|But govt’s ambitionless|
|Tuesday, 02 August 2011 00:00|
Before a Parliament session opens, it is customary for the parliamentary affairs ministry to issue a list of Bills the government expects to steer through the House. But the debris from the last session and the subsequent toss-up has been so rough on the government that the ministry has abandoned its usual practice and instead issued a terse release saying the Lokpal Bill has generated debate and some other Bills are being readied for introduction or passage. In effect, it is going in with zero expectations from the 26-day session. The government, fully aware that the Budget session was a disaster from a legislative point of view, is taking no chances. The problem with such a minimalist position is that it almost hands over the responsibility of making Parliament function to the opposition parties. There is a huge swathe of Bills pending before each House and several more are yet to be tabled.
One of the strands of the policy paralysis argument against the government also echoes this score. Sure, constant disruptions and adjournments have already led to the wastage of considerable time, with the number of hours lost going up from around 24 hours in the second session of the current Lok Sabha to a peak level of 124 hours in the winter session last year. Almost every sector has a key Bill pending. Yet, in the Budget session, only 14 of the 35 Bills listed for introduction could be taken up and only 10 of the 34 Bills listed for consideration could be passed. The first indication of the Bills that the government will consider for passage came only on Monday night in finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s chat with the industry captains. Among the important government Bills not taken up, though listed for consideration and passing, are the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2009 and the Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill 2010 that raises the retirement age of judges.