The Budget session of Parliament, which begins on Monday, January 31 with an address from the President of India, offers only a 79.5-hour window for the government's legislative agenda and for taking up issues of immediate public concern over the scheduled 29 sittings of both the Houses, Parliament officials said on Sunday. Here are five things to know about the proceedings of the Budget session before it begins:
> On the first day on Monday, the President will address the Members of both the Houses after which copies of his address will be laid on the Table. For this purpose, the Rajya Sabha will meet at 2.30 pm.
> On February 1, the highly-anticipated General Budget for 2022-23 will be presented in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and its copy will be laid on the Table of Rajya Sabha soon thereafter. The first part of the Budget session will have 10 sittings between January 31 and February 11, while 19 sittings are scheduled for the second part between March 14 and April 8.
> A total of 135 hours of sitting time is available for the 256th session of the Rajya Sabha for transacting various items of business during the 27 sittings scheduled during February 2- April 8, at the rate of five hours per day. Of this, the first part of the session with 40 hours accounts for about 30% of the total scheduled sitting time, while the second part with 95 hours accounts for about 70%.
> The Upper House will have reduced Zero Hour by half to 30 minutes per day with a total time of 13 hours 30 minutes for raising issues, besides laying of papers and reports during 27 sittings. The time share of Question Hour will be 27 hours. A total of 15 hours has been scheduled for Private Members' Business during the session. Private Members' Bills will be taken up on Thursday as Friday being a holiday. "This leaves only 79 hours 30 minutes for considering and passing Bills to be proposed by the Government besides discussing issues of immediate public concern under Calling Attention Notices and as Short Duration Discussions", the officials said.
> The Discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President for his Address to the Members of both the Houses and on General Budget-2022-23, constitute the major items of business of the House. During the Budget session of 2021, discussion for 15 hours 37 minutes on Motion of Thanks to the President and of 10 hours 43 minutes on the Union Budget: 2021-22 in the Rajya Sabha account for over 52 percent of the total time available during the first part of the session.
The Rajya Sabha has clocked a productivity of 47.90% during the previous 255th session, and only 29.60% during the 254th Session. The House, however, reported high productivity of 93.50% during last year's Budget session, which had 23 sittings. To achieve maximum productivity, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has convened a virtual meeting of leaders of parties and groups in the House at 5 pm on Monday to discuss the agenda for this Budget session.