Maintaining the ecological balance

29 September 2021(
By Devender Singh Aswal (EX-Additional Secretary, Lok Sabha)

The objective of environmental laws is to conserve, sustain and manage the environment without which the ‘right to life’ remains inconceivable You must show it is a ministry for environment and not just of environment”, chastised the Supreme Court as recently as in June, 2021, when the Ministry of Environment, challenged the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) finding faults with a government notification of 2017, diluting effluent discharge norms for the sewage treatment plants. The Court bemoaned the constant dilution of environmental standards and refused to stay the NGT order. In a landmark judgement passed on August 31, 2021, the Court refused to i ...   Read more


Here’s how India’s Parliament could safely conduct its monsoon session amid the Covid-19 pandemic

    Virtual sessions, physical distancing or staggered timings? The jury is still out.
    22 July 2020 (
    By Dr. Narmadeshwar Prasad [Director, Parliamentary & Administrative Research Institute (PARI)]

Enabling transparency in governance and allowing members to voice their concerns about their constituencies, most parliaments around the world are successfully conducting hybrid sessions– that is, combining virtual and physical. India’s public representatives too need to be able to put their legitimate questions to the government about public health and its management during the pandemic, among other issues, and adequately perform their parliamentary ...   Read more


Games politicos play

    18 July 2020 (
    By Devender Singh Aswal (EX-Additional Secretary, Lok Sabha)

The high political theatre in Rajasthan and earlier in Madhya Pradesh has yet again brought to the fore the efficacy or otherwise of the anti-defection law enshrined in the Constitution by the 52nd Amendment, which was later further amended by the 91st Constitution (Amendment) Act, in 2003. The sum and substance of these constitutional amendments is that a member of the legislature, whether of the Union or the State Legislature, shall be disqualified, if s/he is disqualified under the Tenth Schedule. The precise grounds for disqualification of a legislator, as per the Tenth Schedule are, if s/he has voluntarily given up his/her membership of such political party, or if s/he votes or abst ...   Read more


Embracing virtual reality: Parliament can invoke Rule 266, 389 to help Parliamentary committees function virtually

    July 17, 2020 (
    By Dr. Narmadeshwar Prasad [Director, Parliamentary & Administrative Research Institute (PARI)]

The parliamentary system demands transparency and accountability in governance. Holding regular sessions, therefore, is intrinsic to its character. Parliaments across the world, amidst the Covid-19 crisis, have been conducting their sessions using a hybrid system where the majority of the members participate through a virtual medium with only a few attending in person. In the current scenario, India finds itself heading towards a virtual or hybrid monsoon session. The ...   Read more



    16 Jul 2020 ( Please visit this link to read Hindi version of this article )
    By Dr. Yogendra Narain (Ex-Secretary General, Rajya Sabha)

The present Parliament Building planned, designed and constructed under the supervision of Lutyens and Herbert Baker was inaugurated on 18th January 1927 by the then Governor General of India Lord Irwin. It was meant primarily to house the Central Legislative Council. The Central Hall was designed to be the reading room of the Library of the Central Legislature. It was remodeled in 1946 when seating arrangements had to ...   Read more


Disastrous management: NDMA’s institutional redundancy and the mismanagement of Covid-19 pandemic

    July 3, 2020 (
    By Dr. Narmadeshwar Prasad [Director, Parliamentary & Administrative Research Institute (PARI)]

It is common knowledge that India’s National Disaster Manager Authority (NDMA) is the nodal agency to initiate processes to alleviate strife and suffering arising out of disasters—biological, chemical, physical or hydrological. It was created under the Disaster Management (DM) Act 2005, which vested in it overriding powers to make rules and regulations for preventing, containing, evacuating, providing relief and various other related activities in the interest of the suffering public. Therefore, befitti ...   Read more


Virtual Parliament to Corona Combat

The corona pandemic has made the traditional parliamentary proceedings untenable. So, parliaments around the world are adapting to the unprecedented health challenge thrown by the novel coronavirus. Many Parliaments have become virtual or hybrid to facilitate remote participation by the members. Some Members of the Opposition in our parliament are demanding, and rightly, virtual committee sittings as they meet more frequently during the recess. The committees – hailed as ‘parliament at work’ – too need to have remote participation as they transact a great deal of business and exercise unremitting oversight over the government. The Monsoon Session of parliament is almost two months away. It’s t ...   Read more


Top 8 tips in taking care of mental health | COVID-19 pandemic

    20 April 2020
    By PARI Staff Reporter

At a time when the world is going through a severe health crisis, it is important to take care of one’s mental health along with physical health. The outbreak of COVID-19 has meant that many countries in the world have imposed differing degrees of lockdowns to break the chain of contamination. However, these lockdowns can be both stressful and anxiety causing and hence, taking care of one’s mental health is crucial. It is important to remember that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and may be differently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing panic, anxiety, loneliness, hopelessness, and depression amongst all kinds of people, but especially amongst the elderly, people with chronic diseases, people with already existing mental health issues, children, health care service ...   Read more


Making India the global hub of higher education

    July 25, 2019 (
    By Devender Singh Aswal (EX-Additional Secretary, Lok Sabha)

