Question time

The Indian Express, November 29, 2015

Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha, Shamsher Sheriff, organised a workshop for some 250 directors and deputy secretary-level officers in government who prepare written answers for MPs, who pose written questions in Parliament during Question Hour. Several officers sought clarifications on contentious issues. A valuable piece of advice from the Rajya Sabha secretariat was that officers should not club different issues together in a reply. Instead, they should list them separately.

Bunching the reply gives the impression that the government is trying to circumvent the issue and avoid giving answers. Officers were advised that the common ministerial response, ?Let me look into the matter??, is not a good idea. The response might sound innocuous but in Parliamentary parlance, it amounts to an assurance and therefore, the minister will have to follow up with an explanation of the actual position. If he does not do so, he could be hauled up before the Parliamentary Committee on Assurances, a powerful body

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