Rajya Sabha Chairman calls for sustaining the ‘new normal’ in Upper House

RSTV Bureau
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu ( RSTV Grab)

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu ( RSTV Grab)

The Budget Session of Rajya Sabha that concluded today proved to be the most productive in the last 20 years in various aspects of the functioning of the House.

Chairman of the Upper House M Venkaiah Naidu described the just concluded 249th Session of the House as a “Turn around from the disruptive past having reached a new normal” and appealed to all sections of the House not to return the old ways of persistent disruptions.

In his concluding remarks, Chairman Naidu said: “With great pleasure, I have a turn around story to report to all of you and the people of our country who have been patiently waiting for such a turn around in the form of a functional Housebreaking from the disruptive past.”

He presented this positive narrative of a new normal flowing from this Session of Rajya Sabha citing the following facts:

1. In terms of legislative output, the 249th Session with 32 Bills passed is the best of the 52 Sessions of the last 17 years and the fifth-best in the last 41 years. 35 Bills were passed during the 197th Session in 2002. The highest number of Bills passed in the last 41 years since 1978 was 37 Bills during 131 st session in 1984. Chairman Naidu noted that the turn around during this Session was quite evident when viewed against the passage of a total of only 33 Bills during the last 5 Sessions (244th to 248th ) with a total of 88 sittings.

2. With a total duration of 195 hours spent on transacting different kinds of Business during the 35 sittings, this Session turned out to be the best of 36 Sessions during the last 11 years, for which such data is maintained. The 217th Session in 2009 had a total Business time of 147 hours 27 minutes. During the last five sessions, only a total of 173 hours and 33 minutes was spent on transacting business.

3. With 35 sittings, this Session is the longest in the last 14 years. The 204th Session in 2005 had 38 sittings. Referring to different opinions expressed over the length of this Session, Chairman Naidu informed the House that since the inception of Rajya Sabha in 1952 and till 2013, Rajya Sabha had 30 or more sittings per Session 27 times of which 9 Sessions had 35 or more sittings. The longest Session since 1952 was the 9th Session in 1955 with as many as 50 sittings.

4. With a total of 151 Starred Questions orally answered, the 249th Session that concluded today is the best in the last 14 years after 45 Sessions. The earlier record being 165 such questions answered during the 204th Session in 2005. Chairman Naidu further informed that during the last 5 Sessions, a total of only 175 Starred Questions were answered during a total of 88 sittings highlighting the change in this Session.

5. With 40.27% of Starred Questions orally answered during this Session (151 of 175), it marked the best in the last 16 years and 51 Sessions. The 198th
Session in 2003 had logged 43.63%.

6. With 194 Special Mentions made, this Session is the best of the 12 Sessions in the last four years. 132 such submissions were made during the 237th
Session in 2015. A total of only 145 Special Mentions could be made during the last five Sessions (244th to 248th ).

7. With 326 Zero Hour submissions, the just concluded 249th Session turned out to be the best in the last 20 years spanning 63 Sessions for which such data is maintained. The next best in this regard being 205 such submissions during the 242 nd Session in 2017. During the last five Sessions, a total of only 241 Zero Hour submissions could be made over 88 sittings.

8. With productivity (utilisation of the available time) of 104.92%, this Session is the best of the last 17 Sessions with the House reporting 100% or more productivity for the first time in the last five years. The 232nd Session in 2014 reported 105.47% productivity. During the last 5 Sessions, the productivity of Rajya Sabha ranged from a low of 7.44% to a maximum of 65.60%.

The Chairman informed that during this Session, no Business was allowed to be transacted for a full two and a half days. The House has lost a total of 19 hours and 12 minutes of precious time due to disruptions but gained about 28 by sitting beyond the scheduled hours on 19 days.

As the Chairman narrated the turn around with facts, Members of the Hosue applauded several times by thumping on their desks.

Informing the House that the ruling alliance accounted for about 36% of issues of public importance raised through Zero Hour submissions and Special Mentions, Chairman Naidu pointed out that it is other parties that are most deprived of the opportunity of raising such issues in the House due to disruptions.

Chairman Naidu observed that during this Session, the Council of States stood up for the interests of the States as evident in the amendment made by the House to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill by changing the initial provision of ‘Consultations with the States’ to ‘Concurrence of the States’ and ensuring substantially enhanced representation of the States by passing an amendment to the National Medical Council Bill. (In addition, Government also agreed to amend POCO Act to make it applicable to violence caused by any natural calamity or in similar situations.)

Stating that the Upper House passed a range of important legislation in aid of socio-economic transformation, Chairman Naidu noted that the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill passed during this Session were truly historic which would.

He also pointed out that the wide divergence in the past in the number of Bills passed by the two Houses of Parliament has almost been wiped out this Session with Rajya Sabha passing 32 Bills as against 35 by Lok Sabha.

The Chairman also noted that with the 249th Session proving to be more productive, the negative coverage in the media has almost vanished and complimented the media for a wide coverage of the contents of Bills introduced and passed.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said, “Having reached a new normal in this Session, the task now before all of us is to sustain it without getting back to old ways.”

The Chairman complimented the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh for ably conducting the proceedings of the House when in the Chair.

Chairman Naidu especially appreciated some new members of Rajya Sabha for making an effective contribution to the proceedings of the House with adequate homework and raising issues of particular concern to the States.