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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

31-August-2023

Q1. The parliamentary control over the temporary executives is only on papers. Explain by highlighting the challenges in effective control of parliament over the executives. Also discuss the measures that can be taken to improve the effectiveness of parliament in this regard.

Answer

Temporary executives are usually called as council of ministers, where as permanent executive are civil servants within Indian or State bureaucracy. Under the parliamentary system and Article 74 of the constitution, the temporary executive (council of ministers) is responsible to the Parliament through no-confidence motion, zero-hour, question hour, privilege motion etc.

Parliamentary control over the executives is only on papers:

  • Agenda by government: The agenda of parliamentary sessions is decided by the executives without consultation with other members.
  • Majority of executive: The majority of executives give them effectively more say in the parliamentary proceedings such as voting etc.
  • Ordinance route: Executives can by-pass parliamentary control through ordinances or Money bills.
  • Role of speaker: The speaker is from the ruling party and usually found to be supporting the executives in the parliament.

Challenges in effective control of parliament over executives:

  • Lower Parliamentary sittings: The average sitting for 17th Lok Sabha is around 58 days, which was 130 days in the 1950s.
  • Disruptions: Parliamentary disruptions for political purposes reduces the effectiveness of parliament.
  • Lack of expertise: The Members of Parliament generalist and do not have expertise on matters discussed in parliament.
  • Lack of bills to committees: e.g.the 14th and 15th Lok Sabha sent 60% and 71% bills to committees, this number has reduced to 25% for 16th Lok Sabha and only 14 bills have been sent to committees in 17th Lok Sabha.
  • Politicisation of committees: Of late, the parliamentary committees have also been politicised which reduces their effectiveness in ensuring accountability of government.
  • Lack of time: Parliament does not have time for the sheer volume of information and scale of operations that it is required to undertake.

Measures to increase effectiveness of Parliament:

  • Sittings of Parliament: The Constitution Review Commission has recommended that Lok Sabha should have at least 120 sittings in a year, while Rajya Sabha should have 100 sittings.
  • Mandatory sending to committees: All bills should be mandatorily sent to parliamentary committee for more effective discussion and deliberation.
  • Role of opposition: Opposition parties should be allowed to set the agenda for the parliament like in the UK for 20 days etc.
  • Reforming Committees: Rajya Sabha panel recommended to increase the tenure of members to 2 years and a committee hour in parliament to discuss select major reports.
  • PM’s question hour: Increasing accountability in question hour with PM’s question time on weekly basis on broader policies across sectors.
  • Shadow cabinet: The concept of shadow cabinet should be introduced to improve effective control over different portfolios.
  • Allowing parliament to convene itself can improve its effectiveness on urgent public matters.

Conclusion:

Thus, the Parliament is an important pillar for accountable governance in the country and there is a need to reform parliament with the present need to ensure the continuity of this accountability for public welfare.

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