Importance of Parliamentary Proceedings during COVID – UPSC GS2

  • No Parliamentary proceedings are being held in India during COVID.
  • Many opposition MPs are demanding virtual proceedings.
What is happening in other democracies?
  • Some democracies used conventional ways and continued to meet physically, but with restrictions.
  • Some switched to virtual meetings with the help of technologies that allow remote working.
  • UK has adopted hybrid models. In this, a mix of members is present in the chamber and others participate by video conference.
  • Many states have had to change laws and relax procedures, reset minimum number rules, and rearrange venues.
India’s response:
  • In India, the government shows little or no urgency for parliamentary proceedings.
  • It has shown high resistance to suggestions and interferences by Opposition leaders.
  • For example, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s suggestions were quickly disregarded by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan earlier.
  • It is very important for governments to listen, learn and correct errors to find the best way forward.
  • The response to a national health crisis needs the participation of all the people’s representatives, across states and party.
  • The virus has brought death and distress to every constituency.
  • To battle this, MPs must group ideas and resources, ask questions and apply the check and balance.
  • The House should reopen its doors virtually to ensure that the executive does not remain limited to echo chambers of its own making.
The conclusion
  • In a shared crisis, one-sided responses are terribly insufficient and even counter-productive. Parliament must return as a space for a wider discussion. The government must take the lead and make this happen.

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