Friday, December 31, 2010
Year 2010 witnessed not merely a series of scandals but also India’s economic resilience and the vitality of our constitutional organs, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Greeting people on eve of the New Year, Dr. JP said in a media statement that India could look forward to a bright future in the next decade if it learns the right lessons from past fiascos and takes remedial action.
Notwithstanding the 2 G spectrum scandal, the commonwealth Games fiasco, and serious allegations of corruption against the highest judiciary, the Indian economy withstood the global recession and registered remarkable growth, thanks to the dynamism of its people. In contrast, the Government squandered away priceless opportunities to undertake systemic reforms and catapult the nation into a higher growth trajectory. Against such a gloomy background, the judiciary in the Ayodhya case and the Comptroller and Auditor General in the 2 G scandal shone as beacons of light.
The first task before the nation in the year 2011 should be preserving, promoting, and strengthening the independence of all constitutional mechanisms. Constitution of a national judicial commission would go a long way in ensuring integrity among higher judiciary.
The Government should view the scandals that rocked the nation as an opportunity to unveil a policy under which all scarce natural resources are allocated on competitive bidding, without any scope for nepotism and corruption. The Government should constitute a powerful, independent anti corruption commission.
The Government should acknowledge the systemic crisis in agriculture and unshackle it from the license-permit raj to ensure better incomes for farmers.
It should impart skills to at least 10 million youth a year and enable them to find livelihood opportunities, and empower local governments.
Dr. JP said that all these goals are within our reach since we have the resources and technologies. The Government should have the will and determination to accomplish them.
Vice-Presidents: Ms.Krishna Priya, Mr.Hemanth, Gireesh, Siva Rama Krishna, Praveen Goud
General Secretaries: M. Kishore, Babu Anand, Vijay Kiran, Rachoori Raja Shekar, Srinivasa Varma
Secretaries: M. Mahender, Ravinder, Pavan (Sunny), Raja Manohar, Mahender
President: Eeda Chennaiah
Vice-Presidents: Balanna Dora, Md. Raffi, P.V Rao
General Secretary: C.Vinod Yadav
Secretaries: Bharani Venkatesh, Sudhakar Babu
Treasurer: Hanumantha Rao
Cultural Wing: Paata Srinu, M.Swamy
Working Committee Members: Dr.Ravi, K.S Babu, Chandrasekhar Yadav, Obulesu, Aarif, Vijaya Kumar
Council of Advisors: V.Yadagiri, K.Vijaya Lakshmi, Y. Rama Devi, A. Raghaviah, K.Omkar, Dr.P.R Rao, Jupally Satyanarayana
The State Government has to focus its attention on diverting the Godavari water to the Krishna basin to meet the irrigation needs of people in Telangana and Rayalaseema districts and upland areas in some Coastal Andhra districts, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Commenting on the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal verdict, Dr. JP told the media that the State had forgone the golden opportunity of building projects to utilize the surplus waters in the Krishna to which it was entitled under the the Bachawat Tribunal verdict of 1976. Had not rulers and parties wasted precious 35 years in wrangling over petty matters for partisan gains, the State would have enjoyed the right of first use and received higher allocation under the Brajesh Kumar Tribunal verdict now.
Dr. JP appealed to all parties to act with tact and restraint and explore all legal options open to the State since the tribunal’s verdict is akin to that of the Supreme Court. There is no point in indulging in blame-game at this stage. All of us together should do everything possible to protect the State’s interests. “When India and Pakistan could resolve the Baglihar water dispute peacefully through an international arbitrator, States in the Krishna basin can certainly resolve all differences amicably”, Dr JP said.
Dr. JP said the verdict had merely underlined the importance of going ahead with the diversion of the Godavari water to the Krishna basin. Earlier, the State had to share such diverted water with the other two riparian States, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Now that the tribunal has finally allocated all the available water in the Krishna, the State need not share the water it diverts from the Godavari to the Krishna at its own cost. “The State Government has to obtain a categorical undertaking from the tribunal that it need not share such diverted water with the other two States.”
Dr. JP said the State stood to lose because the Brajesh Mishra Tribunal estimated the total available water for allocation by reducing the dependability from 75 percent to 65 percent. Similarly, the tribunal’s permission to Karnataka to raise the Alamatti dam height would hurt State’s interests, unless timely releases downstream are enforced.
Dr. JP wanted the Chief Minister to discuss the tribunal verdict with all political parties and irrigation experts and record its objections based on reasoned arguments.
He said the Government should request the tribunal to allocate water based on 75 percent dependability and data for 113 years and not on 65 percent dependability and data for 47 years.
The State should seek release of more water from the Alamatti dam during June – July as the 10 -15tmc ft stipulated by the tribunal is meager and does not serve its kharif crop requirements.
It should press for constitution of an independent Krishna river control authority to ensure that the upstream States do not utilize more water, and timely releases to AP are guaranteed.
Since Karnataka maintains it is raising the Alamatti dam height for hydroelectric purposes, Andhra Pradesh should strive to get part of its share of Krishna water from Alamatti itself so that it can supply drinking water by gravity flow to certain areas in the State. A suitable bipartisan agreement between the two States would be in our interest.
