Some basic facts
- 16th Lok Sabha met for 1,615 hours, 40% lower than all full-term Parliaments. It is surpassed only by the preceding one in terms of the low number of hours it worked.
- The average for all full-term Lok Sabha was 468 days. In comparison, 16th Lok Sabha sat for just 331 days. 16% of its time was lost due to interruptions and disruptions.
- While Lok Sabha lost about one-third of the time of question hour, Rajya Sabha lost 60% of its time due to interruptions.
- Just about 18% of starred questions got an oral reply.
Key legislation by 16th Lok Sabha
- Goods and Services Tax was implemented
- Lok Sabha enacted bankruptcy code
- To create a biometric-based identity system, the Aadhaar Act was passed.
- IIM act was passed to provide autonomy to IIM education institutes, that has not been provided to other public institutes.
- Juvenile Justice Act allowed prosecution of children between the age group of 16-18 years, who are accused of heinous crimes.
- Rights of persons with disabilities act
- The Prevention of Corruption Act was amended to make bribe-giving an offense.
- Fugitive Economic offenders bill was passed.
- Triple Talaq Bill and the Citizenship Bill were passed by Lok Sabha, but not by Rajya Sabha, thus this bill will lapse.
Money bill route
- A bill may be defined as a money bill if it contains provisions that are exclusively related to taxes or government spending.
- Aadhaar act was passed by the money bill route. The basis to declare it a money bill was that it is mainly a subsidy delivery mechanism and not an identity system.
- Act was held constitutionally valid by the Supreme Court.
- Finance bill route has also been one of the favorite routes adopted by the government to pass certain legislation.
- Traditionally, Finance bills are presented with the budget and include legislative changes to the tax laws. However, during 16th Lok Sabha, many legislative changes were made that are not linked to the definition provided.
- Provisions to merge the regulator of commodity exchanges with the Securities and Exchange Board of India were provided by the Finance Bill, 2015.
- amendments to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act were made by the Finance bill, 2016.
- The composition of 19 quasi-judicial bodies was changed by Finance bill, 2017.
- Provisions related to attaching property under the money laundering law were amended by Finance bill, 2019.
Why Money Bill route is being taken so frequently?
The government had a majority in the Lok Sabha in 16th LokSabha, while, it was in minority in Rajya Sabha, which brought the power of government to legislate in check. Thus, to bypass this check government took the route of a money bill. Notably, the government’s legislation on Triple Talaq and the Citizenship would not be passed as they stuck in Rajya Sabha. Moreover, the anti-defection provision provides governments with full control over all party votes, thus even if a party MP is against a bill, she/he cannot go against that. This law has converted MPs from being representatives of the people to delegates of the party.