The Monsoon Session of Parliament which began on July 19 has functioned for a total of 18 hours out of the possible 107 hours so far with the logjam persisting between the Opposition and the government over the Pegasus snooping scandal. As per reports, the loss of working hours in Parliament meant an overall loss of more than ₹133 crore to the taxpayer.
The Opposition has demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on whether Pegasus spyware was used to listen in on Indian politicians, journalists and a constitutional authority. The government has called the report “sensational”, and an attempt “to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”.
“The press reports have appeared a day before the monsoon session of Parliament. This cannot be a coincidence,” Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw had said on July 19.
News 18 said the loss of working hours in Parliament meant an overall loss of more than ₹ 133 crore to the taxpayer. Both Houses of Parliament remained deadlocked over several issues, which resulted in disruptions of proceedings several times in a day.
Lok Sabha has only been allowed to function for about seven hours out of the possible 54 hours. The Rajya Sabha functioned for 11 hours out of nearly 53 hours. Thus, around 89 hours of working time have been wasted, the News 18 report said.
On the first day of the session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not allowed to introduce his new ministers in Parliament amid uproarious scenes. The chaos continued in the House until it was adjourned.
Amid the uproar, the PM said: “I thought that there would be enthusiasm in Parliament as so many women, Dalits, tribals have become ministers. This time our colleagues from the agricultural and rural background, OBC community, have been given positions in the Council of Ministers.”
But the Opposition parties raised slogans disrupting the Prime Minister’s address and later took to the floor of the house.
“I urge all MPs and political parties to ask the sharpest and the toughest of questions, but they should also allow the government to respond in a cordial environment as democracy is strengthened by conveying the truth to the people,” Modi had said.