Many MPs failed people in 15th LS
Many MPs failed people in 15th LS.Parliament is the house of our elected representatives and thus is the seat of Democracy of our nation.
Parliament is the house of our elected representatives and thus is the seat of Democracy of our nation. Parliament has been entrusted mainly with three responsibilities which can briefly be outlined as follows: Making laws in its capacity of being the highest law making body in the country; Act as a guardian of democracy by keeping a check on the functioning of the government; As a representative institution , to highlight the important issues faced by the people Active participation of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the proceedings of house is therefore crucial in the fulfilment of Parliament’s responsibilities.
For enabling this active participation, a few parliamentary procedures are in place. Three of them are as follows:
- Asking Questions: MPs ask questions in the parliament to raise issues of concern, to hold the government accountable to its actions and so on. Questions are admitted in the house by giving prior notice to the house’s secretariat. But at times questions without notice can also be taken up in the house subject to the Speaker’s discretion. Answers to the questions can be requested orally or in writing.
- Taking part in or initiating debates: The image that comes to our mind when we think of Lok Sabha is that of MPs fiercely arguing with each other. There are allocated time slots in the Parliament’s schedule for having discussions and debates.
- Introducing Bills: When ministers introduce bills they are known as ‘Government Bills’ and when MPs who are not ministers introduce bills they are known as ‘Private Member Bills’.
Government Bills are the government’s duty, but a private member bill is an attempt by an MP to play a proactive role in policy making.The analysis presented here gauges the performance of MPs floor of the house. This is done on the basis of their use of these three parliamentary procedures i.e. asking questions, taking part in debates and introduction of private member bills.
Participation in debates
This gives us a fair idea of his active participation in decision making and corrective action which is the precisely the job entrusted to him.
It is to be noted that
- 28 MPs never participated in any debate.
- 11 of the 28 came from the Congress.
- Of these 11, Anjan Kumar Yadav , K Rajgopal Reddy & Kotla Jaya Prakash Reddy neither participated in a debate nor presented a private member bill. But they asked 634, 158 & 499 questions respectively.
- Four of the top 10 MPs in this category are from the BJP.
- Arjun Ram Meghwal was given the ‘Best Parliamentarian award’ in 2013
Asking questions is a clear evidence of the efforts put by MPs in addressing issues and initiating discussions in the Parliament. Many important issues see the light of the day through the process of questioning ultimately leading to solution or corrective government action.
It is to be noted that
- Of the top 10 in the above list, Gajanan Dharmshi, Pradeep Majhi , Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Dharmendra Yadav and Vikrambhai Arjanbhai Maadam never introduced any private member bills
- 99 MPs never asked any question and unsurprisingly except 7 of the 99, others never presented any private member bill. 19 of these 99 never took part in a debate.
- Hansraj Gangaram Ahir participated in 169 debates asked 992 questions and presented 52 bills.
Introduction of private member Bills
When ministers introduce bills they are known as ‘Government Bills’ and when MPs who are not ministers introduce bills they are known as ‘Private Member Bills’. Government Bills are the government’s duty, but a private member bill is an attempt by an MP to play a proactive role in policy making. It is to be noted that 370 MPs never presented a Private member bill and 114 MPs introduced at least one private member bill.
The bottom of the pile
It is also pertinent to look the worst performers in the three categories. As many as 17 MPs have never asked any question, never taken part in a debate and never introduced a private member bill. Among them were Sabbam Hari from Congress, Vijayashanti from TRS. This at a time when the separate Telangana State movement was rattling Seemandhra and Telangana regions.
Other notable MPs in this category are M K Alagiri, son of DMK chief Karunanidhi, and Jaswant Singh from BJP It is also to be noted that
- Five of the seventeen were from the ruling party, Congress.
- In the fifteenth Lok Sabha there were 42 MPs from Andhra Pradesh and it is common knowledge that the Telangana issue (Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh) was one of the hotly debated issues of the 15th Lok Sabha. It is incredulous to note that M Vijaya Shanthi from the TRS & Sabbam Hari from the Cogrress did not participate in any major proceeding of the house and figure in the above list despite being from Andhra Pradesh.
It has been found that a total of one lakh forty thousand two hundred two hundred and fifty five (1,40,255) questions were asked in the fifteenth Lok Sabha. On an average, each MP asked two hundred and fifty (250) questions. Of special interest to us should be the number of private member bills which were six hundred and fifty two (652) on the whole and 1.3 bills on an average by each MP. None of these were passed.
It is to be noted that
- MPs from these six parties make up two thirds of the Lok Sabha and also account for two thirds of the questions asked.
- Curiously only 56% of the private member bills have been introduced by these six parties, i.e 44% of the private member bills have been introduced by the rest one third MPs who are not from these six parties.
- The highest absolute number of questions have been asked by the Ruling party and not the opposition party. But, reinforcing the general belief that it’s the opposition that raises questions, the average number of questions asked by an opposition party MP is almost 100 questions more than the ruling party MP.
- Of the top 30 MPs who figure in the top 10 lists, 25 of them are graduates. The remaining 5 completed their secondary school education. Arts subjects seem to be the favourite among the top MPs, of which Law takes the first place. This again is a pleasant revelation.
- Four of the 30 MPs in the above top 10 lists were foreign educated and three MPs have doctorates. It is welcome sign that well educated people are choosing politics and are also performing on the floor of the house.
- Of the 17 MPs who figure at the bottom with zeroes in all three categories, 14 of them are graduates and only three are not graduates. Hence it is safe to say that education has nothing to do with their performance in the house.
By SASI PRIYA