Parliament: India (general issues)

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Sessions since 2010 where more than half the time has been lost; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 11, 2015
Facts about Parliament; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Aug 27, 2011
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

This page deals with issues and factoids common to the two houses of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha as well as the Lok Sabha


Disciplinary issues

Expulsion of MPs from Parliament

1951- 2023

The Expulsion of MPs from Parliament, 1951- 2023
From: [Dec 9, 2023: The Times of India]

See graphic:

The Expulsion of MPs from Parliament, 1951- 2023

Disruption of parliament

Till 2021 Aug: an overview

Chakshu Roy, August 10, 2021: The Times of India

Have you heard of Rufus E Miles? If yes, then you know that in the late 1940s, he described what is currently happening in our Parliament. If you haven't heard of him, he was an American bureaucrat who served during the tenure of three presidents (Dwight D Eisenhower, John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson). The adage, "where you stand, depends on where you sit", is attributed to him. Miles admitted that the idea was as old as Plato. While working in the president's budget office, he coined the phrase to illustrate a colleague’s shifting stance after changing departments.

Popularly referred to as 'Miles law' — it also fits the functioning of our legislature in the past two decades. A ruling party behaves like its opponents, who were earlier in power. And an Opposition party dishes out the same parliamentary behaviour that it faced when it was in government. For example, from 1999 to 2004, during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) tenure, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) parties disrupted Parliament. There was a reversal of roles after the 2004 general elections. Now, it was the turn of the NDA parties to protest for the next ten years. After 2014, the wheel of electoral fortune has turned once again.

Over the years, the primary reason for disruptions remains the same. Each time a political party's government is in power, it shies away from debating uncomfortable issues, prompting the other side to disrupt Parliament. Take the ongoing dysfunctional monsoon session, for instance. The Opposition parties are disrupting House proceedings because the government is unwilling to debate the Pegasus phone-hacking controversy. Despite the disruptions, the government is pushing through its legislative agenda.

So far, it has introduced and passed 12 new and four bills from previous sessions. Parliament passed these bills in a din, and on average, Lok Sabha took about 10 minutes, and Rajya Sabha took about half an hour to discuss and pass these Bills. Similarly, in 2010 the entire winter session of Parliament was lost because the government was resisting the demand for a joint parliamentary committee to look into the 2G spectrum allocation. At that time, the government passed four appropriation bills without any debate.

Political parties are aware of this obvious misstep in their approach to discussions in Parliament. In 2001, while addressing a conference organised to find solutions to disruptions in legislatures, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid out the role of the ruling and Opposition parties. He said that the majority party is responsible for governing and should take other parties into confidence. He added that the Opposition should play a constructive role in Parliament and should have the opportunity to put forward its views in a dignified manner. Sonia Gandhi, the then leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, emphasised that debate is central to democracy, and therefore there should be more debate and fewer disruptions. She identified "the reluctance and procrastination" of the treasury benches to face discussions as a cause for disorder in Parliament. She sought the support of the presiding officers to help the Opposition raise issues uncomfortable to the government.

Sonia Gandhi stated that her party did not follow the Miles law in the national interest. Mamata Banerjee, leader of the All India Trinamool Congress, said that in a democracy, power is transient and that a party ruling the Centre may not be in control in the states. She stressed the need for cordial and respectful relations between the opposition and ruling parties. The conference ended with political parties reiterating past assurances against disrupting parliamentary functioning. Promises that they have repeatedly been breaking since then.

An effective Parliament requires a vigilant Opposition and a responsive government. And for the institution to work smoothly, both sides should be accommodative and open to compromise. In a 2010 paper, "The Mindsets of Political Compromise", academics Amy Gutmann, the president of the University of Pennsylvania and Dennis Thompson, professor of political philosophy at Harvard University, analysed the reasons for resistance to political compromise in American democracy. They argued that "The increasing incursion of campaigning into governing... encourages political attitudes and arguments that make compromise more difficult."

They conclude that a "compromising mindset inclines politicians to adapt their principles and respect their opponents". According to them, "this mindset is more appropriate for governing because it enables politicians more readily to recognise and act on opportunities for desirable compromise".

Even in our Parliament, conversation and compromise have been the key to breaking a political deadlock. A discussion on the House floor telecast live to the entire nation allows Opposition parties to highlight faults and governance failures by the government. It enables the government to clear its name and shine a light on its accomplishments. But the disruption of Parliament proceedings means that this debate happens everywhere other than in Parliament, undermining the institution.

It is debate and not disruption that results in the strengthening of our deliberative democracy. As Tuesday’s discussion on the Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021 shows us, it is possible for the political parties to compromise, let the House function and debate on a piece of legislation impacting backward classes. In 2013, after an unusually volatile second half of the Budget session, the chairman of Rajya Sabha, Hamid Ansari, raised three questions, "One, has the balance between deliberation, legislation and accountability been lost due to regular disruptions of the proceedings? Two, has the time not come to bridge the growing gap between the rules of procedure and the need felt by different sections of the House to voice opinions on matters of concern? This, needless to say, has to be done in an orderly manner to preserve the dignity of the House. Three, has the membership of this august body assessed the impact of disruptive behaviour on public opinion?" These questions raised by Ansari continue to be relevant today.

The writer is head of outreach, PRS Legislative Research

Non-political celebrity MPs

Celebrities in the Indian parliament

Celebrities in the Rajya Sabha
Attendance and questions asked by the film stars and sport persons in the Parliament; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 7, 2016

Non-political celebrities in the Indian parliament belong to two main streams:

i) Those who win elections and enter the Lok Sabha, and

ii) Those who are nominated to the Rajya Sabha under the special dispensation allowed for such nomination.

There are two more categories:

iii) Those who get elected to the Rajya Sabha; and

iv) Those who, after initial nomination to the Rajya Sabha later feel confident enough to seek election to the Lok Sabha, and win.

Celebrity MPs' attendance in Parliament


Celebrity MPs are a rare sight in House New Delhi:

The Times of India Jul 21 2014

Attendance of actor-turned MPs in %, as on September 5, 2016; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, September 5, 2016

Sachin Attended 3 Days, Rekha 7 Since April ’12

Celebrity MPs simply give a royal miss to Rajya Sabha, the upper House of Parliament, where they find place as ‘nominated’ members due to their outstanding performance in their respective professions.

Be it legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar or the late painter M F Husain in the past or cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood actress Rekha now, the ‘nominated’ celebrity MP has not matched up to the other nominated members, who come from professions like academics, civil services, journalism, legal service or science.

Records show that Tendulkar has attended the House only thrice while Rekha has attended it on seven days since they were nominated as MPs in April 2012.

Though Tendulkar was expected to attend the House more often once he retired from international cricket, he did so only once after November last year. The upper House sat for 35 days during three sessions between December 2013 and July this year.

Neither Rekha nor Tendulkar attended any sittings during the ongoing session of Parliament under the new government. Their absence from the House was noted by other members. Last week, RJD member and former Union minister Premchand Gupta referred to it in the House and questioned such nominations.

Besides Rekha and Tendulkar, poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar is the other celebrity among the 12 nominated members. Though Akhtar's record is much better, he re mains a mute spectator during most of the proceedings. He was last heard during a debate on amending the Copyright Bill two years ago.

His wife Shabana Azmi was, in contrast, among the most vocal celebrities who raised many issues and actively participated in many debates during her tenure.

Records show that the other nine nominated members, including businesswoman and social activist Anu Aga, journalist H K Dua, theatre personality B Jayashree, jurist K Parasaran and lawyer K T S Tulsi, have been quite regular in Parliament.

Salaries of Members of Parliament, 1965-2009;Graphic courtesy: The Times of India Dec 24 2015

2019- early 23

Avijit Ghosh, April 14, 2023: The Times of India

The attendance of celebrity MPs, 2019- 23
From: Avijit Ghosh, April 14, 2023: The Times of India

Three film stars from Bengal – Dev, Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan (all from Trinamool Congress) – and Sunny Deol of BJP have less than one-fourth attendance in the ongoing 17th Lok Sabha.

Dev (Deepak Adhikari), the star of super hits like Challenge, marked 11% attendance while Gurdaspur MP Deol clocked 20%. Both Mimi and Nusrat recorded 22%, as per PRS Legislative Research data. The national attendance average of 17th Lok Sabha MPs is 79%.

