New Delhi: The washed out winter session of
parliament, stalled daily for 22 consecutive days due to
opposition protests and adjournments, has translated into a loss
of a staggering over Rs.171 crore to the nation.
The amount is worked out with the expenditure for each day of a
session calculated at Rs.7.8 crore.
Opposition parties, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),
stalled parliamentary proceedings over the controversial 2G
spectrum allocation that is alleged to have caused a colossal loss
to the national exchequer.
But the logjam of parliament over the opposition demand for a
joint parliamentary committee (JPC) has also proved costly.
Barring the first day of the winter session that began Nov 9, the
Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha did not function normally for even
one full day to transact legislative business.
According to official figures, the total budget of the two houses
of parliament and the ministry of parliamentary affairs for
2010-11 is nearly Rs.535 crore.
In a year, parliament meets thrice, for the budget, monsoon and
winter sessions. In the past five years (2005-2009), there have
been an average of 68 sittings per year. That means, the
expenditure for each day of a session is nearly Rs 7.8 crore.
Thus, for the 22 days rendered unproductive during this winter
session, the loss is calculated to be Rs.171.6 crore.
Though parliament's establishment works round the year, the
expenditure per day has to be worked out according to the number
of sittings, because the entire staff, logistics and other
expenses are incurred solely for the institution to conduct its
legislative business. Otherwise, there would be no need to have
the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha secretariats and their sprawling
As the winter session was adjourned sine die Monday, the 23rd
working day also ended without transaction of any business.
This earned this winter session a dubious record of being the
least productive ever - with only seven of the scheduled 138 hours
of business conducted.
The ruling and opposition parties blame each other for the
stalemate and the consequent loss of time and public money.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said an
"obdurate" opposition led to the wash out of the session.
"Never before in the history of the Indian Parliament has a
complete session been washed out without transacting any business.
This is violative of all rules of business and ethics, it is
rather criminal. Even question hour and private members' business
have been made a casualty," he observed.
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the
Congress "is squarely to blame for the non-functioning of