Facts Box: No Question Hour and Private Members Bill during monsoon session of Parliament
The government of India recently announced that there will be no Question Hour, Zero Hour and introduction of private member bill during the monsoon session. This is being done in the view of COVID-19 pandemic.
The first hour of every parliamentary sitting was slotted for Question Hour. This was shifted to 11 AM to 12 noon in Rajya Sabha in 2014. During this time period, the Members of the Parliament ask questions to the ministers. The questions can also be asked by the private members as well.
There are three types of questions that are asked. They are as follows
Starred Questions: These questions require oral answer. Thus, no supplementary questions shall follow for starred questions
Unstarred Questions: These questions require written answers. The supplementary questions cannot follow here as well. The GoI has agreed to answer all the unstarred questions during this monsoon session.
Short Notice Question: It is asked by giving notice of less than ten days. The questions are answered orally.
The question hour in both the houses are held on all the days of the parliamentary session. There are two days when there is no question hour in the Parliamentary proceedings. They are when the President addresses MPs from both houses. Also, there is no question hour on the day finance minister presents the Budget.
Zero Hour starts immediately after question hour. During this hour, the members can raise matters without any prior notice.
In the last five years, around 60% of question hour was wasted due to disruptions. Also, in the history of parliament records show that question hour was done away in 1962, 1975, 1976, 1991, 2004 and 2009.
Private Member Bill
It is introduced in the legislature by the legislator who is not acting on behalf of executive branch.