Friday, June 9, 2017

Sansad Ratna Award function 2017 - At a glance - 14 minute video podcast

Sansad Ratna Awardees 2017
On 27 May 2017, 8th Edition of Sansad Ratna Award ceremony was held at Indian Institute of Technology Madras to honour the top performing Parliamentarians of 16th Lok Sabha (up to 10th session). Justice (Retd.) Shri  P. Sathasivam, Hon'ble Governor of Kerala presented the Awards. 

Shri Bhartruhari Mahtab, Shri N.K. Premachandran, Shri Shrirang Barne, Shri Rajiv Satav, Shri Dhananjay Mahadik, Dr Heena Gavit, Shri Sanjay Raut, K. N. Balagopal and Dr. T. N. Seema were honoured with Sansad Ratna Awards.

Hon'ble Union Minister of State (Finance & CA) Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal presided over the function.  This 14 minute podcast video gives the glimpse of the Award function. 

Sansad Ratna Awards 2017 - Photographs and videos of the entire proceedings

The above event was held at IIT Madras on 27th May 2017.  Nine MPs were honoured with Sansad Ratna Awards 2017.  Hon'ble Justice (Retd.) Shri P Sathasivam, The Governor of Kerala presented the Awards.  Shri Arjun Ram meghwal, Hon'ble Union Minister of State (Finance & CA) presided over the event.  Besides there were presentations and panel discussions on subjects of National significance with eminent policy makers and experts.    The links for the photographs and the videos are given below.

All Photographs (Images in jpeg format)

Welcome speech by K. Srinivasan, Chairman, Prime Point Foundation

Felicitation by Shri PP Chaudhary, Hon'ble MOS (Law & Justice)

Key Note address by Prof. Krishnan Balasubrmanian, Dean, IC&SR, IIT Madras

Presidential Address by Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon'ble MOS (Finance & CA)

Award Presentation Ceremony

Address by Hon'ble Justice (Retd.) Shri P Sathasivam, The Governor of Kerala

Vote of Thanks by Dr Sudarshan Padmanabhan, Associate Professor, IIT Madras

Interactive Session with Award winning Parliamentarians

Panel Discussion I - National Vision 2022 - Agriculture

Panel Discussion II - Tamil Nadu Vision 2022

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sansad Ratna Awards – A Game Changer in Politics, Waiting to Bloom to International Recognition

It is rare to find an idea that is floated, to transcend the dream stage and become a reality within no time. I remember what the South Korean Electronics giant, LG Electronics’ world-wide Chairman, Kim once told me in an interview: “Everyone has ideas from ordinary to brilliant. Not everyone is able to translate them into action. Those who succeed in translating their ideas into reality are the heroes at the end of the day.”

This kept ringing in my ears when I looked at the success of the NGO, Prime Point Foundation, its editorial arm, PreSense, and the team that propelled the Sansad Ratna Awards into an unparalleled position in polity. It was the initiative of an idea floated by the then President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, “why not honour the peoples’ representatives for the good work they do for their voters, constituencies and public at large?”

Dr Kalam had a point. The public in general seemed to have a wrong notion about parliamentarians as people who never bothered about their constituencies or voters, once they were elected into the Parliament. Many doubted their integrity too. Indian films – be they Hindi, Tamil or Telugu – only reinforce these ideas about the politicians on the celluloid screen, for private profit through box office. However, it is probably true for only a miniscule section of politicians. A large majority of politicians work hard for their constituencies.

So, it was no mean task when a small group of people from the Prime Point Foundation, present there with Dr Kalam, began working on that seed of an idea from Dr Kalam, racking their brains on how to implement such a gigantic scheme against all odds.

Things started falling in place slowly. The PRS India helped with the data on the parliamentarians’ performance in terms of raising questions, participation in discussions and debates. Then came the process of selection based on the PRS data. The PRS data served as a valuable reference point to select the candidates on merit. Over the initial years, the first among the award winners were experienced politicians and parliamentarians, viz. Sarvashri Anandrao Adsul of the Shiv Sena party, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Hansraj Ahir of the Bharatiya Janatha Party. Shri Adsul is the leader of his political party in the parliament, and both Shri Meghwal and Shri Ahir have since become Ministers of State for Finance and Home respectively.

The three senior Parliamentarians then became the jury for selection of future award winners among the Parliamentarians. It is a matter of great pride to note that the process of selection of the candidates by the jury, based on the PRS data, is completely transparent with credibility attributed to it. Thus, Prime Point Foundation became the pioneer in the implementation of this unique awards scheme that recognised performing Parliamentarians.

It was soon felt that the Sansad Ratna Awards needed a co-partner of national stature, and a venue of pre-eminence to make the Sansad Ratna Awards more noticeable at the national level, and to enthuse the younger lot of parliamentarians to set higher benchmarks in performance in both the Houses of Parliament.

IIT Madras, which now ranks as the best engineering institution in the country and the second best as an institution of excellence after the Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru, was more than willing to partner Prime Point Foundation in this initiative. There was no looking back thereafter, and the Foundation has mastered the art of organisation, protocol and other issues connected with a big event.

From a mere presentation of awards’ ceremony, the event also became a platform for meaningful discussions where eminent politicians, journalists and celebrities from various spheres gathered to discuss issues of governance, democracy and the politics. There were at least two sessions of panel discussions, one focusing on national issues and the other at a regional level governing the state.

The Sansad Ratna Awards has successfully grown from an idea into an institution of credibility, integrity and strength, where the civil society recognises the people’s representatives who do good work for the people at large in a democratic state. In 2010, it was an idea. By 2017, more than 50 Members of Parliament over the span of the past seven years, have been honoured for their good work. It is now a matter of time that the Sansad Ratna Awards will break national barriers, and gain international recognition for its founders, the Prime Point Foundation.

By TN Ashok, Editorial Advisor, PreSense

Sansad Ratna Awards 2017 - 9 MPs honoured - A Detailed report

Award winning MPs with Hon’ble Governor: L to R : Shrirang Appa BArne, Bartruhari Mahtab, Arjun Ram Meghwal (MoS), Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam (Hon’ble Governor of Kerala), N K Premachandran, K N Balagopal, Dr T N Seema, Rajeev Shankarrao Satav, Dhananjay Mahadik, Dr Heena V Gavit
Award winning MPs with Hon’ble Governor: L to R : Shrirang Appa BArne, Bartruhari Mahtab, Arjun Ram Meghwal (MoS), Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam (Hon’ble Governor of Kerala), N K Premachandran, K N Balagopal, Dr T N Seema, Rajeev Shankarrao Satav, Dhananjay Mahadik, Dr Heena V Gavit
The 8th Edition of the Sansad Ratna Awards 2017 and the 6th Edition of the National Seminar on Politics, Democracy and Governance was held in the prestigious IIT Madras campus on Saturday, May 27th, 2017. It was a day-long event of presentation lectures, awards and panel discussions, interspersed with addresses by eminent dignitaries to the function.

Presentation on Indian Parliamentary System

Dr M R Madhavan, President, PRS Legislative Research
Dr M R Madhavan
The morning started early with people filing in for registration at least an hour before the commencement of the event. Before the first item of the day’s programme was due, the auditorium was fast filling up with people from different academic and professional backgrounds. The stage was set for the first presentation by Shri M R Madhavan, President of PRS Legislative Research, Delhi. He made an hour-long interactive presentation on “Making the Indian Parliament More Effective”. He concluded the session, proposing some ideas for deliberation to make better sense of governance by the Parliament.

Presentation on Journalism
Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu
Shri Mukund Padmanabhan
The second one-hour presentation was by Shri Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor of the prestigious daily newspaper, The Hindu. He spoke about the current and much speculated topic of “Journalism: New Challenges and Threats”.

The prime point of the event was the session that followed – The Sansad Ratna Awards 2017 function. The front row of the audience section of the auditorium was already decorated with the presence of Parliamentarians from across the country and across all main political parties. They were the award-winning candidates for their top performance in the just concluded Parliament session. The Honourable Minister of State for Finance and one of the members of the Jury that selected the award winners, Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal too had arrived. The other two Jury members, who were also veteran Parliamentarians, were conspicuous by their absence due to exigencies.

Presentation of Sansad Ratna 2017 Awards

Soon after a brief tea-break, the Chief Guest, Justice (Retired) Shri P.Sathasivam, Honourable Governor of Kerala arrived on the dot to take his seat on the dais, with the Central Minister and the associated team members of the Sansad Ratna Team, led by Shri K.Srinivasan, popularly known as Prime Point Srinivasan. The session kickstarted with the National Anthem, followed by the welcome address by Shri K.Srinivasan, who spoke about the need for a proactive role of the civil society, and the innovative work Parliamentarians could do in their respective constituencies. Shri P. P.Chaudhary, Honourable Minister of State for Law & Justice, who could not make it to the event, compensated for his absence by sending across a video recording of his message for the occasion. This was played for the benefit of those present at the event.

Prof Krishnan Balasubramanian, Dean of IIT Madras, which were co-partners with Prime Point Foundation and the ezine, PreSense, delivered the keynote address. He spoke of the role of IIT in participating in the nation’s economic development through projects with innovative technology that are economical and energy-saving.

