The Lok Sabha

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Disruptions in Parliament, 1991-2014; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 26, 2015
These are newspaper articles selected for the excellence of their content.

Contents

Sessions of Lok Sabha

…and the month of their commencement

First 13 May 1952

Second April 1957

Third April 1962

Fourth March 1967

Fifth March 1971

Sixth March 1977

Seventh January 1980

Eighth December 1984

Ninth December 1989

Tenth June 1991

Eleventh May 1996

Twelfth March 1998

Thirteenth October 1999

Fourteenth May 2004

Fifteenth May 2009

Sixteenth May 2014

Age of MPs, average

1952- 2014

The average Age of Indian MPs, presumably on the date of their swearing-in, 1952- 2014
Adapted from The Times of India

See graphic, 'The average Age of Indian MPs, presumably on the date of their swearing-in, 1952- 2014'

Changes over the years

1952- 2014/ 19: Changes in the Lok Sabha

1952- 2014/ 19: Changes in the Lok Sabha’s
Average age
Education levels
Gender distribution
Hours of work done
From: March 17, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

1952- 2014/ 19: Changes in the Lok Sabha’s
Average age
Education levels
Gender distribution
Hours of work done


2012: People per MP ratio

People per MP ratio, India and some other regions of the world, as in 2012
From: March 19, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

People per MP ratio, India and some other regions of the world, as in 2012


2014: Biggest/ smallest constituencies

Biggest constituencies in 2014
From: March 19, 2019: The Times of India
Smallest constituencies in 2014
From: March 19, 2019: The Times of India

See graphics:

Biggest constituencies in 2014

Smallest constituencies in 2014


2019- 2071 (estimate): representation, state-wise

If population decided seats, this is how states would be represented:
Current seats as in March 20, 2019;
2019 estimate;
2071 estimate;
Gain/Loss 2071;
state-wise
From: March 19, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

If population decided seats, this is how states would be represented:
Current seats as in March 20, 2019;
2019 estimate;
2071 estimate;
Gain/Loss 2071;
state-wise

Debates

Poetry cited…

… in 2019

Avijit Ghosh, Debates in Lok Sabha are often angry, but they could be verse, January 10, 2020: The Times of India


From Tulsidas To Tagore And Coleridge To Bashir Badr, MPs Freely Turned To Poets To Make A Point In The Fall Of 2019

In fractious times like these, Parliament is often like a boxing ring where members trade punches every day. Thankfully, there’s often poetry to soften the blows. Last year, verse and worse flowed freely during the Budget and Winter sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha as poems, rhymes and film songs were reeled off with abandon in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, English, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Assamese and Nepali.

Tulsidas, Amir Khusro, Rabindranath Tagore, Bharathiyar, Thiruvalluvar, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Mirza Ghalib, Rahat Indori, Bashir Badr and Dushyant Kumar were some of the poets heard in the Lower House in 2019. Some politicians also quoted from the Bhagwad Gita. One might recall that TMC MP Mohua Mitra’s speech last June, quoting Dinkar and Indori, had gone viral.

Among the more prolific in spouting poetry were SP Singh Baghel (constituency: Agra), Jitendra Singh (Udhampur), Saugata Roy (Dum Dum), Hansraj Hans (North-West Delhi), Meenakshi Lekhi (New Delhi), Sanghmitra Maurya (Badayun), Sunita Duggal (Sirsa) and Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram). BJP’s Satyapal Singh from Baghpat quoted Sanksrit shlokas on 10 occasions during the winter session, as per information provided on the Lok Sabha website.

Poems were often creatively used to make a serious point in an amusing way. Criticising the Modi government’s taxation proposal, Congress MP Tharoor modified and recited the following poem: “Tax his car, tax his wage / Tax his book on every page / Tax his fuel, his credit card / If he screams, tax him hard / Tax his newsprint, tax his drink / Tax him if he tries to think / Tax his bosses, tax his peers / If he cries, tax his tears / Tax his pay, tax his phone / Tax his house, tax his loan / If he thinks, this is a sin / Tell him, it is his achche din!” The poem drew uproarious laughter from the Opposition members.

