Day 9 – Q 3.What are some of the events and trends in the parliament that disturb you as a common citizen of India? Comment.
3. What are some of the events and trends in the parliament that disturb you as a common citizen of India? Comment.
क्या संसद में कुछ ऐसी घटनाएं और रुझान हैं जो आपको भारत के एक आम नागरिक के रूप में परेशान करते हैं? टिप्पणी करें।
The democratic form of government adopted by India has at its core an institution of elected legislature or the Parliament responsible for legislation. Our democracy rests on the belief of citizens that the parliament will perform this function. But of late, there has been serious of disruptions and events that has broken the ethos of parliament.
During the course of the years, the Parliament has seen many disrupting events and trends in its functioning putting at risk the very foundation on which our democracy is built:
- Delay in policy making and passage of bills: Several critical issues raised in the Parliament have seen a slow death or a delay that has affected the entire nation as a result of stalling or pending of parliamentary approval due to either political deadlock or ability to arrive at conducive solutions. Example: Passing of Triple Talaq Bill, delay in GST bill etc.
- Protests and walk outs: There could be issues with contending interests and conflicting objectives but the role of Parliament is to debate the issues and reach at an effective solution. But the recent frequent walkouts and protests rendered the sessions chaotic and a waste of functional days.
- Lack of debate and discussion over key issues: This imposes a cost on the country’s productive growth. Example: Education is a key sector that warrants attention of India wants to use its demographic dividend to grow out of poverty. Though RTE law has been implemented, several surveys show poor standards of young children at reading and writing. This sector faces several challenges but is hardly deliberated on adequately.
- Duration for which Parliament meets: As a result of disruptions and differences between groups where party lines are sharply drawn, duration of the parliament working on an average is said to be 70 days, much lesser as compared to many other democracies around the world.
- Unparliamentarily behavior: Several instances of disruptions and physical violence have been witnessed. This exhibition of unruly behavior serves as a failure of smooth and worthwhile functioning, pushing citizens to lose faith in the democratic organ.
- Absence of MPs: Several MPs have been reported to be absent for most of the working sessions including ministers during question hours. As MPs are representatives of citizens, their absence indicates a lack of responsibility and accountability towards their promises to the citizens they represent.
- Waste of taxpayers’ money: The budget session washout of 2018 is estimated to have cost the nation almost 200Cr based on loss of productivity and expenses of running both houses of Parliamentary with no fruitful outcomes or legislations arrived at.
- Poor image in world media: At a time when India, being the world’s largest democracy, is being observed as a key developing nation on the global sphere, such news and records of disruptive, unproductive parliamentary functioning, tarnishes the image of India as a vibrant democracy.
The continuous decline in the standards of the Parliament is a cause for concern and the constitutional experts have suggested the following measures to improve its efficiency.
- Proper training for members of parliament in conducting the business of the house.
- Empowering the Presiding Officers of the House with additional powers to punish unruly members.
- Enforcing a code of conduct and code of ethics for members of the house.
- Making political parties more responsible for their conduct inside the Parliament.
- Setting up of coordination committees with members of ruling party and opposition for smooth conduct of the House.
- Penalizing the members including imposition of fines, suspension from session etc. for unruly members.
- While introducing reforms in Parliament, it is all the more important that the reforms should cover the political parties and government.
- Bureaucracy is to be oriented and authoritarianism of bureaucracy should be limited by forming or creating extra parliamentary agencies. The extra parliamentary agency would asset the Legislative bodies with authority and responsibility.
Indian democracy with the Parliament at its heart needs to keep in mind its stature and relevance and evolve over the years. The parliamentary legitimacy must be maintained as citizens believe in the system as a fair, responsive and representative institution.