Parliament has lots of responsibilities: it must make laws, keep track of government spending, hold the prime minister and his cabinet accountable, and represent the views and issues of the Indian people.
That sounds like a lot of work, but it’s a little vague. What does a parliamentarian’s workday actually look like? During the course of a legislative session, what do India’s elected leaders actually do? To answer these questions, Hindustan Times created a calendar to monitor activities on every day of the Winter Session in 2017.
To create this calendar, we collected information from the ‘bulletin’ document of both the Houses. Part-I of the ‘bulletin’ contains a brief record of the proceedings of the House at each of its sittings. We categorised each record into five categories: ‘Legislative’, ‘Non-legislative’, ‘Issues/Debates/Q&A’, ‘Adjourned due to interruption’ and ‘Break’.
Anything related to bills—whether it was passed, introduced or withdrawn—was classified under ‘Legislative’. The ‘Question and Answer’ session, which is slotted for an hour before lunch in both houses was clubbed with debates and discussions under one category called ‘Issues/Debates/Q&A’. Then we have ‘non-legislative’, which captures administrative work and routine stuff like the presentation of committee reports. ‘Break’ is mostly the lunch break or when the house adjourns for another activity. And last, ‘Adjourned due to interruption’ included the times when the House was adjourned by the Speaker due to interruptions.
Discussion under Rule 193: General discussion without a vote. MPs debate the issue, and the minister replies on the various points that are raised.
Motion under Rule 184: Similar to Rule 193, but there is a formal notion that is voted upon.
Questions and Answers: MPs can raise questions about workings of specific ministries. In the 15th Lok Sabha, most questions (70% of the starred questions) were related to data and information.
Source: Bulletin I: Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha. HT Research. Icon by Vineet Kumar Thakur via the Noun Project.