They came, they protested and Indian Citizens lost

Written by: Radha Radhakrishnan

Parliament of India
What is the cost of boycotting work by our Members of Parliament (MPs)? It is Rs 230 crore. Of course, it may look like a paltry sum in comparison to the alleged Rs 17000 crore the Government of India was deprived of in the 2G scam. And this probably must be egging our MPs to break all previous records.

Consider this. The current winter session of Parliament is the least productive session since the last 15 years between 1985 and 2010, according to PRS Legislative Research, a policy study group in Delhi. Lok Sabha MPs have so far used about six percent of their time for transactions – discussions and debates. Productivity in Parliament is measured by the amount of time spent on discussions, debates and questions.

The winter session of parliament began on Nov 9 and concluded on Dec 13. There were 24 sittings. The plan was to introduce 22 new bills, take up 23 pending bills for consideration and passing and withdraw three bills... In the end, it became the Great Indian Flop Show. Parliament worked on the inaugural day, November 9 after which stall proceedings by the opposition became the norm than an exception.

Going by statistics published in public domain, loss of a day"s work in Parliament would mean losing about Rs 10.44 crore a day. For good 22 days there was complete chaos and nil work accomplished taking the loss close to Rs 230 crore. Added to this, the embarrassment the country suffers internationally for such a behaviour. By the way, unlike you and me who clock in atleast 8 to 10 hours at work, our MPs are expected to put it only 6 hours in the Parliament! And even that gets wasted in this manner...

The next session of Parliament is in Feb-Mar. That time of the year when the Government presents the Budget for the next fiscal. If the opposition demand for the Joint Parliamentary Committee constitution is not accepted then it will put tremendous pressure on the ruling Congress party to get the Budget passed... Policy making will get into a complete limbo then. Among the bills that were to be discussed are those pertaining to higher education, wildlife protection, setting up of a Biotechnology Regulatory authority, amendment to Banking Laws and several others that are meant to boost the economy.

In the past Tehelka and Bofors scandals have led to stalling of the Parliament for several days. But nothing matches this magnitude. Is it the alleged gigantic scale of the scam or degeneration of our Parliamentarians who have become more unruly is difficult to say. May be it is both.

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*The views expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not necessarily represent those of or of Greynium Information Technologies Pvt Ltd. *

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