By Ruma Dubey
Whether there is a storm brewing outside or not; whether roads get washed out or not, the agenda for the Monsoon session of the Parliament is set – it will be stormy and a complete wash out.
If the Budget session was rated as the least productive since 2000, we are certain that the Monsoon session which begins today will break that record too!
The Parliament is all about and only about politics. With three state assembly elections coming up soon and the General elections in less than a year, surely the Opposition will use these sessions to score a point – show us that how Parliament did not work at all. Can’t blame them – they are just doing what the BJP did to them in the past.
The Indian Parliament is currently facing a crisis of confidence. Most of the days, through any session, the Parliament adjourns with no business being done, amidst shouts, sloganeering and a major ruckus. The bespectacled Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan, after trying to control the ministers, looks like a teacher trying to bring decorum in an unruly classroom, helplessly, is left with no option but to simply adjourn. Nothing gets done in the Parliament and the common man, looking at the high cost of running the Parliament, apparently around Rs.2.5 lakh per minute, wonders today about the relevance of this institution. The largest democracy in the world - it is shameful how the very edifice of our democracy is today crumbling.
The last big Bill passed was the Finance Bill on 30th April but that was without any debate? Is this how Bills are passed? These politicians only shout and disrupt proceedings in the Parliament and as soon as they are out after adjournment, they start debating on TV news channels. If they can debate on TV channels why not where they should actually debate – in the Parliament?
Do you remember listening to any meaningful debates in either the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha? Yes, those on Women’s reservation Bill, the Lokpal Bill, the Nuclear Bill were good. Yesterday’s debate was not a debate – it was more of mudslinging, losing all modicum of parliamentary behavior. Meaningful debates are far and few in between. But a look at all these bills which did get debated happened only because of intense pressure from the people of India, who took to demonstrations and fasting. So the impetus to debate comes from the civil society?
We as people are supposedly powerful as we elect the Govt. But that is the only power we seem to have, which we exercise every five years. After that we have to merely watch the various antics and curse ourselves for even having gone to vote! Why do we have no power but to watch helplessly as these ministers squander away our money and faith in the system? There has to be a change in the way in which Parliament function, a very fundamental change is required. Maybe a new law, maybe a supreme court ruling; something drastic needs to be done to break out from this vicious cycle. The BJP did it when the UPA was in power so now the UPA is giving is back to BJP. But amidst all this politicking, the biggest loser is the country.
A few vital tidbits:
- The Monsoon session begins today, 18th July and ends on August 10, 2018.
- There will be a total of 18 sittings.
- Currently there are 68 Bills pending in Parliament – of these 25 Bills are listed for consideration and passage, and three for withdrawal during the session.
- 18 new Bills are listed for introduction, consideration, and passage.
- During the Budget session, on an average, Lok Sabha worked for 21% of its scheduled time, while Rajya Sabha worked for 27%.
- The parliament spent the lowest time spent on discussing the Finance Bill since 2000.