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New political class

Friday 7 September 2007, by SHUKLA*Rajeev

A recent survey has brought some good news — eighty per cent of MPs today are graduates or post-graduates and more than 150 have been educated in the best universities abroad. An equal number have degrees from other institutions in the world.

The widespread perception that Parliament hosts a large number of MPs with a criminal record has also been challenged by the survey. Of the 800 plus Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members, no more than 12 MPs have faced conviction. Out of 20 per cent MPs with poor education, most come from rural backgrounds in remote areas. Expecting them to be highly qualified is unfair. But as far as criminals are concerned, they should definitely be debarred.

My only grievance with the revelations from the survey is that the increase in the number of well-qualified MPs has coincided with a serious deterioration in the level and quality of debates. Seventy-eight per cent of Parliament’s time today is wasted in adjournments and walkouts; government business gets only 15 per cent.

In stark comparison, 58 per cent of Parliament’s time was used constructively for transacting government business and other important issues in the first and second Lok Sabha.

Economy pack

The BJP launched a massive campaign when the country went through a brief phase of inflation and price rise. Party leaders were all over the media as champions of consumers. They even circulated booklets detailing the price index and hurled accusations at the UPA’s economic policies. In reality though, the short-term inflation was triggered by a shortfall in the domestic supply of agricultural commodities, coinciding with hardened international prices of some essential commodities.

A series of corrective measures have brought the rate of inflation under 4 per cent according to the latest data, and it is expected to remain well under control in the near future. After the drop in inflation, BJP leaders are keeping mum. No credit is given where it is due.

Sustaining an economic growth rate of 7 per cent is considered difficult, but over the last four years we have increased our growth rate — an estimated 9.4 per cent at the last fiscal. The rate of investment has been increasing for the last four consecutive years, as has the rate of savings. More importantly, all this is cutting through unemployment.

Around 50 per cent of our GDP is accounted for by rising export and India is today counted among the most stable economies in the world.

The writer is a Congress MP in Rajya Sabha

See online : The Indian Express

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