Courtesy: Andhra Jyothy
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The following is the chat by Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan in IBN Live
Sir,there is a lot of talk about reducing politicians power and increasing the powers of selected effectively of serving/retired bureaucrats.Let me tell you when you encounter a gov official,the contempt you face is unbearable act like neo brahmins,something you will never find with politicians.Why should we believe that a bureaucrat is preferable to an elected one? Asked by: kamal agg
A bureaucrat can never be a substitute to elected politician. We need power to be shifted to the panchayat and urban ward to enhance accountability. And we need citizens' charters to guarantee time-bound services
Aren't electoral reforms mandatory to stop corporate funding of political parties and this often turns to favoritism and corruption. What do you think is the way forward doc? Would take this up as you did with the RTI Asked by: Narayan
Stopping corporate funding only drives it underground. We need transparent funding and public gaze. Present law allows corporate funding up to 5% profits. Real problem is not accounted funding. It is black money changing hands and vote buying. We need to change political culture and shift to proportional representation to stop vote buying.
Why money, even caste factor cannot be separated from Indian politics. However modern we may declare ourselves, the caste factor is so strong, even among the educated and progressive people. Asked by: lsakuntala
When people feel their vote does not change things, voters will seek money as short term maximisation. Also when individuals feel they don't make a difference, they fall back upon caste, etc... We need to empower Local Governments, enable the vote to change the outcomes, and evolve a new political culture. There are no short cuts.
It is a fact that money can not be seperated from Indian politics due to the people voting being bought easily. However, this can change if the educucated middle class tries vote themsrlves and also taake a lead in educating the common man on the credibility of the candidates. Dont you feel that till this happens along with Govt funding/ strict check on election spending there is no way forward? Asked by: Arun
Real problem is not accounted funding. It is black money changing hands and vote buying. We need to change political culture and shift to proportional representation to stop vote buying. You cannot really stop illegal expenditure. We can only educate voters and shift to a system like PR which will not reward vote buying.
Dr. JP, is it really an issue to separate the money with politics? I think real issue is that of governance.In this country nothing works, unless lubrication is provided at each and every step. Even at top level as it appears now that decissions are not taken in the larger interest of public and hence nation. In your views what should be the way forward? Asked by: Anand
We need competition and transparency in all transfer of natural resources. The best must be attracted to politics by promoting internal party democracy. Obama and Cameron could become leaders in a short while, though they were outsiders. This is because their party system allowed them to rise. Finally we need to change our FPTP elections to a Proportional System. This will mean a party will get in proportion to votes. With PR, national parties will be viable everywhere, good candidates become electable and money power will not give an advantage.
Money is just like any other essential thing. It has a role to play everywhere. Then why is it being said that money is only reason of all the ills our political system has? I can say that there are not adequate check and balances available to this country. Your views please? Asked by: Anand
Politics and elections do need legitimate money. Our problem is the illegitimate expenditure in elections. This makes it impossible for honest politicians to survive. In many states an assembly constituency election costs about Rs.5 crore per candidate. Clearly you cannot remain honest if you have to spend that kind of money to be elected.
Sir, in my opinion providing caste based reservation is one of the most serious form of corruption. Through this our political parties have created dedicated group/block of people who vote the political leaders without taking any other parameter of capability and/or governance into account. Would like to know your views on this type of corruption. Asked by: Anand
In a society divided by caste, and centuries of caste oppression has discriminated against the bulk of the people, we need remedial measures. Reservation was meant to be a short term measure before education for all provides a level playing field. Sadly, we failed to give quality education to every child irrespective of birth. Our focus should be to rationalize reservations, ensure that the child of a collector or an MLA does not benefit, improve school education and guarantee opportunities for all. Progressively we can then reduce reservations and make them unnecessary in a generation. There is no instant solution.
Don't you think it's futile to raise the question of corruption as long as people are unaware. In last Andhra polls every 1 said JP's Loksatta z clean. But the end results went in favor of tall promises and cine glamour. Asked by: Sarin Kumar
In a poor country with FPTP system we have many obstacles for change. When vote buying is rampant, it becomes near-impossible to win without large expenditure. Only highly credible, strong leaders with impressive track record can counter money power ethically. We must encourage many such people to enter the fray. And if we shift to Proportional Representation, vote buying will give no advantage. The stakes are high. We cannot give up the fight just because it is difficult.
Fihting elections is a business for the politicians today. They invest money into their campaign instead of in business expecting a much higher return. they race for breaking even which takes a very short time and the rest of their earning is neat profit. How else politicians like Kripashaankar singh and his likes who have no other job make assets worth many crores in a short span of time? Asked by: Anonymous
That is why we need successful people with adequate private means to enter politics. We must make it possible for them to win by honest means. That is where electoral reforms and proportional representation come in. And we must have strong legal framework in which the corrupt not only go to jail, but they lose all their properties and become paupers.
what are the steps taken by your party to educate the masses about the concept of TAX and ownership of Natural resources, I have come across the people in Bellary who say "what if they mined illegally, how does it matter?, they were capable they did it", and most frustrating thing is even educated people think same. Asked by: Ramesh Joharapuram
There is no link between vote and public good, or between taxes and services in our centralized, corrupt, dysfunctional electoral system. If we localise power, bring in competition in natural resource allocation, and create a political system in which the best can emerge as leaders, people will have better capacity democracy work. This is our country. Only we can change the way things are. We have no luxury of complaining against others.