Three film personalities who scored higher than the national average among Lok Sabha MPs are Bhojpuri actor-singers Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ and Manoj Tiwari. The two BJP MPs registered 90% and 83% attendance, respectively. Locket Chatterjee, also of BJP, scored a high 88%. Nirahua, who won a by-election in Azamgarh in June 2022, has attended only three sessions so far. 
Apart from attendance, participating in debates and asking questions are some other in-house activities for legislators. As per PRS data, each Lok Sabha MP, on average, has participated in 41.

5 debates and asked 176 questions since 2019. 
MR Madhavan of PRS Legislative research says the participation data for each MP should be interpreted with caution. “These are quantitative metrics that give an idea about the amount of participation in Parliament, but do not measure the quality of any intervention. ”

For example, an MP who speaks rhetorically and frequently will have higher numbers than another who makes more effective but fewer interventions. “ However, if an MP is not speaking at all during debates and has a very low attendance, it can only be interpreted as a low degree of involvement,” Madhavan says.

For instance, Dev has participated in only one debate during this tenure and asked 80 questions, including three on the Ghatal Master Plan. Ghatal, a flood-prone town in West Medinipur district, is his constituency. Deol has not participated in any debate and asked only one question so far, on illegal sand mining in rivers.

Yadav a. k. a. Nirahua, too, has been involved in only three debates; two of them requesting the government to form an Ahir regiment in the army (Yadavs are also known as Ahirs). He has asked eight questions overall.

Bengal actor Mimi Chakraborty was more active than Dev and Deol. She took part in seven debates, including one on cruelty to street dogs, and asked 145 questions. Her latest question was on India’s unemployment rate. Nusrat Jahan intervened in 11 debates, some on issues related to her constituency of Basirhat, including making a demand for a railway halt station at UttarDebipur. She has altogether asked 131 questions.

Social scientist Dipankar Gupta says unless actors are immersed in politics, they feel out of place in an arena with which they are completely unfamiliar. “Actors, like cricketers, are used to adoration for their prowess on the screen, or on the cricket field, and find their ineptitude in politics personally humiliating. Remember, they are stars with hangers-on praising their every move but, in Parliament, they might not know what move to make. ”

PRS statistics show Manoj Tiwari from Northeast Delhi constituency has been actively involved in Parliamentary proceedings. He has 100% attendance in four sessions, took part in 31 debates and asked 336 questions.

Like Tiwari, Locket Chatterjee also has 100% attendance in four sessions. The BJP MP from Hooghly in Bengal participated in 38 debates, mostly on issues related to the state, especially law and order. She also raised the demand to “dedicate two days for women during the Parliament session”.

From screen to political stage

From screen to political stage- Actors who became MPs
From: Avijit Ghosh, April 14, 2023: The Times of India

See graphic:

From screen to political stage- Actors who became MPs

Utilisation of MPLADS funds

Sachin Tendulkar, Rekha spent nothing from MP development fund

TNN | Feb 24, 2014 The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar and veteran actress Rekha who were nominated to Rajya Sabha around two years ago have spent "zero" rupee on development in their respective adopted areas.

Official reports published on the website of ministry of statistics and programme implementation reveal that the celebrity MPs did not spend anything from their members of the parliament local area development (MPLAD) fund.

The Upper House parliamentarians get to adopt a district of their choice for development. Each Rajya Sabha member is entitled to Rs 5 crore a year from their MPLAD fund. Sachin Tendulkar adopted district is Mumbai suburban, but Rekha has not bothered to even adopt a district.

Neither sent any development project proposal to the government. Both have accumulated Rs 10 crore each in their two year old accounts.

Work done in the Rajya Sabha in the winter session, 2015;Graphic courtesy: The Times of IndiaDec 24 2015

Parliament House

See Parliament House: India

The whip

Origin of ‘whip’

Whip governs expelled legislators

The Times of India, Aug 04 2016

Dhananjay Mahapatra

The Supreme Court refused to answer questions raised by expelled MPs Amar Singh, Jaya Prada and Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, leading to revival of its 1996 judgment making elected representatives thrown out of a party amenable to the party whip in a House.

The SC had on November 15, 2010 passed an 11-page judgment staying application of its 1996 judgment to Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, who were expelled from Samajwadi Party on January 6, 2010.

It had referred the matter to a three-judge bench after framing seven questions for consideration, including whether an expelled MP or MLA would come under the ambit of party whip and whether defiance of such whip would make the elected representative liable to disqualification proceedings under the Tenth Schedule. Expelled from BJD in 2012, Mohapatra had moved the SC and got relief similar to Singh and Jaya Prada.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Arun Mishra and P C Pant, which had heard detailed arguments on the seven questions and reserved the verdict on February 15, on Wednesday surprised the counsel for the three petitioners by saying, “We are not answering the questions raised in the petitions.“

The bench passed a short order saying the term of these elected representatives had ended and the petitions had become infructuous.

In comparison, the reference judgment of November 15, 2010 by Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph dealt elaborately with the pleadings and had said, “Pending the refe rence, the decision in G Vishwanathan's case (the 1996 judgment) shall not apply to Amar Singh and Jaya Prada.“

With this order, the 1996 judgment will apply to all expelled MPs and MLAs immediately and they will have to adhere to the whip issued by the party on whose ticket they were elected to the House before being expelled.

Justices Kabir and Joseph had said, “We are convinced that the decision in G Vishwanathan's case merits another look as far as members of the House who are expelled from their parties on whose banner they had been elected to the House are concerned, as they would be left completely vulnerable to the whims and fancies of the leaders of their parties.“

Women in Parliament

2014-16: Participation of women

The Times of India, Mar 8, 2016

Anahita Mukherji

Women in House: India's rank slips

The 16th Lok Sabha may have the highest number of women that the Lower House has ever had, but India has slipped from a rank of 117 among 188 countries in 2014 to 144 among 191 countries as on February 1, 2016, in terms of the proportion of women in Parliament.

Barely 12% of MPs in the Lok Sabha are women and the figure stands at 12.8% in Rajya Sabha. This is well below the global average of around 22% in both Houses.

President Pranab Mukherjee had made a strong pitch for reviving the Constitution amendment Bill to give 33% reservation to women in Parliament. While 62 women were elected to the Lok Sabha in the general elections in May 2014, four more have been added over the last couple of years through by-elections. But while the proportion of women has increased from 11.4% in June 2014 to 12% in February 2016, India's rank compared to other countries has fallen. Countries that currently rank higher than India include several African and Latin American countries, as well as countries that were part of the erstwhile Soviet Bloc. Rwanda ranks No 1 with 63.8% women in the lower house of parliament and 38.5% in the upper house.

"Equality is a core value in the Indian constitution. Why are women being kept out of Parliament? Why are women excluded from party lists at the time of elections? One cannot say that women lack merit," said CPM leader Brinda Karat, who has actively campaigned for the women's reservation bill. "The bill has been absent in business agendas for the last two years. Instead, what we have is the worst kind of tokenism, with the PM calling for only women MPs to speak on March 8," she added.

India no. 103 in women's representation

India no country for women netas

Kounteya Sinha The Times of India Mar 06 2015 London

India no. 103 in women's representation

At 103, India Behind Sub-Saharan Africa In Representation Of Fairer Sex In Parliament

India has been found to be one of the world's worst countries for women to enter politics. Data shows that even countries like Syria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Niger and Somalia have more women in their parliament. Days before the world celebrates the International Women's Day , the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) revealed that there are only 96 women representatives in both houses of Parliament in India. The country , therefore, ranks abysmally low -103rd -in the Women in Parliament study released.

The worst country in the world for woman parliamentarians is Vanuatu, ranked 137th, where not a single woman is in parliament.

India, where only 12% of parliamentarians are women in both houses of parliament -65 in the Lower House and 31 in the Upper House -can learn from its immediate neighbours. Pakistan -having 84 woman parliamentarians -ranks 64th with 21% legislators in its lower House and 17% in the upper House being women. China, too, is much better off. It ranks 53rd with 699 members in its lower House being women (24%).

Nepal, which is ranked as high as 35, is a shining example of how to involve more women in parliament. Almost every third seat in Nepal's parliament -totalling around 176 -are occupied by women.

Not just these, even Afghanistan beats India by miles. The country is ranked 39th and boasts of 97 women parliamentarians -28% of seats in both its houses. In Bangladesh, too, every fifth parliamentarian is a woman (20%).

The IPU said, “There were also minor increases to both houses of Parliament in India, though the overall percentage remains very low.“

The US is ranked 72nd with 84 woman parliamentarians in its lower House (20%) and 20 in the upper House.The UK, on the other hand, is ranked 56th with 24% of parliamentary seats in the upper House taken by women and 23% in the lower House. There is, however, good news globally . The number of single or lower houses of parliament where women occupy more than 30% of the seats increased from five to 42, while those with more than 40% have jumped from one to 13 over the past five years.There are now also four chambers with more than 50% women MPs and one, Rwanda, with more than 60%.

In 1995, Europe dominated the top 10 spots in the IPU's world rankings of women in parliament. In 2015, four of the top 10 countries are from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Only Finland, Seychelles and Sweden appear in the top 10 for both 1995 and 2015, while Rwanda, Andorra and Bolivia have made the biggest leaps forward.

The cost of running the parliament, 1951-2006;Graphic courtesy: The Times of IndiaDec 24 2015

Members of Parliment

Indifferent MPs

Sachin Tendulkar adopted a district is Mumbai suburban, but Rekha has not bothered to even adopt a district as Rajya Sabha MP.

Expulsion of MPs

The Times of India, Apr 28 2016

Mallya could be 15th MP to be expelled 

If Vijay Mallya is expelled from Parliament, he will be the 15th MP to meet such a fate. Fo urteen MPs, in cluding one for over a year, have been expelled from Parliament (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) since 1951.

These 14 MPs include Subramanian Swamy , who took oath as Rajya Sabha member, and former PM Indira Gandhi, who was expelled from Lok Sabha in November 1977 but her motion of expulsion was later rescinded by the House.

Indira was expelled for obstruction, intimidation, harassment and instituting false cases against certain officials, who were collecting information to answer a question in the House.

Swamy was expelled from Rajya Sabha in 1976 after a parliamentary panel found his conduct derogatory to the dignity of the House.Then Lok Sabha member HG Mudgal was the first to be expelled from the lower House in 1951. He was expelled for accepting money for favours in Parliament.

Eleven MPs, including one from RS, were expelled in 2006 after the `cash-for query' sting operation by a private TV channel in 2005.

Expulsion of Mallya was suggested by the ethics committee of Rajya Sabha, headed by veteran Congress member Karan Singh, last week. The panel, however, decided to give Mallya a week to explain his conduct, which the members said was a “procedural formality“.

Private member’s bills

Private member’s bills passed by parliament; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

The Times of India

Apr 25 2015

Just 14 private member's bills passed by Parliament till date; the last was in 1970

Only 14 private member's bill have been passed by both Houses and become law in the history of Indian Parliament. The last such bill, the Supreme Court (enlargement of criminal appellate jurisdiction) Bill, was passed in 1970. Members of Parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented by them are known as private member's bills.

An overwhelming number of such bills are introduced with only a fraction even discussed on the floor of the House. According to data collated by PRS Legislative Research in the 13th Lok Sabha, 343 such bills were introduced but only 17 were discussed while only 14 of the 328 bills were discussed in the 14th LS. In the last LS, 372 bills were introduced by members but 11 were discussed while in the present (16th Lok Sabha) 206 bills have been introduced and six have been discussed excluding the bill on transgenders introduced on Friday .

Among the bills that were introduced on Friday was one which seeks to set targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change, another to prevent, control and manage the HIVAIDS epidemic, yet another to establish a fodder warehouse board, a national commission for famers and amendments to protection of children from sexual offences act among others.

“No private member's bill has become law since 1970,“ Subhash Kashyap, expert in parliamentary affairs said.

Among the 14 bills that have become law in the past and were introduced in the Lok Sabha were the Muslim Wakfs Bill as early as 1952 that provided for better governance and administration of Muslim Wakfs, the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill in 1953 that aimed to empower the revisional court to stay or suspend the final orders of lower courts and the Indian Registration (Amendment) Bill, 1955 which sought to remove the anomaly of recording castes and sub-castes of parties in a deed for registration.

Others include the Proceedings of Legislature (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1956, brought by Feroze Gandhi in the Lok Sabha to protect journalists reporting on Parliament proceedings and to define by law the privilege available to publications made in good faith of reports of proceedings of legislatures, the Women's and Children's Institutions (Licensing) Bill, 1954, introduced by Rajmata Kamlendu Mati Shah and passed in 1956 to regulate and license orphanages and other institutions caring for women and children under 18 years of age and to provide for the proper custody , care and training of their inmates.

The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Bill, 1954 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Raghubir Singh and aimed to get certain monuments included in the list of Monuments of National Importance declared in the principal Act of 1951.

The Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Bill in 1956 brought by Seeta Parmanand in RS and passed in 1956 said that when both parties belong to the Hindu religion and are marrying under the Special Marriage Act, they will be governed by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 1957, the Orphanages and Other Charitable Homes (Supervision and Control) Bill, 1960, the Marine Insurance Bill, 1959, the Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 1962, the Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 1964 and the Indian Penal Code (amendment) bill, 1963, passed in 1969 were also some bills passed by both Houses.

The productivity of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs;, 2009-2015, session-wise;Graphic courtesy: The Times of IndiaDec 24 2015

Parliament attack: 2001

India Today December 29, 2008

December 13, 2001, saw an audacious terror attack on Parliament which the intelligence agencies had no clue about. “The attack on Parliament was reality television at its horrific best, September 11 and the World Trade Centre translated into Indian idiom,” said India Today in December 2001. The elaborate terror plot was hatched for eight months by the terror organisation in Pakistan and their local modules in Delhi and Kashmir.

Legislative work, laws enacted

1952-2017: trends

Mohua Chatterjee, ‘47% of bills in last 10 yrs passed without debate’, December 11, 2017: The Times of India

At a time when a delayed schedule for the winter session of Parliament in 2017 is a matter of discussion in political circles, an examination of records shows that 47% of bills in the last10 years were passed without any debate.

There has also been a steady reduction in parliamentary hours, a comparison with records of the first 20 years since 1952 show. Between 1952 and 1972, the House ran for between 128 and 132 days a year, according to parliamentary sources. In thelast10 years, it ran for 64to 67 days a year on an average.

Parliament passing a good number of legislations without any debateisin itself an abuse of the parliamentary system. Records show that 47 % bills in the last 10 years were passed with no discussion at all. Sixty-one per cent of these (24% in all) were passed in the last three hours of a session.

In the last 10 years, 31% of legislations were passed in Parliament with no scrutiny or vetting by any parliamentary standing or consultative committee. However, there is no mandatory requirement to refer billstocommittees.

Another alarming trend is the decline in standards of educational qualifications of lawmakers in thelast20 years. To make matters worse, while educational qualifications of MPs have fallen, there has been a consistent demand by them for hike in their own salaries. The number of MPs with doctorate, post-doctorate and post-graduatedegreeshas declined by 62% in the last 20 years, recordsshow.

Asfor thedebateon dynastic politics, exceptions seem to be few in number, especially among the youthbrigadein Parliament. In the last 10 years, 71% MPs below the age of 30 were second or third generation parliamentarians and among those below 40 years, 57% had similar credentials.

Interestingly, salaries of MPs were increased four times in the last five years.

2004- 2018, Monsoon sessions

Akhilesh Singh, LS churns out most productive monsoon session since 2000, August 11, 2018: The Times of India

Lower House Sat For 110% Of Scheduled Time

With the government agreeing to the contentious no-confidence motion moved by the Telugu Desam

Party early on, the Lok Sabha saw the most productive monsoon session since 2000, one that ended on Friday with the passage of amendments to the law that empowered homebuyers in insolvency cases.

The amendments seek to replace the June 6 ordinance that places homebuyers as “financial creditors” on a par with banks. Data compiled by PRS Legislative Research shows that 18 of 20 bills introduced during the session were passed. The LS worked for 110% of the scheduled hours and the Rajya Sabha for 66%.

Lok Sabha sat for 20hrs beyond scheduled time to make up for 8hrs lost in disruptions

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha spent 50% and 48% of their time on legislative business, respectively, the data said. This is the highest by both Houses in the 16th Lok Sabha and the second-highest since 2004.

Among significant legislations, granting constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes and restoring the immediate arrest provision in the SC/ST Act are a major political gain for the ruling party, which has been facing flak on Dalit issues.

Fewer bills (26%) were referred to parliamentary committees as compared to the 15th Lok Sabha (71%) and the 14th Lok Sabha (60%) — a fallout of the Modi government’s big majority. The Lok Sabha sat for over 20 hours beyond the scheduled time to make up for over eight hours lost in disruptions.

The session has also been one of the most productive for question hours in the 16th Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha functioned for 84% and 68% of their scheduled question hour time. As many as 999 private member bills, the most since 2000, were introduced, PRS said.

