Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All in a day's work of an Indian MP

Parliamentary Research Services gathers statistics of attendance of our esteemed members of the Parliament and analyzes them. Take a look at their MP attendance analysis for the period 2004 to 2006. Many trends fall out, including the fact that parties with no stake in the ruling government (BJP, BSP) have the lowest attendances.

It's quite incredible, to see how the public money gets spent. Check out the daily agenda in the Loksabha -- I've picked yesterday, pick your own date, yesterday is one of the better days. Every single report being presented to the council, has time marked to make a statement showing reasons for delay in reporting it.
"Statement (Hindi and English versions) showing reasons for delay in laying the papers mentioned at (1) above."

The real irony comes from Aug 21st agenda. Check this out --
12. SHRI RAJESH VERMA and SHRI NIKHIL KUMAR CHOUDHARY to lay on the Table minutes (Hindi and English versions) of the 7th sittings of the Committee on Absence of Members from the sittings of the House held on 7 December, 2006.

Minutes of a meeting held in december 2006 regarding absence of members, is being presented in August 2007!!!

All this is the loksabha. The rajyasabha doesnt let anything out. Today's agenda is "government business". In the name of all that is sweet and pure, what else can they ever do?

SocialWatch India had an article back in 2003. Quoting from it --
Time lost on account of unruly behavior: The Lok Sabha lost over 60 hours to disruptions. The cost of Parliamentary transactions is currently estimated to be Rs 18,430 per minute. The loss to the public exchequer can be easily imagined. The only thing that can be said in favour of MPs is that the time lost due to disruptions was less in 2003 as compared to 2002. One can perhaps attribute this marginal improvement to the increasing media attention to disruption of Parliament and the mounting public displeasure over the way MPs are squandering public money. Decreasing number of sittings: For 36 years from the time of its inception in 1952, the Lok Sabha sat for over 100 days every year. In fact, it averaged 138 sittings in a year for several years and came down to 102 days in 1988. Since then, it has fallen to just about 80 days in a year. But the year 2003 saw a further decline- the Lok Sabha sat for only 74 days during the year.

Unfinished business-pending Bills: In Rajya Sabha more than 30 bills are pending, which include the bills pending for more than 10 years. This includes bills such as the Indian Medical Council (amendment) bill introduced in 1987. In the Lok Sabha, the end of every session during the year 2003 saw about 30-40 pending Government Bills. At the end of the fourteenth session, the number of pending Private Members Bills stood at 261.

Who will watch the watchdogs?

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