Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ఇంధన సర్ ఛార్జీ వసూలుపై హైకోర్టు స్టే పట్ల లోక్ సత్తా హర్షం

Lok Satta welcomes HC stay on fuel surcharge collection

The Lok Satta Party today welcomed the Andhra Pradesh High stay on power distribution companies (Discoms) imposing fuel surcharge on domestic and industrial consumers for electricity consumed in the past.

In a media statement, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma wanted the Government to drop the ‘Tuglakian’ proposal of collecting fuel surcharge for power consumed long ago at least now in the light of the High Court stay.

The Lok Satta Party had represented to the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission that imposing fuel surcharge for previous quarters is unscientific and unjust, and results in odd situations like present tenants of homes being punished for power consumed by former tenants.

Monday, July 30, 2012

ప్రజల ప్రాణాలకు ముప్పుగా మారిన రైల్వే నిర్లక్ష్యం, భద్రతావైఫల్యం

Dr. JP expresses shock over TN Express mishap

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today expressed shock and dismay over the Tamil Nadu Express fire which killed and injured a large number of passengers.

In a media statement, Dr. JP demanded a thorough, high-level inquiry into the major incident and expressed his profound condolences to the victims’ families.

Dr. JP wanted the railways to initiate all measures to guarantee safety of passengers using the latest technology, instead of dismissing mistakes in preventing accidents as routine. The railways should follow a policy of zero tolerance towards accidents. It has taken no measures even to prevent transport of gas cylinders, kerosene and other explosives, he added.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

26న పూణెలో సివిల్స్ విజేతల జాతీయస్థాయి కార్యక్రమంలో పాల్గొంటున్న జేపీ

Dr. JP to address UPSC toppers

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be addressing a national-level function being held in Pune on July 26 to felicitate successful candidates in the 2011 UPSC Civil Services Examination.

MAEER's MIT Group of institutions, Pune, has been organizing the annual felicitation function since 2009.

Mr. T. N. Seshan, Dr. R. A. Mashelkar and others associated with the MIT Group say that felicitation of civil service entrants by a luminary like Dr. JP will motivate them to serve the country with integrity.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

విద్యుత్ రంగంలో ప్రభుత్వ అసంబద్ధ విధానాలకి, అన్యాయపు సర్ ఛార్జీలకి వ్యతిరేకంగా 25న లోక్ సత్తా ధర్నా

Lok Satta conducting dharna on July 25 to Protest unjust FSA imposition

The Lok Satta Party is organizing a dharna at Vidyut Soudha in Hyderabad on the morning of Wednesday, July 25 to protest against State Government punishing power consumers by imposing fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) charges. The FSA imposition is meant to cover up its inefficient, irrational and corrupt policies in generation, transmission and distribution of power.

In a media statement, Lok Satta Party leaders P. Ravi Maruth, P. Bhaskara Rao and M. Satyanarayana Rao recalled that the party had requested the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission on July 16 to reject Discoms' (distribution companies) unjust and unscientific proposals to collect FSA for previous years. It had also suggested comprehensive changes in power generation and distribution policies with a view to ending power shortages.

The Lok Satta decided to conduct the dharna since there are no indications of the Government and concerned institutions initiating any action to spare consumers of additional burden or address the power crisis.

The Lok Satta leaders recalled that the Government fought shy of collecting the FSA charges in 2008 and 2009 fearing a backlash in general elections. It has no right to punish the public now for its incompetent policies and vote bank politics.

They expressed their solidarity with all organizations agitating against the Government's electricity policy and appealed to people all over the State to register their protest.

Monday, July 23, 2012

తన పలుకుబడిని, స్థాయిని మౌలిక మార్పుల కోసం ప్రణబ్ వినియోగించాలి

లక్ష్మీసెహగల్ జీవితం యువతకు ఆదర్శం: జేపీ

Dr. JP hopes Pranab will help usher in key reforms

Congratulating Mr. Pranab Mukherjee on his election as President of India, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan hoped that he would defend and protect the Constitution and render justice to all sections of people. He was confident that Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, despite his four decade-long association with a political party, would transcend political affiliation and represent the entire nation.

In a media statement, Dr. JP said that if the country were to overcome the serious challenges it is facing now, reforms in the electoral and political systems and decentralization of power are imperative.

