A social watchdog has expressed concern over the fact that 25 per cent of the Lok Sabha members of Parliament are industrialists, traders, businessmen and builders, saying that this can cause a potential of conflict of interest.
The citizens' report on governance and development 2010, released by the National Social Watch in New Delhi on Tuesday, says there is also increasing potential of conflict of interests in the members of the standing committees. It calls for strict rationalisation of the parliamentary committee system, especially in terms of their tenure and reduction of members of the standing and financial committees to 20 for better cohesion in working.
According to the report, the top performing parliamentarians are not the voters' favourites. The top five performers in the 14th Lok Sabha failed to get the electorate's nod in the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha. Communist Party of India MP C K Chandrappan from Trichur, the best performer in the 14th Lok Sabha, failed to get re-elected.
A study of the parliamentary business undertaken by the social watchdog shows that the Parliament's prime task is enactment of the laws but both the Houses spent less than one-fifth of its total time on legislative business. The number of bills passed in 2009 declined to 41 from 47 in 2008.
It also noted the dramatic increase in the wealth of the MPs pointing out that the mind-boggling 3,023 per cent increase was reported by Congress MP L Rajgopal since 2004. The report also noted that specialisation of MPs on various topics during the parliamentary debates is still a big lacuna, while the saga of women's reservation bill continues to haunt the country. According to the report, the public expenditure in key social sectors is still largely insufficient.