How change gets made
In India specifically, change can happen in one of two ways:
- a law get made
- a government order gets issued.
Laws take time. But once created they are fairly permanent.
Government orders are faster but they are also easily revoked. More importantly, failing to adhere to a government order is not a criminal offense.
When a problem is serious enough to necessitate legislature the first step is for the ministry that precedes over the issue to create a draft for the law.
This draft is then publicly showcased so that anyone can offer their opinion on the draft. The more detailed, factual, and useful this feedback is the more likely it will be considered.
After this process, the cabinet introduces the draft to Parliament. Parliament is the central law-making body. It consists of two houses and laws must be voted on by both houses before they are passed.
- The house of the people
- The Council of States.
If a draft makes it to parliament it becomes a bill. A bill is an official proposal for a law.
A team of ministry-specific specialists known as a Standing Committee review the bill and then present it to the rest of parliament. It is not unusual for the standing committee to approach public stakeholders for feedback and clarification on different aspects of the bill.
The Committee submits its recommendations to parliament in the form of a report, which then gets debated in each house.
Members of Parliament are public servants. They can be approached to discuss the importance of a bill at any time. When a bill is being discussed in parliament, engaged citizens can (and should) approach their MPs to provide them with an accurate, detailed, and contextual understanding of the bill’s purpose.
If a bill is passed in both houses it is sent to the President who then signs it. Once signed, it becomes the law of the land.