The Indian Economy Blog

August 22, 2006

Parliamentary Profligacy

Filed under: Business — Arjun Swarup @ 9:08 pm

According to a report prepared by the National Social Watch Coalition, titled “Citizens Report on Development and Governance – 2006″, current Parliamentary expenditures are seventy two lakhs per day.

This works out to twenty thousand rupees per minute. In 1951, the costs was one hundred rupees per minute.

If this isnt stunning enough, theres more, according to the report. Even with all this money being spent, a lot of the time is wasted. The coalition’s survey also found that the total time wasted in pandemonium was as follows:

11th Lok Sabha – 1996 to 1998:    5.28% of the time was wasted.

12th Lok Sabha -  1998 to 1999: 10.66% of the time was wasted.

13th Lok Sabha -  1999 to 2004: 22.40% of the time was wasted.

14th Lok Sabha – 2004 to 2006: 38.0% (More than 1/3 rd) was wasted in the first two

sessions itself.

Rajya Sabha – 201 and 202nd sessions: 46%  (almost half the time) was wasted .

The numbers speak for themselves.


  1. Wow! – now, thats what you call a complete waste of taxpayer’s money. I think we need to introduce new metrics for our elected elite in the Parliament:

    (1). Max time for each speech (say 10 minutes) – this will help them to stop the “Bhaashan” and concentrate on the actual matter at hand.

    (2). Any time, someone exceeds this, the speaker will entitle them to a -ve brownie points – i.e. some portion of their salary will be cut.

    (3). I still cannot understand where 72 lakhs is spent on a daily basis. Do a complete review and reduce the “fat” in the organization – make it lean.

    This is really ridiculuous.

    – Thyaga

    Comment by Thyaga — August 23, 2006 @ 12:56 am

  2. debate/bhashan is what MP/MLAs are supposed to do. The report is accounting average attendence and time lost due to disruption of parliament

    It puts office-of-profit issues in focus, because many of them are engaged in moonlighting(working on 2nd job) and is an additional reason for lack of attentivity. Both the primary and second job positions, end up occupied by a person who’s mind is only half present.

    They have a website in which you can read the report.

    Comment by Gana — August 23, 2006 @ 5:35 am

  3. 1. Political parties in India has very low membership. Major political parties does not have any membership mobilization programs. Does anyone know “all India” membership numbers of major political parties in India?

    2. Political parties does not have any internal democracy, office bearers are “nominated”!. This means there is no practical democracy in India.

    3. Political parties does not have fund collection programs to collect funds from ordinary citizens. Political parties does not have any audit or obligation to reveal where the funds comes from. It is open secret that funding comes from big business.

    4. Administration is essentially run by bureaucrats, today it has come to the stage, both prime minister and president are ex bureaucrats!

    5. Like everywhere else in the world in India also, government is for the big business by the big business.

    6. Parliament is reflection of the current reality of democracy or non-democracy!

    7. Yadha raja thadha praja …..

    The situation is not different in other countries also, so expect global pro democracy movements…… This is a natural process, when regimes get corrupted they get replaced eventually, history repeats itself…..

    Comment by GeneralPublic — August 23, 2006 @ 7:25 am

  4. What a profligate expenditure!
    It is a cause of concern to know that majority of the tax recipts of the government are getting wasted away.
    And it is even more preposterous that more than half the time gets wasted.
    What is the Indian parliament coming to? The very essence of having a session is to indulge and discussions and debate and come out with an act or proposal which increases the welfare of the country.
    Though many committees have been set up and reports submitted, not many favourable changes have taken place.

    Comment by Alex — August 23, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

  5. I’m not surprised actually . And just as the media helped fight a public battle for the RTI, we need a similar effort to ensure “no work, no pay”.
    If Dr. Ramadoss can hold back the salaries of striking docs, we the people should have the right to hold back the salaries of striking pols.
    And MPs like Lata Mangeshkar (among scores of others) who remain absent (for all but 2 days !) of their tenure, really dont deserve that 500 bucks per diem allowance. Dont they even feel guilty taking it ???

    Comment by Ila — August 23, 2006 @ 7:01 pm

  6. I would perhaps adjust for inflation to make the numbers accurate but the point you make about profligacy is quite accurate all the same. I guess the government needs to incentivize MPs to attend proceedings and curb crazy demonstrations.

    Comment by Sandeep — August 23, 2006 @ 8:17 pm

  7. Here, read this one:

    Comment by Sanjay — August 24, 2006 @ 8:10 am

  8. Money is always the lesser of the evil.
    The question is if we draw an analogy between running a Company and running a goverment,the what happens in parliament is similar to what happens in a Board Meeting.
    I believe that with passage of time, the guidelines of how one needs to conduct themselves in the parliament hasn’t changed. I would love to believe, that there is a way of regestering a protest by the opposition, the goveremnt listen to it etc.
    What appears now days is that things are really mismanaged. What opposition wants to discuss the goveremnt tries to downplay, agitating the opposition. Also sensabilities have taken a back seat, and instead frenzy is the dominant emotion. People have so rigid stance on everything that sensible discussion looks as tough as talks between India-Pakistan peace talks.
    Hope sense prevails.

    Comment by Chander Dogra — August 24, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

  9. “…People have so rigid stance on everything that sensible discussion looks as tough as talks between India-Pakistan peace talks.”

    This is so true. Not only the stance are rigid, the opposite views are ridiculed and the opposition hated. I think right now this is a worldwide phenomenon. Looks like the whole world is following Bush’s policy i.e. “You are either with us or against us”.

    BTW, does anybody have any idea how the 72 Lakhs per day are spent? Any break down of the expenditure will give more insight into what is happening.

    Comment by Polite Indian — August 24, 2006 @ 7:12 pm

  10. Isn’t it a good thing if our lawmakers are not making more laws – ie adding more bureaucracy! I’d say let them waste more time :)

    Rajya Sabha is a rich-man unelectable club. It’s time to change it so these members stand up for election too instead of paying off political parties to get nominated.

    Comment by Chandra — August 26, 2006 @ 12:50 am

  11. Weelcome to the down-sides of democracy as per the western countries.

    In Europe we move the European parliment between two cities, to keep everyone happy.
    This costs enormous amounts of money, while people are unemployed in increasing larger numbers.

    Many Greetings from Sweden.

    Comment by Timo — August 28, 2006 @ 8:10 pm

  12. Blah.

    I just happened to pop by, and found these numbers completely bunkum. They look like a good number, but think again.

    It works out to just 13,091/- PER MP per working day! That is nothing. An average techie who gets 15000 pm – the companywould be spending another 15000 pm. So its basically 1500 bucks an average company on an average techie per working day (20 working days in a month).

    Cmon, you think India is *over spending* if Lok Sabha spends 13k per day per MP (incl all the overheads and costs)? I think we’ve one of the cheapest decision making systems in the world :P

    Comment by Hitanshu — October 26, 2006 @ 10:43 am

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