Reforming the Functioning of State Legislature
People are constantly and carefully monitoring the functioning of our legislature through media. They notice that political parties in the legislature are increasingly getting mired in the current corrupt, and power hungry political culture. As a consequence, the people's basic needs are taking a back seat, and the peoples mandate is losing its meaning. These developments indicate that our democracy is facing a serious threat.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to reform the functioning of our legislative assembly. This should become the platform for a democratic debate and an instrument to effectively monitor the functioning of the government.
46. Standing Committees
- Lok Satta government will guarantee special legislations for creation of Standing Committees on key public issues and sectors.
- Standing Committees will play a pivotal role in policy making of the government. Standing Committees will give MLAs an opportunity to gain knowledge, expertise and skill in various fields.
- These committees will have oversight and monitoring powers over various government departments. These committees will be empowered to carry out thorough public hearings, to discuss and consult experts on key public issues, to draft bills, laws, and implement policy.
- The government should take cognizance of the recommendations and reports of these committees.
- Appointments to constitutional offices in the state and key government departments should be approved by these committees.
- Lok Satta government will take necessary steps to enhance the respect for legislative bodies.
47. Reforms to Functioning of Legislative Assembly
Lok Satta Government will guarantee the following legislative reforms:
- A clear code-of-conduct for all legislators and stringent action against those violating it.
- A legislator will loose his membership and will be expelled from the house, if he conducts himself in a manner that results in gross violation of basic democratic norms and/or misuse of office.
- Clear guidelines will be developed to ensure strict time limits for assembly sessions and speeches of its members.
- MLA Constituency Development Funds (MLALADS) will be abolished and those funds will be directly allocated to local governments.
- Necessary measures will be taken to restrict the executive powers of the MLAs. There will be clear delineation between executive and legislative functions. MLAs will not have any role in running local governments and in government boards.
- Special incentives for MLAs such as quotas in petrol-bunks, gas connections, telephone connections, and house-sites will be completely abolished.
- Lok Satta government will ensure that all recognised political parties will be provided with necessary staff and assistance to work on policy matters.
- MLAs will be provided with necessary training and appropriate staff to assist them in carrying out their duties efficiently.