Politics

More Women, Younger MPs: Who Will Represent Us for the Next Five Years?

A gender, age and occupational break up of the newly-elected representatives for the 17th Lok Sabha.

New Delhi: The dust has settled on the Lok Sabha election, with the BJP once again emerging as the single largest party with 303 MPs. The Congress could win in 52 seats. The NDA’s tally stood at 352, significantly ahead of the UPA’s 91. Other parties secured 99 seats.

The Wire takes a closer look at the profiles of the newly-elected MPs.

Of the 542 newly-elected representatives of the 17th Lok Sabha, 300 MPs are first-timers. 197 MPs were re-elected, while 45 members have been members of the Lok Sabha previously. According to PRS Legislative, this is in line with previous general elections.

The distribution of MPs according to their party.

In this election, fewer MPs aged above 70 have been elected, while more representatives are below the age of 40. 12% of the MPs are below 40 years old and 6% are above 70 years old. In the firs Lok Sabha, 26% of the MPs were below the age of 40. In the 17th Lok Sabha, most MPs (42%) are between 56-70 years old, while the average age is 54 years old.

left: age of MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha. Right: Age profiles of MPs in previous Lok Sabhas

Of the 716 women who contested the general election, 78 have made it to the Lok Sabha. In 2014, 62 women MPs were elected. While the representation of women MPs in Lok Sabha is slowly improving – it was just 5% in the first Lok Sabha and is 14% now – it is still quite low. Countries like Rwanda (61%), South Africa (43%), UK (32%), USA (24%), Bangladesh (21%) have better representation.

Left: Male and female MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha. Right: Women MPs in previous Lok Sabhas.

Of the 542 newly-elected MPs, 394 have at least graduate-level education. 27% of the Lok Sabha MPs are have studied till 27%. This is a higher proportion of non-graduate MPs than the previous election. Since 1996, at least 75% of MPs have been graduates.

Most representatives (39%) said their occupation is “political and social work”. About 38% said they were engaged in agricultural activities and 23% are businessmen.