Although the President of India enjoys only limited Constitutional powers, Dr. JP hoped, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee would use his stature, vast experience and good relations with all parties to build a consensus on key reforms and take the country forward.

Dr. JP's tribute to Lakshmi Sehegal

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan described Lakshmi Sehegal as an indefatigable fighter for the causes she believed in. She valiantly fought for the country's independence through the Azad Hind Fauz founded by Subhash Chandra Bose and contributed her mite for the country's development post-independence.

In a media statement, Dr. JP said there are vast numbers of youth who are as sincere and committed to the country as Lakshmi Sehegal was. Political parties should encourage such youth to enter politics and promote ethical politics.

The real tribute to Lakshmi Sehegal lies in the emergence of youth leaders who will work for building up the country, said Dr. JP conveying his profound grief over her passing away.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

ప్రజాపథాలు, ఇందిరమ్మ బాటలతో స్థానిక ప్రజాప్రతినిధుల స్థానాన్ని భర్తీచేయలేరు

Government trampling upon democracy by deferring local body polls: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party said that extension of special officers' rule in mandal praja parishads and zilla parishads for another six months exposes the State Government's scant respect for constitutional provisions and people's interests.

Lok Satta Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao pointed out in a media statement that the Government has been repeatedly postponing the elections under one pretext or the other to serve the interests of the ruling Congress Party. The ruling party is apparently afraid of conducting elections to local bodies in the wake of the severe drubbing it received in the recent by-elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao said that in the absence of elected representatives, rural people are put to great inconvenience in getting their day-to-day problems addressed by the bureaucracy. People had to bear the brunt of drought-like conditions including drinking water scarcity till recently and withstand the fury of torrential rains now.

Even according to the Andhra Pradesh Minister for Panchayat Raj, the State has forgone nearly Rs.2000 crore of Central assistance legitimately due to it because of failure to hold local body elections on time.

The postponement of elections is anti-democratic and unconstitutional, Mr. Srinivasa Rao said and demanded that the State Government conduct elections without further delay. The Supreme Court in a recent judgment underlined that village panchayats enjoyed a constitutional status and they served as the foundation for democracy in the country. Denying people the right for self-rule is unwarranted.

For a village, the sarpanch and ward members are as essential and important as the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are to the State. The Chief Minister and his colleagues cannot supplant local elected representatives by undertaking 'praja pathams' or 'Indiramma batas.'

Friday, July 20, 2012

21న అనంతపురంలో పర్యటిస్తున్న జేపీ

Dr. JP visiting Anantapur on Saturday

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be addressing students of the Chiranjeevi Reddy Group of colleges at Rachanapalli near Anantapur on the morning of Saturday, July 21 on the 'Role of students in today's politics'.

Dr. JP will be interacting with party workers in the afternoon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

దేశానికి సరైన దిశానిర్దేశం చేయగల శక్తి ప్రణబ్ కుందని విశ్వసిస్తున్నాం: లోక్ సత్తా

Lok Satta reposes faith in Pranab to lead nation in right direction

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party President representing Kukatpalli constituency in the Legislative Assembly, today voted in favor of Mr. Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential election.

The Lok Satta Party believes that Mr. Pranab Mukherjee with his vast experience and reputation for sagacity will protect national interests at a time the country is facing political uncertainty with both the Congress and the BJP camps plunged in crisis.

Lok Satta Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mr. P. Ravi Maruth told a media meet that the party expects Mr. Pranab Mukherjee to take the lead in addressing three vital problems. The first is empowerment of local bodies as envisaged in the Constitution with devolution of powers, resources and personnel on them. The second is a through overhaul of the present first-past-the-post electoral system which has unleashed politics of money power and is coming in the way of honest people and parties contesting elections. A switchover to the proportional representation system will eliminate the influence of money in eections to a large extent. The third is liberation of the country from political and official corruption. It calls for creation of powerful and independent mechanisms of Lokpal and Lokayuktas and grant of autonomy to investigative agencies like the CBI and ACBs.

The Lok Satta leaders underlined that Mr. Pranab Mukherjee with his moral stature and good relations with all political parties should be able to deliver results.

Mr. J. Iramamurthy took part in the media conference.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The village school in those days was great

My math teacher marked my correct answer wrong, and made fun of me for not getting 100 pc score

I studied in a Telugu-medium government school in a village called Godavarru near Vijayawada. There was no electricity, toilet or running water at my old aunt’s house where I lived away from my parents during school years. I left school (after tenth grade) in 1969 at the age of 13. In those days it was not uncommon for kids to enter school at three.

