Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Lok Satta Party charged today that administration in Andhra Pradesh has come to a standstill because of factional feuds and clashes among ruling party groups.
“Tearing away banners carrying Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s pictures and thwarting membership drives may be internal affairs of the Congress but not the burning of buses, destruction of public property and disruption of zilla parishad meetings”, said party leaders Katari Srinivsa Rao and P. Ravi Maruth.
Talking to the media, the Lok Satta leaders pointed out that most farmers reeled under the drought while those who reaped harvests were worried over remunerative prices for their produce. Ever spiraling prices of essential commodities and the fast spread of communicable diseases are plaguing people all over the State. Yet even senior leaders of the ruling party continued to remain indifferent to people’s problems.
“How could administration be carried on when Ministers and MLAs threatened to resign?”, they asked and said that most of those in the ruling party did not bother to visit their constituents to address their problems.
The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the national leadership of the ruling party intervene and help restore administration in Andhra Pradesh not deeming it as an internal affair of the party. How could it allow administration to come to a standstill in a State which according to the annual budget spending Rs.283 crore a day? They also wanted all those who indulged in vandalism as part of group clashes to be brought to book so that such events did not recur.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today expressed the fear that paddy growers faced the prospect of exploitation by middlemen and rice millers as the Food Corporation of India with its warehouses overflowing was in no position to take up paddy/rice procurement immediately after the crop comes into the market in about a month.
Talking to the media, State party Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao and spokesman V. Laxman Balaji said that small and marginal farmers traditionally sold their crop immediately after harvest as they cannot afford to wait for a better price.
To save such farmers from exploitation by rice millers and their middlemen, the Lok Satta Party suggested that banks give pledge loans to farmers on their stocks. Such paddy could be sealed at the farmer’s residence itself or stored at a common point in a village and taken as mortgage, they suggested. Such farmers could sell their crop when they received a better price in the market and clear their pledge loans.
The party also suggested that grain banks be established in villages under the control of local governments so that money need not be wasted on transport of rice/paddy procured in rural to urban areas where the warehouses are located and back to villages for distribution of rice through the public distribution system. Such a decentralized system of storage and distribution would result in enormous savings for the public exchequer and eliminate wastage and corruption prevalent in a centralized system.
Friday, September 25, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today released the first list of candidates who will contest the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections scheduled to be held soon.
Announcing the list for 35 seats party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, V. Laxman Balaji and G. Raja Reddy said the list does not feature sons and daughters of Lok Satta Party leaders. All those who have been chosen are dedicated party workers who have come up in life on their own. Some others who are keen on improving the living conditions in the city also have been chosen.
The party is fielding BC and SC candidates in six general seats (BCs in Vidyanagar, P & T Colony, Azampura, Saidabad and Suraram Colony and SC in Balkampet).
The Lok Satta will contest the GHMC elections with the agenda of forming division-level governments. Its promises include grant of Rs.2 crore to Rs.5 crore to each division depending on its population, improvement in traffic and security in colonies, and time-bound redressal of people’s problems.
The following is the list of candidates:
|Kachiguda Division||Manne Premalata|
|Jublihills||Jasthi Anjana Vani|
|Hayathnagar||Ganji Nageswara Rao|
|Karmanghat||Boddu Jyothi Reddy|
|P&T colony||Lingampalli Padmavathi|
|Vanasthalipuram||Pitta Moghanath Reddy|
|Saroor nagar||S. Sumathi|
|Defence Colony||Suraiah Chowdary|
|Gowtham nagar||Yamijala Sudha|
|Suraram colony||Thota Venkateswara Prasad|
|Ameerpet||Jaswant Singh Jathan|
|Bulkumpet||P. Saritha Sekhar|
|Sanatnagar||Ujjeni Ravinder rao|
|Vivekanandanagar colony||Katta Ramakrishna|
|Nacharam division||Bekkari Ravinder Reddy|
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded the immediate payment of fees and grant of scholarships to backward class (BC) and economically backward class (EBC) students. Lakhs of BC and EBC students are gripped by agony over the Government delay in fulfilling the promises it had made.
Talking to the media, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao, V. Laxman Balaji and E. Chennayya said the Government which sought to gain political mileage by announcing a hike in scholarship amounts for BC students and fee reimbursement to EBC students, did not the same alacrity in implementing the decision even four months after the start of the academic year.
