JAC Board Class 8th Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 3 Why Do We Need A Parliament?
→ The 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.
→ Why should People Decide?
- People from various backgrounds joined the struggle and they were inspired by the ideas of freedom, equality and participation in decision- making.
- 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.
- While these early legislatures under the British government were in response to the growing demands of the nationalists, they did not allow for all adults to vote nor could people participate in decision making.
- With the coming of independence, we were going to be citizens of a free country.
- This did not mean that the government could do what it felt like, it meant that the government had to be sensitive to people’s needs and demands.
→ 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.
- The basic idea in the democratic government is that the individual or the citizen are the most important person and that in principle the government as well as other public institutions need to have the trust of these citizens.
- People would elect their representatives to the Parliament, then, one group from among these elected representatives form the government.
- The Parliament, which is made up of all representatives together, controls and guides the government.
→ The Role of the Parliament
- Created after 1947, the Indian Parliament is an expression of the faith that the people of India have in principles of democracy.
- The Parliament in our system has immense powers because it is the representative of the people.
- The Lok Sabha is usually elected once every five years.
- 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:
→ To Select the National Government
- Parliament of 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.
- 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 Prime Minister of India is the leader of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha.
- From the MPs who belong to the majority 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 different political parties join together with similar interests as they didn’t get majority of votes and who are interested in similar concerns to form what is known as a coalition government.
- 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 pass through the Rajya Sabha in order to become a law.
- The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of various states.
→ To Control, Guide and Inform the Government
- 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.
- 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.
- The government gets valuable feedback and is kept on its toes by the questions asked by the MPs.
- The MPs as representatives of the people have a central role in controlling, guiding and informing Parliament and this is a key aspect of the functioning of Indian democracy.
Law-making is a significant function of Parliament.
→ Who are the People in Parliament?
- Parliament now has more and more people from different backgrounds.
- There has also been an increase in political participation from the Dalits and backward classes.
- There is a realisation that when interests and experiences separate us it is important to ensure that communities that have been historically marginalised are given adequate representation.
- With this in mind, some seats are reserved in Parliament for SCs and STs.
- Similarly, it has more recently been suggested that there should be reservation of seats for women.
- It is issues of this kind that force the country to ask certain difficult and often unresolved questions about whether our democratic system is representative enough.