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Parliament logjam wasted over Rs 146 crore!

Last updated on: December 13, 2010 18:09 IST

Parliament logjam wasted over Rs 146 crore!

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The 2G spectrum scam may have caused a colossal loss to the national exchequer, but the standoff between the government and opposition over it has resulted in the further wastage of over Rs 146 crore as the entire Winter Session of the Parliament was virtually washed out.

The Winter Session began on November 9 and since a day after it, the entire Opposition has been hell-bent on demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into 2G spectrum allocation, which is believed to have resulted in losses to the tune of Rs 1.74 lakh crore.

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Image: The Winter Session of the Parliament house (in the picture) was completely washed out over opposition's consistent demand for a JPC probe in 2G scam, and the government's firm denial to it
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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Parliament couldn't function for more than 10 mins per day on average

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The government has, however, refused to yield to the demand, leading to a deadlock because of which Parliament was unable to function for more than 10 minutes per day on an average.

According to official figures, the total budget for Lok Sabha for the current fiscal year is Rs 347.65 crore while it is Rs 172.33 crore for the Rajya Sabha.

The Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs, responsible for the functioning of Parliament, also has a separate budget of Rs 7.47 crore, taking the combined allocation to Rs 527.45 crore.


Image: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj (in the picture) has played a crucial role in the logjam
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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Rs 146.05 cr spent without transacting any substantive business

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This includes salaries and other allowances of MPs, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of both the Houses, the expenditure incurred for the member's foreign visits and meeting the expenses for foreign delegations visiting India.

In a year, Parliament meets thrice -- for the Budget, Monsoon and Winter session. As per the business schedule of both the Houses, there should be a total of 83 sittings this financial year -- 35 sittings during the Budget session and 24 each in the other two sessions.

This means, on average the government is spending Rs 6.35 crore per day to run the institution. As the Winter session was adjourned sine die on Monday, the 23rd consecutive working day also ended without transaction of any business.

This makes it clear that Rs 146.05 crore were spent without Parliament transacting any substantive business like Question Hour, debates and other legislative business.


Image: PM Dr Singh walks out of the Parliament with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal (right) and Junior Minister V Narayanswamy
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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The 'edifice of democracy' hits an all time low

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This earned the Winter session the dubious record of being washed out virtually in its entirety. Parliament could function barely for a few hours during the 23 sittings which began on November 9, as the united opposition forced adjournments almost everyday, within minutes of assembling.

The other times when Parliament witnessed such continuous protests were in 2001 and way back in 1987. In 2001, there was a 17-day deadlock in Parliament over the Tehelka scam, while in 1987, it was the Bofors scandal that wasted 45 days of business in both Houses.


Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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