Parliament functioning in Winter Session 2019

The Winter Session of Parliament was held from November 18, 2019 to December 13, 2019.  During this session, Parliament celebrated two milestones.  A function was held in the Central Hall of Parliament to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution.  This was also the 250th session of Rajya Sabha. 

Lok Sabha worked for 111% and Rajya Sabha worked for 92% of the scheduled time

·   Typically, a Parliament sitting is scheduled for six hours.  Lok Sabha worked for 111% of the scheduled time in this session.  Rajya Sabha worked for 92% of the scheduled time.

·   Lok Sabha spent 43% of its time on legislation, while Rajya Sabha spent 51% of its time.

·   In Lok Sabha, among non-legislative debates, air pollution was discussed for eight hours, and crop loss was discussed for 7.5 hours. 

·   Among non-legislative debates, Rajya Sabha discussed the economic situation of India for 4.5 hours.  In the context of its 250th session, the Upper House also discussed its role in Indian polity.

On average, Lok Sabha discussed a Bill for 3.6 hours; Rajya Sabha discussed for 3.1 hours

Table 1: Time spent on discussing certain Bills

Name of Bill

Discussion in Lok Sabha (hours)

Discussion in Rajya Sabha (hours)

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019



The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019



The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019



The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019



The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019



·    So far, the 17th Lok Sabha has held two sessions.  In these two sessions, on average, a Bill has been discussed for 3.6 hours by Lok Sabha and for 3.1 hours by Rajya Sabha.  This is higher than the previous two Lok Sabhas.

·    During this session, 17 Bills were introduced in Parliament (excluding an appropriation Bill).  14 Bills were passed by Parliament. 

·    13 Bills were passed by Lok Sabha and 14 Bills were passed by Rajya Sabha.  On average Lok Sabha discussed a Bill for four hours and Rajya discussed a Bill for 3.4 hours before passing it.

·    10 Bills were introduced and passed during this session.  These include the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, and the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019.  These were discussed for more than seven hours each in Parliament.

 On average, 55% members were present for Standing Committee meetings

·    Standing Committees scrutinise Bills, expenditure by government, and other key policy issues.  In this session, on average, 55% of the members attended a Committee meeting (for 16 out of the 24 Standing Committees for which data is available).  This is lower than the average attendance of MPs in Parliament (84%).

·    So far in the 17th Lok Sabha, four Bills have been referred to Parliamentary Committees.  The DNA Technology Regulation Bill, 2019, and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 were referred to Standing Committees.  The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 was referred to a Rajya Sabha Select Committee, and the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.

60% of questions were answered orally in Rajya Sabha; highest in past 20 years

·    In this session, Question Hour functioned for 88% of the scheduled time in Lok Sabha and 76% in Rajya Sabha. 

·    37% questions in Lok Sabha and 60% questions in Rajya Sabha were answered orally during the session.  This is the highest in past 20 years.

·    On November 27, 2019 all questions listed for oral answers were taken up by Lok Sabha.  Of these, answers to six questions were laid on the table as the MP was not present in the House.  For four of these questions, supplementary questions were not asked. 

Lok Sabha does not have a Deputy Speaker after 179 days

·   Article 93 of the Constitution states that Lok Sabha will choose two Members of the House to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker at the earliest possible.

·   In the 17th Lok Sabha, election for the post of Deputy Speaker has not been conducted after 179 days from the date of commencement of the first session.  During the 16th Lok Sabha, this period was 70 days.  This period was highest during the 12th Lok Sabha at 269 days. 

Sources:  Bulletins of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as on December 13, 2019; Statistical Handbook, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, 2018; PRS.


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