During the recess, the Departmentally Related Standing Committees of Parliament examine the Demand for Grants submitted by various Ministries. The Demand for Grants are detailed explanations of that Ministry's annual budget which form part of the total budget of the government. These are examined in detail, and the committees can approve of the demands, or suggest changes. The Demand for Grants are finally discussed and voted on by the Parliament after the recess. (The post below lists the ministries whose Demand for Grants will be discussed in detail after the recess). The issue is - how effective is the institution of Parliament in examining the budget? Though India specific information on this subject is hard to find, K. Barraclough and B. Dorotinsky have cited the World Bank - OECD Budget procedures Database to formulate a table on the legislature approving the budget presented by the executive ("The Role of the Legislature in the Budget Process: A Comparative Review", Legislative Oversight and Budgeting). I reproduce the table below:
|In Practice, does the legislature generally approve the budget as presented by the Executive? (in percent)|
|Answer||All Countries||OECD Countries||Presidential democracies||Parliamentary democracies|
|It generally approves the budget with no changes||34||33||14||41|
|Minor changes are made (affecting less than 3% of total spending)||63||67||71||59|
|Major changes are made (affecting more than 3% but less than 20% of total spending)||2||0||7||0|
|The budget approved is significantly different (affecting more than 20% of total spending)||0||0||0||0|
|Sources: K. Barraclough and B. Dorotinsky; PRS.|
Discussion on the first no-confidence motion of the 17th Lok Sabha began today. No-confidence motions and confidence motions are trust votes, used to test or demonstrate the support of Lok Sabha for the government in power. Article 75(3) of the Constitution states that the government is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. This means that the government must always enjoy the support of a majority of the members of Lok Sabha. Trust votes are used to examine this support. The government resigns if a majority of members support a no-confidence motion, or reject a confidence motion.
So far, 28 no-confidence motions (including the one being discussed today) and 11 confidence motions have been discussed. Over the years, the number of such motions has reduced. The mid-1960s and mid-1970s saw more no-confidence motions, whereas the 1990s saw more confidence motions.
Figure 1: Trust votes in Parliament
Note: *Term shorter than 5 years; **6-year term.
Source: Statistical Handbook 2021, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; PRS.
The no-confidence motion being discussed today was moved on July 26, 2023. A motion of no-confidence is moved with the support of at least 50 members. The Speaker has the discretion to allot time for discussion of the motion. The Rules of Procedure state that the motion must be discussed within 10 days of being introduced. This year, the no-confidence motion was discussed 13 calendar days after introduction. Since the introduction of the no-confidence motion on July 26, 12 Bills have been introduced and 18 Bills have been passed by Lok Sabha. In the past, on four occasions, the discussion on no-confidence motions began seven days after their introduction. On these occasions, Bills and other important issues were debated before the discussion on the no-confidence motion began.
Figure 2: Members rise in support of the motion of no-confidence in Lok Sabha