On Tuesday, the Lok Sabha approved nine Bills in 17 minutes. Also, on the same day Parliament finally brought down the curtain on what has turned out to be the longest monsoon session ever—lasting six months. According to PRS Legislative Research, an independent research initiative, it is even longer than the last time when a session was extended for 75 days during another Congress tenure between 1984 and 1989.
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The normal duration of the monsoon session is from July to August, while it has been extended to December this year. Mint took the opportunity to revisit the process of parliamentary functioning by reviewing select metrics compiled by PRS Legislative Research. The analysis throws up some uncomfortable questions on the parliamentary process.
Between 1952 and 2008, the number of sittings in the Lok Sabha declined steeply from 103 to 46 and from 60 to 46 in the Rajya Sabha. Similarly, over the same period, the number of Bills passed by both Houses together declined from 82 to 46. Parliament is devoting less time to debate Bills in both Houses while the participation of members in debates is also declining.
Graphics: Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint
Illustration: Jayachandran / Mint