Bringing Order to the House: Making Sense of Our Parliamentary Democracy

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Parliament can be seen as an effective platform for the political representation of marginalized groups
communities in the social, economic and cultural fields.

Parliament occupies an eminent place that is absolutely crucial in a constitutional democracy which upholds a
republican value system to maintain the ethos of unity in diversity in a linguistic, cultural,
intact religious, socially and economically diverse society. Parliamentary debates and discussions
are intended to trigger and provoke rational discourse on political issues of national concern.

Parliamentary democracy is also known for having a robust and proactive opposition that maintains
dispensation to power is alert and careful not to become arbitrary. Indian parliamentarian
democracy has preserved an enriching heritage of debates and discussions between parliamentarians
representing the opposition. From the point of view of the Constitution, an act of dissent and protest
is of great importance in asserting the responsibility of the government on political matters.

Government accountability and responsibility are settled by seeking answers from it about
political concerns such as rising commodity prices of late, growth
unemployment, poor health infrastructure, latent threat of encroachment or infiltration into the
borders with neighboring countries, etc. We can simply continue the list ad infinitum.

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Parliament can be seen as an effective platform for the political representation of marginalized groups
communities in the social, economic and cultural fields.
The current monsoon session of parliament has started with a lot of disruption and suspension of
parliamentarians from opposition political parties. Ironically politics in our contemporary world
today is very different from reality. Unfortunately, our Indian Parliament is becoming lately
a trademark to seek accountability and responsibility from those in opposition. On
another leader, it also became an institution known for the speedy delivery of legislation
without much discussion, debate or referral to a standing committee. We can undertake an in-
in-depth study of the number of bills passed by parliament before and after 2014. It would be
also interesting to look at the number of bills sent to the standing committee for detailed consideration
exam.

A 2017 study suggests that the estimated cost of holding a parliamentary session
is 2.5 lakh per minute. This amounts to around 144 crores for a one-day session. In one year, 3 sessions of
parliament are conducted. These are budget sessions (from February to May), monsoon sessions (from
July-September) and winter session (November to December).

In the last financial year, from April 2015 to March 2016, Indian taxpayers paid approximately
Rs. 177 Crore as salaries and other allowances to these parliamentarians. According to
figures provided by Lok Sabha, MPs receive Rs. 50,000 as monthly salary,
Election allowance of Rs. 40,000 rupees. 15,000 as office expenses, and Rs. 30,000 as secretariat
assistance expenses i.e. a total of Rs.1,40,000 is paid to them every month. Moreover, the
Parliamentarians also benefit from 34 free air journeys and an unlimited number of trains and routes.
Trips over a year. During a year, parliamentary sessions last about 100 days. On each
working day, Parliament works approximately six hours. According to available statistics, during the
the year 2016, approximately 90 hours were lost due to disruptions in the work of the
Parliament. The rationale for an in-depth analysis of these expenditure figures is to have a
sense of clarity for our compatriots on the productivity and total production of parliamentarians on
an annual basis. The current status quo according to data provided by the Lok Sabha is the month
the salary taken from a parliamentarian is estimated to be around 2.8 Lakh (including allowances). These

curious deliberations have become fundamentally crucial in the current scenario. In particular in
situations where parliamentary sessions are disrupted by unrest between
parliamentarians without paying much attention to matters of grave concern such as rising inflation,
increasing income disparity and increasing unemployment. The opposition is unable to
validate its role by seeking accountability responses from government. The government on the
on the other hand is unable to satisfactorily explain the measures incorporated to deal with the difficulty
concerns of our time.

Moreover, opposition political parties have failed to
corner the government on political issues. The other point of view to note here is also that the
the global economic crisis has favored the regime in power to be used as a
excuse for all the difficult concerns at the national level. In other words, the decision
dispensation continues to successfully maintain the fog of perception in the minds of
masses that the cause of all our internal concerns is the ongoing global crisis. It has somehow
become a strategic diversion position as long as it has the fog effect and continues to favor
false consciousness among the masses.

Parliamentary democracy with a functional majority form of government tends to avoid
effectiveness of opposition political parties through various possible means. So what we come to
seen most often in a parliamentary democracy like that of India in contemporary times is a
fragmented form of opposition political parties. This type of situation is very detrimental to the
healthy progression of Indian parliamentary democracy. Finally no well-meaning citizen
would aspire to a miniature centerpiece of a parliament, a functioning parliament
democracy creates vast possibilities for fair representation of the different spheres of society, proactive
discussion and deliberation on bills that are introduced, and the capacity of opposition political parties
the parties to hold the government accountable for every policy decision. Now is also the time to seek
responsibility of each parliamentarian on an annual basis for the work carried out in the constituency.

A mechanism can be devised to evaluate their work by an independent body to be set up by
judiciary power. In case of discrepancy, the necessary measures can be taken by legal means. This
will be essential in defining the understanding of responsibility and accountability appropriately
house in order.

The author is an assistant Professor in Political Science from Shoolini University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh.

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