Top 20 Salient Features of Indian Parliament

Key Features of Indian Parliament

Features of Indian Parliament
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Key Features of Indian Parliament :- The Indian Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India. It is a bicameral legislature, meaning it has two houses – the Lok Sabha (lower house) and the Rajya Sabha (upper house). The Indian Parliament is responsible for making laws and regulations, approving the government budget, and overseeing the work of the executive branch.

Some of the salient features of the Indian Parliament are as follows:

1. Composition of Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha consists of 545 members, who are elected by the people of India through direct voting. Of these, 543 members are elected from single member constituencies, and the remaining two members are nominated by the President of India from the Anglo-Indian community.

2. Composition of Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha consists of 245 members, of whom 233 are elected by the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies in proportion to the population of each state, while the remaining 12 are nominated by the President of India for their contribution to literature. , science, arts and social service.

3. Tenure of members

The term of the members of the Lok Sabha is five years, while the term of the members of the Rajya Sabha is six years. One-third of the members of Rajya Sabha retire every two years and their vacancies are filled through election and nomination.

4. Powers of the Parliament

The Indian Parliament has wide powers to legislate on subjects listed in the Union List, the Concurrent List and the Residuary List. It also has the power to levy taxes, approve the government budget, and make changes to the Constitution of India.

5. Role of Speaker

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha is the presiding officer of the House and is responsible for maintaining order and decorum during the proceedings of the House. The Speaker is elected by the members of the Lok Sabha and is assisted by the Deputy Speaker.

6. Role of chairman

The Rajya Sabha is presided over by the Vice-President of India, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the House. The Speaker is responsible for maintaining order and decorum during the proceedings of the House and is assisted by the Deputy Speaker.

7. Committees of parliament

There are several committees in the Indian Parliament, including standing committees, select committees and joint committees. These committees examine and scrutinize bills and other issues related to the functioning of the Parliament.

8. Quorum

Quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present for the business of the House. In Lok Sabha, the quorum is one-tenth of the total membership of the House, while in Rajya Sabha it is one-tenth of the total membership, but not less than 10 members.

9. Parliamentary procedure

The Indian Parliament follows a set of procedures for the conduct of its business, which are laid down in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. These procedures ensure that the proceedings of the House are conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

10. Question hour

Question Hour is a period during the proceedings of the House when members can ask questions to the government on matters of public interest. It is an important mechanism to make the government accountable to the people.

11. Zero hour

Zero Hour is a period during the proceedings of the Lok Sabha when members can raise issues of urgent public importance, which are not included in the regular agenda of the House.

12. Proposal

Members of Parliament can move different types of motions, such as motion of no confidence, motion of thanks, motion of adjournment and motion of censure. These motions are important tools for the opposition to hold the government accountable and express their views on various issues.

13. Joint sitting

If a bill is passed by one House but rejected by the other, a joint sitting of both the Houses may be called to resolve the deadlock. The joint sitting is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

14. Parliamentary privilege

Members of Parliament enjoy certain privileges and immunities, such as freedom of speech and expression, freedom from arrest in civil matters, and exemption from jury service. These privileges are essential for the smooth functioning of Parliament and to ensure that members can discharge their duties without fear or favour.

15. Budget session

The Budget Session is the most important session of Parliament, during which the government presents the Union Budget, which outlines its revenue and expenditure plans for the coming year. The session is usually held in two parts – the first part from February to mid-March and the second part from April to May.

16. Private Members’ Bills

Members of Parliament who are not part of the government can also introduce bills in the House, which are known as private members’ bills. These bills are an important way for members to raise issues of public interest and initiate legislative action.

17. Pro-tem speaker

Before the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is elected, the Speaker Pro-Tem is appointed by the President of India. The Speaker Pro Tem presides over the first session of the newly elected Lok Sabha and conducts the election of the Speaker.

18. Parliamentary committees

There are several committees in the Indian Parliament, including the Public Accounts Committee, the Estimates Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings. These committees are responsible for examining the budget and functioning of various government departments and presenting reports to the House.

19. Parliamentary secretariat

The Parliamentary Secretariat is the administrative arm of Parliament and is responsible for providing support services to Members and the House. It is headed by the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

20. Parliamentary diplomacy

The Indian Parliament also engages in parliamentary diplomacy, which involves negotiations between members of Parliament and their counterparts in other countries. It is an important way to promote bilateral and multilateral relations and exchange ideas and best practices.