Speaking on water scarcity and stray cows in the Bundelkhand region, BJP’s Nishikant Dubey from Godda constituency recited the couplet of Urdu poet Bashir Badr: Agar fursat miley paani ki tehriron ko padh lena / Harek dariya hamare saalon ka afsana likhta hai (If you get the time read the writings on the water / Every river tells my story of decades).

Badr, whose home was burnt down in the Meerut riots, was one of the more frequently quoted poets. Both PM Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had recited Badr’s poetry in 2018 during the 16th Lok Sabha. BJP MP Lekhi also quoted him rather cryptically: Ji bahut chahta hai ki sach bolein / Par kya karein hausla nahi hota (I really want to speak the truth / But what can I do, I don’t have the courage).

Lok Sabha members found ways to reel off poetry even while discussing air pollution and climate change. Last November, DMK’s Thamizhachi Thangapandian recited the famous lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “Water, water, everywhere / And all the boards did shrink / Water, water, everywhere / Nor any drop to drink.” The poet-MP from South Chennai then proceeded to offer a more contemporary, take: “Air, air everywhere / Polluted, our lungs will shrink / Air, air, everywhere / Beware oxygen bars everywhere.”

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, too, produced its share of improvised and impassioned rhyme. Bhagwant Mann, AAP MP from Sangrur, recited the following lines: Lambe safar ko meelon mein mat baatiyein / Qaum ko kabilon mein mat baatiyein / Ek bahta dariya hai mera Bharatvarsh / Isko nadiyon aur jheelon mein mat baatiyein (Don’t reduce a long journey into a matter of miles / Don’t divide the nation into warring tribes / My country Bharatvarsh is like a flowing river / Don’t reduce it to a pond).

Films songs, too, were often quoted to make an impression. Congress MP Mohd Sadiq quoted a song from the movie, Chandrakanta: “Maine chand aur sitaron ki tamanna ki thi, mujhko raaton ke siyahi ke siwa kuchh na mila” (lyrics: Sahir).

Sudhir Gupta, BJP MP from Mandsaur, sang the child-friendly track Rail gaadi, rail gaadi (film Aashirvaad, lyrics Harindranath Chattopadhyay) during the general budget discussion. Sunita Duggal recited Kisi ki muskurahaton (film Anari, lyrics Shailendra) around the same time.

The leader of the opposition

Requirements for being the Leader of Opposition

Cong can't get LoP post in LS: AG to Speaker

Dhananjay.Mahapatra @timesgroup.com New Delhi:

The Times of India Jul 26 2014

In 2014, with just 44 seats, Congres had based its claim for the post of leader of opposition post in the Lok Sabha on the law relating to Salary and Allowances of Leader of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 and the rules there under. The law provides the largest opposition party would get the post. Answering a query on this issue posed to him by the 2014 Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi referred to the rulings given by highly regarded parliamentarian G V Mavalankar, the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He said Mavalankar's directions were adopted to deny LoP status to any party during the period when Jawaharlal Nehru was the PM from 1947 to 1964.

According to Rohatgi, Mavalankar had ruled that to get the post in the Lok Sabha, an opposition party has to secure a minimum of 10% of the seats, that is it must have a strength of 55 MPs.

Rohatgi said Mavalankar had felt that the main opposition party's numbers must equal the quorum, which is 10% of the total strength, required for functioning of the House. Following Mavalankar's ruling, the Congres regimes under Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had decided not to give the LoP post to the then largest opposition party because they had failed to reach the 55 MP-mark in the Lok Sabha.

The Centre has highlighted direction 121 of `Directions to the Speaker' which provide that a party's strength must be one-tenth of the Lok Sabha to be recognized as a parliamentary party or group.

No-confidence motions

1966-2018

No-confidence motions moved against the government in the parliament, 1966-2018
From: July 21, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic  :

No-confidence motions moved against the government in the parliament, 1966-2018

Number of seats in the Lok Sabha

Number frozen in 1976

How 1976 seat freeze has altered LS representation, March 16, 2019: The Times of India

The number of seats each state would have had in 2019 (and likely number in 2071) if they had been punished for curbing the growth of their population and rewarded for letting their population multiply.
From: How 1976 seat freeze has altered LS representation, March 16, 2019: The Times of India


Move Was To Encourage Family Planning And Ensure States That Curbed Population Growth Didn’t Lose Out In Parliament

Article 81 of India’s Constitution laid down that every state (and Union territory) will be allotted seats in the Lok Sabha in such a manner that the ratio of population to seats should be as equal as possible across states. If the letter and spirit of the original provision were to be implemented today, the composition of the Lok Sabha would change drastically with states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi gaining significantly and Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana losing out (see graphic).

