Punjab Assembly’s 3rd Year: Members disinterest persists while legislative productivity increases

On average, 46% lawmakers remained absent from each sitting

The Punjab Assembly remained more productive during its third year of current term as compared to preceding years in terms of passing legislative pieces but the issues of order and participation stubbornly persisted.

The number of sittings of the Assembly increased from 62 in the second year to 75 in the third but punctuality issues persisted, as every sitting continued to start, on an average, 77 minutes behind the schedule.

On the output of the Assembly, the number of bills passed during third year surpassed the number of bills cumulatively passed during first two years. All the bills passed were moved by treasury and were apparently supplied to executive on its demand as members’ zero individual interest in legislation continued to exist. Only one private member bill was introduced during the entire year in a house of 368.

On the order and institutionalization, misuse of points of order continued to be witnessed. Despite the provision of Zero Hour in the Rules of Procedure, the lawmakers kept on using Points of Order to raise the unrelated issues.

If the number of committee reports can be a measure of standing committees’ performance, it registered some improvement as 48 reports were presented before the House. Another positive development was a number of amendments in the Rules of Procedure which made provisions for Annual Calendar of the Assembly, Zero Hour and time-bound election of the standing committees.

The average attendance remained as low as 46% during the year with the maximum of 68% members present in one sitting while 252 lawmakers took part in the proceedings by submitting agenda items, speaking on floor of the House or by doing both.   The absence of Leader of the House persisted during third year as well.

The Assembly held discussions on incidents of terrorism that claimed several lives, including that of Provincial Home Minister, trials of Jamat-e-Islami leadership in Bangladesh, problems of agriculture sector, Orange Line Metro project and measures of good governance in the province.

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