A friend of mine, a brilliant cardiologist now, finished school at 12! Despite the young age and spartan life, my school years had a profound impact on my life and attitudes.

The village school in those days was great. The infrastructure was inadequate; but the community owned the school, and all kids – rich or poor – went to the same school.

The teachers were competent and committed. They inspired and encouraged us. Amazingly, we could question and challenge teachers. The school was a true institution with a sense of purpose and played a vital role in village life. In sports, I was the slowest kid.

We played kho-kho and kabaddi. A few who had bats played ball-badminton. We never saw a shuttle cock. I never heard the names ‘cricket’ and ‘hockey’ until I left school! But we had a Boy Scouts group, and greatly enjoyed the signals, codes and many other pleasures of a boy scout.

I did well in academics. At the beginning of each year, we used to visit the neighbouring town Kankipadu to buy new textbooks. I used to finish reading them in about a fortnight and was bored for the rest of the year. I particularly loved math and languages.

My village teachers kindled great interest in these subjects. The teachers allowed me to work at my own pace. When I found the text books not challenging enough, I was encouraged to do exercises from Hall & Knight (Math), and Wren & Martin (English grammar). We could point out our teachers’ errors without fear. When I look back, schooling in that village laid superb foundations for our future lives.

There were regular inspections by the DEO. I vividly remember an amusing incident. We had a great Telugu teacher. He was a master of the classics, and taught us with passion. On the day of inspection, we decorated the school with confetti. Our Telugu teacher was in class, and we were waiting for the inspector.

One kid stood up and showed a little finger (asking for permission to go out and relieve his bladder). The teacher promptly said, “Why are you scared? We (the teachers) should be nervous when the inspector comes, not you!” We all found it hilarious.

My science teacher actually demonstrated experiments in our small lab. He even wanted to show the anatomy of frog by dissecting it. I was entrusted with the task of getting a frog to class. A friend and I, with some difficulty, caught a toad (we thought it was a frog). I then visited a clinic in Kankipadu and borrowed some chloroform in a small bottle. The teacher, to our wonder, had put the toad to sleep by sprinkling a bit of chloroform, and dissected it and showed its digestive system. I wonder how many fancy schools today give such exposure to kids!

There were some less savoury moments too. One mediocre math teacher was always full of himself, and he used to taunt me. In one test there was a slight twist in the question, and the teacher missed it. He marked my correct answer wrong, and made fun of me for not getting 100% score. I calmly pointed out the error and corrected him. But the taunts continued. One day, I found a particularly tough problem and solved it.

Deliberately wanting to expose the teacher’s inadequacy, I stood up in class and asked him for help. He tried solving it on the black board, but failed. Innocently, I pretended to have suddenly found the solution, and solved in on the board. That put an end to the teacher’s taunts. But I also felt guilty for humiliating the teacher, and never again resorted to such tricks.

One English teacher always scolded me for my refusal to learn essays by rote, and for my insistence on writing in my own words. I refused to comply with his instructions. In exasperation, he said I would never score more than 75% in public examination. I got exactly 75! But I never regretted it.

All in all, our schooling was fun. It gave us a chance to fulfil our potential and make something of our lives. It is a pity; forty three years later, many many kids don’t have the opportunity we had in village India of 1960’s.

(Dr Jayaprakash Narayan is the founder and President of Lok Satta Party – new politics for the new generation)

Courtesy: Hans India

Lok Satta Times July 16th-31st, 2012

Lok Satta Times July 16th-31st, 2012 can be downloaded from the following link


Monday, July 16, 2012

సరైన విధానం లేకే సంక్షోభం

Courtesy: Eenadu

విద్యుత్ సంక్షోభంలో రాష్ట్రం

Courtesy: Andhra Jyothy

ఎఫ్ ఎస్ ఏ వార్షిక క్యాలెండర్ ను వెంటనే ప్రకటించండి, ఎప్పటివో సర్ ఛార్జీల వసూలు ప్రతిపాదనల్ని తోసిపుచ్చండి

Announce FSA Annual Calender immediately, Reject outdated FSA claims - Lok Satta tells APERC

The Lok Satta Party today requested the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) not to consider power distribution companies’ (Discoms) proposals for Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA) for the four quarters of FY 2010-11 and three quarters of 2011-12.