The reason this hasn’t happened is because in 1976, during the Emergency, the 42nd amendment Act decreed that the population to be taken into consideration for the next 25 years would be the number in the 1971 census. The rationale was that family planning was a national imperative and states would have little incentive to pursue it if success meant their share of political power would go down. The freeze on reapportioning seats between states and UTs was further extended by the 84th amendment Act in 2001 till 2026.

The result of this freeze is that the principle of “one man (or woman) one vote” has been diluted in India? At the time of the apportioning of seats based on the 1971 census, all big states had a Lok Sabha MP representing roughly 10 lakh people. The extent of the variation was from just over 10 lakh to about 10.6 lakh, hardly a huge disparity.

With the seats having remained unchanged but population growth having varied widely, today (based on 2016 mid-year population) the average MP in Rajasthan represents over 30 lakh people while the one in Tamil Nadu or Kerala represents less than 18 lakh. But that has always been the case and is inevitable since even the tiniest UT cannot have less than one MP.

Prior to the 2008 delimitation, the situation was arguably worse with even voters within the same state not having the same weight. The most extreme extreme example of this was in Delhi, where the Chandni Chowk constituency had an electorate of just 3.4 lakh while Outer Delhi had ten times the number at 33.7 lakh.

Prior to the 2008 delimitation, the situation was arguably worse with even voters within the same state not having the same weight. The most extreme extreme example of this was in Delhi, where the Chandni Chowk constituency had an electorate of just 3.4 lakh while Outer Delhi had ten times the number at 33.7 lakh.

The same is reflected elsewhere. In 2014, the five smallest constituencies together had just under 8 lakh voters while the five largest had 1.2 crore voters, 15 times more than the smallest five.

Globally too, India tops the people per MP ratio with India’s 543 MPs serving 1.5 million people each, far higher than the global average of 145,880 persons represented by an MP. Though the number of voters have risen with population growth, the number of seats in Lok Sabha has not increased since 1977. As a result, an MP today represents more than four times the number of voters than what an MP did in 1951-52, when the first general elections were held.


Details

Ritika Chopra, October 14, 2019: The Indian Express

As per Article 81, the composition of the Lok Sabha should represent changes in population. But it has remained more or less the same since the delimitation carried out based on the 1971 Census. Why is it so?

The composition of the Lower House has remained more or less the same for four decades. How is the composition determined, and what are the arguments for and against a change?


Strength of Lok Sabha

Article 81 of the Constitution defines the composition of the House of the People or Lok Sabha. It states that the House shall not consist of more than 550 elected members of whom not more than 20 will represent Union Territories. Under Article 331, the President can nominate up to two Anglo-Indians if he/she feels the community is inadequately represented in the House. At present, the strength of the Lok Sabha is 543, of which 530 have been allocated to the states and the rest to the Union Territories.

Article 81 also mandates that the number of Lok Sabha seats allotted to a state would be such that the ratio between that number and the population of the state is, as far as possible, the same for all states. This is to ensure that every state is equally represented. However, this logic does not apply to small states whose population is not more than 60 lakh. So, at least one seat is allocated to every state even if it means that its population-to-seat-ratio is not enough to qualify it for that seat.

As per Clause 3 of Article 81, population, for the purpose of allocation of seats, means “population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published”. In other words, the last published Census. But, by an amendment to this Clause in 2003, the population now means population as per the 1971 Census, until the first Census taken after 2026.


When it was changed

The strength of the Lok Sabha hasn’t always been 543 seats. Originally, Article 81 provided that the Lok Sabha shall not have more than 500 members. The first House constituted in 1952 had 497. Since the Constitution provides for population as the basis of determining allocation of seats, the lower House’s composition (total seats as well as readjustment of seats allocated to different states) has also changed with each Census up to 1971. A temporary freeze was imposed in 1976 on ‘Delimitation’ until 2001. Delimitation is the process of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats to represent changes in the population.

