No pay for no work! Should MPs give up their salaries for time wasted in Parliament?

The business in Winter Session of Parliament has been the lowest so far in the 16th Lok Sabha

Are you paid your salaries in office if you fail to do your work? Luckily, our Parliamentarians have that ‘luxury’. In the recently concluded Winter Session, Lok Sabha lost 92 hours and functioned for just 19 hours, while the Rajya Sabha lost over 86 hours and worked for merely 22 hours.

But will they give up their salaries?

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant Panda said on Saturday that he would return his salary proportional to the time wasted or lost in Parliament. He garnered a lot of praise for the move and some even asked other politicians to follow suit.

However, other politicians do not think that they haven’t worked. As always, they indulged in a blame game claiming that while they wanted to work, the other parties did not let them transact the business in the House. Some even claimed that lodging a protest is also work done in Parliament.

The business in Winter Session of Parliament which concluded on 16 December 2016 has been the lowest so far in the 16th Lok Sabha. But what is worse is that it was the least productive session of both Houses in the last 15 years. Eight Bills were introduced in this session but only two were passed.

So far in the 16th Lok Sabha, the average productivity of Lok Sabha is 92% and that of Rajya Sabha is 71%.

In fact, a petition has been floated on that MPs should not get any salaries if they do not work.

“Of late our MPs have reduced Parliament to a joke. On the slightest pretext they disrupt the proceedings of the House and no meaning full business is conducted. The entire Winter Session was a washout. Even President Pranab Mukherjee’s emotional appeal had no effect.
We the people have elected these ladies and gentleman to legislate for the country through debate, discussions and to act as a watchdog on the government of the day. While important Bills are pending before both the Houses, the MPs have no concern for it. Besides huge amounts of Tax Payers money is being wasted by this action of theirs. THE LAW OF THIS LAND IS VERY CLEAR, “NO WORK NO PAY”. ACCORDINGLY, AS CONCERNED CITIZENS WE REQUEST THAT THIS LAW SHOULD BE MADE APPLICABLE TO OUR LAW MAKERS, WHENEVER PARLIAMENT IS DISRUPTED AND BUSINESS IS NOT CONDUCTED,” the petition states.

Agitated over continuous disruptions, President Pranab Mukherjee had pulled up the MPs saying that such behaviour was not acceptable. “Disruption is totally unacceptable in the Parliamentary system. People send representatives to speak and not to sit on dharna and not to create any trouble on the floor,” he said.

In an emotional speech, Vice President Hamid Ansari too lamented how there was no decorum followed in the house. “Regular and continuous disruptions signify this session… The rules about displaying placards and shouting slogans were ignored by all sections of the house,” he said.

These Parliamentarians are entrusted with the votes of the people so that they represent the various sections of the society on a larger platform. The issues need to be discussed and debated. Not letting Parliament function is not how protests are lodged. Maybe a ‘no pay for no work’ rule will streamline the functioning of the house and bring back some sanity that seems to be lost in Parliament.