The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 19-03-2023 | 01:45 pm
In a week from today, Arvind Kejriwal’s Number 2, the marquee face of AAP’s education reform, former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, would have spent a month in custody. On Friday, orders went out to his family to vacate their official bungalow, and to the family of Satyendar Jain, the other AAP minister in jail, arrested last year.As the BJP and the Opposition trade sharp unpleasantries on the government’s alleged targeting of political opponents, on the Delhi street, a whiff of a reality check to both AAP and the BJP carries a layered message.The BJP’s hectic bid to smear AAP with the corruption taint hasn’t found much of an echo but, at the same time, few are shedding tears for its leaders in jail.And for all that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appear locked in mortal combat, the two leaders are seen as a cross-party version of the “double engine”: Modi at the Centre, Kejriwal in Delhi.From a JJ camp in Shalimar Bagh to a South Delhi office and mall, you are likely to hear the same division of political labour: Kejriwal for the provision of quotidian “suvidhaein”, goods and services made accessible and free — bijli and paani, mohalla clinic and sarkari school, and free travel in buses for women, not necessarily in that order.Modi for Hindutva of course, Ram Mandir and Article 370. But also for other “big ideas” and, more and more, for securing the country’s “sarhad (borders)”, and steering the “desh-videsh” assertion and outreach.That last image, of India-in-the-world, recurs in the conversation on Modi, even as the refurbished sarkari school is a prominent motif when you talk about Kejriwal — very often to the same voter. It may point to a shift: Modi, who has energetically courted a pro-poor image across the country, is, in Delhi at least, forced to share some of that space with Kejriwal. Here, Modi’s claim to solo space is as the god of big things.In Shalimar Bagh, listen to Shakuntala, housewife, mother of six. Drainage is a problem, dirty water constantly runs into her home, she says, but the government school has definitely improved. Two of her six children go to a sarkari school in the time of the Kejriwal government. “Ab bachhon pe dhyaan dete hain (now they pay attention to the child in school). I went to a parent teacher meeting, and I could see that the teachers were under pressure not to waste time”. She remembers the phone call from Sisodia’s office when one of her children came first in class. “They asked aage kya karna hai (what have you thought for the future of your child)?”Yet “desh ke liye (for the country)”, for Shakuntala too, it is Modi. Because “woh desh-videsh ko madad karte hain, madad lete nahin hain, yeh sahi hai (on Modi’s watch, India helps other countries, instead of seeking their help, that is how it should be)”.Across the city, outside a law firm in well-to-do Jangpura, young lawyer Supriya Jain also acknowledges the Kejriwal government’s success story. “My maid’s son went to a government school, got a scholarship and went on to do a computer course”. But “country-wise”, she says, “it is Modi. His work is being recognised by the world”.The Modi-dominated poster advertising India’s G20 presidency may well have put its finger on a beating pulse. “Climate change, terrorism and pandemic can only be solved by acting together”, it says, marking out the wider ambitions that the BJP hopes will help lift the Modi campaign off the ground when the time comes, and take it to a place presumably unsinged by anti-incumbency.This high-voltage push framing Modi as the leader taking India to the world resonates — but equally, its campaign to tar AAP with corruption has failed.For the AAP, even as the corruption shadow over individual leaders has so far not spread over the party, there is not-so-good news too.The aam aadmi and aurat in Delhi view the arrests of Sisodia and Jain, who presided over two of its biggest success stories — the sarkari school and the mohalla clinic — as par for the political course in a system that typically hides more than it reveals and, in all events, as something the same system will fix eventually.At the Government Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Burari, their children’s exam-time stress is writ large on the faces of parents who crowd at the gates. A teacher lists the many positive changes in the school, from furniture to attendance, and is confident that “the improvement is here to stay”. On Education Minister Sisodia’s arrest, he says: “Tantra hai (this is the system). The people know, it happens, an election is coming… Remember Jain bandhu (a reference to the Hawala scandal in the 1990s), where are they now, that storm passed too. Only the media is agitated.”And at the Seelampur mohalla clinic, where the footfall is high, and a doctor is available in two shifts, asked about the arrest of former Health Minister Jain, patients draw a distinction between what is visible, and what is not.