However, the composition of the House did not change only with delimitation exercises in 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002. There were other circumstances as well. For instance, the first change in the composition of Lok Sabha happened in 1953 after the reorganisation of the state of Madras. With a new state of Andhra Pradesh carved out, 28 of Madras’s 75 seats went to Andhra Pradesh. The total strength of the House (497) did not change.

The first major change took place after the overall reorganisation of states in 1956, which divided the country into 14 states and six Union Territories. This meant subsequent changes in the boundaries of existing states and hence, a change in the allocation of seats to the states and Union Territories. So with reorganisation, the government also amended the Constitution by which the maximum number of seats allocated to the states remained 500, but an additional 20 seats (also maximum limit) were added to represent the six Union Territories. So the second Lok Sabha elected in 1957 had 503 members. Further down the years, the lower House’s composition also changed when the state of Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966 and when Goa and Daman and Diu were liberated in 1961 and merged with the Indian Union subsequently.


When it was frozen, and why

As per Article 81, the composition of the Lok Sabha should represent changes in population. But it has remained more or less the same since the delimitation carried out based on the 1971 Census. Why is it so?

The population-to-seat ratio, as mandated under Article 81, should be the same for all states. Although unintended, this implied that states that took little interest in population control could end up with a greater number of seats in Parliament. The southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced. To allay these fears, the Constitution was amended during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule in 1976 to suspend delimitation until 2001.

Despite the embargo, there have been a few occasions which have called for readjustment in the number of Parliament and Assembly seats allocated to a state. These include statehood attained by Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram in 1986, the creation of a Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory of Delhi, and creation of new states such as Uttarakhand.

Although the freeze on the number of seats in Lok Sabha and Assemblies should have been lifted after the Census of 2001, another amendment postponed this until 2026. This was justified on the ground that a uniform population growth rate would be achieved throughout the country by 2026. So, the last delimitation exercise – started in July 2002 and finished on May 31, 2008 – was conducted on the basis of the 2001 Census and only readjusted boundaries of existing Lok Sabha and Assembly seats and reworked the number of seats reserved for SCs and STs.

With the total seats remaining the same since the 1970s, it is felt that states in north India, whose population has increased faster than the rest of the country, are now underrepresented in the Parliament. It is frequently argued that had the original provision of Article 81 been implemented today, then states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh would have gained seats and those in the south would have lost some.

Percentage of women members in Lok Sabha

1952-2009

Source: PRS Legislative Research

India Today June 1, 2009

Ladies first

1952-4.4%

1957-4.5%

1962-6.7%

1967-5.8%

1971-4.9%

1977-3.8%

1980-5.7%

1985-7.9%

1989-5.2%

1991-7.6%

1996-7.4%

1998-8.1%

1999-9.2%

2004-8.7%

2009-10.7%

Productivity

1952-2019

The productivity of the 1st to the 16th Lok Sabhas, i.e. 1952-2019
From: February 14, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

The productivity of the 1st to the 16th Lok Sabhas, i.e. 1952-2019

1962-2019

The productivity of the 3rd to the 16th Lok Sabhas, i.e. 1962-2019
From: May 24, 2019: The Times of India


See graphic:

The productivity of the 3rd to the 16th Lok Sabhas, i.e. 1962-2019

1999, 2009-2019

August 8, 2019: The Times of India

16th and 17th Lok Sabhas:
First time MPs
Women MPs
From: August 8, 2019: The Times of India
The Rajya and Lok Sabhas:
1999-2019: actual hours of sitting as a % of scheduled hours
From: August 8, 2019: The Times of India
The Rajya and Lok Sabhas:
2009-2019: the number of bills passed.
From: August 8, 2019: The Times of India
The Rajya and Lok Sabhas
1999-2019- Time spent by activity (in hours)
From: August 8, 2019: The Times of India
Time spent on activities by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha combined (in hours)
June 17 - August 6, 2019
From: August 8, 2019: The Times of India


This budget session was one of the busiest sessions in the past 20 years. Both houses spent nearly half their time on legislative business, passing 30 bills and working more than 70 hours extra. A look at how the session panned out.

ALMOST EVERY WOMAN MP PARTICIPATED THIS SESSION

In this session, Lok Sabha spent 281 hrs, or about 135% of the time it was scheduled to work — the most extra time spent working since 2000. In the past 20 years, Lok Sabha has worked only 80% of the total scheduled work hours on average. On the other hand, Rajya Sabha spent 195 hours working, about 103% of the scheduled working hours.


