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Monsoon session: Lok Sabha functioned for just 21 hours at 22% productivity

Speaker Om Birla disappointed; Congress questions govt conduct to rush through bills

om birla monsoon Speaker Om Birla | File

The Pegasus-hit monsoon session of Parliament saw the Lok Sabha getting adjourned sine die two days ahead of schedule, with the House managing to function for a little over 21 hours and registering a productivity of just 22 per cent.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said at a press briefing that he was pained by the fact that the proceedings of the House did not take place as per expectations in this session. “I always make an effort to see that maximum business takes place in the House and discussions are held over issues related to the public,” he said.

Birla informed that the House functioned for only 21 hours and 14 minutes in the session that began on July 19 and was originally scheduled to be held till August 13.

A total of 20 bills were passed, including the Constitution Amendment Bill, allowing states to draft their own OBC lists. In all, ministers responded orally to 66 questions in the House and members raised 331 issues under Rule 377. “There was continuous obstruction this time... The last two years were more productive, as far as business in the House is concerned. The proceedings had continued till late in the night and MPs had made active contributions even during COVID,” the Speaker said.

“I urge all the MPs that the house be run in accordance with parliamentary traditions and its dignity maintained. Sloganeering and raising of banners are not a part of our parliamentary traditions. The MPs should express themselves from their seats,” he said.

Responding to a query, he said all efforts are being made to ensure that the new Parliament building is constructed before August 15, 2022. “When the nation completes 75 years of Independence, we will celebrate it in the new Parliament building,” he said.

The monsoon session saw a strident opposition, displaying unprecedented unity, demand from the government a discussion on the Pegasus snooping scandal before any other business was taken up. An exception was made only for the politically crucial OBC Bill.

Meanwhile, the Congress' leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, criticised the government for its “sudden decision” to adjourn the House. “There was no discussion on important issues. The government only wants to paint the opposition in a bad light,” he said.

Chowdhury said the opposition wanted a comprehensive discussion on issues such as the fuel price hike, inflation, the contentious farm laws, and COVID-19 vaccination, and claimed that the government was responsible for the issues not getting discussed.

He also criticised the government for rushing bills through amid din and not heeding the appeals of the opposition. “Despite our constant appeals to discuss Pegasus, the issue was not taken up in the House when there is a global discussion over it. With France, Germany, Hungary discussing it, why have our demands been ignored," Chowdhury asked. 

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