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Delhi assembly seeing fewer sittings, fewer issues raised, finds Praja Foundation report


New Delhi: The seventh Delhi assembly witnessed a decline in the number of sittings held per year and the quality of issues raised by elected representatives compared to the sixth Delhi assembly, says a report released by the Praja Foundation Tuesday.

In its report titled ‘Delhi MLA Report Card, 2023’, the non-profit which conducts surveys on governance and civic issues also notes that a few MLAs in Delhi have not spoken on a “single issue” in the assembly since their election in 2020.

The findings suggest that there has been a 51 percent decrease in the number of sittings, from 21  on average per year during the sixth Delhi assembly (2015-20) to 10 on average per year during the seventh Delhi assembly (from February 2020 till 1 September 2022).

Further, in 2022, Delhi was ranked 16 of 28 state assemblies in terms of the number of sittings held, with only 15 sittings held that year.

“Less number of sittings has resulted in lesser opportunities for MLAs to attend and deliberate on citizens’ issues. Consequently, the number of issues raised by Delhi MLAs have also been inconsistent since 2015,” the report notes. 

It also points out that 10 MLAs did not raise a single issue in the Delhi assembly in 2022 (between 23 March 2022 and 19 January 2023), of which four MLAs were yet to raise a single issue since they were elected in 2020. The four MLAs — all of them from the ruling AAP — include Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, Sangam Vihar MLA Dinesh Mohaniya, Rajouri Garden MLA  Dhanwati Chandela and Chandni Chowk MLA Parlad Singh Sawhney.

“This was also the time when there was no elected body in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi from May 2022 to December 2022. In such a situation, the legislative assembly remains the only platform to effectively raise issues of public importance,” the report notes.

When ThePrint reached the four MLAs in question for comment, Mohaniya said he would comment only after reading the report, while the remaining were yet to respond till the time of publication. This report will be updated if and when the responses are received.

Three MLAs who delivered on the assessment parameters were all from the BJP with Ghonda MLA Ajay Kumar Mahawar topping the list, scoring 83.12 of 100, followed by Karawal Nagar MLA Mohan Singh Bisht (81.29/100) and Vishwas Nagar MLA Om Prakash Sharma (78.26/100).

Among the lowest performing MLAs, the bottom three were AAP members with Mohaniya (scoring 5/100) and Khan (13/100) ranked at 61 and 60, respectively, and Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal ranked at 59 (14/100). It is to note that of the 70 MLAs in the Delhi assembly, Praja Foundation assessed the performance of 61 — excluding the MLAs who were then serving as speaker, deputy speaker, chief minister or minister.

According to the report, the number of issues raised in the Delhi assembly, and the attendance of MLAs per year too witnessed a dip.

For instance, in 2017, a total of 1,116 issues were raised during 21 sittings of the assembly, while the attendance of Delhi’s elected representatives stood at 87 percent.

However, in 2022 (till 1 September), 872 issues were raised and 15 sittings held, while attendance dropped to 83 percent.

The assessment for the quality of the issues raised by the elected representatives was based on its importance — revolving around civic issues, community welfare, education, health, transport and pollution, among others.

The average score of the importance of issues raised, which stood at 38.7 percent in 2018 and 38.3 percent in 2022, however, dropped to 35.9 percent in 2023, the report suggests.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

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