Monday, August 31, 2009
Even as it welcomed the Government providing opportunities for higher education to larger and larger numbers of students belonging to weaker sections, the Lok Satta Party today said the Government had failed to give equal importance to primary and high school education.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, Mrs. K. Geetha Murthy referred to the Chief Minister’s claim that Andhra Pradesh topped all other States in its budget for higher education and said the Government was building an edifice without a strong foundation.
The Lok Satta leaders quoted the Annual Status of Education Report to point out that a large percentage of students up to Class VIII could not read a couple of sentences in their mother tongue or undertake simple division and subtraction of numbers. A survey conducted by the Lok Satta revealed that most of the schools do not have pucca buildings and in most schools classes are conducted in one or two rooms. Most teachers happen to be volunteers and most of the schools do not have drinking water or toilet facilities.
Primary schools witnessed a dropout rate of about 50 percent and the Tenth Class, about 38 percent.
The Lok Satta would like the Government to pay greater attention to primary and higher education through allocation of funds, construction of school buildings, provision of amenities and appointment of teachers.
The leaders pointed out that school students as also hostel inmates went without nutritious food because of the spiraling costs of essential commodities. They wanted the Government to enhance allocation of funds for schemes that enabled poor students to pursue their education.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today suggested that the Advocate General’s expertise be tapped when the Legislative Assembly takes up the Bill to amend The Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001for consideration.
In separate letters to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the Advocate General, Dr. JP pointed out that Article 177 of the Constitution provided for the participation of the Advocate General in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly.
He recalled that the Government had introduced the Bill despite the Opposition contention that the House has no legislative competence to enact such a law abridging the Fundamental Rights enunciated in 19 (1) C of the Constitution. “This is not a matter of policy, but a matter of Constitutional law. Therefore, the House needs to be guided by an appropriate authority while dealing with the Bill.”
In his letter to the Advocate General, Dr. JP said that the Bill provides for the supersession of the managing committee of any society ‘which is not functioning properly, or willfully disobeys or fails to comply with any lawful order or direction issued by the Registrar and appointment of a special officer or committee to manage the affairs of the society up to three years.’
Dr. JP said that societies or unions can be regulated by a law imposing reasonable restrictions only in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, public order or morality. “But the restrictions sought to be imposed do not pertain to these subjects.”
Dr. JP said, “When there is a vital Constitutional question of this magnitude relating to the Fundamental Rights and Legislative competence, we need the guidance of a Constitutional expert. According to Article 177 of the Constitution, ‘The Advocate General for a State shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise take part in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of the State… This is a case in which your guidance and Constitutional expertise will be of great value to the House while it considers the important legislation.”
Dr. JP has shared the communication with the all floor leaders, concerned Ministers and the media.
29th August 2009
Sri Seetarama Murthy
Advocate-General of AP
Dear Sri Seetarama Murthy garu,
Kindly find enclosed my letter to the Speaker requesting him to invite you under Article 177 of the Constitution to guide the AP Legislative Assembly whenever the Bill to amend the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act 2001, is taken up for consideration by the House. I am also enclosing the Bill for your information. The Bill provides for supersession of the (managing) committee of any society which is “not functioning properly or willfully disobeys or fails to comply with any lawful order or direction issued by the Registrar”, and appointment of a special officer or a committee to manage the affairs of the society up to three years,
I have formally objected to introduction of the Bill under Rule 96 (2) of the Assembly Rules, on the ground that such a law violates Article 19(1)(C) read with Articles 19(4) and 13(2). Under Article 19(4), the societies or unions can be regulated by a law imposing reasonable restrictions only in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, public order or morality. I have objected the introduction of the Bill as the restrictions sought to be imposed do not pertain to sovereignty and integrity of India, or public order or morality. The Minister concerned countered my objection on the ground that Article 19(5) provides for restrictions ‘in the interests of the general public’. I pointed out that Article 19(5) applies only to the rights conferred under Article 19(1)(d) and (e), and not to Article 19(1)(c). However, the Bill was introduced in the AP Legislative Assembly on 28th August 2009.
When there is a vital Constitutional question of this magnitude relating to the Fundamental Rights and the legislative competence of the House, we need the guidance of a Constitutional expert. Article 177 of the Constitution addresses such a situation. According to Article 177, “The Advocate-General for a State shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise take part in the proceedings of, the Legislative Assembly of the State,. … but shall not be entitled to vote”. This is a case in which your guidance and Constitutional expertise will be of great value to the House while considering this important legislation.
I have written to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to invite you to the House whenever the Bill comes up for consideration, so that the House can benefit from your expertise (Letter enclosed). As per the Article 177, the Advocate-General has the right to participate in the House proceedings at any time. I, therefore, request you to kindly make it convenient to participate in the proceedings of the Assembly when the Bill comes up for consideration.
In view of the importance of this issue, I am sharing this communication with the Speaker, all Floor Leaders, concerned Ministers, and the general public.
