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A CRS Report on Parliamentary Questions

February 12th, 2010 1 comment

Unlike the Parliamentary system, the concept of ‘question hour’ or ‘question time’ doesn’t really exist in the American legislature.  Here’s an interesting report done by the Congressional Research Service on the possibility of a question time in the US.

From our point of view, the report is interesting because it reviews the existing provisions for a Parliamentary Question Time  in different countries (India isn’t mentioned), and considers the pros and cons of such a system.

The report concludes:

“Whether the question period would be successful in a system of separated powers depends in large part on the attitude of its participants and on the format the question period ultimately assumes. The question period has the potential of involving more rank-and-file Members in the policy-making process, and improving the means of communication between executive departments and the Congress. It also could harden relations between the Congress and the Executive, and might increase the level of partisan controversy in Congress.”

There’s even an online petition among a few american bloggers to push for a question time in the US.  Read about it here.

In this country of course, parliamentary questions are an established feature of the work of Parliament. Parliamentary questions cover a huge range of topics and can be an mine of information and data about government policy. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sites put the complete text of all parliamentary questions (and the responses to them) online.