By Abhishek Jha:
Despite claims of achievements in advertisements, the Delhi government doesn’t seem to be working enough, a new report by Praja Foundation, which claims to be a “non-partisan organisation”, shows. Based on information accessed through RTI and a perception survey of 29,950 households, the organisation has ranked all lawmakers of Delhi except the ministers, the speaker, and the deputy speaker.
Apart from ranking individual MLAs, the report also highlights important aspects of the current legislators in the Delhi assembly. Nangloi Jat MLA Raghuvinder Shokeen, Prakash from Deoli, and Mohd. Ishraque from Seelampur did not raise any issues in the assembly in 2015. While 16 MLAs have raised only 1 to 5 issues, 33 percent have hardly participated in the deliberations, the report says.
The lack of the participation is coupled with a lack in “the quality of issues raised”, where 72 percent MLAs are underperforming. Quality is marked by importance of issues, where social infrastructure (civic amenities, community welfare, crime, education, health, etc) has been given a 41 percent weightage, physical and economic infrastructure weightages of 19 and 10 percentages respectively, policy making a weightage of 10, agriculture of 9, and other issues of 3. The issues are then again weighted on whether they are on the central list or state list, or relate to the municipal corporations. No MLA scored above 70 on this metric. The number of MLAs increases with decreasing quality of issues raised. The three BJP MLAs rank highest in both the number of issues raised and the quality of issues.
Drainage chokes, over which the municipal corporations and the Delhi government fought during the monsoons this year, were also not discussed in the assembly in 2015. The report says that there were 19,327 citizen complaints on “drainage chokes, blockages & cleaning and overflowing manholes” last year. However, the issue was raised in the assembly only five times.
The tussle between the LG’s office and the government over the chikungunya outbreak is also regular news this year. However, despite 10,102 complaints, the issue of “Mosquito Nuisance & Fogging” was never discussed last year in the assembly.
The organisation, which has been publishing similar reports for Mumbai city MLAs since 2011, has also compared the performance of Delhi’s legislators with those of Mumbai city. In 2015, Mumbai MLAs raised 4343 issues in the assembly compared to only 951 issues raised in the Delhi Assembly. On an average each MLA raised 16 issues in Delhi, while 140 issues were raised by those in Mumbai.
The ruling Aam Admi Party may not be winning the perception battle either, as Jagdish Pradhan, one of the only three BJP MLAs, has been ranked second overall. Public perception is given 40 percent weightage for this ranking. However, in accessibility and in perception of being less corrupt, AAP MLAs are on the top of the list. Pradhan, from Shahdara North, is the third least accessible MLA. Suspended from the Delhi Assembly earlier this year for making derogatory remarks against AAP legislator Alka Lamba, BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma is also among the bottom five in public perception as being corrupt.
The report acknowledges that the “complex multi-layered Governance system (sic)” of Delhi and the “bitter rivalry between the established political parties and the new entrant AAP” are impediments to good governance. It, however, urges the Aam Admi Party, elected on the cornerstone of “clean politics”, to not go down on the same path as the mainstream parties.
Featured image credit: Reuters/Mansi Thapliyal