With warm personal regards,
29th August 2009
Sri Kiran Kumar Reddy
AP Legislative Assembly
Esteemed Speaker Sri Kiran Kumar Reddy garu,
Kindly recall my formal opposition under Rule 96 (2) to the introduction of a Bill to amend The Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 in the Legislative Assembly on August 28, 2009. Despite the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution in Articles 19(1)(c), 19(4) and 13(2) prohibiting such an amendment, the State Government insisted on introducing the Bill. Now that the Bill has been introduced, it will be considered by the House whenever you allocate time for it.
The question all Opposition Parties raised is a fundamental one, and is unrelated to Government policy. The Opposition is objecting to the Bill on the ground that the House has no legislative competence to enact such a law abridging the Fundamental Rights enunciated in 19 (1)(c) of Part III of the Constitution. This is not a matter of policy, but a matter of Constitutional law. Therefore, the House needs to be guided by an appropriate authority while dealing with the Bill.
It is precisely to address such a situation that the Constitution has provided in Article 177 for the participation of the Advocate General in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly. This is the very provision under which Ministers, who are members of the Legislative Council, can participate in Assembly proceedings. For instance, Sri K. Rosaiah, Hon’ble Minister for Finance and Legislative Affairs, is participating in the House proceedings under Article 177.
I, therefore, request you to invite the Advocate General to participate in the Assembly proceedings under Article 177 whenever the Bill comes up for consideration. In view of the importance of the issue, I am sharing this communication with the Leader of the House, the Minister for Legislative Affairs, the Minister for Endowments, Stamps and Registration, the Advocate General, all the Floor Leaders and the general public.
With warm personal regards,
Friday, August 28, 2009
The Lok Satta Party is organizing an interactive conference with women professionals at 3-00 p.m. on Sunday, August 30, 2009 at Babu Jagjivanram Auditorium near Kothapet Rytu Bazar in Dilkushnagar.
About 400 professionals like doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers are expected to take part in the conference dealing with the role of women professionals in promoting a better society.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be chairing the session.
The Lok Satta Party today welcomed the Government of India’s move to amend the Constitution to provide for 50 percent reservations to women in both rural and urban local bodies.
The party, however, took exception to the move to rotate the seats to be reserved for women as it will deprive a woman elected to an office the opportunity to nurse the constituency since she cannot contest from the same constituency the next time. Every election will witness half of the incumbents being forcibly unseated.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons Mrs. K. Geeta Murthy, Mrs. Y. Rama Devi, Mrs. S. Manorama suggested that the Government should make it mandatory for political parties to field women from 50 percent of seats in local bodies taking the district or an Assembly constituency as the unit. A party’s failure to field the requisite number of women candidates in a district or an Assembly constituency should entail a penalty. Women must have the opportunity to be reelected to office.
The Lok Satta leaders once again underlined the need for devolution of powers, resources and personnel on local bodies in tune with the constitutional amendments. Mere elections and reservations would not empower local bodies.
The party also suggested that all women elected to office both in rural and urban areas should be given training so that they could do justice to their jobs and grow into future leaders of the country.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today announced the names of some of the important people who would be heading the party and its women and youth wings in some districts.
Guntur district: President – O. Narayana Reddy, Mahila Satta President – Padma Rani and Yuva Satta President – Vidyasagar.
Guntur City: President – Dr. Sarat, General Secretary – Siva Nageswara Rao
Prakasam district: President – A. S. Ramesh Reddy, General Secretary -- Ratnakumari, Mahila Satta President – Sarada and Yuva Satta President – Hasan
Nellore district: President – Narra Sridhar, General Secretary – M. S. Mani Yadav, Mahila Satta President – Vijayalakshmi, Yuva Satta President – Pavan
Nellore Town: President – Murali Krishna Reddy, General Secretary – Vijayalakshmi
State party General Secretary Malyadri and spokesman V. Laxman Balaji gave this information to the media. Mr. DVVS Varma, Party Vice President, had told representatives from districts that the newly formed committees should focus on the party winning the ensuing municipal elections.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Loksatta is organising an interactive session with Dr.JP for all the Professional women for the first time. Here is an Opportunity for all the Women Professionals to interact with Dr.Jaya Prakash Narayan directly.
If you are a woman in a professional career or if you know any such women among your friends and families, please pass the word and encourage them to be a part of the interactive session with Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan.
Venue: Babu Jagjeevan Ram Bhavan, Adjacent to Rythu Bazar, Kothapet, Hyderabad
Date & Time: August 30, Sunday, 2:45 p.m.
Please confirm Your Participation on phone 9949932608, 9849018870, 9618260667 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lok Satta Party today announced the names of office-bearers of its reconstituted Karimnagar district committee. They are: President – M. Vidyasagara Rao, Vice-Presidents – P. Rama Rao and Srinivasa Rao, General Secretary – K. Y. Vidyasagara Rao, Treasurer – K. Lakshman Babu, Organizing Secretary – T. Anil Kumar, Assistant Secretaries – Boga Ravikumar, M. V. Ramana and Rafiduddin and Official Spokesperson: Vamsidhara Reddy.
The following were named constituency in-charges: Dharmapuri – D. Ravinder, Sirsilla – Santosh, Choppadandi – T. Babu, Karimnagar – Rajareddy, Jagtyal – M. Vidyasagara Rao, Pedapalli – Srinivasa Rao and Ramagundam – Anil Kumar.