In the 16th Lok Sabha, so far the most government bills have been introduced by the ministry of law and justice and the ministry of health and family welfare.

In the 15th Lok Sabha, the highest number of bills were introduced by the ministry of finance, ministry of home affairs and ministry of law and justice. “I have several times laid stress on the conduct of the House which is essential to maintain credibility of Parliament,” Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said after she adjourned the House sine die on Friday. “The session was more productive and satisfactory compared to the past two other productive sessions — the second part of budget session 2017 and the last monsoon session,” she said.

Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said the session proved to be about three times more productive than the budget session whose productivity was only about 25%. “This is a remarkable improvement and the credit goes to all,” he said.

The House discussed the supplementary demands for grants (general) and demands for excess grants (general) for 2015-16 and the approved the relevant appropriation bills.

2009-14, 2014- July 16

The Times of India, Aug 10 2016

Himanshi Dhawan

The 16th Lok Sabha has passed 109 bills while Parliament has passed 97 bills since the budget session of 2014 with the Modi government at the helm. In comparison, Parliament passed 179 bills -116 legislative bills and 63 finance and appropriation bills-during 2009-2014 when UPAII was in power.

While respon ding to the debate on GST in Lok Sabha, PM Narendra Modi said while his government was over 100 weeks old, the lower House had cleared over 100 bills and hit a “century.

“This is the strength of this House and this is what has given citizens a new confidence, he said while extolling the political consensus that was arrived at with all political parties, except AIADMK, expressing support for the 122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill (GST).

Of the bills passed by both Houses were 70 legislative bills and 27 finance and appropriation bills, according to data collected by PRS Legislative Research. Among the highest number of laws passed in the last two years were in the budget session, 2016 when 24 bills were cleared of which 16 were legislative and 8 finance bills. So far in this monsoon session, Parliament has passed 12 bills.

“The number of bills passed by Parliament cannot be the only criteria of its legislative work. What should also be taken into account is the debate and scrutiny that bills receive while being passed by Parliament. Some bills of the 16th Lok Sabha have not been referred to standing committee, and some others have been passed without adequate debate in the house, Chakshu Roy , head of outreach at PRS Legislative said hitting a note of caution.

One of the significant bills that was cleared by both Houses with scant discussion was the Lokpal and Lokayukta Amendment Bill.The bill dropped the controversial Section 44 excluding spouse and kids of public servants from disclosure of their wealth.


Suspension of members

Rule 374(A): MPs suspended if named

The Times of India, August 4, 2015

Suspension of members: 1989-2014; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 4, 2015

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Majahan invoked Rule 374(A) to name (identifying for action) 25 Congress members who were in protesting in the well of the House. Rule 374(A) says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in Rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House, persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less“.

Winter 2015: Majority of time spent on non-legislative business

The Times of India Dec 24 2015

RS chairman’s disapproval of the disruption

The winter session of Parliament that ended once again reflected how the productivity of Rajya Sabha, where proceedings were marked by frequent disruptions, remained just about 50%. Urging MPs to introspect, chairman Hamid Ansari said the record belied the House's commitment to Constitutional principles “in good measure“.

Against this, Lok Sabha logged productivity of 102%, passing more bills and spend ing more time in debating those legislations.

Ever since BJP-led NDA came to office, the oppositioncontrolled Rajya Sabha has been lagging behind in the past four sessions. Similar fig ures appeared during the monsoon session (July-August) during which Rajya Sabha registered a virtual washout, seen as its worst performance (9%). Over the years, the pro ductivity of Lok Sab ha and Rajya Sabha has been similar, with a few instances of one House performing marginally better than the other. However, in the last four sessions, the average productivity of Lok Sabha has been 97% and the average productivity of Rajya Sabha has been 62%,“ said the PRS Legislative Research in its analysis soon after the session ended on Wednesday .

The productivity gap between the Houses appeared to be getting pronounced since last year's winter session when Lok Sabha's overall productivity was 98% as compared to 59% of Rajya Sabha.This year's Budget session was an exception, with both Houses performing well.

An upset Ansari said the interruptions in the functioning of the House were “sought to be justified by specious logic by different sections of the House at different times to suit their tactics of the moment“, leading to loss of working time and neglect of listed business.

The PRS Legislative Research noted that the majority of the productive time during the winter session was spent on non-legislative business, which included discussions on issues related to price rise, drought and floods, and a two-day special sitting on reaffirming commitment to the principles and ideals of the Constitution.

Highlights from winter session of the Indian parliament

The Times of India (Delhi)


2016: 100% work in monsoon session

The Times of India, Aug 13 2016

LS, RS score 100% biz in monsoon session

Parliament functioned overtime in the monsoon session with Lok Sabha working for 110.84% and Rajya Sabha for 99.54% of their scheduled time, according to the figures shared by the government.

During the session, 15 bills were introduced. While the Lok Sabha passed all 15, Rajya Sabha gave its nod to 14, including a constitutional amendment bill enabling the levy of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Some bills that were introduced and passed on the same day included Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, which was passed in less than half an hour in each House, Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill and the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill.

Another analysis by PRS Legislative Research, however, said that during this session, Rajya Sabha met for 96% and Lok Sabha for 101% of their scheduled time.This implies that lesser time was lost to disruptions.

During the session, both Houses sat for extra hours on most days. Out of 20 days, Lok Sabha sat beyond its scheduled time on 11 days, while Rajya Sabha sat beyond its scheduled time on 14 days.

Question hour was one of the most productive since 2004. During the session, 25% (98) of the questions were answered in Lok Sabha, while 28% (84) of the questions were answered in Rajya Sabha.

Question Hour in Lok Sabha functioned for 88% of its scheduled time, while in Rajya Sabha it functioned for 69% of its scheduled time.

Rajya Sabha spent 52% of its time, and Lok Sabha 40% of its time on discussing issues such as inflation, and atrocities against Dalits. The recent incidents in Kashmir were debated for a total of 16 hours in both the Houses.

Two bills replacing ordinances, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and the Dentists (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016, which were promulgated by the President, were considered and passed by both Houses in this session.

Agricultural University: Bill passed in single day

The Times of India, May 13 2016

Vishwa Mohan

In rarest of rare case, both LS, RS pass bill in one day

Bihar Gets A Central Agri University

In what could possibly be a rare example of a legislation being passed by both Houses on the same day ,Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha passed the Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University Bill. Even President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to it the same day -making it a rarest of the rare case in parliamentary history .

The legislation, meant for upgrading the existing Rajendra Agriculture University (RAU), Pusa, in Bihar's Samastipur district as a central university , gave the state its first central agriculture university . “The central agriculture university is a big gift for the people of Bihar. It has fulfilled their long pending de mand,“ said agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh. Bihar, which happens to be the minister's home state, recently got the Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Motihari. Singh told TOI, “It is an honour to the state which got two central universities, including one central agriculture university, in the name of two great men -Mahatma Gandhi and Rajendra Prasad.“ “Passing of a bill by both Houses of Parliament on the same day can be done by waiving of rules (like giving minimum time to members of the other House to vet it through prior notice). After all, the House is the master of the bill. If a House decides to take up a particular bill the same day , it can take it up,“ said PDT Achary , Constitution expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general. Asked by TOI to recall any other such instance, Achary said that though a couple of bills might have been passed in similar fashion in the past, he could not recollect any such case in the recent past.

The bill was first passed by Rajya Sabha and hours later, Lok Sabha also approved it unanimously without any discussion.

Since the Lower House was to adjourn sine die on Wednesday itself, the minister was keen to get it approved. The bill was introduced in the Upper House in December, 2016.

2016: April- May

The Times of India, May 11 2016

LS records 120% productivity, RS 84%

Himanshi Dhawan

Despite deep fissures emerging between BJP and Congress over the AgustaWestland defence deal, Parliament suffered limited damage with Lok Sabha working overtime recording 120% productivity , while Rajya Sabha recorded 84%. LS had an unblemished record in conducting question hour so far with 100% productivi ty while question hour functioned 63% of the time in RS.

This is just a shade lower than the budget session 2016 when LS functioned 121% of the time and RS for 96%, according to analysis by PRS Legislative Research.

The Lower House worked for 79.10 hours, though it had allocated 66 hours for this session. RS lost 16% of its time working for 54.58 hours instead of the 65 hours allocated. Members listed 220 questions for a response in Lok Sabha of which 63 that is 29% were answered while in Rajya Sabha 46 of the 165 listed questions were answered orally.

