MPs’ performance report card presents a grim picture for Mumbai: All of them utilised under 12 pc of the annual funds allotted to them
Moreover, they seem to be haphazardly investing in development works, focusing only on the area of sanitation and drinking water, while completely ignoring other aspects of development like poverty alleviation, health care, public facilities and urban development.
MPs are given Rs 5 crore (plus interest) every year for the development of their constituencies. While MP Kirit Somaiya from North East Mumbai failed to spend a single rupee from the Rs 5 crore allotted to him, MP Arvind Sawant from South Mumbai topped the list by recommending work amounting to Rs 60 lakh. Yet he utilized a mere 12% of his funds.
Sawant spent 66% of this amount on sanitation and public health facilities and spent 34% of the amount on enhancing or developing drinking water facility in his constituency.
Rahul Shewale, MP from South Central Mumbai and MP Gopal Shetty from North Mumbai spent only Rs 2 0 lakh, close to 4% of total funds. Shevale allotted equal amounts of money to urban development and sanitation and Shetty spent money only on sanitation programmes.
Mumbaikars have little reason to cheer about their public representatives’ overall performance in the Lok Sabha, according to the study conducted by MumbaiVotes.com, a non-profit think tank. Most of them lag behind when it comes to active participation in Parliamentary proceedings and therefore fall short on their duty towards their constituency – that of adequately representing it at the Centre.
Parliamentary participation is assessed based on the number of questions asked by an MP, the number of debates participated in and the number of Private Member Bills introduced in the Parliament.
hile Shewale asked 156 questions, the most in number among Mumbai’s MPs, Shetty asked only 57, the least number of questions. Sawant asked 72 questions and fared better than the national average between May 2014 and March 2015, which is 57. Meanwhile Sawant participated in 53 debates in the Parliament, which is the highest among Mumbai’s MPs and way above the national average, which is only 13.5 debates per year.
Shetty and Sawant have the maximum attendance in the Lok Sabha, an impressive 100%, Shewale and Somaiya have 99% attendance. Gajanan Kirtikar from North West Mumbai has 78% attendance and Poonam Mahajan from North Central Mumbai has 88% attendance but they both participated in only 9 debates each, much lower than the national average.
Moreover, Shetty is the only one bothered about Parliamentary legislation. He has introduced 3 bills in the Lok Sabha this budget session, none of which concern wit
h the city’s development or tackle its problem. One of his bills is about free and compulsory education for disabled children, a cause worthy of support, but not specific. All other 5 MPs from Mumbai have not submitted a single bill.
In an effort to get the other side, MumbaiVotes.com asked the MPs to participate in the survey by filling up a two-part questionnaire. The first part involved the MPs rating their own performance in Parliament against the promises they had made to their constituents before getting elected. Only Somaiya, Kirtikar and Sawant replied to this questionnaire. The second part of the survey which asked for information of parliamentary performance was ignored by all the 6 MPs.