“Hum aam public hain… dawaiyan mil rahi hain, shiksha mil rahi hai, ration mil raha hai… androoni baat hamein nahi pata (we are getting medicines, education and ration, how do we know what goes on behind the scenes)”, says Ram Vinay, who describes himself as unemployed.While the response on the street to the arrests of Sisodia and Jain is marked by the absence of urgency or outrage, on one of the issues in play — the scrapped excise policy in connection with which Sisodia has been sent to jail — there is more than a hint of moral censure.In Seelampur, Ashok Kumar says, “The buy-one-get-one-free scheme that was being offered by private liquor shops was completely out of order”.“Bas sharaab ka kaam galat hua hai (there was a mess-up on the alcohol front)”, says Imran, in a tea shop near the Seelampur clinic. Here, a group of young men, self-professed Kejriwal supporters, are strong critics of Modi. “In 2014, a roti cost Rs 2, now it is Rs 5. A plate of korma was for Rs 30, now it costs Rs 70,” says Fahim.And at the liquor vend in a mall in Mayur Vihar, customer Deepak Sarna, an interior designer, says: “Alcohol had become too easy. People started drinking even during the day”.Another takeaway for the AAP: There is goodwill for Sisodia, for his work in the government school, but a campaign around his arrest is also likely to come up against the stigma that attaches to all issues involving alcohol.A signal for the Congress, too, the almost invisible third Delhi player, in the matter-of-fact response to the escalating political hostilities on public display. “A thin line divides the ruling party and Central agencies” but “there is a nyaypalika (justice system) to go to”, says Abhishek, a civil service aspirant, out with friends at a Saket mall.Santosh, the balloon seller outside the same mall, says: “Let the CBI tell us (the evidence for Sisodia’s arrest)”. And in Shalimar Bagh’s JJ cluster, Anil Chowdhury says: “One man may want to impress his dominance in the country but this is a prajatantra, not rajtantra (democracy, not monarchy)”. Rahul Gandhi’s scenario of institutions bent and broken under the growing pressure of authoritarianism strikes very few sparks.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the CBI was “putting pressure” on him to “frame” Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an alleged fake encounter case in Gujarat when he was being questioned by the probe agency during the Congress-led UPA government.Shah said this at the ‘News 18 Rising India’ programme in New Delhi in response to a question on Opposition’s charge that the Narendra Modi government is “misusing’ central agencies to target them.The CBI “was putting pressure” on me to “frame Modi ji” (when he was Gujarat CM) in an alleged fake encounter case during the Congress government,” he said, adding that the BJP never raised a ruckus despite this.On Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in a criminal defamation case by a court in Surat, the home minister said the Congress leader was not the only politician who was convicted by a court and lost membership of the legislature.Instead of moving to a higher court, Rahul has been trying to create hue and cry and blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his fate, he said.Shah said Rahul Gandhi should go to a higher court to fight his case, instead of trying to put the blame on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.He said the Congress is spreading misconception; conviction can’t be stayed. “The sentence can be stayed if the court decides,” he said.“He has not appealed to take stay on his conviction. What kind of arrogance is this? You want a favour. You want to continue to be MP and will also not go before the Court,” Shah said.Where does such arrogance gets generated, he said.Shah said 17 prominent leaders, including Lalu Prasad, J Jayalalitha and Raashid Alvi, had lost their membership because of a 2013 Supreme Court order during the UPA government, which said an elected representative would lose his seat immediately after conviction. Still, no one protested wearing black clothes because it is the “law of the land”, he said.“Listen to the full speech of Rahul Gandhi, he has not only spoken abusive words for Modi ji. He has spoken abusive words for the entire Modi community and OBC society,” he said.“The law of the land is clear. There is no question of vendetta politics. It is the judgment of the Supreme Court of India, which had come during their government,” Shah said.Asked about the notice to vacate his bungalow, Shah asked why should there be “special favour” when the Supreme Court had said to act as soon as the conviction comes into effect.“It was a deliberate statement by Rahul Gandhi. If Rahul Gandhi did not want to apologise, then he should not have applied for bail. Let him not apologise,” Shah said.“This gentleman is not the first one. Politicians who held much bigger positions and with much more experience have lost their membership because of this provision,” the Home minister said.He said India’s democracy wasn’t threatened when Lalu ji was disqualified but it is endangered only when a person from the Gandhi family is disqualified.