Mains- Answer writing practice: Rajya Sabha #163

Mains- Answer writing practice: Rajya Sabha

What are the various issues with respect to the composition and functioning of the Rajya Sabha? (200 words)

Model Answer

 The functioning and composition of Rajya Sabha over the years has been criticized, even raising the demands of its abolition.
Issues related to its composition:
Currently, the distribution of seats in the house is unequal, favoring larger states over the smaller states.
The removal of the domicile requirement (Kuldip Nayar case) has watered down the federal role of house.
The members of house are criticized for furthering their party interests rather than the interests of the states (lack of debate on misuse of Article 356 etc.)
The house provides backdoor entry to candidates who have lost Lok Sabha elections, crony capitalists and favoured journalists, thus undermining democractic credentials.

Issues related to its functioning:
The sessions of the Rajya Sabha are characterised by frequent disruptions and delays leading to poor productivity.
The low attendance of the members in the Rajya Sabha sessions is leading to poor quality of debates and discussions. The nominated members often miss complete sessions altogether.
It is also criticized for losing its connection with the ground. On one hand, some members are swayed by the idealist and ivory tower ideas, others are often less informed and ill-equipped for debates and discussions.
The limited powers of Rajya Sabha with respect to money bills and no confidence motion further compromise its functioning as it is bypassed on important matters.

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