Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die

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New Delhi, Mar 25 (PTI) Rajya Sabha was on Thursday adjourned sine die, 13 days ahead of its scheduled date of April 8, after the conclusion of the Budget session.

Several members of the House had earlier urged the government to curtail the sittings of the Budget session after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had tested positive for COVID-19.

During the session, the Upper House witnessed 'passionate and quality' debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's address and the Union Budget, said Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu in his valedictory remarks.

This is the second session of Parliament, which has been held during the pandemic, in which all COVID-related protocol and standard operating procedures were followed to conduct the session, he added.

'The budget session of this Parliament is adjourned sine die ahead of its schedule. Against a total of 33 sittings scheduled, from January 29 to April 8, we are concluding it after having 23 sittings,' said Naidu while delivering a brief account of the performance of Rajya Sabha during the session.

The Budget session provided the members of this house an opportunity to deliberate issues concerning economic growth and recovery, especially in the post-COVID phase, he said.

'This house functioned a total of 104 hours 23 minutes against the total scheduled time of 116 hours and 31 minutes during these 23 sittings,' Naidu said, adding that 'this in effect means that the productivity of the house, including both the parts of the Budget session, have been about 90 per cent'.

The productivity of the first part of the session was 99.6 per cent and the second part, which started on March 8 was about 85 per cent.

'A total of 21 hours and 26 minutes of the house has been lost due to disruption during this session,' he added.

However, he also said that the house sat 14 hours and 28 minutes beyond the time to complete the legislative and other business.

Over the legislative output, Naidu said Rajya Sabha has passed 19 bills during the session, which includes the Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill.

Around 34 hours and 4 minutes were spent on the discussion of the government bills, which comes around 42 per cent of the total functioning time of this house, spent on the legislative business.

'A total of 119 members participated in the discussion of the bills,' he said, adding that working of three important ministries - Jal Shakti, Railways; and Tourism - has been discussed for 11 hours and 13 minutes, which comes to about 11 per cent of the total functional time of the House.

Members raised a total of 273 issues of urgent public importance through 163 Zero Hour Submissions and 110 Special Mentions.

'The discussion on Motion of Thanks on the President's address took place four days, with a duration of 15 hours and 37 minutes with 50 members taking part in it. The Union Budget was discussed for 10 hours 43 minutes and three days with 45 members participating into it,' he said.

According to Naidu, high productivity was witnessed during the last four sessions, which continued in this session as well.

'As a result, overall productivity in the last four sessions and this session comes to 94 per cent,' he said while appealing to all the parties to maintain the positive momentum in the future also.

He also said that the house should strive to achieve 100 per cent productivity, knowing that it is functioning under extraordinary circumstances.

Meanwhile, the Upper House chairman also raised his concerns over issues such as less attendance of members and the duration of the meetings, which need further improvements.

'I urge all the party leaders to sensitise their members to take the Committee's work seriously given their importance and relevance in our parliamentary system in ensuring executive accountability on behalf of Parliament,' said Naidu.

People have a lot of expectations from the parliamentarians to guide on the issues concerning the pandemic, the revival of the economy, and the agenda of inclusive growth.

'Therefore, we should be guided by the mantra of 'debate, discuss and decide' and not disrupt. This is the only way forward in these challenging times,' he said.

Naidu also raised concerns over the surge in COVID-19 cases in some of the states and appealed to all the members to guide people to follow the guidelines issued by the central and state governments for containing the spread of the virus.

In the second part of the Budget session, both the houses started working simultaneously with relaxed social distancing norms.

In the first part of the Budget session, Rajya Sabha met in the first half of the day while Lok Sabha functioned in the afternoon session. PTI KRH KJ