CPA India Region conference: Legislature should act as watchdog on financial accountability of Executive, says Birla

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon and Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit in Assembly on Thursday. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla Friday said that Legislature should act as a watchdog on financial accountability of the Executive. He was addressing a plenary session on “enhancing focus of the legislators on legislative business” on the second day of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region conference at the state Legislative Assembly in Lucknow Friday.

“Legislatures should act as watchdogs on financial accountability of the Executive. For this, it is necessary that they have a better understanding of financial terminologies and budgetary processes,” the Lok Sabha speaker said, adding that some teams of experienced parliamentarians and officials can be sent to different Assemblies for capacity building.

Birla suggested the Speakers of different state Assemblies to consider holding briefing sessions on legislative business like Lok Sabha.
“Legislatures should work smoothly without disruptions and for this, rules can be framed. Efforts should be made for bringing uniformity in the rules,” he said.

Birla added there is a need to raise the standard of discussions in Parliament and state Assemblies to identify loopholes of proposed laws.
“There is a need to raise the standard of discussions inside Parliament and legislative Assemblies. The more a proposed law is studied before it actually becomes a law, chances are more that it will be made in the correct direction,” Birla said.

“The people have given legislators the responsibility of making laws and discussions should be held as to how can we raise the standard, how people will benefit from a proposed law or what are the possible loopholes,” he said.

The Lok Sabha speaker said that it was decided at a meeting in Dehradun that before a state government brings a law, MLAs should deliberate as to why the law is being enacted and go through its provisions.

The MLAs should also hold discussions with people before a law is enacted, Birla said. “For this, the Lok Sabha will assist the state Assemblies,” he said, adding elected public representatives act as a bridge between the people and the government.

Birla further said that debates of all legislatures, including Parliament and state Assemblies, would be brought on a single platform. “Such conferences will also be organised at the level of gram panchayats and nagar palikas in order to raise the level of debates and make the members aware about the budgetary process.”

Birla added that the Lok Sabha would organise a special function to mark 100 years of Parliamentary Accounts Committee and that the state representatives would be invited for discussion.

Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi maintained that the main task of the legislatures is to engage in the process of law making and therefore they must be able to identify a policy issue, potential legislative options to address these issues and also consult concerned stakeholders. “In order to meet the legislative responsibilities, it is imperative that legislators have access to sector-specific research support,” Naqvi emphasised during his keynote address, pointing out the process of briefing sessions on legislative business started by the Parliament.
Governor Anandi Ben, who also addressed the closing ceremony, said that the Legislature is not just doing the work of making laws, but is also at the fore front of the economic and social change.

On Day One, discussions took place on “capacity building of legislators for scrutinising budgetary proposals”.

A total of 35 delegates from different branches of CPA India Region, along with 270 members of UP Assembly and Legislative Council, besides guests from Australia and Malaysia attended the conferemce.