After a washed-out Budget session, Parliament all set to convene again
With its neglect in the last four years as a running theme, Parliament is all set to convene once again with a heavy legislative agenda. The Monsoon Session of Parliament will start Wednesday (18 July) and will carry on until 10 August, with a total of 18 sittings.
An all-party meeting chaired, strangely, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held Tuesday morning where all parties reportedly aired the respective concerns that they would like to raise during the session.
After the meeting, the PM and his team tried to create an impression that this session could witness greater understanding and co-operation between the treasury as well as Opposition benches.
However, that seems unlikely as the political relationship between the two sides is as hostile right now as it was during the Budget Session. Indeed, at least one of the opposition leaders minced no words in saying that Parliament will not function if their demands are not met.
Samajwadi Party’s Ramgopal Yadav asserted unequivocally that the Opposition will not allow the House to function till an assurance was given by the government on reservation to SCs and STs in higher education.”
This exchange will continue at the all-party meeting called by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan later today, but it is unlikely that a compromise formula will emerge. If Parliament continues to function like before, legislative agenda will continue to be heavily impacted.
There are 68 Bills pending as of now, of which, 25 are listed for consideration and passage, according to think-tank PRS Legislative Research. These include:
- The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018
- The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017
- The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016
- The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
A total of 18 new Bills are listed for introduction, consideration, and passage. These include:
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018
- The Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2018
- The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018
- The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018
- The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018
Parliament has been having an especially bad run, under Modi’s watch. In terms of the number of sittings, 2017 was possibly the worst year ever for Parliament, with a paltry 57 sittings. In contrast, 2016 saw 70 sittings and 2015 saw 72. This made 2017 the worst year on this count, at least since 1999.