MINISTERS IN NEIGHBOURHOOD PARLIAMENTS OF CHILDREN

The term “minister” originally meant servant. Ministers are those who serve the people; therefore the people are the masters. It is in this sense that our Neighbourhood Parliaments of Children have ministers. They are not the masters; neither can they act autocratically. They are entrusted with certain responsibilities. They work for the welfare of the people. Each identified concern in the neighbourhood is entrusted to someone responsible to carry out the necessary actions. The minister for each concern will gather information regarding the particular concern, reflect on the issues, and identify the problems related. The minister will also get other members of the parliament to gather likewise more information and propose action and jointly implement the proposals. Functioning as a minister in the Neighbourhood Parliaments of Children is itself a citizenship training.

How many ministers are needed in a neighbourhood parliament?

Certain social worker in Theni District introduced the custom of making all the members ministers. Half are to be ministers and the other half, deputy ministers. The reason given is that all must have some responsibility or other. Being left out could be discriminatory to the child. Discrimination is an antithesis to the very concept of Neighbourhood Parliaments of Children. Being called a minister itself has helped instil in children a sense of responsibility and self-confidence. However, it is not necessary to follow this particular custom. The number of Ministers can be determined by the number of concerns that the neighbourhood parliament has identified.Neighbourhood Parliaments of Children elect their ministers through sociocratic method.

Examples of Ministers

The following are some of the examples gathered from various districts of Tamil Nadu.

 

  • Prime Minister
  • Parliamentary Affairs (Secretary)
  • Public Works
  • Education
  • Finance Minister
  • Art
  • Sports and Games
  • Welfare
  • Defence
  • Human Resources Development
  • Spirituality
  • Prime Minister
  • Parliamentary Affairs (“Home”)
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Transport
  • Art and Culture
  • Law
  • Environment
  • Children’s Safety
  • Public Works
  • Police

Definitely all these ministers need not be appointed in all the parliaments. Necessity and relevance are the criteria.

During a seminar of Children’s Neighbourhood Parliament in New Delhi in which people from Delhi’s various types of colonies and Haryana’s villages participated, it was found that while the resettlement colonies and the unauthorised colonies of Delhi insisted on Minister for Electricity, Water, ration, etc, those from Haryana’s villages suggested Ministries for environment, nature, agriculture, etc.

 

Roles and Responsibilities of the Ministers

 

Whatever be the ministries, it is important to define that the roles and responsibilities of the ministers are clearly defined.

A group of foreigners visited a village in Kanyakumari District. A boy from that village introduced himself as Minister for Defence. The visitors did not understand what he meant by Minister for Defence in a fishing village. They enquired what the responsibility of the Minister for Defence was. The boy replied he was meant to defend the rights of the children.

Contact Information

8A/ 1A, Arul Nagar,

Paalpannai Road,

Nagercoil-629001,

Kanyakumari District,

Tamilnadu, India.

Phone: +91 4652 278223
Mob: +91 94426 48224
E-mail: ncnworld2000@yahoo.com
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