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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Five Questions: ‘Bureaucracy has become arrogant… politicians weak’

During Zero Hour on Friday, BJP MP Udit Raj raised the issue of MPs ‘losing their influence’. He talks to Avishek G Dastidar about what prompted him to raise the issue

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | Updated: April 30, 2016 6:11:26 am
BJP MP Udit Raj BJP MP Udit Raj

During Zero Hour on Friday, BJP MP Udit Raj raised the issue of MPs ‘losing their influence’. He talks to Avishek G Dastidar about what prompted him to raise the issue.

Why do you say MPs are losing influence?

As an MP, we write countless letters to various ministries for getting many things of public interest done. I have noticed that over the years, the amount of work getting done following letters from MPs is decreasing.

How can you make such a sweeping statement?

I can tell you from my own experience. Since January 2016, I have written 1,940 letters to various ministries demanding or requesting something or the other of public interest.

In reply, I have got around 500 letters. Almost none of them are positive. They mostly reply saying either the matter is being looked into or that the job cannot be done. This was not the case earlier.

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So, this is a new trend?

I have been noticing this decreasing influence of MPs’ letters to ministries for the last 15 years. I must say, I used to get more work done through letters when I was not an MP. And mine is not an isolated case. If you noticed, almost every MP associated with what I said in Lok Sabha today. This means they have also felt it.

Who or what is responsible for this?

The bureaucracy has become arrogant now. Politicians have become weak. This is because the policy paralysis of the UPA government gave all the power to the Judiciary, which started dictating terms to the government and getting work done through bureaucrats. As a result, in the eyes of the bureaucracy, the MPs and politicians became less relevant and less powerful.

This is now reflected in the casual way MPs’ letters are disposed of by ministries. It is like what Modiji told Parliament once, that when politicians fight among each other, the bureaucrats enjoy a free run.

What do you think is the solution?

A central online database should be created of all letters from public representatives and it should be publicly accessible. That way, the minister concerned can also see for himself how many requests his ministry received from which MP, and what is the status of those requests.

This way, there would be less chance of an MP’s request getting ignored or lost because some babus decided to attach less importance to it.

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