House and Governmental Structure Government Formation
1. In order to simulate the democratic structure of government formation, the house would commence by electing the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition on the following procedure. 1.1 After the selection of the delegates, based on their skills and set of enlisted criterias, the Speaker, prior to conference, would invite the applications from the members (delegates) who want their candidature for the election of PM. After finalizing the final list of the candidates contesting the elections, the Speaker would invite the proposed ‘manifesto or policy papers or white paper or the ay combination of these three’ from the contestants who are contesting the elections. The agenda and their profile would be put online prior to the commencement of conference. Now, when the house comes into session, the delegates would already know about the candidates. The motion would be moved by the speaker to select the leader of the house Prior to voting, the candidates would get appropriate time to present their candidature and the agenda/ policies they would want to discuss if they come to power.
1.2 The candidates will go through the set of debates known as Prime Ministerial Debates. (The 4 contestants will be selected, the candidates will go through 2 sets of debates. In the first round, set of debates random pairing will be done and hence we will have 2 paired debates, say contestant-1 v/s contestant-3 (C-1 v/s C-3) and contestant-2 v/s contestant-4 (C-2 v/s C-4). The winners, as decided upon voting of the house, of the two debates qualify for the final debate. The first round debates will be 15 minutes each on 3 agendas each, with 2 minutes speaker time and 30 seconds rebutal, which will be selected by the moderator on the basis of their respective manifesto agendas. The final debate will be a ‘Town Hall debate’, wherein the members of the house would be allowed to ask 7 questions, with 2 minutes speaker time each and 30 seconds rebutal. Upon the final debate the closed- ballot voting is done and the winner ensues ‘PM’ position and the loser ‘the Opposition Leader Position’) 1.3 Subsequent to the set of ‘Prime Ministerial Debates’, the speaker would call for ‘Motion of Voting of Head of State’ (every one present in the house has to vote, which will be closed ballot voting with no abstentions allowed). The results would be evaluated taking all the contestants in confidence. The person who gets the maximum votes would be declared as the leader of the house (Prime Minister). The runner-up would presume the ‘leader of the opposition’.
1.4 The government, headed by the Prime Minister, in all would constitute a group of five cabinet ministers including the PM. This group will consist of:- 1) Prime Minister 2) Finance Minister 3) Minister of Parliamentary Affairs 4) Two more ministers which the PM thinks are needed and are related with the policy and the bills which the government wants to pass, the ministries and the ministers can be changed accordingly. Note: The first three positions would be permanent and a house will always have these ministers but the other two ministries and ministers can be changed. 1.5 The Cabinet would be elected after the ‘Cabinet Ministry Debates’ (In order to ensure the meritocracy and democratic criteria for these ministers, again nominations would be invited prior to debate. The selected few would contest for each of the positions. Since we have to limit the time frame and ensure a due chance to everyone, before the house is put to vote on each ministerial position, we would have the British parliamentary debate. This way we will cater to 8 nominations in just one debate. As a prerequisite to participating in the debate, one would need to present (his/her manifesto to the house)/ (a white paper/policy paper on the issue, decided by steering committee) before the debate commences formally on 16th December.)
2. By electing ‘the Head of State’ and the Leader of opposition and the Cabinet Ministry, the house entrusts its faith in making the functioning more democratic and policy oriented. The elections are basically to give the direction to the house and to set agendas for discussion. Delegates elect their leader not by getting aligned with them but by making their viewpoints aligned with the candidates respective manifestos. Once the PM is elected he will have to form a small group of ministers, who will help him in his work and coordinate with him. More or large the house would remain undivided. Initially the bills would be tabled by the government, adhering to the clause and since the government has been elected by the members themselves, the debate on the bills is expected to be the house’s choice and then finally a bill can be passed. Similarly the working can go on various bills. Every bill tabled in the house for discussion would be voted and after the discussion the bill shall be voted upon.
(Note- bill or motion for discussion can be presented by any member, but it is to the speaker to put it on vote or discard it.)
Parliamentary Procedure A. Parliamentary Procedure – Bills Ombudsman
1. Speaker’s Discretion 1.1 The working of the house will depend a lot on the speaker has he would be having the discretionary power on various matters. But these powers would also be subjected to the majority’s consent in the house. Matters ranging from holding elections to passing up of bills would be moved by the speaker but again they would be only carried out after the house agrees to it. 1.2 As bills could be introduced and presented by any delegate or team be it the opposition, the bill could be discussed and passed with the consensus of simple AYES or NO’S. If any discrepancies arrive the voting would be conducted by the speaker.
2. Reverse Consensus- If at any point the debate becomes inconsistent and the govt. does not function according to the will of the house, any member can propose the motion for no-confidence against the govt. If it is passed by >50% majority of the house the leader of the opposition may become the PM. In this way we create a significant scope for the opposition and maximize the scope of simulation of the current parliamentary system in the MIG. Here also the agendas are set by the delegates will and there is no imposing of the agenda. Hence the discussion is expected to be in an open and vibrant form.