There is no chance that money can be seperated from politics unless the elections re funded by govt. Today votes are bouhght by liquor and money and this comes out clear when the voting percentage is very high in low income areas. the voters dont understand wht or who they are voting for and vote for the highest bidder. Are you in agreement to my comments? Asked by: Arun
This is a common belief. But mere govt. funding will not change much. THe ceiling on election expenditure is now Rs. 16 Lakh for Assembly and Rs. 40 Lakh for Lok Sabha. The actual expenditure is about 20 to 50 times this ceiling! Obviously we cannot fund this illegitimate expenditure. The answer lies in PR in which the vote share of a party gives them seats. In our present electoral system, large amounts are spent in vote buying competitively by traditional parties in order to get the marginal vote to give them victory. Our poverty and lack of awareness of what voting means make it possible in India to buy votes.
sir, everyone knows that we need electoral reforms, judicial reforms, police reforms and administrative reforms.but the problem is the political class will not do these reforms and ordinary people cant get in politics its like we are stuck in a loop? what is the solution? Asked by: karan
In some respects things have improved over the past 15 years. Improvements in voter registration, disclosure of candidate details (2003), a better law for political funding 2003, RTI Act (2005), limiting the size of the Cabinet (2003), stronger anti-defection law (2003), a local courts law (2009)..... these are only some of the examples. A lot more needs to be done. Right now a National Judicial Commission, Indian Judicial Service, and a Strong Lokpal are in the pipeline. We must curb our impatience and learn to build arguments and logic to persuade, and even pressurize politicians to bring about changes. For instance now all national parties and several regional parties need a better electoral system like Proportional Representation for their own future. We must collectively work to make that happen. We cannot give up on politics and politicians.
What do u think is the single largest hurdle in bringing electoral reforms & how to overcome it? Asked by: V Prema
Politicians are simply too busy in party management, election management and survival on day to day basis. We need to marshal evidence and logic and make them see why it is in their interest to change things. What is good for the nation can also be good for the political parties. Inertia and status-quoism are the biggest hurdles.
Sir,do you believe,the constitutional authorities should transgress their boundaries and be an activist for a supposedly good cause?If yes,wont their neutrality and accuracy be compromised? Asked by: kamal agg
The political crisis of India cannot be resolved through non-political means. For instance the courts cannot govern the country. Such an effort will only deepen the crisis. It will also undermine the authority and credibility of courts when there are needed most to resolve complex challenges. There is no substitute to good politics.
What is your take on the current unemployment situation in the country,with regard to number of graduates being churned out every year? Do you see a burn out... Asked by: Kumar Shastri
Our unemployment levels are nearly 10%. And yet there is shortage of skilled labour in many sectors. Our education is churning out millions of graduates without skills. Only about 20% of the educated are employable without further training. In the PISA survey of 74 countries and entities to measure educational outcomes of 15-year olds, INdia ranked 73rd! Only Kyrgyzstan was worse than us. China stood first! We need to radically improve education. Our demand is strong and people are ready. The failure is largely with the govt.
If caste and money is the problem, how come Gujrat is growing and even UK wants to befriend with Modi? So, the problem is caste+money or leadership? Asked by: D.Saravanan
India is as big as complex as Europe. From time to time there is always competent leadership and other circumstances locally which allow better performance. Even the whole of India saw 8 to 9% growth for several years. If this is what we could achieve with ugly politics, terrible governance and horrible corruption, imagine what we could do in better circumstances!
Politics is promoted as a noble cause. Not many understand the benefits (at least, legally) it provides except for the social good one has the scope to contribute to. Hardly a motivating factor to join politics. Unlikely for some one to stay honest considering the risks vs reward equation? Dr JP, your thoughts on this? Asked by: Hari
We must recognize that individual gain and public good must go together. However rich and successful you are, you cannot alone control mosquitoes, improve roads or ensure power supply. Therefore, people of ability and integrity need to be willing to pay the price to promote public good. We need to make it easy for them to enter. Better political culture and PR are two such steps needed.
How does Proportional representation reduce vote buying? If victory margins are decided by a small chunk of votes / votebanks, thy will continue even if it is Proportional representation? You Hve examples of Obama and Cameron? If they can succeed in FPTP then why not india? Asked by: Deepak
Good question. In PR the marginal vote is no longer important. The party gets seats according to its vote share. Therefore the incentive is to maximise vote share across a whole state, not the highest vote in a constituency at all costs. Therefore the parties will depend on clean candidates with good image, better agenda and good campaign. The candidates are offered by the party in a list. The individual candidate has no incentive to buy the vote in order to get elected.
What are your major promises while you go for campaign in 2014 elections? I know its not at all all-type free promises. But how would you attract common people to vote you? Asked by: Shyam
Quality education, better power(both quality and supply), job creation, atleast 10% funds to local governments(per capita RS 1500-2000 per year), citizens charters to ensure guarantee of service within a time frame, fight against corruption, better price to farmers and control of liquor in villages to reduce consumption by poor- these will be the key promises. They are all necessary to improve quality of life, and are achievable and attractive.
hello sir ,many youngsters like me want to participate in Loksatta and contribute but all of us are unclear how we can apart from contributing money Asked by: vidyuth
Please join Lok Satta. You can just login to www.loksatta.org/join . We are in the process of enrolling members and conducting absolutely free and fair elections to ensure emergence of genuine leaders in the party at every level. We want to build a party where a capable and committed member can rise to leadership fast without anyone's blessings. Please join, contribute, and propagate the message.
Dear Sir, I voted for the first time in the last assembly elections in AP and I I voted for your party at your face value. But, How do you ensure that candidates nominated by your party do not indulge in corrupt electoral practices ? On what basis qualification do you nominate candidates ? Do you think this ' In front of camera ' politics being played by so called social activists good for our democracy? What should be the role of the media in dealing such cases ? Asked by: Nikhilesh
Internal Democracy, primary elections to choose candidates, transparency, disclosure of personal data related to leaders and candidates, independent ombudsmen to inquire into complaints - these are all institutionalized in Lok Satta. Face value is not enough practices and systems are even more important.
