The 17th Lok Sabha, spanning from June 2019 to May 2024, marked a significant chapter in Indian parliamentary history with its distinctive highlights and challenges. The essence of its functioning reflects both achievements and areas of concern.

Key highlights of the 17th Lok Sabha 

Parliament Sessions and Time Allocation:

  • The 17th Lok Sabha functioned for 88% of its scheduled time from June 2019 to February 2024.
  • Rajya Sabha worked for 73% of its scheduled time during the same period.

Lok Sabha Sittings:

  • The 17th Lok Sabha held 274 sittings, with the fewest (33 days) in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 11 out of 15 sessions were adjourned early, resulting in the cancellation of 40 scheduled sittings (13%).

Deputy Speaker Position:

  • For the first time, the 17th Lok Sabha did not elect a Deputy Speaker throughout its duration as mandated by Article 93 of the Constitution.

MP Suspensions and Legislative Impact:

  • MPs were suspended 206 times during the 17th Lok Sabha.
  • In Winter Session 2023, 146 MPs were suspended for misconduct, impacting the passage of key legislations.

Bills Passed:

  • 179 Bills were passed, with Finance and Home Affairs ministries leading with 15% each.
  • Key Bills include Women’s Reservation Bill 2023, J&K Reorganization Bill, 2019, and three Farm laws (later repealed). 

Legislative Speed and Scrutiny:

  • 58% of Bills were passed within two weeks, with 35% passed with less than an hour of discussion in Lok Sabha.
  • The Opposition criticized the government for hastily passing Bills without sufficient debate.

Private Members’ Bills (PMB) and Resolutions:

  • 729 PMBs introduced, but only two discussed and passed.
  • 14 PMBs passed since 1970; none passed in both Houses.

Functioning Time:

  • About 31% of Lok Sabha and 32% of Rajya Sabha functioning time spent on non-legislative discussions.

No-Confidence Motion and Adjournment Motions:

  • Motion of no-confidence discussed in August 2023, lasting 20 hours.

Question Hour:

  • Question Hour functioned for 60% of scheduled time in Lok Sabha and 52% in Rajya Sabha.

Budget Discussions:

  • About 80% of the budget passed without discussion; entire budget passed without discussion in 2023.

Parliamentary Committees:

  • Three Financial Committees and 24 DRSCs held about 1,700 meetings during the 17th Lok Sabha.
  • Reports presented by Committees included ATRs (50%), Demands for Grants (31%), and Subjects (51%).
  • Only 16% of Bills were referred to Standing Committees for Parliamentary scrutiny, lower than in the previous three Lok Sabhas.

The functioning of the 17th Lok Sabha reflects a balance between legislative productivity and challenges posed by unforeseen events like the pandemic. While the commitment to parliamentary duties is evident in the high percentage of scheduled time utilized, concerns about the pace of legislative proceedings and the absence of a Deputy Speaker underscore the need for further reflection. The significance lies in addressing these challenges to ensure a more robust and inclusive parliamentary system that upholds democratic principles. 

The 17th Lok Sabha’s achievements and shortcomings serve as valuable lessons for future parliamentary sessions, emphasizing the importance of effective governance, transparent debate, and adherence to constitutional mandates.

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