Rajya Sabha has witnessed discordant scenes since Modi took over as the Prime Minister and its productivity has been lower than that of the Lok Sabha. Interestingly, Congress has the majority in Rajya Sabha while BJP has in Lok Sabha.
Congress and other opposition parties are constantly disrupting sessions in Rajya Sabha. According to PRS India in the budget session of 2016, Lok Sabha recorded a productivity of 121% as opposed to 91% for the Rajya Sabha.
In the recent past, President Pranab Mukherjee strongly criticised the disruptions of Parliament and said, “Our Parliament reflects the supreme will of the people. Democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption of obstruction.”
But why are we discussing this?
As more than 16 crucial bills are pending in Rajya Sabha, and this is directly hampering the growth and developmental activities of the country.
Some of the crucial bills are…
• The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014
• The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013
• The Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014
• The Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2014
• The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• The Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015
Amongst this the most important bill is the GST Bill. It aims to foresee the country as a single market and integrate various taxes into one. Various economists opined that GST will help lift the GDP growth by about 2 percent in the long run.
To pass the GST bill, it requires a two-third majority in the Rajya Sabha (162/243). And this looks a troublesome task as the Congress is not supporting the bill in its current format. Fifty-five MPs of the Rajya Sabha are retiring next month and elections for these seats along with two vacant seats are scheduled for June 11. BJP’s landslide victory in Assam won’t be of any help because out of the fifteen states that would elect new members to the upper house, only Tamil Nadu that saw assembly elections in April-May would be the part.
In that case, out of the 13 seats that the Congress will vacate with its members retiring, it is likely to be re-elected to only nine, which brings its tally down to 60 from 64. On the other hand, BJP now has 49 members and 15 members are retiring. It is likely to gain 4 more seats which will improve the tally to 53. So, Congress will still retain its majority in Rajya Sabha. So it is most unlikely to see crucial bills passed from Rajya Sabha before 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections.