Data from the ‘Statistical Handbook 2021’ released by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs indicates that the number of bills passed by the Lok Sabha and both the houses has reduced in the recent times. The number of bills that lapse at dissolution has also increased.
The business conducted in the Parliament facilitates various functions including – making & amending laws, financial control, assessment of the working of government, and discussion on pressing issues of public importance. These are facilitated through the introduction, discussion & passing of bills, official motions and discussions, short-notice questions, short-duration discussions, etc.
In the earlier story, we highlighted that there is a progressive decline in the number of days the Lok Sabha convenes. But what about the business being carried out? In this story, we look at the trends in the various business carried out in parliament, more specifically the Lok Sabha.
As in the earlier story, the data is sourced from the ‘Statistical Handbook 2021’, released by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
Highest Number of Bills passed during the term of 5th Lok Sabha
The Fifth Lok Sabha had an extended term, with a total of 5.5 years including the period during the emergency. During the period, there were a total of 18 sessions, in which a total of 487 bills were passed. This is the highest number of bills passed by Lok Sabha in a single term. Among others, the Constitution (Forty Second Amendment) Bill was introduced and passed during this term of Lok Sabha.
The Eighth term of Lok Sabha passed the next highest number of bills with 355 bills. It is followed by the Seventh and the First Lok Sabha terms. Meanwhile, the least number of bills were passed during the Twelfth term of Lok Sabha. The term was the shortest term with only 13 months, during which 60 bills were passed in the 4 sessions that Lok Sabha convened.
Among the fully completed terms of Lok Sabha, the least number of bills were passed during the Fifteenth Lok Sabha (2009-2014), with the next Lok Sabha term doing slightly better at 205 bills.
The Statistical Handbook – 2021, also provides data on the number of bills that were passed in both houses. There exist some variances with the number of bills passed in both houses lesser than that of the bills passed in only Lok Sabha. The highest difference was during the 16th Lok Sabha, where 180 bills were passed in both houses compared to 205 bills passed only in Lok Sabha. This could be because the ruling government did not have an absolute majority in the Rajya Sabha.
5th Lok Sabha also passed the highest average number of bills per session
The tenure of the Lok Sabha has a direct bearing on the total number of bills passed, with the Lok Sabha terms completing full 5-years being able to convene longer and pass a greater number of bills. But the average number of bills passed per session and the average number of bills passed per sitting of Lok Sabha can provide a better perspective of the productivity of the respective Lok Sabha.
In terms of the average number of bills passed per session, the 5th Lok Sabha has passed on average of 27 bills per session. The 1st,7th & 8Th sessions were the next most productive sessions with an average of 22 bills passed per session. The 9th Lok Sabha passed a total of 63 bills during its 1.5 years tenure. On average, it passed 8 bills per session.
Among the terms which completed their full tenure, the least productive has been the immediate two earlier terms i.e., the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Lok Sabha. The number of bills passed per session is 13 and 12 respectively. Comparatively, the Current Lok Sabha is more productive with an average of 19 bills per session.
The average number of bills passed per every sitting of Lok Sabha also provides insights into the productivity of the particular Lok Sabha terms. In this aspect, the 13th Lok Sabha, which followed two terms of uncertainty and incomplete terms, was able to pass on average 0.85 bills per every sitting. This term passed 302 bills across the 356 sittings of the Lok Sabha. The other more productive Lok Sabha terms in this aspect are the Fifth and the Fourteenth Lok Sabha sessions. The current Lok Sabha has the highest so far, with 0.91 bills passed per session.
It has to be noted that the data on the actual time spent on debates and discussions would provide a more holistic understanding of the productivity of the parliament session.
Highest Number of Bills passed in both houses during 3rd Session of Fifth Lok Sabha
The 5th Lok Sabha passing the highest number of bills is also reflected in four of the top-10 sessions with the highest number of bills passed were during the 5th Lok Sabha. The session-wise bills passed information provided in Statistical Handbook 2021, includes those bills passed in both houses of Parliament.
The highest number of bills passed was during the 3rd session of the Fifth Lok Sabha, wherein 47 bills were passed. 45 bills were passed during the 6th Session of Tenth Lok Sabha. In the 5th Lok Sabha, apart from the 3rd session, three other sessions i.e., the 4th, 15th & 16th sessions are among the top-10 sessions with the highest number of bills passed.
7 sessions were convened without any bills being passed. These sessions were either the first sessions of the respective Lok Sabha or were specifically convened for No-confidence motions.
15th Lok Sabha has the Highest number of bills lapsed at the dissolution
The dissolution of Lok Sabha results in the lapse of all the business i.e., bills, motions, resolutions, etc. that are pending. All the bills that are pending in the Lok Sabha, and those bills passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha lapse at the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
The exceptions include – bills pending in Rajya Sabha but not passed by Lok Sabha, bills passed by both houses but pending assent of the president, bills passed by both houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of the houses, bills not passed by the two houses due to disagreement and president has notified for a joint sitting.
In the Fifteenth Lok Sabha, 68 bills lapsed at the dissolution, which is the highest. A higher number of bills lapsed in the recent Lok Sabha terms, compared to earlier, possibly highlighting the changing nature of political consensus, and majorities of ruling parties. The least number of bills lapsed during the first two terms of the Lok Sabha.