Lok Satta times August 1st-15th, 2011 can be downloaded from the following link
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that criminal cases be instituted against all those involved in the Karnataka iron ore mining scam and their properties attached pending a CBI inquiry and prosecution.
Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said that mere resignations from the offices they are holding by those indicted by the Karnataka Lokayukta will not do. He hoped that Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa and his colleagues would tender their resignations without further dithering and warned the Opposition Congress and Janata Dal (U) against fishing in troubled waters.
Dr. JP said that the Government attach the properties of all the guilty, including those in the names of their family members and others.
“The era of an end to corruption has just dawned with powerful and moneyed politicians like A. Raja, Kanimozhi, and Suresh Kalmadi being jailed, and the Union Cabinet finally adopting a Bill to constitute an independent and powerful Lokpal. The people of the country are in no mood to condone corruption any longer.”
Dr. JP said the Lokpal Bill will remain incomplete if it does not envisage the constitution of powerful Lokayuktas in States and Ombudsmen in districts. The Lok Satta Party, which has already launched a signature campaign, will redouble its efforts and try to persuade the Parliamentary Standing Committee to incorporate the changes suggested by it.
Dr. JP pointed out that the mining mafia has grown to such an extent that it is dictating politics in both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Successive Governments in both States have allowed the mining mafia to loot the country for personal gains by allocating mines to the chosen ones on a first-come, first-served basis.
Dr. JP said that the Mines and Mineral Development Law being considered by the Union Government should provide for allocation of mines on competitive bidding. The Union Government should also enact a law to tax windfall profits.
Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao took part in the media meet.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today launched a signature campaign in Hyderabad city seeking creation of a three-tier, strong anti corruption mechanism at the national, State and district levels. (The party had begun the campaign all over the State on July 25 as part of an Anti Corruption Week).
Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao started the campaign under the Yuva Satta auspices at Prakashnagar in Begumpet. The party, he said, would like the proposed Lokpall Bill to also provide for institution of Lokayuktas in States and ombudsmen in districts to combat corruption from top to bottom. He told skeptics that a similar signature campaign had resulted in the adoption of the Right to Information Act.
Among those who took part in the program were party leaders N. Sarojadevi, Gajanani, Vimala, M. Satyanarayana, Ranavir and Manoj.
The Lok Satta plans to collect a million signatures on the representation by the month-end and submit it to the Prime Minister.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Demanding that Mr. A. Raja, former Communications Minister, and all others who defrauded the exchequer in the 2G spectrum licenses scam be meted out exemplary punishment, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today suggested that the nation debate ways and means of strengthening institution of Prime Minister in an era of coalition Governments. The Prime Minister, whether heading a coalition or no coalition, should have unfettered freedom to choose Ministers, allocate portfolios, monitor their functioning, and sack them if necessary, Dr. JP said.
In a media statement, Dr. JP said the country is today paying a heavy price as the ruling establishment because of coalition compulsions failed to act decisively as soon as the scam surfaced.“Although Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s personal integrity is beyond doubt, he could not act against Mr. Raja when he betrayed national interests. Raja was guilty of arbitrarily allocating for a song precious and finite spectrum to fly-by-night operators who had no domain expertise. The operators, without rolling out any services or adding any value, minted millions of rupees by selling it within days.”
There can be no greater glaring act of corruption than this, said Dr. JP and added that the Prime Minister should have sacked the Minister and ordered his prosecution. Instead, the powers that be indulged in legal nit-picking on whether the operators resorted to divestment or dilution of equity.
Dr. JP recalled that he drew the Prime Minister’s attention to the scam as soon as the operators made windfall profits through its sale. Such bold action might have resulted in the Government falling. The Prime Minister ought to have taken the risk of dissolving the Lok Sabha and seeking a fresh mandate.
Dr. JP said that the fall-out of the 2G scam merely underlined the need to strengthen the hands of a Prime Minister in a coalition era. Coalition partners should not weaken the Prime Minister and paralyze administration. It is time the nation debated the best means of strengthening the Prime Minister so that the leadership of the nation is not jeopardized.
Monday, July 25, 2011
He will be meeting farmers at Pootalapattu and Gangadhar Nellore on July 26 and taking part in a seminar on agricultural crisis in Tirupati and a public meeting on corruption at Renigunta on July 27.
He will also be interacting with students and party workers during his visit to Chittoor district.
Even as it welcomed Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s promise to usher in corruption-free and transparent governance, the Lok Satta Party asked him to focus more on political and official corruption at the top.
Addressing media, Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, V.Laxman Balaji and P.Bhaskara Rao said, “We should be grateful for small mercies like issuance of caste, income, birth. and death certificates without the need for greasing the palms of officials at the village/mandal levels.”
(The Chief Minister had said that a pilot electronic governance project being introduced in Chittoor, Krishna, and Khammam districts would ward off corruption in issuance of some certificates).
The Lok Satta leaders said that the Chief Minister is ignoring the elephant in the room in that he has not talked about eliminating corruption indulged in by politicians and officials in higher echelons.
They pointed out that in the wake of a series of mega scams involving siphoning of tens of thousands of crores of rupees and a national uproar, the Union Government is about to introduce a Lokpal Bill in Parliament in the monsoon session. They hoped that the Bill would result in the creation of a strong and independent Lok Pal to tackle corruption at high levels. It is imperative that in the Lokpal Bill, provision is made for Lokayukta and Local Ombudsmen in states exactly on the same lines a Lokpal. With the UNCAC being ratified by India, Parliament has the power, under Article 253, to make laws to curb corruption in States. Lok Satta is mobilizing 10 lakh signatures to bring pressure on Government of India to enact the law incorporating Lokayukta and Local Ombudsmen as part of Lokpal Bill.
As of now, Andhra Pradesh has a ‘toothless’ Lokayukta with no powers to fight corruption. If the Union Government does not introduce a Bill providing for Lokayuktas at the State level, the State Government can amend the Prevention of Corruption Act and Lokayukta Act to ensure that the corrupt face sure and swift punishment including forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth. The Lok Satta leaders recalled that their President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had presented a draft amendment Bill as early as in 2009 when the present Chief Minister was Speaker of the State Assembly.
The Bill envisages bringing of all elected people’s representatives and high officials within the purview of Lokayukta, ensuring autonomy to ACB, constitution of special courts in all districts to pursue corruption cases, attachment of properties of the guilty, and bringing in all anti corruption institutions like the ACB, Vigilance Department and administrative tribunals under the purview of the Lokayukta.
The Lok Satta leaders added that institution of a Lokayukta and amendments to anti corruption laws are necessary but not sufficient to tackle the deeply entrenched corruption. Decentralization of power and electoral reforms are essential to root out corruption.
The party today launched a signature campaign seeking the constitution of a strong three-tier anti-corruption mechanism at the national, State and district levels under the proposed Lokpal Bill. The party plans to collect a million signatures during the Anti Corruption Week it is observing from July 25. In Hyderabad, the campaign is being launched from tomorrow in view of the Bonalu festival.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The Sarvajana Satta, a Lok Satta affiliate representing weaker sections, today complained to the SC, ST Commission that cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have been lying unresolved for months in police stations throughout the State.
As many as 1600 cases have been pending in police stations, a Sarvajana Satta delegation represented to Mr. R. Subba Rao, Officer on Special Duty, at the commission’s office. The delegation comprising Messrs Eeda Chennayya, Srikant Chintala, Hanumantha Rao and P. V. Rao, pointed out that action should be taken within a month of a complaint being lodged under The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
The leaders said that not many victims of atrocities generally lodge complaints and even they do the police do not act on them.
They also expressed their unhappiness over the Government not appointing chairperson and members of the SC, ST Commission although they had represented to the Governor and the Chief Minister in October 2010. As a result, thousands of cases which the police referred to the commission are lying unresolved.
The Sarvajana Satta leaders expressed satisfaction over steps being taken to establish a research center and a library in the commission’s office.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and P. Rohit Kumar have appealed to non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the U. S. to lend their mite in Lok Satta’s mission to usher in new politics.
Interacting with members of People for Lok Satta in a number of cities from San Francisco on the West Coast to Washington D. C. on the East Coast for two weeks in July, they recalled that NRIs had played a key role in taking the U. S. forward in a number of fields. It was high time they spared some time and effort to improve living conditions in their motherland. They are welcome to take up leadership and further the Lok Satta cause, they added.
The Lok Satta leaders took part in the TANA (Telugu Association of North America) conference at Santa Clara earlier.
Mr. Srinivasa Rao and Mr. Rohit Kumar explained that the Lok Satta’s 15-year-old fight against corruption was about to bear fruit with the Government of India getting ready to adopt a Lokpal Bill. The Lok Satta Party is trying to persuade political parties on the importance of instituting similar mechanisms at the State and district levels.
People for Lok Satta President Prasanna Meda recalled that PFL received tremendous response to its 240-mile ‘Dandi March II’ against corruption in March 2011. It is mobilizing NRI support to the Indian farmers’ demand for liberating agriculture from the license-permit raj.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today appealed to all political parties and leaders to refrain from indulging in senseless, reckless, and incendiary rhetoric on the demand for and against formation of a separate Telangana State.
Talking in terms of taking to the gun and forming suicide squads is simply unacceptable in a democratic polity which ensures space for all by guaranteeing liberty and universal adult franchise, said Dr. JP in a media statement.
Dr. JP recalled that “we are all brothers speaking the same language, sharing common history, culture and civilization for the last 5000 years. We have had the distinction of building a glorious republic unmatched in history. In a vast country with mind-boggling diversity, differences among people are but natural. People should strive to resolve such differences within the bounds of the Constitution, decency and respect for human liberty and dignity.
“By indulging in anti-national rhetoric, some of the chief players in Andhra Pradesh politics are harming the collective interests of all Telugu-speaking people. Resort to the language of extremism, militancy and terrorism is unbecoming of political parties.
‘You cannot threaten people residing in any part of India on grounds of origin, caste, religion or language.
“Self-styled leaders should acknowledge their folly and restrain themselves from vitiating the situation. If they don’t mend their behavior, their party leaders should reprimand and rein them in. If they too fail in their job, the Government should prosecute peddlers of violence, hatred and prejudice.”
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be interacting with students, youth, farmers, and party workers during his three-day visit to Vijayawada, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram from July 21.
On July 21, he will be interacting with students of Siddhartha Women’s College and party workers in Vijayawada.
On July 22, he will be taking part in a youth rally against corruption and address a meeting of farmers at Srikakulam.
On July 23, he will be interacting with students on the Lokpal Bill and address a public meeting on municipal elections at Vizianagaram. He will also deliver the keynote address on ‘Family Medicine: Emerging Specialty’ at the IMA State conference at Vizianagaram.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today voiced concern over the slow pace of issuance of loan eligibility cards to tenant farmers and the banks’ reluctance to grant loans against the cards.
Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma pointed out in a media statement that only a little over three lakhs of the more than 50 lakh tenant farmers have so far been issued the cards. As preconditions for grant of loans, banks are insisting on tenant farmers forming into groups, and cooperative credit societies on tenant farmers registering their names with them. Landowners are not facilitating registration of tenant farmers, as they fear loss of right over land with the old Tenancy Act remaining on the statute book.
Mr. Varma wanted the Government to expedite issuance of loan eligibility cards and direct banks and cooperatives to grant loans without any hassles.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
The Lok Satta Party has decided to identify and encourage party activists with initiative, energy and leadership qualities as part of its bid to strengthen the nearly five-year-old organization.
Announcing this at a meeting of the party’s State Working Committee, party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan pointed out that in developed democratic societies, political parties earned people’s patronage on the strength of their ideas and their leaders’ integrity and commitment. However, in a country like India, people back parties and leaders who are ever accessible and helpful as they depend heavily on Governments even for leading their day-to-day lives.
Dr. JP conceded that traditional political parties have mastered the art of reaching out to people through encouraging local leaders. However, power has become an end for them. In contrast, the Lok Satta Party has the obligation to build local leadership, and enable it to serve the people with power as a means, and not an end.
Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta Party has to be organizationally strong if it has to survive the onslaught of traditional parties with money power. “A new generation of honest, young entrepreneurs is rising. These young people are eager to build a corruption-free and strong India. The Lok Satta Party is a natural platform for them.”
Dr. JP pointed out that the Lok Satta enjoys people’s good will in abundant measure. A large number of people are following the party like Ekalavyas, although they have little contact with leaders. Providing a platform to people who are thirsting for new politics and a new society is the historic responsibility of the Lok Satta, added Dr. JP. Despite temporary setbacks, the party will ultimately triumph because it stands for truth.
“We are fighting for the future of youth, farmers and women. These groups are the natural constituency, and standard-bearers of the Lok Satta. People are desperate to end corruption. The Lok Satta is their platform.”
The Working Committee adopted a road map for strengthening the party at all levels by setting itself targets concerning membership, training, constitution of local committees etc. up to December. It will focus its attention on 75 municipalities and 175 mandals in the first phase..
Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, Working President, and other leaders took part in the meeting.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today congratulated ISRO on the successful launch of the communication satellite G SAT -12 into orbit by the indigenously built Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C-17 (PSLV) from Sriharikota.
“That scientists and technologists have been going about their job of putting India in a higher orbit of growth steadily and steadfastly without being distracted by political and business scams engulfing the nation is particularly gratifying,” said Dr. JP.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The latest series of Mumbai blasts once again underline the need for promoting community policing and expediting the long-delayed police reforms, said the Lok Satta Party today.
Expressing the party’s condolences to the families of the Mumbai blast victims, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma said in a media statement that extremists have been wreaking havoc with impunity, by taking advantage of the nexus between mafias on the one hand and politicians and police on the other.
Mr. Varma demanded an immediate end to politicians’ interference in the day-to-day police functioning so that they could discharge their duties fearlessly. Encouragement of community policing through constitution of neighborhood watch groups would enable the police to function much more effectively. Both steps are necessary to strengthen the preventive intelligence mechanism of our security agencies.
Mr. Varma wanted the Government to extend compensation to victims’ families promptly by recalling that there was undue delay in providing effective relief and compensation to families of Hyderabad bombing victims.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be interacting with students and farmers in Anantapur district on Thursday, July 14, 2011.
He will be addressing a meeting of students at Arts College in Anantapur in the forenoon and farmers at Rayadurg in the afternoon.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government of India canalize rice exports through State agencies like the FCI, STC, MMTC and PEC and share the profits with farmers by way of bonus or in other forms. In the alternative, the Government should impose a cess on rice exports by the private sector and pass it on to farmers.
Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma and Mr. P. Bhaskara Rao, Working President and Secretary of the Lok Satta Party, said the Government of India decision to permit export of a meager one million tons of rice long after most farmers had marketed their produce would benefit only traders.
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that farmers suffered because of ad hoc and fitful decisions on food grain exports. The Union Government should allow export of food grains, after ensuring national food security.
Rice exports would neither endanger food security nor trigger food inflation, said the Lok Satta leaders. As of today, the Food Corporation of India has 65 million tons of food grains, almost double the strategic and buffer stock requirement, not to talk of stocks with farmers and traders. It is the rise in prices of fruits and vegetables, eggs and meat, and dairy products which is contributing to food inflation, and not rise in prices of food grains. Food grains account for just one percent of inflation.
Mr. Varma and Mr. Bhaskara Rao said that warehouses in India are overflowing with food grains since the country has produced 246 million tons this year against the annual consumption of 180 million tons. The Government should encourage export of surplus food grains to safeguard farmers’ interests and earn foreign exchange. Considering that a small country like Thailand exports 10 million tons of rice, the Government of India’s decision to permit export of a million tons is not a big deal, they added.
The Lok Satta leaders said that the Government of India decision followed sustained efforts by Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, other political parties and farmers’ organizations transcending their political differences. A permanent solution to the agrarian crisis lies in liberating it from the license-permit-control raj, they added.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today wanted the Government, industry and NGOs to address the problem of growing unemployment on the one hand and the scarcity of skilled personnel on the other. The country has to provide livelihood opportunities to 1.5 crore to 2 crore youth every year.
Talking to media at a career expo organized by the Student Islamic Organization of India, he said that about 60 lakh of youth in Andhra Pradesh would have to be provided employment avenues in the next five years. He wanted the Government and voluntary organizations to impart training and skills to the youth so that they could meet the industry’s growing demand for skilled personnel.