While both Houses have had similar productivity figures, in recent times disruptions and adjournments have been more frequently seen in the Upper House where the ruling party has lower numbers. Among the significant is sues that were taken up were the AgustaWestland case which was taken up by known Gandhi family baiter Subramanian Swamy in his debut speech. This was followed by a fractious debate and defence minister Manohar Parikkar's reply in which he assured that action will be taken and Bofors would not be repeated.

Lok Sabha members discussed the water crisis and drought affecting large parts of the country and both Houses held discussions on the working of ministries of finance, human resource development, civil aviation and tourism.

Among the important legislations that have been passed by both Houses include the Anti-hijacking (Amendment) Bill, Sikh Gurdwara (Amendment) Bill and Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Amendment Bill, Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill and Appropriation Bill 2016. Data for this session is till May 9. The session is expected to continue till May 13.


Winter: RS lost 33 hours to disruptions, LS 15

RS lost 33 hours to disruptions, Lok Sabha 15, January 6, 2018: The Times of India

Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu regretted substantial loss of functional time on account of frequent disruptions in the House, and urged members to introspect as the winter session of Parliament ended on Friday.

RS was adjourned sine die without taking up the triple talaq bill for lack of consensus over the opposition’s demand to refer it to a select committee.

“..Though Parliament is a political institution, it cannot be an extension of politics in its typical sense ... It is unfortunate that despite discharging its responsibilities to a great extent, the august House ends up losing some degree of esteem of the people on account of disruptions and substantial loss of time...,” Naidu said while thanking MPs for passage of nine bills.

In the beginning of the session, insistence by Congress for an apology from PM Modi for his remark against Manmohan Singh led to disruptions.

A review of proceedings reveals that a total 41 hours of business was transacted while over 33 hours were lost to disruptions over 13 sittings. Apart from nine government bills, 19 private members’ bills were introduced. The Upper House even created a record on January 2 by taking up all starred questions after a gap of 15 years.

Passage of the triple talaq bill was the highlight in Lok Sabha, which passed 12 bills and held 13 sittings spread over 61 hours and 48 minutes and lost about 15 hours due to disruptions.

The LS passed several key bills during the session including those for raising the salaries of judges, central road fund (amendment) bill, the requisitioning and acquisition of immovable property bill, the national capital territory of Delhi laws (special provisions) second (amendment) bill and the goods and services tax (compensation to states) amendment bill.


Budget session: productivity less than 10% of average

Rumu Banerjee, House productivity less than 10% of average, March 20, 2018: The Times of India

Break-up of productive time during 16th Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
From: Rumu Banerjee, House productivity less than 10% of average, March 20, 2018: The Times of India

Two weeks into the month-long session of Parliament and it’s making news for all the wrong reasons. An analysis of the hours spent by members of Parliament in both Houses, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, shows that productivity is less than 10% on average. There were days when less than 3% of the allotted time was used for legislation.

As per the analysis of actual sitting hours, since March 5, when the second part of the Budget session started, till March 16, the maximum work done in the Lower House of Parliament, was on March 14, when members of Parliament spent 42 minutes in the House. That was the day when Appropriations Bill and the Finance Bill were passed by the Lok Sabha, without discussion.

In the Upper House, the maximum sitting by MPs was for one hour on March 8. The reason why the session went on so long was due to Women’s Day, with members speaking on the delay regarding the women’s bill as well as the strides made by women in the country.

The scheduled number of working hours in both Houses is around six hours, says PRS, which conducted the work-hour analysis.

In the Lok Sabha though, it has mostly been disruptions, with actual work taking up 12 to 30 minutes on most days. The least amount spent on legislation was on March 7 by the Upper House — it spent only 9 minutes. The hours lost every day in the Lok Sabha has been over five hours daily.

The Rajya Sabha has not fared any better. Hours lost hover between 4.97 hours to 5.82 hours as most sessions have been adjourned. On most days the number of sitting hours have ranged between 11minutes to half hour.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the amount of productive hours lost is a huge 90% in both the Houses through the past two weeks.

A result of the minuscule number of hours spent in legislation has been the passage of bills without discussion, like the Union Budget 2018, which didn’t see any discussion. Amendments, like the one allowing political parties to be exempt from scrutiny for funds received from abroad, are other casualties of the incessant adjournments.

Monsoon session: 1st no-confidence motion in Parliament in 15 years, 39 MPs spoke for almost 12 hours

July 21, 2018: The Times of India

Rahul Creates Flutter, Modi Has Last Word

In the first no-confidence motion in Parliament in 15 years, 39 MPs spoke for almost 12 hours, but at the end of the day, all eyes were on the face-off between the Congress president and the PM. The govt sailed through with a bigger margin than expected, but with LS elections looming, the drama has just begun

NDA Wins 325-126 With AIADMK Backing And BJD, TRS Abstentions

Marked by moments of high drama and histrionics, the no-confidence debate in Lok Sabha saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi capitalising on Rahul Gandhi’s surprise hug to suggest that the Congress chief’s gesture asking him to get up only reflected an unfounded eagerness to assume the high office.

“Those who want to reach here in a hurry came here and gestured ‘get up, get up’,” Modi said. Gesturing with his hands, he mimicked Rahul’s actions, providing more drama to a 12-hour debate that ended with BJP winning the vote by a large margin, its numbers swelling to 325 with 451 votes cast. The opposition scored a sub-par result with its tally reaching 126 as TRS and BJD walked out. The surprise abstention of Shiv Sena was more than made up by the support of AIADMK.

A combative PM said he would like the opposition to bring another no-confidence motion against him in 2024, implying that BJP was well on its way to returning to office in the Lok Sabha elections next year. He lashed out at Congress, saying its arguments during the no-confidence motion reflected a “deep lack of confidence in itself ”.

Gandhi had ended his speech by walking across to the PM. When Modi did not rise from his seat, he reached down and hugged him. As he walked away, Modi called him back to shake his hand and pat him on his back, even as MPs watched, most of them taken aback.

“Congress has no confidence in itself. It has no belief in Swachh Bharat, in international yoga day, the Chief Justice of India, Reserve Bank of India, the official agency that compiles national data, the rising value of Indian passport, the Election Commission, electronic voting machines... not even in itself,” he said.

Its lack of confidence was leading Congress to create uncertainty and instability, said the PM. “If you don’t believe in people, you will find

yourself on the run. In a democracy, the people are the ‘bhagya vidhata (makers of destiny)’,” he said. Taking yet another dig at Rahul, he said it wasn’t good enough to say ‘I will be PM as Congress is the biggest party’, others have to say so too.

Modi also responded to Rahul’s jibe that he couldn’t look him in the eye over allegations of corruption in the Rafale deal, saying, “How can I have the courage to do so... a son of a poor mother, who was born in a family of modest means.” He drove the point home, saying the Congress’s first family considered the post to be its preserve.

2019- 23 Mar

Anamni Gupta , Varsha Sriram, March 30, 2023: The Indian Express

According to PRS Legislative Research Data, the number of Parliament sittings has halved since the 1950s-60s, and for the last eight consecutive sessions, both Houses of Parliament have been adjourned ahead of their schedule.

We take a look at Parliamentary adjournments in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha since the Narendra Modi-led BJP government returned to power in 2019.

Winter Session 2022 (December 7-23)

The Winter Session of Parliament concluded on December 23 — a week ahead of its schedule amid protests by the Opposition over the clash between India and China troops in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang on December 9.

Hours lost and productivity: Out of the 68.9 hours during which the Lok Sabha functioned, 2.42 hours were lost due to interruptions. The Rajya Sabha functioned for 72 hours, with 1.46 hours lost due to disruptions. According to PRS, Lok Sabha logged productivity of 88%, and Rajya Sabha 94%.

Legislative business: The government planned to introduce 16 Bills in this session, but only seven were introduced. While Lok Sabha passed seven bills, nine were passed by Rajya Sabha.

This is the second least number of sittings in a session during the 17th Lok Sabha term, according to PRS.

Monsoon Session 2022 (July 18-August 8)

The Monsoon Session of Parliament ended on August 8, four days ahead of its schedule. In 16 sittings against the scheduled 18, the Parliament functioned for less than 50% of the allotted time as multiple adjournments disrupted proceedings over several issues, including the suspension of MPs, the alleged misuse of central investigating agencies, and protests over inflation and price rise.

Hours lost & productivity: This session was one of the least productive since 2014. According to PRS, Lok Sabha recorded a productivity of 47% and Rajya Sabha 42%.

