Wednesday, February 24, 2016

[Editorial # 72] Keeping it parliamentary : The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 24th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

Parliament’s Budget session opened on Tuesday against a turbulent backdrop of unrest on university campuses, the Jat agitation in Haryana, an agrarian crisis, terrorist strikes and attacks on freedoms. In a bid, therefore, to blunt an anticipated attack by the Opposition, the Modi government has adopted a strategy to confront its critics directly by making the JNU “sedition” controversy the centrepiece of this session. MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party, rather than those from the Opposition, have already given notice for a discussion on the subject ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget. By presenting itself as the flag-bearer of nationalism, the BJP believes it will be able to seize the advantage from the Opposition while detracting attention from economic and governance issues. Already, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar are building public opinion for the “nationalist” cause through various programmes, including vigilante activity by RSS sympathisers. In presenting the majority community as being under siege, the BJP and the Parivar have shifted the discourse to anxiety about the country being threatened by “anti-national” elements.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s customary address to Parliament has, in fact, set the tone. It ended with a reference to Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the many heroes of the freedom struggle whom the BJP has appropriated as an icon, and quoted him as saying, “Nationalism is inspired by the highest ideals of the human race.” The President also impressed on MPs that the “democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption or obstruction”. For his part, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the hope that Parliament would be utilised for “constructive debates”. The opening days of the Budget session traditionally leave little space for the Opposition. The sittings in the session’s first half, in any case, will be dominated by the President’s Address and the debate on it, the introduction of and discussion on the Union and Railway budgets and private members’ business. The government has also prioritised the passage of the Enemy Property (Amendment & Validation) Bill to replace an ordinance, and the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill that provides for delimitation of constituencies in West Bengal following the exchange of territories with Bangladesh. By proposing a discussion on Rohith Vemula and the JNU crisis, the BJP has further eroded space for the Opposition to seize the initiative. With elections to five Assemblies expected to be notified soon, the debate will obviously be framed in a surcharged context and political parties will be especially keen to play to the gallery. Indeed, given that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is not bound by lack of numbers in the Rajya Sabha in getting money bills passed, the government may be tempted to resist the parliamentary etiquette of letting the Opposition shape the session. This would be a mistake. The government has not yet completed its second year in office, but Parliament is already stuck in deadlock. Unyielding postures during this session on either side could stall all forward movement.


1. How many sessions does the Parliament have? What is the basis of only those many number of sessions? Why can't they have more or less number of sessions?

2. What do the Parliamentarians do between two sessions?

3. What are different types of Parliamentary Sessions? How many sessions does the British Parliament have? Does the US Congress also function in sessions? 

4. What is RSS? When, why and by whom was it established?

5. What are the various activities during the first half of the Budget Session of the Parliament? What are the activities in the second half? What happens between the two halves?

6. Why is Railways Budget presented separately from the Union Budget? Do you think its necessary?

7. What is an ordinance? How and when is it promulgated?

8. What is meant by delimitation of constituencies? 

9. Which five states are going to have their assembly elections soon? Who is responsible for notifying and conducting the assembly elections?

10. What is a money bill? How is it different from an ordinary bill?

11. “Democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption or obstruction”. Explain (200 words)


  1. 10.What is a money bill? How is it different from an ordinary bill?
    Ans .In the Westminster system (and, colloquially, in the United States), a money bill or supply bill is a bill that solely concerns taxation or government spending (also known as appropriation of money), as opposed to changes in public law. The different from ordinary bill as follow:
    Ordinary Bills
    1. Articles 107 and 108 deal with ordinary bills.
    2. An Ordinary Bill can be introduced in any of the Houses of Parliament.
    3. An Ordinary Bill can be introduced only with the recommendation of the President.
    4. A Dead lock may occur.
    5. A Joint Session of Houses may be called to resolve the Dead lock.
    6. When a Bill is passes in one House, and it is sent to the other House for passing, the other House may keep that Bill for 6 months with it.
    7. The House has to oblige the recommendations of the other House. If not, Dead lock arises.
    8. No such certificate necessary.

    1. Money bill:
      1. article 110 deals with the money bill.
      2. must be introduced only in Loksabha
      3. can be introduced without the recommendations of the president.
      4. no case of any deadlock
      5. no joint session
      6. when the money bill is passed to rajya sabha it has to be returned in 14 days with or
      without recommendations.
      7. LS may/maynot accept the recommendations.
      8. If not accepted the bill is deemed to be passed without amendments.
      9. whether a bill is money/ordinary bill is decided by the speaker of loksabha and his decision is final.

