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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 17 June, 2021

  • 14 Min Read

State Legislatures and COVID-19

State Legislatures and COVID-19

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown, which affected the functioning of the legislatures of several States last year, had an apparently marginal impact on the working of the Karnataka legislature if the number of sitting days is an indication.

  • Compared with its average number of sitting days of 32 from 2016 to 2019, the Karnataka legislature, which is bicameral, met on 31 days last year, the highest for any State in 2020, according to a study that covered 19 States.
  • The Southern State was followed by Rajasthan (29 days) and Himachal Pradesh (25 days).
  • For comparison, Parliament met for 33 days last year.
  • In 2020, the average number of sitting days for the 19 States was 18, which was 11 less than the four-year (2016-19) average of 29.
  • Kerala, which had the distinction of remaining at the top in the four years with an average of 53 days, had only 20 days of sittings of the legislature last year, stated the study report, “Annual Review of State Laws 2020,” which was prepared by the PRS Legislative Research (“PRS”), a New Delhi-based think tank.
  • As regards other southern States, Tamil Nadu had met on 23 days against its four-year average of 35, Andhra Pradesh had met on 12 days (four-year average of 26) and Telangana had met on 17 days (four-year average of 25 days).
  • After the lockdown, Karnataka’s figure of sitting days of the legislature was 10; Telengana 9; Andhra Pradesh 7; Tamil Nadu 3 and Kerala 2. However, the highest for any State, post-lockdown, was 11 in Chhattisgarh followed by 10 in Himachal Pradesh. Rajasthan, which was the number two State in terms of the overall number of sitting days, had met only five days after the lockdown.
  • As for the number of Bills passed last year, Karnataka again topped the list with 61 Bills, followed by Tamil Nadu (42) and Uttar Pradesh (37). For this purpose, Appropriation Bills were excluded.
  • Among poor performers under this category, Delhi passed only one Bill; West Bengal passed two Bills and Kerala three Bills.
  • On the duration of time taken to pass Bills, the previous year saw 59% of the Bills being passed by the legislature of the States on the day of introduction. A further 14% was adopted within a day of being introduced. Only 9% of the Bills were passed more than five days after introduction, some of which were referred to committees for further examination.
  • In respect of ordinances, data from the 19 States showed that, on average, 14 ordinances were promulgated last year.

Source: TH


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