Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Conveying his greetings to Muslim and Hindu brethren on the eve of Ramzan and Vinayaka Chaturthi, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said that the festivals should remind them of their common culture, traditions and history.
India is the only nation in the world known for its fusion of diverse cultures over millennia Dr. JP said and recalled in a media statement that Hinduism and Islam have co-existed peacefully since the advent of Islam in India in the eighth century. Their composite culture, shared language, lifestyle and even fusion of religious thought testify to the versatility and syncretism of India.
Against the backdrop of the momentous happenings in the country in the last few weeks, all of us should move forward with confidence and hope to build a great future for our children even as we celebrate the festivals.
“While we all have our own conception of god and religion, we are human, with common history, and more important, a common fate binding all of us. Our love of families and our dreams for our children; our hopes for a better India and our anger against corruption and humiliation; and our sense of joy and beauty and courage and compassion – all these unite us much more than our diversities divide us. Let us rejoice in the good tidings, and celebrate our composite culture and common civilization” said Dr.JP.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
ఏకాభిప్రాయంతో బలమైన లోక్ పాల్ చట్టం తెండి - స్థాయీ సంఘానికి, పార్లమెంటు సభ్యులకు లోక్ సత్తా విజ్ఞప్తి
Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma has expressed his happiness over Members of Parliament cutting across party lines supporting the Lok Satta plea for constitution of Lokayuktas in States along with the Lokpal, and a National Judicial Commission to deal with higher judiciary, excluding it from the Lokpal purview.
In a media statement issued here today, Mr. Varma pointed out that the Lok Satta has been fighting for the creation of an effective, strong, and independent Lokpal. It conducted two round table conferences in New Delhi and Hyderabad on the Lokpal Bill, brought about a consensus on most provisions, and communicated them to all political leaders in the form of amendments to the Union Government’s Bill.
Congratulating all those who fought along with the Lok Satta for the creation of strong anti-corruption mechanisms, Mr. Varma hoped the Parliamentary Standing Committee and Parliament would give shape to a Lokpal, Lokayukta Bill that reflects public opinion.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan described August 27 as a great day in the history of our Republic. “Parliament displayed the majesty of the functioning of democracy and members, exemplary unity of purpose and leadership. The quality of debate over the Lokpal and Anna Hazare’s fast is a matter of pride for all Indias, irrespective of their political beliefs.”
Dr. JP said that despite baffling diversity and many failings of our political system, the parliamentarians exhibited true nobility of politics.
“The two cardinal gifts of our Constitution are liberty and the vote through which we govern ourselves. If the elected, Government and Parliament become too strong and undermine liberty, it leads to tyranny. If people’s liberty undermines Parliament, it leads to anarchy. It is a challenge for leaders and people to traverse a middle path, integrating liberty with constitutionalism. “
Dr. JP said Anna Hazare has done yeoman service to the country by bringing the fight against corruption to the center-stage of our political process. Even more important, he has brought large sections of the middle class and youth into the political process.
“Now we have the important task of channeling this energy for long-term political engagement. We have many tasks on hand. We have to end corruption. We have to decentralize Government and empower people. We have to establish the rule of law which treats every one alike. We have to strengthen agriculture and save the farmer. We have to transform the nature of politics and make the best and brightest electable.
“We are all one. There are no distinctions of parties or civil society, Parliament or people. Let us all rejoice and get on with the many tasks on hand. Let us all work with redoubled vigor to complete the unfinished agenda.”
Friday, August 26, 2011
The amendments to the Union Government’s Lokpal Bill suggested by Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan envisage Lokpal’s jurisdiction over the Prime Minister subject to certain caveats and creation of strong Lokayuktas in States as part of the Lokpal Bill.
(Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh told the Lok Sabha on August 25, 2011 that the Parliamentary Standing Committee would consider all the suggestions that emanated from civil society activists and Dr. JP, besides the Government’s Lokpal Bill.)
“The Lokpal may enquire into allegations against a serving Prime Minister, if two-thirds of its members make a reference on the basis of material before them to a Parliamentary Committee comprising the Vice President, Speaker and the Leader of Opposition of the Lok Sabha; and if such a committee sanctions an enquiry into the conduct of the Prime Minister. Then the Lokpal will proceed to enquire into the allegations against the Prime Minister. In such a case, the second safeguard should be that no allegation against the Prime Minister on a matter relating to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States and public order shall be entertained by the Lokpal or the Parliamentary Committee.”
According to Dr. JP’s amendments, the Lokpal will have jurisdiction over all Ministers, MPs, all officials above a certain rank and all Group A officers, all Chief Ministers, and all NGOs above a certain threshold. Chief Ministers should be under the Lokpal. (If the Lokpal law does not include Chief Ministers, they should be under Lokayukta jurisdiction, according to the amendment.)