They wanted the Government to issue immediate orders without falling back on technicalities like reconciliation of vote on account and full budget allocations to explain away the unwarranted delay. They suggested that the budgetary allocations for payment of fees and grant of scholarships be doubled so that every eligible student derived the benefit. Application collection from old and new students should be accelerated and enough staff deputed to bring about coordination between college managements and bank branches, the party demanded.
The spokesmen pointed out that 95 percent of weaker section students did not go beyond school education and consequently could not avail of Government benefits for higher education. The Government should, therefore, strengthen school education and enable everyone to have free and quality education without reference to caste, religion and economic status.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The Lok Satta Party has formed a three-member committee to supervise the party’s campaign in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections. Comprising Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, Mr.N. Ravinder and Dr. Panduranga Rao, the committee will be in charge of training party candidates, ward-wise manifesto preparation and election campaign in general.
The party also carved out GHMC into four zones and named Presidents and Secretaries to three of them to carry the party’s ‘surajya’ movement to every doorstep. The following are the nominees: West Zone (Malkajigiri, Kutbullapur, Kukatpally, Serilingampalli, Patancheru and Rajendranagar Assembly constituencies) – Mr. J. Krishna Rao – President and Mr. Surender – Secretary, North Zone (Jubilee Hills, Khairatabad, Musheerabad, Amberpet, Sanathnagar and Nampalli) – Mrs. A. Subhashini – President and Mr. M. Jagan – Secretary, and East Zone (Uppal, L.B. Nagar, Malakpet, Secunderabad and Cantonment) – Mr. M. Jaswant Reddy – President and Mr. M. Panduranga Rao – Secretary. The President and the Secretary for the South Zone will be named later.
Talking to the media, party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao said the Lok Satta aimed at formation of ward governments so that local problems could be solved at the local level. It would also fight for a per capita grant of Rs.1000 to every division for fulfilling local needs.
Mr. Srinivasa Rao disclosed that the party had finalized candidates for 80 divisions and would announce them soon. Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan would be taking up the electoral campaign from the month-end.
The rapid spread of swine flu in Andhra Pradesh has exposed the crisis in the State’s health care sector which is bedeviled by the absence of vaccination programs, universal health coverage, and adequate availability of medical and nursing staff and drugs, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Unable to confront the crisis head on, the Chief Minister continued to chant the Arogyasri mantra as if it were a panacea for public health, he told the media.
Dr. JP said that the number of beds in both the public and private sectors did not exceed 1.5 lakh whereas the flu was expected to affect up to two crore people in about a year. Against this backdrop the Government should launch a campaign to educate the public on several aspects. First, although swine flu spreads fast and affects many, it does not endanger the lives of all barring those suffering from other health disorders. Second, the medicine for swine flu – Tamiflu – should not be used indiscriminately without medical supervision as it can kill healthy cells too. Third most masks in the market do not provide protection against swine flu. Fourth migration to rural areas will not save people from the virus which spreads through air.
Dr. JP demanded that vaccines for swine flu be imported on a war footing and administered to health care employees numbering not more than 30,000 throughout the State. Priority should be given to vulnerable sections like pregnant women, children, the aged and those with impaired immune systems in vaccination. Care should be taken to ensure that politicians did not hijack the vaccines.
Dr. JP wanted the Government to introduce universal health coverage on the lines of the National Health Service in the U. K. to provide quality treatment to all for all diseases and disorders in all hospitals at affordable rates.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government facilitate payment of a remunerative price for sugarcane to arrest the decline in the area of cultivation and ensure that sugar is available to the consumer at a reasonable price.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and Mrs. Y. Ramadevi pointed out that while sugar factories in Maharashtra paid Rs.2100 per ton of cane including harvesting and transport charges last year, those in Andhra Pradesh did not pay more than Rs.1500 per ton. Cane farmers received Rs.1900 per ton in Punjab, Rs.1800 in Haryana and Rs.1600 in Uttar Pradesh.
The Lok Satta leaders said that the acreage under sugarcane has slumped from the normal 4 lakh hectares to 1.5 lakh hectares as cane farming has become unviable.
The present sugar crisis in the country which has resulted in the sugar price shooting up to Rs.30 and more a kg also underlined the need to bring down costs of production and boost productivity through better agricultural practices and mechanization.
