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    Parliament in India Class Eight Civics Political Science

    Read about role and importance of parliament from chapter parliament in India class eight civics

    Parliament

    Table of Contents

    People Power Role of Parliament

    People in Parliament

    Importance of Parliament

    We in India pride ourselves on being a democracy. There is relation between the ideas of participation in decision-making and the need for all democratic governments to have the consent of their citizens.

    It is these elements that together make us a democracy and this is best expressed in the institution of the Parliament. Parliament enables citizens of India to participate in decision making and control the government, thus making it the most important symbol of Indian democracy and a key feature of the Constitution.

    People Power

    India became independent on 15 August 1947. Many sections of society participated in the struggle. People from various backgrounds joined the struggle and they were inspired by the ideas of freedom, equality and participation in decision making. Under colonial rule, the people had lived in fear of the British government and did not agree with many of the decisions that they took. But they faced grave danger if they tried to criticise these decisions. The freedom movement changed this situation. The nationalists began to openly criticise the British government and make demands. As far back as 1885, the Indian National Congress demanded that there be elected members in the legislature with a right to discuss the budget and ask questions. The Government of India Act 1909, allowed for some elected representation. The dreams and aspirations of the freedom struggle were made concrete in the Constitution of independent India that laid down the principle of universal adult franchise, i.e. that all adult citizens of the country have the right to vote.

    People and their Representatives

    The take-off point for a democracy is the idea of consent, i.e. the desire, approval and participation of people. It is the decision of people that creates a democratic government and decides about its functioning. The basic idea in this kind of democracy is that the individual or the citizen is the most important person and that in principle the government as well as other public institutions needs to have the trust of these citizens.

    People elect their representatives to the Parliament, then, one group from among these elected representatives forms the government. The Parliament, which is made up of all representatives together, controls and guides the government. In this sense people, through their chosen representatives, form the government and also control it.

    The Role of the Parliament

    The Indian Parliament is an expression of the faith that the people of India have in principles of democracy. These are participation by people in the decision making process and government by consent. The Parliament in our system has immense powers because it is the representative of the people. Elections to the Parliament are held in a similar manner as they are for the state legislature. The Lok Sabha is usually elected once every five years. The country is divided into numerous constituencies. Each of these constituencies elects one person to the Parliament. The candidates who contest elections usually belong to different political parties. Once elected, these candidates become Members of Parliament or MPs. These MPs together make up the Parliament.

    Once elections to the Parliament have taken place, the Parliament needs to perform the following functions:

    A. To Select the National Government

    The Parliament in India consists of the President, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. After the Lok Sabha elections, a list is prepared showing how many MPs belong to each political party. For a political party to form the government, they must have a majority of elected MPs. Since there are 543 elected (plus 2 nominated) members in Lok Sabha, to have a majority a party should have at least half the number i.e. 272 members or more. The Opposition in Parliament is formed by all the political parties that oppose the majority party/coalition formed. The largest amongst these parties is called the Opposition party.

    One of the most important functions of the Lok Sabha is to select the executive. The executive is a group of persons who work together to implement the laws made by the Parliament.

    The Prime Minister of India is the leader of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha. From the MPs who belong to her party, the Prime Minister selects ministers to work with her to implement decisions. These ministers then take charge of different areas of government functioning like health, education, finance etc.

    The Rajya Sabha functions primarily as the representative of the states of India in the Parliament. The Rajya Sabha can also initiate legislation and a bill is required to pas through the Rajya Sabha in order to become a law. It, therefore, has an important role of reviewing and altering (if alterations are needed) the laws initiated by the Lok Sabha. The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of various states. There are 233 elected members plus 12 members nominated by the President.

    B. To Control, Guide and Inform the Government

    The Parliament, while in session, begins with a question hour. The question hour is an important mechanism through which MPs can elicit information about the working of the government. This is a very important way through which the Parliament controls the executive. By asking questions the government is alerted to its shortcomings, and also comes to know the opinion of the people through their representatives in the Parliament, i.e. the MPs. Asking questions of the government is a crucial task for every MP. The Opposition parties play a critical role in the healthy functioning of a democracy. They highlight drawbacks in various policies and programmes of the government and mobilise popular support for their own policies.

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    The Need for a Parliament: Functions of Parliament of India with Examples

    We know that India is the world's largest democracy. But what does this mean? It means that citizens of the country choose their own representatives, who form the government. These representatives form a legislative body known as the parliament. Let us learn more about the parliament of India.

    Why Do We Need a Parliament?

    The Need for a Parliament

    We know that India is the world’s largest democracy. But what does this mean? It means that citizens of the country choose their own representatives, who form the government. These representatives form a legislative body known as the parliament. Let us learn more about the parliament of India.

    Table of content

    1 Suggested Videos

    2 The Parliament of India

    2.1 Law-Making Functions

    2.2 Monitoring the Cabinet

    2.3 Constitutional Amendments

    2.4 Judicial Functions

    2.5 Financial Functions

    2.6 Electoral Functions

    3 Solved Question for You

    Suggested Videos

    Indian Constitution Indian Women

    Parliamentary System

    The Parliament of India

    As citizens of a great country, we all have a duty to abide by the law and the fundamental principles of our constitution. And it is this constitution that upholds the democratic values that our forefathers struggled to establish. Before we attained independence from the colonial rule, only a few select people had the fundamental right to vote. People couldn’t voice their opinions freely.

    It is because of this oppression that our leaders opted for a democracy where the people of India could voice their opinions and participate in the decision-making process. And it is our parliamentary system of government that protects this democracy. So, let’s understand what a parliament is and why do we need it.

