Topic: General Studies 2:
- Parliament—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Increasing Parliament’s efficacy and effectiveness
Context: The only way to ensure orderly business will be to transact most of the business in committees.
If the committee system has to be made effective and credible, several steps need to be taken to make their working non-partisan, some of the steps are as follow:
- More Transparency: Opening the deliberations of the committees to the public, to electronic, print, and digital media
- Civic Participation: Giving the committees assistance of NGOs and non-profit organisations in the respective fields.
- Channel for wider dissemination: Starting a Public Broadcasting Service channel as in the UK and USA for wider dissemination of the deliberations of the committees.
- Rights & Privileges: If Parliament is to transact its business through the committees, they must have all the rights and privileges of the whole House.
- Greater Participation by Ministers: The Council of Ministers — as well as the Prime Minister — must be encouraged to appear before the committees.
- Joint Parliamentary Committee: It is also imperative to reassert the role of the joint parliamentary committee and to restore its credibility.
Best practices of parliamentary democracy in other countries
- Legislation must be enacted on matters pertaining to the functioning of Parliament — to lay down an annual calendar for Parliament sessions, minimum duration of sessions in a year etc, as in several countries.
- A law should be enacted to regulate administration of Parliament as in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
- Steps also need to be taken to create a parliamentary budget office as in the US, UK and Canada for independent scrutiny of the budget proposals and their placement before the committees of Parliament.
- The oversight of Parliament must be increased to approving international treaties and reviewing the work of intelligence and investigating agencies.
Connecting the dots:
- What are the issues with respect to Indian Parliament?
- The PMO Office has become too strong which is sidelining the Parliament?