Number of sittings in Parliament gone down over the yrs: Study

NEW DELHI, May 13:
Indian Parliament might have come of its age and celebrating 60 years of its existence today but figures regarding its sittings and law making show that this ‘temple of democracy’ is not what it used to be once.
According to a study by PRS Legislative Research, Lok Sabha met for an average 127 days in the 1950s and Rajya Sabha for 93 days but it has drastically gone down to 73 days for both the Houses in 2011.
This is despite the All India Conference of presiding officers, chief ministers, minister of parliamentary affairs and leaders and whips of parties held in 2001 demanding that Parliament should meet for a minimum of 110 days every year.
In Parliament, concern over repeated disruptions and need for introspection dominated the debates as it today celebrated the 60th year of its first sitting in independent India.
However, the study says, it must be noted that Departmentally Related Standing Committees were instituted in 1993 and since then Parliament refers many bills to these committees. This work happens outside Parliament sittings.
The study also pointed out that the first Lok Sabha passed an average of 72 bills each year but this has decreased to 40 bills a year in the 15th Lok Sabha.
The highest number of bills passed in a year was 118 in 1976 during Emergency. The lowest number of bills was passed in 2004 when only 18 bills were passed in Parliament.
The study also pointed out that till date, Parliament has passed 14 private members’ bill and six of these were in 1956 alone.
In the current Parliament, 264 private members bills have been introduced in Lok Sabha and 160 in Rajya Sabha. Of these only 14 in Lok Sabha and 11 in Rajya Sabha have been discussed.
The study also pointed out that there are fewer under- matriculates and more post graduates in Lok Sabha these days compared to the initial years.
“The percentage of MPs without secondary education has decreased from 23 per cent in 1952 to three in 2009. The percentage of graduates has increased from 58 per cent in 1952 to 79 per cent in 2009. This includes MPs with post-graduate and doctorate degrees.
“More MPs have post-graduate degrees than in 1952. The percentage of post-graduates has increased from 18 per cent to 29 per cent,” it said.
However, the Parliament is getting older as there are fewer MPs under 40 and more MPs over 70 in Lok Sabha.
“There has been a noticeable shift in the age profile of MPs in Lok Sabha. The percentage of older MPs has increased significantly. In 1952, only 20 per cent of MPs were 56 years or older. In 2009, this figure had increased to 43 per cent,” it said.
In the first Lok Sabha, there was no MP over the age of 70. This number has risen to seven in the current Lok Sabha.
The number of MPs below 40 has decreased from 26 per cent in 1952 to 14 per cent in the current Lok Sabha, the study said adding women MPs are younger than their male counterparts.
At the beginning of the 15th  Lok Sabha, the average age of women MPs was 47 while the average age of male MPs was 54 years. There were no women MPs over 70 years of age.
On the positive side, women representation in Lok Sabha has increased from five per cent in 1952 to 11 per cent in 15th Lok Sabha.
Though the percentage of women MPs has increased over the years, it is still lower in comparison to some countries. These include Sweden (45 per cent), Argentina (37 per cent), UK (22 per cent) and USA (17 per cent). (PTI)