Replying to a question on the Srikrishna Committee on the demands for and against the State’s bifurcation, Dr. JP hoped political parties and people would react with restraint and maturity once the report is out. A satisfactory solution can be found to the vexed problem if there is fair and firm leadership at the national level. Both groups should be willing to adopt a give-and-take approach. In a democracy, there cannot be winners and losers – all have to gain together. Under any circumstances, the Government of India should not drag the issue for political gain, and a finality should be given to the issue within three months
In reply to another query, he said the Government might have deployed additional police personnel to assure the people that neither life nor economy would be allowed to be paralyzed.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s offer to appear before the Public Accounts Committee on the 2 G spectrum scandal, and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s call at the Congress plenary for competitive bidding for allocation of natural resources are welcome developments, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Addressing representatives of student organizations who have come forward to fight against corruption under the leadership of Youth for Better India, Dr. JP said students and youth should view the scandals over 2 G spectrum allocation and Commonwealth Games and allegations against Supreme Court judges as an opportunity to fight against corruption. The Lok Satta Party campaign against the 2 G spectrum scandal has yielded good results.
Dr. JP underlined that corruption reared its ugly head not because Indians are more corrupt but because of institutional loopholes. If the Government puts in place mechanisms to ensure that the corrupt will lose much more than what they have earned through illicit means, corruption will come under control.
Dr. JP called upon the youth to focus on issues plaguing people in general and not get sucked into sectarian movements revolving round caste, religion etc. As responsible citizens, they should concern themselves with politics, whether they joined any political party or not.
The student organizations pledged themselves to fight for an amendment of the Prevention of Corruption Act as suggested by the Lok Satta Party, and constitution of an anti corruption commission at the national level and special courts to try the corrupt.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The growth prospects of the Lok Satta Party are bright because of its adherence to certain values and policies, said its party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. Parties bereft of values and policies, despite of their money and muscle power are disintegrating in front of our eyes, Dr. JP told a meeting of party leaders in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
Dr. JP referred to the flux in all political parties right from the village level and said the Lok Satta had to utilize the opportunity to attract more people and strengthen itself at the grassroots.
Dr. JP said that although the Lok Satta enjoyed credibility and popularity all over, it could not make the grade in elections because of organizational weakness. The party should grow from the village level onwards in the next three years and a half and face the 2014 general elections.
The Lok Satta Party, he underlined, does not view any party as untouchable and is prepared to work with all on the basis of broad policies. The time is not ripe for broaching electoral alliances, he added.
Dr. JP suggested that the party mobilize people on issues like eradication of corruption, empowerment of local governments and plight of villagers.
Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, party Working President, took part in the meeting.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Lok Satta Party today said that the life sentence meted out by a Chhatisgarh court to Dr Binayak Sen has exposed some of the weaknesses in the country's justice system, and called upon the higher judiciary to rapidly take up the case on appeal.
In a statement issued today Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party's National President, said that "In any democracy, the liberty of citizens is among the most cherished rights, next only to life itself. Therefore, the State must exercise great caution before depriving someone of this right, ensuring that only those who are truly a threat to the nation are incarcerated. In Dr Sen's case, there appears to be plenty of doubt whether he poses any such threat."
"In most people's eyes," noted Dr. JP, "equating Dr Sen's humanitarian actions with acts of sedition or violence by Maoists are patently untenable given the doctor's stellar record of service to the poor, and the equally indefensible record of governments in strong-arming those who opposed its policies and actions."
Dr JP acknowledged that Chhatisgarh, like any other State, has a responsibility to take action against individuals who are a threat to public good, but in doing so it must not only act fairly, but also be seen as acting fairly. In Dr Sen's case, this second test has not been successfully passed by the court that convicted him, and this is the reason why there is so much anguish over the judgment.
"The wide-spread dissatisfaction with the court's verdict among human rights and welfare organisations in India and even around the world must be taken to heart. This outpouring of support for Dr Sen must give us pause to ask if the verdict may have overlooked something. It is no small feat for any individual to win the hearts and minds of so many different groups, across the country, over many decades. And history has repeatedly shown that people who earn such trust and respect are often on the side of justice, no matter what their governments might like the public to believe."
"In India," he added, "we live under a system of law in which the courts too play an important role in safeguarding rights. The higher courts must now quickly step in to review Dr Sen's conviction, and carry out a trial which is of a much higher standard, and also seen to be so. The world's largest democracy has a responsibility to strive to also lead the world in the quality of its system of justice.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be meeting leaders of farmers’ associations and taking part in a BJP conference on farmers’ problems at Vijayawada on December 24.
Dr. JP will be visiting rain-damaged paddy crop in Mudinepalli mandal of Krishna district later in the day.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
-Welcomes Steps to Export Boiled Rice-
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that paddy purchase centers be opened on a large scale to drive away despair among farmers. In a statement Party Working President DVVS Varma wanted the government to open atleast two centers per mandal and purchase paddy at minimum support price.
Mr. Varma welcomed union minister Jaipal Reddy’s statement that government of India would take a positive decision on export of boiled rice in a couple of days. He recalled that the Lok Satta and the Farmers’ Federations laid importance on boiled rice export as rain-damaged paddy is suitable for conversion into boiled rice, which is not consumed within the state has a good market abroad.
Mr. Varma said that the government should permit atleast 30 lakh tons considering that the state already has stocks of 20 lakh tons of boiled rice.
Goingby past experience, the exchequer will not suffer any loss in the process. He hoped that the government of India would take a without further delay.
Monday, December 20, 2010
A mature and responsible political party should not inconvenience people by calling for bandhs and rasta rokos whatever be the cause or provocation, the Lok Satta Party said here today.
