Parliamentary reforms

  • Category
    Polity
  • Published
    4th Nov, 2019

Context

Recently, vice-president of India stresses need for parliamentary reforms.

About

  • A parliamentary system is a form of democratic governance where the executive derives its legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. India has adopted parliamentary democracy.
  • There are flaws in the structure as well working of the parliamentary system as we witnessed them since 1947.
  • There are flaws in the first past the post system as many candidates win with less than 50 per cent voter support base but there is no better alternative. Similarly, the presidential system of government is not suited to India.
  • The debate of replacing parliamentary system with the presidential system has been old and the Swaran Singh committee in 1975 did not permit it.
  • There is a need for reorientation on the part of MPs and more so a pressing need for parliamentary reforms to restore the trust of the people in parliamentary institutions.

Why need of Parliamentary Reforms?

  • The problems in the parliamentary system include
    • the declining number of sittings of legislatures,
    • persistent disruptions,
    • declining quality of debates,
    • growing number of legislatures with criminal records,
    • high degree of absenteeism,
    • inadequate representation of women,
    • increase in money and muscle power in elections,
    • lack of inner democracy in functioning of the political parties among others.

Naidu’s 16-Point Agenda for Parliamentary Reform

  • Naidu laid out 16-point agenda as the way forward for parliamentary reforms, which includes
    • to review anti-defection law to address “grey areas” that led to the expulsion of legislators
    • a review of the “Whip System which was stifling reasonable dissent within parties even over non-consequential matters”.
    • to fix longer tenures for Standing Committees to ensure their effective functioning
    • to improve the representation of women,
    • stronger rules with regard to attendance,
    • regular reports on the performance of legislators,
    • the need to make effective interventions with regard to criminality and unethical conduct among legislators,
    • the need for simultaneous elections
    • the government needs to be responsive to the views and concerns of Opposition while among other interventions.
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