The amendment says that lower officials shall be covered by the CVC, which will be part of the Lokpal as ex-officio members, but will have separate existence and functions under the CVC Act.
The amendment says that judges of higher judiciary shall not to be under Lokpal jurisdiction. A National Judicial Commission headed by the Vice President, and with Prime Minister, Speaker, Law Minister, Leaders of Opposition in both Houses, and Chief Justice (Chief Minister and Chief Justice of the concerned High Court in case of High Court judges) should be constituted for judicial appointments and oversight; and the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill should be enacted into law. Both together will address issues relating to higher judiciary. The Subordinate Judiciary, under the control of the High Court, should remain so.
Dr. JP says that the 9-member Lokpal selection committee as proposed in the Bill is reasonable with one modification: The jurist and eminent citizen should be nominated by the rest of the seven members – not the Union Government.
The amendments suggest that the CVC (Chairman + 2 members) should be ex-officio members of the Lokpal, and appointed in the same manner as the Lokpal. The CVC will perform all functions as envisaged under law, except that the allegations against Group A officers and above will be referred to the Lokpal.
Once the CVC is integrated with the Lokpal, but functions under both the Lokpal Act and the CVC Act, that body will exercise superintendence and guidance of the CBI. The CBI should be divided into two agencies – the normal crime investigation wing, and the anti-corruption wing. The anti-corruption CBI will be accountable only to the CVC and not to the Government
Dr. JP suggests that a chapter be incorporated in the Lokpal Bill dealing with Lokayuktas and Local Ombudsmen, and the law should be called The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2011. With the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption, Parliament, under Article 253 of the Constitution, has the power to make laws for the entire territory of India even on State subjects in matters relating to corruption. This power should be exercised.
The State ACBs should be brought under the superintendence and guidance of Lokayuktas. The Lokayukta will supervise vigilance machinery in the State.
A separate Grievance Redressal Authority should be created at the national level and in each State as recommended by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission.
Dr. JP suggests that Prevention of Corruption Act & other laws be amended to enlarge the definition of corruption, increase the quantum of punishment in cases of collusive bribery, provide for confiscation of properties of corrupt public servants, and give prosecution powers to the CVC and Lokayuktas.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas should have powers to appoint all prosecutors and supervise them in all matters relating to all anti-corruption cases, and not merely those investigated by them.
The Lokpal Bill should provide for dismissal, removal or reduction in the rank of officials on the basis of the enquiry of the Lokpal/Lokayukta. Further enquiry should not be made a requirement once the Lokpal/Lokayukta concludes after enquiry that the conduct of a public servant deserves major punishment.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Lok Satta Party will wage a legal battle against deferment of elections to local bodies, said party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and P.Bhaskara Rao today.
The Lok Satta leaders were commenting on Government plans to postpone municipal elections for the third time.
In a media statement, they pointed out that barring a few exceptions, officials are today running municipalities, zilla parishads and mandal parishads, instead of elected people’s representatives. This is contrary to the letter and spirit of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. Even the Supreme Court in a 2002 verdict had faulted special officers’ rule in zilla and mandal parshads.
Fearing a rout, the Government trotted out technical excuses to defer local body elections, said the Lok Satta leaders.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be addressing top civil servants in the country on ‘Corruption in public services – the way forward’ at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussorie, Uttarakhand, on August 25.
The national academy is the apex training institution for senior members of the Civil Services in India.
The academy has invited Dr. JP to address mid-career IAS officers with 15-16 years of experience to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to take on higher responsibilities.
In its invitation, the academy referred to Dr. JP’s vast experience and expertise in fighting corruption and requested him to address the senior civil servants on what needs to be done to eliminate/reduce corruption in higher Government echelons.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Taking part in the 156th birth anniversary celebrations of social and educational reformer Narayan Guru, organized by Sarvajana Satta, Dr. JP said the first prerequisite is quality education to every child irrespective of its accident of its birth in a certain caste or religion. Unfortunately no political leader from the Prime Minister downwards since the dawn of Independence has talked of this.
Secondly, we have to promote the dignity of labor and impart job-oriented skills. We have been merely producing unemployable graduates. Caste barriers will crumble if people are enabled to earn Rs.500 to Rs.1000 a day with skill enhancement.
Thirdly, the Government has to help raise agricultural incomes. In the last two generations, people belonging to Dalit and backward castes have become the real land tillers with upper caste people migrating to urban areas in search of greener pastures.
