Thirty-two of Mumbai’s 36 legislators asked less number of questions in the second year of their five-year term, compared to the same period in the previous term, reveals a report card of MLAs released by the Praja Foundation on Tuesday.
The report card did not include four legislators who are ministers in the Maharashtra government. The report pointed out that in the previous term, legislators in their second year (2012) asked a total of 11,049 questions, while in the ongoing term, the legislators in their second year (2017) asked only 6,199 questions. Besides, it also shows that the average score of legislators attendance has been reduced from 9.68 in 2016 to 9.19 in 2017.
“This means that not only have MLAs attended the assembly less frequently, the questions this year have largely not been relevant to their own areas of responsibility. They need to raise more issues, as well as raise the right issues in order to fulfill this responsibility,” Nitai Mehta, Founder and Managing Trustee of Praja Foundation, an NGO working towards bringing accountability in governance.
Praja Foundation evaluated the MLAs through both data-based information and assessment of people’s perceptions about them.
Information for parameters such as attendance, questions asked, quality of questions and criminal record was collected through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
For parameters based on perception, information was collected through a survey commissioned by Praja to research organisation Hansa Research. In 2017, as many as 12 MLAs (33 percent) have chargesheets filed against them.
“Such a high percentage of chargesheeted MLAs indicates that we have a long way to go when it comes to reducing criminalisation of politics. It raises a question mark on whether elected representatives are fulfilling their promise of probity in public life,” said Milind Mhaske, Project Director at Praja Foundation.