Indian parliamentarians are wasting your money

Indian parliamentarians are wasting your money

In his sternest comments yet on absenteeism among BJP MPs in Parliament, PM Narendra Modi on Thursday put the members on notice, hinting they could not take things for granted when it comes to the next Lok Sabha election. Though his annoyance was triggered by the embarrassment over a poor BJP turnout in Rajya Sabha during the crucial bill to give the national commission for backward classes constitutional status, Modi made plain his annoyance with truant party MPs, including those from Lok Sabha. "Aap apni marzi ki karte rahiye, mujhe jo karna hai, 2019 mein karoonga." (You do at your will and I will also act accordingly in 2019)," said Modi at the last meeting of the parliamentary party meet for the monsoon session. Don't blame me later (with regard to 2019), the PM said, underlining that renomination will be subject to strict performance reviews. (

Work pressure

Work discipline is a challenge and the MP's are no different when it comes to being at work. But many MP's asking for anonymity said that that there is a challenge working with bureaucrats and the work load is too heavy for them.

Earlier this month, Amit Shah had also reprimanded the BJP MPs over absenteeism. Shah had reportedly told MPs that it was their responsibility to do justice to the people who had elected them. This came after BJP MPs including ministers were absent from Parliament when the Opposition forced an amendment to accord constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes over its composition and the powers of states. Even as many Opposition MPs were absent, the BJP (

Eminent personalities are nominated to the Upper House because people from different paths of life can bring attention to public issues during the Parliamentary proceedings. Continuous absence to the sessions is a matter of concern. It is not only disrespectful to the proceedings of the House, but also to people who expect them to execute the role given to them with sincerity. The situation can be improved by making some changes. Pay and allowances need revision based on their attendance in the house. The quality of their participation in the form of questions raised during the question hour should be noted. If they continue to abstain from attending the sessions, action must be taken against them. Another suggestion is to nominate popular personalities who are not currently active in their profession and who have been actively raising their voice in matters concerning their field or common issues. (

Parliamentarians are wasting India's time and money

As per the recent analysis of PRS Legislative Research (PRS), against the average 127 days of sitting in the 1950s, Lok Sabha met only 74 times in 2012. The story of Rajya Sabha is also not different. Rajya Sabha on an average meets 93 days a year in 1950s. But it has reduced to merely 74 days in 2012.[viii] Worst of all was the winter session of Parliament in 2010. In the Whole session, the Rajya Sabha met just for two hours and 44 minutes, the Lok Sabha for seven and half hour. The number of Lok Sabha sessions that took place during the winter session was 23 which are way less than last few years.

The quality of participation of MPs reflects the proper representation of people in Parliament. Indian Parliament for long time has been known for the kind of discussion that prevailed in the Parliament reflecting national importance. But, in the present times the participation in crucial Parliamentary discussion has decreased at an alarming rate. In 2009, participation in Lok Sabha for passing of bills was very poor. In 2006 Lok Sabha, even an hour of debate did not take place and more than 40% of bills were passed. What is gloomier is that 65% of MPs did not say a word about any legislation during that year.

The biggest casualty is the decline in terms of the quality of debates in the House. This is because the intellectual quotient and political potential of contemporary parliamentarians are also declining significantly. What is astonishing is the fact that 23.2% of those elected to Parliament face criminal charges ranging from murder to extortion and rape. Therefore, it is highly unlikely to expect from such lot to be good debaters.

The condition is such in Parliament that matters of importance such as legislative debates are being discussed least while focus is only on financial matters. Debates regarding social welfare, civil rights, national security are almost ignored.

In an incident that took in 2003, a DMK member was suspended from the House because he tore a policy paper on Police Department near Speaker’s chair. As a result DMK members withdrew from participation in the whole session.

Most of the bills discussed in Parliament were passed in a very short duration of time and only few bills were discussed at length. Over the last many decades, the parliamentary records are full of instances of having passed the bills without the procedure for scrutiny and deliberation as laid down by Parliament. The South Asian University Bill, for instance, was introduced in Rajya Sabha, and passed within two days without any debate.

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