Fourthly, considering that the private sector and not the public sector is the generator of employment, the Government should promote equal employment opportunities to the deprived sections by providing training and ensuring there is no discrimination.
Fifthly, the society must promote clean and corruption-free politics. Society can witness transformation only if it ensures election of representatives based on their personal credibility and agenda.
Sixthly, proportional system of representation in place of the present first-past-the-post system will ensure justice to all sections in society.
Mrs. Satyabai Sivadas of Narayana Guru educational group, Mr. Kaki Madhava Rao, former Chief Secretary, AP Government, Prof. Vinod Kumar of PG College of Law, Osmania University, Mr. J. B. Raju, President, Dalit Sena and Mr. Syed Khurshid Ahmed, Chairman, Medak Engineering College recalled that Narayana Guru transformed society in his lifetime.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Sarva Jana Satta, Lok Satta Party’s wing for SC, ST, BC, EBC and Minorities, is celebrating the 156th birth anniversary of social reformer Narayana Guru at the Bhasheerbagh Press Club on Monday, August 22.
Giving this information in a media statement, Mr. Eeda Chennaiah, Sarva Jana Satta’s President, said that the program would take place at 11-00 a.m.
The following will take part in the program:
Mrs. Satyabai Sivadas of Narayana Guru educational group
Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, President, Lok Satta Party
Mr. Kaki Madhava Rao, former Chief Secretary, AP Government
Prof. Vinod Kumar of PG College of Law, Osmania University
Mr. R. Krishnayya, President, BC Association
Mr. J. B. Raju, President, Dalit Sena and
Mr. Syed Khurshid Ahmed, Chairman, Medak Engineering College
Friday, August 19, 2011
The Lok Satta Party will be organizing a second National Level round table on the Lokpal Bill in New Delhi in September.
Announcing this at a media conference here today, Dr. JP said that a small group of people – not exceeding 15 in number - comprising former judges of Supreme Court; Election Commissioners, Vigilance Commissioners, CBI directors and Constitutional experts will go through the Union Government’s Lokpal Bill and the Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by the Anna Hazare-led civil society and address issues both of which have ignored.
Dr. JP recalled that the Union Government has incorporated many of the recommendations made by the first round table organized by the Lok Satta and the Foundation for Democratic Reforms in New Delhi on April 24, 2011.
Dr. JP regretted that both the Bills before the nation dash people’s hope for the dawn of a corruption-free society. The Bills focus on corruption at the national level and ignore corruption at the State and district levels. Unless the Government constitutes Lokayuktas at the State level and ombudsmen at the district level with powers and responsibilities akin to those of the Lokpal at the national level, corruption can never be combated.
Dr. JP said that there is no serious discussion on making the CBI at the national level and ACBs at the State level independent and strong, and bringing them under the protective umbrella of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas. The Bills ignore the need to bring about coordination between vigilances commissions at the Central and State levels with the proposed anti-corruption mechanisms.
Dr. JP said that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas should focus on corruption among top elected officials like MPs and MLAs and civil servants and not on peons and clerks. Higher judiciary, one of the three pillars of Government, should under no circumstances be brought under the purview of an unelected institution like the Lokpal. National Judicial Commission is the ight body for enforcing accountability of Judiciary.
Dr. JP described the impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen by the Rajya Sabha as a golden chapter in India’s parliamentary history in that it enforced judicial accountability for the first time since India became a republic. This is in sharp contrast to the ham-handed manner in which the Union Government handled the Anna Hazare team’s fight against corruption. The Government has lost its credibility and become the laughing stock of people by its flip-flops.
He announced that the Union Government has agreed to the constitution of a National Judicial Commission to decide on appointment and removal of judges. Three eminent Supreme Court Justices – Venkatachalaiah, JS Varma and Krishna Iyer – at the instance of the Lok Satta have given shape to the Judicial Commission Bill.
The Lok Satta Party would represent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the need to constitute Lokayuktas and ombudsmen as part of the Lokpal Bill. If it does not heed its pleas, it will mount a campaign for creation of a strong and independent Lokayukta in Andhra Pradesh to begin with. It will associate a crore of people with its demand by collecting their signatures on a representation.
Dr. JP, who visited nine districts in Andhra Pradesh in the last one week spreading awareness about the importance of creating strong anti corruption mechanisms, said that the Lok Satta would promote discussion on the Lokpal Bill in all arts and science and professional colleges throughout the State.
In replay to a question on the ongoing CBI inquiry into Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, MP and President of the YSR Congress, Dr. JP said that every one should cooperate with the CBI and abide by the court verdict. If there is evidence of involvement of others in Andhra Pradesh scams, they too should be brought under the probe.
Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, Working President, Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mr. V. Laxman Balaji, General Secretaries, and Mrs. N. Sarojadevi, Mahila Satta President, took part in the media conference.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Lok Satta Party observed dharna at the Indira Park here demanding creation of Lokayuktas at the State level and ombudsmen at the district level as part of the Lokpal Bill.
Launching the program, Lok Satta Party State Working President D. V. V. S. Varma said that the Lokpal Bill, as conceived by the Union Government, would not help eradicate corruption. It focuses on corruption at the national level while States and districts account for bulk of corruption.
Expressing solidarity with Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption, Mr. Varma said he epitomized the aspirations of millions of Indians for a corruption-free society.
Mr. Varma said the Union Government has become the laughing stock by indulging in flip-flops in dealing with Anna Hazare and the issues raised by him.
Mr. Chukka Ramaiah, MLC, who dropped in to support the dharna, said that although Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh might not be corrupt, he winked at corruption.
Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, Lok Satta Party General Secretary, said that the Lok Satta was not opposed to bringing the Prime Minister under Lokpal’s purview, if necessary. He wanted the Union Government to focus on corruption at the State and district levels and make the CBI and ACBs truly independent.
Among those who took in the dharna were V. Laxman Balaji, S. Manorama, P. Bhaskara Rao, M. Satyanarayana, N. Sarojadevi, P. Rohitkumar, Ravinder Reddy, C. Vinod, R. Manikprabhu, S. Mangala, Y. Ramadevi, K. Gangadhara Rao, A. Kirankumar, Malyadri, P. Hussain, Mangala, A. K. Ranaveer, Gajanani, Sailaja, Sukanya, Madhumati, Nagamani, Vimaladevi and Padmajarani.
Lok Satta Party activists extended their support to Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption by organizing a novel demonstration near Vivekananda statue on Tank Bund in Hyderabad on Wednesday (August 17) evening.
Shackling their arms, the party workers formed themselves into a human chain and shouted slogans against the Union Government’s vindictive attitude towards Anna Hazare and team. The Government opted to malign and jail the fighters against corruption, instead of jailing the corrupt.
Addressing a gathering, party leaders V. Laxman Balaji, V. Vijayender Reddy, S. Manorama, K. Gita Murthy, and Y. Ramadevi pointed out that people are indignant as the Union Government is not serious and sincere about rooting out corruption. They said that the Lok Satta would like the Lokpal Bill to create institutional mechanisms to fight corruption at State and district levels too. They recalled that the Lok Satta organization and the party have been fighting for cleansing the political system and rid it of corruption for a number of years.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
“Through its reckless and senseless detention of Anna Hazare and team, the Union Government squandered away a precious opportunity to build a national consensus on creating an effective mechanism to curb corruption,” said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today.
In a media statement, Dr.JP said there could be honest and legitimate differences of opinion and approach to the creation of Lokpal, Lokayukta, and ombudsmen institutions between the Government and civil society. Some of the demands of the civil society on the Lokpal institution may be far-fetched.
In such a situation, the Government is obliged to exercise patience and restraint, explain its viewpoint, and convince the public. Instead, Dr. JP, said the Government has resorted to the heinous practice of leveling corruption allegations against Anna Hazare and others fighting against corruption. “The Government’s conduct is improper, immoral, immature, and counter productive. If there is any substance in the allegations it is making now, why has it not acted earlier,” asked Dr. JP. Instead of strengthening constitutional processes, the Government by its vindictive attitude is alienating people.
Dr. JP said that the Lokpal Bill has now become Parliament’s property and the civil society should recognize that Parliament is an institution elected by people. It is time that all sections including the Government, political parties, civil society, and media mount concerted and authentic efforts to curb corruption.
Dr. JP regretted that the public debate on the Lokpal Bill has ignored corruption at the State and local Government levels. The Lok Satta Party has consistently been advocating the creation of strong and independent Lokayuktas and ombudsmen at State and district levels along with Lokpal at the national level. The Government should strengthen investigating agencies like the CBI and the ACB and insulate them from political interference by bringing them under the protective umbrella of the Lokpal and Lokayukta.
The need of the hour is mature negotiations and arriving at a consensus, said Dr. JP and added there is no place for inflexible views in public debate. He appealed to all sections of society to protest peacefully against the detention of Anna Hazare and others without disrupting people’s normal life.
Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta Party is drawing up an action plan to canalize people’s indignation and energy and realize their dream for strong anti-corruption mechanisms.
Mr. DVVS Varma, Working President of Lok Satta Party said that the Party would organize Mass Dharnas throughout the State on August 17 and Demonstrations in association with others on August 18 to protest against the arrest of Anna Hazare and his team.
Monday, August 15, 2011
“Should we learn to live with the menace of corruption or resolve to bury it once and for all?”
Every citizen has to grapple with the question at this turning point in India’s history, said Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma here today.
Addressing a gathering after unfurling the national flag on the 65th Independence Day at the party headquarters, Mr. Varma said that corruption has become the centerpiece of politics now.
The Lok Satta Party believes in fighting corruption from Delhi to the galli. A Lokpal at the national level cannot address corruption at the State, district, municipal, and panchayat levels. The Lokpal Bill should also provide for constitution of strong and independent Lokayuktas in States and ombudsmen in districts.
Mr. Varma took exception to Government and ruling party representatives heaping corruption charges against Gandhian Anna Hazare shortly before he is to go on an indefinite fast. The allegations betray the impatience of the Government with the fighters against corruption, he said.
Leaders of the Lok Satta and its affiliated organizations including Katari Srinivasa Rao, V. Vijayender Reddy, M. Satyanarayana, P. Rohit Kumar, K. Gangadhar Rao, A. Kiran Kumar, D. Ramu, P. V. Rao, G. Mangala and A. Annapurna took part in the function.
PFL parades in US
“Bharat Maata ki Jai” slogans resounded at India Day parades organized across various US cities by the People for Lok Satta (PFL).
The PFL conducted parades in Boston, Houston, Washington DC, Chicago, Edison (New Jersey), Bay Area and Los Angeles.
The PFL had the distinction of conducting the Dandi march-II, a 240-mile walk against corruption, in March 2011.
Wearing white T Shirts and Gandhi caps and waving Indian flags, NRIs in New Jersey took part in the parade. Undeterred by heavy rain, they shouted slogans like "We want Jan Lokpal" and “Anna we are with you."
In Houston volunteers of several organizations like IAC, PFL, 5th Pillar and Bharat Swabhiman and NRIs gathered near the Mahatma Gandhi statue to celebrate India’s Independence Day.
Messrs Srinivas Ranabothu, Raghava Solipuram, Sravanthi Yelamanchili, Manasa Mahathi, Srihari Atluri, and Bhimesh Reddy took the lead in organizing the parades in different US cities.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Greeting Indians the world over on the eve of the Independence Day, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said India has ensured freedom and peaceful transition of power, and stable economic growth after 20 years of economic reforms.
Indian can fulfill its destiny by 2022, the 75th year of Independence, if the society and polity display the requisite will and skill to bring about accountability in governance, ensure participation of citizens in exercise of power, and create growth opportunities to all.
Dr. JP pointed out that lack of accountability in governance and polity is one of our conspicuous failings. The recent yearnings for a strong, independent Lokpal/Lokayukta mechanism are borne out of ordinary citizens’ despair over lack of accountability. The second failing is exercise of power by a privileged few. The need of the hour is dispersal of power both horizontally and vertically. People should have control over their destiny. The third failing is denial of growth opportunities every child. The opportunities are now open only to those with the privileges of birth and wealth. The nation can endure only when all its citizens are freed from bondage of oppression and poverty.
Dr. JP said we should put an end to evils like political dynasty, monumental corruption, centralization of power, neglect of agriculture and the attitude of might is right.
He appealed to all Indians to transcend narrow barriers of caste and religion, region and language and recognize that all of us are Indians first.
Friday, August 12, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today welcomed deletion of Section 14 (F) from the Presidential Order of 1975 concerning recruitment of police personnel in Hyderabad.
The Union Government took the correct decision although belatedly, said Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and P. Bhaskara Rao in a media statement.
They recalled that the Assembly requested the Union Government to delete the section at the initiative of Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan. He was the first to bat for deletion of the section at an all-party meeting on October 19, 2009. He followed it up by raising the issue with the Speaker and holding talks with other parties. The Assembly finally adopted the resolution on March 18, 2010. Dr. JP wrote to the Prime Minister on August 4, 2011 underlining the urgency for the removal of the section.
Following the deletion of the section, Hyderabad would form part of Zone 6 for police recruitment.
Warning against whipping up regional feelings in the wake of the deletion of the section, the Lok Satta leaders pointed out that police recruitments in Hyderabad took place as per the zonalization scheme during 2001-08 and it caused no hardship to people of any region.
Congratulating all parties and people’s representatives on working together for deletion of the section, the Lok Satta leaders hoped that all problems could be resolved if people display a give and take attitude.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is undertaking a tour of nine districts in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema from August 13 to 18 to mobilize public opinion on constitution of Lokayuktas in States and ombudsmen in districts as part of the Union Government’s Lokpal Bill.
Giving this information in a media statement, party General Secretary Srinivasa Rao pointed out that the present discussion on the Lokpal Bill all over the country centered on corruption at the national level, whereas States account for 85 percent of the incidence of corruption.
Following is the tour schedule of Dr. JP:
August 13: Visakhapatnam, Gajuwaka, and Anakapalle
August 14: Rajahmundry, Tadepalligudem, and Eluru
August 15: Vijayawada, Guntur, and Chilakaluripet
August 16: Chirala, Ongole, and Kavali
August 17: Rajampet, Kadapa, Mydukuru and Proddutur
August 18: Nandyal and Kurnool
Thursday, August 11, 2011
A Round Table of eminent Andhra Pradesh citizens today unanimously recommended that the Union Government provide for constitution of Lokayuktas in States and ombudsmen in districts as part of the Lokpal Bill.
The Round Table, conducted by the Foundation for Democratic Reforms and the Lok Satta organization, constituted a nine-member steering committee to present the citizens’ viewpoint to the Parliamentary Committee which will consider the Bill as also all political parties.
Briefing media, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said that the Lokpal Bill as it is conceived ignored corruption at the State and local levels. States today account for bulk of corruption in the wake of economic liberalization and devolution of powers. There are indeed Lokayuktas in some States. They have only cars, phones and peons to flaunt but have no powers to fight corruption.
Dr. JP said that the Union Government’s Lokpal Bill drew upon a number of recommendations of the Round Table conducted by the FDR and the Lok Satta in Delhi on April 24. Its provisions concerning appointment and removal of Lokpal, funding of the institution, its powers to investigate, prosecute and try cases of corruption and suspend the guilty are all commendable. The Round Table wanted the Union Government to provide for constitution of Lokayuktas in States on similar lines and with similar powers.
The Round Table felt that the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Vigilance Commission at the national level and anti corruption bureaus and vigilance commissions in States should be strengthened and brought under the protective umbrella of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas respectively. The participants felt that Chief Ministers should be brought under the purview of the anti corruption mechanisms although they differed on including the Prime Minister.
Dr. JP pointed out that the Union Government can adopt the anti corruption law applicable to the entire country since it has ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. If the Union Government fails to provide for creation of Lokayuktas as part of the Lokpal Bill the Round Table decided to wage a struggle for creation of a strong Lokayukta in Andhra Pradesh to begin with by mobilizing public opinion.
A number of participants warned against diluting the Lokpal conceived to fight corruption in high places by entrusting it with powers to go into allegations of corruption against tens of thousands of non-governmental organizations receiving funds either from Government or people. NGOs, they conceded, are accountable for the funds they receive. Instead of burdening the Lokpal with inquiries into them, a separate regulator can be thought of, they added.
Dr. JP told the Round Table earlier that a strong and independent Lokpal is the need of the hour but it is not sufficient. Corruption has to be combated on many fronts. Political reforms, decentralization of powers, and promotion of competition will go a long way in minimizing corruption.
The Steering Committee comprises: Justice Ramanujam, former Lokayukta, K. Madhava Rao, former State Chief Secretary, and State Election Commissioner, Padmanabhaiah, former Union Home Secretary, C. Anjaneya Reddy, retired IPS, T. L. Narasimha Rao, Chelikani V. Rao, Padmanabha Reddy, Prathap Reddy and Y. Ramadevi. Sri Madhava Rao will be the convener.
Apart from the Steering Committee members, the following were among those who took part in the discussion: P. S. Ramamohana Rao, former Tamilnadu Governor, Kamal Kumar, former Director, National Police Academy, K. Ramachandra Murthy, Editor, HMTV. Radhrakrishna, Editor, ABN Andhra Jyoti, Amirneni Harikrishna of ETV, Kominneni Srinivasa Rao, Editor, NTV, Kandula Ramesh, Editor, I News, Sai, Principal Editor, Gemini News, K. Srinivasa Rao, Editor, Andhra Jyoti, Vijayababu, Editor, Andhra Prabha, Nagesh Kumar, Resident Editor, The Hindu, Bhaskara Rao of Center for Media Studies, T. Hanuman Chowdary, formor IT advisor to State Government, Ramakrishnam Raju, RTI United Forum, P. M. Bhargava, former Director, CCMB, and Chukka Ramaiah, MLC.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
(At Jubilee Hall, Hyderabad on August 11, 2011)
Given the phenomenal corruption in public life, it is self-evident that we need strong, credible and effective mechanisms to enforce public accountability. The spate of recent scams and the spontaneous public and media pressure to act have compelled the Government of India to introduce Lokpal Bill in the Parliament.
There are however, four specific issues, which merit serious consideration, missing in the Government's Bill. We feel it is our duty to bring it to the notice of the Government the following issues:
1. A Single Legislation by Parliament applicable to the Union and States
2. Seamless Integration of CVC and Vigilance Commissioners with Lokpal / Lokayuktas
3. Chief Ministers to be brought under Lokpal jurisdiction
4. Anti-Corruption Wings of CBI and ACBs to be made autonomous, so that there can be independent, impartial investigation.
In order to focus attention these issues and devise strategies to mobilize public opinion and pursue these reforms, a Round table is proposed to be held in Hyderabad with eminent and public-spirited citizens. The Round Table aims at building consensus and answering specific questions relating to the proposed Lokpal / Lokayukta institution and the legal and institutional changes needed to combat corruption effectively. The Round Table will be a purposive and focused discussion which will hopefully bring clarity and consensus on contentious issues and promote inputs for informed public discourse.
With warm personal regards,
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today warned people against missing the wood for the trees by focusing their entire attention on the constitution of a strong and independent Lokpal at the national level. The people who are demanding freedom from corruption should appreciate that the Union Government accounts for only 15 percent of governance, whereas States and local governments account for 85 percent of governance and corruption.
Taking part in an ‘India against Corruption’ rally in Chennai today, Dr. JP said that India could make a real dent in corruption if strong and independent Lokayuktas at the State level and Ombudsmen at the district level are instituted with the same powers, responsibilities as the Lokpal at the national level. With Government of India ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption, it is entitled to enact a Lokpal law applicable to the entire country providing for constitution of Lokayuktas and ombudsmen, along with the Lokpal.
Dr. JP said that more than six decades India’s independence, police continue to be captive in the hands of those in power. It is time the criminal investigation wings of the police and the vigilance commissions are brought under the purview of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas to restore the rule of law. Chief Ministers should be brought under the purview of the Lokpal.
He said that the loot, plunder, and goonda (LPG) raj could be buried six fathoms deep if the Governments at the Center and in States jail at least 100 top criminals in both politics and bureaucracy and confiscate their properties every year. “Let us reclaim the Republic of our dreams with concerted efforts.”
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be the key speaker at a seminar on ‘Governance, Corruption and Lokpal’ being held in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) on Sunday, August 7.
Spandan, a Bhopal-based NGO, is organizing the seminar.
Mrs. Archana Chitnis, MP Minister, will chair the seminar. Prof. S.S. Singh, Director of National Law Sansthan, will be among the participants.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
4th August, 2011
Dr Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister of India
Sub: Repeal of Section 14(f) of the Presidential Order (1975) – Reg.
The latest controversy over repeal of Sec. 14(f) in the ‘Presidential Order (1975)’ once again threatens to amplify the existing uncertainty over resolving the issue of regional aspirations in Andhra Pradesh. Unless resolved quickly, this will deepen the political crisis and worsen administrative paralysis in the State.
As you are well aware, the issue of preferential treatment to local candidates in matters of public employment is a key narrative of the regional aspirations in Andhra Pradesh. As per the Clause(1) of Article 371D, the President of India issued the Andhra Pradesh Public Employment [Organisation of Local Cadres and Regulation of Direct Recruitment] Order, 1975 (the ‘Presidential Order (1975)’) that created a detailed zonalization framework for giving preference to local candidates in matters of public employment in State and local governments.
This Order provided for exemptions to a limited number of, mostly State-level, government posts from this local/zonal framework. These limited exemptions are covered by Sec.14 of the Order. Specifically, Sec.14(f) exempts the posts of police officers recruited in the Hyderabad City region (as defined by Sec. 3(b) of the Hyderabad City Police Act, 1348F), from the Order’s overall zonalization scheme of giving preference to local candidates. It is important to point out that following the AP High Court’s orders, recruitments of all subordinate police personnel were undertaken from 2001 until 2008 by considering Hyderabad as a part of Zone VI itself and not as any “free zone”. The controversy surfaced in October 2009 because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in PV Radha Krishna and ors. versus State of AP and ors.
Since then, events have greatly overtaken facts of the matter and have directly resulted in the current crisis in the State. Prevalent perceptions and impressions in this regard have to be taken into consideration and appropriately addressed: specifically, that of Hyderabad being a “free zone”. Therefore, it is imperative to address and remove the grounds for wider dissatisfaction stemming from the exemption given under Sec.14(f) - despite it being limited to a restricted, specific class of public employment posts.
