Performance review: How Parliament has functioned till now

Source: The post is based on the article “Performance review: How Parliament has functioned till now” published in The Hindu on 30th May 2023

What is the News?

Prime Minister has recently inaugurated India’s new Parliament building. The new building will come into use from the next Parliament session. At this juncture, it is time to review the performance of the MPs in the old building.

What is the performance of Lok Sabhas in general?

Terms of various Lok Sabha’s: The terms of the fourth, sixth, ninth, eleventh and twelfth Lok Sabha were shorter than five years and so the number of sittings were fewer. The term of the fifth Lok Sabha was extended for six years.

Bills to Parliamentary Standing Committees: These were created in 1993 to assist Parliament in its legislative and financial business. Since 2004, of the total Bills introduced in Parliament, only 45% have been referred to Committees. The decline has been more in recent years with the 16th Lok Sabha and 17th (ongoing) Lok Sabha seeing fewer Bills being sent to Committees.

What is the performance review of the 17th Lok Sabha?

Performance review of the 17th Lok Sabha
Source: The Hindu

Lack of application of accountability provisions: The Rules of Procedure of both Houses 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 were held in the latest session.

Bills introduced and passed: In this Lok Sabha, so far, 150 Bills have been introduced and 131 have been passed (excluding Finance and Appropriation Bills). Fewer than 10 Bills have been introduced or passed in each of the last four consecutive sessions.

Sitting days of the 17th Lok Sabha may end up being the shortest: This could make it the shortest full-term Lok Sabha since 1952.

Budget sessions of 17th 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 discussing the Budget. In the previous Budget sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha, financial business was discussed for 55 hours on average.

Not elected a Deputy Speaker so far: Article 93 of the Constitution states that the Lok Sabha will choose two Members of the House to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker, as soon as possible.

But despite the Supreme Court’s notice, the 17th Lok Sabha has not elected a Deputy Speaker even as it enters the final year of its five-year term.

Read more: Parliamentary debates: Significance, issues and the way forward – Explained, pointwise
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