Commenting on the State wide bandh in the wake of the arrest of fasting TDP President and Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu, Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, P. Bhaskara Rao and P. Ravi Maruth said that the bandh would hurt the very farmers whose cause Mr. Chandrababu Naidu wanted to espouse. Farmers cannot move their produce to market yards or workers travel from place to place. Daily wage earners and small traders have to forgo their earnings. Dislocation in transport will result in denial of timely medical assistance to people in critical condition.
The Lok Satta Party appealed to all sections of people not to resort to destruction of property or violence.
The leaders reiterated the party view that focusing on the devastation caused by December 7 and 8 rains and seeking immediate relief would not serve the structural problems in the agrarian economy. The farmer should be enabled to sell his produce anywhere in the world so that he could withstand all natural vicissitudes.
The Lok Satta Party suggested that all parties unite transcending their differences to get both short-term and long-term problems of farmers resolved.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today regretted that all mainstream parties were indulging in competitive agitations on farmers’ immediate problems without going to the roots of the crisis bedeviling Indian agriculture. Dr.JP recalled that the Lok Satta was the first to focus on the structural problems in Agriculture and not on piece-meal agenda.
Addressing a media meet, Dr. JP referred to the spate of agitations in the wake of the heavy damage caused to crops by torrential rains on December 7 and 8 and said that even if the Government conceded all of their demands, some of them unprecedented in Indian history, the crisis in the agricultural sector would not fade away. By focusing their entire attention on the rain havoc, the agitating political parties were overlooking some fundamental issues.
Dr. JP traced the agrarian crisis to successive Governments’ failure to liberalize the agriculture sector. Without the agriculture sector being unshackled, the farmer cannot be rescued.
Dr. JP explained that India produced more food grains and cotton than it consumed and at much lesser cost than in other countries. In contrast, it had a comparative disadvantage in production of oil seeds.
India for instance produced 100 million tons of rice against an annual consumption of about 60 million tons. The production is expected to go up year after year with more and more irrigation projects materializing even as per capita grain consumption is going down because of higher consumption of other food items like eggs and meat, fruits and vegetables. Yet the Government would not permit rice exports and enable farmers to benefit from the high prices prevailing abroad. The excuse was that the poor in the country would suffer if prices go up because of exports. Cotton production too has gone up substantially thanks to farmers switching over to the BT variety. Yet the Government imposed restrictions on cotton exports, with a view to depressing prices and benefiting the indigenous textile industry.
Dr. JP said that the Government adopted double standards in dealing with industry and agriculture. It does not ban export of Nano, a car designed and produced for the common man, under the pretext it might hurt the consumer. It has, however, no qualms in banning or restricting export of rice and cotton.
Again, the Government permitted duty-free import of edible oils, resulting in indigenous oilseed prices and cultivation going down. India imported nearly 60 percent of its edible oil requirements. A solution lay in imposing a stiff duty on imports and utilizing the proceeds to promote oilseed cultivation in India.
Dr. JP said that farmers would get remunerative prices if the Government promoted storage and processing of semi-perishable and perishable commodities to add value to them and compress the market chain between the producer and the consumer to reduce the number of intermediaries.
Dr. JP pointed out that the country every year produced millions of unemployable educated youth even as the manufacturing sector complains of a serious shortage of skilled personnel. The hordes of these unemployed youth have become the raw material for political parties and leaders pursuing their sectional agendas. Unless energetic steps are taken to provide skills to the youth and create millions of jobs, the nation will be in deep crisis, and the economy will be ruined. Most of these unemployed youth are migrating from villages in hope of a better life in towns, but to no avail.
Dr. JP recalled that Chinese leaders have been deeply concerned about unrest among youth although they provided livelihood to 140 million youth in the last 15 years by promoting small towns and small enterprises. In India, manufacturing hardly accounted for 10 percent of the total workforce of 330 million. Unless manufacturing grows and provides employment opportunities, the unrest among youth is bound to go up. The Government should take up a massive program to impart skills to the youth and enable them to earn their livelihood in manufacturing.
Resolution of farmers’ problems and skilling of youth should become the sheet-anchors of Lok Satta politics, apart from fight against corruption and empowerment of local governments.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is visiting Krishna and West Godavari districts on Friday, December 17, to boost the morale of farmers who have suffered heavy crop losses in the wake of heavy and unusual rains during the current kharif. Dr. JP will be visiting Mudinepalli, Akiveedu, and Achanta areas.
Dr. JP had refrained from visiting the area earlier so as not to impede relief operations under way, said Lok Satta Party Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao in a media statement.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party President and Member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, today made an impassioned appeal to the Government of India not to ruin farmers by banning or limiting exports of agricultural produce in violation of the solemn commitments it had made in Parliament on the eve of joining the World Trade Organization.
Dr. JP wanted the State Government that it could ignore farmers and tenants only at its peril. In Andhra Pradesh, there are 1.2 crore farmers and 60 lakh tenants, comprising at least 3.6 crore voters. If they join hands transcending caste and crop, region and parties, agricultural policies will undergo a metamorphosis in 24, hours.
Taking part in a debate in the Assembly on farmers’ problems, Dr. JP charged that successive Governments at both the Center and in the State have assiduously worked to deny remunerative prices to farmers.
He referred to the pressure being exerted by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to ban cotton exports when Indian farmers are likely to get a good price because of a decline in cotton production elsewhere in the world. Should t Members of Parliament belonging to Andhra Pradesh, Karrnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat, the main cotton producing States, keep quiet when farmers stand to lose because of the curtailment of cotton exports. “Let those crying hoarse against cotton exports ensure payment of prices prevailing abroad to cotton farmers in India.”
