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Declining Power of Indian Parliament UPSC NOTE


  • Of all the Lok Sabhas with completed terms, the 17th Lok Sabha witnessed several regrettable firsts

  • It was the first to not appoint a Deputy Speaker.

  • It recorded the lowest number of sittings.

  • It passed significant legislation such as criminal reform Bills when more than 70% of the Opposition MPs were suspended.

  • The Prime Minister did not answer any questions orally and only one in writing

  • While these developments mark a new low in parliamentary functioning.

  • This is not an anomaly; rather, it is a trend that has continued for more than 30 years.

  • The annual average of Bills passed declined from 65 in the 1952-1990 period to 48 in 1991-2023.

  • The number of Bills sent to committees for scrutiny also dwindled consistently

  • With the 17th Lok Sabha sending only 16% of Bills for scrutiny, the lowest in the past four Lok Sabhas.

  • The declining number of sitting days and hours in the Lok Sabha limits the scope for debates and diminishes MPs’ participation

  • Prior to 1990, each Lok Sabha typically convened for over 550 days on average, spanning 3,500 hours. 

  • However, post-1990, an average Lok Sabha only meets for 345 days, spanning less than 1,800 hours. 

  • The 17th Lok Sabha had the least number of sittings , 274. 

  • Parliamentary tools allow MPs to ensure executive accountability and remediate potential issues for their constituents. 

  • A half-hour discussion enables MPs to deliberate on responses to parliamentary questions

  • Before the 1990s, there were 88 such discussions per Lok Sabha

  • Post-1990, there were only 11 half-hour discussions per Lok Sabha

  • The 17th Lok Sabha permitted only one such discussion, marking an all-time low

  • Short duration discussions, permitting members to initiate discussions on matters of public importance, were prevalent before 1990, averaging 46 per Lok Sabha

  • Post-1990, this number diminished to 39.

  • The adjournment motion, employed to address urgent issues with a subsequent vote, serves as an expression of disagreement with the government’s policies. 

  • Pre-1990, the Lok Sabha permitted discussion and voting on four such motions on average

  • Post-1990, this number decreased to three. 

  • The 16th and 17th Lok Sabha allowed no adjournment motions.

  • Scholars and experts identified this trend early on, with a notable instance being a 2000 paper authored by Dr. Subhash C Kashyap, the former Secretary-General of Lok Sabha. 



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Declining Power of Indian Parliament UPSC NOTE
Declining Power of Indian Parliament UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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