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Thursday, March 17, 2005

keep them on their toes

The amount of money spent for conducting the Lok Sabha sessions run into Rs 1.23 crores per day or approximately Rs 23,083 per minute. Our President had said that ‘MPs were elected to legislate and to debate and that they should uitilise optimally the trust bestowed on them by the electorate.’ Frequent disruptions and walk outs paint a rather dim picture of the leaders. At the slightest pretext, our leaders stage a walk out. What useful purpose is served by such meaningless protests remains shrouded in mystery.

Trust Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to come up with a probable solution to this major problem faced by the Indian democracy.

Somnath-dada is a respected 85 year old leader, accurate in his assessment of situations and having considerable influence among all political parties, irrespective of their color or creed or affiliations. He knows his subject and, in a bid to ensure that the MPs do something constructive as long as a session is in progress, he is trying to formulate new steps. These may control the sudden disruptions in the proceedings of the House that the taxpayer is compelled to accept.

Somnath Chatterjee’s solution is simple – jumble the questions of ‘Question Hour’ so that the ministers involved remain on tenterhooks and be ready with whatever answers are sought for. The members ask the questions, the Minister concerned are expected to provide the answers.
It seems, the present practice is that the bunch of questions put up by members is subjected to a lottery and 20 out of them are selected. These are ‘starred’ questions. At the end of the day it is found that the member in whose name a particular question is entered is not present in the house. This is because the question is at the end of the list and the member feels that it may not come up for discussion on that particular day, hence he diverts his attention elsewhere and may not feel it worthwhile to be present in the house!

The solution – jumble the questions so that no one will know when his question will pop up! This way, every one will be kept on his toes.

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