Rajya Sabha Spends 28% Time Making Laws, 40% On Matters Of Public Concern: Survey
The Parliament House stands in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Rajya Sabha Spends 28% Time Making Laws, 40% On Matters Of Public Concern: Survey

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The Rajya Sabha spends 40 percent of its functional time on deliberating issues of public importance, 32 percent on ensuring accountability of the executive and 28 percent in making laws, a survey has revealed.

This pattern of time use by the Upper House is an outcome of the analysis undertaken by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat for the 41-year period since 1978 for which required data is available.

The first-of-its-kind analysis also revealed that the Rajya Sabha functioned for 340 hours per year. During 1978-2018 period, the House clocked 77 percent productivity and 23 percent loss of time, the survey said.

This trend analysis was undertaken after Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu sought to know details of time spent by the House on its three functions -- the legislative, oversight and deliberative.

The deliberative functions of Rajya Sabha include taking up issues of public importance and concerns under various instruments like discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, General Discussion on the Budgets, Short duration discussions, Zero Hour and Special Mentions, Discussion on working of Ministries etc.

While the general discussion on the Budgets took a share of 7.08 percent of the total functional time of Rajya Sabha during 1978-2018, the share of discussion on the Motion of Thanks came to 4.36 percent while 3.93 percent of the time was spent discussing the functioning of various Ministries. The Zero Hour and Special Mentions took about 10 percent of the time of the House.

The Oversight function of the House was ensured through Questions (time share of 14.19 percent), Calling Attention Notices (7.11 percent), Statements of Ministers on various issues (6.33 percent), Private Members' Resolutions (3.16 percent), Half an Hour Discussions (1.25 perent).

In an indication of the broad trend, Rajya Sabha spent 27.57 percent of its functional time on making of laws for the country, which included 24.05 percent of the time spent on consideration and passing of the government bills and 3.52 percent on Private Members' Bills.

During 1978-2018, Rajya Sabha held 3,022 sittings and transacted business for a total of 13,946 hours as against the total available time of 18,132 hours averaging 6 working hours per sitting. This comes to 76.91 percent productivity of the House while 23.09 percent of the total available time was lost due to disruptions, the secretariat claimed after the analysis.

All instances of Rajya Sabha working above 500 hours per year were during 1978-1988 with an evident slide afterwards, the survey said. Since 1995 there were only 6 instances of the House functioning for more than 300 hours per year.

Naidu has further desired a comparison of the trend with that of Lok Sabha and other leading Parliaments of the world.

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