Sir, I am a big fan of yours. You and people like you are the only hope for this country. I am currently very disappointed with the India's state of affairs. I see no growth and feel very doomed. Do you think it is practically possible for our country to even get closer to a first world country's living standards. Asked by: Rajnikanth
If we focus on education, power, transport, local governments and curb corruption, we will surely achieve 9 to 10% growth rate on sustainable basis. We need national will, strong leadership and sensible politics. We cannot build 21st century India with 19th century politics. That's why its so important to improve our politics and governance. But plz do not despair we can make this happen.
Why should politicians decide everything? Issues like river water sharing which affect many states and India overall can be decided by a council comprising of experts in the field and bureaucrats, etc. Asked by: lsakuntala
Democracy means ultimately people decide. In small communities, village and municipal wards people can directly decide simple things that matter. But in larger bodies there has to be representation. In a democracy that can only be by election. There is no substitute to good politics and clean & able politicians. But many issues dont have to be decided by politics. While policies are made by politicians, achieving the goals has to be left to competent professionals. Pollution control, designing transport systems, improving power distribution, rendering justice, investigating a crime - these are not political functions. But the priorities, policies and funding have to be decided by elected leaders.
sir,hongkong as a strong ombudsman which is vimes of ery similar to our anna rhazare demanded janlokpal & corruption in hongkong reduced to minimum,then y ur differing with anna hazare ji ? pls answer Asked by: sairam
There are no differences in recognizing the need for strong , independent and effective mechanisms to curb corruption. The devil is in the detail. How such institutions are designed, how they function, and how they are accountable - all these require deep insights of institutional linkages and clarity of thought. There is no panacea to India's problems. Lok Satta has give a detailed, workable setup of proposals to ensure accountability at every level,national, state and local level.
Sir,what is the difference between a crusader and an anarchist? Asked by: kamal agg
In a constitutional democracy we have the liberty to mobilize public opinion and the vote to elect our representatives. Therefore all agitations and movements must be within the confines of our liberty subject to others' liberties. Nobody can be a monarch in a democracy. If i believe i can do anything and everything to prevail - raastha roko, violence, abuse - then others may also resort to such tactics. We will only have anarchy. Peace, order and reasonable restraints in exercising our rights are critical to preserve civilization.
Sir,the gross salary of the PM is Rs115000(another 45000 const allowence),chief ministers average 50000/,MPs 80000 and a big zero if they lose election.Do we really expect the politicians to remain honest?I am not talking about pure honest/dishonest politicians but rather middle of the road ones? Asked by: kamal agg
Those in public office have other compensations. Power, glory, the gratitude of people, the satisfaction of making things better. These cannot be measured by money. We cannot pay our top leaders vast sums. That is why it is important that men and women of honor, ability and means play a proactive role in the political life of a nation.
1.Isn't it the job of the EC to control Black Money in elections.? 2.If almost everyone does it then it should be easier to catch ? 3.Does the EC work under intimidation , collusion , or is legally powerless ? Asked by: sanjay
When the vote buyer and the voter who takes money are both happy, it is impossible to control it by law and policing alone. The black money caught in elections is just 1 to 2% of total money spent. We need to improve the political culture and switch over to a better electoral system like PR to reduce the incentive for vote buying. EC alone cannot do it.
Political parties need money for their functioning.The sponsors of these funds see this as an opportunity to 'Invest' for their future benefits. Sir, how do you think this vicious circle can be broken? Asked by: Krishna
We have a fairly good law in India. The 2003 law provides for tax breaks to the donors and disclosure by political parties. The problem is even now, 80% to 90% of the political funding is by cash and unaccounted. Most of this money is spent for illegal purposes like vote buying. We need to switch over to Proportional Representation. Meanwhile we can impose severe penalties for political contributions made in cash - a penalty of ten times the amount, a stiff jail term etc.
Sir, there are two types of people who are fighting for a change. One set of people say that 'lack of economic freedom' is the root cause of all our problems. The other set (like you) who say that our problems are due to faulty systems. Which should come first? 'economic governance' or 'structural reforms'?. If a party offers only one of the above, how to choose ! Asked by: Karthik
Both are linked. Only clean politics and good governance will allow high growth rates, good education, skills and jobs. And that's what gives opportunities in a modern society and helps people overcome poverty, and other structural inequalities. The world over, successful nations fallowed this path and achieved good outcomes for most of their people. There is no example of any other model working successfully.
Sir, We cannot build 21st century India with 19th century politics. But where is 21st century politics of India headed for? Asked by: Mani
In our conditions 21st century politics would look as follows... Internal party democracy. Primary Elections. Clean, competent public spirited people being attracted to politics. Proportional representation of elections. Highly empowered local governments. Strong anti-corruption and accountability mechanisms. Citizen's charters. Focus on education healthcare, skills and jobs. opportunities available to every child irrespective of birth - all these are well within our reach. We have the technology and resources. We just need sensible politics and national will.
In proportional representation, it seems the focus is shifting to winning vote share per seat. So if one can win a seat by appeasing 3% of population, then they will just focus on them, even appease them. Will it not fragment Indian politics further leading to more unstable governments? Asked by: Deepak
Good point. If every small group of 1 or 2% is allowed representation, it may lead to extreme tendencies and fragment our society. Therefore a reasonable threshold of vote - say 5 to 10% in a state - would be required to get the best results from PR and to reduce the risks of extremism.
If at all you have to support a party in 2014 to form government in AP, whom will you support TDP or Congress or YSRCP and why? Asked by: Sridhar
Such a support has to be issue based. There cannot be blanket support to anybody. Meanwhile we live in a real world where we have to learn to work together and forge alliances.