Had the Government ensured a remunerative price to farmers, the need for import of costly sugar would not have arisen, the leaders said.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be flagging off the party’s ‘surajya’ movement in municipalities all over the State by addressing a meeting in Chandanagar division of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation on September 20.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mrs. Y. Ramadevi said that the party proposed to launch the movement in one division or ward of every municipality demanding formation of people-elected government in every division/ward so that people get the services they need.
Dr. JP will be holding an interactive session with people drawn from all fields at the HUDA Colony grounds in Chandanagar at 4-00 p.m. on September 20 to ascertain the problems of people in all the six divisions of the Serilingampalli Assembly constituency and explain how they could be resolved with their tax remittances. An exhibition on people’s problems and possible solutions will be held at the venue.
The Lok Satta has been demanding that the Government make a per capita grant of Rs.1000 to every municipality and panchayat so that locally elected people’s committees could resolve people’s problems with the grant.
The first phase of the movement will be carried on until December 9, International Anti Corruption Day.
The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the Government take stringent measures like strengthening laws to prevent atrocities against women against the backdrop of the attack by a love-stricken boy on a girl and her parents in Rajahmundry. Such incidents mirrored the failure of the Government as also our society in safeguarding women.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It is the self-centered politicians and not terrorists or naxalites who are harming the country’s future, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Addressing a gathering after unveiling the national flag to celebrate Telangana Liberation Day at the party headquarters Dr. JP said that politicians of all hues of the present generation turned the noble endeavor of politics of yesteryears into a lucrative and dynastic enterprise. “We don’t know what happened to the children of Sardar Patel who unified the nation or of K. M. Munshi and Vellodi, who served as Governors of the erstwhile Nizam State. Leaders like Chittaranjan Das, Mahatma Gandhi, C. Rajagopalachari, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao and Prakasam Pantulu never attempted to groom their sons and daughters as their political heirs. Unlike the politicians of the present day, they did not devote their time and effort to enrich themselves at any cost and build an empire for their children.
Dr. JP recalled that the unification of Italy in the 19th century took 23 years and of Germany was marked by nine years of bloodshed. In contrast, Sardar Patel unified 545 princely States with the Indian Union in less than a year without shedding a drop of blood. Only five people died when he accomplished integration of Hyderabad State with the Indian Union. Every Indian should celebrate the historic liberation of Hyderabad.
Dr. JP said that all right thinking people should take a leaf out of the freedom fighters’ lives and come forward to build a society in which every one irrespective of caste and religion had equal growth opportunities.
Party leaders Bandaru Ramamohana Rao, Katari Srinivasa Rao, V. Laxman Balaji, P. Bhaskara Rao, E. Chenayya, Y. Ramadevi and Gajanani were among those who took part in the function.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Andhra Pradesh Ministers are not merely showing disrespect to the Chief Minister by skipping meetings convened by him but are also letting down people who elected them to power by devoting their time and effort to succession issues, charged the Lok Satta Party here today.
Talking to the media, party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, P.Ravi Maruth and Mrs.Y. Ramadevi said it was understandable that the untimely and gruesome death of a strong leader like Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy caused vacuum in the ruling party.
Since governance could not come to a standstill, the ruling party rightly chose one of their leaders as the Chief Minister who in turn chose his Ministers. Having taken oath of office and secrecy, the Ministers are expected to render justice to the portfolios entrusted to them.
Instead, the Lok Satta leaders said the Ministers were endlessly engrossed in power struggle and succession battle and in the process neglecting many grave problems like the swine flu confronting the State. While nobody would question the right of the ruling party to elect its leader, the ruling party should also ensure that administration and governance did not come to a standstill.
The government and public office are about promoting public good, not for private gain. The people do not exist for leaders and governments, parties and government exist for people. This simple truism has eluded the ruling party.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Caught up in crisis, both the traditional parties in Andhra Pradesh are not in a position to resolve burning problems like rising prices, growing unemployment and spiraling farmers’ suicides, charged the Lok Satta Party here today.
Briefing the media on the two-day deliberations of the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC), party leaders G. Malyadri, Bhisetty Babji and Chennupati Wajir said that the two personality-oriented parties made extension of subsidies and concessions as the centerpiece of their policies, for want of long-term strategies. The demise of Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy threw the Congress into a greater crisis.
The party leaders appealed to people to support the Lok Satta, which alone had the competence and commitment to resolve people’s problems with well-conceived policies.
The PAC also resented Congress Party legislators focusing their entire attention on finding a successor to Dr. YSR and ignoring swine flu, which is playing havoc with people. Nothing illustrated Government’s complacency better than the Health Minister skipping a meeting called to discuss swine flu.