The Government of India continues to ban non-basmati rice exports when international rice prices are ruling high and is depriving farmers of getting good prices. It permits duty-free import of palm oil and supplies it a huge subsidy even as farmers who have raised palm plantations are cutting down trees by spending Rs.25,000 an acre as they do not get a remunerative price. Is the Government of India determined to encourage palm crop growers in foreign countries at the cost of farmers in India? Should we permit import fish from Vietnam and Bangaldesh duty-free and harm the indigenous industry? Should the Government take up works under the NREGS at a time farmers are facing acute labor scarcity?
Dr. JP suggested that the Government initiate both short-term and long-term measures not merely to help the farmer but to keep the rural economy vibrant. The per capita income in farming and allied activities is a mere Rs.15000 a year against Rs.105,000 in non-farming activities. By 2020, the disparity between agricultural and non-agricultural incomes is expected to shoot up to 15 times. Such disparities will endanger social cohesion, political stability and economic growth. The agricultural sector, unlike other sectors in the economy, has witnessed a tepid growth because it has not beeen unshackled from Government controls.
The Government can help the farmer improve his lot only by ensuring remunerative prices for his produce. None in the country has committed suicide because of a rise in the prices of agricultural produce whereas nearly three lakh farmers have committed suicide in the last decade, mired as they were in debt because of unviable farming. There is no wonder people are migrating in hordes from rural to urban areas. “How many among legislators would like their children to stick to farming?”
Referring to the damage caused to almost all crops because of unusual and heavy rains during the current kharif season, Dr. JP said that the Government should ensure purchase of paddy by relaxing norms up to 30 percent as it did in 2003. The Andhra Pradesh Government which earned up to Rs. 1500 crore by way of various levies on paddy and rice should pay a bonus of at least Rs.200 a quintal of paddy. It should offer an input subsidy of Rs.10000 a hectare and enable farmers to raise crops in the rabi season. It should enable tenants to avail of loans, subsidies, crop insurance etc by enacting a suitable law, without depriving farmers of their rights.
Dr. JP , while commending the State Government for lifting the ban on free movement of paddy and rice for the first time after many years, faulted the Civil Supplies Department for imposing a quantitative ceiling of 1.5 lakh tons and a deadline of December 31 for such movement. He wanted the Government of India to permit export of BPT rice which commanded a good price in the international market. The rain damaged paddy can be converted into boiled rice and exported to countries in Africa to meet the demand there. It should utilize the agricultural market cess to build toilets and compound walls and install Driers and Weighing Machines in Market Yards, especially in Telangana, where now farmers spend more than a week to sell their produce.
He asked why the Government would not strengthen the Krishna flood banks to withstand an inflow of 25 lakh cusescs when it could advance Rs.1000 crore for designing an unviable project
Dr. JP questioned the rationale of taking the village and not the farmer as a unit for payment of crop insurance. Are not insurance companies taking individuals as a unit for insuring lives, cars, etc. Why should Government make crop insurance compulsory to all bank loan borrowers when it cannot ensure that the banks paid the premia thus collected to the insurance company?
Dr. JP suggested that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme be integrated with agriculture so that workers gain employment even as farmers do not go without workers.
Monday, December 13, 2010
The Lok Satta Party today expressed concern over the washout of the winter session of the Lok Sabha because of the logjam over constitution of a joint parliamentary committee to probe the 2-G spectrum scandal.
In a media statement, party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao regretted that instead of focusing their attention on recouping the money the exchequer has lost and preventing such scandals in future, both the ruling and Opposition parties wrangled on JPC, unmindful of the futility of such inquiries in the past.
It was tragic that political parties themselves derailed discussions in the largest democracy of the world. Legislatures have to discuss people’s problems and enact laws. If legislators fail to discharge their duty, people lose.
The Lok Satta condemned the State Government for arresting farmers’ leaders who had come to the Legislature premises to represent their problems to the Chief Minister. The Government ought to have made a statement on ensuring remunerative prices to farmers for their produce, purchase of discolored paddy, input subsidy, and measures to help tenants.
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that democracy would be in danger if legislatures lost credibility.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Violence will only hurt people’s movements
Time for us to voice our support to reason and peace
As you are aware, yesterday (December 10th, 2010 – the opening day of the AP Legislative Assembly session) was marked by violent attacks across the State on Lok Satta Party (LSP) offices. This was following MLA Dr. Jayaparakash Narayan’ statements on the issue of withdrawing police cases against youth and student agitators in Andhra Pradesh. Grave threats were issued against him and LSP; effigies and properties were burnt and innocents’ lives were needlessly put at risk. ‘Warnings’ were issued that he along with other LSP members and supporters would be attacked if they continued to express their opinion or tour the State.
These are all based on attempts to distort Dr. JP’s actual statements. They are definitely against all democratic and legal norms; promoting such violence will only hurt people’s movements and genuine public causes.
Dr.JP’s statement was essentially that all cases against misled and innocent youth and students must be withdrawn - where there is no premeditated violence, arson, destruction of property and extortion in the name of agitations. This has to be done so as to protect and aid the future of these young Indians. It is evident that the withdrawal of cases against the students though has to be done by following due process - in a just, fair, firm and reasonable manner; and not arbitrarily.
In fact, the above message was also conveyed by the two-member government committee (comprising Shri Jana Reddy, the current Panchayat Raj Minister and Smt. Sabita Indra Reddy, the current Home Minister) constituted to look into the issue of withdrawal of agitation-related cases against youth and students.