Announcing the names of office-bearers, party’s Election Committee Chairman V. Ramachandraiah and party spokesman V. Laxman Balaji told the media that finalization of committees was taking longer than expected because of the large number of aspirants for the positions.
They disclosed that discussions were on with party representatives from Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts for finalization of office-bearers.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Lok Satta Party has formed a high-level committee comprising Mr. DVVS Varma and Mr. Bhisetty Babji to steer the party campaign in the Tekkali byelection. Teams functioning under them will be meeting educated people, women, employees and workers with a view to seeking their support for the party. In addition, a 15-member youth team under the leadership of Yuva Satta convener Dasari Ratnam will be going round the constituency.
Party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mr. V. Laxman Balaji told the media that the party leaders were on their way to Tekkali to step up the campaign. The party would tell voters that a vote to any traditional party would not transform their lives since all of them pursued the same policies. Only the Lok Satta was committed to ensuring equal growth opportunities to every child, irrespective of its caste and religion.
Meanwhile, top leadership of the party is engaged in reconstituting district committees by holding discussions with tentatively chosen candidates from different districts at the party headquarters.
Monday, August 24, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today appealed to Tekkali voters to utilize the by-election to the Assembly for unveiling people-centered politics in place of family-oriented politics.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and Mrs. Y. Ramadevi said politics should strive to provide equal opportunities for growth to every child irrespective of its birth in a certain caste or religion. Considering that the Lok Satta alone is working in that direction, the Tekkali voters should strengthen its hands.
The Lok Satta has fielded Mr. Chandrasekhar Patnaik, a lawyer and social worker, to contest the by-election.
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that the outcome of the election would have no bearing on the continuance of the present Government. Therefore, the voters should evaluate how the traditional parties had been carrying on personality-based politics in the Assembly in the last 100 days and how they had succeeded in warding off meaningful discussions on people’s burning problems. In contrast, the Lok Satta, which had only a lone representative in the Assembly sought, to elevate discussions to a higher plane.
The Lok Satta appealed to all thinking people to take active interest in elections and cast their votes as otherwise money, liquor and muscle power would have a field day. They should bury the malicious campaign that a vote to the Lok Satta would be a wasted vote. There is no question of people voting for a winning party since any party could win only when they cast votes for it.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today asked the Government to explore the possibility of associating the corporate hospitals and others in the private sector with the fight against swine flu, which is assuming epidemic proportions. Private sector health care players can educate and enlighten people on preventing the spread of the disease and undertake preliminary treatment, if they don’t have full-fledged facilities.
Recalling the Union Health Minister’s warning that the swine flu might affect one-third of the country’s population, the Lok Satta pointed out that the Government would have to launch measures to prevent and arrest the spread of the disease. As of now, only a few hospitals in Hyderabad are in a position to test and diagnose swine flu cases and fewer still to treat patients.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and K. Gita Murthy said, the Government had virtually outsourced most life-saving surgeries to the private sector under ‘Arogyasri’ and is enriching their coffers. “There is no reason why the Government could not co-opt the private sector in tackling swine flu.”
“The breakout of swine flu has once again underlined the danger of encouraging the private sector at the cost of the public sector in health care. The fact that only 22 beds have been offered by just five corporate hospitals for swine flu patients exposes to what extent the Government can rely on the private sector in case of a national emergency.”
The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the Government strengthen institutions in the public sector and ensure that quality health care is accessible to all.
They also demanded that the Government turn its attention to the plight of tribal people in Agency areas who are suffering from a host of diseases ranging from malaria to typhoid.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan warned today that the massive irrigation projects taken up by the State Government under ‘jalayagnam’ without a cost-benefit analysis would prove to be the albatross of future generations.
Talking to the media, Dr. JP made it plain right at the outset that his party was one hundred percent in favor of irrigation and supported productive utilization of every drop of water. But most of the lift irrigation projects taken up at a cost of Rs.1.18 lakh crore of the total Rs.1.75 lakh crore under ‘jalayagnam’ would turn out to be useless in practice, however laudable the Government intentions were
The lift irrigation schemes undertaken by the Government would require 7000 to 8000 mw of power and cast a burden of Rs.50 crore a day on power subsidy.
He pointed out that even in a rich and developed country like the U. S. a scheme of the Pranahita-Chevella magnitude had not been taken up. The Colorado project in the U.S. lifts water to a height of 400 ft and utilizes 11 TMC ft of water to irrigate five lakh acres and provide drinking water to lakhs of people in 11 towns. In contrast, water is to be lifted to a height of 1600 to 1800 feet in our State. The Pranahita-Chevella scheme is envisaged to utilize 160 TMC ft of water. Although the Government claims that the capital cost comes to Rs.2.5 lakh per acre, it is likely to shoot up to Rs.5 lakh by the time the scheme is completed. In addition, the scheme involves a recurring expenditure of Rs.50,000 an acre on operation and maintenance.
He wanted the Government to consult the Central Water Commission and top irrigation experts in the world and formulate productive schemes to utilize every drop of water.
He appealed to all parties to transcend their party loyalties and join hands so that the State’s long-term interests are safeguarded.
Dr. JP recalled that as Collector of Prakasam district he took up small lift irrigation schemes and brought two lakh acres under irrigation at a cost of Rs.2000 per acre.
The Lok Satta Party has constituted a 14-member committee under the chairmanship of Mr. DVVS Varma to galvanize the party for contesting municipal elections all over the State. The committee will monitor the mass contact program based on peoples’ problems at the municipality level.
Briefing the media today on the decisions taken by the party’s Working Committee yesterday, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji said that the party would appoint a team leader in every municipality and party in-charges in 50-60 identified Assembly constituencies to undertake enrolment of executive members and work for resolution of people’s problems.
The party decided to identify 1000 small towns in the State and launch a movement for the formation of local governments. The problems of the towns and the resources would be displayed on hoardings to educate and mobilize people for a concerted movement.
The party decided to constitute district committees after the top leadership had an exchange of views with the 14 people tentatively chosen for each district by party observers. The committees for Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari would be finalized at a meeting at Visakhapatnam on August 29.
The party also decided to train five resource persons from every Assembly constituency in Hyderabad and to strive to open a citizens’ service center in every constituency.
Memo to Human Rights Commission:
Meanwhile, the State Mahila Satta leaders today represented to the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Mr. Justice Subhashini Reddy, to take steps for closure of belt shops and toddy outlets both of which are selling adulterated stuff and playing with people’s lives.
The Mahila Satta pointed out that successive Governments had been promoting liquor and toddy consumption by all means treating them as sources of revenue, unmindful of the fact that already 70 lakh families had been ruined by liquor addition.
In response to the people’s agitation against the liquor menace, the Government had formed a committee ostensibly to liberate them from the evil. But the committee remained a mute spectator to the growing consumption of intoxicants.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The State Working Committee of the Lok Satta Party today decided to take on the traditional parties in the municipal elections scheduled for September 2010 by strengthening its leadership at the municipality level and launching a mass contact program based on people’s problems.
Giving this information at a media conference, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mr. V. Laxman Balaji and party Vice President Bhisetty Babji said that the action plan envisaged reorganization of municipal party committees between August 25 and September 15, enrolment of executive members and making the party self-sufficient financially. The party would launch a door-to-door campaign on the corruption that is playing havoc with resolving people’s problems ranging from drinking water, sanitation and pollution to traffic and roads. A State-level leader will be associated with two municipalities each in these efforts. On December 9, World Anti Corruption Day, the party will launch a program throughout the State. Meanwhile, attempts will be made to associate Mahila Satta and Yuva Satta members with the Lok Satta programs.
The Lok Satta leaders disclosed the Working Committee discussed the defections being engineered by the traditional parties in the name of schemes like ‘Aakarsh’ and ‘Vikarsh’. The party felt that the two traditional parties, pursuing power-oriented politics, were mired in a crisis for want of ideological and moral foundations. Since they lacked an agenda that appealed to the public, they were trying to undermine other parties. Those who got elected by splurging money and liquor were turning to traditional parties in their bid to recoup their investments.
The goings on in the traditional parties once again underlined the need for ethics in politics and all people concerned with their future and that of the country rallying behind the Lok Satta.
Mr. DVVS Varma, Vice President, presided over the meeting before party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan took over.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The death of a few persons because of consuming adulterated toddy in Greater Hyderabad should prod the Excise Department to intensify the drive against adulteration of toddy, the Lok Satta Party said here today. It should simultaneously launch a drive to shut down illegal liquor shops and put an end to public drinking which are playing havoc with poor people.
Talking to the media, Lok Satta, Mahila Satta leaders Mrs.k. Geeta Murthy, Mrs. S. Manorama, Mrs. N. Saroja Devi said that the Excise Department seemed to have achieved some success in preventing toddy adulteration as was evident from the large number of people undergoing treatment in hospitals for withdrawal symptoms. The victims had been accustomed to consuming toddy adulterated with diazepam and other chemicals, which gave them an added kick. The Excise Department’s drive against toddy adulteration in some areas had deprived the addicts of the extra kick and made them behave strangely. The tragedy in Balanagar, however, underlined the menace posed by adulterated toddy.
The spokespersons recalled that the Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, representing the Kukatpally constituency in the Assembly, had written a letter to the Excise Commissioner early this month drawing his attention to uncertified liquor sales by unauthorized outlets, licensed shops running unauthorized sitting rooms, and shops serving liquor at the shop itself without a bar license.
Dr. JP pointed out that thousands of poor families have been devastated on account of unauthorized or belt shops and public drinking. He wanted the Commissioner to shut down all belt shops forthwith and ensure that no liquor is served at shops. He requested the Commissioner to ensure that all norms like distance from a place of worship or an educational institution are observed when liquor shop licenses are renewed.
Based on a field survey conducted by party volunteers, Dr. JP in his letter named the eight unauthorized liquor outlets functioning in Motinagar, five in Kukatpally, eight in Fathenagar, seven in KPHB and nine in Moosapet divisions.
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Lok Satta Party’s State political affairs committee chairman D.V.V.S Varma alleged that leaders of both the ruling Congress party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party were busy pursuing their personal battles in the State Assembly rather than indulging in meaningful debates concerning grave issues.
In an interaction with the press here on Tuesday, he spelt out three main issues: The economic crisis, steep price rise of essential commodities and drought condition are not getting the desired importance in the Assembly.
He blamed the Congress and the TDP for the present economic condition.
He asserted that the elected representatives should utilise the assembly time for meaningful debate and stop indulging in mud-slinging activity. The Lok Satta representative also lamented that smaller political parties like theirs are not given the desired time or space to voice their concern. Mr Varma noted that the government should concentrate on short-term projects like minor irrigation schemes rather than long-term projects to come out of the economic and drought problem.
Courtesy: The Hindu
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I humbly salute you on providing the people of the state of Andhra Pradesh with Lok Satta Party platform as a viable alternative to the existing parties. Congratulations on your election as representative of the people of Kukatpally. After having gone through Lok Satta website and some Lok Satta literature, I have serious doubts on some of the claims Lok Satta makes when it talks about ushering in change in the country. Here are some of my concerns & doubts on the Education and Health policies of Lok Satta. I would like to contribute in any which way I can to bring about change in the country. Please consider this as an awkward attempt towards that goal and not as an attempt to undermine the mission Lok Satta is undertaking.
Lok Satta says:
Lok Satta government will guarantee that government and private schools will be on the same level in terms of quality of education.
I’m not sure how you can guarantee something like this?
What parameters will be used?How do you propose to achieve those?
Lok Satta says:
Free, good quality education for all up to 12th grade.
I’m not sure if this will work. You can provide free education but it won’t be of good quality. We already have govt. Schools providing free education, with few exceptional KVs, there are no govt.schools that provide good quality education. As Prof. Amartya Sen shows in his research, People are more than willing to spend money out of their pocket to send their children to good schools. Studies suggest that in a given year people spend anywhere from Rs.100 to Rs.4000 per child on primary education. More than 50% of the private (household) expenditure on primary education comes from rural families. The total household expenditure on primary education is nearly 40% of total govt. expenditure on primary education. In spite of all this, people get very poor quality education. One of Prof. Sen’s (Partichi Trust’s) most disturbing findings is the embedding of private tuition with primary education: most children have to take paid assistance outside the school (private tuition at the primary school level is unheard of everywhere except in the Indian sub-continent). I’m sure you already know all these details. I would like to know how you would be able to provide truly free & good quality education for all up to 12thgradegiventhis back drop.
Lok Satta says:
A pre-school within the locality for all pre-school children (3 years and above) with nutrition, play, and healthcare.
This is pure rhetoric. 75% of the schools we have in the rural areas have only 1 teacher for several classes in a single class room. There are cases in some states where there is only 1 teacher for every 54 kids in primary class.
How do you propose to go about providing pre-schools that are reliable?Is this going to be another expensive public program that will push us into more debt?
Lok Satta says:
Free, quality coaching for state and national entrance examinations for all.
Why does the government want to get into this business?
Shouldn’t the government be focusing on reforming the education system so students can get into higher education with or without coaching?
Again, policies like this I think are going to push us towards higher debt than we already have.
Lok Satta says:
Lok Satta government will ensure that every school will have necessary classrooms, teachers, teaching equipment, computers, broadband internet and assured power supply. How?
Given the above statistics and the other information that is available, this is not believable unless there is some concrete plan. When common man cannot have regular power supply? How can we promise that to schools? Lok Satta says: Students belonging to poorer sections and rural areas 60 marks will be added as bonus marks for 600 marks. This policy will allow poor students to compete on equal terms with students from wealthy families.
One can imagine the scope fraud that would ensue because of this policy.
Who will decide the poorness (poverty) of the student? Another bureaucrat?
With all due respect, time and again, it has proven that our bureaucracy is one of the worst in the world.
Are we going to use the poverty line as a parameter in this policy?
Do you believe that Rs 18 per day is a valid bench mark for poverty line?
Do you agree with the way we measure poverty?
How is it possible that, if your total earnings amounted to more than Rs 540 a month, you are not considered poor in India?
This policy seems contradictory to the earlier policy of “providing quality education in rural areas”. If high quality education is already available in rural areas, what is the necessity of this policy?
Lok Satta government will guarantee
a. All Primary Health Centers will work round the clock.
b. They will be equipped to deal with deliveries and other emergencies
c. 30-100 bed-hospital for every of 75,000 people
According to a researcher paper titled “Putting Band-Aid on a corpse ”published by researchers at MIT in 2007, to encourage a batch of Rajasthani nurses to show up for work—which, on any day, over 60% did not—its authors began monitoring their attendance at village health centers by computer and sending the results to the state health ministry. Threatened with fines, half of the absentees returned to work. Six months later, they began breaking the computers and reporting “machine problems”. After 16 months, the health centers featured in the study were no more likely to contain a nurse than any other. Again, Lok Satta’s claim is not at all believable with out any more details.
