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Parliament Review: Discussion on Motion of Thanks to President’s Address, and Interim Budget Dominate the last Session of 17th Lok Sabha

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The last session of the 17th Lok Sabha had 9 sittings during which there was discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, interim budget for 2024-25, the white paper on finance released by the government and various other issues.

The Fifteenth and the last session of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha commenced on 31 January 2024 with the President addressing both Houses of Parliament and ended on 10 February 2024 (initially till 9 February, extended by a day). Some key agenda items that were up for discussion in this session included deliberations and voting on the Interim Union Budget for 2024-25 and the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address to Parliament. Additionally, discussions and votes were taken up for the Interim Budget for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for 2024-25.

Key Statistical Highlights of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha

  • Sessions for this Lok Sabha were held between June 2019 and February 2024, with a total of 274 sittings, lasting for 1354 hours.
  • In the 17th Lok Sabha, a total of 4663 starred questions were listed, with 1116 questions receiving oral answers. Additionally, 55889 unstarred questions were posed, all of which received written responses in the House. Furthermore, 729 Private Members’ Bills were introduced during this term.
  • The overall productivity of the 17th Lok Sabha stands at approximately 97%, marking it as the most productive among the last five Lok Sabhas.
  • A total of 222 laws were passed during this term, with 202 Bills introduced and 11 Bills withdrawn by the Government.
  • Ironically, the 17th Lok Sabha did not have a Deputy Speaker for its entire duration.

Business schedule of this session

A total of 9 sittings (8 initially) were planned in the fifteenth session of this Lok Sabha. In the legislative business, a total of three bills are taken up for consideration and passing by the Lok Sabha. Below is the list.

Key Developments

The session started with the President’s address to both Houses of the Parliament on 31 January 2024. A total of two days (2nd and 5th February) had been allocated for the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address in Lok Sabha. 

It was followed by the introduction of a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India for the year 2024-25, along with the Medium-term Fiscal Policy cum Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement and Macro-economic Framework Statement as per the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM Act), 2003 in the Lok Sabha on 1 February 2024. The Finance Bill, 2024 was also introduced on the same day.

On 5 February 2024, a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure and Supplementary Demands for Grants of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for the year 2024-25 was laid in both houses. On the same day, The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024 and The Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024 were introduced in the Lower house. These two bills were passed in the Lower House on the following day and were passed in the Upper House on 9 February 2024.

In the Rajya Sabha, three bills were introduced on 5 February 2024: The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2024, and The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024. These three bills were passed in the Upper House on the following day (6 February) and were introduced and passed in the Lower House on 8 February 2024. 

Discussion on the interim budget 2024-25 took place in both houses on 7 February, and the day ended with the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2024, The Finance Bill 2024, and The Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation Bill, 2024 in the Lower House.

Interestingly, on 09 February, the Finance Minister introduced a ‘White paper on the Indian Economy and its impact on lives of the people of India’ in the Lower House. On the last day of the session, a discussion on the construction of Shri Ram Temple and Pran Pratishtha of Shri Ram was initiated in both houses of the Parliament. Post discussion, both houses are adjourned sine die.

Important Standing Committee Reports:

This budget session saw some important Standing Committee Reports being tabled in the Parliament. Apart from the action taken reports by various ministries on the previous committee reports, this session saw reports on interesting topics. Some of them are below.

Some important matters raised under Rule 377

  • Dr. Sukanta Majumdar regarding the introduction of the New Guaranteed Pension Scheme for Central Government employees.
  • Smt. Supriya Sadanand Sule regarding the unemployment scenario in the country.
  • Dr. M.P. Abdussamad Samadani regarding the protection of places of worship of Minority Communities.
  • Rajiv Pratap Rudy regarding the need to conduct a National Survey to collect data on migrant workers working in each State.
  • Vinayak Bhaurao Raut regarding restoration of Old Pension Scheme.

Important Questions

  • On a question on progress towards framing the National Menstrual Hygiene Policy, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare responded that a draft Menstrual Hygiene Policy was formulated in 2023 after consultation with stakeholders. 
  • To a question on passport holders in the country, the Ministry of External Affairs responded that till 2023, a total of 8.8 Crore Indians had valid passports, out of which males were 5.7 Crore and females at 3.0 Crores.  In 2023 alone, 1.37 crore passports were issued, with Kerala at the top, issuing around 15.5 Lakh passports.
  • On the question of flight delays and cancellations, the Ministry of Civil Aviation remarked that January 2024 saw 8038 flight delays and 496 flight cancellations. 
  • To a question on ‘mid-air misadventures’ or handling of unruly passengers, the Ministry of Civil Aviation responded that in 2023, 108 passengers were put on the no-fly list, while it was 0 in 2019, 10 in 2020, 66 in 2021, and 63 in 2022. 
  • On the rising UPI frauds, the Ministry acknowledged the steep rise in the value of domestic payments frauds for UPI from Rs. 111 Crore in 2020-21 to Rs. 573 Crore in 2022-23, while the volume of frauds rose from 1.95 lakhs to 7.25 lakh during the same period.

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