According to PRS Legislative Research (PRS), an organisation that tracks the work of Indian parliament and state legislatures and provides research back-up to MPs, among the lower houses of parliament which completed their full five year term, the current Lok Sabha passed only 165 bills in five years till the 2013 winter session which ended Dec 18.
In contrast, the first Lok Sabha (1952-1957) passed 333 bills in five years.
“This Lok Sabha has been one of the most ineffective. Frequent disruptions impacted parliament functioning,” Shreya Singh of PRS Legislative Research, told IANS. “Key social, financial, educational and anti-corruption legislations will lapse when the term of this Lok Sabha ends,” she said.
Elections for a new house will likely be held April-May next year. Of the 126 bills pending in parliament, 72 pending in the Lok Sabha would lapse when the lower house is dissolved in a few months. However, the 54 bills pending in the Rajya Sabha would remain alive as the upper house tenure continues. The government is keen to pass some of the bills pending in the Lok Sabha related to curbing corruption, as highlighted by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, and key reform bills related to insurance and pension sector.
The only opportunity available to the government to do any legislative business would be the budget session scheduled February next year, which is expected to be a short one as there will only be an interim budget before the Lok Sabha polls in April-May and the formation of a new government.
After Rahul Gandhi’s plea Dec 18 in the Lok Sabha that the winter session should be extended to pass the pending anti-graft bills, Congress sources indicated the government is open to consulting the opposition parties to either reconvene the winter session or call a special one. “We have only adjourned the house sine die, not prorogued it,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said after parliament was adjourned Dec 18 indicating the thought within the government. But the Congress will have to convince other parties also and is likely to consult them in the new year.
“Anything on a special session can be said only after consulting the various parties,” Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar told IANS while not ruling it out.
The winter session of parliament Dec 5 to 18 was a complete washout with just one legislation, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, passed in both houses, one bill passed in the Lok Sabha and six other bills introduced in both houses. The 2013 winter session was the worst session of the 15th Lok Sabha after the winter session in 2010, said PRS.