“Now it has come on him, so they are saying make a separate law for the Gandhi family. I want to ask the people of this country whether there should be a separate law for a single family. What kind of mentality is this? Whatever happens, they start blaming Modi ji and the Lok Sabha Speaker,” Shah said.He said senior lawyers who are Congress MPs in Rajya Sabha should tell their colleagues that Lok Sabha Speaker has no role in the disqualification.“It is the law of the country that all his speeches in Parliament would have to be erased from the records from the moment of his conviction. Even if his disqualification notice were served a few days later, it would have no purpose,” he said.Shah said BJP did not want changes in the Supreme Court order. The Manmohan Singh government brought an Ordinance to blunt the apex court order, but Rahul Gandhi tore it apart, calling it “nonsense”.“Once he tore it apart, who in his government would have dared to turn it into law? It was vetoed. Had that ordinance become a law, he could have been saved,” Shah said.Asked about Rahul’s comment on Savarkar, the Home Minister said Veer Savarkar was the only freedom fighter who was sentenced to two life terms in Andaman prison. “Such language for such a freedom fighter should not have been used,” he said.He (Rahul) should read his grandmother’s speech on Veer Savarkar. His own party people are advising him to not speak against Savarkar, he said.In the general election of 2024, Shah said Modi would again be PM with a larger majority. BJP will get more seats in the 2024 elections than 2019 elections, he said, adding that there is no unity among the opposition, he said.On the upcoming Karnataka elections, Shah said BJP would comfortably cross the halfway mark and form a government with a clear majority in the state.Ruling out any alliance in Karnataka, Shah said, “The BJP will definitely cross the halfway mark and form the government with an absolute majority in Karnataka. We will win record mandate.” Referring to recent Karnataka government’s decision to end quota on the basis of religion, he said reservation based on religion is unconstitutional.“Karnataka’s Congress government did it due to polarisation, and we have just rectified it. It should have done earlier,” he said.The Home minister rejected the allegations on the misuse of investigative agencies against the opposition leaders. Shah said we never blamed the opposition for anything, innocent police officers were put behind bars during Congress government.Shah said the BJP had won the 2014 and 2019 elections on the plank of anti-corruption. He said Enforcement Directorate had seized 1.10 lakh crore of assets, of which not even five per cent are of political leaders.“Shall we stop the fight against corruption? Should we not act if the accused is a politician,” Shah asked. The Home minister asked who had filed cases against Lalu Prasad Yadav and who had sent a plane full of officials from Delhi to arrest Shaikh Abdullah.Citing the misuse of agencies, Shah said thousands of innocent persons were imprisoned for 19 months of Emergency and questioned whose doing it was. It was his grandmother Indira Gandhi, he said.On the Maharashtra question, Shah said people wanted Shiv Sena and BJP government and now the real Shiv Sena is with BJP. “I also accept that BJP on its own could have formed the government in Maharashtra. There is no question of the merger of Shiv Sena,” he said.He said the Congress should introspect about its contribution to corruption. There is a strong resentment against Congress governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. We will definitely win elections in Madhya Pradesh, he said.Shah said we have not taken any decision on the face in Rajasthan elections. People want to change the CM of Rajasthan, he said.On Amritpal Singh, Shah said he meets Punjab Chief Minister every three months, irrespective of the government and stand with the party when it comes to the security of the country.“Many people have been arrested in connection with Amritpal case, police and intelligence agencies are working on the case,” he said.On attacks on Indian missions abroad, Shah said it was an attack on India. “We will take action against those involved in the attack, FIR already lodged in Delhi,” he said. Shah said the contribution of Sikhs to India’s freedom has been immense; every Sikh wants to be with India.The Home minister ruled out any confrontation between the judiciary and the government. “Both are working within their limits,” he said. The government’s duty to make law now and the Parliament will think over it, he said
