Dropping Question Hour | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 4th Sep 2020

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney.

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #125 :“Dropping Question Hour | UPSC

Dropping Question Hour UPSC

Hamid Ansari
Dropping Question Hour | UPSC

Hamid Ansari is the former Vice President of India, 2007-2017

      HEADLINES:

A politics of avoidance that must be questioned

      CENTRAL THEME:

The dropping of Question Hour, which helps the government feel the nation’s pulse, goes against the grain of democracy

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Parliament

      MAINS QUESTION:

The real test of democracy is ability to cope up with the instruments of accountability and Parliamentary procedures. Comment-(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

  • Democratic setup
  • Why Question Hour is important tool in parliamentary form of government
  • Possible Alternatives.

      INTRODUCTION: 

We, the people of India, gave ourselves a Constitution that prescribes for our democracy a parliamentary form of government .

  • SETUP : Where in, the executive is accountable to the electorate through a legislature which in turn is periodically elected by the electorate.
  • REAL ACCOUNTABILITY : This accountability lies at the heart of democratic government .

IMPLEMENTATION

  • We put in place by the legislature whose functions include lawmaking.
  • Controlling the national finances
  • Approving taxation proposals
  • Discussions on matters of public interest and concern.

DISCHARGING DUTIES : Each of these functions is discharged during sittings of the legislature through questions, adjournment motion, calling attention, half-an-hour discussion, motion of no confidence, questions of privilege, etc.

      BODY: 

INSTRUMENTS OF ACCOUNTABILITY

  • QUESTION HOUR : Among these instruments of accountability, the daily ‘Question Hour’ has an unmatched criticality w.r.t Member of the House, Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha.
  • CHECKS ACCOUNTABILITY : It has a special significance in the proceedings of Parliament since it covers every aspect of states activity, domestic and foreign.
  • INSPECTING PERFORMANCE : The legislature is thus helped to feel the pulse of the nation and give the public a view of the performance of the Ministers.

The Rules of Procedure in both Houses prescribe the operational details.

  • RULES OF PROCEDURE : These include, inter alia, the notice period, conditions of admissibility, balloting, and regulatory prescriptions.
  • CROSS EXAMINATION : Questions are addressed to a specific Minister of the government and can seek oral answers marked by an asterisk or a written one.
  • INTERROGATION : The veracity of the answers given are matters of utmost importance .

Rules permit correction of inaccuracies by the Minister concerned.

  • RECORDING RESPONSES : Copies of answers given are available to Members at the Notice Office before the start of the day’s proceedings as also on the websites.

SEEKING THE SPECIFICS

  • ELICIT INFORMATION : Since questions are generally ‘pointed, specific and confined to one issue only’, they tend to elicit specific information from the government.
  • SCRUTINY : The answers given to questions leading to wider debates, inquiries, and even administrative scandals.
  • MATTER OF PUBLIC CONCERN : Information so made available adds to public information essential to informed debates on matters of interest or concern.

By the same logic, incomplete or unsatisfactory answers induce resort to other forms of accountability.

CITING THE PANDEMIC IS JARRING

  • THE GRAVITY : The spread of COVID-19 continues to be experienced by people the world over and by every citizen of the country.

PARTIAL RESTORATION : New disciplines have descended on us and we have experienced new norms and styles of existence.

  • ROUND THE GLOBE : Legislative bodies have continued to function with new sets of ‘dos and don’ts’.
  • RIGHT TO QUESTION : In this context, the deletion of ‘Question Hour’ from the announced agenda of the day is baffling and has understandingly been viewed as curtailment of the right to question the government.

      IASbhai Windup: 

EXPLORING OPTIONS

  • STARRED QUESTION : The purpose of a Starred Question is to explore the intent and the alleged illegality or procedural lacuna that the government decision in question.

VERBAL GYMNASTICS : The Oral Supplementary questions seek to unravel these. It is a form of verbal gymnastics not unknown in daily life.

  • PROCEDURAL OPTIONS : Perhaps greater sensitivity to parliamentary and public sentiments could have been displayed by exploring procedural options .
  • FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS : One way could be to admit the Starred Question ; Member concerned can follow up questions also to be answered in writing the following day.
  • FINAL AUTHORITY : The Chairman and the Speaker unquestionably have the final word on matters relating to the proceedings of their respective Houses.

The test of a functioning democracy is its ability to face crises — social, economic, political — and seek correctives premised on institutions of democracy.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Dropping Question Hour | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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