Today, I went to the Sansad Ratna 2013 Award Function & National Seminar at IC & SR Auditorium, IIT Madras campus. This award function was mainly to facilitate the top parliamentarians of India based on their attendance, no. of questions raised, bills passed, contributions to their constituency, etc. This event was conducted jointly by the Humanities department of IIT Madras & Prime Point Foundation.
The day started with a presentation and interactive session on how our parliament works. The statistics presented in this session were very informative and I will write a separate post on this topic. There are a lot of things that we don’t know about our parliament! This session was conducted by Mr. Chakshu Roy (PRS Legislative Research).
After this, there was a short talk by Mr. T S Krishnamurthy, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India. Among other points, he insisted on the importance of transparent funding process of political parties. He felt that Government could sponsor the campaign expenses of candidates, if need be.
This was followed by a short speech by Professor K Ramamurthy, Director In-Charge, IIT Madras & Dean – Academic Courses. Among others, he spoke about how the IIT Madras has grown over the last 54 years keeping the bio-diversity of the campus neatly intact. It seems their academic institution has filed for 42 patents last year alone and was involved in NPTEL (Open/Free course-ware/information portal, open for all students).
After this, the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri. Rosiah arrived and gave the awards to the Top Lok Sabha MP’s (I guess for last year). Here they are:
- Shri AnandRao Adsul (Shiv Sena, Maharashtra)
- Shri SS Ramasubbu (Congress, Tamil Nadu)
- Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP, Rajasthan)
- Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir (BJP, Maharashtra)
- Smt. Rama Devi (BJP, Bihar)
- Smt. Jhansi Botcha Lakshmi (Congress, Andhra Pradesh)
This was followed by Q&A session with these MP’s. Among other topics, the discussion focused on why our parliament works only for a few days, why there are so many disruptions in our parliament, how disruptions become a tool for making the Government to notice & act, how their work in the parliament benefited their respective constituencies, what challenges were faced by women MP’s in India, why they were selected as the best MP, etc.
The best session, however, was reserved for the last – The panel discussion with people from various walks of life (including MLAs and MPs) from Tamil Nadu. I guess this was more interesting because the session was in Tamil and there was no translation involved. The public got into full form and bombarded the politicos (which included Mr. Thirumavalavan, Viduthalai Chiruthai Katchi; Mr. H. Raja, BJP; Ms. Vijayadharani, Congress) with all sort of questions and they answered them convincingly with equal enthusiasm!!
Some topics discussed in this session included participation of youth in politics, involvement of people in the governance process, paid news in publications, hero worship culture, right to recall, paid votes, non-voting, funding of elections, inner party democracy, party reform, proportionate representative system, decriminalization of politics, etc. As you can guess, the session was STEAMY!! This session was chaired by Ms. Banu Gomes from our Chennai Bloggers Club.
I think the organizers must be credited for identifying/recognizing the best-performing ministers, educating the people on governance-related issues and inspiring them to participate further to make the largest democracy better/more functional.
The message is clear to all MP’s: You are now being watched and your performance is being monitored!! Howz that for a change, huh? 🙂
PS: For more details, interviews and videos, please visit the Sansad Ratna site.