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday blamed the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra for the clashes that broke out in Sambhaji Nagar (previously Aurangabad) on Wednesday evening and alleged that the government was “working to ensure that there would be riots in the state”.Hitting out at Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis, who holds the Home portfolio, Raut said that the home minister and home ministry are “invisible” in the state and alleged that Fadnavis was looking “frustrated and depressed”.“This (the Aurangabad clashes) is a failure of the government. The government wants to have such a situation in different places. The Shinde group is working for this. This government has only one intention, that is to create disturbance in the state and to ensure that riots take place,” Raut said. A clash had broken out between two groups in Sambhaji Nagar’s Kiradpura area on Wednesday midnight with stone pelting and several police vehicles being set on fire.“The government is working to ensure that there are riots in the state and communal disharmony…This is their politics,” Raut alleged.Taking a dig at Fadnavis, Raut said, “In fact, there is a question if the home minister or home ministry exists in the state. I am saying again and again, Fadnavis is not visible anywhere. He looks depressed and frustrated. We should find out the reasons for that. It is not something I can disclose openly.”
All drugs and food for special medical purposes, imported for personal use for the treatment of all rare diseases listed under the National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021, have been exempted from basic customs duty by the central government. The government has also fully exempted Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) used in the treatment of various types of cancer from basic customs duty.On March 28, Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor shared the story of a young couple who had approached him for an exemption of duty for a drug. It was imported for their young daughter who was suffering from cancer, and they said they were unable to pay a high duty for it.“They had scrounged and saved and borrowed and crowd-funded to raise the money required but when they imported the drug, they needed an additional Rs 7 lakhs for GST that they could not afford. When they approached me I wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 15 asking her help to exempt them from the GST on humanitarian grounds. When there was no reply they approached me again on Sunday (March 26th); the injection was stuck at Mumbai airport but Customs would not release it without the GST payment.I called Mrs Sitharaman directly this time. I told her this baby depended on her exercising her authority immediately because the drug was perishable and would expire while in the custody of Customs. She was instantly sympathetic. She hadn’t seen my letter so I re-sent it. Within half an hour her PS, Sernya Bhutia, called to tell me she had spoken to the Chairman of the Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. Within ten minutes Chairman Vivek Johri called me asking for more documentation. By 7 pm today the exemption was granted,” Tharoor had posted on Twitter on March 28.In a notification which came into effect on March 30, the exemption has been granted by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) by substituting “Drugs, Medicines or Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP)” instead of “drugs or medicines”.Now, in order to avail of this exemption, the individual importer has to produce a certificate from the central or state director health services or district medical officer/civil surgeon of the district, a finance ministry release said.“While exemptions have already been provided to specified drugs for treatment of spinal muscular atrophy or duchenne muscular dystrophy, the government has been receiving many representations seeking customs duty relief for drugs and medicines used in treatment of other rare diseases. Drugs or special foods required for the treatment of these diseases are expensive and need to be imported. It is estimated that for a child weighing 10 kg, the annual cost of treatment for some rare diseases, may vary from Rs 10 lakh to more than Rs 1 crore per year with treatment being lifelong and drug dose and cost, increasing with age and weight. This exemption will result in substantial cost savings and provide much needed relief to the patients,” it said.Drugs/medicines generally attract basic customs duty of 10 per cent, while some categories of lifesaving drugs/vaccines attract a concessional rate of 5 per cent or nil.In its meeting in September 2021, the GST Council had reduced tax rates for several life-saving drugs. Life-saving drugs Zolgensma and Viltepso used in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy were exempted from GST when imported for personal use. At that time, the GST rate for Keytruda was cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent.
