Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant Panda made quite an impression on Twitter and in political circles when he announced that he would return a part of his salary proportional to the time wasted or lost in the recently-concluded winter session of Parliament. Panda was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Kendrapara constituency in Odisha.
His tweet, that was re-tweeted over 2,100 times, invited a lot of praise on the micro-blogging platform with many saying he was setting high standards for people in public office.
Winter session of Parlmt ends after passing the disabilities bill. Phew! As usual, i’ll be returning salary proportional to time wasted/lost
— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) December 16, 2016
The winter session was a near-washout with the row over demonetisation dominating most of it. Although a debate on the issue was initiated in both Houses, it never reached a logical conclusion with frequent disruptions and exchange of allegations between the government and the opposition.
With no major business being transacted except the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed unanimously in both Houses, Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari said all sections of the House need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, disruption and agitation. While Lok Sabha worked for just 19 hours losing 92 hours, the Rajya Sabha did slightly better working for 22 hours and losing more than 86. Figures released by the Lok Sabha secretariat showed this was the lowest during the term of the current Lok Sabha in terms of hours, while data from PRS Legislative Research showed that productivity hit a low in percentage terms, too, during the same period.
“Rajya Sabha worked only for 21 per cent of the time it was scheduled to. In the case of Lok Sabha, the working time was even lower, just 17 per cent,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.