Legislative business: The Government planned to introduce 24 new Bills. However, owing to protests, only six bills were introduced and five were passed, PRS data showed.

Budget Session 2022 (January 31- April 7)

The Budget session of Parliament was scheduled to be held from January 31-April 8, 2022, with a recess from February 12-March 13, but was adjourned sine die on April 7, a day ahead of its schedule.

Hours lost and productivity: According to PRS, Lok Sabha functioned for 177 hours and registered a productivity of 129%. The Rajya Sabha discharged business for 127.6 hours and registered a productivity of 99.8%.

Legislative business: According to PRS data, 13 Bills (including Finance and Appropriation Bills) were introduced in this session, and 11 were passed, of which one was pending from the 2021 Winter Session.

Winter Session 2021 (November 29-December 22)

The Winter Session of Parliament began on a stormy note, with the passage of Farm Laws Repeal Bill without any discussion and the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs for the rest of the session on the first day. The Parliament adjourned sine die on December 22, a day ahead of schedule. In the 18 sittings in 24 days, the House witnessed protests by the Opposition over a number of issues, including the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and the farmers’ demand for a legislation on Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Hours lost and productivity: The Lok Sabha worked for 77% of its scheduled time, while the Rajya Sabha worked for 43%, according to PRS data. The Lok Sabha lost 18 hours and 48 minutes due to interruptions. Rajya Sabha, however, saw more adjournments. Out of a total scheduled sitting time of 95 hours and 6 minutes, the House discharged business only for 45 hours and 6 minutes, a press note from the Rajya Sabha secretariat showed. A total of 49 hours and 32 minutes was lost due to disruptions and adjournments.

Legislative business: The government had listed 26 Bills, however, only 13 were introduced, while 11 were passed, including one Appropriation Bill.

Monsoon Session 2021 (July 19-August 11)

Parliament’s Monsoon Session ended two days ahead of schedule after being regularly disrupted by protests by the Opposition parties over Pegasus row, farm laws, and rise in prices. The Monsoon session of Parliament had 19 sittings scheduled from July 19 to August 13, for both the Lower and the Upper Houses, of which 17 were held.

Hours lost and productivity: According to PRS, the sixth term of the 17th Lower House worked for only 21.3 hours — which is just 21% of the total scheduled time — while losing 77 hours 48 minutes to adjournments, logging the least number of hours of functioning in the entire 10 sessions held since the Modi government returned to power in May 2019. Meanwhile, out of the total 112 hours Rajya Sabha discharged business for only 29 hours – which is 26% of the scheduled time. The productivity logged by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha this session was 21% and 29%, respectively.

Legislative business: Of the 38 Bills pending in Parliament, 17 were introduced and 22, including two Appropriation Bills, were passed.

Budget Session 2021 (January 29-March 25)

The 2021 Budget session was scheduled to be held from January 29- April 8, with a recess period from February 16-March 7. However, both Houses were adjourned sine die on March 25. Due to a rise in Covid cases, the Parliament functioned in two shifts from February 2, with the Rajya Sabha sitting from 10 am to 3 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 5 pm.

Hours lost and productivity: Despite the session being curtailed, there was no loss of working hours for Lok Sabha, with the House sitting till late on multiple days. According to PRS, Rajya Sabha sat for 104.4 hours, registering a productivity of 90%. The total sitting hours for Lok Sabha were 131.8, with a productivity of 107%.

Legislative business: According to PRS, of the 36 pending Bills, 20 were listed for introduction, 30 for passage, and four for withdrawal. A total of 18 Bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament.

The Winter Session of 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Monsoon Session 2020 (September 14-September 23)

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Monsoon session of Parliament functioned for only 10 days — September 14-23. The session, initially scheduled for October 1, was cut short by eight days because of the public health emergency and several MPs testing positive.

Hours lost and productivity: Despite a curtailed session and early adjournment of the House on certain days, the Lok Sabha worked for 60 hours, including 23 hours of late sittings. The time lost for early adjournments due to disruptions was 3.51 hours, according to the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The Rajya Sabha discharged business for 39.5 hours and Lok Sabha for 58.1 hours, according to PRS. According to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry Annual Report 2020-2021, the time lost due to adjournments was 3 hours 15 minutes.

Legislative business: A total of 46 Bills were pending in the Monsoon session of Parliament. Of these, 23 Bills were listed for introduction, 40 for passage, and six for withdrawal. By the end of the session, the House introduced 22 Bills, passed 27 (including two Appropriation Bills), and withdrew five Bills.

Budget Session 2020 (January 31-March 23)

The Budget Session of Parliament was held for 23 days, from January 31 to March 23, with a recess from February 12 to March 1. Originally planned to have 31 sittings till April 3, the House was adjourned sine die after completing just 23 sittings on March 23 — a day after ‘Janta Curfew’.

Hours lost and productivity: According to PRS, Lok Sabha discharged business for 111.2 hours, registering a productivity of 86%. The Rajya Sabha discharged business for 93.8 hours and registered a productivity of 74%.

Legislative business: As many as 41 Bills were pending before the Session. A total of 19 Bills were introduced, 12 were passed, and two were withdrawn.

Winter Session 2019 (November 18-December 13)

This session of Parliament witnessed uproar over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘rape in India’ remark, and protests in Northeast over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Hours lost and productivity: The Lok Sabha registered a productivity of 111%, and Rajya Sabha 92%, shows PRS data. Over 55 hours (approximately) were spent by both Houses to discuss legislations.

Legislative business: Seventeen bills were introduced and 14 were passed, including one Appropriation Bill. While the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, and the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, were passed, the Personal Data Protection Bill was sent to a joint parliamentary committee for scrutiny.

Budget Session 2019 (June 17-August 7)

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha began on June 17 and was scheduled to conclude on July 26, but it was extended till August 7, with the Lok Sabha sitting for 37 days and Rajya Sabha for 35 days.

Hours lost and productivity: According to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry Annual report 2019-2020, no hours were lost in the entire Lok Sabha session, while Rajya Sabha lost 19 hours 34 minutes. According to PRS, the Lok Sabha worked for 280.7 hours, and Rajya Sabha for 195.5 hours. The productivity of this Lok Sabha session was clocked at 135% and of Rajya Sabha at 100%.

Legislative business: A total of 33 Bills were pending before the session. By the end of the session, 40 bills were introduced and 30 were passed by both Houses of the Parliament.


Monsoon: Hours lost

August 12, 2021: The Times of India

Hit by the government-opposition logjam over issues like the Pegasus spyware controversy, the monsoon session witnessed the lowest productivity of the 17th Lok Sabha so far, as it could function only 21 hours and 14 minutes against the stipulated time of 96 hours. The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die two days ahead of schedule.

Together the first to fifth sessions lost approximately 40 hours, far less than the 74 hours and 46 minutes lost in the sixth session. The Rajya Sabha was equally affected due to opposition protests as the 17 sittings witnessed barely 28% productivity, in comparison to the 95% average of the previous five sessions. In this session, of the available 97 hours and 30 minutes, the RS could run for 28 hours — a loss of almost 70 hours. TNN

Birla: 13 bills introduced, 20 passed by LS in this session

The Lok Sabha lost 74 hours and 46 minutes to interruptions and the productivity of the House during the session was barely 22% with protests by opposition MPs over the Pegasus controversy, farm laws and other issues leading to daily disruptions. The previous sessions of the current Lok Sabha have had record productivity, exceeding 100%, as House sittings took place till late hours to compensate for disruptions.

The opposition has blamed the government for refusing to accept a discussion on the Pegasus allegations and the Centre said issues like Covid and other matters could not be discussed in the Lok Sabha due to the blockade of proceedings.

At a press conference, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said 13 bills were introduced and 20, including those from the Rajya Sabha, were passed during the session. Some of the important bills which were passed are the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and Appropriation Bills relating to Supplementary Grants for 2017-18 and 2020-21.

Winter session productivity

Dec 23, 2021: The Times of India

Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die, a day ahead of schedule. While the Lok Sabha lost 18 hours in the winter session due to disruptions and productivity dipped to 82%, far less than previous sessions, the Rajya Sabha, where 12 opposition MPs were suspended, lost nearly 50 hours to disruptions and saw just 48% productivity.

The two Houses, however, cleared several bills, including the election laws amendments that allow voluntary linking of Aadhaar with voter IDs. The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to raise the age of legal marriage for women from 18 to 21, was sent to a parliamentary committee. The Rajya Sabha did work in fits and starts, with the opposition participating in some discussions.