He recalled that Lok Satta activists in Kukatpally constituency, which he represents in the Assembly, had enabled 1500 youth to find employment opportunities in the last six months by organizing training and providing counseling.
He congratulated SIO on its initiative to guide the minority youth on livelihood skills and employment avenues, and said the Government has to extend its support to such organizations.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
“What the youth need today are 21st century politics promoting growth, opportunity, justice, and integrity; not the dangerous 19th century cocktail of feudalism, dynasties, crony capitalism, perpetuation of poverty and corruption,” said the Lok Satta Party today.
The YSR Congress Party founded by Mr. Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy (Jagan) is indulging in competitive populism and brandishing dynasty in its bid to come to power, the Lok Satta Party added.
Referring to the virtual election manifesto unveiled by Mr. Jagan at his party plenary at Indupulapaya in Kadapa district, Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, Lok Satta Party Working President, underlined that the sops Mr. Jagan is dangling merely perpetuate poverty since they do not help people become self-reliant.
Mr. Varma pointed out that Mr. Jagan has not spelt out policies that enable every one to have quality education, healthcare and employment opportunities, make agriculture remunerative, and eradicate corruption.
For instance, the Arogyasri scheme in which Mr. Jagan reposes total faith will not help every one access medical aid for every disease in a facility of his or her choice. Expensive corporate healthcare benefiting a small number of patients has not helped the majority of people. The State Government is already providing free education facilities to most of the students. But unless it ensures quality education and links it with skill enhancement, it will be of little use. The YSR Congress does not talk of unshackling agriculture from the license permit raj and giving farmer the freedom the sell his produce wherever he wants. His promise to distribute an acre of land to every landless family in the State is unrealistic because land is a finite resource and cannot be manufactured like matchboxes in a factory.
Mr. Varma, however, welcomed Mr. Jagan’s offer to put an end to illegal liquor outlets known as belt shops in villages. At least in this respect, he is trying to undo his father, Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s legacy, added Mr. Varma.
Friday, July 8, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today regretted that a section of the media has misquoted its President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan’s remarks in response to a question at a media conference in Visakhapatnam on Thursday, July 7.
Setting the record straight, the party quoted Dr. JP as saying:
“Formation of a State is a matter of democratic, political arrangement in a federal polity, and not a matter of life and death. The Lok Satta Party has consistently maintained that formation of a Telangana State will be neither a catastrophe nor a panacea to people’s problems. Therefore, all sections of people must maintain calm and resolve the issue peacefully and amicably through dialogue.
“When passions are roused on both sides, responsible leaders should be restrained, and display a willingness to negotiate and arrive at a satisfactory solution. People in Andhra Pradesh and Telugu-speaking people in the country and all over the world have already paid a heavy price because of the delay in resolving the problem. The Government of India and major political parties are guilty of criminal negligence and reckless abandon in dealing with a sensitive issue affecting the lives of millions of people.
“The Government of India is constitutionally obliged to resolve the issue quickly and amicably keeping in mind national interests as also those of people in all the regions of the State.”
Monday, July 4, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
The Lok Satta Party has decided to launch a campaign from July 15 to 17 to mobilize public opinion for the creation of strong and independent anti corruption mechanisms at both the Central and State levels.
It will organize round table conferences and collect at least a million signatures seeking establishment of a Lokpal at the Center, Lokayuktas in States, and ombudsmen in districts.
The Lok Satta Party decided on this plan of action at a meeting of top leaders at the party headquarters here today. Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan presided. Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, Working President, and other State leaders took part in the meeting.
The Lokpal Bill rightly focuses on corruption at the top but ignores corruption at the State and district levels where its incidence is most. The Lok Satta Party therefore wants the Union Government to incorporate creation of Lokayutkas in States and ombudsmen in districts in the Lokpal Bill.
The party wants the Lok Pal to cover Chief Ministers. Vigilance Commissions at the Central and State levels shall be made ex-officio members of the Lokpal and Lokayutkas. The anti corruption wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation shall be brought under Lokpal’s purview and anti corruption bureaus in States under Lokayuktas’ purview.