New Delhi: Although the government has said the budget session of Parliament was successful, some opposition parties on Friday alleged that the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has been ineffective in utilizing the session, which lasted more than a month, to carry forward its legislative business as well as the development agenda.
As the budget session of the 15th Lok Sabha ended on Friday, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said that the session passed eight new laws, including the pathbreaking Right to Education Act, besides the general and railway budgets. “The quality of the debates also has been improved. The opposition chose to walk out to register their protests rather than disrupting the house proceedings,” Bansal told reporters.
Legislative business: Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar. Madhu Kapparath / Mint
The budget session, which had 26 sittings in 37 days, has just lost 18 hours and 27 minutes due to disruptions and adjournments. According to Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, although the Lok Sabha lost 23 hours and 34 minutes due to interruptions, it sat late for 30 hours and 52 minutes to transact important financial and other business.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s L.K. Advani, leader of the Opposition, alleged that the session, which began on 2 July, was an “unending embarrassment” for the Congress party led alliance.
During the session the UPA government was accused of compromising national interests in a joint statement signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani. The statement, made at a summit in Egypt, had de-linked composite dialogue with Pakistan, which was halted after the 26 November Mumbai terror attacks, with action against terror and also included a reference to the trouble-hit Balochistan.
“Never in my long parliamentary career have I seen a newly elected government bungling so badly in the first two months of its existence,” Advani told reporters.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said that the government did not make use of the “immense opportunities” it had to pass important legislation on food security and to provide women 33% reservation in Parliament and state legislative assemblies.