National Social Watch releases 7th Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2013
NEW DELHI, 17th December:
The National Social Watch Report on Governance and Development 2013, released today in Delhi, highlighted that 31% of MPs in Lok Sabha has pending criminal cases against them. The average salary package of each MP is 68 times higher than the percentage income in the country and total value of assets of 4 MPs is Rs. 29.2 billion.
In a continuing effort to make the governing institutions more accountable “7th CITIZENS’ REPORT ON GOVERNANCE AND DEVELOPMENT 2013 evaluates all four apex institutions of governance namely the Parliament, the Executive, the Judiciary and local governing bodies.
This report was released by Honorable Justice Ananga Patnaik, Supreme Court of India and Shri Satyanand Mishra former Chief Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission.
Chief Guest Justice Ananga Patnaik said ““The Supreme Court (SC) is increasingly acquiring the character of a general court of appeal by routinely entertaining special leave petitions (SLPs) which do not involve important constitutional and substantive legal issues. As on date more than 50% of pending cases in SC are SLPs’.
Guest of honour Shri Satyananda Mishra said that RTI people are watching government. More than 4 million people have applied for information from government institutions and organizations. He further pointed out “What is government? We say government is Ministers, but in reality government consists of more than 30 lakhs of government employees.”
NSW spokesperson Amitabh Behar said, “The value of Indian MPs’ pay and perks is higher than their counterparts in Singapore, Japan, Italy and Pakistan. In terms of the ratio of pay package to national per capita income, India ranks second after Kenya and pays almost double than the US. Political parties work less for and in Parliament to perform their designated functions as people’s representatives and legislators. Increasing resort to ‘street politics’ within the two Houses has compromised its efficiency as crucial Bills remain pending for years, or passed without sufficient deliberations. This work culture has only a negative impact on institutional effectiveness and its relevance as an institution of change that keeps the government on its toes.”
Shri Jagadananda, President of NSW said that the Social Watch process is a proactive engagement of citizen groups towards building active citizenship in the country and thereby improving the efficiency and effectiveness of these institutions.
John Samuel founding member of NSW, mentioned “It is an effort to reclaim institutions of governance to people”. He further added that the finding of the report points out that there is a huge gap between the promises of democratic institution and the real performance.
The key highlights of the report are as follows:
- 577 hours and 442 hours lost in disruptions and forced adjournments in the 15th Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sessions respectively
- MPs pay package 68 times higher than the per capita income of the country; paid higher than Japan, Singapore, Italy and Pakistan amongst others
- 48420 and 32742 unstarred questions asked in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sessions
- Only 10% of starred questions were answered orally
- Only 23% bills were passed as compared to the planned 94; 18% of bills passed in less than 5 mins in Parliament in the year 2011; Sensitive bills pending over a long time
- Parliamentary committees unproductive too
- 152 MPs (31%) with criminal cases in the 15th Lok Sabha; Nearly 17% of women MPs of the 15th Lok Sabha have criminal cases pending against them
- Total value of assets of 542 MPs (Lok Sabha) is 29.2 billion, with an average of 53.8 million each
- Stagnation in social sector spending from the union budget
- One farmer committed suicide in every 32.75 minutes (half an hour); 256,913 farmers committed suicides between 1995 and 2010
- Total Expenditure from Union Budget would shrink from 14.9 percent of GDP in 2012–13 (Budget Estimates/BE) to 14.6 percent of GDP in 2013–14
- CAG Scrutiny of PPP; estimate 3,84,000 crore being implemented and no one to monitor?
- Reach of the Judiciary remained low due to huge backlog and complicated processes
- The number of pending cases has increased from 2.81 crore in 2004 to 3.17 crore in 2011
- Rajya Sabha has longer pendency of bills which accounted for 37 pending bills in 2012
- The amounts Rs.5,799.3 cr. in 2010-11 and Rs.9,963.9 cr. in 2011-12 allocated for about 2.5 lakh Local Governing Bodies looks peanuts compare to about Rs.4,000 cr. per annum allotted to about 800 MPs (as pocket money) under the local area development (LAD) programme
The parliament in India has emerged as an institution that fosters political competition that has over the years paved the way for the marginalized to obtain a share in political power. Yet, its efficiency, effectiveness and relevance has been compromised to an extent due to the developing parliamentary culture of disruption, which is considered the only effective method of drawing attention of the government by the opposition parties.
According to the report, budget-sessions, monsoon-sessions and winter-sessions each – saw the Lok Sabha working for an average of less than four hours of work per day during its 227 sittings in 852 hours, that is, less than two-thirds of scheduled six hours per day, losing in the process about 577 hours in disruptions and forced adjournments. These nine sessions witnessed 4,224 starred questions and 48,420 unstarred questions being admitted and answered. While during the proceedings 139 government Bills were introduced and 119 were passed, 514 reports of the Parliamentary Committees, including Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs), were presented.
About National Social Watch (NSW)
National Social Watch (NSW) is a research and advocacy organization that monitors the functioning and efficiency of key governance institutions; their commitment towards citizens and practice of democratic values. As the national secretariat of the National Social Watch Coalition (NSWC), it steers a broad-based network of civil society organizations and citizens spread across the country. It also collaborates with Social Watch International.
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