Parliament in Budget Session 2018

The Budget Session of Parliament had 30 sittings which were divided in two parts; the first part consisted of 7 sittings, and the second part of 23 sittings. *  This was the least productive Budget Session for both Houses since 2000.  This session also witnessed notice to move a no-confidence motion against the government.

Least productive Budget Session since 2000; No confidence motion not admitted in Lok Sabha

  • During this session, on an average, Lok Sabha worked for 21% of its scheduled time, while Rajya Sabha worked for 27%.  So far in the 16th Lok Sabha, the average productivity of Lok Sabha is 85%, and that of Rajya Sabha is 68%. 
  • In the first part of the session, Lok Sabha worked for 89% of its scheduled time, and Rajya Sabha worked for 96%.  However, during the second part, productivity decreased to 4% for Lok Sabha, and 9% for Rajya Sabha. 
  • Several MPs gave notices to move a no-confidence motion against the government.  However, due to disruptions, the motion was not admitted.  This was the first time a notice to move a no-confidence motion was given in the 16th Lok Sabha.  A no-confidence motion was also moved in the 15th Lok Sabha (2013) but was not discussed.  In the 14th Lok Sabha, a no-confidence motion was converted to a confidence vote, which the government won.

Least amount of time spent by both Houses on debating the Budget since 2000…

Note: Debate on the Budget includes discussion on the Union Budget, the Railways Budget (merged with Union Budget since 2017), the Finance Bill, and Demand for Grants of various ministries.

  • In the first part of the session, majority of the time was spent on the general discussion of the Union Budget.  Lok Sabha spent almost 15 hours discussing the Budget, while Rajya Sabha spent 11 hours.  Since 2000, on an average, Lok Sabha has spent 53 hours discussing the Union Budget, while Rajya Sabha has spent 23 hours.
  • In the second part of the session, the Finance Bill was passed in Lok Sabha in 18 minutes, without any MP participation.  This was the lowest time spent on discussing the Finance Bill since 2000.  The longest time spent was 12 hours and 48 minutes in 2003.
  • The Finance Bill typically contains only tax proposals.  However, this year, it included amendments to 18 Acts unrelated to taxation. 

…and 100% of the demand for grants passed without discussion

  • In this session, the Demand for Grants of six ministries: Railways, Agriculture, Social Justice and Empowerment, Health, Youth Affairs and Road Transport, amounting to 28% of government expenditure was to be discussed.  Note that the total Demand for Grants of all ministries is about Rs 26 lakh crore.
  • The entire expenditure was guillotined, i.e. passed without discussion. Note that 100% guillotining was also observed in 2004-05 and 2013-14.  

Poorest performance of Question Hour in Lok Sabha since 2014

  • Question Hour in Lok Sabha functioned for 11% of its scheduled time, and for 3% in Rajya Sabha.  In the 16th Lok Sabha, this was the least productive Question Hour for Lok Sabha.
  • Of the total starred questions listed, 4% (25) were answered orally in Lok Sabha, and 1% (5) in Rajya Sabha. 
  • Due to disruptions, Question Hour in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha functioned for its entire duration only for one day. 

1% of productive time spent on legislative business in Lok Sabha; 6% in Rajya Sabha

  • At the beginning of the session, 32 Bills were listed for consideration and passage, and 8 were listed for introduction, consideration and passing.
  • Of these, the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed by Parliament and the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed by Lok Sabha, without discussion. Further, two Bills were introduced in Lok Sabha.  These were the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 and the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
  • Rajya Sabha spent 2 hours and 31 minutes discussing legislative business. However, just 3 minutes of this time was spent discussing government Bills, with the remaining time spent on Private Members’ Bills.  On the other hand, Lok Sabha spent 19 minutes discussing legislative business.  Of this, 14 minutes were spent in passing two government Bills, with no discussion on Private Members’ Bills.

Lowest number of discussions on matters of public importance since 2014

Note:  Data includes discussion under Rule 193, Rule 176, Calling Attention, and Motion of Thanks.

  • The President’s Address was taken up for discussion in both Houses.  The Address was discussed for almost 26 hours in both Houses with 157 MPs participating in the discussion. 
  • This session saw the lowest number of non-legislative debates since the beginning of the 16th Lok Sabha.  The issue of irregularities in the banking sector was listed for discussion.  However, it was not taken up.
  • During the budget session, Rajya Sabha examines the functioning of various ministries.  In this session, the working of four ministries: Drinking Water and Sanitation, Home Affairs, Culture, and Food Processing Industries were listed for discussion.  However, none were taken up.

Data sources: Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha websites as on April 6, 2018.

*  Lok Sabha cancelled one sitting due to the death of a sitting member.  It had 29 sittings.


DISCLAIMER: This document is being furnished to you for your information.  You may choose to reproduce or redistribute this report for non-commercial purposes in part or in full to any other person with due acknowledgement of PRS Legislative Research (“PRS”).  The opinions expressed herein are entirely those of the author(s).  PRS makes every effort to use reliable and comprehensive information, but PRS does not represent that the contents of the report are accurate or complete.  PRS is an independent, not-for-profit group.  This document has been prepared without regard to the objectives or opinions of those who may receive it.