President being the first citizen of the country , and the ugly politics for electing one. Do you think we people should have a direct right to elect our President??? Asked by: RAGHAV GUPTA
Our's is the Parliamentary executive system. The Cabinet is the executive, and its drawn from Parliament. In such a system there is no point electing a President directly. Given India's vast size and diversity, there may not be a strong case for Presidential system. We can consider that at State level if a consensus is arrived at.
Honestly, do yo believe we deserved universal franchise? Was granting it a classic mistake by the framers of the constitution? Asked by: Mahesh
This questions is redundant. We have universal franchise and we have to make it work. Our founders were right in giving us universal franchise. Subsequently we have not done the minimum things required to make our people realize the meaning and value of vote. Now we have to act fast.
Dear JP Sir, We blame our leaders each and every thing that is wrong around us. I feel we should also take responsibility of the wrong doings of these politicians. While we are the ones who elect these leaders, based on cast, religion. Whats your take on this. Asked by: RK
I agree. Politicians are not always the villains. There are often victims of a vicious cycle. We need to improve the political and electoral system. And we also need to educate the real masters - the people. One way of making people understand citizenship and vote is empowering local governments and stakeholders. Then people will see the link between vote and public good, and between taxes and services. People will become aware and local leadership will emerge.
Dr. JP, we should be thankful to the activists that corruption has become central issue in this country. But still rather than demanding the overall change of our political system we are aiming for Lokpal. If power in this country is going to be controlled by few families (most of the parties are nothing but family run business.)only how even Lokpal would be effective. Why Person like you is not coming forward to demand the end of such political system? Asked by: Anand
You are right, there is no single panacea. We need strong ombudsman at every level. we also need better rule of law ( judicial and police reforms), strong local governments, better electoral system and democratic parties. Lok Satta is consistently fighting for these goals.
Dr.JP,Why cant the Election commission of India appoint an Audit body and tag it to each party to verify the funds that are donated to them. Asked by: Viswasai
The EC can only act as per the law of Parliament. As of now the law does not give this power to EC. The law only says the party should submit their accounts to the EC annually. We need a strong law to regulate political parties as in Germany. But our parties are unlikely to agree.
The last few months has been indeed depression looking at the scams. How do you see an end to money playing a role in Indian Politics? Asked by: Christopher Johnson
Better awareness, greater transparency in natural resources allocation, challenge from reform parties, civil society and media and ultimately a better electoral system to reduce money power. Strong anti-corruption mechanisms will speed up this process.
Sir, we need an aggressive campaign from you..we all will support you. Thanks Asked by: kiran
Thank you. We will fight more aggressively.
Can we create an independent central forum, which will take up contentious issues and create policy-framework for them. Like police-reforms, uniform civil code, minority reform, reservation etc. If such things are left to Politicians, they will always play vote-bank politics and never look for long-term benefit of the country. Asked by: Sai
There cannot be non-political solutions to political challenges. Ultimately our freedoms, vote and elected legislatures alone can decide what we should do collectively to reshape our society. Any other approach will create more problems it solves.
When there is a significant difference between what has been filed during poll application and IT statement filed year on year of current assets, why not make that person disqualified for life? Do you support that? Asked by: Mohan
Right now the law is weak in dealing with false disclosures. We need to make it stronger. We should disqualify people if there are willful and substantial false disclosures. But we must also make sure that minor, inadvertent, insignificant errors are not penalized.
hello jpsir, i ask one thing, why are u not talking even a single word on involvement of dr.manmohansingh in coal-gate corruption issue... Asked by: BRAVE INDIAN
Its easy to blame x, y or z. Wisdom demands that we have evidence of individual culpability before we point fingers. And our focus always must be on improving things, not sensationalism. We must have respect for institutions. Above all we must refrain from accusing anybody without credible and substantial evidence.
Courtesy: IBN Live
Monday, October 22, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The Federation of Independent Farmers' Associations has constituted a committee to go into the causes for the crash in the prices of commercial crops in Andhra Pradesh and submit a report to the State Government seeking remedial measures.
Announcing this in a media statement, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, President of the Lok Satta Party and Federation of Independent Farmers' Associations (FIFA), pointed out that the prices of commercial crops like cotton, chilli and turmeric have been plummeting even as costs of production have been spiraling year after year and causing much distress among farmers. What is tragic is that consumers are paying through their nose for the produce even farmers are not getting the cost of production, leave alone remunerative prices.
The price of cotton slumped to Rs.3000-Rs.3500 in 2011-12 from Rs.4000-Rs.8000 a quintal, of chilli to Rs.4000-Rs.6000 from Rs.6000-Rs.9000 and of turmeric to Rs.3000-Rs.5000 from Rs.15000.
Yet, Dr. JP said, the Government has not directed Markfed to undertake price support operations and go to the rescue of the farmers in distress. The failure of the Government to make available sufficient storage space and ensure adequate loans is placing farmers at the mercy of traders.
The committee will go round the State, study the situation at the ground level and submit a report to the Government. It will ascertain farmers' problems in production and marketing, bankers' problems in grant of crop and pledge loans and the availability of storage space.
FIFA leader P. Bhaskara Rao is the convener of the committee comprising Messrs Yerneni Nagendranath (Krishna), B. Dasaradharami Reddy (Kurnool), Hanumantha Reddy (Medak), Narsimha Naidu (Nizamabad), S. Raghavulu (Khammam), D. L. Narayana (Kadapa) and Mekala Lakshminarayana (Guntur).
Dr. JP said that if the Government does not respond to the committee report, FIFA would launch an agitation to safeguard farmers' interests.
Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is visiting Krishna and Guntur districts on Friday, October 19.
At 10-00 a.m., Dr. JP will commission the RO (reverse osmosis) plant at Matlam village in Kruttivennu mandal of Krishna district. The plant to supply protected drinking water has been installed with assistance from Lok Satta NRI volunteers.
It may be recalled that Ms. Tirumanu Seshamma of the Lok Satta Patry trounced her Telugu Desam opponent backed by the Congress in a panchayat ward by-election without distributing money and liquor.
At 6-00 p.m., Dr. JP will present awards to best teachers at a program being organized by the K. V. R. Educational Trust.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh intervene immediately and put an end to the drift in governance and damage to the country’s credibility in the wake of the controversy over Mr. Robert Vadra-DLF land deals and the allegations against a trust being run by Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife. The controversies are not in the interest of either the country or the economy, he added.
In a media statement, Dr. JP suggested that the Prime Minister order a credible and independent inquiry into the two issues and put an end to name calling, abuse and invective being indulged in by all the concerned. The Haryana Government should simultaneously institute a credible inquiry into the property deals.
On Mr. Salman Khurshid’s threat to India Against Corruption leader Arvind Kejriwal, Dr. JP said that Ministers should realize they represent the entire country and not their party or themselves. Their utterances should be in tune with the oath they take under which they should function without fear or favor and ill will or prejudice. Instead of reacting in a calm, reassuring, mature and balanced manner, Ministers and spokespersons of the Government are resorting to threats and invective and indulging in harsh and crude language. They are shooting themselves in the foot. Their utterances are not only morally wrong but are also undermining the authority of the Government.
Dr. JP said that all of us including civil society, political parties and media should exercise restraint and ensure that wrong doers are punished after due process of law. Kangaroo courts and snap judgments should give way to a calm, balanced and sober discussion based on evidence and logic. We must de-emphasize individuals and focus on the broader political and governance crisis undermining the country.
Dr. JP said: “In a sensible democracy, a party should be above individuals and the nation above political parties. Sadly now, we have put individuals above political parties and parties above the nation.”
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today strongly condemned the Haryana Government for transferring senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka who is probing alleged undervaluation of properties dealt with by Mr. Robert Vadra and his companies.
The State Government has eased out an inconvenient officer to obstruct investigation and protect vested interests, Dr. JP said in a media statement.
Dr. JP demanded that the Haryana Government reinstate the officer immediately and publish a white paper on all Government land deals with individuals, organizations and companies. All files and papers relating to the land transfer involving Mr. Vadra and DLF as well as transfer of Mr. Khemka must be made public.
Mr. Ashok Khemka was Director General of Land Consolidation and Land Records-cum-Inspector-General of Registration prior to his transfer. He cancelled the mutation of a piece of land sold by Mr. Vadra and ordered an inquiry into the undervaluation of some of his land deals. Significantly, the transfer order was served on him on the night of October 11 while he ordered the investigation into the land deals on October 8. Mr. Khemka had been in the post of Director General for less than two months.
Dr. JP pointed out that the transfer runs counter to the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission of which he was a member and many other committees in the past. All of them had suggested that officers should have security of tenure of three to five years in a post and not be at the mercy of political bosses. They should be chosen carefully and given appropriate assignments, the ARC had suggested.
The very fact that Mr. Khemka suffered 40 transfers in 20 years testifies to the way Governments function, commented Dr. JP.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government bring dengue under the purview of Aarogyasri and provide relief to poor people who are put to immense suffering and financial hardship.
In a media statement, Lok Satta Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao recalled that Mr. K. Rosaiah as Chief Minister had promised to cover dengue under Aarogyasri. The Government, however, is yet to fulfill his promise.
Mr. Srinivasa Rao expressed concern over viral fevers sweeping most parts of the State and said that the Government has not been taking any preventive measures. Mosquito-borne diseases should be prevented with local governments focusing on eradicating the mosquito menace even at the larvae stage.
With most local bodies being ruled by officers in the absence of elected governments, people in general are left to fend for themselves.
Mr. Srinivasa Rao asked the Government to depute special medical teams to Agency areas where medical facilities are meager.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today welcomed Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's move to bring in a law to punish collusive or consensual corruption involving the corporate sector and public servants.
Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP wanted the Prime Minister to incorporate the suggestions made by the Administrative Reforms Commission, of which he was a member, in the proposed law. The ARC proposed that the law should provide for doubling the punishment in such cases, attachment of properties if there is prima facie evidence, and lay the burden of proof of not being guilty on the accused. The Government should also plan to tax windfall profits arising out of allotment of finite, public resources.
Dr. JP pointed out that under the present dispensation both the bribe taker and the giver are equally guilty of corruption whether it involved Rs. 50 for the issuance of a birth certificate. Punishing the common man who pays a bribe for service which he should get as a matter of right is atrocious. In contrast, corporate entities which corner scarce natural resources like land, mines and spectrum get away by indulging in collusive corruption.
Dr. JP wanted the Prime Minister to dust off the ARC report submitted as early as in 2005 and incorporate its suggestions in the proposed law.
Dr. JP faulted Andhra Pradesh Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan for agreeing to the appointment of Justice Subhashan Reddy as Lokayukta simply because the Government had sent the file a second time after he had rejected it once.
According to the Human Rights Commission law passed by Parliament, the chairman and members of a Human Rights Commission are not eligible for further Government employment once they cease to hold office.
Justice Subhashan Reddy, who had served as Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, is, therefore not eligible for the appointment. The Governor should not have blindly affixed his signature to the Government's proposal since it runs counter to the Central law, which is supreme. Citing a Kerala High Court verdict in support of the appointment would not wash since it is not applicable to the situation in Andhra Pradesh. Dr. JP said his observations are no reflection on Justice Subhashan Reddy who had served as Chief Justice of the Tamil Nadu and Kerala High Courts. He hoped that Justice Subhashan Reddy would take a decision in tune with the spirit of the concerned law and the Constitution.
