Parliamentary Profligacy

Updated: Aug 26 2006, 05:30am hrs
According to a report prepared by the National Social Watch Coalition, titled Citizens Report on Development and Governance2006, Indias current Parliamentary expenditure is Rs 72 lakh per day.

This works out to Rs 20,000 per minute. In 1951, the cost was Rs 100 per minute. If this isnt stunning enough, theres more, according to the report. Even with all this money being spent, a lot of the time is wasted. The coalitions survey found that the total time wasted in pandemonium was as follows:

11th Lok Sabha,1996 to 1998: 5.28% of the time was wasted.

12th Lok Sabha, 1998 to 1999: 10.66% of the time was wasted.

13th Lok Sabha, 1999 to 2004: 22.40% of the time was wasted.

14th Lok Sabha, 2004 to 2006: 38.0% (More than 1/3 rd) was wasted in the first two sessions itself.

Rajya Sabha201st and 202nd sessions: 46% (almost half the time) was wasted.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Citizen posts in response:

I would perhaps adjust for inflation to make the numbers accurate, but the point about profligacy is quite accurate. The government needs to incentivise MPs to attend proceedings and curb crazy demonstrations.

We need to introduce new metrics for our elected elite in the Parliament and allow a maximum limit for each speech (say 10 minutes). Any time, someone exceeds this, the speaker will assign negative brownie pointsa part of his salary will be cut. And just as the media helped fight a public battle for the RTI, we need a similar effort to ensure no work, no pay.

Debate/bhashan is what MP/MLAs are supposed to do. The report is accounting for average attendance and time lost due to disruption of parliament. It puts office-of-profit issues in focus, because many of them are engaged in moonlighting.

I would love to believe there is a way of registering the oppositions protest. What the Opposition wants to discuss, the government tries to downplay, thus agitating the Opposition. People have such a rigid stance on everything that sensible discussion looks as tough as talks between India-Pakistan peace talks.

Excerpts from the Indian economy blog (indianeconomy.org)