India Marks 60 Years Of Parliamentary Democracy

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  1. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    India Marks 60 Years Of Parliamentary Democracy - International Business Times

    India commemorates 60 years of Parliamentary democracy on Sunday. Speaking on this occasion in Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, the trust reposed in Parliamentarians by the founding fathers of the Constitution has been substantially fulfilled.

    Meanwhile, Singh also expressed his deep concerns over the repeated disturbance caused in the House, hampering several important debates and proceedings.

    "That is not to say that we should not reflect with concern on the repeated disruptions of proceedings and a regrettable unwillingness, on occasion, to engage in informed discussion," the Prime Minister said.

    Further, Singh said that India's unflinching commitment to democracy is one reason for the country's growing global stature in the world.

    "There is no doubt that one reason for our growing global stature in the world is our unflinching commitment to pursuing a democratic path to achieving our social and economic salvation," he said.

    A special sitting was held on Sunday to mark the occasion of 60th anniversary of Parliament's first session.

    Below follows the full text of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech in Rajya Sabha.

    "I congratulate you and the members of this august House and the people of India as we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament of India.

    The Rajya Sabha is an institution whose deliberations over the years have enriched our parliamentary democracy, nurtured the strength of our federal polity and served as a bulwark against the transient impulses of the moment.

    This House has a unique position in our Republic. It is both a Council of States and a House of Elders. As a Council of States it provides a unique platform for every region of our vast and diverse country to have its voice heard at the highest forum of our democracy.

    As a House of Elders we are called upon to reflect and guide, with patience and sobriety, on the issues and challenges our nation faces. This House brings balance and sincerity to the deliberations of the day and the legislation at hand. Through thoughtful interventions enriched by experience, intellect and a spirit of national bonding, members of the Upper House have contributed to forging a national consensus on critical issues enabling us to face the challenges of the present and the future as a united nation.

    Many of our great leaders have served this house with great distinction. Replying to felicitations at his election as the first Vice President of India and the first Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Dr S Radhakrishnan had observed, and I quote:

    "There is a general impression that this House cannot make or unmake governments and, therefore, it is a superfluous body. But there are functions, which a revising chamber can fulfill fruitfully. Parliament is not only a legislative but a deliberative body. So far as its deliberative functions are concerned, it will be open to us to make very valuable contributions, and it will depend on our work whether we justify this two chamber system, which is now an integral part of our Constitution. So it is a test to which we are submitted. We are for the first time starting under the Parliamentary system, with a second chamber in the Centre and we should try to do everything in our power to justify to the public of this country that a second chamber is essential to prevent hasty legislation."

    I have been a proud member of this august House for the past 21 years. I have personally witnessed and participated in some very enriching and lively debates in this august House. This House has always been a repository of wisdom that has proved invaluable to the functioning of our parliamentary democracy. It has considered and passed historic legislations institutionalizing land reforms through the first constitutional amendment, abolishing privy purses and nationalizing banks. More recently, legislations passed by this House have expanded the entitlements of our people to education, information and minimum employment.

    So I can say with conviction that we have met the test of essentiality that Dr. Radhakrishnan spoke about. I can say with confidence today that, looking at the history of the functioning of the House over the last sixty years, the trust reposed in us by the founding fathers of the Constitution has been substantially fulfilled.

    That is not to say that we should not reflect with concern on the repeated disruptions of proceedings and a regrettable unwillingness, on occasion, to engage in informed discussion.

    On this momentous occasion of the completion of 60 years of the functioning of the House, I hope that we can write a new chapter and restore to it the sense of dignity and decorum that is expected of a House of Elders.

    The resilience of our pluralistic democracy is the proudest achievement of the Indian State and Indian people. The people of India have repeatedly and regularly reposed their faith in the institutions of parliamentary democracy. In recent years, they are making their voice heard more forcefully by voting in increasing numbers in Parliamentary, State Assembly and Panchayat elections.

    There is no doubt that one reason for our growing global stature in the world is our unflinching commitment to pursuing a democratic path to achieving our social and economic salvation.

    It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to respect the great institutions of our democracy and respect the spirit of what is expected from the elected representatives.

    Mr. Chairman, I congratulate all the distinguished members congregated here once again and commend them to the noble task of nation building and service to the people of India. I thank you."

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  3. nrj

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    We're committed to democracy despite odds, say India's leaders


    India's success as a parliamentary democracy was hailed by leaders across party lines at a special meeting of parliament Sunday to celebrate 60 years of its first sitting with some members also raising concern over the repeated disruption of proceedings in the two houses.

    Leaders from all political parties recounted resilience of the country's pluralistic democracy and pointed to the role played by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in resolving conflicts, easing tensions and enacting path-breaking legislations. Some members referred to the pending challenge of banishing poverty.

    Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar set the tempo with her tribute to the people of the country for their unflinching faith in democracy despite the toil of their daily lives. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first to speak in the Rajya Sabha.

    Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee were among the first few speakers in the Lok Sabha while Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati were among the initial speakers in the Rajya Sabha.

    The prime minister said India's unflinching commitment to democracy was among the reasons for India's growing global stature.

    Justifying the two-house system, he said the Rajya Sabha was an institution whose deliberations had nurtured the strength of country's federal polity and served as a bulwark against the transient impulses of the moment.

    The prime minister, who has been a Rajya Sabha member for the past 21 years, said parliamentarians should reflect on the concern on the repeated disruptions of proceedings and "a regrettable unwillingness, on occasion, to engage in informed discussion".

    Meira Kumar congratulated people and said they deserved the real credit for success of democracy owing to their enthusiastic participation in elections.

    "I bow to people of the country," she said. Sonia Gandhi emphasised that the independence of parliament must be protected at all costs.

    "Our conduct must be according to the standards of founding fathers," she said.
    Advani said: "The biggest achievement has been that India has become a great and successful democracy...the reason for success of democracy is the respect for opposite ideology."

    Mukherjee described the Lok Sabha as a "great shock absorber" and said the house had been able to resolve many disputes and tensions.

    Referring to frequent adjournments of the house, he said disturbance in proceedings impinge on the right of the silent majority.

    "Let us try to avoid disruptions," Mukherjee said. Jaitley said the last 60 years had seen the collapse of many democracies but India not only survived but became the world's largest democracy.

    Mayawati said people's welfare was central to decision-making in the first 30 years of parliament but political considerations were getting more play now.

    Referring to the court decision to scrap promotions for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in jobs, she said that the matter had been raised in parliament but the government postponed a decision and said an all-party meeting will be called.
    Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Basudeb Acharia said that the gap between the rich and the poor had increased over the years.

    Emphasising on the time lost by parliament due to disruptions, CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury said 100 sittings per year should be made mandatory for MPs.
    Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav said millions of people in the country were still reeling under poverty.

    "Democracy has not reached the poor. It has come till parliament," Yadav said.
    The two houses skipped lunch to accommodate members who wanted to speak.

    We're committed to democracy despite odds, say India's leaders
     

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