Reacting to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Parliament, Germany said Thursday that it has taken note of the case and “expects that the standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles will apply”.The German Foreign Ministry spokesperson made the statement during a press briefing that was aired on German state-owned international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).“We have taken note of the verdict of the first instance against the Indian opposition politician Rahul Gandhi as well as the suspension of his parliamentary mandate. To our knowledge, Rahul Gandhi is in a position to appeal the verdict. An appeal will show whether the verdict stands and whether suspension has a basis. We expect standards of judicial independence and democratic principles to be applied,” the spokesperson said.NEW: Rahul Gandhi caseGerman Foreign Ministry spokesperson comments for first time:– Takes note of verdict, suspension from parliament– Appeal will show whether verdict stands & suspension has basis– Expects standards of judicial independence & democratic principles to apply pic.twitter.com/dNZB6vflG2— Richard Walker (@rbsw) March 29, 2023Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh took to Twitter to recognise Germany’s statement. “Thank you Germany Foreign Affairs Ministry and Richard Walker for taking note of how the Democracy is being compromised in India through persecution of Rahul Gandhi,” he wrote.BJP leaders, meanwhile, criticised Congress and Singh, accusing the party of inviting foreign interference in internal affairs.Sharing a screenshot of Digivijaya Singh’s tweet, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal matters.” “Remember, Indian Judiciary can’t be influenced by foreign interference. India won’t tolerate ‘foreign influence’ anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri @narendramodi Ji,” Rijiju said.Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal matters. Remember, Indian Judiciary can’t be influenced by foreign interference. India won’t tolerate ‘foreign influence’ anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri @narendramodi Ji 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/xHzGRzOYTz— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 30, 2023Hitting back at Rijiju, Congress’ media department head Pawan Khera said, “Mr. Rijiju, why divert from the main issue? The issue is that the Prime Minister cannot answer Rahul Gandhi’s questions about Adani.” Instead of “misleading” people, please answer the questions, Khera said.BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya also tagged Singh’s tweet and said, “Shameful that Congress continues to lean on foreign agencies and seek their intervention in India’s internal affairs.” “Rahul Gandhi had recently sought Europe and US intervention and now it is Digvijay Singh. But Law is the Law… Unless somebody thinks Law is not the Law for them,” he said.Let this be on record. For the first time in Independent India’s history, Congress leaders are pleading foreign powers to intervene in India’s democratic process and weigh in on our judicial decisions… It is a brazen attempt to undermine people’s will and India’s sovereignty… pic.twitter.com/4FDlsOrgkh— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) March 30, 2023BJP spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill also hit out at the Congress, alleging that the party “celebrating Germany/US remarks on Rahul Gandhi’s case shows their political desperation”. “Rejected by Indian voters now looking for acceptance by foreign powers is sad reality of Congress! Judiciary must take note of daily maligning of courts by Congress brigade!” he said.Congress celebrating Germany/U.S. remarks on Rahul Gandhi’s case shows their political desperation!Rejected by Indian voters now looking for acceptance by foreign powers is sad reality of Congress!Judiciary must take note of daily maligning of courts by Congress brigade!— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) March 30, 2023Tagging Singh’s tweet, BJP leader Vijay Chauthaiwale said on Twitter, “Look how happy @digvijaya_28 ji with comments from Germany. It only shows how they are desperate to involve external agencies in the domestic matters.”On March 23, Gandhi had been found guilty in a 2019 defamation case filed after his remark “why all thieves have Modi surname”, made at a campaign rally in Kolar, Karnataka. A Gujarat court had sentenced him to two years in prison. Gandhi is currently on bail.Following his conviction, he was disqualified from the Parliament, where he was an elected MP from Kerala’s Wayanad district. He was also issued a notice to vacate his official bungalow in New Delhi.First Washington, now BerlinGermany’s response comes days after the United States took a similar stance, saying that respect for the rule of law and judicial independence is a cornerstone of any democracy.In a press briefing, US State Department’s Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel had said that the US is watching Gandhi’s case in the courts.“Respect for the rule of law and judicial independence is a cornerstone of any democracy, and we’re watching Mr. Gandhi’s case in Indian courts, and we engage with the Government of India on our shared commitment to democratic values – including, of course, freedom of expression,” Patel said.“In our engagements with our Indian partners, we continue to highlight the importance of democratic principles and the protection of human rights, including freedom of expression, as a key to strengthening both our democracies,” he added.Following this, Patel was asked if the US is still engaging with Gandhi as the opposition leader. “It is normal and standard for us to engage with members of opposition parties in any country where we have bilateral relationships,” replied Patel.
