Saturday, December 31, 2011
Lok Satta Party president Jayprakash Narayan has accused both the Treasury and the Opposition benches of hatching a conspiracy to block the Lok Pal Bill in Parliament.
Narayan, who was here on Friday to participate in a function organised by Bhashyam School was addressing a press conference.
He said all the three parties to the drama, the government, the Opposition and the civil society leaders have failed the people in this regard.
Those leaders who extended their support to Anna Hazare’s movement for strong Lok Pal in States were seen colluding with those who opposed the Bill in Delhi. Unnecessary stress was laid on the CBI and its jurisdiction in the debate. It was a deliberate ploy to divert the attention of the House from the main issue.
He also found fault with the contention that injustice was done to States with mentioning of Lok Ayuktas in the Bill. It was clearly mentioned in the Bill, that Lok Ayuktas would come into force only after the respective State assemblies passed the Bill.
It was unfortunate that unnecessary ruckus was created on Lok Ayukta issue. ‘Everybody is after publicity. No party is genuinely interested in passing the Lok Pal Bill,” he observed.
Political gain, apprehensions that they would be exposed in the event of the Bill taking a shape and ego problems had come in the way of the Bill, he analysed.
He also blamed the civil society leaders for their adamant attitude towards the Bill. There should be give-and-take attitude.
The finest laws of the State had not been made in a single day, he said.
Narayan said that his party would take up agitation in favour of a strong Lok Ayukta in States on the lines of Lok Pal at the Centre.
Turning to State politics, he observed that the ruling party and the Opposition enacted the no-confidence motion drama for their own political benefits.
Courtesy: The Hans India
The Lok Satta Party today called upon people not to yield to despair in the wake of Parliament's failure to adopt the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill but work relentlessly for the creation of strong anti corruption mechanisms at the national, State and local levels.
Had the Government, all political parties and civil society acted with greater grace, tolerance, dignity and wisdom, we would have had by now strong, independent and durable institutions to combat corruption, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan in a media statement.
"But all is not lost since political parties have to respond to people's deep urge for a corruption-free society. Our differences are far narrower than they appear to be. We can bridge the differences and pave way for the anti corruption mechanisms in the Budget session of Parliament. In addition to creation of the Lokpal, Lokayuktas and local ombudsmen, there is need to strengthen the anti corruption law providing for confiscation of properties of the corrupt, institution of judicial and political reforms and empowerment of people at the grassroots level."
Conveying his greetings to all sections of people on the eve of the New Year, Dr. JP said that in the march of a great and ancient nation, there are inevitably many triumphs and tribulations. "Let us on this occasion recall our triumphs and count our blessings. If we work together, we can and will surely overcome hurdles and build a better India for the future of our children."
Dr. JP said that although there are many problems confronting us, there are many exciting opportunities. "In spite of recent hiccups, we are recording a reasonably high growth rate. Our people are hard working, youth idealistic and families, bastions of stability and harmony. We have the technology and resources to overcome many challenges ahead of ours.
"But for us to realize our potential, we have to transcend petty differences of caste, religion, region and language and think of ourselves as Indians first. We need to transcend rigid orthodoxy and embrace innovations and practical solutions to eliminate poverty and create wealth. Above all, we should be determined to work together, overcoming narcissism of small differences and focusing on the big picture. Our incapacity to overcome petty differences in the last few months has cost the nation dear," Dr. JP pointed out.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be taking part in the silver jubilee celebrations of the R. V. R. & J. C. College of Engineering near Guntur on Friday, December 30.
The management has invited Dr. JP to be the distinguished guest for the silver jubilee valedictory function.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The Lokpal / Lokayukta debate has reached the final stage, with the Parliament due to vote on the Bill by December 29.
Anna’s leadership has galvanized the middle classes and youth across the country, and sensitized the political parties and government to the urgent need for resolute action. The Lokpal, Lokayuktas Bill presented to Parliament is a vast improvement on the past Bills, and is directly a product of civil society involvement and public pressure.
However, this Bill has serious lacunae which need to be addressed before the law is enacted.
