Democracy at work
The first Parliament session after the Lok Sabha elections redefined normal. Not just big bills but the number of bills passed also made for a remarkable feature of the just-concluded budget session of Parliament which saw a record number of bills being passed in both the Houses. Working for 281 hours which is 135 per cent of the scheduled hours, Lok Sabha managed to pass 36 bills while at 105 per cent productivity, Rajya Sabha passed 31 bills which is staggering compared to 33 bills being passed during its last five sessions. Both speakers of the House acknowledged the high functioning capacity on display as the Houses were adjourned sine die. A remarkable 28 bills were passed by both Houses which is the most in the last 10 years for a single session and that amounts to increased productivity by the parliamentarians. Numbers aside, the nature of bills in the fray was also something to take note of as some very important bills were tabled and discussed before being passed amongst which was the contentious Triple Talaq Bill, J&K Reorganisation Bill, RTI (Amendment) Bill, etc. These bills pose a direct impact on the social fabric of society and it was important for the legislature to proactively debate over those. But more than the quantity, it is the quality which matters and hence, the importance of having a thorough discussion over those was non-negotiable. Prime Minister Modi even urged members to be present in the respective Houses to tend to legislative business which has turned out to be one of the best in recent times. Though it must be noted that none of the bills were sent to any Select or Standing Committee even as the opposition reminded the House of the same. Some controversial bills such as the NMC or RTI (Amendment) created ruckus in the House and social discussions outside Parliament showcased the need for further scrutiny by a Committee but that did not materialise and the bills were passed nevertheless. Discounting the exception of not sending any bill to further discussion, Parliamentary proceedings yielded a big plus when it came to the variety of bills being introduced and consequentially passed for betterment of social affairs. Though Parliament's budget session was extended to cater to pending bills, the kind of efficiency augurs well for the country, especially to keep up with changing times which bring in the need to amend old laws and draft new ones as and when required. The pace signifies a healthy and highly efficient democracy at work!