Dr. JP also took exception to the Supreme Court ruling that Information Commissions should have former judges as its members since it is a quasi judicial body. In all humility, he said, he would like to point out that the judiciary has been transgressing its limits. India is the only country where appointment of judges lies with judges. And now they would like to pack even information commissions with their tribe. Dr. JP said that even officials like a collector, RDO, tahsildar and a station house officer function as quasi judicial officers. Should judges be posted in those offices too?
Dr. JP asked Chief Minister N. Kiran Kuman Reddy not to use official platforms for launching party propaganda or mounting personal allegations against Opposition leaders. He should appreciate that he is the Chief Minister for all the people of the State and not merely those of the ruling party.
Dr. JP hoped the Supreme Court would prevent Maharashtra from commissioning the illegally constructed Babli project instead of asking the Andhra Pradesh Government to pay Rs.200 crore. Andhra Pradesh should have no problem in supplying drinking water to Maharashtra from the Sriramsagar reservoir. The Central Water Commission could ensure supply of drinking water by Andhra Pradesh in lieu of the Babli project.
Lok Satta leaders D. V. V. S. Varma, Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Lakshman Balaji took part in the media meet.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
New political parties in India face structural and ethical hurdles
The efforts of a group of India Against Corruption workers to float a new political party have generated a lively debate. Opinions vary from unrestrained romanticism to unyielding cynicism. But it will be productive to go beyond personalities and power games.
Why is there political unrest and disquiet in the country? There is a sense of foreboding among all thinking citizens. Politics is too polarised. There is a great churn, evidenced by the rejection of both the Congress and the BJP in recent state polls. Parties are forced to rely on criminals, dynasties or money bags for funding. Corruption is rampant. Reckless populism is hurting the exchequer. Infrastructure is in a shambles, stunting economic growth. The fiscal deficit is out of control. Governments and parties seem to be powerless to arrest the drift and there are grounds for serious concern.
What do we, as a nation, need to do to address this crisis? We need to mobilise the middle classes and the youth, who are shunning politics, into meaningful political activity. True politics is vital to reconcile conflicting interests in society, make rational choices, allocate resources wisely and enlist public support in nation-building. At the very least, we need to make ethical politics sustainable. Education, skills and employment must be at the core of our governance if we are to end discrimination by birth and poverty. We need to empower local governments and give people at the community level the opportunity to make a difference.
We need to address the challenge of short-term populism versus long-term public good. In a democratic society, there is a political price to pay for pursuing rational and sound public policies. If our quest for votes at any cost leads to short-term maximisation and instant gratification, we will be enjoying tomorrow’s fruits today, endangering the future. All parties must agree on the role of state in a modern society. No matter which party is in power, we need a clear sense of purpose and direction as a society. Parties should provide the platform and politics is the process to achieve this. It is because politics, which ought to be the solution to the nation’s crises, has become the problem itself that we are in a quandary.
Do we need new parties now? We already have over 1,000 registered parties. In a mature democracy, concerned citizens with passion and leadership qualities enter a party of their choice and ascend to power through the democratic process. But our party system is fossilised and sclerotic. Most young members of Parliament are in office because of heredity. A person of competence and commitment entering a party and rising to leadership by virtue of public support through a transparent, democratic process is unthinkable in India today. Traditional parties have lost the capacity to attract, nurture and promote leadership of quality. If committed citizens wish to make a difference through politics, the only option is to form a new party. But party-building and electoral success are excruciatingly difficult.
What are the hurdles a fledgling political party will face? The very classes that should be at the forefront of political transformation are now reviling politics and abdicating from it. It is a challenge to bring them into the political process in a creative and constructive engagement. Once this is accomplished, attracting citizens of leadership potential is a difficult task. Citizens are marginalised and citizenship is devalued. There is abject dependence on those with power and influence even for simple services — a ration card, birth certificate, school admission, FIR registration, land records, etc. Therefore, voters want “strong” leaders with significant economic clout and organisational strength, preferably backed by years of visible public service. Potential leaders with such qualities are generally unwilling to be associated with politics, for fear of retribution from the established parties. Even those prominent citizens who do not seek state patronage prefer to play safe, as they do not want to burn bridges with the establishment. Thus, even those who are convinced they should pursue political office to promote public good tend to opt for traditional, established parties.
Then there is the problem of ethically competing against freebies and short-term sops offered to woo the electorate and the divisive politics practised to polarise a diverse society. Our first-past-the-post electoral system demands a high threshold of voting for electoral success. As people perceive that a candidate or a party, however good and desirable, will not succeed, they tend to indulge in tactical voting to vote for the second-worst candidate to prevent the “worst” from getting elected. Often, our election is a choice between two top parties, not between all candidates or parties based on their qualities.
So how do we help transform politics? First, new, ethical parties should work together to maximise their influence. At the very least, they must not hurt each other. Second, genuine, pragmatic reforms should be pursued simultaneously. While no one reform is sufficient, cumulatively they can change society and alter incentives, making political transformation that much easier. Third, there must be a push within the large, established parties for internal democracy and modernisation. Finally, both the Congress and the BJP, and other significant parties like the Left, BSP, SP, should realise that the electoral system needs to be changed. In four of India’s six largest states — UP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal — both the Congress and the BJP are electorally insignificant. This is because once a national party falls below a threshold vote, its support quickly evaporates. A shift to proportionate representation will strengthen national outlook, minimise vote-buying, and encourage the best and brightest to enter politics and place their talents at the service of the country.
By Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan
Courtesy: Indian Express
There is no better platform than the Lok Satta Party for transforming the country, Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan told the youth here today.
Welcoming into the party fold a number of youth led by Yenganti Harshraj from Musheerabad constituency, Dr. JP said that the youth who constitute 70 percent of the country’s population and 50 percent of voters can transform the current crisis-ridden politics.