The Lokpal / Lokayuktas have no powers of suo-motu enquiry. Such powers are vital to enhance the efficacy of these ombudsmen, and ability to gather intelligence, particularly about collusive corruption. If a complaint of a citizen is mandatory, many cases of gross corruption may escape attention as false, frivolous or vexatious complaints will invite penalties (Section 46 of the Bill). In many cases, there can only be grave suspicion and circumstantial evidence, and direct evidence of corruption will not be forthcoming. Absence of powers of suo-motu enquiry will convert Lokpal/ Lokayukta into a reactive, passive post-office. We need pro-active, innovative ombudsman. The earlier Bill provided for suo-motu enquiry. There is no rational explanation for its deletion in the Bill now, and this omission should be rectified.
Lokayukta should be part of the central law as envisaged in the present Bill. Article 253 clearly gives parliament the power to make legislation since the United Nations Convention Against Corruption has been ratified by India on May 1, 2011. The argument that such a provision in a central law is against federalism is disingenuous. We cannot have a movement in every state to create Lokayukta. In any case, this Bill is a part of procedural law dealing with investigations and prosecution of corruption offences. This is entirely within the Parliament’s jurisdiction. The power of appoint the Lokayukta and other related matters vest in the States. Creation of Lokayuktas is the need of the hour, and any efforts to delete Lokayukta provisions from the central law should be firmly resisted and rebuffed.
It is vital to have Local Ombudsmen in States under Lokayukta’s control and supervision. These local ombudsmen, one per district, can deal with lower bureaucracy, and will report to Lokayukta. Thus, jurisdiction over local bureaucracy will vest in Lokayukta even as the institution is not swamped by cases of petty corruption.
Anti-Corruption Bureaux at State level are completely untouched by the present Bill. Unless they are directly under Lokayukta’s superintendence, status quo will continue and they will be politically manipulated. Unlike in case of the CBI, the appointments of ACB director and senior officials are completely under political control in states. The appointment of director of CBI by a collegiums of PM, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India is a vast improvement. Officials of CBI are appointed under CVC Act by a collegiums headed by full CVC. In states no such provisions exist. It is vital that ACB is brought under Lokayukta’s superintendence.
Section 6A of the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, Section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, and Section 197 of CrPC continue unchanged, and only cases referred by Lokpal / Lokayukta are exempted from these legal impediments. CBI and ACB are rendered ineffective to act independently in respect of cases directly taken up by them. This is a travesty of rule of law, and makes these agencies helpless in combating corruption. These three provisions should be completely repealed. If any prior sanction of prosecution is deemed necessary, such powers should be vested in the Lokpal / Lokayukta.
All these improvements are rational, balanced, and in public interest. There is no case to deny these amendments. Until these changes are incorporated, the Bill before Parliament continues to be defective. Therefore, Anna is right in arguing for improvements in the law before enactment.
We have come a long distance over the past few months – thanks to public pressure and enlightened political response. Both people and Parliament are partners, not adversaries. We now need wisdom and foresight to do the right thing and inspire confidence in the nation that public interest is fully protected. In pursuit of this goal, we are all one – there is no distinction of party, creed, region or language. There is no civil society – politician divide. We all stand together for this common cause.
We earnestly appeal to all the political parties and Members of Parliament to set aside their differences and act in concert decisively to create a durable, strong, independent machinery all across the nation to exorcise the canker of corruption from our body politic. This is a priceless opportunity to move India into a higher orbit, and it should not be squandered.
As Jawaharlal Nehru admonished us wisely, “Who loses if India wins; And who gains if India loses!”
Dr Jayaprakash Narayan
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that the Lokpal at the national level and Lokayuktas in States should be armed with powers to take up corruption cases suo moto.
Addressing a media conference on the Lokapal and Lokayukta Bill now before Parliament, Dr. JP pointed out that under the present provisions in the Bill the ombudsmen can take up cases only when there are specific complaints. People will be deterred from lodging specific complaints because of the provision that those who make false, frivolous and vexatious complaints invite a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs.100000.
The ombudsmen should look into cases where circumstantial evidence warrants an inquiry without waiting for a complaint. None can make a specific complaint with evidence of hundreds of crores of rupees changing hands in cases like allocation of the 2-G spectrum or award of contracts under Jalayagnam in Andhra Pradesh, although it is public knowledge that they reeked of corruption. Otherwise, monumental and startling cases of corruption go without a probe and the guilty being punished.
For the ombudsmen to be effective, they should be provided an independent intelligence wing, Dr. JP suggested. Only when the ombudsmen have knowledge of issues and reputation of public servants can they make rational judgments as to the relative importance to be accorded to the cases before them. Otherwise, trivial cases will dominate at the cost of important cases of gross corruption of those in high office.
