Panaji (Goa) [India], January 10 (ANI): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said that legitimacy of legislators and lawmaking bodies is critical for the effective functioning of parliamentary democracy backed by much-needed trust and confidence of people.
Speaking to present and former legislators of Goa on the occasion of the 'Legislators Day' in Panaji on Saturday, Naidu urged the lawmakers to accord priority for the good and welfare of the people instead of being preoccupied with personal vocations and interests and empowerment of self.
"Representing people is not a part-time activity and it shall be the prime responsibility if not fulltime. Proper commitment to the cause of the people flows from getting priorities right. Those who have no time for people better not enter the legislatures," he said.
Noting that legislatures are the instruments of according legitimacy for the decisions of both the executive and the judiciary, he raised the prospect of the very legitimacy of legislatures coming into question if they are dysfunctional and law-makers do not enjoy the respect of the people they represent.
Naidu, who is also Rajya Sabha Chairman, urged the lawmakers to ensure the legitimacy of the law-making bodies through ideal behaviour and effective functioning both within and outside the Houses.
He suggested to the lawmakers to do so by equipping them with six attributes that would make a significant difference.
"It is the functioning of legislatures and law-making bodies that can either make or mar any democracy. Their effective functioning forms the basis of people's trust and confidence in parliamentary institutions. Unfortunately, there is a certain trust deficit with people's perceptions about the legislators and legislatures being in the negative, based on what they get to see and hear. This deficit needs to be addressed at the earliest," he said.
Outlining the other positive attributes expected of lawmakers, Naidu urged them to develop a strong connect with the people they represent to properly assess and understand their difficulties and aspirations.
"Any legislature is as good as its members. The legitimacy of both of them are interdependent as each of them draw sustenance from the other." He further noted that any legislator modelled on these six positive attributes would most certainly like the House to 'Discuss, Debate and Decide' so that she/he can make a useful contribution rather than being disrupted and that is the difference that able legislators can make to the functioning of legislatures.
"Any legislator has the option of either supporting the government or opposing it. Informed opposition to the government's proposals in fact does a certain good but opposing for the sake of doing it does harm," he said.
The Vice President complimented the people and successive governments of Goa for its emergence as the most developed in the country with the highest per capita income.
However, referring to Goa having had as many as 30 governments during the 57 years since the first elections in 1963, Naidu said that it is a huge number by any reckoning and it is difficult to justify such a political flux which results in negative perception.
"Would Goa have done much better with more political stability? I expect all stakeholders and in particular, the legislators to deeply reflect on this issue as you have to find answers to the challenges that the state has to overcome if it is to retain its frontline position," he said. (ANI)