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Parl lost 106 hrs in winter session due to disruptions

December 20, 2012 20:07 IST

Parliament lost over 106 hours during the month-long Winter session which was marred by turmoil over issues like FDI and quota in promotions, but managed to pass some key legislations including banking reforms bill.

Much of the time of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha was wasted because of uproar over FDI in multi-brand retail, over which government finally emerged victorious in voting after marathon debate with the support of BSP and SP.

BSP had apparently extended support as a quid pro quo for passage of a bill for providing quota to SCs/STs in government job promotions, but it could not fructify as the proposed legislation was cleared by only Rajya Sabha and blocked in Lok Sabha by SP and BJP.

The effort to get the quota bill passed in the Lok Sabha saw yet another low in parliamentary democracy as an SP member snatched the bill from the minister and tore it.

Altogether Lok Sabha lost 59 hours, while 47 hours were wasted in the Upper House because of disruptions over various issues.

Rajya Sabha also had its share of high drama when BSP supremo Mayawati attacked Chairman Hamid Ansari stunning the House. However, the next day she expressed full faith and respect for the Chair.

In the Rajya Sabha, Question Hour could be conducted only on eight days due to continued disruptions which even prompted an agitated Ansari to suggest that it should be either scrapped for shifted to some other part of the day.

Only 43 starred questions could be answered orally of the listed 400 questions.

In the Lok Sabha, 400 starred questions were listed, out of which only 49 could be answered orally. "This on an average about 2.45 questions could be answered per day, which you will agree is extremely low," Speaker Meira Kumar said as the session, which began on November 22, came to an end.

Despite loss of much time, Parliament managed to pass a key reform legislation in the form of Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012, and Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012.

Parliament also cleared the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2012, which expands the definition of terrorism to include offences that threaten India's economic security including circulation of counterfeit currency.

The Companies Bill, which seeks to further improve corporate governance by replacing an archaic law, remained incomplete as it could not be passed by Rajya Sabha even after the Lok Sabha cleared it.

Parliament unanimously approved a Constitution amendment bill providing for special status to six backward districts of erstwhile Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Karnataka.

As the session was coming to an end, a shocking gang-rape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi stirred Parliament with MPs coming together to demand death penalty for the culprits and steps to ensure safety of women.

During the session, the Home Minister also called Pakistan's bluff when he said the Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was never arrested in connection with the 2008 carnage even though Interior Minister Rehman Malik had made such a claim.

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