The withdrawal of cases involves students and youth belonging to all regions. Injecting a regional angle into Dr. JP’s statement is unwarranted.
We all, as democracy-loving activists and concerned citizens of India, surely recognize that the primary duty of the Legislature and the State government is to:
- uphold the rule-of-law and ensuring the safety and security of all citizens
- protect the human rights of all individuals
- protect the future of young, innocent youth and students involved in the recent events
William Gladstone (the well-known fmr. PM of Britain)’s succinctly defined the primary role of a government: ‘It is the duty of government to make it easy to do good/right and difficult to do evil/wrong.’ If this golden rule is not adhered to in our State, there would effectively no government at all.
Instigating attacks on Lok Satta offices and holding out threats against its leaders touring in the State are patently undemocratic and fascist, and deserve to be condemned by all of us democracy-loving citizens, activists and civil society organizations.
(Working President, Lok Satta Party)
Saturday, December 11, 2010
If an inquiry reveals that cases of serious offences had been foisted on innocent students, the Government should release them too, the Lok Satta Party today demanded.
Talking to the media, party leaders G. Raja Reddy, Bhisetty Babji and V. Vijayender Reddy reiterated the party view that the Government should withdraw cases against students guilty of minor offences during agitations irrespective of their region or religion. The only exceptions should be cases relating to violence, arson, property destruction and money extortion. The Government should review even such cases to find out if innocent students had been falsely implicated in them. The Government should withdraw such cases and punish officials guilty of foisting false cases.
The Lok Satta leaders underlined that students should not be deprived of their legal and constitutional right to carry on any agitation. At the same time, it should not encourage anarchy with indiscriminate withdrawal of serious cases, as Governments did in the past.
Condemning the attacks on Lok Satta Party offices, the leaders wanted all parties and civil society organizations to join hands to preserve and promote democratic values.
The Lok Satta Party leaders took serious exception to TDP leader N. Janardhan Reddy’s assertion that Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan would have been defeated had the TDP fielded its candidate in the Kukatpally Assembly constituency. They said that the TDP would have been defeated even in Kukatpally, going by the results in other Assembly constituencies in Greater Hyderabad. Leaders who let down students by not giving up their posts as promised are making baseless allegations to cover up their bankrupt politics.
They recalled that Dr. JP who founded the party to cleanse politics had asked why Chief Minister K. Rosaiah had not been arrested when he took part in a sit-in in a prohibited area on November 12.
Friday, December 10, 2010
1. The central issue is not about a particular party or a few individuals; or about a particular region or a particular group or community or religion. It is all about:
- Upholding the Rule-of-Law and ensuring the safety and security of all citizens
- Protecting the human rights of all individuals
- Protecting the future of young, innocent youth and students involved in the recent events
3. He actually argued that all cases against misled and innocent youth and students must be withdrawn, where there is no premeditated violence, arson, destruction of property and extortion in the name of agitations. This has to be done so as to protect the future of these young Indians. It is evident that only a few, hard-core anti-social elements have created trouble.
4. However, he also pointed out that this withdrawal of cases against the students has to be done by following due process - in a just, fair, firm and reasonable manner; and not in an arbitrary manner, serving the interests of a few individuals. Other cases involving premeditated violence, arson, destruction of property have to be handled through due process (including compounding), involving the courts.
5. For instance, Bihar, until 5-6 years ago was plagued by anti social elements, kidnappers, arsonists, politicians colluding with criminals, etc. Reportedly, over 50,000 such anti-social elements have been convicted during the past 5 years - through due process and upholding the rule of law. This was done by the Fast Track Courts established across the State that handled such cases and convicted 52,343 such criminals.
To reiterate, the State government has to lift the cases against the innocent youth who did not resort to premeditated violence, arson and destruction during the course of the recent agitations. The rest of the cases have to be handled through due process upholding the Rule of Law – in a fair, firm and just manner.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan did not oppose withdrawal of cases against students, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma clarified in a media statement.
Taking exception to attempts at distorting Dr. JP’s stand, Mr. Varma pointed out that Dr. JP had in fact argued for withdrawal of all cases where there is no premeditated violence, arson, destruction of property and extortion in the name of agitations. Dr. JP wanted the Government to withdraw the cases by following due process - in a just, fair, firm, and reasonable manner.
Mr. Varma said that withdrawal of cases involved students and youth belonging to all regions. Injecting a regional angle into Dr. JP’s statement is unwarranted.
Instigating attacks on Lok Satta offices and holding out threats against its leaders touring in Telangana are patently undemocratic and fascist, and deserve to be condemned by all democrats, Mr. Varma said.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The Lok Satta Party today termed the rice millers’ decision to go on a strike and not buy paddy was unwarranted when farmers are reeling under the impact of unusual and heavy rains in December.
Lok Satta Party President D. V. V. S. Varma and Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao said in a media statement that failure to repair drains resulted in rainwater stagnating in fields and damaging the standing or just-harvested paddy crop.
They wanted the Government to announce a special package of assistance to farmers and tenants who suffered 50 percent crop losses. It should arrange for purchase of discolored paddy at the minimum support price, swift enumeration of losses, an input subsidy of Rs.4000 an acre, and interest-free crop loans.
The Lok Satta leaders hoped the Assembly would give top priority to farmers’ woes and come up with long-term solutions.
A seminar on corruption conducted by the Legal Cell of the Lok Satta Party today, World Corruption Day, called upon people to cease to be silent spectators but fight against corruption by utilizing the Right to Information Act and not succumbing to inducements during elections.
