NEW DELHI -- On Thursday, President Pranab Mukherjee made some observations on the functioning of the house in an uncharacteristic outburst.
"For God's sake, do your job," he said, while giving a speech on electoral reforms.
It was not just the frustration of the repeated disruptions in Parliament since the winter session began on 16 November. It was the very real possibility that the current session, with less than a week's worth of working days to go, might be a complete washout.
Both houses of the Parliament have functioned for less than a fifth of their scheduled time in the first three-and-a-half weeks this winter session. While the Lok Sabha remained in session for only 16% of the time, MPs at the Rajya Sabha worked for 19% of the time, according to data from Delhi-based think-tank PRS Legislative Research. The Upper House's marginally better showing is only because of an extremely productive session on the first day of the winter session.
If this trend continues, this could easily be the worst session of the Indian Parliament since the winter session of 2013, when constant disruptions over various issues reduced the productivity in both the houses to 6% and 19%. The Upper House, where the BJP government does not enjoy a majority unlike at the Lok Sabha, had poor productivity in the monsoon session of 2015. At the time, it functioned for only 9% of its allotted time, plagued by several scams. Data for the monsoon session of 2014, which was marred by several protests against the announcement of Telangana state, was not available.
As per data compiled by PRS, the winter session of 2010 was the only one worse than the winter session of 2013. That year, the Lok Sabha functioned for only 6% of the time, while the Rajya Sabha's productivity was at 19%. This winter, the Parliament is likely to beat it's own record. Both the houses on Friday were adjourned till 14 December, leaving only three days of work remaining before the session ends.
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