Performance of young MPs sub-par in monsoon session
participation of younger parliamentarians in debates during the
recently-concluded monsoon session of parliament was slightly
lower than the average for all MPs and did not measure up to the
hope invested in them, data on the session shows. According to
data compiled by think »
People are sick and tired of MPs for causing frequent disruptions
of parliament and point out that they take salaries for work not
done. The little over month-long monsoon session that just ended
saw unceasing bedlam in both the houses over a variety of issues,
ranging from the frivolous to the Anna Hazare anti-corruption
With only 11 bills passed and 14 introduced during the Aug 1-Sep 8
sitting, the number of legislations, especially those relating to
important economic reforms, awaiting parliamentary passage on
their way to becoming the law of the land has risen to an
Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman M.H. Ansari has decried
the loss of productive time of parliament to frequent disruptions.
He called it "a sad commentary on the right and duty of members to
participate meaningfully in the proceedings of the house".
The middle class is disgusted.
"So many hours were lost... so few bills passed, I wonder what is
the point of having a month-long session for work which can be
done in a week and a half," asked Aashish Khanna, a law student of
Thanks to frequent adjournments, the crucial question hour -- when
MPs can ask any question about any subject -- lost 60 percent of
its scheduled time.
According to PRS Legislative Research, the Lok Sabha worked for
only 67 percent of its scheduled hours and the Rajya Sabha for 62
"The government functioning depends on how parliament functions.
But the way the number of our pending bills is increasing, I think
MPs are not doing their duty," Madhurima Sharma, a government
According to information from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
secretariats, both houses saw frequent disruptions. At least half
the 26 sittings were paralysed.
Political experts say that frequent disruptions are becoming a
Pradip Kumar Datta, head of Delhi University's political science
department, says coalition politics are to blame -- to some
He admits this cannot change till some accountability is fixed on
"Parliament will raise political issues, adjournment will also be
a part of the tactics, the only way out is a methodology by which
pressure can be created on MPs to observe some code of
productivity," Datta told IANS.
Nisar-ul-Haq, head of Jamia Millia Islamia's political science
department, agreed the frequent aggression of MPs is not a good
"Our parliament represents the biggest democracy in the world. But
instead of being the best parliament, time is wasted due to
disruptions," he said.
It is not that parliament breakdowns are a new phenomenon. But
now, Haq says, people are becoming more aware of how the MPs
conduct themselves due to live telecasts.
Most MPs are even found missing from the house later in the day.
"Except when there is voting or a whip (party order) is issued,
MPs come, sign the register and leave. Most of the time they sign
and immediately leave to catch a flight to their hometown..."
public opinion expert and political analyst N.Bhaskar Rao told
"It does not happen in any profession that you sign and go, and
are paid salary for that," he said.
MPs have a basic salary of Rs.50,000 per month, Rs.45,000 per
month of constituency allowance, and Rs. 45,000 of office expense
per month. Their daily allowance during parliament session is
Rs.2,000 per day, for which they have to sign the attendance
"Previous Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee recommended that if
parliament doesn't function, MPs' salary should be cut. However,
instead of their salaries being curtailed they increased it, that
too, without any debate," Rao said referring to last year's salary
When parliament adjourned Sep 8, both Lok Sabha Speaker Meira
Kumar and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, disgusted with the
goings-on in parliament, urged the MPs to introspect.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, one of India's best
parliamentarians, has not only repeatedly condemned parliament
disruptions but even alleged that some of them were pre-arranged.
All this only fuels more anger.
"It sets a bad example," argued Rajiv Kumar, an executive at a
multinational in Gurgaon near Delhi. "They raise the same issues
on road, and then again in parliament. What is the difference
He added: "I think we should have a performance audit for MPs,
they need to justify their salary."
(Anjali Ojha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)