Sleep An Occupational Hazard for All MPs ?
India may have based its bicameral system of democracy on the Westminster model, but our honourable Members of Parliament are certainly more energetic — albeit not always in the manner their voters may expect — than their counterparts at least in Britain’s upper house. In a soon-to-be-released TV documentary, a British parliamentarian has contended that many of his 804 fellow members of the House of Lords collect their £300 daily allowance but contribute practically nothing to the proceedings. And yet another has pronounced it to be the “best daycare centre for the elderly in London”, complete with snoozing areas and subsidised food. In India, while the issue of subsidised food in Parliament has periodically caused heartburn in some quarters, the advent of live TV coverage in particular has certainly done much to keep members’ eyes open, and also spur them to action — by walking out — more enthusiastically than their British counterparts. Enacting legislation cannot possibly keep MPs engrossed for entire sessions. And debates on ‘live topics’ conducted outside the House often give them more individual TV time to vent anyway. So the British parliamentarian’s accusation that MPs do not “contribute” to the House should occasion a relook at what exactly that word entails now.