Monsoon Session of Parliament (LS), 2021 – A Report

The Monsoon Session of Parliament 2021 has scheduled to be held between July 19, and August 13, amid the pandemic. The session was expected to have 19 sitting, as there were 38 pending bills, 9 were listed for consideration, and 17 were listed for introduction, clause by clause consideration, and passing. Regardless, only 15 were introduced in the monsoon session qua the session was reportedly the third least productive session that Parliament has ever had in recent past two decades.

Notably, the Monsoon Session concluded two days ahead (11th August) of the scheduled date (13th August) as it was tumultuous. Amidst squabbles and frequent disruptions, both the houses were adjourned sine die.

Monsoon Session: Total Worked Hours

The Parliament saw remarkably low productivity this time, both in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

The Lok Sabha was scheduled to be on board for six hours per day for 19 days. However, the session has functioned only for 21 hours and 14 minutes out of quorum of scheduled 96 working hours (merely 22% productivity). It was the lowest encountered number of working hours since the 2016 winter session.

The Rajya Sabha rendezvoused for 112 hours between the scheduled days but worked only for 25 hours over 19 days.

No. Of Bills that have been introduced throughout the Monsoon session:

Reiteratively, 15 bills were introduced in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, there are as follows,

  1. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill,2021
  2. The National Commission for Homoeopathy (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  3. The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  4. The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  5. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021
  6. The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021
  7. The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  8. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
  9. The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  10. The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021
  11. The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021
  12. The Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  13. The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  14. The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021
  15. The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021

Bills That Were Passed

All the bills that have been introduced in this session were passed; in Total, 20 bills were passed. Reportedly, none of the bills introduced in this particular session was sent for the review of the parliamentary committee. Lok Sabha cleared 18 bills and of which 15 were passed without any member participating in the deliberation. The average discussion time on the bills was recorded at 34 minutes in Lok Sabha, whereas, in Rajya Sabha, it was 45 minutes.

Amongst all the bills, an extensive discussion for about an hour was held on ‘The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021.’

The opposition complained that the union was ‘bulldozing’ the bills and the session since twelve of the bills were passed hurriedly by voice vote within the first ten days of the session.  

Starred Questions That Were Answered Throughout The Session

Out of raised 320 starred questions, 66 were orally answered. But again, this is only 20% of the total. In Lok Sabha, the question hour was 35% progressive, whereas, in Rajya Sabha, it was only 25%.

Apropos the nature of the questions, the session begins with the aftermath of the Pegasus spying scandal, but, witnessed a lot of disruption from the opposition members as they were raising anti-government slogans, showed placards insisting on the repeal of the three farms bills, and demanding a wide-ranging debate on the mentioned Pegasus snooping issue.

Parliament Monsoon Session Highlights (Lok Shaba)

Day 1 – July 19, 2021

  • Reiteratively, because of the routine disruption from the members of the opposition parties on the first day of the Monsoon Session, Parliament ceased the zero hours.
  • In Lok Shaba, newly appointed Minister for Electronics and IT Mr. Ashwini Vaishnay addressed the news reports encapsulating the Pegasus issue. He said that “the company (Pegasus) whose technology was allegedly used has denied these claims outrightly, and reiterated that there are well-established procedures in the country to ensure that unauthorised surveillance cannot occur.”
  • The Ministry of finance apprised Lok Shaba of the announcement that sufficient financial aid i.e. Rs. 489 crore has been allocated to 9 private industries by the department of biotechnology to facilitate their research in developing the Covid-19 vaccine.

Day 2 – July 20, 2021

  • Question hour and zero hour were again unattended since both houses were adjourned repeatedly.
  • Irrespective of continuous interruptions, the Finance Minister proposed the supplementary budget of 2021-22. It did seek the additional cash outgo of Rs. 23, 675 crores. Notably, in the previous year’s supplementary budget (2020-21), the additional cash sought by the government was Rs. 1.67 lakh Crore.

Day 3 – July 22, 2021

  • And again, the Zero and the question hour have not functioned in the Parliament for the third consecutive day. However, one question was raised but promptly adjourned because of the constant disruption.
  • Amidst the disruption, two bills were introduced in the house. One is The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, which replaces an Ordinance that is being implemented. About 70,000 people are working at 41 government-owned ordnance factories around India. This bill aimed to prevent the contingencies like strikes, lay-offs, and lay-outs. And another is The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 that endeavors to replace the 100 years old 1917 Inland Vessels Act. This bill intends to fulfill our PM’s vision to promote ease of business by reinforcing the user-friendly legislative scheme.
  • Narayan Rane, Minister of MSME informed Lok Sabha that, pursuant to the scheme of the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme, banks have been disbursed loans for generating employment to an estimated 6,78,344 people to 84, 793 micro-units. Notably, since the outset of PMEGP in 2008-09, the aforementioned is the top-tier performance under its scheme amidst the ongoing pandemic.
  • Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports informed Lok Sabha that in pursuance of the Khelo India Scheme a total of 272 infrastructure projects have been sanctioned between 2017 and 2021. Of these, 60 projects have been completed, while the rest has not.

