As per the Fourth Schedule (Articles 4(1) and 80(2)) of the Constitution of India 12 members are nominated by President for term of six years for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. The idea of this is to strengthen these areas more.
Decorative parliamentarians such as Sachin Tendulkar, film star Rekha are making a joke of Parliamentary institutions by not attending the sessions. Why do we need such high profile parliamentarians who are so self-absorbed that they cannot make time to attend the parliamentary sessions, they cannot pick up issues related to their areas which need solutions and discussions. For example in sports we have big problems in management, organization and administration. Subjects such as IPL scandal, doping, betting in sports, gambling issues, training and development, regional sports lobbying, budgeting………there is so much Sachin Tendulkar can do for the Indian sports. He is treated as God, his comments and his viewpoints will make a sea change. But he is tightlipped on most points and is terribly busy.
Similarly the film and television industry has big problems such as devaluation of films, franchise fatigue, government grants for short and regional films, tax breaks, digital piracy, long working hours and pay issues, content piracy, exploitation of film crews because of lack of legal knowledge………there is so much Rekha can do. But she has the least attendance in the parliament. While Tendulkar has attended 23 of the 348 days since his nomination in 2012, Rekha has attended only 18. Further, Rekha has not attended more than a single day in any session since her nomination in 2012. While Rekha attended the least number of days compared to those who were nominated along with her, the expenditure incurred on her is the highest till date: Rs 65 lakh as salary and expenses. Expenditure incurred on Tendulkar is Rs 58.8 lakh, according to the data. This translates to an expenditure of Rs 3,60,000 a day incurred on Rekha and Rs 2,56,000 on Tendulkar. Sachin is a great cricketer and Rekha is considered the best actor, both of these could have done wonders by representing their domain areas.
India doesn’t have dearth of dedicated and gifted people in different walks of life. There are many unsung heroes such as Jadhav Payeng who has single-handedly converted a washed out land into a 1,360 acre forest in Assam, Rani Bang who has worked hard for under privileged tribal communities in central India, Beena Rao, who has been teaching slum children for free in Surat, Gujarat, has benefited over 5,000 students so far, Shirish Apte, who has successfully rejuvenated a traditional water system in Maharashtra. Gangadhara Tilak Katnam is a 67-years old retired Railway employee. He starts his car every morning and drives around on Hyderabad roads to repair the potholes. The backseat of his car always has a few gunny bags full of tar mixed gravel, which he collects from roadsides. Dr. Mapuskar has dedicated his entire life to the rural sanitation sector. Working for over 50 years in this field, Dr. Mapuskar has implemented the principles of appropriate technology and community ownership at a time when these were not part of the national consciousness. And, there are many others who really deserve kudos for their dedicated work for various causes in society. There are great Indians from diverse walks of life and they have every right to become nominated members of the Rajya Sabha. Hope the Government takes a call.
We need parliamentarians who understand the nation from grassroots level. How many of such parliamentarians do we have today? Poverty is not receding from our society; as the adage goes, “India is a rich country with poor people”, wealth in India is concerted in the hands of a fraction of the population. Around 22% of the population lives below the global poverty line. 5% of the population is completely unemployed, and there’s substantial “seasonal” and “disguised” unemployment as well. 15% of the population is definitely undernourished, and a substantially larger percentage is broadly food insecure. Only 17% of the population has health insurance. The practice of dowry is one of the worst social practices that have affected our society. Crime against women is unstoppable. We are facing grave climatic problems. Reform in India is going to require substantial domestic investment in public infrastructure and sanitation, and more aggressive fiscal policies, especially regarding infrastructure, healthcare, education, and social welfare.
While we boast of being major parliamentary democracies in the world, India now needs adopting an alternative to the first-past-the-post electoral system. Its troublesome consequences have made the country ungovernable. The basic reason is that it has become difficult for the party in power to back its share of seats with its share of the vote. In this sense most governments have become minority governments. Each may have a majority on the floor of the House but in fact it represents only a minority of the voters while the majority swirls around it in various formations and in various degrees of alienation to begin with and bitterness. The number game politics is eating away the money, time, energy of the nation…… and to top it all, we have decorative parliamentarians who are most unbothered about realities of nation.