Data | The 17th Lok Sabha is likely to be the shortest since 1952: PRS Legislative Research

The latest session saw the least amount of time spent on questions in the current Lok Sabha

Updated - April 18, 2023 10:59 am IST

Published - April 18, 2023 10:58 am IST

Parliament House in New Delhi, India. The 17th Lok Sabha is likely to be the shortest since 1952.

Parliament House in New Delhi, India. The 17th Lok Sabha is likely to be the shortest since 1952.

The 17th Lok Sabha, which is entering its final year, has functioned for 230 sitting days so far. Of all the Lok Sabhas that completed the full five-year term, the 16th Lok Sabha had the lowest number of sitting days (331). With one more year remaining, and 58 average sitting days a year, the 17th Lok Sabha is unlikely to sit for more than 331 days. This could make it the shortest full-term Lok Sabha since 1952.

The terms of the fourth, sixth, ninth, eleventh and twelfth Lok Sabha were shorter than five years and so the number of sittings was fewer (Chart 1). Among those terms which lasted for at least five years, the 17th Lok Sabha may end up being the shortest. The term of the fifth Lok Sabha was extended for six years.

Chart 1

The chart shows the number of sittings in the last 17 Lok Sabhas, including the ongoing term

Chart appears incomplete? Click to remove AMP mode

The latest session (Budget session) held from January 31, 2023, to April 6, 2023, with a recess from February 14 to March 12 saw limited legislative activity and minimal discussion on the Budget amidst continuous disruptions. In this session, the Lok Sabha functioned for 33% of its scheduled time (46 hours) and the Rajya Sabha functioned for 24% (32 hours) as shown in Chart 2. In the 15 days of the second part of the session, the Lok Sabha worked for 5% of its scheduled time and the Rajya Sabha for 6%, with most of the time spent on the procedural work of tabling papers. 

Chart 2 

The chart shows the functioning time as a percentage of scheduled time in the past 11 Sessions (from the 2019 Budget Session to the 2023 Budget Session)

In this Lok Sabha, so far, 150 Bills have been introduced and 131 Bills have been passed (excluding Finance and Appropriation Bills). In the first session, 38 Bills were introduced and 28 were passed (Chart 3). Since then, the number of Bills introduced and passed has declined. Fewer than 10 Bills have been introduced or passed in each of the last four consecutive sessions. 

Chart 3

The chart shows the number of Bills passed by each Lok Sabha

The latest Budget session was the sixth shortest Budget session since 1952. The Lok Sabha spent 18 hours on financial business, of which 16 hours were spent on the general discussion of the Budget (Chart 4). In the previous Budget sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha, financial business was discussed for 55 hours on average. 

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Chart 4

The chart shows the time spent on Budget discussions in hours

The Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address was the only item discussed in the latest session (Chart 5). It was discussed for about 28 hours in both Houses, with 150 members participating in total. The Rules of Procedure of both Houses of Parliament provide for various devices which can be used to draw attention to matters of public importance and hold the government accountable. These include half-an-hour discussions, short-duration discussions, and adjournment motions. In the 17th Lok Sabha, only 11 short-duration discussions and one half-an-hour discussion have been held so far. None of these was held in the latest session. 

Chart 5

The chart shows the number of debates conducted in Lok Sabha

The latest session also saw the least amount of time spent on questions in the current Lok Sabha. 

Question Hour functioned for 19% of the scheduled time in the Lok Sabha and 9% of the scheduled time in the Rajya Sabha (Chart 6). About 7% of starred questions were answered in each House. No Private Member Bills were introduced or discussed in this session. Each House discussed one Private Member Resolution.

Chart 6

The chart shows the share of question hour of the scheduled time in the Lok Sabha in the past 11 sessions

Adjournment motions are used to adjourn the normal proceedings of the House to discuss an urgent matter. The motion is voted on at the end of the discussion. Short duration discussions are used to debate matters of public importance. Half-an-hour discussions are used to obtain further information from the government about a question answered in the House

Source: PRS Legislative Research’s Vital Stats: Parliament functioning in Budget Session 2023

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