India, Rajya Sabha, Stories

Data: Not a single sitting with more than 90% attendance in the last seven sessions of the Rajya Sabha


Data from the Rajya Sabha indicates that during the last seven sessions (249th to 255th) i.e., during the term of the 17th Lok Sabha, there was not a single sitting with more than 90% attendance. Data also indicates that among the nominated MPs, M C Mary Kom and Ranjan Gogoi have the lowest attendance. 

In the earlier Story, we analysed the attendance of Members of Parliament (MPs) of the Lok Sabha from various Political parties during the sessions of 17th Lok Sabha.

In this story, we look at the attendance of the sitting members of the Rajya Sabha and sessions (249 to 255 sessions) after the commencement of the 17th Lok Sabha & the parties they represent. 

Since the Rajya Sabha is a continuous body and not subject to dissolution, the sessions, as also the sittings, are numbered consecutively and continuously since its inception. However, our analysis is limited to the seven sessions held after the commencement of the 17th Lok Sabha, which is the tenure of the current government starting in 2019. 

Methodology: Since the Prime Minister, Ministers, Leader of the Opposition (LoP) and Deputy Chairman (HDC) are not required to record their signature, Rajya Sabha does not consider their attendance. MPs who are ministers at least during any one session are also not considered. Those members who resigned or have passed away are also not considered. The attendance of MPs who were elected to the house during any of these seven sessions is calculated accordingly.

As per the rules of the Rajya Sabha, a member is considered present if he signs the attendance register. If a member was present on a particular day but did not sign the attendance register, he is considered absent. Our analysis also uses the same rules and considers those who signed as present. 

Only 42 MPs have more than 90% attendance

Rajya Sabha met for seven (7) sessions (249 to 255) after the commencement of the 17th Lok Sabha, for a total of 146 days. Of the 237 sitting members, 23 members held positions where attendance was not required which means only 214 members were required to record their attendance in Rajya Sabha during these sessions. Of these, the latest data indicates that only 42 MPs have more than 90% attendance, 80 members have less than 50% attendance. Only one MP, S.R. Balasubramoniyan of AIADMK attended all the 146 days and has 100% attendance.

Three parties have more than 50% of their members with more than 90% attendance

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with 3 MPs, Janata Dal (United) -JD(U) with 2 MPs and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with just one MP are the only parties with more than 50% of its members attending more than 90% of the sittings of the Rajya Sabha so far. No national party has more than 50% of its members with 90% and above attendance. 10 MPs of the BJP and 5 of the INC have more than 90% of attendance and these two are the only recognized national parties who have MPs with more than 90% attendance. No other MP of a national party recorded 90% and above attendance.

No Session saw more than 90% average attendance

A session is defined as the period between the meeting of a Parliament and its prorogation. After the commencement of the 17th Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha met for a total of seven sessions over 146 days to date.

Session 249: The session had 35 sittings in all and the House sat for more than 195 hours and 32 minutes between 20 June 2019, and 07 August 2019. This Session saw an average attendance of 84.2%.  Lone MPs of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) attended all the sittings of the 249th session of the Rajya Sabha. 

Session 250: This Session sat for around 107 hours and lasted for 20 sittings between 18 November 2019, and 13 December 2019. This session witnessed average attendance of 80.1%. Aam Aadmi Party (98.3%), Biju Janata Dal (96%), Communist Party of India (95%), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (95%), Asom Gana Parishad (90%) and Telugu Desam Party (90%) saw an average attendance of more than 90%. No party recorded 100% attendance in this session.

Session 251: With an average attendance of 77.3%, the session had 23 sittings in all, as against the scheduled 31 sittings and sat for 90 hours and 29 Minutes between 31 January 2020 to 11 February 2020, and 02 March 2020, to 03 April 2020. While no party saw 100% attendance, Communist Party of India, and Telugu Desam Party with 95.6%, Aam Aadmi Party (92.7%), Asom Gana Parishad and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) with 91.3% each and Samajwadi Party with 90.4% are the parties which saw an average attendance of 90% and above during the session.

Session 252: The Session had sittings of 10 days without break on Saturdays and Sundays and the House sat for more than 39 hours from 14 September 2020 to 01 October 2020. This Session has the highest number of parties (6) namely TDP, AGP, BJD, BSP, Shiv Sena and MNF recording 100% attendance.

Lone MPs of the TDP and MNF saw 100% attendance in all the last three (253, 254 and 255) sessions. In addition to both these parties, Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) also recorded 100% attendance in the 254th Session of the Rajya Sabha.

Not a single day witnessed more than 85% of attendance

Of the 146 days that the Rajya Sabha sat during these seven sessions (249th to 255th), not even a single day saw an attendance of 85% or more MPs. The top three days with the highest attendance are the following.

05 August 2021: With an attendance of 84.1%, the house witnessed a motion for the appointment of four Members to the Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in the vacancies caused by the retirement. This day witnessed the greatest attendance with 84.1%

22 July 2021: With 83.6% of attendance, the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture presented the 292nd report on ‘The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Several reports of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour (2020-21) and Reports of the Committee on Welfare of Other Backward Classes were laid on the table. In addition, The Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021 was also passed on this day.

29 November 2021:  With over 83.6% attendance, the house passed a bill to repeal the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and amending the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. These three are popularly known as the Farm Bills. 

19 July 2021: On this day, the Prime Minister introduced new ministers to the house. The day saw 83.6% attendance.

20 July 2021: Several MPs had given notice of ‘Short Duration Discussion’ on the management of COVID-19 pandemic, implementation of vaccination policy and challenges of the likely third wave. As per ‘Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business’, a Short Duration Discussion is “Any member desirous of raising discussion on a matter of urgent public importance may give notice in writing to the Secretary-General specifying clearly and precisely the matter to be raised

Source: Rajya Sabha

11 August 2021: On this day, The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021, The National Commission for Homoeopathy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced by respective department ministers for consideration and passing

No Committee in Rajya Sabha to decide on leave applications

Unlike in the Lok Sabha where there is a committee to decide on the leave applications of members, the Rajya Sabha does not have any dedicated committee. The chairman of the RS reads out the leave application in the house to seek the permission of the house.

9 out of 12 Nominated MPs have more than 70% of attendance.

Under Article 80 (1) (a) of the Constitution, the Rajya Sabha is composed of not more than 250 members, of whom 12 are nominated by the President of India from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service. The nominated members have a right to vote in the election of the Vice-President of India while they are not entitled to vote in the election of the President of India. Currently, Rajya Sabha has twelve nominated members.

A nominated member can also join a political party within six months of the nomination. Many of the members who were nominated by the current government are members of the BJP now. 

Swapan Dasgupta (100%), Rakesh Sinha (98.6%), Mahesh Jethmalani (94.3%) and Dr. Subramanian Swamy (90.4%) are the only nominated MPs who recorded more than 90% of attendance among the members nominated to Rajya Sabha. It’s to be noted that Swapan Dasgupta and Mahesh Jethmalani are nominated only after the 253rd session, and hence their attendance is considered only for sessions 254 and 255.

Sportsperson Mary Kom has an attendance of 26%, the least of all the nominated MPs who were part of the house from at least the 249th session. Mary Kom and Ranjan Gogoi (15.7% from Session-251) did not attend the sessions during   253rd, 254th and 252nd sessions respectively. They were shown as on leave on the Rajya Sabha website. 

Featured Image: Rajya Sabha Attendance


About Author

Sai Santosh is an engineer by education and a liberal by conviction. He is a Sudoku junkie and meditates through solving the Rubik’s Cube. He is passionate about public policy and advocates for social justice.

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