Dr. JP said that although the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas have been freed from seeking prior Government permission for inquiring into and launching prosecution in corruption cases coming up before them, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Anti Corruption Bureaus have not been freed from taking prior clearances in cases handled by them directly. Therefore, Section 6 A of the CBI Act (Delhi Special Police Establishment Act), Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code should be repealed.
Dr. JP said that although the Bill takes great care in regard to the selection of the CBI chief and other officials, it fails to address the appointment of Anti Corruption Bureau Directors and others in States.
States have become the epicenters of corruption in the post-liberalization era. Of the total 2.2 crore Government employees in the country, the States account for nearly 1.6 crore. Of the 5000 total legislators in the country, 4000 are in States. Of the 700 ministers both at the Center and in States, 600 are in States. For tackling corruption at the State level which hurts a vast majority of people, the ACB should be autonomous and independent and not be at the mercy of those in power.
Dr. JP said that the ombudsmen would have to be judicious in taking up cases for inquiry as there is the prospect of their being flooded with cases against thousands of people who have all been brought under their purview. In the ideal situation, the ombudsmen would focus on Ministers and legislators at the Center and in States and top officials. They should not equate a person accepting Rs.100 with a Minister accepting crores of rupees as a bribe, a probability if the ombudsmen go by the letter of the law.
Dr. JP said that to fight corruption some more laws like the one drafted by the Law Commission for attachment of the entire property of the corrupt person, and another to go into cases of collusive corruption are necessary. The mechanism to unearth black money should be strengthened.
Lok Satta Party's acting Working President V. Laxman Balaji and General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao took part in the media meet.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Lok Satta Party and its affiliates will take out rallies and conduct sit-ins in all municipal towns on December 24 demanding publication of the names of beneficiaries of liquor syndicate s’ kickbacks and swift and deterrent action against the guilty. The party will associate civil society organizations and liquor victims with its agitation program.
Announcing this in a media statement, Lok Satta Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao demanded that the Government take over the liquor trade and ban illegal outlets known as belt shops.
He recalled that sections of media had lighted the links between ruling party and Opposition leaders with liquor syndicates during the 2010 auctions. He accused the Congress and the TDP of shedding crocodile tears over the liquor menace even as they contributed to spreading the liquor cult and made money in the process. He wanted the traditional party leaders to join the Lok Satta in its fight against belt shops and illicit liquor.
Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, Bandaru Ramamohana Rao and P. Rambabu conveyed their condolences over the death Pratik Reddy, son of former Minister Komati Venkata Reddy, and two others in an Outer Ring Road accident. They wanted the Government to take measures to prevent such accidents.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government straightway disclose the names of people's representatives, officials and others who have received kickbacks from liquor syndicates.
It may be recalled that the State's Anti Corruption Bureau had raided the offices of liquor syndicates and seized documents testifying to payment of bribes to influential people for conniving at their illegal activities.
Addressing a media conference, Lok Satta Party Acting Working President V. Laxman Balaji and leaders G. Raja Reddy, V. Vijayender Reddy and K. Gita Murthy said that the Government should inquire into the scam without delay and mete out stringent punishment including confiscation of ill-gotten property to the guilty.
The leaders recalled that it is only the Lok Satta Party which had agitated against auction of liquor shops as it anticipated its inexorable consequences. Those who obtained liquor shops at exorbitant rates have been indulging in malpractices like selling liquor at more than maximum retail prices, palming off spurious liquor, encouraging opening of belt shops and running unofficial bars at licensed retail outlets.
Traditional political parties like the Congress and the Telugu Desam, which believe in luring voters with liquor, running liquor shops in benami names and accepting party funds from liquor mafia did not join the Lok Satta in its agitation.
Both the Congress and the TDP had been guilty of turning liquor into a cash cow for the State exchequer and ruining the health and finances of the poor, they charged. The poor are squandering their earnings under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on consuming liquor as liquor shops have become omnipresent. They demanded that the Government publish a white paper on the funds it spends on the welfare of the poor and the revenue it derives from liquor sales.
The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the Government run liquor shops by doing away with the auction system. It should put an end to belt shops and illicit liquor, and drastically regulate the number of liquor outlets. Village panchayats should have the freedom to decide whether there should be a liquor outlet in the village or not, they added.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan has requested Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to intervene immediately in what appears to be "an organized racket to defraud the exchequer in the name of Rajiv Yuva Kiranaalu."
