Elaborating on the importance of legislatures, Vice President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu has asserted that the legitimacy of legislators and law making bodies is critical for effective functioning of parliamentary democracy backed by the much needed trust and confidence of the people. 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 lawmakers do not enjoy the respect of the people they represent.
Speaking to the present and former legislators of Goa on the occasion of the ‘Legislators Day’ in Panaji today, Shri Naidu urged the law makers to ensure the legitimacy of the law making bodies through ideal behavior 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.
The Vice President said; “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.”
Urging 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, Shri Naidu stressed that “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.”
Outlining the other positive attributes expected of law makers, Shri Naidu urged them to develop strong connect with the people they represent to properly assess and understand their difficulties and aspirations; right conduct both in public and inside the legislatures; character based on moral integrity; capacity to understand the emerging complexities and deliver and communication skills for effective communication with the people and all other stakeholders.
The Vice President said; “Any legislature is as good as its members. 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 useful contribution rather than being disrupted and that is the difference that able legislators can make to the functioning of legislatures.
Shri Naidu observed; “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.”
The Vice President complimented the people and successive governments of Goa for the emergence of the State as the most developed in the country with the highest Per Capita Income in the country and the best human development indicators since it’s liberation from the colonial rule 60 years back after a long drawn struggle. However, referring to Goa having had as many as 30 governments during the 57 years since the first elections in 1963, Shri 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. He raised the question of “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.”
Shri Naidu further noted that 11 of these 30 governments had tenure of less than one year each ranging from 6 days to 334 days and another three governments lasted for less than two years each. Only three governments ran full term. Alongside, Goa was placed under President’s Rule five times for as many as a total of 639 days which was about two years.
Noting that mining, the main growth driver of Goa reaching saturation, limited availability of land for industrialization and mounting ecological concerns as the major hurdles for sustained economic development, the Vice President underlined the need for the State to prepare for harnessing the opportunities offered by the ‘new economy’ in Information Technology, Biotechnology, Start Up entrepreneurship etc by promoting required skilled manpower resources.
The Governor of Goa Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant, Speaker, Goa Assembly, Shri Rajesh Patnekar, Deputy Speaker Shri Isidore Fernandes, Minister for Legislative Affairs, Govt of Goa, Shri Mawin Godinho, Leader of Opposition in Goa Assembly, Shri Digambar Kamat, Secretary of Goa Legislators Forum Shri Mohan Amshekar, Secretary Goa Legislative Assembly Smt. Namrata Ulman, Ministers and Members of the Goa Legislative Assembly were among the dignitaries who attended the event.