The Indian Parliament is representative of the democratic set up of the country. The apex legislative body in India is the Parliament of the country. A bicameral parliamentary system is followed in the country. There are two houses in the Indian Parliament, namely the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The President is the Head of the State and can summon or dissolve either of the Houses of the Parliament. The Parliament of the country also runs on the principles set by the Indian Constitution, which came into force on 26th January, 1950.
Also known as the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha has maximum of 250 members. The election procedures for the members of the Rajya Sabha are entirely different from that of the Lok Sabha. The Legislative Assemblies of the various Indian States play an important role in the elections of Rajya Sabha. The general people of the country do not directly elect the members of Rajya Sabha. There are 12 members in the Rajya Sabha, who are appointed directly by the President of the country. These 12 people are eminent personalities and have made a distinct mark in fields of art, science, literature and many more.
There are certain criteria that have to be fulfilled for becoming a member of the Rajya Sabha. The members have to be at least 30 years of age, while contesting the elections. From every state, certain numbers of members are selected. As in Lok Sabha, there is no chance of the Rajya Sabha to be dissolved. After every two years, one-third of its members retire and new people occupy the posts.
The Vice-President of the country is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. An Electoral College is formed for electing the Vice-President in India. The Electoral College has participation from both the Houses of the Parliament. The Deputy Chairman is also selected from the Rajya Sabha.
The Lok Sabha is the House in the Parliament that is representative of the people of the country. The people of India directly elect the members of the Lok Sabha by using their voting powers. Any Indian citizen, who has attained the age of 18 years, can participate in the procedure of formation of the Government in India. Unlike Rajya Sabha the minimum age that is required to become a member of the Lok Sabha is 25 years. There are total 545 members in this House of the Parliament and the members are elected from the various states and union territories of India. There can be a maximum of 552 members in the Lok Sabha.
The Speaker is the Presiding Officer of the Lok Sabha in the Parliament House. One of the members from the Lok Sabha is elected as the Speaker of the House. The Speaker takes care of the proceedings of the House, when the session of Lok Sabha is held. There are summer, monsoon and winter sessions that are held in Lok Sabha every year. The Speaker has the power of adjourning or stopping the proceedings of a session.
Functions of the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha)
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are endowed with certain responsibilities and duties. Passing of bills and making of laws is the primary concern of both the houses of the Parliament. Before a bill becomes a law, it has to be passed by both the houses of the Parliament. An objection from any of the houses can stop a bill from becoming a law. After both the houses pass a bill, it needs the assent of the President of India before being formulated into a law.
The major concerns that are dealt with in the Parliament are topics mentioned in the Union List. The topics covered by the Union List are transport and communications, banking, railways, foreign affairs, defence, customs, excise duties and others. There is a State List where matters related directly to the State Government are enlisted. The Parliament has no role to play in that list. However there is a Concurrent List, on which both the State and the Central Government can take decisions. In case of any dispute, the stand of the Union Government is taken into consideration.
Apart from passing of laws, there are many other issues that are dealt with in the Indian Parliament. The Parliament decides on issues related to price control, social safety and security, insurance, social and economic planning and many more. There is a Question Hour, which is usually the first hour in the Parliament, when the members of Parliament are free to ask questions regarding the various Governmental and administrative activities. Questions are also raised on national and international issues and India's stand on those issues. The Question Hour is an important part in the proceedings of the Parliament.
The Budget Session in the Parliament is one of the most important sessions. The session is held to decide on the fiscal financial management policies of the country. The yearly expenditure is brought into account and monetary policies of the country are made clear during this Budget Session. There are open discussions held in the Lok Sabha regarding the various issues related to the budgets of the country. In the initial four or five days, a sketch of the policies and principles is given to the members of the Parliament. After the initial stages, detailed discussion on the budget is carried out in the Parliament, where consent from each segment is sought before the final budget is formulated.
Privileges of the Members of Parliament
The Members of Parliament, both of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, are entitled to certain privileges and amenities. These privileges help the Members of Parliament to work effectively and promptly as and when required. There are facilities related to traveling, telephones and communications, accommodation, medical treatment, salaries and incentives and others. Traveling facilities have been widened for the parliamentarians need to travel quite frequently. There are special rail travel facilities that are provided to the Members of Parliament. Special accommodation facilities are also rendered to them. There is a special pool of residence that is made for these members. The House Committee decides the types of accommodation that are planned for the Parliament members.
There are also pension schemes for the Members of Parliament. Any person, who has been a Parliamentarian, even for a short period of time, is entitled to the pension scheme. Members, who have been active in the Parliamentary process for more than five years, are entitled to some additional pension amounts. There are also advantages for the spouse of the Parliamentarian. If a member expires during his tenure in office, his/her spouse is entitled to a particular amount of pension for a period of five years.
The Parliament House
The Parliament House is the building, where all the proceedings of the Parliament take place. The Parliament House encloses several other buildings, which include the Parliament Library Building, Reception Office Building and Parliament House Annexe. The compound is designed with well maintained sprawling lawns and sparkling fountains. The Parliament House is one of the most frequented architectural structures in India. Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Edwin Lutyens carried out the designing of the building. The then Governor General of India, Lord Irwin, inaugurated the structure on 18th January 1927. The Central Hall in the Parliament House is of immense significance and historical value to the people of India. There are gilded emblems on the walls of the Central Hall, Parliament House. It is considered to be one of the must-visit sites for tourists and travelers to New Delhi, India.
Last Updated on : 25 January 2011