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PRS Legislative Research on functioning of the 17th Lok Sabha

Why is it in the news?

  • PRS Legislative Research released vital stats on the functioning of the 17th Lok Sabha.
  • The 17th Lok Sabha conducted its sessions from June 2019 to February 2024.

About the functioning

Session Statistics:

  • During this period, the Lok Sabha held 274 sittings and passed 179 Bills.
  • Question Hour functioned for 60% of the scheduled time in Lok Sabha and 52% in Rajya Sabha. Notably, Question Hour was cancelled during the monsoon session of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issues Arising from Lok Sabha Functioning:

  • The 17th Lok Sabha had the fewest sittings among all full-term Lok Sabhas.
  • There were 206 instances of suspension of Members of Parliament, indicating disruptions and disciplinary issues.
  • The average annual sitting days decreased significantly to 55 from 135 in the first Lok Sabha.
  • Notably, the Lok Sabha did not elect a Deputy Speaker for the entire duration of its term, contrary to the constitutional requirement outlined in Article 93.
  • A mere 16% of bills were referred to committees for detailed scrutiny, raising concerns about the depth of legislative examination.
  • A significant portion (35%) of bills passed with less than an hour of discussion, potentially indicating a lack of thorough deliberation.
  • Furthermore, time allocated for budget discussions reduced, with approximately 80% of the budget passed without substantial debate.

Proposed Improvements for Lok Sabha Functioning

  • To address these issues, it is suggested that Parliament should convene more frequent sittings, allowing for comprehensive legislative review and debate.
  • Bills should undergo detailed scrutiny with adequate discussion and referral to parliamentary committees for in-depth examination.
  • There should be sufficient time allocated for Opposition voices to express their perspectives and concerns, fostering constructive debates and consultations between political parties.

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