As a lawmaker with experience of several terms in both houses of the parliament, Mr Baijayant Jay Panda has taken nuanced and proactive stances in relation to many pressing issues concerning government policies. Here is a summary of few of his initiatives:
To cleanse politics of illicit, tax evaded ‘black money’, there must be change of focus from limiting campaign expenses to enforcing the legitimacy, traceability and tax compliance of political donations. Capping expenses for election campaigns has not been successful in our country, as there has been unaccounted political expenditure and claims of undermining of democracy with provisions for higher campaign expenses are unfounded.
Election Commission of India (ECI) shall be provided with powers of mandatory audit of accounts of candidates’ and parties and the current tax exemptions received by them must be limited to funds from traceable and tax compliant sources, with additional provisions of punitive powers for the EC against violators.
Lowering the provision for anonymous political funding contribution will encourage more on the spot genuine donations and will also make harder to channel larger amount of funds in the form of countless ‘nameless donors’. There should be legitimate state funding to ensure level playing field, equivalent to the amount of traceable and tax compliant funds raised by the candidates themselves to counter black money.
Given the number of loss of lives daily, there needs to be urgent measures on road safety that are to be implemented with immediate effect. Implementation of a road safety legislation in our country is the need of hour. 27 years of celebration of road safety week has have made dismal achievements without any major success in reducing casualties on Indian roads.
There should be a long-term policy interventions in Road Safety. An updated and comprehensive legislation on the topic should take into consideration all such developments that have occurred in the field of transportation safety.
In the light of international and national statistics that show India’s alarming education scenario, it is important to recognize that although the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan programme has been functional for decades, there are many challenges that still remain, such as teacher absenteeism and paucity of science labs in school. The 2009 Right to Education(RTE) is an important legislation in the arena, but its provision to no longer hold back non-performing students is problematic in pursuit of quality education.
It needs to be pondered upon that why the newly released National Education Policy (NEP) has been prepared by bureaucrats instead of academic experts. There has to be full-fledged support for bright students emerging from rural areas, such as, from low costs schools run by NGOs
and even from government schools. To transform education in our country, it must be kept free
from red tapism.
Constitutional democracies treat rape as a crime committed against the society and a rape victim cannot be made to compromise with her perpetrator under Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanism. A few years ago, a HC had passed an order which was overruled the SC. Such an order should not have been passed by the HC as it is an obvious miscarriage of justice.
Judicial reforms are vastly overdue. These include looking into the system for appointing judges and larger funding to dramatically increase the number of judges along with the necessary infrastructure. Rape is a serious crime which must not be trivialized, neither shall be there any leniency for a convicted rapist.