In conclusion, the Indian Parliament is a complex institution with a range of powers, processes and mechanisms designed to ensure that it functions effectively and serves the interests of the people of India. Its key features, such as Question Hour, Motions, Joint Sitting and Parliamentary Privileges, are important for maintaining the democratic fabric of the country and making the government accountable to the people.

Its key features, such as the Budget Session, Private Members’ Bills and Parliamentary Committees, are designed to ensure that it functions effectively and serves the interests of the people of India. Parliament’s involvement in parliamentary diplomacy is also important for promoting India’s interests on the global stage.

The role of Parliament in debating a bill

The role of Parliament in debating a bill is a fundamental aspect of the legislative process in democracies. This process involves a thorough examination of proposed laws or bills before they are enacted or rejected. Here’s a description of the main steps and the importance of each:

  1. Introduction of a Bill: Bills can be introduced by government ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) or sometimes by the public through the petition mechanism, depending on the country’s legislative procedures.
  2. First Reading: The Bill is introduced in the Parliament, and its title and general principles are read out. This is usually a formality, and there is little debate at this stage.
  3. Committee Stage: The Bill is sent to a Parliamentary Committee. This is where the detailed scrutiny and investigation of the bill takes place. The committee is made up of MPs who are subject matter experts. They will analyze the bill clause by clause, consider proposed amendments, and may consult experts, stakeholders and the public for their input.
  4. Second Reading: After the committee stage, the bill comes back to Parliament for the second reading. Here MPs debate the general principles of the bill and the amendments suggested by the committee. This is the primary opportunity for MPs to express their views on the merits of the Bill and its potential impact on society.
  5. Consideration of amendments: During the second reading MPs can propose further amendments to the bill. These are debated, and the voting process determines which amendments are accepted and which are rejected.
  6. Third Lesson: This is the final stage of the debate. The Bill, as amended, is put to the final vote. At this point, the debate focuses on the overall content of the bill, and MPs make their final arguments for or against adopting it.
  7. Passage or Disapproval: After the third reading debate, the bill is put to vote. If a majority of MPs vote in favor of the bill, it is passed by the Parliament. If the majority votes against it, the bill is rejected.
  8. Consideration on the other house/chamber (bicameral system): In countries with a bicameral parliament (two houses or chambers), a bill must go through a similar process in the other chamber before it becomes law. This process may involve further debate and the possibility of additional amendments.
  9. FINAL APPROVAL: Once the bill is approved by both the Houses (if applicable), it is sent to the Head of State (eg, the President or the Emperor) for formal approval. Depending on the country’s constitution, the head of state can give assent to the bill, after which it becomes a law.

Parliamentary debate plays an important role in shaping the final form of the bill. It allows MPs to raise concerns, propose reforms and offer alternative solutions. Through open debate, a variety of viewpoints and interests are considered, ensuring that the bill is thoroughly scrutinized and represents the interests of those it will affect.

Additionally, debate allows for transparency and accountability in the legislative process. It enables the public to see the positions of their representatives on important issues and hold them accountable for their decisions. By including multiple viewpoints, the debate aims to arrive at a well-thought-out and well-crafted law that can effectively address the current issues.

Accountability of the government to the parliament.

Accountability of the government to the Parliament is a fundamental principle of democratic governance. It ensures that the executive branch, consisting of the government and its ministers, remains accountable and responsible to the legislative branch, represented by the Parliament. This accountability is important for maintaining a system of checks and balances, promoting transparency and protecting the public interest. Here’s how the accountability of the government to Parliament works:

  1. Question Hour: The most obvious way of holding the government accountable to the Parliament is “Question Hour”. During special sessions, Members of Parliament get an opportunity to question the ministers of the government on various matters including policies, decisions and actions taken by the government. Ministers must answer these questions and provide explanations or justifications for their actions.
  2. Debate and Scrutiny: MPs have the right to engage in debate and scrutinize the policies, bills and administrative decisions of the government. Through debate, MPs can express their concerns, present alternative points of view and hold the government accountable for its actions. This parliamentary scrutiny helps ensure that government decisions are thoroughly scrutinized and aligned with the best interests of the public.
  3. Committee Hearings: Parliamentary committees play an important role in examining the actions of the government in specific areas. These committees are made up of MPs that examine and evaluate government activities relating to particular sectors, departments or policy areas. Committees may summon government officials and ministers to give evidence and answer questions in relation to their responsibilities and decisions.
  4. Budgetary Control: In many parliamentary systems, the government requires parliamentary approval for its budgetary proposals. This process allows parliamentarians to review and evaluate the government’s financial plans and expenditures. Through budget debate, MPs can hold the government accountable for its financial decisions and allocation of resources.
  5. No-confidence vote: In some parliamentary systems, MPs can initiate a no-confidence vote against the government. If a majority of MPs vote against the government, it may result in the dismissal of the government or the calling of new elections. This mechanism provides Parliament with a powerful means of holding the government accountable and addressing issues of trust and capacity.
  6. Accountability Reports: Governments may be required to submit regular accountability reports to Parliament detailing their activities, achievements and challenges during a specified period. These reports enable parliamentarians and the public to assess the government’s performance and follow through on its promises and policies.
  7. Public Disclosure and Access to Information: Governments are often required to disclose information about their activities, decisions and policies to the public and to Parliament. Access to information laws can facilitate this process, ensure transparency and facilitate public oversight.

Overall, the accountability of the government to the Parliament strengthens the democratic principles and helps in maintaining the balance of power in the country. It ensures that the government acts responsibly and in the best interests of its citizens, as well as providing mechanisms for course correction if necessary. Active participation of parliamentarians in holding the government accountable strengthens the democratic process and promotes good governance.

The roles of the President, the Prime Minister (PM) and the Council of Ministers

In India, the roles of the President, the Prime Minister (PM) and the Council of Ministers are separate but interrelated in the functioning of the government. Let’s explore the roles of each:

  1. President of India:
    • Head of State: The President is the ceremonial head of the Indian state and represents the unity and integrity of the nation.
    • Executive Powers: Although the President’s powers are largely nominal, they play an important role in the functioning of the executive branch. The President appoints the Prime Minister and appoints other ministers to the Council of Ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. The President also appoints the Attorney General, the governors of the states and the members of various constitutional bodies.
    • Legislative Powers: The President summons and adjourns the sessions of the Parliament and addresses both the Houses at the beginning of each session. The President also has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha (House of the People) under certain circumstances and to sign bills passed by both houses into law.
    • Diplomatic Functions: The President represents India in international relations, receives foreign dignitaries, and accredits Indian ambassadors to other countries.
    • Emergency Powers: During an emergency, the President can impose President’s rule in states if the constitutional machinery fails in a state, or declare a national emergency due to security threats.
  2. Prime Minister (PM):
    • Head of Government: The Prime Minister is the head of the Government of India and exercises executive authority.
    • Council of Ministers: The Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha and constitutes the Council of Ministers, selecting other ministers to head various government departments. The Prime Minister advises the President on the appointment of ministers.
    • Policy Formulation: The Prime Minister is responsible for setting the policies and priorities of the government. They oversee the functioning of various ministries and coordinate the overall administration of the country.
    • Legislation: The Prime Minister plays a key role in the legislative process by introducing bills in Parliament and ensuring their passage through coordination with other political parties.
    • International Representation: The Prime Minister represents India in international fora and conducts diplomacy with other countries.
  3. Council of Ministers:
    • Collective Decision Making: The Council of Ministers is a group of senior ministers chosen by the Prime Minister to head various government departments. It is collectively responsible for taking important policy decisions.
      Implementation of policies: Each minister in the council is responsible for overseeing the implementation of policies and programs relating to their respective ministries.
    • Parliamentary Accountability: Ministers are accountable to Parliament for their actions, and must answer questions and participate in debates on various matters relating to their ministries during parliamentary sessions.
    • Coordination: The Council of Ministers works together to ensure effective governance and coordination between various ministries and departments.

It is important to note that India follows a parliamentary form of government, where the President is the nominal head of state, and the real executive powers are vested in the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The role of the President is largely constitutional and ceremonial, while the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are primarily responsible for the day-to-day administration and governance of the country.

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