Do you know about responsibilities and limitations of your MP?

Hardeep Singh Bedi

India is a democratic country where the Indians are the real owners of India. The main problem in India is that almost 99% of Indians who cast their vote in elections are not aware of the roles and responsibilities of those whom they elect through the electoral process. 

To make the matter worse, they don’t keep a Constant Watch on their representatives as there is a pillar in a democracy that is called ‘Media’.

A Bitter Fact is that Media organisations that are supposed to be the guardians of peoples’ rights are mainly busy guarding their own interests. 

Therefore, the Politics Watch believes that the time has come when the Indians should take training of becoming an owner of India rather than merely casting their vote in elections.  

Until and unless every Indian acquires knowledge about how to make his/her representative accountable to him/her, the country is not going to become a developed country. 

The Politics Watch is committed to provide the requisite knowledge to the Indians that will make them owners of the country in a real sense. 

The Politics Watch aims to provide tailor-made knowledge about the roles and responsibilities of every public representative beginning from the Member of Parliament to the Sarpanchs.

In this series, this post provides knowledge about the roles and responsibilities of the Members of Parliament (MPs). 

To know more about the goals and vision of Politics Watch, read: Why Politics Watch 

Here are the responsibilities and limitations of an MP

It’s in the interests of the Indians to understand the responsibilities and limitations of an MP as they hold a very important position in a parliamentary democracy like India. 

First of all, it’s important to understand that there are two types of MPs: Lok Sabha MP and Rajya Sabha MP. 

The Lok Sabha MPs are elected directly by the Indians during General Elections, which are normally held every five years. 

Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by the electoral college of the elected members of the State Assembly with a system of proportional representation by a single transferable vote. 

The tenure of a Rajya Sabha MP is six years. 

The MPs are also known as lawmakers as the Prime Function of the MPs is to participate in the lawmaking process.

The Government of the day tables a Bill (draft of the proposed law) in the Parliament for elaborate discussion on each and every point of the proposed law.

The MPs participate in the discussion and vote for the proposed law. 

Once the Bill gets a majority vote in its favour in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha then it’s sent to the President for his/her assent.  With the assent of the President, the Bill becomes an Act (Law).

In the lawmaking process, the limitation of an MP comes to the fore. 

Your MP can’t vote as per his/her free will in the lawmaking process but has to follow his/her party’s stand on the particular Bill. 

The political parties in the Parliament appoint their ‘whip’ whose responsibility is to ensure that members of the party vote according to the party’s stand or supreme leader of the party in the Parliament, rather than according to their own individual ideology or the will of their constituents. 

The party whip issues three types of whip:

A one-line whip is issued to inform the members about the vote. 

A two-line whip is issued to inform the members to be present inside the House at the time of the vote. 

A three-line whip is issued directing members to vote according to the party line. 

If an MP violates his party’s whip, he faces expulsion from the House under the Anti Defection Act.

However, there is an exception: the three-line whip can be violated only if one-third of the legislators of a party decide to cast their vote against the party line.

Power to Ask Questions 

The MPs are part of the Legislature and as per the Constitution of India, the Executive (Government) is accountable to the Legislature. 

Since the Legislature comprises elected peoples’ representatives, the Government is ultimately accountable to the citizens. 

Asking questions is an inherent and unrestrained parliamentary right of the members.

The MPs, including the ruling party MPs, have a right to ask questions to government ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the Parliament. 

Role in Development 

Apart from discharging their duties in the Parliament, the MPs also play an important role in the development of his/her State or constituency.

The MPs have been given the main tool called the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for the development of the country. 

Under the scheme, Every MP is allocated Rs 5 crore per year for initiating developmental works in his/her constituency. 

The details of the MPLADS are given in this article: Here is all you need to know about MPLAD scheme

Apart from it, there are provisions in the Constitution to nominate the MPs in Local Bodies. The Local Bodies such as Panchayats and Municipalities play an important role in bringing development to the grassroot level.  

MPs have also been assigned an important role in the monitoring of some Centrally Sponsored Schemes in their respective districts. 

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