The scheme, a brainchild of the Chief Minister, aims at imparting skills and ensuring job placements to the unemployed youth. Going by industry estimates, the Chief Minister hopes to provide job opportunities to 15 lakh youth in the next three years, and at least one lakh by December 2011.
Dr. JP in a letter told the Chief Minister that some companies purported to be involved in training of candidates have been producing false letters of requirement, appointment and confirmation after three months and claiming funds from the Government.
Dr. JP attached evidence related to one such company, M/s Datapro Computers Pvt Ltd. The company is alleged to have produced fake letters of employment from companies which have no idea of their letterheads being forged in this process. The company is allegedly using these fake documents to get full payment for its services from the Government.
State Yuva Satta President P. Sivaji Raju, Vice President P. Rambabu and General Secretary D. Ramu called on the Chief Minister at his Camp Office today and presented him Dr.JP's letter as also evidence collected by them.
Talking to media, the Yuva Satta leaders recalled that the State Government had entrusted the job of training the unemployed youth and showing them placements to 28 companies. M/s Datapro Computers Pvt Ltd., with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, is expected to train 7500 candidates and show them placements. Their field enquiries revealed that the company had claimed large amounts from the Government by producing fake appointment and confirmation letters.
The Government pays the chosen companies the contracted amount in installments—12.5 % after selection of candidates, 12.5% during training, 50% after appointment and the remainder of 25% after the candidates' services are confirmed. The Government's payments to the company range fromRs.6,500 to Rs.12,000 a candidate depending the nature of training it imparts.
Dr.JP as also the Yuva Satta leaders pointed out that they are in favor of Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu since it serves a cause dear to them. The Lok Satta had in fact provided training in skills and provided job opportunities to nearly 3000 unemployed youth in Kukatpalli constituency.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Lok Satta Party is organizing a rally and a public meeting at Khammam on Friday, December 16 marking the observance of an anti corruption week all over the State from December 9.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will lead the rally from the ZP Center at 10 a.m. and address a public meeting at Pavilion Grounds later.
Dr. JP will interact with cotton growers at Mutcherla village in Karepalli mandal at 4-30p.m.
On December 17, the State Executive Committee of the Lok Satta Party will meet at Khammam to discuss the present political situation in the State including by-elections and municipal elections, farmers' problems and the Lokpal Bill.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded immediate annulment of the privatization of the Nizam Sugar Factory (NSF). Either the State Government should take it back or hand it over to a company to be floated by farmers, he told a media conference.
Dr. JP recalled that a Committee of the Legislative Assembly formed during the regime of Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy had in August 2006 unanimously recommended that privatization of the NSF should be undone as it was detrimental to the interests of the State, especially the people of the Telangana region.
It is tragic that both the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party which have vied with each other in stoking regional feelings and cried hoarse about injustice to Telangana have remained silent on the committee report submitted more than five years ago. They have not even bothered to heed the High Court which in a case filed by NSF cane growers on August 28, 2007 directed the Government to take a decision within six weeks.
Mr. M. Appireddy, leader of NSF sugarcane farmers, demanded that politicians and officials who privatized the NSF under the false pretext it was making losses should be punished. The Government parted with NSF assets worth Rs.500 crore for a paltry Rs.67 crore and offered concessions worth about Rs.300 crore to the private bidder, besides paying Rs.12 crore as VRS compensation to employees. The buyer of the NSF has not paid a single pie to the Government towards the purchase price so far. Considering all this, the House Committee wanted the Government to take the NSF back.
Mr. Appireddy added that the private management had sacked 1800 of the 2200 employees in violation of the terms of privatization. As a result, as many as 120 farmers committed suicide or died of starvation in the Bodhan factory area alone, he said.
Dr. JP wanted the State Government to announce the State Advisory Price for sugarcane without further delay since it enjoys powers under the Andhra Pradesh Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1961. If it believes that it cannot, it had better amend the Act as the Tamil Nadu Government has done. He asked the Government to ensure that cane farmers get at least Rs.2500 a ton.
Commenting on the Standing Committee report on the Lokpal Bill, Dr.JP said it was silent on making the CBI independent and the CVC part of the Lokpal. He recalled that the fomer Illinois Governor had been sentenced to undergo a 14-year jail term for corruption because the US had an independent FBI. So long as the CBI does not remain autonomous, it will be merely a tool in the hands of the Government. The committee is silent on providing for independent prosecution in all cases and attachment of properties of the corrupt.
Messrs Ajay Desai, G. Rajareddy, P. Bhaskara Rao,T. Srinivas, K. Gita Murthy took part in the media conference.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today clarified that he had exercised the vote to reject both the ruling party and the Opposition in the no-confidence motion against the Kiran Kumar Reddy Government in the Assembly.
Addressing media on the occasion of the party headquarters moving to Banajara Hills from Adarsh Nagar, Dr.JP said that although many appreciated the stand he took in the Assembly, a few raised certain doubts.
"I am not an Independent candidate in the Assembly but represent the Lok Satta Party. Our party ideology is totally different from that of the ruling party and the Opposition. We believe that both of them are power-oriented and steeped in corruption. Both of them have emasculated local governments and centralized power. Both of them treat the poor as vote banks and are not serious about poverty eradication. Both of them are guilty of ruining agriculture and the rural economy, despite their claim to speak on behalf of farmers. They have not focused on either quality health care or education. Both are guilty of cynical opportunism in that they have stoked regional fires for temporary political gains. You do not expect the Lok Satta Party, which has a clear cut ideology and program, to connive with them by joining either combine.
"When a party obtained a clear mandate to govern, it should ordinarily serve the full term. A no-confidence motion should be a serious step, based on sound reasoning and aimed at protecting overwhelming public interest. It cannot be a tactical numbers game to merely change the players. If the elected Government were to be brought down, there should be a coherent and viable alternative with majority support which has the ability to govern. These conditions of constructive no-confidence are not fulfilled in the present case.
"After deep thinking, the party has decided to utilize the opportunity provided by the no-trust motion to explain its policies without getting entangled in the numbers game of the ruling and Opposition parties. The Lok Satta movement had proposed almost 14 years ago that the people should be given the right to reject all the candidates in the field in an election. I exercised such a rejection vote in the Assembly."
In reply to questions, Dr.JP said that going by media reports the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendations on the Lok Pal Bill are in tune with the Lok Satta Party stand to the extent of 90 percent.
He wanted the Government to execute the Polavaram project without further delay. Diversion of the Godavari water to the Krishna basin will facilitate utilization of the Nagarjunasagar water for irrigating lands in Telangana and Rayalaseema. He also demanded that the Hyderabad's drinking water needs be met from Nagarjunasagar. There is no justification for drawing Godavari water from Yellmapalli since it is costly and time consuming, and deprives Telangana districts of water for irrigation.
He said that the Lok Satta Party totally supported the emergence of retail chains in the interests of farmers and consumers since they eliminate intermediaries. The color of the cat does not matter so long as it catches mice, he said to underline that it does not matter whether the chains are floated by foreigners or Indians.
He said that the move to reduce the number of tiers from five to three in panchayat raj is welcome but what is more important is devolution of powers and resources on local governments.
On the proposed communal violence Bill, he said the Government has to protect minorities irrespective of their religion and caste, region and language. In the process, care must be taken to ensure that the federal system in the country is not harmed.
Cutting of a ribbon, hoisting of the national and party flags, garlanding of he portraits of Ambedkar and Gandhi and blessings by priests belonging to Hindu, Christian and Muslim religions marked the inauguration of the party headquarters.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The Sarva Jana Satta, a Lok Satta Party affiliate, today demanded formulation of a new reservation policy after a comprehensive debate at the national level to ensure that every child realizes its potential.
After garlanding Ambedkar's statue on Tank Bund to mark his 55th death anniversary, the Sarva Jana Satta organized a function at the Lok Satta Party headquarters to pay homage to the architect of the Constitution.
Addressing a meeting, Lok Satta Party's acting State Working President V. Laxman Balaji and Sarva Jana Satta President Eeda Chennayya said that mere reservations without providing quality education to all would not serve their purpose. Vested interests are using reservations to fuel fights among people belonging to various castes and religions. And there are demands for increasing the quantum of reservations for certain sections and removal of the creamy layer for implementing reservations.
The leaders said that against such a backdrop a new national reservation policy had to be formulated to realize Ambedkar's dreams.
Lok Satta Party General Secretary G. Raja Reddy, Secretary V. Vijayender Reddy, Sarva Jana Satta Vice President P.V. Rao took part in the meeting.