Indian Decade

Quiet New Generation?

Young politicians excite in India, but does their performance live up?

India is an astoundingly young country with nearly 60 percent of our population below the age of 35. So when younger, ‘new generation’ political leaders debut, there is enthusiasm and excitement. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Cabinet boasts a clutch of young Cabinet ministers, although some of this sheen is taken away by the fact that almost each one of them rode their genes into Parliament, kin as they are of established political families.

Although these people give the Cabinet a youth burst, PRS Legislative Research, an independent research initiative, recently examined their performance in Parliament's Budget Session. PRS found that while 13 percent of MPs (excluding ministers) are aged between 25-40 years, only 8 percent of participation in debates was by a ‘young MP.’ Meanwhile, participation in debates by MPs according to age-group did not change much from the previous session. Around 7 percent of MPs who participated in any debate in the previous session was below 40. Interestingly, they found that it was those aged between 51 and 60 years that accounted for 2 of the 5 debated in the house.