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  3. 4. What is RSS? When, why and by whom was it established?
    A. RSS was the fallout of the nationalism against the british rule. formed by Hedgewar in 1925 and after independence it stood for the hinduness/hindutva ideology . highly influenced by the SAVARKAR writings, Hedgewar formed RSS as disciplined cadre mostly with uppercaste brahmins who were dedicated to independence and the protection of hindu political, culturaland religious interests.

  4. 6. Why is Railways Budget presented separately from the Union Budget? Do you think its necessary?
    A. on the recommendations of the Acworth committee report in 1921 the railway budget was separated from the union budget. the following are the reasons for the separation
    1. railways were considered as engines of growth
    2. provides employment to large sections According to "All India Audit and Accounts Associaltion" 2009, 44% of civilian employees employed under central govt comes from railways. carries 1/3 of countries cargo and 2.3 crore passengers daily.
    4.The intention was to make it self dependent and the profits has to be used for better advancement.
    now there is no need of railway budget due to the following reasons.
    since independence we could able to extend just 12000km of the total network
    more than 50% of revenues are going only to salaries of the employees
    the cost had ovetaken the revenue of the railways by more than 1%.
    the share of railways had reduced from 3/4 of budget to just 4%.
    there is a need of NPM to make the railways more efficient . Hence it has to be brought under general budget

  5. “Democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption or obstruction”. Explain (200 words)
    A. India's democratic principles upheld by parliamentarians in the parliament for their own interests is acting bouncing back with negative results.
    disruptions and obstruction were the common scenario in the recent Parliament.this is due to the differences in metrics of both the houses of ruling party.
    OPPOSITION: the party in opposition is obstructing the functions by not passing the bills.several bills like GST, LAB remained in the RS due to lack of proper consensus among the political parties.Since the GST bill was intorduced by opposition party, it doesnot want the ruling party to take the credit of their hardwork.
    PARTY IN POWER: the ruling party which is in majority could not gather the faith of RS. Hence, they must also relax certain terms and conditions so that they can get the support to function the parliament
    DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM : there should be a harmony in the functioning of the parliament through debates and discussions based on rational insight. This will logically leads to the better conclusions within the parliament for better operations.

  6. Article 85 of the Constitution of India provides for Sessions of Parliament, Prorogation and dissolution. It is provided in the above article that the President shall from time to time summon each house of Parliament to meet at such time and such place as he thinks fit. But 6 months should not intervene between the last sitting in one session and date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.
    So according to this provision the Parliament has to be summoned at least twice in one year.
    There are three sessions each year Budget session (Feb-May)
    Monsoon session (July to Sept)
    Winter session (Nov-Dec)

  7. When the members of Parliament are not in session they go back to their constituencies and perform various functions. They might also be part of various committees and will discharge those duties as assigned to them by those committees.

  8. In UK there is no fixed format of sessions. There each five year they are divided into sessions. It generally begins in November.
    In USA the Constitution requires the congress to meet once in a year. It Starts from 3rd January.

  9. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a national volunteer organisation. It is a non-governmental organisation and the worlds largest voluntary non-governmental organisation. It is based on the principle of selfless service to India.
    It was established in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar who was a doctor in Nagpur to provide training through Hindu discipline and to integrate hindu community. It was set up as an alternative to the anti-colonial struggle. It has been banned thrice after Independence.
    1.assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse.
    2.during the emergency.
    3.demolition of Babri Masjid.

  10. The Budget session will be held between Feb 23 and May 13. There will be a recess from March 17 to April 24. During the recess the Standing Committees examine the demand for grants of various ministries. There is going to be total of 31 sittings.
    The Presidents Address was on Feb 23. The railway Budget is going to be presented on Feb 25 and the Union Budget on Feb 29.

  11. 44% of civilian employees employed by Central Government come under ministry of railways.
    The largest employer of the World. 4th largest in terms of connectivity. It has a huge impact on the functioning and revenue of the Country.
    The management of such a huge department do require a separate budget, furthermore it reduces the burden of the finance ministry.

  12. Article 123 of the Constitution of India gives power to President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament. When the Parliament is not in session and the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen that demands immediate action the President may promulgate ordinances.
    It is the Lewgislative Power of the President and the Ordinance will have same effect as the Act of Parliament.
    It has to be laid before both the houses of Parliament and will cease to operate after the passing of 6 weeks from the reassembly of the Parliament and if the Parliament disapproves the same by passing a resolution and the ordinance will also become ineffective if the President himself withdraws the same.

  13. Pondicherry, Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala.