Five Bills were passed by Lok Sabha, and three by Rajya Sabha this week. Three of these Bills now have the approval of both Houses. One Bill was withdrawn. In all, of the 37 Bills listed in the agenda for this Session, work on 33 is still left.
In terms of productivity, Lok Sabha worked for 86% of its scheduled time as of Thursday, while Rajya Sabha worked for 81%. The first day of sitting of Parliament was adjourned after obituary notices were read. Both Houses worked over time to make up for the time lost. Lok Sabha sat for over 7 hours on two days, while Rajya Sabha sat for over 8 hours on one day.
Question Hour was a casualty to disruptions this week. Despite the change in time of Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, it could not function for over a few minutes on any day- only four questions could be answered as of Thursday in the Upper House. In the Lower House, Question Hour functioned on two days, with 11 Questions answered as of Thursday. Productivity of Question Hour was 5% in Rajya Sabha and 50% in Lok Sabha.
The following Bills were passed this week:
· The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced and passed by Lok Sabha on November 26 and Rajya Sabha on November 27. This Bill makes two amendments- the first permits for the Leader of the single largest party in Lok Sabha, in the absence of a Leader of Opposition, to be in the selection committee for the appointment of the CBI Director. The second amendment states that the appointment of the CBI Director cannot be invalidated on the ground of absence or vacancy of any Member of the Selection Committee.
· The Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Amendment Bill, 2011, was passed by Rajya Sabha on November 25 and Lok Sabha on November 28. The Bill amends two Labour Laws to change the definition of small establishments, among other things.
· The Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014, was passed by Rajya Sabha on November 26. The Bill makes various changes to the Act regulating the training of apprentices in the country. This Bill had already been passed by Lok Sabha in the last Session and will become a law once it gets the President’s approval.
· The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Bill, 2014 was passed by Lok Sabha on November 26. The Bill declares four Indian Institutes of Information Technology as Institutes of National Importance.
· The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was passed by Lok Sabha on November 26. The Bill sets up a central university in Bihar, in addition to an existing one.
· The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was passed by Lok Sabha on November 27. This Bill adds communities in the list of scheduled castes in the states of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tripura. It also removes the Majhi community from the list in Sikkim.
The Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011 was withdrawn from Parliament on November 25.
Both Houses also extensively discussed the need to expedite the process of bringing back black money stashed abroad. The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley replied to the debate and gave account of the steps taken by the government to address the issue. Several parties stated that they were not satisfied by the Minister’s answer and walked out of Parliament.
In other happenings in Parliament this week, the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014, asked for an extension to present the report. The report of the Select Committee is now due in the second week of December.
Three weeks of the Winter Session are still remaining.