The two-day seventh conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s India Region on ‘Role of Legislators’ concluded here on Friday.
Thirty-five delegates from various branches of CPA India Region and also from Australia and South East Asia Region participated in the event. Besides several ministers, as many as 270 members of Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha and Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Parishad attended the two-day conference.
Addressing the valedictory function, UP Governor Anandiben Patel said that the nature of the legislatures had changed over the years.
“The legislature is not only doing the work of law-making but is also at the forefront of the economic and social change. The role of people’s representatives as members of the legislative bodies has also undergone sea change,” Patel said.
“Legislators are judged on the basis of their works and actions in and outside the House. They are thus expected to understand social problems and play a leading role in their redressal through legislatures and Parliament. As the people’s representatives, it is necessary that they use parliamentary traditions, rules and procedures in such a way that the development work and the welfare of the public is ensured,” she added.
Thanking the delegates for their lively and meaningful participation in the deliberations of the conference, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, in his valedictory address, said that such exchange of ideas and experiences helped in consolidating and strengthening democracy by overcoming challenges faced by legislators.
Birla underlined that legislative institutions were credible platforms for highlighting the concerns, hopes and aspirations of the common people, which should be effectively voiced by their representatives on the floor of the House.
Referring to the first plenary of the conference viz. ‘capacity building of legislators for scrutinising budgetary proposals’, Birla said that the legislatures should act as a watchdog on the financial accountability of the executive.
“For this, it is necessary that they have a better understanding of financial terminology and budgetary processes,” he added.
On the second plenary on ‘enhancing focus of legislators on legislative business’, Birla said that legislators should use all available procedural devices effectively.
He suggested that state legislatures should also consider conducting briefing sessions on legislative business during the sessions on the pattern introduced by the Lok Sabha.
Thanking the delegates, UP Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit said that the mandate of legislators had increased with the changing times. He said that legislators should understand that knowledge and experience were important for performing their work.
Dikshit, however, cautioned the legislators that mere reading of the Constitution or the rules of the business of the proceedings of the assembly was not enough. “It is important that legislators participate in the proceedings of the House regularly and articulate their views in a dignified manner,” he said, adding that legislators should look at the House with a sense of respect and dedication.
Earlier on Friday, the conference took up discussion on enhancing focus of legislators on legislative business.
Delivering the keynote address, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that legislators were primarily required to engage in law-making and therefore they must be able to identify a policy issue, potential legislative options to address that issue and consult relevant stakeholders.
Ensuring the accountability of the executive is also one of the core functions of the legislature. To perform these legislative responsibilities, it is imperative that legislators have access to sector-specific research support, he said.
The CPA India Region, which was earlier a part of CPA Asia Region, became an independent region from September 7, 2004. The India Region of CPA consists of the India Union Branch (Parliament of India) and 36 states/Union Territories branches. Such conferences of the CPA India Region are held once in two years and the sixth conference was held in 2018 in Patna.