Indian Prime Minister receives Social Watch report

Aarti Dhar





Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was presented with a copy of the Indian Social Watch report and commented that "institutions such as Social Watch are important to monitor governance and provide constructive feedback to the government".

Here is a report published by the prestigious Indian daily "The Hindu".

“Disruptionsresult in waste of time”

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: The 11th Lok Sabha (1996-98) lost 5.28 per cent of its time due topandemonium while the loss went up to 10.66 per cent in the 12th Lok Sabha,according to a report prepared by Social Watch India – a national coalition ofcivil society organisations across India.

The ‘Citizens Report on Governance and Development’, presented to PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh says in the 13th Lok Sabha the time lost due todisruptions was 22.4 per cent while in the 14th Lok Sabha which commenced inJune 2004, it went up to 26 per cent. It has described this as a “shockingwaste” of time considering the fact that each minute of Parliament costs aboutRs. 26,035.

The report also found that absenteeism among Members of Parliament wasincreasing with attendance in the 4th, 5th and 6th sessions of the 14th LokSabha ranging from 33 per cent to 62 per cent. Non-financial business, accordingto the report, took up nearly 40 per cent of the Lok Sabha’s time and over 50per cent of the Rajya Sabha’s time in 2006.

It has called for reforms that would reduce the numbers of pending cases whichstands at 33,635 in the Supreme Court and 34,24,518 in the High Courts. On thepolicy framework, the report says that though the growth performance over thepast decade has been impressive it has not necessarily benefited everyoneequally.

The report has expressed concern over the tardy pace of power devolution to thepanchayat bodies as per the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments.

Speaking after receiving the report, Dr. Singh stressed the need for more publicaccountability of institutions of governance such as the judiciary andParliament. He said institutions such as Social Watch were important to monitorgovernance and provide constructive feedback to the government at various levels.Dr. Singh said key programmes with high investment could be more effective withthe participation of citizens and credible non-governmental organisations.

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