MOST BILLS PASSED BY BOTH HOUSES THIS SESSION IN PAST DECADE

This Parliament’s first session passed as many bills as the last seven sessions of the previous government. Indicative of the number of contentious bills passed, both houses required recorded or ballot paper votes to pass 14 bills. In most cases, a simple voice vote is enough to pass a bill 21% of this session’s LS bills were passed after a recorded vote and 23% for the RS. In the previous Lok Sabha, just 8% and 6% of LS and RS bill, respectively required recorded votes. No bill introduced in this session were referred to a Committee.


PARLIAMENT SPENT ALMOST HALF ITS TIME ON LEGISLATIVE MATTERS

While Lok Sabha spent 46% of it time on legislative business, that figure was 52%for Rajya Sabha. A whopping 36% of questions were answered orally in Lok Sabha, the most since 1999.


MANY KEY BILLS WERE PASSED NEAR THE END OF THE SESSION

Initially expected to end July 26, the Lok Sabha session was extended to August 7. Speaker Om Birla adjourned Lok Sabha a day early, calling this session “the most productive since 1952”.

Speakers of the Lok Sabha

The speakers: a table

First Lok Sabha

Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar

5 May, 1952 – 27 February, 1956

First Lok Sabha

M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar

8 March, 1956 –  10 May, 1957

Second Lok Sabha

M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar

11 May, 1957 –  16 April, 1962

Third Lok Sabha

Hukam Singh

17 April, 1962 –  16 March, 1967

Fourth Lok Sabha

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

17 March, 1967 –  19 July, 1969

Fourth Lok Sabha

Gurdial Singh Dhillon

8 August, 1969 –  19 March, 1971

Fifth Lok Sabha

Gurdial Singh Dhillon

22 March, 1971 –  1 December, 1975

Fifth Lok Sabha

Bali Ram Bhagat

5 January, 1976 –  25 March, 1977

Sixth Lok Sabha

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

26 March, 1977 –  13 July, 1977

Sixth Lok Sabha

K. S. Hegde

21 July, 1977 –  21 January, 1980

Seventh Lok Sabha

Bal Ram Jakhar

22 January, 1980 –  15 January, 1985

Eighth Lok Sabha

   Bal Ram Jakhar

16 January, 1985 –  18 December, 1989

Ninth Lok Sabha

Ravi Ray

19 December, 1989 –  9 July, 1991

Tenth Lok Sabha

Shivraj V. Patil

10 July, 1991 –  22 May, 1996

Eleventh Lok Sabha

P. A. Sangma

23 May, 1996 –  23 March, 1998 (FN)

Twelfth Lok Sabha

G. M. C. Balayogi

24 March, 1998 –  20 October, 1999 (FN)

Thirteenth Lok Sabha

G. M. C. Balayogi

22 October, 1999 –  3 March, 2002

Thirteenth Lok Sabha

Manohar Joshi

10 May, 2002 –  4 June, 2004

Fourteenth Lok Sabha

Somnath Chatterjee

4 June, 2004 –  31 May, 2009

Fifteen Lok Sabha

Smt. Meira Kumar

3 June, 2009 –  4 June,2014

Sixteenth Lok Sabha

Smt.Sumitra Mahajan

5 June 2014 - -16 June 2019

Seventeenth Lok Sabha -

Om Birla

19 June 2019-

 

1952- 2019 repeated, with explanatory footnotes

Speakers of the Lok Sabha, 1952- 2011
Speakers of the Lok Sabha: footnotes

Sixteenth Lok Sabha Smt.Sumitra Mahajan 5 June 2014 -16 June 2019

Seventeenth Lok Sabha Om Birla 19 June 2019-


Vote margins

1962- 2014/ Closest and widest win margins

The table shows the closest and widest win margins in Lok Sabha elections in terms of vote percentage, 1962-2014
From: March 25, 2019: The Hindu


See graphic:

The table shows the closest and widest win margins in Lok Sabha elections in terms of vote percentage, 1962-2014

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 / The 17th Lok Sabha (2019- ): trends /The 17th Lok Sabha (2019- ): MPs complete list of MPs /

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