Monsoon: session ends four days early

August 9, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi: The monsoon session of Parliament ended on Monday, four days ahead of schedule. Both Houses witnessed continued disruptions over issues like price rise, suspension of 27 MPs and the Enforcement Directorate’s action against some of the opposition leaders over the last three weeks. 

Government sources said members of various parties were in favour of the early conclusion of the session as they wanted to visit their constituencies on Muharram and Raksha Bandhan.

The Rajya Sabha bid farewell to Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, whose tenure ends on August 10.


Dec 24, 2022: The Times of India

Parliament was adjourned sine die six days before the winter session was to end. The Rajya Sabha’s productivity in the session was 102%, chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said productivity of the House was 97% during 13 sittings that saw the passage of seven bills, including the Maritime Anti-Piracy Bill.


Winter session work done

Dec 22, 2023: The Times of India

6 major legislations get Parl approval as winter session ends

Bringing an end to the winter session marred by a major security breach and a record number of MP suspensions, both Houses were adjourned sine die on Thursday, a day ahead of schedule, after six major bills got Parliament’s approval on the day. While Rajya Sabha cleared the three bills to overhaul India’s criminal justice system and replace Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Lok Sabha approved a bill to regulate the appointment of the CEC and ECs.

The Rajya Sabha also passed the Telecommunications Bill that permits the government to temporarily take control of telecom services in the interest of national security. Overall, LS passed 18 bills in the session & logged 74% productivity. TNN

Parliament canteen

2016: No subsidy, no-profit

The Times of India Jan 01 2016

Food items served in Parliament canteen will be dearer from Friday , with rates being revised in varying degrees in the wake of controversies over hugely subsidised costs of eatables in times of ballooning prices.

With the canteen working on `no-profit, no-loss' basis, a vegetarian platter which earlier cost Rs 18 will now be sold for Rs 30 and non-vegetarian thali will cost Rs 60 instead of Rs 33 earlier. A three-course meal will cost Rs 90 instead of Rs 61 earlier and chicken curry , earlier woorth Rs 29, will be sold for Rs 40. Some items like roti and tea will see no change in rates.

The number of items will be reduced to one-fifth to avoid wastage and cut cost. From 125-130 dishes, the number will be reduced to 25 per day

Parliament Secretariat

The early years, 1937, 1952…

August 29, 2021: The Times of India

Kaul (left) was the first secretary-general of the Lok Sabha and later became a Rajya Sabha MP. He was succeeded by Shakdher. They jointly wrote the treatise on parliamentary procedure
From: August 29, 2021: The Times of India

The visible part of a vibrant legislature is members of Parliament (MPs) passionately debating critical national issues that shape the country. But a secretariat independent of the government, working tirelessly in the background supporting legislative functioning, is the backbone of Parliament. Two officers of Parliament, Maheshwar Nath Kaul and Sham Lal Shakdher devoted themselves to creating an efficient parliamentary administration for the national legislature of independent India.

Before Independence, Vithalbhai Patel, the first president of the Central Assembly, ensured the legislature’s secretariat was responsible to its presiding officer, not the government. It was called the Legislative Assembly Department, and it was this department Kaul joined in 1937. Rising through the ranks, Kaul became secretary to the constituent assembly.

It was here that he helped in moulding provisions relating to Parliament in the constitution. Then, he was at the helm of administration in the provisional Parliament and finally took charge of the Lok Sabha secretariat. Shakdher’s journey to the Lok Sabha administration started in the newly created Department of Parliamentary Affairs. He was its first secretary in 1949. After that, he followed his mentor Kaul to Parliament as an officer on special duty and finally became his deputy in the Lok Sabha secretariat. He later succeeded Kaul as the Lok Sabha secretary.

Our constitution empowers the two houses of Parliament to make their own rules of procedure and have separate secretarial staff. Kaul and Shakdher put together a foundation of sound procedures and a responsive secretariat to implement them. For example, in 1952, in the first Lok Sabha of independent India, the rules provided that the House would start functioning at 10.45am. The timing was subject to the Speaker’s instruction. It also provided that MPs give their questions 10 days in advance to enable ministers to answer them. Implementing these two simple rules, among many others, required a coordinated organisational effort by the Lok Sabha secretariat.

First, then-Speaker G V Mavalankar directed that the House would start functioning at 8.15am. It meant a group of secretariat personnel would have to arrive hours before to open, clean and ready the precincts of Parliament for the day. Another group would have to prepare the day’s schedule, answers to questions, and parliamentary papers. They would also make copies of each document for every MP.

Watch and ward staff would assist MPs and direct the public to galleries to watch the House proceedings. When the proceedings would start, a record of every word said in the legislative chamber would be kept and then published. Parallelly, secretariat personnel would check that the questions submitted by MPs for the following days comply with the rules of procedure. They would then send them to the respective ministries for their responses and collate their answers. Then the process would start all over again for the next day.

Occasionally, there were hiccups. On June 5, 1952, Lok Sabha MPs were in for a surprise when they reached Parliament. They saw the flag of Great Britain flying on the building instead of the Indian tricolour. Agitated MPs demanded answers from the government. A few days later, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru would clarify in the House that it had occurred due to the improper understanding of instructions.

Kaul and Shakdher ensured procedural and operational aspects of parliamentary functioning worked seamlessly. With the support of colleagues, they designed rules not only for the conduct of business in the legislative chamber but also in its committees. They also supported state assemblies and Parliaments of other countries on constitutional and procedural matters of legislatures.

During his tenure, Kaul started Parliament’s academic journal. In its inaugural issue, he laid down the need for a journal as a tool for disseminating parliamentary information and as a vehicle for sharing insights on the institution’s functioning. Writing in the same issue, Shakdher described an ideal parliamentary official as objective, nonpartisan, patient and committed to the country’s service.

On retiring, the Lok Sabha speaker appointed both Kaul and Shakdher as honorary officers of the House. The president nominated Kaul to Rajya Sabha as an MP, and Shakdher became the chief election commissioner. Their enduring legacy is the seminal book, ‘Practice and Procedure in Parliament’. Popularly referred to as Kaul and Shakdher, it is the first port of call for everyone interested in the functioning of our legislatures. The book, updated by the Parliament secretariat, occupies a prominent place in every legislative chamber in the country.

Parliamentary standing committees

Attendance record

2020: budget session

95 MPs didn’t attend single panel meeting, March 3, 2020: The Times of India

The Attendance record of MPs in Parliamentary standing committee meetings held after the 2020 budget
From: 95 MPs didn’t attend single panel meeting, March 3, 2020: The Times of India

As many as 95 MPs did not attend a single meeting of the eight department-related parliamentary standing committees (DRSCs) that reviewed allocations for 18 ministries after the presentation of the Budget on February 1, Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said.

Reviewing the functioning of the eight DRSCs handled by the RS secretariat, which have 244 members (166 from the Lok Sabha and 78 from the Rajya Sabha), Naidu said they held 20 meetings during the threeweek parliamentary recess. The highest attendance was recorded in the meetings of the committee on health and family welfare (65.5%), while the lowest attendance was in the DRSC dealing in commerce (32.3%). The DRSC on home was a close second with an attendance of 54.8%, while the DRSC on industry saw attendance of 43.55%.

Parliament meets for sufficient time every year: V-P

BJP, with a strength of 110 MPs out of the 244 who constitute members of the department-related parliamentary standing committees (DRSCs), had a total attendance of 58% against Congress’ 62% attendance with just 32 MPs. Smaller regional parties, which account for the remainder members, had a cumulative attendance of 40%.

The RS has DRSCs dealing with commerce, health & family welfare, home affairs, HRD, industry, personnel, public grievances and law & justice, S&T and environment, and transport, tourism and culture.RS chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said, “In all, the work put in by the 24 DRSCs in examining the demands for grants of all ministries equals 30 days of functioning of Parliament, which is quite significant. This alone takes the total sittings of Parliament during a year to over 100 days. I would like to assure people and all stakeholders that Parliament is meeting for sufficient time every year in discharge of its functions.”

But Naidu expressed disappointment that 95 (78 from the LS and 23 from the RS) of the 244 members in the eight DRSCs with the Upper House had “zero attendance” this time as compared to only 28 last time.

