New Delhi, Sept 6: The month-long Monsoon session of Parliament that began on August 8 has been one of the least productive sessions by far with protests over Assam violence, CAG report on coal blocks allocation and finally the Bill over SC/ST quota in job promotions stalling the proceedings. No business could be transacted for days due to the daily ritual of slogan shouting and rushing to the Well of the House finally resulting in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha being adjourned sine die on Friday.
In one of the most unparliamentary conduct inside the House, two Rajya Sabha MPs - Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agarwal and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Avtar Singh Karimpuri - came to blows over the SC/ST quota bill. This incident perhaps sums up the monsoon session and showed that MPs were more interested in oneupmanship, and not in serious discussion and legislative business.
While 30 bills were listed for passage during the session, only four could be passed amidst the din. Rajya Sabha Chairperson Hamid Ansari said, "62 hours of the House have been wasted in the uproar."
The CAG report on coal blocks allocation alone stalled Parliament for 13 days as the Opposition MPs demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation in both the Houses even as the government stuck to its stand of a debate on the issue.
The political parties are now blaming each other for the disappointing washout of the Monsoon session. "We tried our best to run Parliament, the Opposition didn’t let Parliament function," Law Minister Salman Khurshid said.
The Monsoon session began with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding a discussion and action against those responsible for the communal violence in Assam’s Kokrajhar, that left lakhs of people displaced. When the discussion on the issue began in Parliament, the Opposition attacked the government in the House.
Things got worse when senior BJP leader LK Advani used an ’objectionable’ term for the UPA II government and was forced to withdraw it later. The most unexpected reaction came from Congress President Sonia Gandhi who got agitated and asked her MPs to react to Advani’s statement.
While the BJP leaders blamed the violence on Bangladeshi migrants, the government replied assuring action against the culprits.
Parliament also saw minor disruptions with Sikh MPs demanding action after the firing incident in the Winsconsin gurudwara in the US. The exodus of Northeast Indians from various cities also disrupted Parliament proceedings.
On August 14, Parliament saw another day of no work with an uproar over the violence in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan. The Rajya Sabha saw BJP leader Balbir Punj slamming the Mumbai protests as "intelligence failure". The protests against the Kokrajhar violence in Mumbai had turned violent as demonstrators went on a rampage mode, vandalising buses, torching media vans and pelting stones at the police on August 11.
However, the exodus of Northeast Indians continued to stall Parliament. But there were discussions with MPs saying they were united this time.
The biggest blow in Parliament came on August 17, when the CAG reports on coal blocks allocation, power and aviation was tabled. The CAG report on coal said that the coal blocks allocations scam was much bigger than the 2G scam. According to the report, the coal allocations caused the exchequer a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore, much bigger than what the 2G scam cost.
Thereafter, both Houses had the MPs shouting slogans against Manmohan Singh, who was the Coal Minister from 2006 to 2009. While Prime Minister manmohan Singh replied to the CAG report in Parliament, slamming the CAG, the Opposition wasn’t impressed ad continued to demand his resignation.
Towards the fag end of the session, the cornered government introduced the SC/ST Quota Bill for promotion in jobs on September 5, with an aim to divert attention from coalgate. However, the BJP refused to deter and continued to demand the Prime Minister’s resignation.
Only four bills including the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill and the AIIMS Amendment Bill. were passed during the Monsoon session, that had 30 bills pending. Of 15 bills listed for introduction, just five were introduced.
Of the 108 hours that the Lok Sabha was scheduled to meet, it worked for just 24 hours and Rajya Sabha worked for 26 of 90 hours. Sushil Kumar Shinde was appointed as the Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha after Pranab Mukherjee became the President. However, he doesn’t seem to have impressed as the Leader. It now remains to be seen whether Parliament will be able to pass the pending bills in the Winter session.
Bills that were listed for passage in the Monsoon session:
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2012
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2011
The Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The Companies Bill, 2011
The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The National Highways Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The Warehousing Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Amendment Bill, 2011
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011
The National Academic Depository Bill, 2011
The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, 2011
The Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010
The Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2010
The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and University Bill, 2010
The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010
The Constitution (One Hundred and Tenth Amendment) Bill, 2009 (Reserves for women 50 per cent of seats in panchayats)
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011
The Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development Bill, 2011
The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011
The Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010
The Wakf (Amendment) Bill, 2010
The Tamil Nadu Legislative Council (Repeal) Bill, 2012
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The Mines (Amendment) Bill, 2011
The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, Bangalore Bill, 2010
The Architect (Amendment) Bill, 2010
The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010
Bill that were listed for Introduction, Consideration and Passing:
The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (Amendment) Bill, 2012 – To replace an Ordinance
Bills that were listed for Introduction:
The Agricultural Bio-Security Bill, 2012
The Armed Forces Tribunal (Amendment) Bill, 2012
The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2012
The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2012
The Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Amendment Bill, 2012
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2012 – relating to India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2012 – to establish separate Board for Hyderabad, Karnataka region (Gulbarga Div)
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012
The Governor’s (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Amendment Bill, 2012
The Indian Institute of Information of Technology Bill, 2012
The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2012
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012
The Rajasthan Legislative Council Bill, 2012
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2012
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vendors) Bill, 2012