Organizing the All India Whips Conference is one of the functions assigned to the Ministry of Parliamentary affairs, under Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 made under article 77(3) of the Constitution. However, in view of the important role played by Whips in the smooth running of the Parliament, the first All India Whips Conference was held, in September, 1952 at Indore – in the first year after the first general elections in the country. 13 Whips Conferences have been held so far. The 14th All India Whips Conference is now being organised on 4-5 February, 2008 in the Central Hall of Maharashtra Legislature, Mumbai.
In the parliamentary form of Government, Whips of various political parties are the vital links of the internal organization of parties, inside the legislatures. The efficient and smooth functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures depends, to a considerable extent, upon the office of the Whip. The Whips can be rightly said to be the managers of the parties within the legislatures.
Both the ruling as well as opposition parties appoint their whips and certain duties are common to the whips of all parties. But Government Chief Whip has some very important duties. The most important duty is mapping out the time of the session, coordinating, monitoring and management of the business of the Government. Another important function of the Government Chief Whip is to constantly feel the pulse of the House and to render an account of the same to the Leader of the House/Government. The Government whips also act as an important communication link between the leader of the House and the Members of the ruling party and also keep in close touch with the whips of the other parties on matters concerning the business of the House as also on many other matters relating to the House as a whole.
Whips of the opposition parties have an equally important role. They supply their members with all important information and ensure the presence and participation of members of the respective parties in the House specially during important discussions and voting. They play an equally important role in maintaining the standard of debates at a high level in the Parliament/Legislatures. They also interact with the presiding officers and the secretariat of the concerned House on behalf of their parties and members to ensure efficient coordination vis a vis the complex requirements of parliamentary procedures, practices and conventions.