The party decided to celebrate its third anniversary on October 11 in Hyderabad.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today charged the State Government with enervating and emasculating people-elected panchayats by choosing to entrust implementation of NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) works to nominated INDIRAMMA committees.
According to Mr. Botsa Satyanarayana, Minister for Panchayati Raj, road and drainage works worth Rs.1200 crore are to be taken up under the NREGS. Zilla parishads are being allotted Rs.700 crore for taking up the rural connectivity project and each mandal praja parishad Rs.50 lakh for taking up internal roads, drains and roads to fields etc. “The works shall be entrusted to the implementation-cum-monitoring committee constituted at the village panchayat level.”
Headed by the village sarpanch, the implementation committee comprises a panchayat member, an SHG representative, a social activist and the panchayat secretary as its members.
Talking to the media, Dr. JP said that the Andhra Pradesh Government has been guilty of violating the spirit of Constitutional amendments No.73 and 74 under which it is expected to devolve powers, resources and personnel on local governments. The Government sought to further weaken the local governments by deciding to entrust NREGS works to nominated committees instead of the elected panchayats.
Dr, JP objected to the decision on three counts: First it would inject partisan politics into selection and execution of works in that the nominated members of the INDIRAMMA committees would have a greater say. Second, it would facilitate corruption in that one of the nominated committee members is to enter into an agreement with the department for execution of works and receipt of payments. Third, it would make elected panchayats totally ineffectual.
The Lok Satta Party President wanted the Government to dispense with multiple rural rural development schemes costing thousands of crores, all of which facilitated siphoning of funds at all levels -- from the State and the district to the mandal level. Instead, the Government should switch over to a scheme of making per capita grants to elected bodies in both rural and urban areas. A per capita grant of Rs.1000 a year to a village with a population of say 5000 will enable it to receive Rs.50 lakh. The elected panchayat which is the best judge of local needs ranging from drinking water and sanitation to roads and street lights will choose its priorities and spend the amount judiciously as villagers keep a hawk’s eye on them.
Dr. JP said that the Political Affairs Committee of the party, which met yesterday and today, decided to launch a movement in all municipalities seeking devolution of powers, resources and personnel on ward or division committees so that they could identify local needs and fulfill them with a per capita grant of Rs.1000 from the local boy or the Government to begin with.
Dr. JP said it was time that all elected local governments rose in revolt for self–reliance and empowerment. This fight must start with a campaign against the Government’s ill-advised moves to weaken them.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government publish a white paper on bank loans to farmers during the kharif season.
Talking to the media, party General Secretaries V. Laxman Balaji and G. Malyadri said that the banks had not distributed Rs.12000 crore as claimed by the Government. The banks included regular gold loans given to farmers as agricultural loans and boosted their total loan figures.
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that the Government had not been able to make banks grant loans to 50000 tenants as planned. According to field reports, banks had granted loans only to 10 to 15 percent of them.
There were no signs of the Government distributing fodder for cattle. Farmers had sold away as many as 8 lakh head of cattle to slaughterhouses, unable to feed them. Power supply continued to be erratic causing untold misery to farmers.
The Lok Satta demanded that the Government convene a meeting of the State-level Bankers’ Committee to ensure that loans were distributed to farmers and tenants as planned, that fodder distribution be taken up on a war footing and that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is effectively implemented.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Justice Subhashan Reddy, Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission, today directed the Visakhapatnam District Collector to extend financial assistance and police protection to Madhurima of Peda Waltair in Visakhapatnam city.
The commission held a hearing today on a complaint lodged by the Mahila Satta. Since Madhurima was too sick to be physically present, her mother Swarnakumari represented her at the hearing, with the help of Visakhapatnam Mahila Satta President Umadevi.
The Mahila Satta had complained that an NRI, Baru Chakravarti, married Madhurima concealing the fact that he had already been married and subjected her to brutal harassment.
Giving this information to the media, Mrs. K. Geetha Murthy and Mr. V. Laxman Balaji said the Commission had directed the Visakhapatnam Collector to register a case under Sec. 494 I. P.C. and arrest the boy’s parents also and arrange her medical treatment under Aarogyasri. The case was adjourned to October 12 for further hearing.
It may be recalled the Mahila Satta had taken up the case with the DGP, the Home Minister and the Human Rights Commission as the police in Vizag did not act with alacrity.