The seminar called for constitution of independent anti corruption commissions at both the national and State levels, and amendment of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the State as proposed by the Lok Satta Party. Decentralization of power and transparency in administration would go a long way in preventing corruption, the seminar felt.
The participants, who included representatives of political parties and civic society organizations, decided to constitute an anti corruption force and expressed solidarity with Advocate Ranga Rao in his battle against corruption in the Emaar deal.
The participants included Messrs Tripurana Venkataratnam (Congress), C. Vinod Kumar and Pranay (TDP), Keerti and Shaheeda Begum (PRP), Kamalesh (BJP), Muralidhar Deshpande (Forward Bloc), Nagaraja Rao (Pragna Bharati), Aruna (Vikas Dhatri), P. Bhaskara Rao, N. Sarojadevi, M. Ramalinga Reddy, P. V. Rao, C. Vinod Yadav, M. Durga Kumar, Vijaya Kiran, Gajanani, Manik Prabhu, and Mangala (Lok Satta and its allied organizations) and Advocate Ranga Rao.
Initiating the debate, Legal Cell Convener C. V. L. Narasimha Rao said that failure to discharge one’s duty as a Government employee too was a corrupt practice. Corruption did not mean mere acceptance of a bribe. Mrs. T. Venkataratnam said that corruption had become vicious as politicians who spent crores of rupees in elections enriched themselves many times more once elected. Ms. Keerti and Shaheeda Begum expressed their shock over the 2-G spectrum scam, while Mr. Deshpande said parties should fight against corruption jointly. Mr. Bhaskara Rao said that people had become helpless as politicians, officials and judges had all become corrupt one after another over the years. He underlined the need for institutional mechanisms and people’s participation to mitigate corruption. Advocate Ranga Rao disclosed that he had obtained 650 documents under the Right to Information Act before launching his battle against the Emaar scandal. Ms. Aruna suggested implementation of citizen charters as a means of curbing corruption while Mrs. N. Sarojadevi recalled Lok Satta’s campaign against the 2-G spectrum.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Alleging there are many, many Nira Yadavas among civil servants in Andhra Pradesh, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that the Andhra Pradesh Government amend the Prevention of Corruption Act to facilitate swift, sure rigorous punishment of the culprits including forfeiture of illegally acquired property.
(Mrs. Nira Yadav was a former Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary, whom a CBI Court has sentenced to four years in jail and a fine).
(The Andhra Pradesh Legislature is to hold its winter session from December 10).
Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said that the corrupt posed a greater threat to the country than terrorists. The nation had displayed remarkable maturity and wisdom in not succumbing to the terrorists’ designs to trigger communal clashes by detonating a bomb during ‘aarati’ at a Varanasi ghat last night.
Dr. JP described the CBI raids on the residences of former Telecom Minister A. Raja and his colleagues as dogs barking six months after thieves have bolted. Praising Mr. Gopalakrishnan, a cub reporter of Pioneer, for having unearthed the telecom scam, Dr. JP charged the mainstream political parties with indulging in shadow-boxing, instead of finding ways and means of recouping the loss the nation has sustained and preventing such scams in future.
The Lok Satta in association with some eminent people of unimpeachable integrity is filing a in the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of the tainted 2-G spectrum licenses and their fresh allocation on international competitive bidding.
The Lok Satta Party, he recalled, had submitted a draft Bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act to both the then Speaker and now Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu. He hoped they would act now at least to mitigate ubiquitous corruption in the State.
Dr. JP wanted the Andhra Pradesh Government to review all its schemes so that scarce financial resources could be better utilized. He instanced how the Government was going ahead with the Rs.3600-core, unviable, unreliable and time-consuming Yellampalli drinking water scheme to quench the thirst of Hyderabad, abandoning the Krishna water scheme that could be completed in a year at a cost of Rs.700 crore. He questioned the viability and desirability of the Pranahita-Chevella and the Dummugudem schemes. The transfer of the Godavari water into the Krishna basin with the construction of the Polavaram project is desirable to serve the needs of Telangana and Rayalaseema districts. However, we should have an open mind about how it can be executed at least cost and with maximum advantage, and integrated and rational utilization of the State’s water resources. It has also to ensure quality power to farmers through decentralized distribution. The Lok Satta has demonstrated through a pilot project that transmission and distribution losses can be cut and quality power supply ensured through decentralized distribution.
Dr. JP expressed his deep sympathies to farmers and tenants who have suffered huge losses because of unusual and heavy rains in December. Asking them not to succumb to despair, he appealed to the Government to go to their rescue by granting an input subsidy of Rs.4000 an acre and interest-free loans for raising the second crop and arranging for procurement of rain-damaged paddy by relaxing norms up to 25 percent.
Lok Satta Party Working President D.V.V.S. Varma, General Secretary V. Laxman Balaji, Secretary P. Bhaskar Rao share the dais with Dr. JP
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will take part in an anti corruption walk and a public meeting the ‘Youth for a Better India’ is organizing on December 9, World Anti Corruption Day, at Visakhapatnam.
Youth and students in large numbers will undertake the walk from Kali temple on Ramakrishna Beach to the YMCA premises – a distance of 2.6 km – at 9-00 a.m. and attend the public meeting.
The participants will take a pledge against corruption.