    A parliament is an elected system of government. The people vote for their representatives to be elected to the parliament. And when elected, the parliament is then made up all those elected representatives who then guide the government. By choosing their representatives, the people form the government and participate in the decision-making process, thereby upholding democracy.

    The parliament of India is the absolute legislative authority. And it consists of the two main houses—the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha represents the house of the people and the Rajya Sabha represents the council of the states. Both these houses are presided over by the President of India. Now let’s discuss some of the functions of the parliament.

    Law-Making Functions

    The parliament’s main function, as the absolute legislative authority, is to build fair and strong laws relating to all main union matters or matters enumerated in the union list. The members of either house bring proposals for new bills and laws before the parliament. The members of the parliament then deliberate and debate on the proposal. The parliament of India passes the bill or law when both houses agree and the president gives his/her consent.

    Now the parliament can also make laws for a state or take decisions on matters listed in the State list if the state is under the President’s Rule or in a state of emergency.

    Monitoring the Cabinet

    As mentioned earlier, the parliament of India consists of both the representatives of the people and the council of states. And these members form the cabinet, which is the guiding force that powers the government. All these representatives or cabinet members have important ministries such as finance, defence, and home under their control.

    And hence, one of the most important functions of the parliament is to ensure that it governs, controls, and assesses the performance of these various cabinet ministers. And it is here that the opposition plays an important role. As when members bring important matters for discussion, it is the duty of the opposition to bring forth alternative suggestions or ideas to ensure a healthy debate.

    Constitutional Amendments

    The parliament of India has the power to amend the constitution. To pass a constitutional amendment, both houses need to approve the amendment with a majority or total membership. In some cases, the amendments may need the approval of half of the legislative assemblies of the states.

    Judicial Functions

    Another very important duty of the parliament is to monitor the judiciary system. The judiciary body is presided over by the President. And if the need arises, the parliament has exclusive rights to impeach the President and remove the judges of the Supreme Court and the High courts. The parliament also needs to ensure that no member defames or insults the parliament house.

    Financial Functions

    The parliament needs to enact the budget and decide on ways and means to earn revenue for the public sector. Now the main source of revenue is taxes. And the parliament needs to ensure that this revenue, when sanctioned for expenditure, is earmarked and spent on valid and authorized purposes.

    To this effect, the parliament has two standing committees to ensure that the cabinet uses the money judiciously—Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee.

    Electoral Functions

    All parliament members are responsible for electing the President and Vice-President of India. They are also responsible for electing the speaker, the deputy speaker, and the deputy chairman.

    Solved Question for You

    Q: A democratic government is responsible to ___________

    Prime Minister The President

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    The role of the Indian Parliament

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    The role of the Indian Parliament

    FEBRUARY 02, 2021 18:32 IST

    UPDATED: FEBRUARY 02, 2021 18:32 IST

    One of the Indian Parliament’s roles is to hold the government  accountable ; a work that is still in progress.

    Colonial India, commencing with the Montagu- Chelmsford reforms of 1919 and followed by the Government of India Act 1935, witnessed a limited adult franchise with about 15% of the adult population entitled to vote, subject to wealth, property, and other criteria. The mandate of the handful of electorates was further fractured on communal lines under the system of separate electorates. However, the representative Constituent assembly took it upon itself to create a socially and politically united electorate that could elect the Lower House of the  Parliament , representative of the united and inclusive aspirations of the demography.

    Mudit Gupta, Top Unacademy Educator

    Role of Indian Parliament

    The  Parliament  of India, a fine blend of the legislature and the executive, with the  government  holding office till the time it commands confidence in the popular House, is the place to deliberate upon the policies and legislations proposed by the government.

    Debate, deliberation and discussion

    In India’s seven-decade long history as a republic, only 14 private members’ bills have turned into enforceable codes. Consequently, the sheer proportion of bills introduced and passed by ministers calls for a check over the  government  through debates and deliberations. In extreme scenarios, the expulsion of opposition MPs by the presiding officer of the respective House has allowed the ruling dispensation to steer bills through the House without much impediment. An uptick in the number of ordinances being promulgated is also a repercussion of the continual adjournments.

    Anti-defection law and voting system

    On the flip side, during the smooth functioning of the Houses, the rules of procedure mandate the presiding officer to divide the time amongst parties for debates on the basis of their strength in the respective Houses. It is then that the leader of the party allocates time internally to its members. Moreover, the insertion of the Tenth Schedule through the 52nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1985, has rendered the individual positioning of an MP toothless. It is the political posturing of the party whip in the House that prevails over the interest of a constituency, represented by its respective MP. Moreover, a major chunk of the bills in the Parliament is passed using ‘voice voting’, when compared to the much more reliable ‘division voting’ that can record the response of each member, including abstentions.

    Parliamentary committees

    In-house bill discussions are supplemented by parliamentary committees. These offer an arena for across the spectrum and off the camera political consultations. However, this parliamentary tool of furthering the process of deliberation has taken a back seat in recent times. A quick comparison highlights that during the 15th Lok Sabha, 71% of the bills were referred to the committees. In contrast, the 16th Lok Sabha referred only 21% of the bills.

    Way forward

    The daunting task undertaken by the Constituent assembly to unite the fractured mandate has come a long way in ensuring the democratic fabric of the Nation. The road ahead can be demystified by amending the rules of procedure of both the Houses of  Parliament  under Article 118 of the Indian Constitution, making it mandatory to refer bills to the parliamentary committees and prescribing appropriate action against unruly members. Moreover, relevant amendments to the Constitution of India, including the Tenth Schedule, can go a long way in fulfilling the task of upholding the Constitution that we, the people of India gifted to ourselves in 1949.

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