Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda is a Member of Parliament of India, Lower House (Lok Sabha), representing the Kendrapara constituency, Odisha since 2009. He was re-elected from Kendrapara with a margin of over 2 lakh 9 thousand votes in May 2014. Earlier Jay Panda had been twice elected to Parliament, Upper House (Rajya Sabha) in 2000 and 2006, also from the State of Odisha. He is a member of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party.
He graduated from the Michigan Technological University and, with a background in Engineering and Management, worked in the corporate sector before joining politics. He assisted the late Biju Patnaik and subsequently Naveen Patnaik, who founded the Biju Janata Dal party, which has found strong acceptance from the people of Odisha and has been repeatedly voted back in elections.
Jay Panda has been associated with the India-USA Forum of Parliamentarians and is its Chairman. He was given an award for best parliamentary practices by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India in 2008. Since its inception in 2007, Jay Panda has been associated with the Citizens’ Alliance Against Malnutrition, an advocacy group including many parliamentarians across parties, civil society activists, non-governmental organisations, Bollywood actors, and other celebrities. The Citizens’ Alliance has undertaken numerous initiatives to battle child malnutrition in India, including field visits to rural districts in several states, continual engagement with media organisations to highlight the issue, repeated interactions with the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Chief Ministers and other political leaders to raise the priority given to this critical area.
If a million Indian citizens can give up subsidised LPG cooking fuel connections, then surely a few hundred MPs can give up subsidised cooked food. Government subsidies are meant for those who cannot afford to pay the full price of a service or product. Surely, we MPs can offer to give up this subsidy (or a VVIP privilege if you will) to set right this anomaly.
Information is power, and the ability of technology to make information available at our fingertips has transformative potential, particularly for countries like India, where they can enable leap frogging across vast hurdles.