament has been a total washout barring the passage of crucial Disabilities Bill. The issue of notebandi loomed large throughout the session making it impossible for both houses to function smoothly.
Parliament sees nearly no business this winter... Source: PTI
India TV Politics Desk New Delhi December 16, 2016 14:40 IST

The Winter Session of Parliament has been a total washout barring the passage of crucial Disabilities Bill. The issue of notebandi loomed large throughout the session making it impossible for both houses to function smoothly.  As per the latest update, both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been adjourned sine die.

This is the sharpest dip since the Narendra Modi-led government came to power and comes only second to the 2010 Winter Session when UPA was in charge. That session notched an average productivity of just 4 per cent which was the worst in 25 years, Times of India reported.

Till yesterday, th Parliament functioning in this session dropped to a mere 17 per cent, the worst in the last six years.

Productivity of Lok Sabha was just at 15 per cent and Rajya Sabha was at 19 per cent in the 2016 Winter Session as it drew to a close on Friday, data from PRS Legislative Research indicates. 

Lok sabha

Lok Sabha continued to witness disruption on the last day of the Winter Session today, with the Opposition protesting over demonetisation issue and targeting the government for making bribery allegations in AgustaWestland chopper deal, leading to adjournment till noon. 

With no let up in the gridlock between the Opposition and the government, high pitch protests and sloganeering erupted soon after the House met for the day. 

Members from the Congress and the TMC trooped into the Well shouting slogans, including demand for a discussion on demonetisation. 

Congress members sought to raise the issue of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar on Thursday raking up allegations of bribery in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal during the erstwhile UPA regime. 

With Speaker Sumitra Mahajan not giving permission, agitated Congress members began protesting. 

"We were ready for discussion since yesterday", but the Parliamentary Affairs Minister had made "reckless charges", Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said referring to the AgustaWestland issue. 

As the din continued, a visibily irritated Mahajan wondered whether the Opposition did not want work done today also as she adjourning the proceedings till noon. 

Even as the uproar continued, one question was taken up during the Question Hour. However, nothing much could be heard in the din. 

TMC members, who were in the Well, were also protesting against demonetisation. 

The House has seen a virtual washout of proceedings since the Session began on November 16.

The Lower House, however, took up the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill for consideration and passing during zero hour as most of the Opposition left to meet President Pranab Mukherjee.

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday had passed, by voice vote, the bill which expands the list of disabilities from 7 to 19, and makes accessibility to public buildings, transport, polling station a mandatory requirement and provides for a national fund for welfare of the disabled.

The bill, which replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, has been brought in to comply with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India signed in 2007.

Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha was today adjourned sine die even as Chairman Hamid Ansari expressed strong displeasure over regular disruptions by all sections of the House during the session and asked the members to introspect. 

Soon after the laying of papers, Ansari adjourned the House sine die. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House. 

The 241st session of Rajya Sabha, which had commenced on November 16, was a near washout as opposition members continously disrupted proceedings mainly over the demonetisation issue. They were countered vociferously by members of the ruling side on several occasions, including by shouting counter slogans. 

In his closing remarks, Ansari said he had "fervently hoped" that he would not have to repeat what he had said at the conclusion of the 221st session in December 2013, but "My hopes stand belied". 

Regular and continuous disruptions characterised this Session. The symbolism of dignified protests, so essential for orderly conduct of Parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned," the Chairman said. 

This, he said, deprived members of the opportunity to seek accountability of the Executive through questions and discussions on matters of public interest. 

"The prohibition in the Rules about shouting slogans, displaying posters and obstructing proceedings by leaving their assigned places was consistently ignored by all sections of the House," Ansari said, adding that "peace prevailed only when obituaries were read". 

The Chairman said that "all sections" of the House need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, disruption and agitation. 

Earlier, the members observed silence as mark of respect to condole death of former Rajya Sabha member V Ramanathan. The House of Elders functioned on the first day of the Session and had a "useful discussion" on demonetisation on November 16 and November 24,which remained inconclusive.

PTI inputs

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