First Day First Show; For the record; Down time; For God's sake

First Day First Show

Entering Parliament for the first time as PM, NaMo prostrated on its steps. Later, in an emotional speech, when he called it the temple of democracy, people made assumptions about what he might do for them. A talking PM seemed like such a pleasant change from a maun one that expectations swelled. No one said anything about the temple analogy being inappropriate given the colour of his allegiance, given the secular character of the nation. No one pointed out that no one goes to a temple all that frequently anymore.

For the record

If Parliament is the temple of democracy, sittings would be the equivalent of visits, measure of devotion. Currently in recess, Parliament met for 57 days in 2017, 70 days in 2016 and 72 days in 2015. The 2017 performance, according to a study by PRS Legislative Research, is said to have been the worst since 1999. Must have served some purpose, as the non-performers got a pay hike.

Down time

The Constitution says nothing about minimum sittings, only stipulates that there will be three sessions. The founding fathers possibly imagined that further detailing would evolve. Between the 1950s and 1960s, Parliament met for an average of 120 days in a year. Now, when all else - population and issues - has gone up, sittings have halved.

For God's sake

And it is not just arithmetic. There is output. The first Lok Sabha passed an average of 72 bills each year. Average age of MPs was 46.2 years. In the 15th Lok Sabha 40 bills were passed. Average age of MPs was 53. Older, but none the wiser. Then there are disruptions, gone from being blips to high art. The FM, when he was not the FM, had called them "very important work". In the temple of democracy, God is in the paraphernalia, worship is secondary.


Back to top icon