Only 101 of 778 MPs to attend briefing on Bills in 2022-23, mostly from BJP
New Delhi: According to data reviewed by Hindustan Times, only 13% of MPs have attended special briefing sessions organized by the Lok Sabha Secretariat to help MPs understand various aspects of upcoming bills. Most of the participants are first time MPs.
In 2022, and till the end of the budget session of Parliament this year, the Secretariat organized 19 briefing sessions by experts, and only 101 of the 778 MPs attended. 70% of the participants were from BJP, 9% from Congress and 5% from YSRCP.
Official figures show that of the 101 MPs, 72 are from the Lok Sabha and 29 from the Rajya Sabha. Of the 72 Lok Sabha MPs, 65% and 93% of the Rajya Sabha MPs are first-time MPs. The 232 appearances of these MPs include 190 of the representatives in the Lok Sabha.
The first briefing on the Chit Fund Amendment Bill, 2019 was held on November 18, 2019 and 87 MPs participated in the briefing. “Since then, during each Parliament session in the present 17th Lok Sabha, such briefings have been held regularly and there have been a total of 79 sessions up to April 2023, with the latest one on 23/03/2023 on the Finance Bill, 2023. have been conducted. ,” said an internal report of the Lok Sabha Secretariat reviewed by HT.
A senior secretariat official said that 10 MPs who regularly attend these sessions became ministers in the reshuffle of the Council of Ministers in July 2021.
Dr. Munjapara Mahendrabhai, who is now the Minister of State for AYUSH and Women and Child Development, attended 15 of these sessions. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, who is now Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, attended 10 briefing sessions. At the same time, Minister of State for Health Bharti Praveen Pawan participated in nine.
But many MPs chose to miss the sessions.
A brainchild of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, the sessions are aimed at helping parliamentarians gain perspective about upcoming bills. Other measures including supply of soft copies of background notes, 24×7 dedicated hotline and digitization of the rich resources of the Parliament Library have also been initiated.
Read: Budget session ends with low productivity of 34% in Lok Sabha, 24.4% in RS
The data, reviewed by HT, refers to the period between the 2022 and 2023 budget sessions. Birla started briefing sessions in late 2019, but attendance was limited in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.
Even though the participation rate was low, those who participated showed a keen interest in understanding the Bills. “In many cases, the sessions went beyond the allotted time of one hour to 80 or 85 minutes,” the secretariat note said.
A second official said interest in the briefing sessions was growing. “A total of 13 MPs have participated in more than five sessions. A record number of first-time MPs have been elected to this Lok Sabha. Out of those 271 MPs, 47 MPs have participated in these briefing sessions. Similarly, 27 first-time MPs from Rajya Sabha have attended the session. At the beginning of the 17th Lok Sabha, the House often sat late (on two occasions Birla conducted the House after 12 noon) but disruptions have hampered the functioning of the House in the last few sessions. In the last budget session, the Rajya Sabha recorded 56.3% productivity in the first half, but it dropped to just 6.4% in the second half. Lok Sabha saw 83.8% productivity in the first part, but only 5.23% in the second part.
The longest Parliament session in a year managed to pass only one bill apart from legislations relating to the budget.