By Mayank Jain:
“Folks who never do any more than they get paid for, never get paid for any more than they do” â€• Elbert Hubbard
A parliament member’s job consists of four tasks: Making laws for the people at large, representing their constituency, examining the government’s budget and expenses and being the government’s boss! However, there are very few in the Indian legislative assemblies who would fit this definition for a long time.
The last Parliamentary Session of the 15th Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die for both houses just a few days back and a lot of bills never saw the light of the day yet again. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 is just one of them which was left in the lurch due to adjournments and regular disturbances in the house from one party or another.
Some statistics to bring home the point will help. Average number of hours a Parliament sat in for in the 50s were as high as 3700 and in the last Lok Sabha, it dropped to 1329. Similarly, budget was discussed for only 39 hours as against for 123 hours in the 1950s. This clearly shows how discipline and democracy have been deteriorating over the years.
The Ministers of Parliament are interested in a wide array of co-curricular activities like spraying pepper, holding ‘dharnas’ and addressing rallies but they would never risk being productive by attending parliament sessions and participating in debates. Why then, should we vote for them? Everybody can do what our ministers are doing and they are supposed to be representatives not protestors. They are in the system to be facilitators for governance not the obstructions.
Some, who watch porn in the sessions and use pepper spray or break microphones may perceive themselves to be better than others who simply don’t attend Parliament for a long time and their seats gather dust.
One example is Rahul Gandhi, with just 42 percent attendance as compared to the national average of 76% and he never raised any questions or brought any private member bills. Such examples can be found in every party and it is unfortunate. Parliament needs to function better and a research by AskHow lays the emphasis on right places where we can improve: