Set up to motivate elected representatives to be good parliamentarians, the annual Outstanding Parliamentarian Award could well be in imminent danger of becoming a please-all award.
Questions are being raised on the need, seriousness and authenticity of the exercise to present the ‘Outstanding Parliamentarian Award’ with the Government combining the results of three years and awarding them to parliamentarians — one from the ruling, one from the Opposition and one for others — for the second consecutive time this year.
Sample this: The Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for the year (2007, 2008 and 2009) were clubbed and announced in 2010. The winners were Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi (Congress/2007), Mohan Singh (Samajwadi Party/2008) and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi (Bharatiya Janata Party/2009).
The alleged ‘please-all pattern’ saw a repeat early March this year. Awards for three years, 2010, 2011, 2012 were combined and announced with the winners being Arun Jaitley (Bharatiya Janata Party/2010), Karan Singh (Congress/2011) and Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal (United)/ 2012).
The information obtained under the Right to Information Act by activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal states that nominations for the awards are invited from the members and associate members of the Indian Parliamentary Group. An award committee is constituted for selecting members for the honour and the recommendation of the committee is placed before the executive committee of the Indian Parliamentary Group for formal acceptance.
“The manner in which these awards are being combined and practically distributed points to the fact that this is more an appease-all award rather than an honour aimed at motivating members to be good parliamentarians. The awards are combined and are awarded to three senior parliamentarians from three different parties. Sadly the same tactics were adopted in 2007, 2008 and 2009,” said Mr. Agarwal.
“The awardees should also be selected through a properly drafted computerised system by a point-wise system for various qualities required in an ideal parliamentarian,” he added.
Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha and member of the award committee (2010,11,12) Prof. P.J. Kurien said: “A very transparent process is followed to select those who are awarded. It is also not done by an individual. A committee clears the names and there is no mention of parties while the names are finalised.”