Day 4 – July 23 – 2021

  • PP Chaudhary was appointed as the Chairperson of the committee, which examines the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. A further time extension was granted to the committee and directed to submit the report in Parliament during the first week of the forthcoming winter session.
  • During the parliamentary question hour, the government affirmed that it is not planning to implement the two-child policy.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed the house when Shri Rahul Gandhi probed on vaccine availability. He said that so far a total of Rs. 9,725.15 crore has been on the COVID-19 vaccination program that includes both the procurement and operational cost.

Day 5 – July 26- 2021

  • The IBC (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Lok Shaba.
  • The Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was passed in 13 minutes, and the National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021, was passed in 6 minutes without any debate.

Day 6 – July 27 – 2021

  • As the Lok Sabha had functioned only 10% of the scheduled time, the Question hour and zero hour were partly utilized by the members, where they raised and reopened several issues.
  • Shri Ramdas Athawale, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment informed Lok Shaba while a question that inquires about the adopted governmental measures in addressing the issue of manual scavenging was posed. He apprised that a survey has identified 58,098 individuals working as manual scavengers in our country. Of these, all eligible persons have been paid one-time cash assistance and released from this work, 16,057 persons have been provided skill development training for alternative livelihoods, and 1,387 beneficiaries have been provided capital subsidy for self-employment projects.
  • Financial assistance of Rs. 1500 was provided through DBT to 5, 938 transgender persons who have lost their livelihood resulting from the pandemic, throughout 2020, the number of benefited persons was 6,940. Besides, the certificates of identity and ID cards have been issued to 1,804 transgender applicants through the National Portal for Transgender Persons (https://transgender.dosje.gov.in/), said the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Day 7 – July 28– 2021

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was passed in five minutes.
  • The aforementioned granted supplementary demand for the financial year of 2021 –22 was discussed and voted on. It is pertinent to note that the proposed supplementary budget that seeks an outlay of Rs. 23,675 crore is an increase of 0.7% in expenditure over the budget estimate.
  • The Minister of Law and Justice was asked about bringing forward a Women’s Representation Bill providing 33% reservation for women in Parliament and State Legislatures. The Minister replied that the issue needs careful consideration on the basis of the consensus among all political parties before a Bill for amendment in the Constitution is brought before Parliament.

Day 8 – July 29– 2021

  • Two bills were passed without discussion.
  • The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  • The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021
  • The Ministry of law and justice informed that 640 fast-track special courts and 338 POCSO courts are actively functioning to deal with the pending court cases related to rape under IPC and other child sex crimes under POCSO. Collectively, as of May 2021, 50,484 cases have been disposed of by these courts.

Day 9 – July 30– 2021

  • Both the houses were adjourned early in the afternoon after introducing four bills and passing one.
  • Starred question No. 173 related to blood banks was asked by Shri Harish Dwivedi. While answering that question, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, the Minister of health and family welfare notified that there are 3500 licensed blood banks in India. As per the scheme of national blood policy, each district should have one licensed blood bank. Regardless, 63 districts do not even have a single licensed blood bank.

Day 10 to 16 (August 2 to 10)- 2021

  • The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 was introduced.
  • While addressing one of the questions inquiring about the facilities in government schools, the Minister of education, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan informed that 30,781 government schools in India do not have access to drinking water.
  • Three members of the Lok Sabha were appointed to the joint parliamentary committee on The Data Protection Bill, 2019.
  • The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, and the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021, were passed.
  • To meet the rising need for decent rental housing at an affordable rate. The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has initiated Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs), a sub-scheme under Pradhan Mantri AWAS Yojana- Urban (PMAY-U), targeting the migrant workers and urban poor people of the country. In Lok Sabha, the ministry informed that 2,588 houses across the country have been converted into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes.
  • The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, were introduced.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child development apprised Lok Sabha that offences committed by the caretakers in juvenile homes and orphanages against children had increased dramatically in recent past years.
  • The Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021 was discussed and passed in Lok Sabha with 43 Members from both the treasury and opposition benches had taken part in the discussion.
  • The National Commission for Homoeopathy (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed without discussion. The LLP (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the DICGC (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were also passed.

Speaker Om Birla said that running the House was a “collective responsibility” and members holding placards and raising slogans was not in accordance with the Parliamentary tradition –Times of India

Nemine contradicente, the Monsoon session has not gone well, but still, it was reportedly productive between 22% and 28%. The above-mentioned are the overall functions discharged by the Parliament, especially the Lok Shaba.

References:

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Snegapriya V S

A third-year student of law at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT School of Law), budding first-generation lawyer cum legal researcher with multiple publications in various web journals and portals on different subject matters of law in issue. Being a zealous-natured person with thoughts enrooted in epistemophilia has boosted my passion for research writings by interpreting diversified legal facets. As a perceptive observer and reader, I pay greater attention to the overlooked legal fields where divergent challenges might arise, that include cyber law, environmental law, consumer law, and several constitutional provisions. Besides, I prioritize construing legal problems with social psychology. My dream and vision are to catch myself as a skilled legal adroit.

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