[Answered] Rajya Sabha is not only important for its deliberative and reflective functions, but also for making the parliamentary process participatory and accountable. Elucidate.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how Rajya Sabha is important for its deliberative and reflective functions, as well as for making the parliamentary process participatory and accountable.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The Rajya Sabha has been playing a pivotal role in India’s much cherished parliamentary democracy, keeping the bicameral structure alive, setting new records since its inception. It came into being in 1952. For the first time, bicameralism was introduced by Government of India Act, 1919.The most crucial role of the Rajya Sabha is the continuity it provides to the Indian parliamentary democracy- it is often referred to as the permanent house of Parliament.

Participatory and accountable parliamentary process:

  • The process of indirect elections (elected by the members of the state legislative assemblies) acts as a passage between the states, people, and Parliament. This furthers the principles of decentralisationby lending an independent voice to the states.
  • The second chamber enables a second and reflective expressionof representative opinion.
  • It ensures that the majoritarian thrust of the Lower House does not undermine rule of law and public institutions. Legislation is checked by memberswho are expected to be sober, wise and well-informed with domain knowledge.

Deliberative and reflective functions:

  • Nomination of eminent persons: from fields like the arts and sports makes it even more democratic and participatory as eminent people making significant contributions to society.
  • Voice of intellectual reasoning: Rajya Sabha acts as an instrument to provide compelling insights, discuss the ethics and morals underlying any topic, and review and influence public policy through a multidimensional lens.
  • Rajya Sabha is the voice of sanityof the excluded, and of citizen rights. It had cleared bills to penalise untouchability (1954), prohibit dowry (1959), and give all Indian children the right to education (2009).

Way forward:

  • Matters related to finance, fiscal federalism, and economic reforms must be brought under the purview of the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Rajya Sabha must not be used by political parties to accommodate candidates who fail to win mass elections.
  • It is necessary to make RS an effective and time-bound contributor to India’s parliamentary system.
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