- Vijay Simha
The 2013 monsoon session of parliament is a reminder of dwarfed ambition, thought and size.
Irrespective of what it may do, the levels of brilliance are suspect among lawmakers and ethics forever contested. There's a grudging acceptance simply because Indians acquiesce to protocol and tradition. Parliament is still supreme - on paper. And so we limp along.
The killer is the size. We reel because of quality issues; periodically we rant about it. But there's barely anything on quantity.
India's parliament is the most lopsided on earth; it has perhaps the worst ratio of MPs to voters of any democracy. There's no way it can represent the people of India with its current numbers.
Let's see how they do it elsewhere. For our purposes, we could take a look at China, the United States, Russia and England.
China's National People's Congress is its premier legislative body. In practice it follows what the Chinese communist party lays down but they have got their numbers right.
The Chinese have 2,987 deputies in their Congress who serve five-year terms. It is the largest parliament in the world, which caters to the biggest population on earth.
The United States House of Representatives has 435 representatives who serve a two-year term. The Senate has 100 senators who serve six-year terms. Since the US has two-year terms for its representatives, it is on a perpetual election cycle. It can afford it; it also has big business spin-offs because of the many services that thrive on elections.
Russia's State Duma - the lower house - has 616 deputies who serve four-year terms will be five years now]. Its Federation Council - the upper house - has 166 members whose terms depend on the life of the regional bodies that chose them.
England's House of Lords - the upper house - has around 830 members, many of them life peers. The number can fluctuate although it settles around 760. The House of Commons - the lower house - has 650 members who serve five-year terms.
India has 543 Lok Sabha members maximum allowed is 552 who serve five-year terms. Rajya Sabha has 245 members [can go to 250 maximum] who serve six-year terms. This is a parody.
Image: India's parliament is the most lopsided on earth; it has perhaps the worst ratio of MPs to voters of any democracy.
Image: AP/ PTI