The complexion of the 16th Lok Sabha, borne out of the most decisive mandate in 30 years, looks like a mixed bag of milestones. First up, the lower house will have the highest number of women lawmakers. On most other counts of demography, it still needs to shape up.
The average asset of an MP has more than doubled from about Rs. 6 crore to Rs. 14 core in the new Lok Sabha. Moreover, the new house will have more members with a criminal case pending against them than previous.
In the 543 member-house, 449 members have assets worth Rs. 1 crore or more, up from 315 in 2009. There were just 156 ‘crorepati’ MPs in 2004.
Of the 543 MPs elected, 61 are women. Although nowhere near the 33% mark that the Women’s Reservation Bill aims to achieve, this is the highest number of women MPs elected to the Lok Sabha. However, this is only marginally up from the 58 women elected to outgoing Lok Sabha.
The age profile of the 543 members, chosen by 550 million in a poll spanning 35 days, shows the average age of the incoming Lok Sabha at 54 years would be marginally higher than the last one.
“This is the largest number of MPs to be elected to the Lok Sabha who are above the age of 55 in the history of the country. Interestingly, the Lok Sabha has been getting older every election since independence,” says Shreya Singh of PRS Legislative Research, a think-tank.
The oldest member is 86-yearold BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani, while the youngest is 26-year-old, Abhishek Banerjee of Trinamool Congress, the nephew of West Bengal CM Mamata Bannerjee. Only 71 MPs (13%) have been elected to the Lok Sabha in this election who happen to be under the age of 40.
Nearly 75% of the MPs elected have at least a graduate degree, compared to 79% previously. The percentage of MPs who do not have a matriculate degree is significantly higher in the new Lok Sabha (13%) compared to 3% in the outgoing Lok Sabha. But count on a slightly higher erudition quotient: The number of members with a doctoral degree has doubled to 6%.