The Lok Satta Party today requested the Election Commission and the State Government to resume voter registration on a continuous basis.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy said that not a new single voter identity card had been issued after the 2009 general elections.
Following nine years of persistent Lok Satta struggles, the Election Commission of India agreed to make post office the nodal agency for voter registration, beginning with Hyderabad, on the eve of the 2009 general elections. The move elicited tremendous response in that tens of thousands of people put in their applications in post offices beginning on November 17, 2008. Far from extending the move to cover all the 16,000 post offices in the State in phases as promised by the Election Commission of India, only about half of the 350,000 postal applicants in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation area had been issued voter identity cards. The others had been left high and dry so far.
The Lok Satta leaders said the voters’ lists continued to be riddled with mistakes even during the 2009 general elections. Such mistakes could be rectified only when the accessible and nearby post office is made the nodal agency for voter registration and related matters. A survey conducted by the Lok Satta in the Sanatnagar Assembly constituency in 2004-05 revealed that 13 percent of the eligible did not have votes while nine percent of the 185,000 voters were ineligible.
The party spokespersons wanted the authorities to ensure that all the eligible who had applied for voter registration received their voter ID cards and that postal services were utilized on a permanent basis.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The Lok Satta Party has formed a legal cell to help people avail themselves of Government services legally and provide them free legal assistance especially in matters involving public interest.
Announcing this at a media meet, party spokesman V. Laxman Balaji said that noted lawyer CVL Narasimha Rao would be the State convener of the Legal Cell. The party also named some district legal cell conveners.
Mr. Narasimha Rao said that apart from filing public interest litigation in cases of injustice to public, the legal cell would strive for the conduct of ‘lok adalats’ in Government offices and promotion of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Those who require legal assistance are welcome to contact party offices or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following have been named district legal cell conveners: Krishna – Ch. Krishna Rao, Warangal – V. Shyam Krishna, Adilabad – S. Bhujanga Rao, Kurnool – M. Anjaneyulu, Anantapur – M. Manohar Naidu, Medak – M. Sridhar Rao, Renuka, S. Karunakar, Visakhapatnam – Mrs. Rani, Imandi Srinivasa Rao, Chittoor – V. Jayakumar Reddy, Nellore – K. Ravi Kumar, Vizianagaram – G. Appala Naidu, Srikakulam – Kuna Mohana Rao, Secunderabad (GHMC) – G. Nandagopal and Khammam – Vannala Srinivas.
Around 30 Lok Satta supporters in the U. S. made calls to 3000 households in the Tekkali Assembly constituency appealing to them to vote for the Lok Satta in the by-elections.
Their message is that while traditional parties are trying to influence voters with short-term benefits or benefit from the sympathy wave, they are utilizing the opportunity to spread Lok Satta policies as in the 2009 general elections.
Mr. Sai Tej Kambampati, an industrial Engineer, who spent six hours tele-campaiging one night, says that everything is not about winning elections. Their aim is to take the Lok Satta closer to people.
Mr. Ramgopal Madarapu, a software engineer, who has been calling twenty people a day, says that calling a few thousand people of the one lakh voters took them around 200 man hours.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The State Government has not woken up to the threat of swine flu sweeping Andhra Pradesh as a pandemic, the Lok Satta Party charged today.
Talking to the media, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji referred to the warning from the Union Health Minister that one-third of India’s people were likely to be affected by the virus, and from the World Health Organization that lakhs of people were likely to die and said our efforts at meeting the threat were highly inadequate, to say the least. An increase of a mere 10 beds in intensive care units of Government hospitals in districts was hardly sufficient.
The spokesmen underlined the need for massive procurement of drugs which are indigenously produced and import of anti swine flu vaccines from abroad to take the threat head on. The Government should prioritize the distribution of drugs so that the most vulnerable were attended to first.
The Lok Satta leaders said that the flu had resulted in more than 2800 deaths world wide and 100 in India. WHO in its recent statement warned that there had been a steep hike in the number of swine flu deaths. Health experts held out the possibility of the virus mutating and swine flu breaking out in a more virulent form.
Monday, September 7, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today represented to the Human Rights Commission and the Director General of Police that action should be taken against an NRI who was alleged to have harassed his wife and threatened her and parents.
According to media reports and information gathered by Lok Satta activists, Mrs. Madhurima of Visakhapatnam was the victim of dowry harassment. She had allegedly been administered medicines that played havoc with her health.