“The inordinate and unjustified delay in determining the FSA violates natural justice principles”, said the Lok Satta Party in a representation to the APERC.

Mr. M. Satyanarayana, President, Mr. N. Ravinder, Secretary, and Mr. A. Rama Rao, Joint Secretary of the party’s Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation unit, Mrs. S. V. Gajanani, Secretary, GHMC Mahila Satta unit, and Mr. Karthik Chandra, party’s Research & Advocacy group, represented the Lok Satta Party at the APERC’s public hearing on Discoms’ FSA proposals.

“The FSA claims by the Discoms currently being processed by the APERC are for the four quarters each of FY 2010-11 and FY 2011-12. In other words, the FSA claim for the first quarter of FY 2010-11 that ended in June, 2010 i.e. 24 months ago, is yet to be processed and finalized by the commission. This delay is excessive and unjustified and thereby creates severe and avoidable difficulties to all categories of consumers in the State. For instance, the FSA burden from the FY 2009-10 is being levied on individual consumers only now, giving rise to numerous absurd and avoidable situations where large numbers of consumers/residents are being issued bills with backdated FSA i.e. on power consumed not by them but by former residents of the premises.”

The Lok Satta Party said the Andhra Pradesh High Court in a recent verdict underlined the importance of ensuring stability and certainty in the tariff so that consumers are not subjected to severe variations in the price they pay for electricity. The High Court also reaffirmed that while considering the applications filed by the licensees claiming FSA, the APERC must follow the principles of natural justice.

“Timely determination and levy of quarterly FSA burden forms an essential part of ensuring the same. This is precisely why the concerned provisions governing the determination of FSA place time limits on the licensees’ claims so that the consumers are not burdened with accumulated demands in the name of FSA.”

The Lok Satta Party told the APERC that it must immediately end ‘bulk processing’of Discoms’ FSA claims of previous financial years. It must forthwith announce a concrete annual calendar, with pre-determined dates, for processing FSA claims by licensees, conducting public hearings and releasing the final order on FSA.

The Lok Satta also demanded that Discoms fully and clearly disclose the FSA burden to the individual consumer.

“We are given to understand that the Discoms project FSA only as a recovery of ‘incremental costs’ incurred i.e. over and above the tariff-related costs. However, from the FSA claims by the Discoms for the quarters of the FY 2010-11 and FY 2011-12, it is apparent that neither the FSA rate (in Rs/kwh) nor the total quantum of revenue sought to be raised by the Discoms through this FSA route is ‘incremental’ by any standards. In fact, the FSA rate (in Rs/kwh) is comparable to the tariff rate itself and would therefore be a considerable burden on the consumers’ pockets.

‘We therefore urge the APERC to mandate the Discoms to clearly and prominently disclose in their monthly bills and elsewhere, in an understandable and clear manner, about the FSA liability to the consumer on power already consumed but to be determined and levied only at a subsequent and indeterminate point in time.”

The Lok Satta Party also suggested decentralization of distribution and creation of local stake holding for better management and loss reduction for Discoms.

A Call To Order

Revile not politics. Reform it instead. And the first step towards it? Cast a vote for proportional representation. -Jayaprakash Narayan

Is Indian democracy at the crossroads? Certainly we have achieved a great deal; protection of freedoms, deepening participation, reasonable though sub-par economic growth, peaceful transfer of power and fierce political competition. And yet there is a sense of foreboding, a growing disquiet among senior leaders and concerned citizens. Politics is getting too polarised (Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh); there is great churning and rejection of the status quo (both the Congress and BJP were rejected in the recent state polls; the Congress and TDP are on the decline in Andhra Pradesh while the YSR Congress Party is on the rise); the buying of votes is rampant (it costs Rs 5-7 crore to contest an assembly seat in AP, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka); parties are forced to field criminals as candidates (UP, Bihar); reckless populism is hurting the exchequer; corruption is supreme; fiscal deficits are not under control; education and healthcare are in a shambles; governments in most states and at the Centre seem to be powerless to halt the slide, and politics is reviled as never before.

Where have we gone wrong? Blaming it all on politicians and parties is futile and counterproductive. The more we delegitimise politics, the harder it is to nurture good leadership and to summon the will and skill to improve things. For years, we pinned hopes on economic growth to somehow resolve our political crisis. But our political failures are undermining growth and opportunity for the poor. Modern economy cannot for long coexist with antediluvian politics.

