Praja report: Mumbaiites say quality of life dips as legislators don’t meet their expectations

Praja Foundation gave marks to Mumbai’s 32 MLAs based on parameters like usage of MLA funds for constituency, number of questions asked in Vidhan Sabha and their relevance

mumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2017 14:46 IST
Eeshanpriya MS 
Eeshanpriya MS 
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Praja Foundation,Politics
People believe their MLAs were better representatives in 2016.(Pic for Representative)

Mumbaiites feel that the legislators they elected have become more corrupt, reveals a survey conducted by Praja Foundation, an NGO. A report card of the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) released with the survey says the overall performance of the people’s representatives has gone down this year and so has the quality of people’s lives since their expectations remain unfulfilled.

Praja Foundation gave marks to Mumbai’s 32 MLAs based on parameters like usage of MLA funds for constituency, number of questions asked in Vidhan Sabha, relevance of these questions, attendance of the MLA and their criminal record.

The MLAs scored 60.5% in 2017, which is a 5-point fall from last year’s 65.1%.

The NGO surveyed a sample of 24,000 households in Mumbai. While MLAs’ average score for non-corruptibility from the people’s perspective was 7.23 (out of 10) in 2016, it dropped to 6.87 this year.

People believe their MLAs were better representatives in 2016, than in 2017 as the score for perceived performance has decreased to 13.75 points in 2017, from 14.52 in 2016.

The survey also observed that Mumbaiites now believe their representatives are more approachable. The average score for perceived accessibility has gone up to 2.73 points in 2017 from 2.57 in 2016.

However, Milind Mhaske of Praja Foundan said, “The increase in perceived accessibility can be attributed partly to the recent BMC elections as a lot of MLAs campaigned for the
candidates from their party in their constituency and were in constant touch with the people.”

When it comes to their attendance in the legislative assembly, they fared well with a score of 9.19 points out of 10.

The total number of questions asked by MLAs increased in 2017 to 6,199, from 4,343 in 2016, but the quality or relevance of these questions has deteriorated by four points (8 points in 2017 from 12.2 last year).

The report card also revealed that about 50% of MLAs have a criminal record and 33% have chargesheets filed against them. Nitai Mehta of Praja Foundation said, “The average score of performance has certainly gone down, and the top ranking MLAs have also under-performed this year compared to 2016.”

The top ranker in Praja’s report is Congress MLA Amin Patel, followed by another MLA from the party Kalidas Kolambkar. In fact, the top four spots have been bagged by Congress MLAs with Aslam Shaikh grabbing the third spot and MLA Naseem Khan ranking fourth. Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu got the fifth spot followed by BJP MLA Atul Bhatkalkar on number 6.

However, MLAs in the bottom half of the list have contested the claims of the report.

Shiv Sena MLA Tukaram Kate, who was ranked second last, said, “My attendance is 100% and I have asked all the relevant questions.”

Similarly, AIMIM’s Waris Pathan, who got the 27th spot, said, “I have always attended the assembly and spent all my MLA funds. I am also always available at my office for my constituents. There are worse performers in the Vidhan Sabha but they were ranked on top.”

On the other hand, Amin Patel said, “There is no question of doubting Praja’s credibility. As for perception of corruption, all leaders must try to ensure their constituents trust them. We cannot deny that corruption-plagued BMC has impacted the image of the entire government too.”

The city has 36 MLAs and the NGO did not analyse the performance of four — Vinod Tawde, Prakash Mehta, Vidya Thakur and Ravindra Waikar — as they hold portfolios. Since ministers perform duties as representatives of the government, they do not participate in the debate like other legislators unless they are required to participate on behalf of the government.

First Published: Aug 09, 2017 14:46 IST