Chapter- 3 Why Do We Need a Parliament
- The Indian Parliament was formed after 1947 to enable the citizens of India to participate in decision making and control the government.
- The Parliament is made up of elected representatives of different political parties and has a lot of power.
- The Parliament consists of total of 543 representatives. They are called Members of Parliament.
- Parliament has two houses Lok Sabha, i.e. Lower House and Rajya Sabha, i.e. Upper House, headed by their presiding officers i.e., speaker and chairman respectively.
The Vice-President is the Chairman of Rajya Sabha
- In the Parliament, some seats are reserved for SC, ST and women candidates. The Money Bill is presented only in Lok Sabha, whereas an ordinary bill can be presented in any of the Houses.
- The important functions of Parliament include making laws, and to control, guide and inform the government.
- India got freedom after a long and tough struggle. In this struggle for freedom people from different backgrounds participated. They were greatly inspired by the ideas of freedom, equality and participation in decision-making.
- The British government had created such a havoc that they never dared to criticise any of their decisions even if they did not agree with them.
- The freedom movement changed this situation. The nationalists began to openly criticise the British government and make demands. They demanded that there should 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. However, all adults were not allowed to vote. Also people could not participate in decision making under the British rule.
- But the nationalists wanted that all persons in independent India would be able to participate in making decisions.
- Therefore, when India got freedom, the dreams and aspirations of the freedom struggle were made concrete in the Constitution. The Constitution of Independent India laid down the principle of universal adult franchise. Now, all adult citizens of the country have the voting right.
- In a democratic form of government, the individual or citizen is the most important person. Now the question arises how does the individual give approval to the government? One way of doing so is through elections.
- People would elect their representatives to the Parliament, then one group from among these elected representatives forms the government.
- The Parliament is made up of all representatives together and it guides the government.
- It means people through their chosen representatives form the government and control it.
- The Indian Parliament came into existence in 1947. It is the representative of the people and enjoys immense powers.
- 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 several 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, also known as MPs. These MPs together form the Parliament.
- The Parliament performs several functions. It selects the national
government. The Parliament in India consists of the President, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.
- After the Lok Sabha elections are declared, the leader of the party with the majority of elected members is invited by the President to form a government. The other political parties form the opposition. The largest amongst these parties are known as the opposition party.
- Sometimes, it so happens that one political party does not get a clear majority. In such a situation a group of parties comes together to form a government. Such a government is known as a coalition government.
- The Prime Minister of India is the leader of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha. From the MPs who belong to his party, the Prime Minister selects ministers to work with him to implement decisions. The Rajya Sabha functions primarily as the representative of the states of India in the Parliament.
- It plays an important role of reviewing and altering (alterations are
required) the laws initiated by the Lok Sabha. The Parliament keeps a check on the ministers and their work. MPs have the right to question the ministers about the working of their departments. This is usually done during the question hour.
- The government gets valuable feedback and is kept on its toes by
the questions by the MPs. In all matters dealing with finances, the Parliament’s approval is crucial for the government.
- The Parliament makes laws for the entire country. The Parliament now has more and more people from diverse backgrounds. There has also been an increase in political participation from the Dalit and backward castes and the minorities.
- Some seats are reserved in the Parliament for SCs and STs. It has also been suggested that there should be reservation of seats for women. However, this issue is still debated.
EVM: It stands for Electronic Voting Machine.
Approval: It refers to the formal consent through elected
representatives that Parliament has as well as the fact that it needs
to continue to enjoy the people’s trust.
Representative: The person who is elected by the people is known
as the people’s representative.
Universal Adult Franchise: All adult citizens of the country enjoy
the right to vote.
Coalition: When one party does not get a clear majority, a group of
political parties form a coalition and elect a leader who then forms a government, known as a coalition government.
Parliament: The Parliament in India consists of the President, the
Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. It is the highest law-making body
in the country. It is also known as Sansad.
Rajya Sabha: It is also known as the Council of States. Its total
membership is 245. It is chaired by the Vice-President of India.
Lok Sabha: It is also known as the House of the People. Its total
membership is 545. It is presided over by the Speaker.
Opposition Party: The opposition in Parliament is formed by all the
political parties that oppose the majority party or coalition formed.
The largest amongst these parties is known as the opposition party.
Ruling party: The party that rules the country.
Unresolved: It refers to the situations in which there are no easy
solutions to problems.