Sowmya Rao, who was last in the headlines when she helped coordinate online efforts to help bring relief to the victims of Chennai’s floods, had a question up on her Twitter stream yesterday that is worth some thought:
MPs come in morning, sign, take stipend, leave. Attendance for MPs should be collected, released hourly. Agree?
— Sowmya (@sowmyarao_) March 11, 2016
Seems like a relatively minor thing to get fussed about, no? Consider this story, of the passage of the Aadhaar bill — a bill both Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley had opposed not so long ago, and still replete with serious privacy concerns — in Parliament yesterday.
And in that story, consider this factoid:
Only 73 of the Lok Sabha’s 545 members were present as the lower house passed the controversial Aadhaar (Target Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill on Friday.
A bill is being debated that could have serious privacy issues. Okay, “privacy issues” sounds like so much jargon — but broadly, a card that will be your universal identification, and to which all your official records — bank accounts, passport, the works — will eventually be linked does not have sufficient safeguards in place to prevent the information from falling into the wrong hands.
And yet, given the seriousness, the long-term implications, of the law that was being shoe-horned into the statute books, just 73 of our elected representatives bothered to show up.
This is what happens when we elect the ignorant, the functionally illiterate, and the chronically corrupt to “lead” us. It is what happens when parties pick electoral candidates on the basis of “electability” — to wit, whether the candidate can muster enough money and muscle to beat the other bugger — and not on the basis of what he can do, what he is fitted to do, once he gets into Parliament.