How difficult would it be to assess MPs on their performance in the house, to guarantee their re-election to the house?
The Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2010, released by National Social Watch, reveals that it is actually irrelevant how an MP performs in the house to judge his re-election to the house.
The report assessed 545 members of the house, based on their performances within the house, under the categories of participation in debates, number of supplementary questions asked, number of private members’ bill (PMB) proposed, and attendance. Of the top 10 MPs in the 14th Lok Sabha, six of them were not re-elected to the 15th.
“Though the study does not suggest the reasons, it is probably because they are not news-makers and they lack the attention from the media. Even though they work well within the house, it does not get translated at the local level,” said Amitabh Behar, national convener, National Social Watch. He added that these studies are aimed at encouraging citizens to demand better services, through reforms that create more effective systems of public sector accountability. At the next level, the team plans to study the work of the selected top 10 MPs, in their constituency.
With regard to the increasing potential conflict of interest in the membership of the standing committee members, it was found that 128 members of the lower house and 28 members of the upper house are industrialists, corporates and from other fields, with a number of them from Karnataka. “I am against it, because once they become a member of the parliamentary committee they have an influence on government policies and design it to suit them,” said Behar.
The assessment also revealed the number of sittings in 2009 with both the Houses. The sitting in the Lok Sabha was a mere 64 days and that with the Rajya Sabha, 63 days. The number of bills passes witnessed a decline from 47 in 2008 to 41 in 2009, with both the houses of parliament having spent less than one-fifth, of the total time, on legislative business
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