India whining: Dirt in Parliament
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India whining: Dirt in Parliament

Politicians with criminal records have taken up significant space in the new citizens report, reports Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2006 02:19 IST

After assessing governance and development in India, an independent group reports that there is hardly any good news. It says, India is whining and not shining.

Yes, politicians with criminal records do take up significant space in the 2006 Citizens Report on Governance and Development. Nearly 25 per cent of Lok Sabha MPs have criminal cases against their names. Count the 36-45 age group MPs alone and the figure jumps to 30 per cent.

But, says Jagadananda of the National Social Watch Coalition, the problem runs deeper: right from Parliament that is becoming less vigilant in defending people's rights to an executive that is callous about the people it serves and the courts unable to dispense speedy justice.

Parliament, the report says, is wasting more time on disruptions than ever before. In the first three current Lok Sabha sessions, the House lost 26 per cent time to pandemonium, up from 22.4 per cent in the 13th Lok Sabha, 10.66 per cent in the 12th Lok Sabha and just about 5 per cent in the 11th Lok Sabha.

The disruptions didn't serve any purpose. "None of the parties creating the pandemonium attempted either a debate, or declaration, let alone a legislation on the vital issue of criminalisation in public life," the report released by former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral remarked.

The report also highlights India’s paradoxes, says Amitabh Behar, who edited the Social Watch India report. These include the one of “Shining and Whining India". "This report is about Whining India," Behar says.

Defence and capital expenditure are up, while spending on the social sectors has declined. As many as 48.6 per cent farmers are debt-ridden and many are committing suicide.

The judiciary, often asked to intervene in the disadvantaged groups' interest, still has not overcome the problem of court delays. More than 34 lakh cases were pending in mid-2004.

First Published: Jan 20, 2006 01:49 IST