Chakshu Roy (for Info only, not official)

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Chakshu Roy

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    ... In a piece for these columns, (‘Give accountability a chance’, IE, December 2) Surjit Bhalla suggested that the RBI governor should testify before Parliament twice a year and raised the issue of parliamentarians asking the right questions to the governor. His column, therefore, raises broader questions about Parliament’s ability to oversee macroeconomic challenges facing the country. Currently, there is limited debate in Parliament on macroeconomic and monetary policy issues. Parliament uses two mechanisms for monitoring the national economy. The first is a debate in the House, the second is through committees. The first is the most common way of highlighting issues. But there is hardly ever a focussed debate on the economy in Parliament. The last time a discussion reviewed the economic situation was in 2008 and lasted for five hours in Lok Sabha. The subject is usually brought up during the debate on the Union budget, and over the years the duration of budget discussions has been steadily decreasing. ...

    Indian Express on Dec. 8, 2017, 12:20 a.m.

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    ... Raisinia Hill is witnessing a change of guard. We have a newly elected president, and voting to determine the next vice president will take place today. The occupants of these two constitutional offices will set the tone for the functioning of Parliament for the next five years. The president is a part of Parliament but is a passive observer of its proceedings. The vice president, on the other hand, is also the chairman of Rajya Sabha. His role becomes significant because of the Rajya Sabha increasingly asserting its authority in law-making in the last three years. James Madison, the father of the American Constitution, captured the essence of the Upper House of legislature in the Federalist Papers. Describing the United States Senate, he wrote that it was “the great anchor of the government,” whose slower processes and higher thresholds for action would guard against the “fickleness and passion” of public opinion. ...

    Indian Express on Aug. 5, 2017, 1:06 a.m.

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    ...Voting will be held on July 17, and the results declared three days later. With this announcement, the clock has started ticking for the race to the office of the President of India. Leaders of opposition parties have met over the last few weeks to discuss fielding a joint candidate for this election. President Pranab Mukherjee, whose term finishes on July 24, has made it clear that he is not interested in a second term. It is likely that the ruling party will announce the name of its candidate next week, after the prime minister returns from his visit to Kazakhstan. In our constitutional structure, the President occupies a unique position. B.R. Ambedkar explained the role and position of the President during the framing of the Constitution. He specified that it was similar to that of the king under the English Constitution. He said that the President “is the Head of State but not of the executive. He represents the nation but does not rule the nation. ...

    Indian Express on June 12, 2017, 5:51 a.m.

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    ...The budget session of Parliament has been a productive one. Parliament passed 18 bills. Four of these are for implementing the Goods and Services Tax regime, and five relate to the Union budget. Parliament also enacted laws for increasing the maternity benefits, promoting access to mental health care, preventing discrimination against persons with HIV, increasing penalties for drunken driving and regulating road safety. Law making by Parliament is the first step in addressing gaps in our legal system. Laws are ideas and the details of their implementation come through rules. It is the implementation of the law that tests its effectiveness in addressing problems on the ground. Poor implementation will make even the greatest law ineffective. Rules framed by the government are used to operationalise laws. These rules provide the nuts and bolts of the law and prescribe how people engage with it on a daily basis. ...

    Indian Express on April 17, 2017, 1:10 a.m.

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    ...It is the season of the Union budget. The focus of discussion within and outside Parliament is about allocation, spending, taxation and reform. Missing from the public discourse is a conversation about Parliament’s budget. This year, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been allocated Rs 1,052 crore. It is a 3 per cent increase over last year’s estimates and 0.049 per cent of our total budget. A 2012 report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union puts this number in perspective: In 2010, the US Congress had a budget of $5.12 billion, followed by the Parliament of Japan at $1.71 billion and France at $1.17 billion. In the same year, the average budget of 110 parliaments was 0.49 per cent of the country’s budget. Our Parliament is the focal point of our democracy. It shoulders the responsibility of enacting a robust legal framework and holding the government accountable. ...

    Indian Express on Feb. 7, 2017, 2:08 a.m.

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    ...It is not unusual for the RBI governor to appear before a parliamentary panel. In June 2016, Raghuram Rajan had briefed the finance committee on the state of the economy, the role of RBI and the banking sector in the country. In fact, the RBI has initiated a six-monthly interaction with the finance committee where the governor reports on the activities of the central bank, and the committee offer its views and concerns. Lack of debate on the issue of demonetisation in the winter session of Parliament has fuelled tremendous interest in the governor’s testimony. This newspaper has published 10 questions posed to the governor by the public accounts committee (IE, January 9). The public accounts committee of Parliament has been in existence since 1921 and the departmentally related committees (like finance, defence, etc. ...

    Indian Express on Jan. 12, 2017, midnight

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    ...Out of these it could get two financial Bills, and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, passed. Not listed on Parliament’s legislative agenda was the Income Tax Amendment Bill. The government pushed through this Bill without any debate in the Lok Sabha. But this poor performance should not undermine Parliament’s legislative efforts this year. The highest law-making body was able to pass approximately 80 Bills in 2016. The idea of a single indirect tax mooted at the beginning of this century finally came to fruition. Rajya Sabha passed the goods and services tax (GST) Bill, and the state assemblies ratified it this year. In addition to GST, three key Bills piloted by the finance ministry were also passed. These Bills revamp the insolvency resolution of companies and individuals, strengthen debt recovery and allow the government to use the Aadhaar database to provide subsidies and services. ...

    Live Mint on Dec. 20, 2016, 2 a.m.

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    ...On multiple occasions, he has referred to debate, dissent, and decision being the three Ds of democracy and called the disruption of parliamentary proceedings unacceptable. His comments, over the years, critique the decline in debate in Parliament. Washout of parliament sessions has resulted in the weakening of government accountability and ineffective legislative scrutiny. The situation has reached a stage where, on a few occasions, presiding officers have used the word anarchy to describe proceedings in their house of parliament. In 2009, a committee was set up to suggest structural reforms to the House of Commons in England. ...

    Indian Express on Dec. 12, 2016, 12:02 a.m.