Vital Stats - Monsoon Session 2020

Vital Stats

Parliament functioning in Monsoon Session 2020

The Monsoon session of Parliament was held from September 14, 2020 to September 23, 2020.  Both Houses made arrangements for MPs to ensure physical distancing protocols due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.  During the session, Parliament functioned in two parts with one House sitting in the morning and the other sitting in the afternoon.  However, the session was curtailed because of the public health emergency and several MPs getting infected with COVID-19.   Parliament adjourned sine die on September 23, 2020 having sat for a total of 10 days.  

Parliament met after a gap of 175 days; six days short of the constitutional limit

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  • Article 85 of the Constitution states that the gap between the last sitting of a previous Parliament session and the first sitting of the next session should not be more than six months.  This session witnessed a gap of 175 days between two sessions, which was the longest gap till now without intervening general elections. 
     
  • The highest such gap was 181 days, in 1999, between the last session of the 12th Lok Sabha and the first session of the 13th Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha worked for 145% of scheduled time of the sitting days; Rajya Sabha for 99%

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  • Lok Sabha was scheduled to meet for four hours every day, for 18 days for a total of 72 hours.  However, the session was adjourned after 10 days due to the public health emergency.  During this period, the House sat late on several days, and it worked for 58 hours, which is 145% of the scheduled time for these days.  In the past 20 years, on average Lok Sabha has worked for 83% of the scheduled time.
     
  • Rajya Sabha was also scheduled to work for four hours a day.  The Upper House worked for 39.5 hours which is 99% of its scheduled time for the 10 days.
     
  • On September 20, a few members protested against the passing of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 in Rajya Sabha.  Eight members were suspended for the remaining part of the session for their disorderly conduct in the House.

No question hour; both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha spent 59% of time discussing Bills

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  • Due to the shortened schedule and the COVID-19 situation, Question Hour was suspended during the Monsoon sesssion, but answers to unstarred questions were laid on the table.
  • In the past, Question Hour had been suspended for the entire session during the third session of 5th Lok Sabha on account of the 1971 war, and the 14th and 18th sessions of the 5th Lok Sabha during emergency.
  • Both Houses also discussed the COVID-19 situation.     
  • Lok Sabha spent 8% of its time on financial business.  This included a discussion on the first supplementary budget for 2020-21, which was 5.5% of the budget estimate.  Note that this is higher than the total supplementary grants for 2019-20, which was 2.6% of the intial estimate.

17 Bills introduced and passed in same session; no Bill referred to Committees

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  • In the Monsoon session, 20 new Bills were introduced (excluding the Appropriation Bills).  Of these, eleven were to replace Ordinances.  These include three Bills related to agriculture trade and contract farming, one to expand RBI’s regulation of cooperative banks, and the three labour Codes on Social Security, Industrial Relations, and Occupational Safety.
     
  • Of these, 17 Bills (85% of the introduced Bills) were passed within this Session.  
     
  • No Bill was referred to a committee in the Monsoon Session.  In the 17th Lok Sabha, so far, 10% of the introduced Bills have been referred to a committee; much lower than the 14th (60%), 15th (71%) and 16th (27%) Lok Sabhas.
     
  • 25 Bills were passed by Parliament (excluding the Appropriation Bills).  On average, Lok Sabha discussed a Bill for 1.5 hours, and Rajya Sabha discussed a Bill for just about an hour before passing it.  Lok Sabha discussed and passed the three labour codes within a total duration of three hours, and Rajya Sabha did so in 1 hour 45 minutes.  Rajya Sabha passed 13 Bills within 7.5 hours in the last two days.  

This is the longest period in Lok Sabha without a Deputy Speaker

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  • 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, the election for the post of Deputy Speaker has not been conducted after 464 days from the commencement of the first session.
     
  • During the 16th Lok Sabha, this period was 70 days.  Previously, this period was the highest during the 12th Lok Sabha (269 days). 

Note:  Scheduled time has been calculated as per 10 sittings held from September 14, 2020 till September 23, 2020.  We have not included Appropriation Bills in the analysis of introduced and passed Bills.

Sources:  Bulletins of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as on September 23, 2020; Statistical Handbook, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, 2019; PRS. 

 

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