19 Hours Wasted, RS Session Ends


New Delhi:  The session of Rajya Sabha came to an end today after passing 12 bills and wasting 19 hours due to disruptions over various issues like imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand and AgustaWestland helicopter deal controversy.

The session, which began on April 25, was adjourned sine die after bidding farewell to 53 retiring members on the last day.

In his valedictory address, Chairman Hamid Ansari said the session was “short and challenging” and that the members had “shown an extraordinary ability to debate and dissent, to accommodate and differ amidst their political compulsions and ideological positions”.

He said 12 bills were passed or returned, which demonstrated the desirability of careful deliberation through available instrumentalities and the benefits accruing from it.

The major legislations approved included the Finance Bill and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill. However, the GST bill, which is facing stiff resistance from opposition Congress, remained pending and was not even listed during the session.

“Notwithstanding the fact that a good amount of both Legislative and non-legislative work was transacted, the proceedings of the House were occasionally disrupted,” he said.

The House of Elders met for 69 hours but more than 19 hours were lost due to disruptions over issues like political crisis in Uttarakhand, allegations of bribery and corruption in Agusta Westland chopper seal, alleged lynching of Muslims in Jharkhand, anomalies and irregularities pointed out in the CAG Report in KG Basin Gas Project of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation among others.

Issues relating to train carrying empty tankers sent by the government to drought-hit Bundelkhand and reported remarks by the Prime Minister against leaders of UPA in the Agusta Westland deal at an election rally in Tamil Nadu also led to disruptions.

The House, however, sat late for more than 10 Hours to complete legislative and other important business.

While the session of the Lok Sabha was brought to an end two days back, the Rajya Sabha stuck to its schedule of today.

The session also saw the resignation of industrialist Vijay Mallya, who is embroiled in a major controversy related to his debt of over 9,000 crore and has left the country.

The legislations approved also included the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, the Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, the Appropriation (Railways) No.2 Bill, the Anti Hijacking Bill, the Appropriation (No. 2) Bill, the Finance Bill, the Rajendra Central Agricultural University Bill and the Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill.

The Enforcement of Security Interest and recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was referred to the Joint Committee of both the Houses.

During the Session, 6 Private Member’s Bills were introduced in the House. One Private Member’s Bill namely ‘The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2015’ was taken up for discussion, which remained inconclusive.

The issues regarding need to strengthen the provisions of Indian Penal Code and other laws to protect girls and women from sexual exploitation and to make other welfare measures for their empowerment, and to abolish capital punishment in the country, were discussed through Private Members’ Resolutions.

“The House welcomed 13 newly-elected/re-elected members from the States of Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Nagaland, Punjab and Tripura and 6 newly-nominated members and bid farewell to 53 members whose term of office would expire in the months of June and July,” Mr Ansari said.

Giving details, he said that during the Session, 81 Zero Hour submissions were made, 225 Starred Questions and 2391 Unstarred Questions were answered. Of these, 61 were orally answered and another 227 Supplementaries were also raised.