Topic: General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Policy Making and Farm Protests
Context: Need to have detailed discussions and consultations while making law and policy.
- Discontent over the new farm laws is a result of sidestepping debate and discussion in Parliament.
- The Bills were initially enacted through ordinances.
- The Bills to replace the ordinance were introduced in Lok Sabha and passed within three days without being referred to a Standing Committee.
- While the jurisdiction of Parliament to enact these laws seems to be clear, they affect agricultural markets, which are governed by State laws.
- It was important to address the concerns of various stakeholders, including farmers and State governments.
- The absence of proactive engagement with affected parties has led to the current crisis.
Discussions & Consultations
- The process of building consensus and addressing concerns may be time-consuming, but it leads to greater acceptance of policy objectives.
- Parliament is perhaps the most important forum for this.
- It has a well-established process to get inputs of experts and stakeholders, and to build cross-party consensus while enacting a law.
- This is usually done through its committees.
- The government can also use other consultative mechanisms, such as expert committees and consultative groups, to get feedback and tailor policy.
- Parliamentary committees perform a very important role in the lawmaking process.
- These committees have helped negotiate a path through conflicting interests.
- Stable policy-making needs a broad agreement on the benefits of the policy. Such consensus has to be built through conversations with stakeholders.
- Parliament should revitalise its committees to enable wider public participation.
- It should insist that every Bill is deliberated upon in a committee, much like what the British Parliament does.
- Parliament needs to perform its function as a deliberative body that enables compromises to assuage concerns.