PRS Legislative Research’s Analysis of State Assembly Sessions
State Assemblies play a crucial role in shaping the governance of respective states in India. A recent report by think-tank PRS Legislative Research highlights key insights regarding the average number of days State Assemblies met, the duration of sittings, and the passage of bills.
Average Duration and Assembly Highlights
In 2022, State Assemblies convened for an average of 21 days, providing a limited timeframe for legislative deliberations. Karnataka emerged as the state with the highest number of sitting days, totaling 45 days, followed closely by West Bengal with 42 days and Kerala with 41 days.
Emphasis on Budget Session
The Budget Session, held between January and March, tends to be the most substantial session for most states. During this period, State Assemblies engage in detailed discussions on financial matters and policy decisions. The Monsoon and Winter Sessions, which are comparatively briefer, follow the Budget Session. In 2022, around 61% of sittings took place during the Budget Session, with Tamil Nadu holding over 90% of its sittings during this crucial period. Similarly, Gujarat and Rajasthan conducted more than 80% of their sittings during the Budget Session.
Efficiency of Sittings and Legislative Productivity
The average duration of a sitting across 20 states was found to be five hours. However, variations were observed, with Maharashtra having an average sitting duration of eight hours, while Sikkim had a shorter duration of two hours.
Between 2016 and 2022, Kerala had the highest average number of sitting days per year, with 48 days. Odisha followed closely with 41 days, and Karnataka with 35 days. Notably, the number of average sitting days has experienced a steady decline since 2016, with a significant drop to 17 days in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
States Setting Minimum Sitting Days
Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have established a minimum number of sitting days for their legislatures. However, the report indicates that none of these states have met the target since 2016. Himachal Pradesh mandates 35 days, whereas Uttar Pradesh sets a higher bar of 90 days.
Bills and Legislative Efficiency
In 2022, State legislatures collectively passed over 500 bills, encompassing various subjects such as land, labor, and social justice. Assam led the way by passing an impressive 85 bills, followed by Tamil Nadu with 51 and Goa with 38. However, it is worth noting that the report highlighted a need for more extensive debate and deliberation, as a significant proportion of bills were passed on the day of introduction or the very next day, amounting to 56% of the total bills in 2022. Additionally, less than 30 bills were referred to committees for detailed study, indicating a scope for enhanced scrutiny and analysis.
Month: Current Affairs - June, 2023