Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 16 March 2023

Sansad Ratna Awards

Source: By The Indian Express

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated fellow Members of Parliament who will be conferred the Sansad Ratna Awards 2023. “May they keep enriching parliamentary proceedings with their rich insights,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

The Sansad Ratna Awards were instituted in 2010, inspired by the teachings of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who launched the first edition of the Award function in Chennai. They seek to recognise and felicitate the top-performing MPs on the basis of their work in the apex legislative body.

So far90 Parliamentarians have been given this award. The 13th edition of the award ceremony is set to be held this year on 25 March 2023 in New Delhi.

Who are the Sansad Awards winners this year?

The Jury Committee has chosen a total of 13 MPs and two parliamentary committees for the award, with a lifetime award being presented for the first time this year.

The awardees are Bidyut Baran Mahato (BJP, Jharkhand)Sukanta Majumdar (BJP, West Bengal)Kuldeep Rai Sharma (INC, Andaman Nicobar Islands), Heena Vijayakumar Gavit (BJP, Maharashtra), Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (INC, West Bengal), Gopal Chinayya Shetty (BJP, Maharashtra), Sudhir Gupta (BJP, Madhya Pradesh), and Amol Ramsing Kolhe (NCP, Maharashtra) from the Lok Sabha.

From the Rajya Sabha, John Brittas (CPI-M, Kerala), Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD, Bihar), Fauzia Tahseen Ahmed Khan (NCP, Maharashtra), Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (Samajwadi Party, UP) and Chhaya Verma (INC, Chhattisgarh) will be given the Sansad Ratna award.

The Finance Committee (Lok Sabha, under BJP’s Jayant Sinha) and Transport, Tourism and Culture Committee (Rajya Sabha, under YSR Congress’s V Vijayasai Reddy) have been nominated for Awards for their outstanding cumulative performance from the beginning of the 17th Lok Sabha until the end of Winter Session of 2022.

T K Rangarajan (former Rajya Sabha MP for two terms and a Senior CPIM Leader) will be honoured with the “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Lifetime Achievement Award” for his contribution to “Parliament and Indian people” over the years.

Who chooses the winners and how?

The Sansad Ratna Awards Press Release mentions that its jury committee comprises “eminent Parliamentarians and (members of) civil society”. It was chaired by Arjun Ram Meghwal (MoS, Parliamentary Affairs) and co-chaired by T S Krishnamurthy (Former Chief Election Commissioner of India).

These nominations were based on an MP’s cumulative performance in Parliament, from the beginning of the 17th Lok Sabha until the end of Winter Session 2022, the website says. Factors that the decision is based on include questions asked, private members’ Bills introduced, debates initiated, attendance, funds utilised, etc. The performance data of the members have been sourced from information provided by PRS Legislative Research.

Which is the organisation that instituted the Sansad Ratna Awards and runs the award function?

The Sansad Ratna Awards are not given by the Government of India, though over the years, its jury members have included individuals in the government. The awards were instead the brainchild of K Srinivasan, a communication strategist who founded the Prime Point Foundation in 1999. Started to “promote communication awareness”, it is this foundation which runs the awards show, alongside the foundation’s monthly eMagazine PreSense. The awards were started with support from IIT Madras.