The big southern states have once again beaten their big northern counterparts, this time in the performance of MPs in the Lok Sabha.
In two key indicators — asking questions during the question hour and participation in debates including those on legislation — MPs from states like Tamil Nadu or Kerala performed better than those from states like Bihar or Uttar Pradesh in the past five years.
Latest data from PRS Legislative Research on the performance of MPs show that Kerala and Tamil Nadu are among the top three states to ask maximum questions. The two also feature among the top three states on participation in debates in the Parliament.
The analysis comes at a time when Parliament continues to be paralysed by MPs cutting across regional and political affiliations.
The MPs from northern states, however, have a better attendance record, with Rajasthan, Bihar and Delhi being the top three states. But officials point out that attendance in Parliament can be recorded on a register even without actually entering the House.
The southern states have consistently outperformed the northern states, most recently in the ‘underdevelopment index’ developed by the Raghuram Rajan panel last year.
While no southern state was listed among the 10 least developed states, six states from north India made it to the ignominious list.
Out of these six --Bihar, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Rajasthan – Bihar, MP and UP were also among the five states with the highest infant mortality rate.
Smaller states, with less than five Lok Sabha members have been excluded in the HT analysis of the PRS data as MPs can hike the state’s average easily even with a low rate of individual participation. Union ministers have also been excluded from the analysis.
In the 15th Lok Sabha, an average member took part in 36.8 debates. An MP from Kerala participated in an average of 67.8 debates. Maharashtra topped the list of average questions asked by MPs, followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu.