Monday, January 31, 2011
Expressing its solidarity with the agitating sugarcane growers of Medak and Nizamabad districts, the Lok Satta Party today demanded that factories pay a minimum price of Rs.2500 a ton of sugarcane and clear outstanding dues.
Lok Satta Party leaders took part in a sugarcane growers’ rally at Zaheerabad today.
In a media statement, party leaders Bandaru Ramamohan Rao and V. Vijayender Reddy faulted the State Government for not announcing the State Advisory Price even months after the start of the crushing season. They pointed out that farmers incurred an expenditure of Rs.1200-Rs.1300 a ton on cutting and transporting cane to factories, apart from the cost of cultivation. Although sugar factories minted money on sale of sugar as also byproducts, they did not pay a remunerative price to growers. The State Government’s studied silence is encouraging sugar factories to pay different rates and taking the farmers for a ride.
The Lok Satta Party leaders demanded that the Government ensure payment of a remunerative price and encourage sugarcane cultivation in the interests of both farmers and consumers, instead of importing sugar at prohibitively costly rates.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Politics shorn of ethics is at the root of corruption, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan and added that only a return to ethical politics will see the end of corruption.
Taking part in a rally organized by Youth for Better India on Necklace Road as part of a nation-wide India against Corruption campaign here today, Dr. JP recalled that Mahatma Gandhi tried to build a nation on the foundation of ethical politics. In contrast, politicians today ask what have ethics to do with politics.
The campaign wants the Government to drop its proposed ‘toothless’ Lok Pall Bill and instead adopt a Bill that provides for the constitution of an independent and powerful Lok Pal, with powers to investigate cases of corruption on its own and punish the guilty.
Former Chief Election Commissioner J. M. Lyngdoh, Dr. K. S. Ratnakar of Global Hospitals, film producer S. Rajamouli and representatives of Bharat Swabhiman Trust and other organizations were among the rally participants. The leaders tore copies of the Government proposed Lok Pall Bill to register their protest.
Dr. JP said that Indians were no more corrupt than people in other countries, and they are second to none in the world in their honesty. Those who loot the nation in the name of 2G spectrum licenses, mining leases and contracts are the corrupt. Common people are victims of corruption and not corrupt when they, as a last resort, offer bribes to get what is legitimately due to them. “Let corruption victims unite and fight against corruption without losing time,” said Dr. JP and added that the youth who constitute 73 percent of people and command 94 percent of future should take the lead in the interest of their future.
Dr. JP recalled that 15 years ago Indians had to pay a bribe to get a telephone connection. With the country embracing modern technology and promoting competition, one can have a telephone for the asking now. The telecom sector witnessed a Rs.1,76,000-crore scandal because the Government did not encourage transparency and competition in award of 2G spectrum.. Dr. JP said that corruption crippled economic progress. The Rs.1,76,000 crore lost could have been utilized to provide livelihood opportunities to 35 lakh people and social security to 1.4 crore people.
Dr. JP said that Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who unabashedly maintained the Government did not suffer any loss in the 2G spectrum allocations is now forced to announce that the Government would henceforth grant licenses based on competitive bidding. He demanded imposition of windfall tax on operators who sold their licenses within weeks without adding any value, and institution of a mechanism to make such loot prohibitively costly. A stringent anti corruption law should ensure that the corrupt ranging from the Prime Minister down to the office peon attract a jail term and property forfeiture.
Friday, January 28, 2011
The Lok Satta Party is launching a membership drive from February 1 to 15 all over the State.
Disclosing this in a media statement, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma appealed to people to stop being bystanders and become partners with the Lok Satta in ushering in new politics.
He described the situation prevailing in the country as grim. Politics has become a synonym for loot and plunder. The rural economy is in shambles because of the neglect of agriculture. Youth are going without quality education and skills. Governments have emasculated local governments by denying them powers, responsibilities, resources, and personnel.
Mr. Varma appealed to people to strengthen the Lok Satta Party by becoming its members and contributing their mite since it is committed to ushering in citizen-oriented politics, ridding it of corruption.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan is going to communicate with everyone on twitter. You can send messages to @JP_Loksatta - http://twitter.com/JP_Loksatta
You can follow Lok Satta News from Twitter and Facebook as well.
Twitter - @Loksatta_Party - http://twitter.com/Loksatta_Party
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Youth for Better India is taking the lead in organizing a rally on Necklace Road, Hyderabad, as part of a nation-wide “India Stands against Corruption” program at 8-00 a.m. on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary.
Prominent citizens and civil society organizations, transcending their political and other differences, are organizing the program in 40 cities across the country demanding the institution of an independent, powerful anti corruption mechanism.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be taking part in the Necklace Road rally.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be the chief guest at a national-level youth summit VIT University, Vellore, is organizing on January 28.
The summit, with the theme “INDIA – EMERGE,” will focus on the role of youth in building up India as a super power.
Dr. JP will also be launching a news website, ‘The Gandhi Broadsheet’ of the Gandhi Centre, and taking part in its ‘Youth for Peace” program.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The nation’s future will be bleak if we cannot restore the credibility and moral authority of constitutional institutions at least in the 62nd year of our Republic, warned Lok Satta Party President Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Addressing a gathering after unfurling the Tricolor at the party headquarters, Dr. JP pointed out that the Indian judiciary has come under a cloud because of allegations of corruption, legislatures have become battlegrounds for rival parties, governments have become instruments for looting public money and the rule of law is becoming a mirage.
The Lok Satta Party is endeavoring for the constitution of a National Judicial Commission by associating the tallest among the living jurists in its mission. The commission will be entrusted with the task of appointing people of impeccable character to the higher judiciary and sacking errant judges.
Dr. JP said that fighting corruption should be on top of the nation’s agenda. According one estimate, nearly Rs.20 lakh crore of money looted from India has been stashed away abroad and an equal amount invested in India. If the Government is sincere, serious and courageous, the problem could be addressed in three months.
Underlining the need for restoring the rule of law, Dr. JP referred to the cold-blooded murder Mr. Yashwant Sonawane, Additional Collector of Nashik in Maharashtra, and added the kerosene mafia had set on fire not merely a Government official but integrity, sincerity and fearlessness.
Improving the skills of nearly 15 million youth joining the workforce every year and providing them livelihood opportunities is another challenge before the nation.
Dr. JP underlined that the country would not progress unless agriculture is rejuvenated. As of today, 60 percent of people living on agriculture earn a per capita income of Rs.15,000 against Rs.105,000 by their urban counterparts. Unless the Government ensures higher incomes to the rural populace by ensuring market rates to agricultural produce, the economy is bound to stumble.
Mr. D.V.V.S.Varma, Lok Satta Party Working Party President, welcomed Dr. JP.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
“India is not a banana republic to warrant such visits,” said Dr. JP in a media statement. India is a robust democracy with an exceptional record in preserving liberty both among developing and developed countries. Successive Governments in India have not fought shy of taking corrective action whenever human rights are violated, and the judiciary addressing instances of miscarriage of justice. India has a wonderful institution in the Supreme Court to preserve individual liberty and human rights.
Dr. JP recalled that the Lok Satta has already appealed to the judiciary to “fast track the appeal of Dr. Binayak Sen and ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done. The Indian judiciary is more than capable of addressing the issue. We do not require to be taught lessons on rule of law or natural justice by meddlesome foreigners.”
Dr. JP said excessive exuberance on the part of the European Union to monitor the working of the Indian judiciary, known for its competence and transparency, was unwarranted. Indian public institutions and civil society are fully capable of meeting the challenges in preserving constitutional order and protecting our liberties.
Even indigenous groups zealous of protecting human rights should recognize that there is a clear line between protecting human rights and preserving the nation’s self-respect.
Dr. Binayak Sen had been sentenced to life imprisonment for sedition a month ago.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan expressed his grief over the death of eminent vocalist Pundit Bhimsen Joshi and philosophy professor K. Satchidananda Murthy.
People like Joshi and Murthy have enriched our lives with their contribution in their chosen fields. We have to celebrate their lives.
It is a tragedy of our times that wallowing in politics day in day out, we often fail to give due recognition to the stalwarts who have made India what it is today. Politics should be a means and not an end by itself, Dr. JP said.
Dr. JP described Bhimsen Joshi as an accomplished exponent of the Kirana Gharana and Murthy as a great scholar and teacher.
The Lok Satta Party today condemned Mr. Toorpu Jayaprakash Reddy (Jagga Reddy), Sangareddy MLA, for threatening to prevent TRS President K. Chandrasekhara Rao from entering his constituency, and welcomed his arrest. Holding out threats and fomenting hatred and violence did not befit a member of the Legislative Assembly who had taken a oath to abide by the Constitution.
In a media statement, party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and Bandaru Ramamohan Rao pointed out that successive Governments had been resorting to programs like ‘rachchabanda’ to pose as great benefactors, instead of empowering people through strengthening elected local governments. Yet, the party would like people to utilize the program to pin down officials and elected representatives on their problems and register their protest. The Government should not show any leniency towards those who try to disrupt them.
Even as people are entitled to agitate for a legitimate cause in a peaceful and constitutional way, they should not incite others to hatred or violence, or deploy indecent language against their rivals, the Lok Satta leaders added.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
The Lok Satta Party has reiterated its stand that caste-based reservations for admission to educational institutions and jobs in the Government should under no circumstances be raised beyond 50 percent as stipulated by the Supreme Court.
The party’s Working Committee, which concluded its two-day session yesterday, wanted the Government to deny reservations to the creamy layer and those who have already become prosperous and enjoyed high positions because of reservations.
Briefing media on the party’s deliberations, Working President D. V. V. S. Varma, and leaders Bhisetty Babji, P. Bhaskara Rao and Eda Chennayya said that 10 percent grace marks be awarded in competitive examinations to rural children and poor urban children without reference to their caste or religion. Such an arrangement would render justice to disadvantaged children.
The party demanded that the Government ensure quality education including English and computers to all children up to the 12th standard. TheGovernment should also ensure that no eligible and desirous student is denied the opportunity to pursue higher education because of poverty.
The leaders pointed out that in the changed political situation an attempt is under way to raise caste-based reservations to serve the short-term political interests of certain sections.
The party recalled that the Supreme Court had not merely capped the reservations for weaker sections at 50 percent but also declared the ceiling formed part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The Supreme Court faulted the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments which exceeded the cap by adopting laws and getting them incorporated in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution and said it would review the Ninth Schedule itself if other States followed suit.
A lasting solution to the growing demands for caste-based reservations lies not in succumbing to them but to provide growth opportunities to all irrespective of the accident of their birth in a particular caste or religion.
The Lok Satta Party demanded that the Government scrap the Tenancy Act and adopt a new law which will enable tenants to access bank loans, input subsidies and crop insurance without hurting landowners’ interests. It appealed to the Government to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal verdict.
It asked people to pin down elected people’s representatives during ‘rachchabanda’ on provision of relief to rain-hit farmers and tenants, removal of all restrictions on movement of agricultural produce and remunerative prices.
The party decided to implement an action plan on the problems of farmers in rural areas and delivery of civic services in urban areas from February 1. It will be undertaking a membership enrolment drive and holding organizational elections at the village and ward levels in phases.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today that protecting the independence, credibility, and moral authority of the Indian judiciary is of paramount importance in protecting the unity and integrity of India.
Taking part in a National Convention here on Judicial Reforms, Dr. JP recalled that the Supreme Court has emerged as the last bastion in preserving India’s unity. It is playing a historic role by addressing explosive issues like the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute, tensions over caste reservations and inter-State and intra-State disputes on issues ranging from regional discrimination to water sharing and capricious allocation of scarce resources like 2 G spectrum.
Dr. JP pointed out that democracy cannot work unless we have an independent and effective judiciary. In this connection, he quoted what American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr had to say on democracy, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."
Dr. JP suggested that the Government of India undertake four judicial reforms without further loss of time. They are:
Constitution of a high-power National Judicial Commission with the Vice President of India in the chair. The commission will be responsible for appointment of men and women of competence and unimpeachable integrity to higher judiciary and removal of errant judges.
Constitution of an Indian Judicial service on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service. As of now, bright and competent lawyers are shunning the Bench. The Government can attract talent if there is a prestigious Indian Judicial Service. Parliament has to enact a law facilitating the formation of the service since the Constitution provides for it.
Constitution of at least 5000 rural courts as envisaged by the Gram Nayayalaya Act and an increase in the number of judges. Millions of poor people are shunning courts, as they are expensive and inaccessible. Instead, they are taking recourse to criminals and gangsters who dispense rough and ready justice for a price. The failure of the judicial system has created a huge market demand for criminals. Criminals, with political connections, are minting money by taking up land settlements etc.
Reforming procedural laws. The present laws like the Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Penal Code, which are lawyer friendly, must be made citizen friendly.
Dr. JP, who has played a leading role in advocating all the reforms, said he is happy that a broad consensus has emerged over the need for and urgency of reforms. The Government should institutionalize the reforms as early as possible, he said.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Andhra Pradesh has plunged into a deep economic crisis with the rate of growth now slumping to three to four percent from the much touted 10 to 11 percent, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today.
Addressing members of the party’s State Working Committee and district unit presidents and secretaries, Dr. JP said that the economic slump was the culmination of policies pursued by successive governments over the years.
The future of the youth in Andhra Pradesh is becoming bleaker and bleaker by the day, he said and referred to the strides Gujarat is making. ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ convened by Chief Minister Narendra Modi attracted investment proposals running into USD 300-400 billion, with a potential to create five million jobs.
Andhra Pradesh’s growth rate is the lowest among all large States in the country. It will touch the nadir if the Union Government does not take an early decision on the demands for and against bifurcation of the State, he warned.
The Srikrishna Committee comprising experts has given its findings on claims and counter-claims on the backwardness of and discrimination against certain regions of the State. The Union Government has to take a decision that safeguards the interests of all regions of the State and the nation. If all the concerned adopt a policy of reconciliation and give and take in true democratic spirit, a solution is possible, he added.
Referring to the verdict of the Krishna Water Dispute tribunal, Dr. JP said it could not be questioned in the Supreme Court. The State could, however, seek certain clarifications and guarantees even as the verdict is implemented. The State could ask the tribunal to assess the water in the Krishna based on 75 percent dependability and allocate it to different States even as it sticks to its allocation of waters surplus to that estimate. The State should ask the Union Government to constitute a powerful and autonomous Krishna Water Control Authority to ensure that no injustice is caused to the lower riparian State of Andhra Pradesh. The State Government should seek a categorical assurance from the tribunal that Andhra Pradesh need not share the Godavari water it diverts to the Krishna basin at its own cost with other States. With the tribunal allocating all the Krishna surplus water among the riparian States, the other States should have no objection to such diversion. The State Government should view the diversion of the Godavari water to the Krishna basin as a life and death issue for farming in the delta. Once the Godavari water and projects downstream of Nagarjunasagar take care of the requirements of the Krishna delta, the Nagarjunasagar waters should be utilized to irrigate areas in Khammam and Nalgonda districts in Telangana, and Prakasam, Guntur and Nellore districts in Coastal Andhra. The waters in the Srisailam reservoir could be utilized for irrigating parched lands in Rayalaseema.
On the 2 G spectrum scam, Dr. JP said the Lok Satta had taken the lead in filing the writ petition seeking cancellation of allocations and added he was confident of the court conceding its plea.
He also disclosed that the three greatest living jurists of India – Justice Krishna Iyer, Chief Justice M. N. Venkatachalaiah and Chief Justice J. S. Verma – had agreed, at the instance of the Lok Satta, to propose constitution of a National Judicial Commission to the Union Government. The commission will be in charge of appointment and removal of the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, in the context of the higher judiciary coming under a cloud in the recent past. The nation is facing the danger of descending into anarchy because of lack of direction and legitimacy of the political class. We have to enhance the credibility and moral authority of the Supreme Court so that it in turns helps preserve the country’s unity, Dr. JP said.
Dr. JP called upon party leaders to be prepared for a long-drawn movement transcending parties on behalf of farmers. Despite concerted efforts, the Lok Satta and other parties have failed to persuade the State and Union Governments on conversion of damaged paddy into boiled rice for export purposes.
Maintaining that the Lok Satta Party enjoyed tremendous credibility because of its principled and consistent policies and indomitable courage, he conceded it did not translate into organizational strength. He wanted party leaders to take up causes concerning farmers and youth and economic growth in general by transcending political differences.
Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma shared the dais with Dr. JP.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today faulted successive Chief Ministers for visiting districts with pomp and ostentation in the name of ‘pallebata’, ‘prajapatham,’ ‘janmabhoomi’ earlier and ‘rachchabanda’ now. By trying to do what elected local governments are expected to do on a continuous basis, Chief Ministers are undermining democracy and administration by descending on districts with a retinue of officials in a royal fashion.
In a media statement, Lok Satta Party President D. V. V. S. Varma pointed out that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kuma Reddy was merely replicating what his predecessors did by launching a ‘rachchabanda’ program from January 24. A Chief Minister eager to earn people’s recognition by resolving their problems fast ought to have embarked on cleansing the administration and devolved powers, responsibilities and resources on elected local governments, and opted for an ombudsmen system to prevent and mitigate corruption.
Mr. Varma appealed to people to draw the Chief Minister’s attention to irregularities and corruption in welfare schemes including the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the havoc liquor is causing, and their problems concerning drinking water, health and education. They should demand empowerment of local governments to address local problems.
The Lok Satta Party’s State Working Committee is meeting here on January 20 and 21 to discuss the latest political situation in the State.
Party General Secretary V. Laxman Balaji said in a media statement that the committee would also discuss the Srikrishna Committee report, the Krishna water verdict, BC reservations and farmers’ problems.
Monday, January 17, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government immediately scrap the Tenancy Act of 1956 and enact a new law that takes care of the interests of both tenants and farmers.
Addressing media, party leaders G. Rajareddy, P, Bhaskara Rao and V, Vijayender Reddy pointed out that the 1956 Act was full of impractical provisions. Under the Act, a farmer who wants to sell his land should necessarily sell it to the tenant and that too at a rate not exceeding five times the lease amount. As a result, farmers by and large have chosen not to register their leases. There has been no change in the situation despite two subsequent amendments to the Act.
The Lok Satta leaders said that lakhs of tenants could not avail themselves of bank loans, subsidized seeds and other inputs, and crop insurance since their leases are not unregistered. Deprived of bank credit, the tenants, most of them belonging to weaker sections, borrow funds at exorbitant rates from money lenders. They suffer body blows when a natural calamity like drought or cyclone hits them.
The Lok Satta leaders said that the Government move to enact a law providing for issuance of loan eligibility cards to tenants would not serve the purpose unless the old Act is scrapped. They wanted the Government to enact a new tenancy law under which the farmer is assured of his title to land and the tenant is assured of lease for a certain specified period. Tenants should be issued cards only after the passage of the new law.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today called for a comprehensive and radical restructuring of healthcare delivery as recommended by the National Advisory Council (NAC) in 2005.
Commenting on the Union Government’s plan to launch a National Urban Health Mission which came to light during the Health Ministers’ conference in Hyderabad, Dr. JP recalled in a statement the NAC had recommended a National Health Mission. The Union Government, however, chose to launch a National Rural Health Mission earlier, and now plans a National Urban Health Mission.
The report on National Health Mission, drafted by Dr. JP, recommended that the Government assume total responsibility for extending free primary and secondary healthcare to every one. It suggested that the patient should have the freedom to choose the healthcare provider and that there should be competition between private and public sector health care providers. Payments to hospitals and incentives to doctors would depend on the number of patients they treat.
“By not promoting competition and choice, we are doing more of the same in the healthcare sector. India is the only major economy in the world which does not accord priority to healthcare,” said Dr. JP
Dr. JP pointed out the budgetary allocation to healthcare remained at one percent, although the UPA had committed itself in 2004 to raise it up to three percent.
Because of patchy and unsatisfactory healthcare in the public sector, people turn to costly corporate hospitals and incur heavy debts. Heavy indebtedness in the wake of ill health is driving people to end lives. Governments like Andhra Pradesh by promoting unbridled liquor consumption are ruining people’s health and pauperizing them.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Lok Satta Party has not, and will never, foment feelings of animosity and hatred among people based on their region or religion, caste or language, said its leaders at a media conference here today. On the contrary, it always stands for peace and harmony among people of this great nation.
Stoutly refuting some TRS leaders’ charge that Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had instigated Seemanadhra people to oppose the Telangana movement, Lok Satta Party State Working President DVVS Varma, Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao said that there has been no change in the party’s stand on the Telangana issue. “Formation of Telangana will be neither a panacea nor a disaster,” the party believes. That is why it has been urging the youth of both Telangana and Seemandhra not to succumb to envy, hatred, or fear, and not to resort to violence in their language or behavior.
The Lok Satta believes that problems however intractable they appear to be, could be resolved across the table provided the parties concerned adopt a give and take attitude within the framework of the Constitution. There is no alternative to dialogue in a democratic polity, they added in a statement today.
The Lok Satta leaders appealed to all political parties and civic society organizations to adhere to civility, decency, and democratic norms, and keep in mind larger public interest and nation’s future in public debate and political conduct. “All of us should eschew mutual abuse, calumny, and threats.
“Reasoned public debate, tolerance, and respect for various shades of public opinion are the essence of democracy. Leadership lies in making people think rationally and objectively, based on facts and logic and not on emotion and prejudice.”
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today charged Union Communications Minister Kapil Sibal with indulging in legal nitpicking in claiming that the Government had not suffered any loss in 2-G spectrum allocation. By resorting to quibbling like a petty advocate, the Government of a mighty country is becoming the butt of international ridicule.
Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, G. Raja Reddy, P. Bhaskara Rao and V. Vijayendar Reddy were addressing media in the context of the Supreme Court admitting a public interest litigation petition filed at the behest of the Lok Satta seeking cancellation of the tainted 2 G spectrum licenses.
The Lok Satta leaders said that Mr. Kapil Sibal was trying to defend the indefensible. How could a responsible Union Minister turn a Nelson’s eye to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on the presumptive loss to the exchequer? The CAG estimated the loss ranged between Rs.55,000 crore and Rs. 1,76,000 crore going by three parameters – the amounts paid by the licensees to the Government and the amounts for which some of them sold them within weeks without any value addition, the revenue derived in 3 G spectrum auction and the solid offers made by some unsuccessful applicants.
The Lok Satta leaders demanded that Mr. Kapil Sibal own up his predecessor A. Raja’s capricious spectrum allocation, cancel the licenses forthwith, and call for transparent, competitive bidding.
There is a precedent for cancellation of such tainted deals, the Lok Satta leaders said. They recalled that the Government of India cancelled the deal to buy 197 Eurocopters from EADS after the Vigilance Commission had faulted the bidding process.
The Lok Satta leaders charged the Government of India with sitting on reports submitted by the Administrative Reforms Commission and others to rid the Government of systemic ills. In contrast, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastry, a man of unimpeachable integrity and resolute will, lost no time in implementing the Santhanam Committee recommendations on corruption. Within a few months of receiving the report, the then Union Government created the Central Vigilance Commission, paved way for constitution of vigilance commissions in States, strengthened vigilance departments, brought Ministers under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act and amended rules governing all India and central service employees. (Today happens to be the death anniversary of Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastry).
The Lok Satta leaders said the series of scams that rocked the nation in the recent past called for resolute action, and not legalistic contortions and distortions.
Dr. JP took the initiative and roped in some prominent civil society organizations and individuals of impeccable integrity to file the writ petition (WPC No. 423/2010) in the Supreme Court.
The petitioners contended that the grant of 2 G licences was marred by multiple illegalities, irregularities, corruption, and favoritism. They wanted the Supreme Court to direct the Government to take back the allocated spectrum and auction it. In addition, they sought imposition of punitive damages on companies that made false declarations or violated their undertakings to the Government.
They pointed out that in most legal systems transactions tainted by bribery/corruption or made in violation of established norms and procedures are considered illegal and unenforceable.
The others petitioners are: Mr. J. M. Lyngdoh, Mr. T. S. Krishnamurthy and Mr. N. Gopalaswami, all former Chief Election Commissioners, Mr. P Shankar, former Central Vigilance Commissioner, Mr. Julio F. Ribeiro, former Director of General of Police, Gujarat and Punjab, Mr. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, senior journalist, Admiral Tahiliani, former Governor, Chief of Naval Staff and Chairperson of Transparency International India, Common Cause, Telecom Watchdog, and Centre for Public Interest Litigation.
Monday, January 10, 2011
“Act today to ensure a better future for you and the country,” Lok Satta Party President told youth in an open letter to them on National Youth Day on January 12.
The following is the text of Dr. JP’s letter:
Let me convey my greetings to you on National Youth Day on January 12.
Youth today constitute 73 percent of India’s population, and 94 percent of future belongs to you, compared to the six percent to those who are above 35.
You are the inheritors of a 5000-year-old civilization and culture, and can look forward to the prospect of becoming partners in a vibrant India.
Despite many shortcomings and challenges post-Independence, we have survived as a nation, and preserved our democracy, unity, and secularism. We have just weathered global recession and started marching forward on the growth highway.
To ensure a bright future for you and the country, you have to become a partner in wealth creation. It is possible only if you equip yourself with quality education and skills. You will forgo growth and constitutional guarantees if you are not ready to shape your destiny. In this day and age, the future belongs to those who have knowledge and skills, and can create goods and services for the society.
Even as you acquire good education and skills, you have to become a responsible citizen and voter by taking interest in politics. Politics encompasses every sphere in life and it ensnares you like the coils of a snake, as Gadhiji said. You must be actively engaged in politics for the improvement of conditions around you. But you must not be obsessed with politics of power, faction, and day-to-day abuse and invective. You must realize that politics should be society’s servant, not its masters. Politics plays a key role in our lives, but should not dominate our lives. Your life is for living with dignity and fulfilling your potential.
As you are aware, corruption has become a hydra-headed monster and is seen in every walk of our life. It has tainted Governments, political parties, legislators, higher judiciary, and media. You can ignore corruption only at your peril, for it enables a privileged few in politics and public office to prosper at your expense. You have to reclaim the republic stolen from you.
Besides fighting corruption, you have to strive to preserve and promote the country’s unity and integrity. You should not become a pawn in the hands of any section, which tries to promote its partisan interests by fomenting hatred and violence. The India of our dreams is greater than any caste, region, religion, race or language. The sum is greater than the parts. It is your duty to demolish these ‘narrow domestic walls’ fragmenting India. Unity and integrity of our mother-land, and fraternity of all Indians devoid of hatred and envy are of paramount importance to secure your future.
Draw inspiration from Swami Vivekananda in whose memory we celebrate National Youth Day. He was one of our best and brightest children who represented India’s spiritual wisdom and robust nationalism.
Swami Vivekananda says, “We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.”
Act today to ensure a better future for you and the country.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today appealed to the Government of India to resolve the Andhra-Telangana issue once and for all within the next few weeks in the interests of the State and the country.
Commenting on the Srikrishna Committee report on the situation prevailing in Andhra Pradesh in the context of the demand for and against bifurcation of the State, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan reiterated the party’s view that a satisfactory solution that addresses the aspirations of people of all regions is possible if all the concerned display a sense of accommodation and good sense and arrive at a consensus.