Security infrastructure

The special security cadre, As in 2023

Swati Mathur, Dec 19, 2023: The Times of India

The Parliament Security Service, India- sanctioned strength vis-à-vis actual deployment, as in December 2023
From: Swati Mathur, Dec 19, 2023: The Times of India

Dec 13 breach puts focus on staff shortage in special security cadre

New Delhi : The December 13 security breach in Lok Sabha, which led to the suspension of eight Delhi Police personnel and resulted in a high-level inquiry and review of security systems in Parliament, has put the spotlight on the state of the Parliament Security Service (PSS), the specialised cadre not only responsible for maintaining access control into the Parliament Estate, but which is also tasked with all coordination relating to the protection of Parliament’s VVIP members.
Severely hamstrung by staff shortages and its reliance on outdated technology for carrying out its designated security functions, the PSS, TOI has learnt, suffers from massive gaps in sanctioned strength and actual postings.
As per information accessed by TOI, the most glaring staff shortages exist at entry level security posts among personnel deployed at the outer peripheral gates, who serve as the first level of filters for vehicles, men and material entering Parliament. Against the sanctioned strength of 72 Security Assistant Grade II officers for Lok Sabha, the current strength is 10, accounting for less than 15% deployment. Shortage of staff among entry level technical staff — Security Assistant Grade II (Tech) — is equally dismal at 39 against a sanctioned strength of 99. Lok Sabha’s second ring of security personnel, deployed at the Parliament House gates, also faces a staff crunch with only 24 personnel deployed against the sanctioned strength of 69.
What’s more, the post of joint secretary (security), under whose operational command PSS works in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha secretariats, has also remained vacant since earlier this year. A day after the security breach, the Centre sent out directives to the chief secretaries of all states to send nominations for the post in the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
Though the security breach put the spotlight on the prevailing security cordon in Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha fares little better. All seven Security Assistant Grade-I (Technical) posts in Rajya Sabha are currently lying vacant, while only 26 Security Assistant Grade II personnel in Rajya Sabha are deployed on the outer peripheries against a sanctioned strength of 60.
Officials TOI spoke to said the massive gaps in deployment have a critical impact on Parliament security since PSS is not only tasked with assisting Members of Parliament wherever needed, but are also responsible for liaising with Delhi Police and the armed Parliament Duty Group (PDG) drawn from the CRPF to guard the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha chamber, galleries, Central Hall and other areas of Parliament House and Parliament House Annexe.
The specialist cadre’s range of supervisory duties extend to ensuring thorough anti-sabotage and anti-explosive checks of all vital areas of Parliament House and Parliament House Annexe, fire and sanitation services as well as supervising the functioning of Centralised Pass Issue Cell (CPIC) that facilitates entry of all visitors into Parliament. It however is also hamstrung by a largely manual frisking protocol, which the December 13 breach proved was inadequate in detecting a plastic smoke canister the intruders snuck into Parliament in their shoes.
Officials also pointed out that the new Parliament House has been receiving an unprecedented number of visitors which the security cordon was not equipped to handle. “Though visitor entry has been stopped since the security breach, visitor entry needs to be streamlined keeping in mind the ability of the prevailing security cordons to handle crowds,” an official said on condition of anynomity.
During the special session of Parliament in September, when the two Houses passed the women’s reservation bill, over 6,000 visitors entered Parliament House each day.

Unparliamentary words


July 14, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi: Use of terms like ‘jumlajeevi’, ‘baal buddhi’, ‘Covid spreader’ and ‘Snoopgate’ and even commonly used words like ‘ashamed’, ‘abused’, ‘betrayed’, ‘corrupt’, ‘drama’, ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘incompetent’ will henceforth be considered unparliamentary in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, according to a new booklet by the Lok Sabha secretariat.

The booklet listing out unparliamentary words and expressions comes ahead of the Monsoon session beginning July 18, during which the use of words like ‘anarchist’, ‘Shakuni’, ‘dictatorial’, ‘taanashah’, ‘taanashahi’, ‘Jaichand’, ‘vinash purush’, ‘Khalistani’ and ‘khoon se kheti’ would also be expunged if used during debates or otherwise in both the houses. The Lok Sabha secretariat has further listed words like ‘dohra charitra’, ‘nikamma’, ‘nautanki’, ‘dhindora peetna’ and ‘behri sarkar’ as unparliamentary expressions, according to the booklet.

Some words and expressions are declared unparliamentary from time to time by the Chair in different Legislative bodies in the country as well as in commonwealth Parliaments, have been compiled by the LS secretariat for ready reference in the future. However, the Rajya Sabha chairman and the Lok Sabha Speaker will have the last word in expunging words and expressions.

The compilation contains references to words and expressions declared unparliamentary in LS, Rajya Sabha and state legislatures in India during 2021, besides those disallowed in some of the Commonwealth Parliaments in 2020.

The list states that some of the keywords may not appear unpar- liamentary unless read in conjunction with the other expressions spoken during the parliamentary proceedings. The list of expressions also includes any aspersions made against the chair in both the houses in either English or Hindi, which shall be considered as unparliamentary and are expunged from the records of Parliament.

Rajya Sabha Chairman or Lok Sabha Speaker vets the words spoken in the house during the session and unparliamentary words are expunged by the chair. Such words do not form part of the Parliament records of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Among some of the English words listed by the Secretariat as unparliamentary include ‘bloodshed’, ‘bloody’, ‘betrayed’, ‘ashamed’, ‘abused’, ‘cheated’, ‘chamchagiri’, ‘chelas’, ‘childishness’, ‘corrupt’, ‘coward’, ‘criminal’ and ‘crocodile tears’. Besides words like ‘disgrace’, ‘donkey’, ‘drama’, ‘eyewash’, ‘fudge’, ‘hooliganism’, ‘hypocrisy’, ‘incompetent’, ‘mislead’, ‘lie’ and ‘untrue’ would also be prohibited for use in Parliament.


Unusual sessions

Till 2017

Akhilesh Singh & Mohua Chatterjee TNN, Sep 1, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi: As speculation swirled over whether the announcement of the special Parliament session on September 18 was linked to a possible government plan to go for early general elections, saffron strategists said they were well-prepared this time for hitting the hustings — unlike in 2004, when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government had called for early polls. 
The 2004 gambit had not paid off and was identified as one of the contributory factors behind the NDA’s shock defeat. The Modi government’s approval ratings are high and the successful implementation of an entire raft of welfare schemes would ensure that the opposition would not be able to pick openings like it did when it turned the Vajpayee government’s “India Shining” campaign to successfully cast it as pro-rich. 
High growth rate, rise to the fifth spot in global economy, effective fight against the pandemic, free ration and other welfare measures along with high-visibility moments like the Chandrayaan-3 mission add up to an effective plank which is certain to highlight the growing geopolitical heft, said a BJP source. An early election could complicate matters for the INDIA bloc by forcing it to speed up its responses to tasks like settling on a PM face and hammering out seat-sharing arrangement among other parties which are still partners in regional theatres: tasks which would have, in any case, have been difficult.

Sources said the government also has to guard against Black Swan moments like the pandemic or a geopolitical confrontation like the one over Ukraine which has resulted in rise in prices of food and fertilisers. The poor monsoon, the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal resulting in stoppage of export of wheat from Ukraine, persistent inflation and the sharp slowdown in China underline the risks posed by “global shocks”, said a government functionary who has been engaged in deliberations over important policy decisions.

There is a strong possibility of the five-day sitting being held in the new building of Parliament.

If this happens, the shift from the colonial-era building to the new one inaugurated by the PM will happen during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations — an auspicious spell for people almost across the country.

The Modi government has long favoured clubbing elections, a stance which re- flects the widespread lament that going back to the system where, until 1967, Lok Sabha and assembly elections were largely held simultaneously, will spare the country resources and energy and the long spells of “administrative paralysis” necessitated by the model code of conduct. The idea has remained on paper because of several reasons, ranging from the fear of the opposition that synchronising elections will work to the advantage of a Modi-led BJP, the difficulty of persuading political parties to agree to the dissolution of governments which are far from completing their term and the Herculean logistical tasks.

The goal for reserving one-third of seats in legislatures for women can be achieved by Parliament but a five-day session, that too, in the lead-up to assembly and Lok Sabha polls, may not be easy.

The last time Parliament had met outside its three usual sessions was on the midnight of June 30, 2017, to mark the rollout of GST.

However, it was a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and was not a proper session as is the case this time with both Houses assembling. A six-day special sitting was held in August 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.

Midnight sessions were also held on August 9, 1992, for the 50th anniversary of Quit India Movement, August 14-15, 1972, to celebrate the silver jubilee of India’s independence, while the first such session was on August 14-15, 1947 on the eve of India’s independence.

See also

The 15th Lok Sabha: 2009-14/ The 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19): MPs complete list of MPs / The 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19): trends

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