Bengaluru: The concerns of the opposition parties over the proposal of not having the Question Hour during the forthcoming Monsoon Session of the Parliament has made headlines in the media. However, a reality check revealed that this spirit of commitment to Question Hour, given its importance as stated by the opposition did not reflect in the House during the five-year period of 2015-2019.

As a part of the analysis of functioning of Rajya Sabha in respect of various parameters, research undertaken by the Research Division of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, at the behest of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu tells a different story.

The research revealed that during 2015-19, only about 40% of the total available Question Hour time was availed to raise questions and obtain oral responses of the government during the Question Hour. As a result, 60% of the Question Hour time went unused on account of disruptions etc.

During 2015-19, Rajya Sabha held a total of 332 sittings. During this period, a total time of 332 hours was available for the Question Hour at the rate of one hour for each sitting.

As against the total available time of 332 hours during this period, only 133 hours and 17 minutes was spent on raising questions and obtaining oral replies from the concerned ministers. This comes to only about 40% utilisation of the Question Hour time.

Actual time spent on Question Hour was: 18 hours 07 minutes during 2015; 34 hours 48 minutes in 2016; the maximum of 35 hours 13 minutes during 2017; the lowest of 14 hours 29 minutes during 2018 and 30 hours 40 minutes during 2019.

The time spent on Question Hour crossed 50% of the available time only once during this five-year period in 2017. Year-wise, the actual time spent on Question Hour was 26.25% of the available time during 2015; 48.33% during 2016; 57.73% during 2017; the lowest of 22.28% during 2018 and 47.17% during 2019.

As a result of disruptions and forced adjournments, the time spent by the Rajya Sabha on the Oversight function (ensuring the accountability of the executive) has been steadily declining since 1978 since when the relevant data is available hitting the lowest since 2015.