The second leg of the Budget session began March 13 but both Houses of Parliament have failed to transact any significant business as the government-Opposition slugfest has intensified over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s recent remarks in London and the Adani-Hindenburg row.This impasse has brought back the spotlight on repeated adjournments and disruptions in Parliament over the years, which has obstructed the passage of key bills.According to PRS Legislative Research Data, the number of Parliament sittings has halved since the 1950s-60s, and for the last eight consecutive sessions, both Houses of Parliament have been adjourned ahead of their schedule.We take a look at Parliamentary adjournments in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha since the Narendra Modi-led BJP government returned to power in 2019.The Winter Session of Parliament concluded on December 23 — a week ahead of its schedule amid protests by the Opposition over the clash between India and China troops in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang on December 9.Hours lost and productivity: Out of the 68.9 hours during which the Lok Sabha functioned, 2.42 hours were lost due to interruptions. The Rajya Sabha functioned for 72 hours, with 1.46 hours lost due to disruptions. According to PRS, Lok Sabha logged productivity of 88%, and Rajya Sabha 94%.Legislative business: The government planned to introduce 16 Bills in this session, but only seven were introduced. While Lok Sabha passed seven bills, nine were passed by Rajya Sabha.This is the second least number of sittings in a session during the 17th Lok Sabha term, according to PRS.The Monsoon Session of Parliament ended on August 8, four days ahead of its schedule. In 16 sittings against the scheduled 18, the Parliament functioned for less than 50% of the allotted time as multiple adjournments disrupted proceedings over several issues, including the suspension of MPs, the alleged misuse of central investigating agencies, and protests over inflation and price rise.Hours lost & productivity: This session was one of the least productive since 2014. According to PRS, Lok Sabha recorded a productivity of 47% and Rajya Sabha 42%.Legislative business: The Government planned to introduce 24 new Bills. However, owing to protests, only six bills were introduced and five were passed, PRS data showed.The Budget session of Parliament was scheduled to be held from January 31-April 8, 2022, with a recess from February 12-March 13, but was adjourned sine die on April 7, a day ahead of its schedule.Hours lost and productivity: According to PRS, Lok Sabha functioned for 177 hours and registered a productivity of 129%. The Rajya Sabha discharged business for 127.6 hours and registered a productivity of 99.8%.Legislative business: According to PRS data, 13 Bills (including Finance and Appropriation Bills) were introduced in this session, and 11 were passed, of which one was pending from the 2021 Winter Session.The Winter Session of Parliament began on a stormy note, with the passage of Farm Laws Repeal Bill without any discussion and the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs for the rest of the session on the first day. The Parliament adjourned sine die on December 22, a day ahead of schedule. In the 18 sittings in 24 days, the House witnessed protests by the Opposition over a number of issues, including the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and the farmers’ demand for a legislation on Minimum Support Price (MSP).Hours lost and productivity: The Lok Sabha worked for 77% of its scheduled time, while the Rajya Sabha worked for 43%, according to PRS data. The Lok Sabha lost 18 hours and 48 minutes due to interruptions. Rajya Sabha, however, saw more adjournments. Out of a total scheduled sitting time of 95 hours and 6 minutes, the House discharged business only for 45 hours and 6 minutes, a press note from the Rajya Sabha secretariat showed. A total of 49 hours and 32 minutes was lost due to disruptions and adjournments.Legislative business: The government had listed 26 Bills, however, only 13 were introduced, while 11 were passed, including one Appropriation Bill.Parliament’s Monsoon Session ended two days ahead of schedule after being regularly disrupted by protests by the Opposition parties over Pegasus row, farm laws, and rise in prices. The Monsoon session of Parliament had 19 sittings scheduled from July 19 to August 13, for both the Lower