In order to address this issue, at the urging of Lok Satta Party, the AP State Legislative Assembly (APLA) had resolved on the 18th March 2010 to request the Government of India to obtain the approval of the President of India to delete the Sec. 14(f) of the Presidential Order (1975). Such a deletion would have the effect of nullifying the Supreme Court’s verdict of 2009. As a result, recruitment of all subordinate police personnel in Hyderabad would once again come under the zonalization scheme so that locals will have vacancies duly reserved for them. This would enhance the employment prospects of local youth and will address wider concerns.
The resolution of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly was not a knee-jerk response to a situation; nor was it approved unanimously by the House in a casual or cynical manner putting the ball in the Union government’s court. It was a well-thought out, carefully considered resolution keeping in view the complexity of the current situation in Andhra Pradesh. While there was no formal debate on the subject, the members of all parties were fully alive to the facts and circumstances of the case, and have decided to act above partisanship keeping in view the larger interests of the State. Unless we demonstrate the will to reconcile seemingly conflicting interests of various groups in a fair and transparent manner, the complex crisis in Andhra Pradesh cannot be resolved.
We therefore urge the Government of India to ensure that the Presidential Order (1975) is immediately amended as per the APLA’s resolution and is implemented fully and effectively. If needed, necessary operational safeguards in the interest of maintaining public order, protecting national assets in Greater Hyderabad city, and ensuring cohesion in the police force in the state could also be put in place.
The need of the hour in Andhra Pradesh is the dousing of flames of passion and restoring equanimity. And this can be achieved only by a decisive national leadership that not only stays above the fray but visibly does so, and thereby creates genuine confidence among all stakeholders about resolving the crisis collectively, effectively and permanently.
We therefore urge you to act accordingly and at the earliest.
President, Lok Satta Party
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan has urged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to ensure that the Presidential Order (1975) is immediately amended as per the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly resolution and is implemented fully and effectively.
In a letter to Prime Minister, he said the controversy over repeal of Sec. 14(f) once again threatens to amplify the existing uncertainty over resolving the issue of regional aspirations in Andhra Pradesh. “Unless resolved quickly, this will deepen the political crisis and worsen administrative paralysis in the State.”
Dr. JP said, “The need of the hour in Andhra Pradesh is the dousing of flames of passion and restoring equanimity. And this can be achieved only by a decisive national leadership that not only stays above the fray but visibly does so.”
Dr. JP recalled that the Assembly adopted the resolution seeking deletion of Sec. 14 (f) of the Presidential Order on March 18, 2010.
The Presidential Order created a detailed zonalization framework for giving preference to local candidates in matters of public employment in State and local governments. Section 14 (f) exempts the posts of police officers recruited in the Hyderabad City region from the order’s overall zonalization scheme of giving preference to local candidates.
Dr. JP pointed out that recruitments of all subordinate police personnel were undertaken from 2001 until 2008 by considering Hyderabad as a part of Zone VI itself and not as any “free zone,” following the AP High Court’s orders, The controversy surfaced in October 2009 when the Supreme Court overruled the High Court order.
Dr. JP said deletion of Section 14 (f) would have the effect of nullifying the Supreme Court’s verdict. As a result, recruitment of all subordinate police personnel in Hyderabad would once again come under the zonalization scheme.
Following deletion of Section 14 (f), Dr. JP said, necessary operational safeguards in the interest of maintaining public order, protecting national assets in Greater Hyderabad city, and ensuring cohesion in the police force in the state could also be put in place.
The Andhra Pradesh Lokayukta has confirmed that political parties which have not bothered to strengthen the institution are indulging in empty rhetoric on combating corruption, said the Lok Satta Party today.
In a media statement, Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and Ravi Maruth said the Lokayukta’s observations in response to a letter from Minister Sankar Rao apply to successive governments in the State.
The Lokayukta pointedly asked why the institution had not been strengthened since its constitution in 1983 despite repeated representations. It did not enjoy the powers of the Lokayukta in Karnataka, the Andhra Pradesh Lokayukta said.
The recent developments have exposed the political bankruptcy of traditional parties, said the Lok Satta leaders. In this connection, they referred to politicians in power approaching courts for action against the corrupt since they are helpless, and legislators triggering constitutional crisis since they cannot resolve issues through discussions in legislature.
Lok Satta reiterated its demand that the Government strengthen the Lokayukta by bringing the Anti Corruption Bureau and Vigilance Commission under its purview, constitute special courts with independent prosecutors to try the corrupt, and hand over swift punishment including property attachment.
They recalled that although Lok Satta Party President and Kukatpally legislator Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had submitted a draft Bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act as early as in 2009, the mainstream political parties remained virtually silent. If they are serious of eradicating corruption, they should fight for constitution of strong anti corruption mechanisms at the national, State and district levels as part of the Lokpal Bill.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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