The number game behind Representation of People Act - What really matters


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The number game behind Representation of People Act

The world's biggest voting event is here. More than 81 crore voters are expected to choose their representative using the power of voting given by The Representation of People Act - 1951.

When we open Facebook, Twitter or TV set it is very likely to hear intensive debates on GDP, inflation, women empowerment, corruption, secularism etc. But for actual* voters these debates doesn't really matter. They still vote for food, cloth, shelter, water, roads, electricity etc.

Why this divide in voters?
To answer this I did some interesting calculations**, it goes like this:

Which effectively means that:

  1. Population of India is 2.51 times of what it was in first general election
  2. The number of constituencies in India is 0.11 times of what it was in first general election
  3. So while population of India increased from 35 crore to 123 crore (88 crore more) the constituencies has increased from 489 to 543 (54 more)
  4. In 1951 there was one elected representative for every 7 lakh people
  5. Whereas in 2014 there will be one elected representative for every 22 lakh people
  6. It means the elected representative (our hard working ministers) should work 3 times harder to serve their constituency in 2014 as compared to 1951
  7. And if the elected representative isn't able to work 3 times harder (obviously!) then the remaining 15 lakh people in every constituency becomes 'isolated'. They have no contact with their elected representative. They have no access to information, news and media. They are eventually deprived of basic livelihood needs.

This is what divides voter into 'well informed and connected' or an 'isolated'

Although I am no expert in politics still I could see some simple measures that could be taken to close up this gap:

  • Reforming the Representation of People Act
  • Demarcation of boundaries of constituencies should be done every 5 years instead of 25 years
  • Reduce the size of constituencies. We can't expect 1 M.P. to be reachable to 22 lakh people. It's highly impractical.
  • There should be mandatory mohalla meetings, gram sabhas, or something to connect M.P.s with people. By saying so I DO NOT become an AAPTard.
  • An M.P. must stay in his constituency for half of the hours spent in parliament in a year
  • "Right to News" should be introduced to ensure that TV or news-paper or radio or some medium is available to each and every citizen of India no matter how detached his village may be. Access to news is very important. In absence of news a poor may not know when he is kicked out of BPL zone or how much daily wages is an unemployed eligible under NAREGA.

*Visit a general bogie in train or a government hospital to see them
**Assuming in 1951 people were 100% connected with their representatives


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I really liked the last point. Right to unbiased and neutral news. Information can be obtained presently as well, but in the form of Press Releases or RTIs. News is something which should be more "user-friendly", that can be understood easily by common man!