Parliament is abdicating its oversight role

Source: The Hindu, TOI

Relevance: The article signifies how the frequent disruptions lead to improper functioning of the house

The recent session of Parliament: This session has ended abruptly, and before its scheduled date. This is the 4th straight session that ended ahead of its original schedule, other than the cancelled winter 2020 session. This led to non-discussion of various important issues like Chinese incursion into Ladakh, Farmers issue, Covid-19 response and strategy, Pegasus controversy etc

 Functioning of Parliament
  • Frequent disruption of both of the houses also affects its working timing. LS (Lok Sabha) works for just 19% of its scheduled time while RS (Rajya Sabha) for 26%
  • Out of 20 bills, 18 bills were passed without any discussion in LS apart from 1 bill on Schedule Tribes (Order) Amendment bill, which saw discussion of 15 minutes
  • Most of the bills were passed without any scrutiny as they were passed in the same session in which it was introduced.
  • During the 15th LS, 18% of bills were passed in the same session. In 16th LS, the count rose to 33%.
  • Also, there was no discussion in LS on any policy issue. In RS, only one discussion was seen related to the management of COVID.
Scrutiny of the bills

A sharp downward trend can be seen in referring the bill to Parliamentary committees. From 71% in 15th LS to 27% in 16th and 12% in the present one. In the current session, none of the 15 bills introduced were referred to any Parliamentary committee.

Even the amendment moved in RS, to refer the Tribunal Reform Bill to the selected committee, was rejected by the house.

Crucial Bills: Some important bills passed in the session (2021) are:

  1. 127th Amendment bill: Passed to allow states to frame their own OBC list for reservation. This negates the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment, which ordered only GOI can identify OBC groups. Also, 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
  2. The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021: It amended the Income Tax Act, 1961. It prevents the income tax department from raising tax demands retrospectively.
  3. General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Bill: It seeks to remove the mandatory requirement of the Central government holding not less than 51% of the equity capital in a specified insurer. It seeks to provide for greater private sector participation in the public sector insurance companies which are regulated under the Act.
  4. Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC Bill): It provides account holders access to up to Rs 5 lakh funds within 90 days of a bank coming under a moratorium.
  5. Tribunal Reforms Bill: It replaced an ordinance that specified the process of appointment of members and their tenures and service conditions
Way Forward

Rather than physical infrastructure for Parliament, we need to make the functioning of Parliament (the temple of democracy) more effective.

Terms to know

 

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