Parliament has two Houses, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha is the Lower House of Parliament and is also called the House of the People. Its members are chosen directly by the people of the country in elections held every five years or sooner if the House is dissolved mid-term.
The Lok Sabha can have a maximum 552 members, according to the Constitution. It currently has 545 members, 543 of them elected and two nominated members from the Anglo Indian community.
At any given time, the House may have some seats empty because of the death of members or other reasons and bye-elections are held periodically to fill these seats.
Constituencies and States
Each state and Union Territory (UT) is assigned a certain number of seats according to its population. Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, has the maximum 80 Lok Sabha seats. Nagaland, Sikkim and Mizoram have one seat each as do all Union Territories except national capital Delhi, which has seven Lok Sabha seats.
Lok Sabha constituencies were planned in a way that each would roughly have the same population. Till 1976, Parliament seats were re-distributed after every population census to ensure the population-seat ratio. That year, the government froze the total number of Lower House seats and their distribution among states till the 2001 census, arguing that states could get lax on population control to get more Lower House seats. While boundaries of constituencies were redrawn after the 2001 census, the freeze on the number of seats was extended till 2026.
Who Can Be A Member Of The Lok Sabha?
To be a member, a person has to be an Indian citizen at least 25 years of age. The Constitution allows Parliament to prescribe other qualifications by making a law.
The person must contest elections from one of the Lok Sabha seats or be nominated by the President to the House. Once elected the person is called the Member of Parliament or MP from that particular constituency.
To be a Rajya Sabha member a person has to be at least 30 years old.
Term and Sittings
The Lok Sabha has a five-year term, unless the President dissolves the House, after which fresh elections must be held. Each House of Parliament must be convened within six months of the last day of the last session.
Traditionally, a long Budget session with a recess and two shorter sittings, the monsoon session and the winter session, have been held every year.
How Much Do Lok Sabha MPs Earn Currently?
An MP currently gets a salary of Rs 50,000 a month. Each MP is also entitled to a Constituency Allowance of Rs 45000 a month and an Office Expense Allowance of 45,000. The Lok Sabha Secretariat pays up to Rs 30,000 to staff engaged by the MP. When Parliament is in session, an MP gets Rs 2,000 for every day she or he attends House and records presence in a register.
Lok Sabha members get pensions – Rs 20,000 a month for having served as an MP for up to five years and then Rs 1,500 a month for every year thereafter that they have been a member of Parliament (MP).
The First Lok Sabha
The first Lok Sabha was constituted on 17 April, 1952, after the first general elections, which were held from 25 October 1951 to 21 February, 1952. The first ever session of the Lower House began on May 13, 1952. Sixteen general elections have been held since.
G.V. Mavalankar was the first Speaker and M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar was the first Deputy Speaker.
The Current Lok Sabha
The 16th Lok Sabha was constituted after general elections were held in April and May, 2014. Results were announced on May 16, 2014. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the most seats, 282, to become the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. The second largest party, the Indian National Congress won 44 seats. The AIADMK is the third largest party in the Lok Sabha with 37 seats.
Sumitra Mahajan is the Speaker of the 16th Lower House. Dr. M. Thambidurai is Deputy Speaker.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the Leader of the House. The 16th Lower House does not have a Leader of Opposition as no opposition party got one-tenth or 55 seats to qualify for the position.