Lok Satta says:
Free and Universal Health Care to All (Aarogyaraksha) All expenses for diagnosis, in-patient care, operations and medicines for in-patients will be borne by the Lok Satta government.
I don’t think this is possible without the nation going bankrupt, but I’ll wait for more details. From Economist magazine, May 2009: “About 27m Indians will be born this year. Unless things improve, almost 2m of them will die before the next general election. Of the children who survive, more than 40% will be physically stunted by malnutrition. Most will enroll in a school, but they cannot count on their teachers showing up. After five years of classes, less than 60% will be able to read a short story and more than 60% will still be stumped by simple arithmetic” Each year 1.25 million kids die in India because of malnourishment and under-nourishment. Every 3.5 minutes, one kid dies in India because of diarrhea. Over 19 million children contract acute respiratory illnesses including pneumonia every 14 days. But there is no mention of Child nutrition on Lok Satta’s agenda.
No one seems to worry about our public debt being at 78% of GDP (Center & States). In your reaction to the 2009 budget you mentioned the annual fiscal deficit at 12% of GDP being a concern, but at the same time you propose policies that would require tremendous amount of public expenditure. There is no mention of any serious economic policies on the website or any Lok Satta literature I’ve come across (I may not have seen all the literature). I have many more questions on several other policies. Please feel free to correct me and if there is anything I could do to help, I’d be more than happy to do it.
Regards -Keshav Pitani
Thank you for your email on Lok Satta’s agenda and commitments. As you said, we share the same concerns, and therefore I accept your criticism in that spirit, and offer my comments and perspectives briefly.
First, we must recognize that access to quality education is the greatest guarantor of human dignity and opportunity to fulfil human potential. India’s failure in this sector is appalling when compared to any other large, modern society with aspirations to global power or economic prosperity. The issue is only partly linked to resources. We certainly need more money, but even more important is the way we deploy resources. Public institutions are not a panacea, but abdication of the state is unpardonable and unacceptable in a civilized society.
We are not guaranteeing equality of outcomes, nor are we assuring equality of opportunity in every minute detail. But the least we should, and can, do is to ensure that the minimum acceptable quality of education is available to even the poorest children, and there are minimum levels of learning attained by every child.
In order to accomplish this goal, we require investment, public-private partnership, independent evaluation and sample-testing, competition, choice, parent control, and a host of other mechanisms. Even now public expenditure per child at school in AP is of the order of Rs 10,000 per annum. While it is not vast, it is by no means an insignificant sum relative to our per-capita income and the purchasing power of rupee.
Lok Satta has a fairly comprehensive approach to school education, and the details are available on the web. Briefly, we need to convert the existing so-called primary schools (two-room, two-teacher, neighbourhood facilities) into play schools for 3-6 years age group, and build/ promote decent schools with 5-10 class rooms and teachers for every 5000 or so population. We have now about 60,000 primary schools. Instead we will have 60,000 play schools and about 15,000 decent primary schools with proper monitoring and support, and free public transport where necessary. A strong inspection mechanism, random sample testing, parental monitoring, and focus on communication and language, civic education, arithmetic and environment will be integral to primary schools. Wherever necessary or possible, there will be choice to parents, and state will reimburse tuition fees of private schools subject to certain limits, conforming to accepted practices, and outcomes.
Similarly, there will be a good quality high school – public or private – available to every 10,000 – 20,000 population, with integration of 11th and 12th grades (Intermediate) with the school. The school will become the hub of the community, and the point of convergence for many services.
Your critique overstates the cost of infrastructure. The truth is, to build about 5000 high schools, we need a capital cost of Rs 5000 crore, which is under 5% of the state’s annual expenditure. The state even now spends about Rs 12000 crore annually on education alone! Money is not the key constraint. Political will, meaningful reform to create the right kind of incentives, and sustained public and media attention are the real constraints.
Regarding weightage to rural and poor students, there are always going to be challenges. But we need to move from the present quotas to weightages, and from caste-based affirmative action to means-based support. The problem of targeting can be addressed by applying criteria like parental education and the kind of school the child goes to, both of which are verifiable. The issue should be seen in the larger context of cracking the complex, zero-sum-game problem of reservations as practiced now without adequate benefits to society.
Regarding healthcare, free and universal care is both necessary and eminently feasible. Please refer to Lok Satta’s detailed documents on healthcare – ‘Public-Private Partnership’ and ‘Towards a national health service’. All these have been costed, and together they will constitute less than 2% of GSDP. Again money is not the key constraint. The design of the system, incentives, and cost-effectiveness are the challenges. You will find many details in Lok Satta Party literature (www.loksatta.org).We are opposed to the AP government’s Arogyasree precisely for the reasons you have stated – that it will bankrupt the state without improving the health of the people. Lok Satta’s primary focus is on primary and family care, and nutrition and immunization are integral parts of primary care.
Lok Satta has been persistently opposing wasteful, populist, expensive measures, and has repeatedly supported painful measures to enchance revenues or reduce subsidies. Our opposition to expensive lift irrigation projects like Pranahita-Chevella, loan waiver to farmers, free power, free television sets, Rs 2000 every month to families, and Arogyasree are very well known. All these are expensive and ineffective in meeting our challenges. Similarly, we are the lone party in India to support increase of fuel prices (petrol and diesel) and oppose farmers’ loan waiver. All these are mere illustrations of Lok Satta’s commitment to fiscal prudence.