We need to return to the initial conditions that existed when we gave ourselves democracy. During the freedom struggle, India was blessed with exceptional leadership across all regions and social groups. After independence, these freedom-fighters were the first-generation politicians and nation-builders. They did a great job integrating princely states, bringing order, building institutions and articulating a national vision. That is why India remains an oasis of robust democracy among nations liberated after the War.

However, power remained centralised. India became unique in that liberty and universal franchise coexisted with a high degree of centralisation (with citizens marginalised, and citizenship devalued), and there was abject dependence on those with power and influence for simple services (ration card, birth certificate, FIR registration, land records). The early, robust attempts to decentralise power were soon given up after a decade. This centralisation prevented the growth of local leadership and innovation. People were not enabled to discover the possibilities and limits of power. Asymmetry of power and poverty meant a desperate quest for daily necessities and elusive government services. The licence raj made things worse. The lower bureaucracy remained unaccountable and exploitative. People needed sifarish or bribe to get even the smallest thing done. The romance of freedom gave way to disenchantment within 20 years.

The hapless citizen had only one lever to get even simplest things done—the vote. The politician who sought it was the only one who would listen—or be forced to listen! The local MLA thus became the disguised executive, an elected maharaja, to get everything done. But he had no real, legal authority, and no means of really delivering. However hard he tried to intervene on a daily basis to reach some services to the people, the results remained unsatisfactory.

Soon the politician realised that people depended on him for everything, but he had no ability to deliver. And he had no time for his family or for pursuing any economic activity for an honest livelihood. Yet, it was a thankless task. There was neither the glory of freedom struggle, nor the satisfaction of getting things done. Only the odium of having to beg for votes, and the criticism and grumbling of dissatisfied voters. The politician soon came to the conclusion that honesty was incompatible with survival in politics. Many honest politicians faded out. Sons and daughters of entrenched politicians, or those who made politics and patronage a means of personal profit, became the dominant players in politics.

Armed with the realisation that honesty didn’t pay in politics, a few politicians started inducing poor voters with money and liquor. Soon, most serious competitors followed suit. A large expenditure did not guarantee victory; but failure to spend almost certainly meant defeat. Big money became the entrance fee for political competition. Corruption fed the system. What started as a necessity became an opportunity, and natural resources, contracts, transfers, licences and permits—all became a source of private gain. With all major parties deploying big money in elections, more was needed to get votes. Intense populism and freebies became weapons in the electoral armoury. Instead of focusing on education, healthcare, skills and jobs, the poor began to be offered immediate, short-term palliatives (free rice, free power, colour TVs, bicycles, etc). However, after all parties caught on, freebies alone became insufficient to assure victory. The traditional caste, religious and regional divides in Indian society became fertile ground for political manipulation. It is easy to provoke primordial loyalties in a divided, heterogeneous society and pit one group against the other. The severe competition for patronage, higher education, jobs and political office could be easily channelised to provoke rivalries and jealousies, and fashion long-term votebanks. All these three—vote-buying, freebies and calling on primordial loyalties—are now the staple of electoral politics.

We can discern three phases of politics since 1947. The first phase (1947-67) saw nation-building and Congress monopoly. The second (1967-89) saw a challenge to Congress monopoly and the emergence of alternatives. The third phase (1989-2000) witnessed fierce competition for power in each state and at the national level. We are now entering a fourth phase—characterised by anger and ennui, delegitimisation of politics, cynicism, rejection of established parties, fragmentation, invoking primordial loyalties, zero-sum-game politics, rampant corruption, and increasing incapacity to address challenges or have an honest conversation with people, a failure of nerve, and intense, reckless populism.

Where do we go now? Is Indian politics bound to degenerate and lead to anarchy? Is our economy doomed because of failed politics? Will India be an also-ran, instead of being a major world economy? Will the next generation continue to suffer unnecessary poverty, pain and anguish? Is there a way out of the political morass? These are the inevitable questions today.

There is no simple silver bullet to resolve a long-incubating political crisis, no short-cuts to national rejuvenation. No single solution applies to all societies; answers that are relevant in one situation have no value in different circumstances. If we understand the levers of change in a context, then a rapid course correction is possible.