The Lok Satta Party Legal Cell is organizing a seminar on ‘Corruption and preventive measures’ at the party headquarters in Adarsh Nagar, at 11-00 a.m. on December 09, according to a media statement issued by its convener, Mr. C. V. L. Narasimha Rao.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Addressing a gathering after garlanding a portrait of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on his 54th death anniversary at the party headquarters, Dr. JP said Dr. Ambedkar was a national leader who fought against caste-based discrimination. The Lok Satta Party viewed Dr. Ambedkar on par with with Mahtama Gandhi.
Dr. JP regretted that quality education has become a mirage these days. It is merely producing unemployable graduates.
Dr. JP pointed out that Dr. Ambedkar stood for rule of law, constitutional values and rationalism. A real tribute to him lies in treading the parth shown by him and not in mouthing platitudes.
Dr. Ambedkar, a rationalist, embraced Buddhism and underlined the need to save the country from superstition and bigotry.
Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and party leaders V. Laxman Balaji, P. Bhaskara Rao, S. Manorama, Eda Chennaiah, Sudhakar, Dasari RAatnam, Mangala, Varma, Ramu, and Ramalinga Reddy took part in the function.
Earlier, Dr. JP garlanded the statue of Dr. Ambedkar on Tank Bund.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Both the Union and State Governments have been viewing farmers as mere robots designed to produce food for the general populace and raw material for industry and not as human beings engaged in a productive occupation to earn their living and contribute to the economy, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Addressing a convention of farmers’ representatives, Dr. JP asked why the Governments that encourage exports of all industrial goods put their foot down on farm exports and deny fair and remunerative prices for agricultural produce.
Leaders of independent organizations representing producers of varied crops and those engaged in allied activities shared the dais for the first time to mount a united fight for theircause. Nagendranath, P.Chengalreddy, Narsimhareddy, Hanumanthareddy, Chinthalvenkatreddy, S.Ramachendrarao, Manoharreddy, AlapatiChandrashekararao, SwarnaSubbarao, CH.Muralidarrao, Dasaradhavramireddy, Kotireddy, Somashekararao, MuppalaPrakash, S.P.Shankerrao, Balakondareddy, VadlamudiSubharao, D.N.Narayan, Venkatramireddy, Konalrayudu, Prabhakarreddy are among the participants.
Dr. JP said that no Government in Andhra Pradesh would dare ignore farmers if they stood united. There are 1.2 crore farmers and 60 lakh tenants in Andhra Pradesh accounting for at least 7.2 crore people, of whom 3.6 crore are voters. Which party or Government could take them for granted if they joined hands, defying politicians’ attempts at splitting them on caste or party lines?
Inaugurating the convention, Dr. JP pointed out that that the country could not progress if 60 percent of people who depend on agriculture were impoverished through shortsighted Government policies. The per capita income of a farmer in the countryside today is Rs.15,000 against Rs.105,000 of his urban counterpart in non-farm activity. In the next one decade, the urban dweller will make 16 to 17 times more income than a rural dweller.
Dr. JP said that the Government should allow the market rates for agricultural produce to prevail in tune with supply and demand, and not depress them trotting some lame excuse. The farmer should have the freedom to export his produce anywhere in the world. It did not mean that the Government should not bother about the food security of poor and the vulnerable sections. The Government could procure grain after offering a remunerative price to the farmer and take care of food security.
Dr. JP said amidst applause that none had committed suicide citing rising food prices as a reason, whereas a million farmers had ended their lives in the last one decade, mired in debt with agricultural becoming a losing proposition. Agriculture contributed a mere 15 percent to the GDP. In other words, a consumer spent only Rs.15 of every Rs.100 he or she earned on agricultural produce. Of that, food accounted for a mere Rs.5. If the consumer had to spend Rs.2 more on food grains, the burden on him is marginal whereas amounts to a 40 percent increase in the farmer’s income. He appealed to the media to appreciate the economic logic and not attempt to kill the farmer by raising the bogey of the common person.
Referring to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s plea to the Union Government to ban export of cotton, Dr. JP said that such a decision might benefit textile tycoons but would harm millions of cotton growers by depriving them of a remunerative price. He explained how the Government was ruining oilseed producers by permitting duty-free import of edible oils and distributing it at highly subsidized rates. Farmers in some Andhra Pradesh districts had been hacking precious palm oil plantations, as imports have depressed local palm oil prices.
Not confining himself to criticizing Government policies, Dr. JP outlined how the Governments could make agriculture remunerative not merely in the interest of farmers but of the nation. He suggested that agriculture be brought under purview of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. As of now, farmers are undergoing great hardship for want of agricultural workers. Extension of the NREGS will ensure livelihood to workers and provide some physical and monetary relief to the farmer. He wanted replacement of bandicoots in market yards with genuine farmers’ representatives. Paddy and cotton growers need not spend weeks in market yards waiting for their produce to dry up. Why should the Government, which collected hundreds of crores of rupees as market cess install dryers and weighbridges, and provide basic amenities to farmers in market yards? The Government should impose a stiff levy on edible oil imports and share it with oilseed producers. The Andhra Pradesh Government should allow free movement of rice and paddy as a permanent feature, offer a bonus of Rs.200 a quintal on paddy, and pressurize the Union Government to lift the ban on rice exports.
Dr. JP underlined the need for a confederation of organizations of various crop producers to decide on policy issues and a United Farmer’s Forum with units up to the village level to fight on day-to-day issues concerning agriculture.
He counseled farmers not to jump with joy over their small victory of forcing the Andhra Pradesh Government to lift restrictions on inter-State movement of rice and paddy. The State Government rescinded the decades-old ban only after the Union Government reprimanded and threatened punitive measures following farmers’ representations. They had miles to go. Genuine farmers should become legislators at both the State and national levels to confront the Governments on issues plaguing them.
A Federation of village level Independent Farmers’ State Associations with Dr.JP as convenor and the following as members is constituted: Nagendranath, Nagi Reddy, Koti Reddy (Nellore), Hanumantha Reddy (Medak), Perumalla Pullaiah (Warangal), Chengalraya Reddy (Chittoor), Pulu Konda Reddy (Kadapa), Sankara Reddy ( Kurnool), Palvai Rami Reddy (Nalgonda), Swarna Subba Rao (Khammam), Gutha Rajesh (Krishna), K. Adinarayana (Ananthapur), Raghavulu (Khammam), Vijaya Kumar (Krishna), Jagannatha Naidu (Chittor), Dasaratha Rami Reddy (Kurnool), V. Rama Raju (West Godavari), Paritala Narayana (Prakasam), Bhaskara Rao (East Godavari dist).
A Confederation of State level Crop-Wise Farmers’ Associations and Farmers’ Associations is convened with P.Prabhakar Reddy as Convenor: Nagendra Nath, Vadlamudi Subba Rao, Narasimha Naidu, Narasimha Reddy, Nageswara Raju.
The Lok Satta Party today described the Andhra Pradesh Government decision to lift all restrictions on movement of fine rice and paddy as the first victory of the non-party movement it launched on behalf of farmers.
Addressing the media, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, P.Bhaskara Rao said that Government Order No. 58 facilitated free trade in fine rice and paddy throughout the country. The State Government should now persuade the Union Government to permit export of rice to other countries too.
With last year’s stocks occupying the entire space in Government and private warehouses and farmers registering record yields now, the open market price of paddy has crashed below the Government’s minimum support price. Now that rice millers can sell rice anywhere in the country by moving it by road, they should buy paddy by offering at least the minimum support price.
The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the State Government announce a bonus of Rs.200 a quintal of paddy above the minimum support price considering the escalation in cultivation costs. They also wanted the Union Government not to succumb to textile industry pressures for halting cotton exports.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Economic growth, social cohesion, and political stability will be in jeopardy if the farmer is not ensured a fair and remunerative price for agricultural produce, warned Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. Fair and remunerative prices cannot be ensured as long as there are restrictions on free movement of agricultural produce, Dr. JP added.
Dr. JP was addressing the media after a three-day visit to Delhi to espouse the cause of distressed farmers with Mr. C. Rangarajan, Chairman, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, Mr. Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor to the Union Government, and others.
Dr. JP disclosed that Andhra Pradesh enjoyed the dubious distinction of being the only State in the country that banned movement of rice not merely outside the State but even between districts within. With Government and private warehouses overflowing with last year’s stocks and a bumper harvest round the corner, the ban on free movement of rice has depressed the paddy price.
Dr. JP pointed out that successive Governments at the Center and in the State have stuck to a policy of keeping agricultural prices depressed invoking the bogus plea of safeguarding consumer interests. The price of rice for the consumer need not necessarily go up with an increase in the price of paddy for the grower. Even if it were to go up, its impact would be marginal to the consumer, whereas it makes a life-and-death difference to the farmer.
As of today, owner cultivators are able to recoup the costs of paddy cultivation barely whereas tenant cultivators are incurring a cash loss. The per capita income of a farmer in a village is one-seventh of that his urban counterpart engaged in non-farming activities. How can the nation leap forward in manufacturing and services if impoverished farmers cannot afford the products and services offered by the former?
The agrarian crisis has deepened the rural-urban divide, and accelerated migration of low skilled labor to urban areas.
Apart from ensuring fair and remunerative prices to farmers, Governments in India should take a leaf out of Chinese experience and promote town and village enterprises, which have resulted in the creation of 200 million jobs. That is why the Lok Satta Party has laid emphasis on creating at least 1000 new towns in Andhra Pradesh. They will serve as economic hubs and bridge the rural-urban divide by providing jobs and better living conditions.
Dr. JP said that the top most priority for the Andhra Pradesh Government should be rejuvenation of agriculture, reining in corruption, and optimum allocation of scarce resources.
Complimenting Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy for sidelining some of the corrupt and encouraging the honest, Dr. JP said the State had to go a long way in living down its image as the most corrupt State in the country. The Lok Satta Party had prepared a draft Bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act and submitted it to Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy when he was Speaker. As Chief Minister, he should follow it up to eradicate corruption.
Dr. JP also drew the Chief Minister’s attention to rampant misallocation of resources in the State. He cited just two instances -- payment of Rs.1000 crore to an agency for preparing a detailed project report for an unviable and unprecedented irrigation project and dogged persistence with the costly, unreliable, and time-consuming Godavari water project to meet the drinking water needs of Hyderabad. At the same time, the Government is forgoing precious Central assistance by failing to allocate its share of funds for educational schemes.
Dr. JP demanded that the Government of India sack or suspend the Central Vigilance Commissioner, Mr. P. J. Thomas, by utilizing the provisions in the CVC law. He recalled the Lok Satta had faulted his very appointment, as his role in the 2-G spectrum allocation was not above board. The Government should cancel all tainted spectrum allocations, recoup the loss to the exchequer through fresh allocation on competitive bidding, tax windfall profits and enact a law to prevent such misdeeds in future.
Dr. JP, who met Election Commission of India members during his Delhi visit, said that the Bihar results once again established the campaign against electronic voting machines was unwarranted. Would any one now say that the ruling JDU-BJP combine registered its landslide win by rigging EVMs?