Dr. JP appealed to all the concerned to study the report given by the committee after a painstaking effort. Its members have no personal axe to grind. Their impartiality and credibility are impeccable and above board.
The report, Dr. JP said, begins and ends with two quotes both of which are extremely relevant to the situation in Andhra Pradesh. The report begins with a quote from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s address to the UN General Assembly in 1960. Nehru says, “In ages past a great son of India, the Buddha, said that the only real victory was one in which all were equally victorious and there was defeat for no one. In the world today that is the only practical victory; any other will lead to disaster.”
The report ends with a quote from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Home Minister. Sardar Patel says, “It will be a folly to ignore realities; facts take their own revenge if they are not faced squarely and well.”
The Lok Satta appealed to all sections of the public to follow the sage advice of these two great statesmen who laid the foundations of modern India. “There is no alternative to dialogue and accommodation in a functioning democracy. People of all sections should come together, maintain harmony, act with maturity and find an amicable solution.
“If India and Pakistan, and India and China could sit across the table and resolve issues peacefully and amicably through dialogue, it will be a folly if people of one nation and one language do not show the maturity to negotiate a settlement to address their concerns.”
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
People for Lok Satta (PFL), an NRI (non-resident Indian) organization, has launched a ‘Kill Corruption’ campaign in the wake of the 2 G spectrum scandal.
This was disclosed at a media conference here today by PFL leaders Ms. Padma Bhupatiraju, Ms. Manasa Mahati and Mr. Sharat Mangalpally and India PFL Coordinator. Atluri Subhashini. The PFL activists said that although they lived in the US they have not forgotten their roots in India and that they plan to adopt villages in the State and work for their development.
Introducing the visiting PFL activists, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said that PFL comprised members belonging to all castes and religions, languages and religions. Young and idealistic, the members have chosen the Lok Satta Party as the platform to transform politics in India.
PFL, registered in February 2009, has chapters in nine countries – the U. S., the U. K., Australia, Canada, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland.
PFL has over 30 chapters in the U. S. in places like Bay Area (California), Los Angeles, New Jersey, Boston, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Washington DC, and Seattle.
As part of the ‘Kill Corruption’ campaign, PFL members have asked Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to cancel the tainted 2G spectrum licenses and recoup the lost revenue, bring the corrupt to justice, and appoint an autonomous body to prevent such scams in future.
PFL has also launched a campaign asking the Government of India to facilitate absentee voting for NRIs since the current Bill mandates their physical presence during elections. The NRI organization has sent representations to all MPs on the issue.
PFL representatives attending the 'Pravasi Bharathi Divas' soon will be reiterating their viewpoint.
PFL canvassed in favor of the Lok Satta Party during general elections and elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
It launched a 'Rejuvenate India' campaign by organizing interactions between Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan and NRIs in the U. S. in May-June-2010. PFL could reach Dr. JP’s message to as many as 10,000 NRIs during the month-long campaign with the twin themes good governance and clean politics.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the State Government honor its GO No. 58 of December 4, 2010 under which it permitted free movement of fine varieties of paddy and rice outside the State to ensure a remunerative price to the farmer. It also wanted the Government to facilitate overseas marketing of boiled rice and BPT rice.
Talking to media, party leaders G. Raja Reddy, and V. Vijayender Reddy said that the State Government had failed to fulfill its assurances to farmers on paddy purchases. Because of Government’s failure to go to their rescue, farmers have been selling paddy at Rs.400 less than the minimum support price per quintal.
They demanded that the Government buy up to 50 percent of discolored paddy by relaxing norms up to 13 percent, open purchase centers at the rate of one per mandal, and facilitate bank loans against produce.
The Lok Satta leaders welcomed the state government’s move to revive the Krishna Third Phase drinking water supply scheme for the benefit of Hyderabad. The Lok Satta Party has made it plain that the Krishna water supply scheme can be executed at a faster pace and less cost than the Godavari water scheme.