The NDA-led Centre is adding debates to spice up legislative work and to prevent disruption in House

Breaking the trend of the past few winter sessions, the Modi government has succeeded in passing a bill a day in the first week of Parliament this time. Though the Opposition is trying to make it difficult for the government to push the insurance bill, five legislations were passed by the Lok Sabha and three by the Rajya Sabha in four sittings of the session. Of these, three, including the labour laws, have been passed by both Houses. This is in sharp contrast to the winter session of last year, when only the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill were passed out of the 29 bills listed for consideration and passing by both houses. At the end of the session, 126 Bills were pending before the parliament. The Lok Sabha worked for only six per cent (four-and-a-half hours) of the scheduled time and the Rajya Sabha just 19 per cent (11.24 hrs). In the coinciding period of 2012, only six of the 25 bills listed for the winter session by the then UPA government could be passed by both Houses. At the end of the session, disrupted over 104 bills remained pending before Parliament. With a heavy legislative agenda of 37 bills for the session, the BJP-led government is trying to accommodate some concerns of the Congress, like it did in the Delhi Police Special Establishment bill, government sources said. Besides, the government is also agreeing to debates being sought by Opposition to ensure time is not wasted in disruptions, they said. Both Houses debated the black money issue and a discussion on communal violence is likely next week. The Congress, the main opposition party, has been adopting different strategies in Parliament—walking out on some bills in Lok Sabha and supporting in Rajya Sabha. Sources said the confusion within the Congress has helped the government, which is in minority in the Upper House. However, question hour continued to be disrupted, particularly in the Rajya Sabha. Despite change in time of Question Hour in the Upper House, it functioned only five per cent of the time because of uproar over issues like black money and renaming Rajiv Gandhi airport in Hyderabad. In the Lower House, Question Hour functioned on two days, utilising 50 per cent of the time. In terms of productivity, Lok Sabha worked for 86% of its scheduled time as of Thursday, while Rajya Sabha worked for 81%. One bill—higher education and research bill which was brought in the UPA regime– was withdrawn with the government planning to bring a revised legislation.

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Winter session of Parliament: A bill a day so far