MPs asked most questions in 2007 about finance ministry

April 7th, 2009 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) The most questions members asked during Question Hour in the three parliament sessions in 2007 were about the finance ministry, while the least number of queries were on panchayati raj, according to a report.
According to the ‘Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2008-2009′, around 7.61 percent of the total 14,379 questions asked in the three sessions of the Lok Sabha (the lower house) were related to the finance ministry. The figures for 2008 were not yet compiled, it said.

The report by National Social Watch Coalition, a grouping of various civil society organisations active in 14 states, released here Monday, says in the Rajya Sabha too a large chunk of questions was about the finance ministry.

The ministry wise break-up of the questions shows that around 6.10 percent of the 11,087 queries raised in the upper house were on the finance ministry.

The report used information of the winter, monsoon and budget sessions of parliament in 2007 based on government statistics.

Questions in the Lok Sabha about the human resource development ministry were the second largest - 826 of the total, accounting for 7.45 percent.

The report pointed out that questions about the panchayati raj ministry in both houses numbered the lowest.

“Only 66 questions related to panchayati raj were asked in the Lok Sabha, which amounts to 0.45 percent of the total time of the Question Hour,” the report added.

In the upper house, only 46 questions on panchayati raj were asked - amounting to 0.41 percent of the total time of Question Hour.

Questions regarding other ministries like women and child development (WCD) were few as well. About 1.2 percent, 173 of the total questions in the Lok Sabha, and only 2.53 percent or 281 questions in the Rajya Sabha were on the WCD ministry.

Commenting on the standard of questions asked, the report held that “…some of the questions show lack of home work and understanding on the part of the parliamentarians. The answers show the casual and rudimentary approach of the ministries. There were statistical variations in some of the answers provided to different questions,” the report stated.

It added that the Question Hour was being used ineffectively, and that “…very often the parliament conveniently bypasses or cancels the Question Hour which accounts for almost ten percent of the total time of the parliament.”

The report reflected that some questions “very clearly gave the impression that there is no communication between the ministries and the parliamentarians other than through the Question Hour as much of the information sought could have been easily received directly by the ministry”.

Parliamentarians can ask up to 7,000 to 8,000 questions in each session in each house.

Yet, the total number of questions asked in 2007 in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were 14,379 and 11,087 respectively, the report noted.

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