Notwithstanding all the claims of transparency, the Gujarat Government has been found to be fighting shy of sharing information and answering only 2% of the thousands of questions asked in the State Assembly between 2017 and 2022.
A joint report, “Performance Report of Members of Gujarat Legislative Assembly,” by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), reveals that as many as 38,121 starred and unstarred questions were asked to the government and it replied to only 600.
ADR released the report at a press conference at Ahmedabad on Friday.
An ADR spokesperson Anil Verma told mediapersons, “Our objective is to keep the voters informed. We believe that every voter must make a thoroughly informed decision.” The ADR had used a factual methodology for analysing and building this report. Verma and MAGP’s Pankti Jog, who is also ADR’s Gujarat coordinator, said assessing ground-level information is a challenging and vast process because it requires more resources.
Here are some of the key findings from the extensive research by the two organisations.
95% MLAs participated less than 50 times
Seventeen MLAs attended the State Assembly session less than five times during the last five years and 11 of them were from the BJP and 6 from the Congress party.
Meanwhile, a whopping 95% of those who attended the sessions participated in the proceedings less than 50 times.
Only 600 of 38,121 Questions Answered
During nine sessions of the State Assembly in five years, the MLAs asked 38,121 starred and 10,224 unstarred questions. However, the ministers replied to only 600 of the starred questions. The government had cancelled 1.6% of the starred questions received in the Assembly. Similarly, they rejected 22% of the unstarred questions.
32% MLA Local Area Development (LAD) Fund Unused
The Gujarat MLAs received ₹1,365 crore under MLA LAD Fund or Rs 1.5 crore for each of the 182 assembly constituencies between 2017 and 2022 but they utilised only ₹1004.5 crore, leaving Rs 300 crore unused.
And what is even more startling, out of the 53,029 projects funded under the MLA LAD the government has not even initiated 6,094 of them. The two organisations have recommended a separate web portal and comprehensive guidelines for MLA LAD.
ADR’s Pleads For More Transparency
ADR State Coordinator Pankti Jog said, “We expect more transparent data from the government as we aim to provide political clarity to the people.” For instance, the ADR could not avail the data on the nature of the questions and responses and requested the government to provide the same. There was also a lack of sectoral data and photographs of the developmental works, she said.