One critical factor trapping us into a vicious cycle is the importance of the marginal vote for victory in each constituency in our first-past-the-post (FPTP) system. In our system, a party or candidate is elected in each constituency on the basis of obtaining more votes than any other candidate. Such a system has the advantage of a comfortable majority for a ruling party. Only Britain and some of its former colonies, the US, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Canada have such a system. The US and the Philippines have a presidential system, and Pakistan has a president and cabinet sharing power, with the army dominating. Britain has different systems at other levels—local governments, regional parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, European Parliament and London city. The House of Commons alone is based on FPTP.

The FPTP works well in Britain. Its electorate is educated and well-informed; public discourse is intelligent and focused on issues and policies; there is no vote-buying; politics attracts the finest talent; parties offer alternative policies; new leadership and new ideas continue to emerge. In such a country, it makes no sense to change the electoral system.

In today’s India, FPTP has different consequences. In FPTP, the total share of a candidate’s or party’s vote has no relevance. What matters is getting at least one more vote than the nearest rival. One more vote means victory; and one less voter means defeat. There are no second prizes in a winner-take-all system. The candidate is therefore desperate to woo the marginal vote for victory. In a poor country with rampant corruption, vote-buying is inevitable to induce the marginal voter. In FPTP, people rarely vote for the best candidate or party; they tend to vote for the second-worst party, for fear of being saddled with the worst option in their estimation. Even when better candidates or parties are available, voters all over the world hate to see their votes “wasted” on sure losers. In FPTP, usually the two dominant candidates/parties alone matter; and all behave similarly to get marginal votes. No matter who wins, they adopt similar methods, and nothing fundamentally changes after elections. Many voters, particularly those not induced by money, stay away from elections. As a general rule, the polling percentage in FPTP is 10-15 per cent lower than in proportional representation. If candidates stop buying votes, our polling percentage in many constituencies will be closer to 40 per cent, not 60 per cent.

Given the compulsions of FPTP in today’s Indian conditions, parties are forced to deploy not the most desirable candidates, but those who can somehow win the marginal vote. Those with large amounts to spend on vote-buying (Rs 5-10 crore for an MLA in some states), or those who emerged as leaders of the caste that dominates in the constituency, or criminals with muscle power, money and caste-base emerge as ideal candidates for all serious parties competing for power. Even honest leaders genuinely striving to improve things have no choice but to deploy such candidates if they are to have a chance of gaining power and influence. Can we redefine victory and change incentives in politics? Can a different way of electing our leaders alter the course of politics? No electoral system is perfect. We have to look at practical and acceptable answers suitable to a society in a specific context. It is time we Indians focused on our electoral system, instead of reviling politicians and shunning public life. We need to create a framework in which incentives change, vote-buying is rendered unnecessary, honest politics is sustainable, policies and ideas gain precedence over prejudices, honest, competent and purposive citizens can get elected, and the vicious cycle of bad politics and corruption can be broken. A system which gives a party seats in the legislature in proportion to the votes it obtains—statewise—will radically alter our politics and outcomes.

Such a proportional representation system would not depend on the marginal vote in a constituency for gaining seats. The parties will get seats in the assembly and Lok Sabha in proportion to their votes in each state. Vote-buying will be redundant because a few more votes in a constituency at the cost of the overall party image will not be desperately important to survive. The parties can put up decent and worthy candidates who can enrich public life and be electoral assets—many such people can only be nominated to the Rajya Sabha now. The parties will also not be desperate to make unholy compromises for electoral survival. They can honestly seek vote on their vision and policies. The corrupt and cynical politicians will give way to the honest and competent leaders who share a broader vision for society. A class of leaders similar to our freedom-fighters will emerge from the younger generation to build a new India. More and more disenchanted voters and citizens will return to polling booths and participate. A democratic rejuvenation will take place.

In addition, if we also genuinely transfer power and resources to local governments, and build a robust, third tier of federalism, our democracy will mature. People will see the link between their vote and consequences in terms of public good. The person who is elected will start making a real difference. There will be greater transparency as the way taxes and resources are deployed will be visible. People will ensure that services improve. Authority will be fused with accountability, and there will be no alibis for non-performance—those who deliver will be empowered.


FPTP vs PR: Which Is Better?

Which countries follow the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system?
The US, UK, Canada, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Malawi and Zambia.

What’s wrong with the FPTP system?
If there are only two choices (two parties or two candidates), FPTP can be a reasonable reflection of public will. But where there are multiple choices, the results are often skewed and distorted, and the elected house may not be truly representative.

