Motion of Thanks to President's Address

The first session after each general election and the first session of every fiscal year is addressed by the President. In this address, the president outlines the policies and programmes of the government in the preceding year and the ensuing year. This address of the president, which corresponds to the ‘speech from the Throne in Britain’, is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament on a motion called the ‘Motion of Thanks’.

Under rule 17 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, discussion on matters referred to in the President’s Address takes place on a Motion of Thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member.

This article discusses the Motion of Thanks and the President’s Address in the context of the IAS Exam.

Candidates can read more related topics from the links provided below:

Motion of Thanks

  • The President makes a special address (a statement of government policy that has to be approved by the Cabinet) to a joint sitting of both Houses.
  • The address is followed by a motion of thanks moved in each House by ruling party MPs, and this is called ‘Motion of Thanks’.
  • The scope of the discussion on the Motion of Thanks is very wide and members are at liberty to speak on any matter of national or international importance.
  • The general limitations, however, that while speaking a member cannot cast reflections on persons in high authority or on the members of the other House or bring in the name of the President or refer to matters which are sub judice or pending consideration of  Parliamentary Committee, apply to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks also.
  • Notices of amendments to the Motion of Thanks can be given only after the President has delivered the Address.

Discussion on the Motion of Thanks

  • The discussion on Motion of Thanks lasts for 3 or 4 days, as may be allotted by the House itself or on the recommendations of the Business Advisory Committee.
  • The discussion is initiated by the proposer of the Motion, who is followed by the seconder.
  • The names of the proposer, as well as the seconder of the motion, are selected by the Prime Minister and notice of such motion is received through the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. Thereafter, the amendments are moved.
  • The time so allotted is distributed amongst various parties and groups in proportion to their strength in the House.
  • The discussion on the Motion of Thanks is concluded by the reply of the Prime Minister or any other Minister.
  • The mover or the seconder does not have any right to reply at the end, unlike other motions.
  • Immediately thereafter, the amendments are disposed of and the Motion of Thanks is put to vote and adopted.
  • After the Motion of Thanks is adopted, it is conveyed to the President direct by the Speaker through a letter.

Note – The motion of thanks must be passed in the House. Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government. 

When and why does the President address Parliament?

  • At the start of the first session after an election and at the first session each year, generally, during the budget session, the President makes a special address to a joint sitting of both Houses.
  • The address is a statement of government policy that has to be approved by the Cabinet. The President emphasizes the legislative and policy activities and achievements during the previous year and gives a broad indication of the agenda for the following.

How does Parliament take it up?

  • The address is followed by a motion of thanks moved in each House by ruling party MPs
  • Following this, discussions that last up to three or four days and conclude with the Prime Minister replying to the points raised during the discussion
  • About 80 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 40 in the Rajya Sabha take part and approximately the discussion takes up to 12 hours in each House.
  • On average, the discussion takes up to 12 hours in each House

Following the PM’s response, MPs vote on the motion of thanks and some may move amendments to the address.

  • The amendments may highlight or append issues addressed by the President or underline those that are not mentioned.
  • Changes anticipated by MPs are not passed in Parliament.
  • Since 1952, only three amendments proposed by MPs have been passed during the vote on the address, all in the Rajya Sabha.

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2022.

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