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(02 Jan 2021) Question-2

Q-2) Do you think that it is wise to measure Legislative productivity in terms of number of bills passed by the legislature? Critically examine. (150  Words)

Source: The Hindu News Page: In 2020, RS saw lowest number of sittings ever.

Approach Answer:

Introduction: Legislative productivity is generally defined as the percentage of legislation passed by the legislaure, compared to the number of legislations introduced. Recently, it has been reproted that Rajya Sabha achieved the productivity of  82.7% with just 33 sitings.

It can be said that number of bills passed do represent productivity:

  1. Basic Function of Parliament/Legislature is to legislate thus more number of bill passed means greater productivity.
  2. Draft legislation which as come after a long discussion with muliple stakeholders is of more importance.
  3. Parliament is seen as a house of mediocres, thus it does not add points of much importance. Thus it is better to have shorter discussions in house. Over the years legisltaures have lost their importance in general perceptions due to the behaviour of the legislative members.
  4. It is true that in a large house it is difficult to maintain discipline.
  5. Further, not every party or every veiw gets adequately represeted in the chaos that Legislatures make.

However, number of bills passed don't necessarily mean that the Parliament or the state legislature has followed all its duties.

Limitations of measuring Legislative productivity in such a way:

  1. Risk of passing bills without discussion: it reduce the discussion on important topics of public importance thus reducing accountability of the government.
  2. It affects the fedral system: As Parliament, particularly Rajya Sabha is assigned a role to serve the interest of the state. It weakens the discussion with states' representatives.
  3. Loss of accountability and Transparency: People are not able to get information about the happenings of the government.
  4. Citizens' loss of confidence in Legislature: as an effective tool to make their voices heard.
  5. Misuse of Power: The trend of passing laws without discussion such as through ordinance or without sending to select or joint committees.
  6. Legislature is the last hope for any faulty legislation: If government has not adequately discussed a legislation with the stakeholdes, then legislature becomes the point of last hope.

Thus, it is necessary to have discussions in the Legislature. To improve the chaotic situation the instruments of Committees can be used more often. As Wudrow Wilson has famously said that "Congress(Legislatrue) in session is Congress(Legislatrue) in exhibition, but Congress(Legislatrue) in committee is Congress(Legislatrue) at work.

Conclusion: Thus, Legislatures which are the back bone of every Democracy must get adequate chaces of discussion. If however it is being unproductive, the solution is to make it productive by using better discussion techniques and effectively using instrument of committees, rather than devoiding it with the chance of disccussion.

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