In 2014, the 15th Lok Sabha concluded its term and the 16th Lok Sabha was elected. Here are some of the highlights of the year in parliament.
- The 15th Lok Sabha met for the last time in the Winter Session held in February. The session saw extensive disruptions over the issue of separate statehood for Telangana and the plight of Tamil fishermen. Both houses were able to work for less than 30% of their scheduled time. The session ended on a low note with a member of parliament (MP) using a pepper spray in Lok Sabha to protest the introduction of The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014. Seventeen MPs were suspended by the speaker for grave disorder.
- The 15th Lok Sabha ended its term in June 2014. At the end of its term, 128 bills remained pending in parliament—the largest number of bills pending at the end of any Lok Sabha. Of these, 68 bills were pending in Lok Sabha and lapsed with its dissolution. Sixty bills, which were pending in Rajya Sabha, were carried forward to the 16th Lok Sabha.
- After general elections were held in April-May, parliament met for the Introductory Session of the 16th Lok Sabha in June. The 16th Lok Sabha has the highest number of women MPs (11%) and the largest number of MPs over the age of 55 (47%). It saw a small decrease in MPs with at least a graduate degree (75%). Most of the MPs elected to the 16th Lok Sabha were part of the agriculture industry (27%). Three hundred and fourteen MPs (58%) were elected for the first-time to the Lok Sabha in the 2014 general elections. This was the highest number of first-time MPs elected to the Lok Sabha in the last three decades.
- The first Budget Session and the first Winter Session of the 16th Lok Sabha were held in 2014. Lok Sabha worked for 104% of its scheduled time in the Budget Session and 98% of its scheduled time in the Winter Session. While Rajya Sabha worked for 106% of its scheduled time in the Budget Session, it lost significant time to disruptions during the Winter Session over the issue of reported religious conversions, and was able to work for 59% of its scheduled time.
- Some of the major issues discussed in parliament this year were the monsoon, price rise and inflation, atrocities against women and children, communal violence, black money, natural calamities, agrarian crisis, religious conversions and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
- Eight Ordinances were promulgates during the year. Two of these were promulgated by the UPA-II government, while six were promulgated by the current NDA government. These include the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, which was promulgated twice, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Ordinance, and the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance.
- In the four sessions that parliament met for in 2014, Lok Sabha sat for 67 days, and Rajya Sabha for 64 days. Lok Sabha’s productivity for the year was at 84% while Rajya Sabha’s was at 73%.
- Twenty four bills were passed by parliament in 2014. Some of the bills passed were: The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011, The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014, The Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014, The Apprentices (Amendment) Bill 2014, etc.
- Forty bills were introduced in parliament in 2014. These include the Constitution 122nd Amendment (Goods and Services Tax) Bill, 2014, The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014, The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014.
- Two hundred and thirty six questions were answered orally by ministers in Lok Sabha during the year, while 125 questions were answered orally by ministers in Rajya Sabha. Question Hour functioned for 70% of the time in Lok Sabha, while it functioned for 27% of the time in Rajya Sabha.
A version of this post first appeared on prsindia.org