The 2022 winter session of the 17th Lok Sabha began on 07 December 2022. The house will be in session for a total of 17 days. Data from the ‘Statistical Handbook 2021’, released by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs indicates that the number of days the Lok Sabha convenes has reduced progressively over the different terms.
The Winter Session of Parliament began on 07 December 2022. This would be the 10th Session of the current 17th Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha, which is a Permanent body will be convening for its 258th session. The session is scheduled to be held till 29 December 2022, with a total of 17 working days.
A total of 16 new bills are planned to be tabled for the first time in this session of the parliament. A few of the bills which were introduced earlier will also be taken up for discussion and further due process. The business conducted in both houses of the parliament is key in shaping the legislation, and discussion on pressing issues both of which will have an impact on the governance of the country. Hence, these sessions are important and a key feature of India’s democracy.
Over the years, many important issues were taken up, and debated and various landmark bills were passed. With another important session of the parliament underway, we look at data related to the previous Parliament sessions. The data is sourced from the ‘Statistical Handbook 2021’, released by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
First Lok Sabha convened for the greatest number of days in session
The first Lok Sabha was constituted on 02 April 1952. It was dissolved on 04 April 1957. During this period, the Lok Sabha actually convened for a total of 677 days across 15 sessions. This is also the greatest number of days that Lok Sabha has convened in a term. The actual number of days that the house was in session is considered for this analysis.
This is followed by the Fifth Lok Sabha, which conducted business for 613 days but across 18 sessions. The 5th Lok Sabha was constituted on 15 March 1971 and dissolved on 18 January 1977. The 21-month emergency from 1975 to 1977 was during the tenure of the 5th Lok Sabha.
Parliament was in session for the least number of days during Twelfth Lok Sabha. It convened for 88 days across 4 sessions. It ought to be noted that the 12th Lok Sabha did not complete its 5-year term. It was constituted on 10 March 1998 and dissolved on 26 April 1999 after the ruling NDA government lost its majority. This was the second consecutive Lok Sabha, which did not complete its term. The earlier Lok Sabha i.e., the 11th Lok Sabha lasted for around 18 months. Lok Sabha was in session for 125 days across 6 sessions in the 11th Lok Sabha. It must be noted that the 4th, 6th & 9th Lok Sabha terms also did not complete their full five-year term.
First Lok Sabha met for the greatest number of days per year on Average
The variance in the number of days the Lok Sabha met in a particular term is due to the total tenure of the respective terms. As noted earlier, the 4th, 6th, 9th, 11th & 12th terms of Lok Sabha did not complete the full tenure of 5 years. The tenure of these terms also varies with the term of the 11th Lok Sabha being only 13 months.
Hence, a yearly average of the number of days that the respective Lok Sabha was in session provides for better comparison across Lok Sabha terms. For this analysis, we have rounded the term of Lok Sabha to the nearest half year. For instance, the term of the fourth Lok Sabha was 3 years and 10 months which was rounded off to 4 years.
The First Lok Sabha met the highest number of days in a year with 135 days on average. The fourth Lok Sabha was next with an annual average of 117 days in session. The yearly average number of days in the session was more than 100 for the first to the sixth Lok Sabha, after which it progressively reduced. Among the Lok Sabha terms which completed their complete five-year tenure, the 4th Lok Sabha is next only to the first Lok Sabha in terms of the number of days in session per year. The 9th Lok Sabha which lasted for about only 1.5 years and had two different governments during the term met for only 73 days on average.
The yearly average from the fourteenth Lok Sabha has been less than 70 days. The average per year is still lower for the current 17th Lok Sabha term with 60 days per year. However, one also needs to factor in the COVID-19 pandemic which impacted the number of days that the house could convene during 2020 and 2021.
Declining trend in the Average number of days met per session
Consistent with the earlier highlighted trends, the first Lok Sabha spent the highest days per session on average. It conducted its business for an average of 45 days per session. The next highest number of days was the fourth Lok Sabha with 39 days on average across its 12 sessions, followed by the Second & Third terms which met on average for 36 days per session across their 16 sessions.
The fifth Lok Sabha, which convened for the highest number of sessions with 18, has met for around 34 days on average per session. There is a decline in the average number of days per session, compared to Lok Sabha terms between 1952 and 1977. In the most recent four complete terms, Lok Sabha met on an average of 24, 20, 23 and 19 days respectively per session. The least though was the 9th Lok Sabha term, which met for an average of 14 days per session.
Lok Sabha convened for the highest number of days in the 12th Session of the First Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha convened for a total of 76 days during the 12th session of the first Lok Sabha. Following this is the 6th session of the first Lok Sabha where the house was convened for 74 days. The third session of the first Lok Sabha convened for 72 days. These are only three sessions that convened for more than 70 days. There are multiple sessions where the house convened for only a day during the 6th, 9th & 11th Lok Sabha terms. These were also the terms that did not have a full five-year term. The single-day sessions were regarding the resignation of a Prime Minister.