Saturday, January 3, 2015

Issuing ordinance is not a sign of good governance



Despite the best efforts, the NDA government is unable to get the approval of two crucial bills of auctioning coal blocks and raising the limit of foreign investment in insurance sector to 49% of equity in Rajya Sabha. Though it is on the expected line of thinking, it  is really a disgraceful situation. Since there is a lack of  a majority of the ruling party, the opposition defeats the approval of the bills in this house.  Ultimately, the government has to  issue the ordinance to make a passage for approval of these two bills. Though the government’s finance minister is hopeful that investors will be elated to see this adamant attitude of the government and they will come forward to invest in this sector, but it is not so. In reality, investors will shy away from their investment unless they ensure that there is a political consensus. One can understand that the lack of majority is a hindrance, but the issue of this type of reform is not to be linked to any political ideologies. Government must be in a position to take all the opposition forces together and convince them not to stall this type of reforms. The Prime Minister’s major responsibility is to call for an all party meeting and appeal to approve  this type of bill, which is very beneficiary for the country’s common people. The opposition parties need to convince by the ruling parties to accept these reforms irrespective of the difference in their political ideologies. By passing any bill through the route of the ordinance, will create aghast at the government’s weakness. One can understand the issuance of a particular ordinance when parliament is not in session. But immediately after the last winter session, if an ordinance is to be enforced, it shows the government’s weakness to rule the parliament.  The enhancement of foreign investment in the insurance sector is no doubt, a most desirable proposition, but to pass the same in both the houses, if the government is to enforce an ordinance, then it reflects the weakness of the treasury bench.  

The government is contemplating to promulgate an ordinance to pass the crucial bills, which they should do, but not at the cost of their authoritative power of convincing the opposition forces in the houses. These ordinances are to be declared and to be implemented in the next legislative session.  It is imperative to raise the FDI level to 49% in insurance sector, but when the government is not able to move this bill in Rajya Sabha, it shows their incapability. The adequate numbers or majority in the Rajya Sabha is definitely a deterrent, but if the government is tactful enough and know the techniques to garner the support of the opposition, the bill can be easily tabled in the Rajya Sabha for consensus and get the approval.  Same is the case with coal ordinance, which was lapsed before the commencement of the last winter session of the parliament.  The government was not able to move this bill even though the new auctions are scheduled to be taken place in coming weeks. So, ultimately, here also, the government takes the shelter of an ordinance making the democracy as a mockery.  The functioning of NDA government, particularly in Rajya Sabha reminds the hullabaloo scenarios of the Bihar assembly.  It was so unruly and disorganized that it was extremely difficult to pass any legislation, ultimately, the state government of Bihar kept on issuing ordinances.  Those, which lapsed after the assembly session, were reissued.  This system was becoming a rule of the law in that state. 


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Despite getting a majority and thumping victory in the last parliament election, sadly NDA governments is following the steps of the Bihar assembly.

Political analysts thought that Modi would be a very dictatorial in taking his decisions after obtaining a clear cut majority.  In reality, he now resembles as weak as Bihar chief minister at least in the Rajya Sabha. It is not understood why Modi is not able to raise his voice, sharpen his political acumen and show his adamant attitude to perform an autocratic function for the benefit of the country and its people.  It is a fact that the BJP party does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, but Modi could have convinced his allies to convene a joint session of the two houses to pass a crucial bill of this nature.  Our constitution has a provision that if a particular bill is passed by one house, but rejected by the other, a joint session can be called to find out an amicable solution.  Modi is not able to take  a leadership role to perform this activity.

No one can give guarantee that the further session of the parliament will not be pervaded with  any unruly situations and will not stall the process of discussing the important bills.  The NDA government’s main party BJP cannot confidently stop the acrimonious activities of the opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha as sometimes back; they had also resorted to the same technique to disrupt the parliament session.  Now, they are facing the same scenario and they cannot take stern action against unruly members on the moral ground.

If you recollect the sessions of 1950 and 1960, the disruptions created by the unruly members were used to get trounced with a strong and disciplinary measures.  Sometimes, the marshals or sergeant will pull the members physically out of the house. But in the present day, almost all the opposition members resort to these activities, of disruption causing the wastage of vital resources and gaining nothing.  BJP was doing the same type of disruptions when they were holding the opposition mantle and now the opposition forces comprising Congress, TMC, SP, and BSP and JD are doing the disruption very forcefully and vehemently.  So, now at least, no one can dream that the disruption would be taken out of the house. Even if Modi gets a majority in a day in both the houses, the miscreants created by the minor number of members can trouble him. This ultimately shows the pathetic situation of our constitutional melodrama.  When Modi and his team has to promulgate an ordinance to pass the insurance bill, do you think that foreign investors will come forward and invest up to 49% in this sector till both the houses of Parliament clear the legislation. The investors are quite apprehensive that Indian constitution is unable to provide any concrete solution so that the foreign investors can come forward to  invest.  The past experiences in respect to telecom and coal block have almost reduced the confidence of foreign investors to zero level as they are well aware that the contracts have no meaning as regards to its sanctity and top of it, government's assurance are frivolous. Our judiciary system has cancelled the coal block and telecom licenses under the pretext to lessen the gravity of corruption level. This decision of judicial systems has penalized the people who have invested millions. They got their licenses cancelled without doing anything wrong. At the same time, our government machineries that were responsible to issue these licenses, got no punishment.

By issuing ordinance to pass the various important bills, the government is only showing its incapability and incapacity to stop the unruly events and not actively engaged in various meaningful discussions in the houses.  Though the proceedings of the Lok Sabha of the last winter session were  productive,  in terms of percentage of attendance, various discussions and debates, but if an ordinance is to be issued to pass the vital bills related to insurance reforms, coals block licenses and land acquisition act, then what is the significance of convincing victory with a clear cut mandate  to  run the government.
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