Centre For Parliamentary Research & Assistance

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1.0     BACKGROUND & NEED:

The quality of functioning and level of performance of the Parliament depends on the quality of debate and discussions that goes on in the Parliament. This , in turn depends on the knowledge and information available with the MP’s and their individual’s competence and commitment to raise issues.

It has been observed that the MP’s in general, find themselves inadequate in terms of ;

  • Development challenges confronting the country
  • Development challenges confronting their constituency with an analytical prospective
  • In depth insight into various development challenges in absence of research inputs.

This is due to the diverse background of the elected members of the Parliament. The case is similar to the MBA students joining an MBA programme with non-commerce and non-business backgrounds like Literature, Engineering etc.  These students are generally  exposed to basics of management and business to enable them to grasp the contents of an MBA programme. But, in case of the MPs, the challenge is more severe as the dynamic nature of change happening in a vast country in India. This demands continuous research and analysis  of the national issues to provide back up support to the MPs to enable them to participate effectively in the Parliament.

In absence of the above, an MP fails to add value to the quality of debate in the Parliament and improve his own performances as a Parliamentarian. This also affects their image as a politician and future growth.

Thus there is a genuine need of research and analysis assistance to the MPs to help them improve their quality of performance.

Based on the above need VISION FOUNDATION FOR DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT with a background in development research, training, policy advocacy for more than 22 years (brief profile is enclosed) has set up an “CENTRE FOR PARLIAMENTARY RESEARCH & ASSISTANCE ” with following objectives.

2.0     OBJECTIVES OF MP ASSISTANCE CENTRE:

The objectives of the centre are;

  • To provide comprehensive research and information assistance to the MPs
  • To draft questions relevant for the MP to be put in the parliament.
  • To support the careers of MP’s through various possible methods.

3.0     STRUCTURE & FUNCTIONING OF “CENTRE FOR PARLIAMENTARY RESEARCH & ASSISTANCE ”     

The Centre is headed by Prof Ranjan Mohapatra, Chairman, VISION FOUNDATION For Development Management(VISION FOUNDATION in brief) , who designed and taught a course on Development Management to MBA students in mid-nineties, has been involved in Development Research, raining and Advocacy activities including implementation of innovative development projects for The World Bank and other agencies.

The profile of partners of VISION FOUNDATION includes most of the UN agencies including the World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF , UN-APCTT etc, most of the Ministries of GoI, Planning Commission, Bilateral and multi lateral agencies.

(ref : www.visionfoundationindia.org)

Prof. Ranajn Mohapatra will be will be supported by a team of researchers with background in Development Research including Economics, Politics and Social systems. This Centre will also be advised by a team of eminent external experts from with knowledge and passion in development of India.

4.0     DRAFT Invitation letter to MPs for enrolling themselves for availing services of the Centre:

Dear Madam / Sir,

The role of a Member of Parliament is not as simple as it looks from outside. Though it is not categorically codified in the Constitution of India, Section 3 of Article 105, which discusses the powers and privileges of MPs and of committees, lays the responsibility of defining the responsibilities of an MP and committees on Parliament. It says: “..the powers, of each House of Parliament, and of the members and the committees of each House, shall be defined by Parliament by law from time to time.”

However, through various laws and otherwise, an MP is required to perform various responsibilities in Parliament and outside, which can be broadly classified into the following:

1) Legislative Role:           
a) Making laws for governance of our country (on subjects enumerated in the Union list and the residuary subjects). An MP participates in the discussion of a bill and suggests amendments to a Government bill.
b) Delegated legislation: Once a bill is signed into law, the powers to make detailed rules and regulations within its framework rest with the executive. An MP’s role is to keep a check on executive overreach and ensure that the powers of delegated legislation are not abused by the government.
2) Supervisory Role:
a) The MPs exercise control over the executive through Parliamentary interventions such as Question Hour, Zero Hour, Calling Attention Motion, Adjournment Motion, No-confidence Motion, Censure Motion and other discussions.
b) MPs also supervise the executive by participating in committees like Public accounts, estimates, Public undertakings and various other department related standing and ad-hoc committees.
3) Electoral Role: 
a) An MP participates in the election of the President and the Vice-president.
b) On the one hand, a Lok Sabha MP elects the Speaker of the House and the Deputy Speaker. On the other hand a Rajya Sabha MP elects the Vice-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

4) Power of the Purse: 
No tax can be levied and no expenditure incurred by the government except with the approval of the Parliament. The Budget is therefore presented to the Parliament. Parliamentary control over executive in matters of Finance is:
1) Budgetary control
2) Post-budgetary control (through financial committees –that some MPs in rotation are a part of)

5) Representative Responsibility
Every MP is the voice for his/her constituency. Every MP has to raise issues of his constituency in Parliament through questions, debates etc.  An MP can also play a role in implementing projects in his/her constituency by following up on projects at the level of the District Collectorate or at the State government and Central government level.

From 1993, MPs have also been given the responsibility to recommend projects in their constituency to the District Collector. A separate scheme called Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, which allocates 5 crores per MP per year (Earlier 2 crores, revised in 1998) was instituted in 1993. There are detailed guidelines which specify the nature of projects for which this fund can be utilized.

The new government has also assigned a responsibility to every MP to develop model villages in his/her constituency under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. Although, no new funds have been allocated under this scheme, the MPs are required to take efforts to leverage funds from different schemes of the State and Central government and channelize them to develop the model village.

Based on the above it is clear that an average MP is in need of assistance of an able team  for carrying out his duties and responsibilities  effectively, irrespective of his level of education and expertise.

It is seen that few MPs , appoint their own team of few researchers to support them in their activities. However, these staff members mostly  do not carry the required expertise to support the MP.

Therefore , there is an obvious need of an able team with the desired expertise to be able to support the MP performing his / her duties. To full fill these needs, VISION FOUNDATION has se up the “MP Assistance Centre ” .

The objectives of the centre are;

  • To provide comprehensive research and information assistance to the MPs
  • To draft questions relevant for the MP to be put in the parliament.
  • To support the careers of MP’s through various possible methods.

If, the services stated above are useful to you , you may contact us to enable our team to discuss further modalities in firming up the arrangements.

Hope to hear from you,

With warm regards,

Prof.Ranjan Mohapatra

Centre Director / Chairman , VISION FOUNDATION