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The tendency to undermine parliamentary process

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on December 03, 2021 with No Comments

Indian government adopted its controversial manner in parliament once again. The Narendra Modi government’s decision to repeal the farm laws without any debate once again highlighted its brazen approach in parliamentary affairs. The government had passed the same farmers bills in August 2020 the same way.

One would have thought that the 15 months long farmers’ struggle apart from reinforcing the power of people’s will in democracy would have also taught some lesson to governments and political parties. It seems the governments and the parties are beyond this. Choosing the way of ordinance to pass important bills has always been desirable, the farm bills were passed  without necessary parliamentary scrutiny. The way the bills were handled in the Rajya Sabha, it would remain a blot on India’s parliamentary history. The deputy chairman didn’t even allow voting on the bill because as there were doubts about majority support to the government. It is catastrophic that important bills are being bulldozed using brute majority, instead of honouring the parliamentary tradition of multi-layered scrutiny and consultation with stakeholders. The result is only half-baked bills becoming laws, and the farmers’ movement has exhibited that legislation without consulting the stakeholders can trigger massive unrest.

The repeal of farm laws not only resulted in immeasurable loss of time of the governments that came to power on the slogan on “saksa sath sabka vikas” (with all, prosperity for all), but also of the energy of the farmers that are considered the backbone of economy. Farmers were neglected throughout the struggle and the government generated an ill-will in the society with the death of over 700 farmers. Government was not only causal in handling the movement but also in handling the repeal of the farms laws.  That the laws had serious loopholes was proved when the government itself acknowledged the need for amendments in the course of negotiations with the farmers’ unions. Government had to face a crisis for over a year and the same could have been avoided by sending the bills to the select committee of the Parliament as demanded by the opposition. The government was aware that if the bills are allowed to be scrutinized, it would reveal that the bills have less to do for the farmers but will benefit the  corporate more.

During the time of the repeal, the opposition expressed its concern over the inclination of the Modi government to undermine the parliamentary process, as it ran the bulldozer more ruthlessly in its second term by not adhering to send important bills to the standing committee(s).  In the first session of Parliament after winning the mandate again in 2019, 16 bills were passed without any of them being examined by the standing committees. India has suffered a lot due to this tendency of the Modi government as in the case of farm laws. The BJP should be cautious of its temptations to over exceed its authority and control by undermining institutions and parliamentary norms.

 

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