We are so accustomed to hearing that the 'House has been adjourned for the day' that the extra time our venerable MPs are putting in had simply escaped our notice — until they made a record.
On July 10, Wednesday, the Lok Sabha was debating Budget 2019-20 — the session stretched till 11.15 PM.
On July 11, Thursday, the House debated the Rail Budget — and it went on till 11.58 PM.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Prahlad Joshi finally declared this as a ‘record’. The Lower House, he said, hasn't sat for this long in about the last 18 years. According to reports, in 1996, the Rail Budget debate went on overnight.
The general timing of the Lok Sabha is from 11 AM to 1 PM and then again from 2 PM to 6 PM. But then, there are protests and disruptions inviting frequent adjournments.
In fact, Parliament and its everyday proceedings (not the passage of Bills) make news mostly on three occasions:
Never do our MPs make headlines for what they are supposed to do — work.
So, what moved the mountain?
Lok Sabha was in session till midnight debating and discussing issues important for India’s future... Welcome to Modi 2.0!— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) July 11, 2019
Amit Malviya has already thanked PM Modi for instilling this work culture and welcomed us to Modi 2.0.
But that would underplay how the Speaker Om Birla is handling the entire situation.
Productivity so far, this year (above), has crossed the 100% mark already. Last year (below), it was abysmal. (Photo: PRS Legislative Research)
For example, when Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday complained that there was no food at night and going home was troublesome (every night shift's agony) for the staff who also get late as our MPs decide to burn the midnight oil, the Speaker assured him that everything would be in place. And thus, the record was made.
The Parliament staff, according to reports, were told that they would be reimbursed if they avail of app-based cab services. Finally, the government staff got to taste a slice of the lives of their brethren belonging to the private sector. (It is only coincidental that the vigorous late-night debate was going on over the increasing privatisation of the railways under the Modi government).
The last Winter Session was one of the least productive sessions of the 16th Lok Sabha. The 17th Lok Sabha has already turned the table with more than 100% productivity.
And actually, we should thank our elected MPs, the Speaker and the Parliament staff for doing their jobs.