Hardly a day goes by in India without opposition parties demanding the government of the day to release of white paper on one issue or the other.
In parliament opposition parties often demand publication of White Paper on the economic crisis or agrarian situation or employment guarantee scheme in India. On December 20, 2014, Gurudas Dasgupta, one of the greatest parliamentarians of the time, demanded a White Paper on “unprecedented crisis” being faced by Indian economy as a result of the global meltdown.
Similarly, Telangana opposition leaders demanded a white paper on Yadadri temple town development works. On March 24,2018 TDP Yadadri district president Badru Shobha Rani and CPM district secretary MD Jahangir demanded the government to release a White Paper on the Yadadri Temple and Temple town development.
On Saturday ie December 29, 2018, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu released a White Paper, seventh one in series, on infrastructure development in the the state.
Naidu narrated in the said White Paper how with the continued efforts of TDP Government the state of Andhra Pradesh had overcome the energy deficiency in a span of just four and half years. The White Paper also said the reforms introduced in the energy sector helped in achieving energy surplus in the state.
The term White Paper has always been used as a political tool by the opposition parties to hit at the government, while the government uses it to blunt the opposition criticism on the policies. BTW what is a White Paper.
Most of the parliamentary vocabulary is borrowed from British Parliamentary which is generally considered as the source democratic practices among commonwealth countries. The term White Paper is also a term derived from practices of British Parliament.
What is a White Paper
White paper is a policy document produced by the Government that set out their proposals for future legislation. White Papers are often published as Command Papers and may include a draft version of a Bill that is being planned. This provides a basis for further consultation and discussion with interested or affected groups and allows final changes to be made before a Bill is formally presented to Parliament.
Origins of White Paper
In the early 1900s, the British government began creating white papers to provide information about policies being considered to inform the public about an issue and solicit reaction. So, a white paper is an authoritative report or guide that often addresses issues and how to solve them. The term originated when government papers were coded by color to indicate distribution, with white designated for public access.
In England when the members of the Parliament wanted to put their views forward they created long documents. These long documents made a case as to why their views were right and why they needed to be put into action for the overall benefit of the country.
“These documents were as long as proper books and they needed to be bound together to make them appear professional and easy to carry around. Sometimes instead of binding them, the members of the parliament just wrapped them in paper and submitted them directly without binding them. This is how the white papers got their name – from the white papers they were wrapped in.”