I deeply appreciate your concerns. I am sure you will find that your concerns are more than adequately addressed in the overall approach and policy framework of Lok Satta. My speech in the Assembly on the AP Budget, which is available on the Youtube amply illustrates the responsible and innovative approach of Lok Satta.
Let us continue the debate. Meanwhile, all of us need to act together to help transform India. Some minor differences are bound to persist. But the challenge is to avoid the ‘narcissitm of small differences’ and focus on the goals we all believe in.
With warm regards,
The Lok Satta Party today expressed concern over the spread of diseases like malaria, typhoid and diarrhea and the death of a large number of people in the Agency areas of the State and wanted the Government to rush medical teams along with requisite drugs to the affected areas.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, Mrs. Y. Ramadevi said that the poor Scheduled Tribes living far away from civilization in hilly forested regions did not appear to figure on the Government’s radar. Quoting media reports, they said that infectious diseases had taken a toll of 62 people in the Agency areas of Adilabad district and 25 in Visakhapatnam district in the last couple of months.
The spokespersons pointed out that Government medical facilities in Agency areas are limited and even when they are available they go without medical professionals and drugs. Absence of safe drinking water is merely aggravating the problems of tribal people.
The Government, they said, had rightly swung into action to tackle the swine flu which is spreading fast. “But its silence on the plight of tribal people defies an explanation.”
The Lok Satta Party leaders said the August 17 rains in Hyderabad once again exposed the failure of the Government and the municipal corporation in preventing flooding and exposing citizens to loss of limb and life and property.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The top leadership of the Lok Satta Party will be focusing its attention on reorganizing district party committees on August 18 and 19.
The discussions will be based on reports being submitted by six teams that had gone round districts and held talks with district committees and candidates who contested the 2009 general elections.
The State Working Committee of the party, meeting on August 20, will announce the new committees.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy said the reorganization was meant to strengthen the party.
The State Working Committee will discuss and finalize an action plan to build the party in every municipality so that it could emerge as an alternative to traditional parties.
The spokespersons welcomed the State Government move to constitute village courts. They wanted the Government to constitute atleast one local court for every 50,000 people in rural areas and 100,000 in urban areas, instead of one for every two mandals as proposed.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
If we have not been able to eradicate poverty even six decades of Independence, it is because of centralization of power, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Addressing party workers after unfurling the national flag at the party headquarters, Dr. JP said that in a centralized system the growth opportunities are open only to the rich and powerful and eluded over 80 percent of the population. Unless people are made partners in governance through decentralization of power and every child is enabled to have quality education and health care, poverty will continue to persist, he said.
Dr. JP regretted that although the country had enormous natural and human resources, the rulers over successive years have miserably failed in utilizing them because of their skewed priorities. The country had merely witnessed a change of rulers – from the white to the brown – without any momentous changes in the administrative system. Corruption among officials and politicians had become widespread.
Total decentralization of administration with devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources on elected people’s committees in both urban and rural areas, provision of quality education and health care at Government cost to every citizen and institutional mechanisms to eradicate corruption should be the Government’s priorities, he said.
Dr. JP said the country could be proud of the fact that it had remained united and preserved freedom. But the people should be on eternal guard against forces, which are out to tear the country apart in the name of religion, caste, region and language.
Messrs V. Laxman Balaji, P. Bhaskara Rao, V. Vijayender Reddy, P. Rohit Kumar, Dasari Ratnam, Ravinder Reddy, Madhusudhana Rao, Kiran Kumar, Bala Ranga Reddy and Mrs. A. Subhashini were among those who took part in the function.
Friday, August 14, 2009
An expedition to scale the Sara Umga Pass located at an altitude of 16,500 feet in the Himalayas was flagged off by Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. The expedition, organized by the Adventure Sports Association of India, begins on August 15 and ends on September 4. The participants, belonging to 14 States including 15 from Andhra Pradesh, have been chosen on the basis of their physical and mental abilities.
Acharya Babu T. Raghu, expedition leader, will impart training to the participants in Hata Yoga including pranayama, asana, tsumo and other esoteric Tibetan yoga practices on the banks of the magnificent eight-square-km Chandra Lake located at an altitude of 15,000 ft.
Dr. JP congratulated the participants on their spirit of adventure and said a similar spirit was needed to transform the country today. Adventures like crossing rivers and climbing mountains would help the youth cultivate courage even to face day-to-day problems.
Dr, JP said the youth of the country provided a ray of hope in that they had idealism and passion in abundance. If they joined hands and revolted against discrimination and injustice, the history of the country could be rewritten. He cautioned the youth to be on their guard against leaders who tried to tear apart the country in the name of caste and religion, region and language. In this context, he commended the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, who had been wrangling over the Cauvery waters, sharing a common dais and displaying bonhomie and wanted leaders in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra to emulate them to resolve the Babli issue.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today took both the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party to task for politicizing the drought plaguing the State and trying to outsmart each other in gaining political mileage.
