Venkaiah presents ‘report to people’

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Says the performance of the Rajya Sabha during NDA’s tenure rankles him

On the last day of the 16th Lok Sabha session on Wednesday, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu presented a “report to the people”, citing statistics that highlighted the below-par performance of the Upper House and asserting that there was a need for legislatures to be accountable.

His closing remarks at the end of the Budget Session come at a time when questions are being raised on the utility of the Rajya Sabha. The Upper House has been problematic for the BJP government, stalling many of its Bills.

Mr. Naidu said the performance of Rajya Sabha rankled. “This Session being the last one before the general election, we need to know as to what extent this august House lived up to its role and responsibilities,” he said.

Mr. Naidu said that since June 2014, the Rajya Sabha held 18 sessions and 329 sittings till date and passed 154 Bills — which comes to less than one Bill in two sittings. The legislative output of the Rajya Sabha during the Modi regime has been far lower than during the UPA years. In 2009-2014, it cleared 188 Bills and in 2004-09 it cleared 251 Bills.

In contrast, since 2014, the Upper House has been unable to function for 40% of its allotted time due to disruptions.

This session would have ended up without clearing any Bill if five Bills had not been cleared on Wednesday without any discussion.

According to Mr. Naidu, out of 48 hours in the Budget session, the house functioned only for eight hours.

“Obstruction of proceedings can’t be allowed to emerge as the preferred form of parliamentary expression substituting informed debates,” he added.

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