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  • Members of Parliament: Costing High; Performance Poor

    Published on November 30, 2010

    By S K Visary

    We react relentless when an assistant teacher in a nearby primary school takes leave for a day. We will never tolerate a nurse in the local health centre is late by a few minutes. But what happens to our sense of social scruples when a section of the elected Members of Parliament are up in arms in the House stalling the proceedings and the precious time to deliberate on issues of national importance is scuttled ruthlessly .  For the past 12 successive days the pandemonium continues in both the Houses of Parliament, thanks to the unyielding stance of both the ruling Congress coalition and the Opposition on the issue of the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee Probe of the infamous trillion rupees 2G Spectrum scam. Since the inception for the 15th Lok Sabha the House was   interrupted by the members 14207 and 113 times it was adjourned.  The total cost to the exchequer to elect and maintain the members for a term of five years is a whooping 11458 crore rupee.

    Here the pertinent question from a common man is what could be the duty and responsibility of an elected Lawmaker in a democratic political system?   Democracy means “rule of the people”.   The members are elected to the different legislative houses to debate and determine the wellbeing of the country and the community. They are properly paid for their assignment. But are they doing justice to the voters who have authorized them for a term of five years to rule the nation on behalf of them?

    In fact the exchequer shells out billions to elect and maintain our representatives in parliament and other legislative bodies.  Delivering the Seventh Nani  A Palkhivala Memorial Lecture in Mumbai early this year  management guru   (late) C K Prahalad had said that “the 2009 Lok Sabha elections are reported to have cost the country Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion). Of this, Rs 1,300 crore (Rs 13 billion) was spent by the Election Commission and Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) by the Centre and state governments. The remaining Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) were spent by political parties and individual candidates.

    The exchequer shell out about 1457.80 crore for five years as their salary and perks – with the recent hike in the salary and perks  each Member of parliament costs about  37 lakh rupee per annum.

    We need to note that our MPs now cost the country about 82 times more than what an average Indian earns annually. That makes the disparity in India between the citizen’s average income and an MP’s cost to country, among the highest in the world. Are they performing to what they are paid?

    A study report on the performance of the members elected to debate and decide the issue of the common man in the Parliament is revealing.  According to the report only out of 543 members 7 MPs have 100% attendance in the last Lok Sabha session. 100 MPs had 90%.

    “Question hour is the most important session of the house where the member is expected to raise questions on issues of importance to which proper answer is expected from the concerned. In the last session of the lower house 100 members including Former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda have not even shown interest to ask a single question. Similarly 50% members have not participated on any debate happened in the House.”

    The report also highlighted “93% members have not shown any interest in such a powerful tool of Private Member’s Bill.  Shri Jai Prakash Agarwal of Congress Party have brought 11 bills and scored first position among all members.”