Whatever might be their competence and credentials youth cannot come up in traditional political parties because they have become the pocket boroughs of some families. Their sole objective is coming to power at any cost. As a result, the country has been going through a deep crisis.
In contrast, one need not be the son of a politician or the daughter of a wealthy person to shine in the Lok Satta Party. Its functioning is totally democratic.
Dr. JP counseled youth to transcend religion and caste, region and language and work together as Indians for transforming politics and society. It was the disunity among Indians that brought the country under foreign rule in the past, he recalled.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that various wings of the Union Government initiate action against the guilty if there is any truth in the allegations made by India against Corruption (IAC) against Mr. Robert Vadra.
Dr. JP said that action is warranted irrespective of evidence of quid pro quo and added that the issue need not be politicized.
Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said that the IAC accused Mr. Robert Vadra of receiving an unsecured interest-free loan of Rs.65 crore from real estate firm DLF and that he acquired real estate from DLF at less than the market value. If the charges are true, they must be dealt with beyond politics.
Dr. JP asked what the independent directors in the public listed company were doing when the company advanced an interest-free loan to the detriment of its shareholders. The Registrar of Companies is duty bound to inquire into the irregularity. If the allegation is correct, the Income Tax Department should treat the receipt of money by Mr. Robert Vadra as unassessed income and impose tax and penalty. The IT Department is entitled to acquire the property for the Government if it is registered for less than the market value.
Dr. JP said that people were losing faith in the Government and the judiciary because the wheels of justice grind very slowly in India. He said that the trial in Satyam Ramalinga Raju's case is yet to begin and the investigation into cases against YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy seems to last for years going by CBI's submissions in the Supreme Court.
In contrast, justice is rendered swiftly in countries like China and the U. S. He cited the instance of Bo, a rising star and Politburo member of the Chinese Communist Party and his wife being punished in a case of corruption and murder of a British businessman, Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Governor, being jailed for seeking donation to fund his election in return for nomination to a Senate seat vacated by President Barrack Obama and an NRI couple being jailed and deprived of all their property for indulging in medical fraud. In India, it took more than ten years to bring the guilty in Rajiv Gandhi assassination to book whereas it took only one year in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination.
Dr. JP said people would regain faith in justice only if the guilty are meted out deterrent punishment swiftly. He demanded that special courts be constituted on a permanent basis to try corruption cases. Investigative agencies like the CBI and the ACB should be freed from seeking prior Government clearances for taking up investigation into cases against public servants. A law should be passed to facilitate attachment of properties in corruption cases. Prosecutors should be independent and immunized from political interference.
Dr. JP welcomed TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu's letter to the Prime Minister seeking autonomy for the CBI. In this connection, Dr. JP recalled that he had submitted a private Bill for amending the Prevention of Corruption Act but it is yet to see the light of the day because neither the ruling Congress nor the Opposition TDP is interested in it.
In reply to a question on the Government of India permitting FDI in retail, Dr. JP said that while he welcomed it as a means to reduce the country's current account deficit, he did not subscribe to the Government flaunting it as a piece of radical reform and the Opposition rubbishing it as a catastrophe. The country is crying for reforms in fields like education, healthcare, agriculture, police, judiciary, elections and corruption. But the Governments would not undertake them.
In reply to a question, he said that the Lok Satta would welcome formation of Telangana as part of a comprehensive and amicable solution. He appealed to all parties and organizations not to fan hatred among brethren since they cannot change geography even after the State is carved out into two or three pieces.
He reiterated the Lok Satta Party is prepared to work together with the party proposed to be grounded by Mr. Avind Kerjiwal since they shared common goals. Informal consultations are going on right now, Dr. JP added.
Lok Satta leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and E. Chennayya took part in the conference.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Union government’s decision of September 14 conditionally permitting FDI in multi-brand retail trading generated a lively debate. Careful scrutiny does not justify the claim that retail FDI in itself is a game changer transforming our large and diverse economy. Nor does it substantiate the apocalyptic visions some critics harbour.
We need to examine dispassionately three issues to arrive at a balanced conclusion: the direct benefits and risks; the impact on investment and growth; and the impact on current account deficit.
First, let us examine the direct impact. Clearly, there are potential benefits as well as risks. Indian farm sector is in a long-term crisis. The share of agriculture in GDP is declining every year, and it now stands at about 15%. But the proportion of population dependent directly on agriculture is declining much more slowly, and now stands above 50%. A simple arithmetic tells us that the per capita income of the 50% Bharat is only 18% of the rest of the population. Against such a backdrop, there is no substitute to rural wealth creation and value addition.
There is an uncommonly long, inefficient market chain between the farmer and consumer right now. As a result, many studies show that the farmer typically realizes 35% of the consumer price in most agri-products. In case of perishables, the farmer’s share could be as low as 12-20%. High volatility of prices is very common because of poor transport, storage and other back-end infrastructure.30-35% of the horticultural produce is estimated to be going waste in India. On a total production of about 200 million metric tonnes (MT) of fruits and vegetables, our cold storage is only about 23.6 million MT, 80% of which used only for potatoes!
Clearly, we need to do three things: compress the market chain and reduce the ‘distance’ between the farmer and the consumer; build a modern, integrated logistical chain involving grading, transport and storage; and add value to perishable commodities to reduce volatility and create wealth and jobs. All these things need investment, infrastructure, technology, management practices and deep pockets.
It really does not matter who invests in this critical sector. As Deng Xiaoping famously said, “It does not matter whether the cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice!” A compressed market chain, reliable logistics and infrastructure and value addition that organised retail industry brings will improve farmer’s price realisation, and reduce consumer price. If markets are improved, greater investment will flow into agriculture.
But we need to ensure that there is fair and effective competition, and monopolies are firmly checked.
