New Delhi [India], August 10 (ANI): The productivity of Rajya Sabha was on the decline since 1995 but saw a marked improvement during the last three years of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's tenure, a publication released by the Upper House has revealed.
The publication titled 'Rajya Sabha - 2017-22: An Overview' analysed data from 1978 onwards, when the House worked overtime and the productivity was over 100 percent. However, over time protests and interruptions became more frequent and productivity suffered.
"For the first 17 years since 1978, the annual productivity of Rajya Sabha has been more than 100 percent. During the next 27 years, it has been so only twice in 1998 and 2009. The lowest annual productivity has been 40 percent during 2018," says the publication.
Among other years, the productivity of the Upper House was 95 percent during 1995-97; 90 percent during 1998-2003; over 80 percent during 2004-13 and this continued till the 248th session in 2019.
Naidu became the vice president in 2017 and according to the publication, the initial sessions he chaired saw a decline in productivity. The decline was steep during the first five full sessions (244th to 248th) presided over by Naidu with the House clocking a productivity of only 42.77 percent, according to the report.
The 248th session held during January-February, 2019 recorded the lowest sessional productivity of only 6.80 per cent.
For the next eight sessions (249th to 256th), the productivity of Rajya Sabha has almost doubled to 82.34 percent. The House functioned for 105 percent of the scheduled time during the Budget session of 2019 held in June-August with 35 sittings. This has been the first session to report such high productivity during the tenure of Naidu marking a break from the past. Thereafter, four more sessions clocked close to or above 100 percent productivity.
During the 13 sessions presided over by Naidu from the 244th session, Rajya Sabha has clocked productivity of 82.34 per cent for two-thirds of the total sittings (173 of 261 sittings) enabling the reversal of declining productivity.
The publication also lists several initiatives taken during the tenure of Naidu including the decision to review the functioning of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees, contextual analysis of the functioning of the House since 1978, initiation of a review of the Rules of the House and examination of the attendance and participation of members.
Other initiatives included analysis of timeshare of different items of business of the House, quantification of the duration and attendance in each meeting of the committees, use of Indian languages in the proceedings of the House, extent of public outreach on various aspects of the functioning of Rajya Sabha through media and commissioning the first-ever comprehensive study on 'System Improvement' in the Secretariat.
During the tenure of Chairman Naidu, Rajya Sabha has functioned for over 951 hours till the last session. The House has lost 26 sittings due to different waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the last five years, the eight Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees of Rajya Sabha has held 558 meetings till June this year and submitted 369 reports.
Due to regular review and monitoring of their functioning by Naidu, the average duration of the meetings has substantially improved with an average attendance of over 45 percent per meeting. (ANI)