The delegation included Mrs. N. Saroja Devi and Mrs. K. Geetha Murthi, President and General Secretary of the Mahila Satta, and Mr. CVL Narasimha Rao, State convener of the Lok Satta Legal Cell.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said the death of Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, a mass leader with enormous popularity, would leave a void that is difficult to fill. He was man of immense courage, strong will and personal charm. “Whether one agrees or disagrees with him, one cannot but admire his iron will, concern for the poor and deprived, and strong leadership.”
In a statement, Dr. JP said that “any death is a tragedy but the death of a tall leader like Dr. YSR in an accident is an unbearable tragedy. It is a loss not merely to his family and the Congress Party but for the entire State.” He conveyed his deepest condolences to the Chief Minister’s family. “Words cannot repair the loss the family has suffered. But let the family members know we care for them.”
He observed that Dr. YSR’s tragic death once again underlines that we are shaped more by events than our shaping the events.
He also paid tributes to Principal Secretary P. Subrahmanyam, Chief Security Officer A. S. C. Wesley, and Group Captain S. K. Bhatia and Captain M. S. Reddy who laid down their lives in the line of duty and conveyed his condolences to their families.
Dr. JP appealed to all sections of people to stand united and maintain calm, and the ruling party to ensure orderly and democratic succession.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The Lok Satta Party will be contesting the elections to the Maharashtra Assembly scheduled for October.
Talking to the media, Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, V. Laxman Balaji and Mrs. S. Manorama said the Mharahashtra unit had announced that a Professor of Social Work, Dr. Jalinder Adsule, will be contesting from Vandre (East) in Mumbai. Dr. Adsule has been active in social work for more than three decades.
According to Mr. Surendra Srivatsava, Maharashtra Lok Satta Party President, the party will field educated candidates with integrity and leadership qualities from a number of constituencies. The Lok Satta aims at providing an alternative to traditional parties with which people are fed up. Hitherto, the educated and the middle classes had chosen not to vote in elections, leave alone contesting them. The Lok Satta is now providing them a forum to enable such people to take part in elections and usher in a new era in politics, said the Lok Satta leaders.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today termed the Assembly passing the appropriation of Rs.103,000 crore towards Government expenditure during 2009-10 without a meaningful and in-depth discussion as tragic.
Addressing the media, Dr. JP pointed out that the budget envisaged a daily outlay of nearly Rs.283 crore. Yet, the Assembly passed all the demands without any debate on the last day of its session by voice vote.
Although most of the members – 147 of them newly elected – were keen on making a meaningful contribution, they did not get an opportunity because the two main parties monopolized the session running down each other.
Dr. JP said that a budget is expected to harmonize the limited resources with unlimited needs by ensuring that every rupee spent is cost effective. For instance, the Andhra Pradesh Government had made history by allocating Rs.20,000 crore for irrigation this year, a feat not accomplished by any State in post-Independence history. But the Assembly had no occasion to undertake a cost-benefit analysis. The State Government planned to spend Rs.110,000 crore on lift irrigation schemes some of which involve lifting of water to a height of 1500-1600 feet which had not been attempted anywhere in the world. The lift irrigation schemes alone would warrant generation of 8600 mw of power. Far from benefiting farmers, the irrigation and power schemes would land the State in bankruptcy in five years. The power subsidy alone would shoot up to nearly Rs.20,000 crore.
Dr. JP said that notwithstanding loan write-offs and cash payouts and power subsidies, farmers continued to reel under a crisis because basic problems like extending technological know-how and quality inputs and loans to small and marginal farmers and tenants had not been addressed. Even as liquor continued to ruin people’s lives, the Government relied on it to fetch Rs.12,000 crore of the total revenue of Rs.53,000 crore. Although the Government spent Rs.1000 a month on every child in school, the results continued to be awful.
Dr. JP regretted that the Government chanted the mantra of privatization and corporatization for every problem and reveled in abdication of its responsibilities.
Dr. JP said the Government should formulate a long-term strategy at least now to eradicate poverty in the next four years and a half by converting the present economic crisis into an opportunity. He also wanted the Government to empower people by devolving resources on them instead of spending every rupee from the Secretariat to ward off funds siphoning in the process.
“All of us in the Assembly, including me, should accept responsibility and strive to meet the hopes and aspirations of people if history were not to judge us as culprits.”
Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, General Secretary and Mr. V. Laxman Balaji, party spokesman, flanked Dr. JP as he addressed the media.