The budget session of the parliament is over. While the Narendra Modi-led NDA government failed to pass crucial bills like the Land Acquisition Bill and the Goods and Services Tax Bill, a lot happened in the last month. Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu called it the busiest session in the past decade.
That might be a slight exaggeration, but it surely was among the most productive sessions in the last five years. Here are five significant things that happened:
1. For the first time, a private members' bill — Rights of Transgender Persons' Bill — was passed in the Rajya Sabha unanimously.
2. The Lok Sabha met 35 times, the highest in the last five years. One reason is that the session was extended by three days in an effort to pass important legislation.
3. The two houses considered 24 bills in this session, the highest in the last five years. The Lok Sabha passed 23 bills, and the Rajya Sabha 24. Among them were an amended Companies Act, the Black Money bill that seeks to recover unaccounted wealth in accounts abroad, the Constitutional Amendment bill that ratified the land boundary accord with Bangladesh after 41 years, the Insurance Amendment Bill, giving foreign companies the opportunity to expand their stake in joint ventures, and the Mines and Minerals bill.
4. In terms of hours of work, several hours were lost to disturbances and adjournments, but parliament recovered much of it by working through lunch hours and extending work beyond scheduled closing. Rajya Sabha lost 18 hours and 28 minutes of work but recovered 20.
5. The session will also be known for what was not passed. Such bills include the Land Bill, which was referred to a joint committee of parliament, and the GST and Real Estate bills which are now with select committees in the Rajya Sabha.