Friday, October 7, 2022

Parliamentarians must act as a catalyst of social change

By Prabhat Kishore

The live telecast of proceedings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on national as well as international electronic media channels has brought new dimension in the history of Parliament. From a ‘Majdoor’ in a Jhhopary to a ‘Malik’ in a Mahal, all watch the scene inside the highest institution of Indian democracy. The behaviour of uneducated, uncivilized and some criminal history seater members presents the scene of nothing but ‘Machhali Bazar’. This is not only unfortunate, but shameful for the 70-year old Great Indian republic.

Parliamentarians should specialize in certain subjects so as to be able to truly serve as ‘watchdogs of public interest’. They should not abuse their own privileges for personal benefit and at the same time ensure that the wastage and extravagance of public money is prevented. The only way parliamentarians could curb the tendency to abuse their privileges and prevent misuse of public money is by going in for specialization in the subjects of their choice.

In fact, information will flow to the person who is known to have specialized in certain fields. Apart from this, such type of parliamentarians will gain the respect of the authorities as well as the society as a whole.

Given the changing nature of contemporary society, the parliamentarians’ role is multi-faceted. They have to be active, vigilant, helpful and industrious if they wish to fulfill the role effectively. In this context, the members should actively promote both official and non-official efforts to ameliorate the social, economic and educational conditions of the people, they represent.

The country mourns at the leisurely scrutiny of bills becoming a thing of the past. The net result of hurriedly drafted and hastily adopted bills has a plethora of legal disputes and consequent uncertainty of law.

Legislatures play a critical role in the debate surrounding the development of the budget, as well as  final budget approval. They should advocate for a budget that adequately caters for the all-round development of the people and that the most pressing needs are given priority. They should offer constructive suggestions while participating in debates and other activities in different spheres. They should actively engage themselves in the affairs concerning the State. They should treat politics as a serious profession and parliamentary career as a full-time job.

As representative of citizens, parliamentarians have to highlight the concerns of all sections of society in the media and in  the Parliament to ensure that these concerns are reflected in national development strategies and budgets. They create and enlighten public opinion as a pre-requisite for the success of democracy. They are legislators and monitors of government policy at the national & State level, as well as the guardians of the will and conscience of the people  as elected representatives of the population. A member of parliament is thus placed in a  unique position. He provides a link between the public and the government.

One of the worst features of the Parliamentary process is the committee on sub-ordinate legislation that goes into rule-making, executive  power, etc. It is in the work of this committee that the  legislative role of the Parliament is meshed in with the administrative role of the executive which provides the essential linkage between law and daily life.

The parliamentarians, irrespective of whether they have a legal background or administrative experience, could bring to bear a fund of practical common sense based on their experience in public life in the field of subordinate legislation. They should bestow their attention to this important aspect of legislative activity.

The present-day members have apparently no care of their duties. They have given up the healthy practice of explaining to the public at the end of each session of Parliament, the important issues discussed and the stands taken by each of the parties. This is in the nature of rendering account to the masters and thereby deserving the privileges conferred by them.

Parliamentarians around the world should also play a crucial role in the efforts to counter terrorism. They scrutinize government’s behaviour to ensure that human’s rights as well as  the rule of law is respected, in striking a balance between protecting citizens & promoting their liberty.

 Parliamentarians should act as a catalyst of social change by being in constant touch with the people and  representing the views & aspirations of the people. They should contribute immensely in promoting; advancing & implementing the Sustainable Development Goals set up by the government and should create ownership for these goals at national level and within their  constituencies.

(Author is a technocrat & academician. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected] )

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