and the Upper Houses, of which 17 were held.Hours lost and productivity: According to PRS, the sixth term of the 17th Lower House worked for only 21.3 hours — which is just 21% of the total scheduled time — while losing 77 hours 48 minutes to adjournments, logging the least number of hours of functioning in the entire 10 sessions held since the Modi government returned to power in May 2019. Meanwhile, out of the total 112 hours Rajya Sabha discharged business for only 29 hours – which is 26% of the scheduled time. The productivity logged by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha this session was 21% and 29%, respectively.Legislative business: Of the 38 Bills pending in Parliament, 17 were introduced and 22, including two Appropriation Bills, were passed.The 2021 Budget session was scheduled to be held from January 29- April 8, with a recess period from February 16-March 7. However, both Houses were adjourned sine die on March 25. Due to a rise in Covid cases, the Parliament functioned in two shifts from February 2, with the Rajya Sabha sitting from 10 am to 3 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 5 pm.Hours lost and productivity: Despite the session being curtailed, there was no loss of working hours for Lok Sabha, with the House sitting till late on multiple days. According to PRS, Rajya Sabha sat for 104.4 hours, registering a productivity of 90%. The total sitting hours for Lok Sabha were 131.8, with a productivity of 107%.Legislative business: According to PRS, of the 36 pending Bills, 20 were listed for introduction, 30 for passage, and four for withdrawal. A total of 18 Bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament.The Winter Session of 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Monsoon session of Parliament functioned for only 10 days — September 14-23. The session, initially scheduled for October 1, was cut short by eight days because of the public health emergency and several MPs testing positive.Hours lost and productivity: Despite a curtailed session and early adjournment of the House on certain days, the Lok Sabha worked for 60 hours, including 23 hours of late sittings. The time lost for early adjournments due to disruptions was 3.51 hours, according to the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The Rajya Sabha discharged business for 39.5 hours and Lok Sabha for 58.1 hours, according to PRS. According to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry Annual Report 2020-2021, the time lost due to adjournments was 3 hours 15 minutes.Legislative business: A total of 46 Bills were pending in the Monsoon session of Parliament. Of these, 23 Bills were listed for introduction, 40 for passage, and six for withdrawal. By the end of the session, the House introduced 22 Bills, passed 27 (including two Appropriation Bills), and withdrew five Bills.The Budget Session of Parliament was held for 23 days, from January 31 to March 23, with a recess from February 12 to March 1. Originally planned to have 31 sittings till April 3, the House was adjourned sine die after completing just 23 sittings on March 23 — a day after ‘Janta Curfew’.Hours lost and productivity: According to PRS, Lok Sabha discharged business for 111.2 hours, registering a productivity of 86%. The Rajya Sabha discharged business for 93.8 hours and registered a productivity of 74%.Legislative business: As many as 41 Bills were pending before the Session. A total of 19 Bills were introduced, 12 were passed, and two were withdrawn.This session of Parliament witnessed uproar over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘rape in India’ remark, and protests in Northeast over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.Hours lost and productivity: The Lok Sabha registered a productivity of 111%, and Rajya Sabha 92%, shows PRS data. Over 55 hours (approximately) were spent by both Houses to discuss legislations.Legislative business: Seventeen bills were introduced and 14 were passed, including one Appropriation Bill. While the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, and the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, were passed, the Personal Data Protection Bill was sent to a joint parliamentary committee for scrutiny.The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha began on June 17 and was scheduled to conclude on July 26, but it was extended till August 7, with the Lok Sabha sitting for 37 days and Rajya Sabha for 35 days.Hours lost and productivity: According to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry Annual report 2019-2020, no hours were lost in the entire Lok Sabha session, while Rajya Sabha lost 19 hours 34 minutes. According to PRS, the Lok Sabha worked for 280.7 hours, and Rajya Sabha for 195.5 hours. The productivity of this Lok Sabha session was clocked at 135% and of Rajya Sabha at 100%.Legislative business: A total of 33 Bills were pending before the session. By the end of the session, 40 bills were introduced and 30 were passed by both Houses of the Parliament.