The big concern is the large employment in retail sector. This sector now employs an estimated 30 million people in India (about 7-8% of working population). Most of these are low-end jobs with meager incomes. Of these, about 10% are in large cities where FDI in retail chains is permitted. Probably about 3 million people are eking not a precarious livelihood in big cities of one million plus population. Evidence shows that about 1.7% of the small retailers are closing down annually on account of competition from large chains wherever such chains are established. This translates into loss of about 51,000 livelihoods in big cities, if all cities have organised retail chains. It is estimated that about 1.5 million direct jobs will be created by organised retail at the front-end over the next five years. In logistics, infrastructure, and value addition probably an equal number of new jobs will be created. Most of the small traders can be absorbed in the direct and indirect employment. The policy must provide for such safeguards. Transition mechanisms should include up-gradation of small retailers, franchisee models, cooperatives and institutional development similar to NDDB.
Retail trade is growing at 13.3% CAGR (2006-10). It is estimated that modern retail will be growing at 25% or more per annum, while small retailers will still grow at 10% or more. Therefore small retailers will have a share of about 75% (as seen in South-East Asia) in a much larger market, and will co-exist with organised retail chains.
Then there is the issue of investments and growth rate in the country. Our savings rate, which stood at about 23% of GDP in 2002 has risen to 37% in 2008, and has now declined to about 32%, in 2011. FDI in any form will stimulate growth in a capital-scarce country.
Finally, our current account deficit is roughly about $78.2b, or 4.4% of GDP. This level of deficit is unsustainable. FII investment may increase with capital market revival, but it is hot money which can disappear at the first sign of trouble in India or elsewhere. We need stable, long-term investments in the form of FDI, which will in-turn bring technology, growth, jobs and incomes.
On balance, if retail FDI is handled well, it will be a win-win situation for us. But for a large and diverse economy like India, there cannot be instant fixes and panaceas. We need to leverage our strengths systematically and boost growth and employment.
By Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan - The author is the founder and president of Lok Satta Party – new politics for the new generation
Courtesy: DNA India
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
"We are on the right side of history," asserted Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan on the sixth anniversary of the founding of the party here today.
Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said that the "journey since the formation of the party six years ago on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary has been difficult and uneven but rewarding."
Dr. JP said that "we have many miles to go but we move forward with clear knowledge and firm determination that there is no alternative to the Gandhian path for a better India."
Dr. JP pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi essentially stood for four values or principles.
First, he stood for ethical politics and maintained that public life is an extension of personal life and practiced what he preached. Secondly, he mastered the art of confronting challenges through creative tension, and not allowing them to degenerate into violence and hatred. With this technique, he built a great nation of disparate people with a variety of backgrounds. Thirdly, he maintained that opportunities should be available to all and that there should be no disparity irrespective of the circumstances of one's birth. Fourthly, he always fought for local government by underlining that the locus of power should be the citizen and his family. Power should be exercised as close to the citizen as possible at the village or the ward level.
Dr. JP said that Gandhi's values are eternal and universal and are relevant to a vast, complex, diverse and ancient society like ours. "Our failure to translate those principles into action in free India has landed us in crisis."
The Lok Satta Party has adopted the four Gandhian principles of ethical politics, harmony in society, opportunities to all without discrimination and power to people as its sheet anchor.
The Lok Satta can look back upon the past year with great satisfaction. It was instrumental in getting the scam-tainted 2-G licenses cancelled and fresh auctions initiated. Through its dramatic farmer satyagraha, the Lok Satta exposed the grave injustice being done to the farmer. Politics are slowly but steadily changing in favor of the farmer. The people's movement against corruption has created conditions conducive to creation of strong institutions like Lok Pal and citizen's charter. The focus on education and healthcare is deepening, paving the way for a better political discourse.
Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta Party will continue to remain a beacon of hope, raising right issues at the right time and mobilizing public opinion. The Surajya movement launched by the party during the year will pave the way for a better India. The Lok Satta Party is getting ready to organize internal elections and build a party completely owned, funded, controlled and led by ordinary people.
He called upon all thinking people not be on the sidelines but come forward and take ownership of the party to transform politics and society.
Dr. JP underlined the importance of youth, middle classes, women and farmers joining politics by saying that politics is too important a business to be left merely to politicians.
In reply to a question, Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta Party whole-heartedly welcomes the formation of Telangana as part of a comprehensive and amicable solution. The Telangana people have repeatedly expressed their aspiration for a separate State and it cannot be ignored in a democratic society.
Dr. JP appealed to all political parties and media sections to observe and promote restraint. While political parties have the right to carry on movements, they should not in the process foment hatred or disrupt normal life and undermine the future of the youth. Andhra Pradesh is already going through a crisis with investors shunning the State and the Government in a state of paralysis. Media houses should keep public interest in mind and not magnify trivial issues to attract eyeballs or boost circulation.
Answering another query, Dr. JP said that he welcomes TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu's marathon padayatra. Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, who has rich experience as a politician for over three decades, should now act like a statesman and come up with honest and concrete solutions to the State's umpteen problems and not focus on short-term gains.
Dr. JP revealed that people planning to float a new political party in New Delhi are in touch with the Lok Satta and added that there would have been no need for new parties had the existing parties played their role sincerely and correctly.
In reply to a query, Dr. JP said that courts too are to blame for repeated postponement of elections to local bodies under some pretext or the other proffered by the Government. Besides holding local body elections immediately, the Government should empower them by making a per capita grant of Rs.1500 to every village and every ward in urban areas.
Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma, Mr. M. Satya narayana, Lok Satta Party's Greater Hyderabad unit President, and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy, Mahila Satta leader, took part in the media conference.
Earlier Dr. JP unfurled the National Flag and Mr. Varma the Party Flag and paid floral tribute to Gandhi's portrait.