Daily Losses

The constant bickering and inability of our politicians, especially at the Punjab Assembly level, has not just damaged the morale of the nation, and political ethics and sportsmanship; it has had a very real monetary cost as well. More specifically, since June 2022, one session of the Punjab Assembly costs Rs10 million a day. This is an exorbitant amount; one which was approved in the provincial budget by the Punjab Assembly back in June, when parliamentarians allocated a healthy sum of Rs3.688 billion to meet the Assembly’s expenses. This is a large amount on its own—however, the number seems even more appalling in the context that the costs of a session may total Rs.10 million a day, whether or not the session has been actually held or not, or any key development has taken place. For example, the 41st session of the Punjab Assembly which started on June 15, continues to date for the last 85 days at the cost of the public exchequer. Of those 85 days, the number of actual sittings comes to 22 days only but the rules allow the Assembly employees and the MPAs to get payments even for the off days. This means that every adjournment of the session due to strikes, walk-out of parliamentarians, and lack of quorum has a real, monetary cost on the exchequer. From June 15, the Assembly saw several adjournments ranging from two to 14 days, with the longest adjournment running 14 days in August, for no apparent reason. All this happens when the country is going through a period of economic difficulty and attempting to practice austerity. This is carelessness to the nth degree if such enormous costs are allowed to incur just because parliamentarians do not want to do their job. These high costs are allocated due to the importance of enacting necessary legislation, but we have not seen much meaningful legislation being passed by the Punjab Assembly. These rules need to be amended so that parliamentarians are only paid for the hours they are present, and the restrictions regarding absences must be implemented.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt