Vital Stats - Budget Session 2021

Vital Stats

Parliament functioning in Budget Session 2021

The Budget session of Parliament was held from January 29, 2021 to March 25, 2021.   The session was divided into two halves with a recess from February 16 to March 7.  The budget was presented on February 1.  Post the COVID-19 lockdown, Parliament had been functioning in two parts with one House sitting in the morning and the other sitting in the afternoon.  In the second half of the budget session, both houses resumed their normal functioning hours.  Parliament adjourned sine die on March 25, 2021 having sat for a total of 24 days curtailing the session by eight days.

On average, Lok Sabha passed a Bill 10 days after introduction; Rajya Sabha after 3 days

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*No Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in Winter 2019.  One Bill introduced in Rajya Sabha in Budget 2020 session is still pending.

Bill

Days to passage after introduction

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021

9

The Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021

7

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021

7

The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, 2021 (NBFID Bill)

3

  • 13 Bills were introduced in Parliament in this session (ten in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha).  Of these, Lok Sabha passed ten Bills.  On average, these Bills were passed by the House within 10 days after introduction in the House.  In Rajya Sabha, three Bills were introduced and passed within three days of introduction (on average).
     
  • Several Bills such as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021, and the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were passed by Parliament within 10 days of introduction.  The NBFID Bill was passed by Lok Sabha the day after it was introduced in the House and within two days in Rajya Sabha.

No Bill was referred to a Committee; on average, Parliament discussed a Bill for 4.5 hours before passing

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  • On average, Lok Sabha discussed a Bill for 2.5 hours before passing it, while Rajya Sabha discussed a Bill for two hours before passing.  
     
  • None of the 13 bills introduced in this session has been referred to a Parliamentary Committee.  In the 17th Lok Sabha, so far, 11% of the introduced Bills have been referred to a committee; much lower than the 14th (60%), 15th (71%), and 16th (27%) Lok Sabhas.

76% of the budget was passed without discussion

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Note: From 2017-18 onwards, railway budget was incorporated in the general budget.  There used to be a separate railway budget discussion before that.

  • During the session, budgets (demands) of the ministries of: (i) railways, (ii) education, (iii) health and family welfare, (iv) road transport and highways, and (v) housing and urban affairs were listed for discussion.  Of these, railways, education, and health demands were discussed.  These constitute 24% of the total voted expenditure.  The remaining demands were passed without discussion.  In the past 18 years, on average, 83% of the demands are passed without discussion in Lok Sabha.
     
  • Rajya Sabha was to discuss the working of the ministries of: (i) jal shakti, (ii) railways, (iii) tourism, (iv) food processing industry, (v) agriculture and farmers welfare, (vi) rural development, and (vii) tribal affairs.  Of these, the first three were discussed.

Lok Sabha spent most of its time discussing budget; Rajya Sabha on debates

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  • Lok Sabha spent 38% of its time discussing budget (including the discussion on union budget, ministry budget allocations, and supplementary budgets).  Rajya Sabha spent 20% of its time discussing the budget.  
      
  • Rajya Sabha spent most of its time (35%) on non-legislative debates which include the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address.  9% of the time in Rajya Sabha was spent on other matters which includes time spent on farewell speeches.  Lok Sabha spent 27% of its time on non-legislative debates.  

Sitting days were curtailed with Parliament sitting for 73% of scheduled days

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  • This is the third consecutive session which was curtailed before the scheduled end date.  The session was expected to have 33 sittings.     However, Lok Sabha sat for 24 days and Rajya Sabha sat for 23 days.  
     
  • Both Houses also saw disruptions on the issue of farmers’ protests and rising fuel prices.  However, Lok Sabha also sat late on multiple days.  Lok Sabha worked for 132 hours and functioned for 107% of its scheduled time.  Rajya Sabha functioned for 89% of its scheduled time and sat for 104.5 hours.
  • Attendance of MPs during this session was also low, with average attendance in Lok Sabha at 71%, and in Rajya Sabha at 74%.  For the first four sessions of the 17th LS, the average attendance was 83% in Lok Sabha and 82% in Rajya Sabha.

18% of starred questions were answered orally in Lok Sabha and 35% in Rajya Sabha

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  • Due to the session getting curtailed, and disruptions during the session, the functioning of Question Hour was affected.  Question Hour functioned for 53% of its scheduled time in Lok Sabha with 18% of the starred questions receiving an oral answer.  In Rajya Sabha, Question Hour functioned for 54% of the scheduled time with 35% of the starred questions being answered orally by Ministers.
     
  • In Lok Sabha, 440 questions were listed to receive an oral answer.  For 23 of these questions, members were absent when their questions were listed for oral answers.  Other members asked supplementary questions for 13 of these questions.  80 questions were answered orally in the house.
     
  • Note that Question Hour had been completely suspended during the Monsoon session of 2020 due to the shortened schedule and the COVID-19 situation.  

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.  The Deputy Speaker acts as the Speaker when the office of Speaker is vacant or Speaker is absent.
     
  • In the 17th Lok Sabha, the election for the post of Deputy Speaker has not been conducted after 647 days from the commencement of the first session.  Note that by the next Monsoon session, the position of the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha would have been vacant for two years.
     
  • During the 16th Lok Sabha, this period was 70 days.  Previously, this period was the highest during the 12th Lok Sabha (269 days). 

Note: We have not included Finance and Appropriation Bills in the analysis of introduced and passed Bills.  Lok Sabha attendance is available up to March 23, 2021, and Rajya Sabha attendance is available up to March 24, 2021. We have not counted starred question as orally answered if: the MP was not present in the house when the question was answered, and no supplementary question was asked for that question.

Sources:  Bulletins of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as of March 25, 2021; Statistical Handbook, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, 2019; PRS. 

 

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