Talking to the media, Mr. Enugu Rama Rao, State party Working Committee member and Mr. N. Ravinder, Greater Hyderabad unit President, said that the ruling party and the TDP were not eager work together in tackling the problem. While the ruling party tried to minimize the gravity of the situation, the Opposition tried to magnify it. Ultimately, the drought debate in the Assembly did not provide any new ray of hope to the farmer.
The Lok Satta leaders said it was time both the ruling party and the Opposition pondered why the agriculture sector continued to be in a crisis despite mass loan write-offs, unprecedented free power supply and many subsidy and welfare schemes.
Successive Governments over the years have not made serious efforts to make agriculture a profitable proposition, the Lok Satta leaders charged. The party had suggested the formation of agri-clinics at the rate of one for every 3000 acres to supply inputs like seeds and fertilizers and extend technical services to farmers, handing over of market yards to genuine farmers’ representatives and utilization of market cess for agricultural purposes.
The party wanted the Government to attend to drinking water and fodder shortage, supply seeds and other inputs for alternative crops and and enable farmers to access credit. The Government should also promote dairy farming.
The party drew attention to workers employed under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme spending a large part of their wages on liquor and demanded closure of belt shops which played havoc with their health and incomes.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today announced the names of its leaders who are touring the districts from August 9 to 12 as part of a plan to reorganize party committees and strengthen the organization.
The following is the list:
Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore: G. Malyadri, Dr. P. Bhaskara Rao, R. Jhansi, Dasari Ratnam and T. P. S. Prasad.
Medak, Nalgonda, Warangal and Mahbubnagar: G. Raja Reddy, P. Ravi Maruth, Nagamani, Jagannadha Reddy and Saroja.
Kurnool, Ranga Reddy, Hyderabad and Khammam: G. Pratibha Rao, V. Vijayender Reddy, Ishaq Khan and Lenkala Raja Reddy.
Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari: DVVS Varma, V. Ramachandraiah, V. Laxman Balaji and J. Iramamurthy
Adilabad, Nizamabad and Karimnagar: Saroja Devi, Venu Madhav, Lakshma Reddy, Ramadevi, and Jupally Satyanarayana
Anantapur, Kadapa and Chittoor: Y. D. Rama Rao, E. Chennayya, S. Manorama and Omkar.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Finance Minister K. Rosaiah let the cat out of the bag when he said in the Assembly on August 6 that the Government did not propose to eliminate unauthorized liquor outlets (belt shops), the Lok Satta Party charged today.
The Lok Satta Party drew pointed attention to the repeated assertions of the Chief Minister, Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, both in the Assembly and outside that there were no belt shops in the State and if there were any they would be shut down if complaints were received. By making the specious plea that elimination of belt shops would promote illicit liquor flow, Mr. Rosaiah conceded the existence of belt shops and unwittingly exposed the Government’s duplicity.
Talking to the media, party spokesperson Mrs. Y. Rama Devi, Joint Secretary Mr. E.Chennaiah recalled that Lok Satta and Mahila Satta volunteers had conducted a detailed study and submitted lists of belt shops district-wise, including those in the constituencies of the Chief Minister and the leader of the Opposition.
They recalled that on a representation from the Lok Satta, the Election Commission ensured that most of the belt shops did not function during the 2009 general elections and demonstrated that where there is a will, there is always a way. The Election Commission succeeded in closing belt shops in less than a week by utilizing the same administrative machinery and exposed Government’s excuses for failure as lame.
“It is evident that the Government is not prepared to kill the goose that lays the golden egg by way of ever increasing revenue. The Government, according to Lok Satta estimates, will be deriving a revenue of Rs.10,500 crore while people are expected to spend not less than Rs.15,000 crore on liquor purchases during the current financial year.”
The Lok Satta leaders said. “A Government which claims to be pro-poor is ruining their lives by making liquor available in towns and villages, along national and State highways and at some places round the clock. Addiction to the drink evil has already played havoc with the health and finances of nearly 70 lakh families.
“The pro-poor Government would not mind spending crores of rupees under ‘Arogyasri’ to go to the rescue of the terminally ill, including liquor addicts.”
The Lok Satta leaders said that under the Excise Act, the Government is expected to control sale of liquor by unauthorized outlets and manufacture and supply of illicit liquor, gudumba etc. “Mr. Rosaiah has now not merely justified the existence of the illegal belt shops but also conceded the Government’s inability (read unwillingness) to eliminate them. In other words, according to Mr. Rosaiah, the Government cannot implement its own laws. He provided a justification for the existence and proliferation of belt shops by arguing that their elimination would facilitate flow of illicit liquor.
“The Lok Satta has repeatedly requested the Government to put an end to the auction system under which licensed liquor shops are auctioned to the highest bidders. Those who bag licenses by paying astronomical sums ranging up to Rs.2 crore per shop promote belt shops to maximize their revenue and profits. The Government should ideally take over the liquor retail business as in Delhi and limit the number of outlets as also their timings. Easy accessibility is one of the prime drivers of growing liquor consumption.”