3. Bill Introduction 3.1 Process of law making begins with the introduction of a bill. A bill can be introduced either by a Minister or a member other than a Minister.
3.2 A bill will undergo three readings in each house- 3.2.1 The First refers to- Motion for leave to introduce a Bill in the House. On the adoption of the motion the bill is introduced or in the case of a bill originated in other house and passed by the other house, the laying on the table of the house of the bill, as passed by the other house. 3.2.2 The second reading consists of two stages. 126.96.36.199 First Stage constitutes discussion on the principles of the bill and its provisions generally on any of the following motion: a. That the bill be taken into consideration or b. That the bill be referred to a Select Committee of the House or c. That the bill be referred to a joint committee of the houses with the concurrence of the other House or d. That the bill be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon. 188.8.131.52 The Second Stage constitutes the clause by clause consideration of the Bill, as introduced in the House or as reported by a select or Joint Committee, as the case may be. 3.2.3 The Third Reading refers to the discussion on the motion that the bill or the bill as, amended, be passed.
4. Question Hour – First hour of a sitting of the house is devoted to questions and would be pursued as asking question is an inherent and unfettered parliamentary right of members. Members can ask questions on every aspect of administration and governmental policies (adherence to the agendas specified in conference). During question hour every minister has to stand up and answer for his or his administration’s acts of omission and commissions.
B. Proceedings of the House 1. As soon as the government is formed, the prime minister takes the charge and it becomes his government’s responsibility to run the house by coordinating with the other sections of the house. The coordination would be primarily done by the parliamentary affairs minister who will in general give the direction to the house and would also represents governments view in the working of the house(as in the current parliament).
2. The day’s session would be started by Question hour (by default) where members can ask the question to the government. These questions could be of immediate importance or may be general in order to understand the government’s view and opinion. The question hour would be for one hour and could be adjourned for initiating a specific debate on a particular bill or policy (working session). The hour (if the time is left) could be again taken into consideration.
3. Working session- Here the normal business of the house would take place. The tabling up of the bills and discussion on them, would take place in this session in accordance with the section ‘A- Parliamentary Procedures- Bills Ombudsman’. After the minister (or the person who introduces the bill) explains the bill’s motto and objective, the floor would be open to the house. Leader of the opposition will be by default the first speaker but he can yield his time to any member of opposition.
4. After a speaker has finished his statement he can yield his time either to the chair or to the minister (or the person who introduces the bill).
5. “Urgent direct statement” (UDS):-In the working session, every member of the house would have a right to make a statement but only if the chair allows. This can be raised in order to point out a factual error, to ask a question or to seek a clarification from the speaker. The speaker would reply only if the chair asks him to do so. A UDS can interrupt a speaker but it would be preferred after the speaker finishes his statement. A maximum of 5 UDS can be utilized by a delegate per session.
6. After the discussion, the speaker would invite the “amendments to be made” in the bill. The amendment should be passed by i) a simple majority if the government(or the member who has introduced the bill) agrees to amend the bill, ii) two-third majority if govt. (or the member who has introduced the bill) does not agree to amend. Finally the entire bill would put to vote, in order to pass i) any constitutional amendment would need a two-third majority, ii) otherwise the bill would need a simple majority to get passed. In order to put the bill to chair of the house and hence subject it to voting, it needs to have minimum number of ‘Signatories’ ( say 15% of the total present capacity of house). And once it qualifies this criteria it could be put to voting in house by the Chair. Till this stage, the bill would be referred to as the ‘’De’ Pre-franchendo’’. Once it gets a desired majority, it is said to have been passed as ‘‘De’ -franchendo’’. (De’ franchendo- A new term, that is coined in this debate, as something representing the principles of ‘franchisement’ and ‘memorandum of consent’, both reflective of essence of democracy. ‘’De’ Pre-franchendo’’ refers to the stage with minimum consent but lacking franchised majority)
7. If it seems that government’s confidence is falling and members outside the government are able to get their bill tabled and passed, or government’s bill and motions are failing to get passed, then this could be taken as sign of government “losing confidence” in the house. In such case any member can bring the motion of no-confidence against the present government and the house would undergo the provision of clause ‘Reverse Consensus’ as stipulated in clause 2 of ‘A. Parliamentary Procedures-Bills Ombudsman’.
8. The winner of Model Indian Governance’12 is decided through the ‘FACE OFF’ Debate The chairperson, along with the Steering Committee, nominates 2 delegates, which they regard as the best delegates, upon multi-evaluation, in the entire debate over the course of 3 days. The final 2 delegates would engage in 5 minutes speaker competition contest on a theme that will be decided by the respective candidates, and hence the themes can differ for each of them, and each of them will address the house upon the chosen theme. The bench of three judges evaluates them, and scores them out of 10. The house is also put to vote to decide the best delegate. The total score is evaluated as follows- T.S.= 0.5 * (A.S.)+ 0.5* (Votes Polled in Favour/ Total votes Polled) where, T.S.= total score, A.S.= Adjudicated score The one with maximum T.S. wins the debate and cash prize of INR 30,000 and the runner up the prize money of INR 20,000.
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