After Ayushman Bharat, the largest health insurance scheme of the world, the next ambitious agenda of the Modi government is to make India one of the leading global hubs of higher education. According to the All India Survey of Higher Education-2018 (AISHE- 2018), the country has 907 universities and 50,000 higher education institutions with enrolment of 33 million students. The Indian higher education system is the third largest with USA and China being the first and the second respectively in quantitative terms. According to the Association of Indian Universities, India has huge potential to attract and retain internation ...   Read more


Re-imagining undergraduate education

    July 5, 2019 (
    By Devender Singh Aswal (EX-Additional Secretary, Lok Sabha)

The report of the Dr Kasturi Rangan Committee on Draft National Higher Education Policy (DNEP 2019) covers a wide gamut, almost all aspects of an overarching national education policy that should be holistic. There can be no gainsaying that education is a critical contributor to sustainable livelihoods, economic development and plays a catalytic role in improving human well being, and developing the nation as a democratic, just, socially conscious, cultured, and humane society, with liberty, equality, fraternity, and justice for all. As India moves towards becoming a true knowledge society and with the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, even more young Indians are aspiring for higher education. Havi ...   Read more


FACT FILE | No-Confidence Motion in Lok Sabha | Monsoon Session 2018

    August 2018
    By PARI Staff Reporter

A Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha and it remains in office till it enjoys confidence of majority of the members in Lok Sabha. Thus, a motion of no-confidence is moved to remove the council of ministers and thus oust the government from office. While Article 75 of the Indian Constitution specifies that the council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People - there is no mention of a no-confidence motion. All it indicates is that the majority of Lok Sabha members must be with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. Article 118 of the Constitution permits each house of Parliament to make its own rules for conduct of business. Rule 198 of the Lok Sabha specifies the procedure for a motion of no-confidence. Any member may give a written notice before 10 am; the Speaker will read the ...   Read more


Washout of Parliament Session, a Breach of Privilege of the Houses, MPs By Dr. N.Prasad

    June 2018
    By Dr. Narmadeshwar Prasad [Director, Parliamentary & Administrative Research Institute (PARI)]


Another idea will hold good if the Parliament adopts the principle of ‘the Disruptors Pay’ and levy heavy penalties on the disrupting members and deduct from their salary and allowances.

A near complete washout of the second part of the Budget Session 2018 has raised some alarming issues. Right to be heard in the Parliament is democratic but taking the Parliament to ransom is outright undemocratic.

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संसद में अवरोध की राजनीति

    04 Apr 2018 (
    By देवेन्द्र सिंह असवाल, पूर्व अपर सचिव, लोकसभा 

नोक-झोंक, रोक-टोक, आकस्मिक व्यवधान, व्यंग्य-विनोद, हाजिर जवाबी और तर्क चातुर्य ऐसी विधाएं हैं, जो संसद की कार्यवाही को जीवंत बनाती हैं। ये मौलिक बहस का सृजन और साथ ही सांसदों की तत्क्षण स्फूर्त बोलने की क्षमता का निर् ...   Read more


Opinion: News that Congress is out of a key parliamentary committee is a worrying development

    25 Sep 2017 (
    By Dr. Narmadeshwar Prasad [Director, Parliamentary & Administrative Research Institute (PARI)]

According to recent media reports, the Congress has lost the chairmanship of a key parliamentary panel in the Rajya Sabha. If true, this is not good parliamentary practice and certainly is not a good sign for India’s democracy. A report in the Hindu on September 21 said that the Congress had lost the chairmanship of the standing committee on personnel, law and justice, which was headed by Anand Sharma. It said that Sharma is likely to be replaced by the BJP’s Bhupender Yadav and that a formal order was expected ...   Read more


Ganga: Purifying the Purifier

    June 6, 2016
    This mission, also called Namami Gange, was started in May 2015 with an outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore and aims for complete rejuvenation of the Ganga. But that seems easier said than done.
    By Devender Singh Aswal (EX-Additional Secretary, Lok Sabha)

The story of the Ganga is the story of India’s civilization. For countless millions, the “Tri-path-gamini” (traveler of the three worlds) Ganga is a river of eternal faith. The promise to purify mother Ganga, declared one of the 10 most polluted rivers of the world, galvanized the electoral campaign of the 16th Lok Sabha. Elected to power, the new government rechristened the Water Resources Ministry as the Ministry for Water Resources, River De ...   Read more


No to ‘Vote on Account’: A Welcome Reform By Dr N Prasad.

    Jan 2017
    By Dr. Narmadeshwar Prasad [Director, Parliamentary & Administrative Research Institute (PARI)]

After Mr. Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India, expectations on several fronts, including parliamentary reforms rose. The status quoist attitude of the previous governments influenced people's thinking and turned Indian bureaucracy lethargic.The change of power happened in 2014 on the promise of change. It took around two years to bring the goods and services tax preliminary legislation on track, which will be a landmark reform in our indirect taxation system. The Planning Commission gave way to Niti Aayog thus reducing one major wall between the people of states and the Centre. On the Parliamentary front, the promise to approve the national budgetary grants before March 31, 2016 will go down in the annals of history as major reform with far-reaching implications. Passing general budgets before Ma ...   Read more