The presidential address was presented by the Honourable Minister, Shri Meghwal. In his speech, he lauded the high benchmark laid by the award-winning Parliamentarians and he made a special mention of the Parliamentarian recipients of the Jury’s Special “Sansad Ratna Award 2017”. He appreciated the quality of their performance in the Parliament. Shri Meghwal also dwelt on the pivotal and pioneering role of Prime Point Foundation under Shri K.Srinivasan, who translated an innovative idea into reality with the institution of the Sansad Ratna Awards.

This session was selected for honouring Shri M.R.Madhavan as President of PRS Legislative Research for the outstanding work contributed by the institution to the Parliament, and to the civil society through its data collection, analysis and collation. He was awarded a citation by the Chief Guest. The Members of Parliament were then called to the stage individually to receive their respective citations. The awards were presented to them by the Chief Guest, the Honourable Governor. The achievements of the individual MPs were announced as each of them stepped forward onto the stage to receive the award. This was followed by a photo session of the MPs with the Governor and the Minister.

The Chief Guest, Justice (Retd) Shri Sathasivam then took to the podium to deliver his inaugural address. He applauded the successful Parliamentarians. As the performing Parliamentarians were also evaluated by their utilisation of the funds under MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme), Shri Sathasivam shared the story of how the relevance of the scheme of MPLADS was deliberated upon by a panel of judges where he solely supported it and convinced the panel to approve the plan.

At the conclusion of his address, the Chief Guest was presented a memento of books by Shri Meghwal. The session wound up with a Vote of Thanks by Dr S. Padmanabhan, Associate Professor, IIT Madras, and the National Anthem, before the Governor exited from the auditorium.

Interaction Session with Award Winning Parliamentarians

Interactive session with Sansad Ratna Awardees 201
Interactive session with Sansad Ratna Awardees 2017
The final one-hour session before lunch was an interactive session with the MPs, when the MPs answered questions about their special achievements in their respective constituencies. The session was moderated by Dr Bhawanesh Deora, Secretary, Sansad Ratna Awards Committee, Shri Ramesh Sethuraman, Additional Secretary of the Awards Committee. Shri V.Rajendran, member of PreSense Editorial Team, assisted in translation of Hindi to English to Hindi, where necessary.

Honouring Social Worker

Shri Natarajan Raman of Dream India, an NGO associated with the education of government school children, and adults, was honoured with a citation for his outstanding social service, by the Honourable Minister. The morning session concluded with the presentation of mementos to the team and volunteers who worked for the event, and a photo session. 

Panel Discussion on National Vision 2022 – Agriculture

Panelists  - L to R : S S Rajasekar, Rajendra Singh, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss MP and S Ranganathan
Panelists  - L to R : S S Rajasekar, Rajendra Singh, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss MP and S Ranganathan

The post-lunch session was a panel discussion on a topic of national relevance captioned “National Vision 2022 – Agriculture”. Susan Koshy, Editor, PreSense introduced the panel of speakers. The panel was chaired by Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, MP. The other panellists included Shri Rajendra Singh, activist and popularly known as the “Waterman of India”, Shri S.Ranganathan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, and Shri S.S.Rajasekar, Managing Trustee of National Agro Foundation. The salient points discussed were the relevance of traditional knowledge in crop cultivation, regulating the market to give the fair share to the farmer, and incorporating modern technology in the traditional process of agriculture to bring optimum yield to the advantage of farmers and the economy.

Panel Discussion on Tamil Nadu Vision 2022

Panelists: L to R – PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan MLA, R Nataraj MLA, Dr Mariazeena Johnson and K T Raghavan
Panelists: L to R – PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan MLA, R Nataraj MLA, Dr Mariazeena Johnson and K T Raghavan
The final session was the second panel discussion on “Tamil Nadu Vision 2022”. The panel was chaired by Dr Mariazeena Johnson, Pro-Chancellor, Sathyabama University. The other panellists were Shri R.Nataraj MLA, IPS (Retired) of the AIADMK Party, Shri PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan MLA (DMK) and Shri K.T.Raghavan, State Secretary of BJP. The panel was introduced by Shri R.Nurullah, Vice-President of the Sansad Ratna Awards Committee. The panellists deliberated on the inefficiency of the current bureaucratic system, and the lack of vision in the political system of the state. The extent of corruption was instrumental in most of the potential industries moving away from Tamil Nadu to other states. It was strongly endorsed by the panel that until and unless a genuine sense of patriotism is imbibed, there would always be a gap between vision and implementation of a progressive Tamil Nadu.

The day’s event came to a conclusion with the National Anthem. The partners for the event were Sathyabama University and Canara Bank..

The video clippings of the entire proceeding are available at and also in

By Susan Koshy, Editor, PreSense
(This is the cover story in the May 2017 issue of ezine PreSense)

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