Data reveals that it’s not just promises made to citizens, the Centre has failed to implement assurances made to the Parliament as well. More than 80% of the assurances made during the 16th Lok Sabha are pending while this number stands at 30% for the 15th Lok Sabha.
One of the most common grouse with political parties is their broken promises. Citizens vote in anticipation of those promises being implemented, but realize that most promises are meant to be broken. If you felt that the citizens are the only victims, think again. Close to 80% of the assurances made during the 16th Lok Sabha are also pending. About 13% of the assurances made in the Rajya Sabha are still pending.
What are Assurances?
While replying to questions in the House or during discussions on Bills, Resolutions, Motions etc., Ministers on several occasions give assurances, undertakings or promises to consider a matter, take action or furnish information later. These are termed as assurances. Some of the following are examples of assurances made to the house.
- The matter is under consideration.
- I shall look into it.
- Enquiries are being made.
- I shall inform the Hon’ble Member.
- This is primarily the concern of State Government but I shall look into it.
- I shall write to the State Governments.
- I assure the House all suggestions by Hon’ble Member will be carefully considered.
- I shall study the conditions on the spot during my tour.
- I shall consider the matter.
- I will consider it.
- I will suggest to State Governments.
- We will put the matter in the shape of a resolution.
- I shall see what can be done about it.
- I will look into the matter before I can say anything.
- The suggestion will be taken into consideration.
Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances & the Process
In order to ensure that these assurances are implemented in a reasonable timeframe, the Lok Sabha & the Rajya Sabha have constituted a Committee on Government Assurances with a view to institutionalizing the procedure to ensure the fulfillment of these assurances. The process followed is described below.
- The Lok Sabha Secretariat examines the Lok Sabha debates to mark the replies/statements of the Ministers which constitute assurances. Similar process is followed in the Rajya Sabha.
- This data is reconciled with the assurances culled out by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Once they are finalized, the relevant Ministries/Departments are appraised of these assurances.
- The parliamentary committees on Government Assurances have prescribed an outer limit of three months for the implementation of an assurance, to be calculated from the date of its being given in the House. However, if the Government foresees any genuine difficulty in implementing the assurance within the stipulated period, the Ministry may request for extension of time for the fulfillment of this assurance. In normal course, the committee accedes to such requests for extension unless it finds the request unreasonable.
- If the Government finds that the assurance is not feasible to implement, then it approaches the committee to drop the assurance with all relevant facts for the consideration of the committee. If the Committee concurs with the government, then it recommends dropping of this assurance in its reports to the house.
The Scenario in the Lok Sabha
The data for the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-09) is not completely available. The available data shows that 89% of the assurances made during the 14th Lok Sabha are still pending. Out of the 137 assurances for which the data is available, 122 are pending while only 14 are fully implemented. One assurance is dropped.
In the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14), close to 30% of the assurances made are still pending. Out of the total 5799 assurances made, 3951 are fully implemented, 141 are dropped and 1707 are still pending. More than 40% of the assurances are pending in 11 different ministries. Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Environment & Ministry of Panchayat Raj etc figure in this list.
What about the Current Lok Sabha?
In the current Lok Sabha, more than 81% of the assurances are still pending. While the assurances made during the last session may take time for fulfillment, it is surprising to note that the 70% and 90% of the assurances made during the second and third session of the 16th Lok Sabha respectively are still pending. Out of the 1298 assurances made so far, only 241 are fully implemented, 3 are dropped and 1054 are pending.
Department wise Scenario
100% assurances are pending in 10 different ministries including the Prime Minister’s Office. More than 90% assurances are pending in 22 different ministries. Except in three ministries (Parliamentary Affairs, Mines & Development of North Eastern Region), more than 50% of the assurances are pending in all the other ministries.
What about Rajya Sabha?
More than 13% of all the assurances made till date are pending the Rajya Sabha. . Out of the 15567 assurances made so far, 12600 are fully implemented, 918 are dropped and 2049 are pending. In five departments, all the assurances (100%) made so far are still pending.
Note: This article is based on the data available in the Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha Websites as on 20th July, 2015. This article was republished from Factly.in