Question: Discuss in detail the functions of the Parliament.
Answer: Functions of the Parliament are:
1. Introduction of new Laws: The Parliaments can introduce new laws and change the old ones. A law is first introduced in the form of a bill. A bill is the draft of a proposed law. The bills can be broadly classified into three categories. They are:
- Money Bills: Money Bills contain provisions related to tax regulations, regulation of borrowing of money by the government, parliament to or withdrawal from the Contingency or the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Ordinary Bills: Ordinary Bills are draft proposals for ordinary legislation.
- Constitution Amendment Bills: Constitutional Amendment Bills deal with the amendment of our Constitution. They can be introduced in either House of Parliament.
2. Financial control over the Government’s Income: The parliament exercises control over the government’s income and expenditure. The Parliament provides ways and means to raise the revenue required and also ensures that the money so granted has been spent for the authorized purposes. The parliament thus exercises financial control over the government through the Budget, the Consolidated Fund of India, grants and Contingency Fund.
- Budget: The government place its annual financial statement or the budget before the Parliament. The budget shows the income of the government in detail and how the money will be spent during a particular year.
3. Control Over the Executive: The Parliament keeps a check on the ministers and their work. Members of Parliament have the right to question the ministers about the policies and programmes of the government. This is usually done in the Question Hour. During the Zero Hour, which starts immediately after the Question Hour, the members can raise issues of public interest. If the members are not satisfied with the functioning of the government, the Lok Sabha can pass a vote of no-confidence to remove the government from power.
4. Organ of Information: The Parliament works as an organ of information. Members of Parliament can call for any information except that which may threaten the security of the country. The information provided by the Parliament is truthful and precise. This information is collated not only through debates but also through the specific medium of ‘questions’ to ministers. Thus, the Parliament is not just a law-making body, but also a multi-functional institution.