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How to get Parliament to debate the Budget

The 2018 Budget session of India’s Parliament concluded recently, but the manner in which its business was conducted during these seven working weeks was depressing, to say the least.

This was the least productive Budget session in the past 18 years.

Even within the life of the current term of the 16th Lok Sabha, constituted in May 2014, the performance of the lower House in this Budget session was the worst.

The Lok Sabha sat from January 29 to April 6, with a short three-week recess in between, but worked for only 21 per cent of its scheduled time, according to data compiled by PRS Legislative Research.

This was much worse than the average productivity of the current Lok Sabha, which has so far worked for 85 per cent of its scheduled time.

The average productivity of the Rajya Sabha during the same period was little less at 68 per cent, but in the just-concluded Budget session the upper House worked for only 27 per cent of its scheduled time.

The time spent on discussing the Budget too was the lowest in the past 18 years.

Since 2000, on average, the Lok Sabha has been spending 53 hours to discuss the Union Budget and the Rajya Sabha has been devoting 23 hours.

But this year, the Lok Sabha spent 15 hours and 18 minutes to discuss and approve the Budget. And the Rajya Sabha spent just a little over 11 hours on the Budget.