Does it mean FPTP may result in minority governments?
In both the 2004 and 2009 general elections, the UPA secured less than 40 per cent of the votes polled. In other words, a majority of the voters—60 per cent and more—were not in favour of the UPA. But FPTP gave UPA a majority of seats.

What’s the relationship between voteshare and seats under FPTP?
A small change in voteshare may lead to a disproportionate increase or decrease in the number of seats won by a political party. The Samajwadi Party, for example, increased its voteshare in Uttar Pradesh from 25.43 per cent in 2007 to 29.15 per cent in the 2012 assembly election—an increase of 3.72 percentage points—but it won an additional 127 seats, an increase of 131 per cent. The Congress also increased its voteshare by 3.02 per cent in the state this time but gained only six additional seats.

Which countries follow the proportional representation system?
By far, the majority of the countries. Germany, France, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Russia and many other countries follow different variations of the PR system while some mix it with the FPTP system.

Why is the proportional representation system more useful?
Besides being a better and more representative reflection of popular will, the PR system will cut down on electoral expenses and reduce the use of both money and muscle power. Byelections too can be avoided.

Why are Indian political parties opposed to PR then?
Regional parties are apprehensive that proportional representation will reduce their strength in Parliament and therefore their political clout. National parties argue it will be more complicated, will lead to instability.

Does the Constitution allow for proportional representation?
Nothing in the Indian Constitution prescribes that we should have the first-past-the-post system. A suitable amendment in the Representation of People Act is all that is required. The Constitution merely mandates a government which is collectively responsible to Parliament and prescribes that members of the Lok Sabha be elected directly.


Fringe Players

Congress and BJP have negligible presence in the UP assembly. National parties reduced to insignificance.

Courtesy: Outlook India

Saturday, July 14, 2012

పౌరసమస్యల పరిష్కారానికి 24x7 కాల్ సెంటర్ ఉండాలి

Courtesy: Andhra Jyothy

15న విశాఖలో జేపీ పర్యటన

Dr. JP visiting Vizag on July 15

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be the chief guest at a function being held in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, July 15 to celebrate the 92nd birthday of Mr. Kandala Subrahmanyam, prominent freedom fighter and member of the first Lok Sabha (1952-57).

Later, Dr. JP will visit the site of the recent accident in the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and call on the families of victims.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Anti Corruption Movement by Lok Satta Party

The Lok Satta Party will launch a movement from August 10 to December 9 to spread awareness among at least a crore of people on the need to end corrupt rule and usher in good governance. The dates are significant in that August 10 follows the Quit India Day observed on August 9 and December 9 is World Anti Corruption Day.

Addressing media at the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the party's State Working Committee, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said that to usher in good governance, the prerequisites are empowerment of people through decentalization, giving top priority to education and healthcare, restriction of liquor consumption, making agriculture remunerative and eradicaing poverty so that every citizen can live with self-respect.

The Lok Satta Party, Dr. JP said, would launch a campaign to enlist active party members from July 1 to Septemer 30, publish the party members/voters' list on October 31, and announe the organizational election schedule on November 15. Elections would be held from the village to the State level units under the superivision of an independent election authority. Such direct elections to the party were held for the first time in 2009.

Dr. JP said that with parties both at the State and national levels becoming the private estates, a common person however competent he or she is has no chance of coming up in a party. In contrast, ordinary people like Barrack Obama in the U. S., Angela Merckel in Germany and Cameroon in the U. K. rose to eminence with their talent and are leading their countries.

Dr. JP appealed to people to use the Lok Satta Party as their platform to grow in politics and serve the country. "You need not be the son or daughter of a political leader or rich and wealthy. It is enough if you have talent, honesty and an inclination to serve society."

Dr. JP made it clear that those who try to rig elections to be held by secret ballot by forming syndicates or lure voters on the basis of caste, religion, language and region will be disqualified from contesting.

Dr. JP reiterated that he would not be in the race for the post of the President of the Andhra Pradesh unit and added he would continue to be the party's national President. Up 50 percent of party posts would be allocated to women, SC, ST, BC and minoirty candidates. Preference would be given to youth in the organization.

In reply to a question, Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta Party has decided to work with Left parties with the twin objectives of providing an honest alternative to the traditional parties in Andhra Pradesh and striving at the national level for introduction of proportional representation in elected bodies. Despite ideological differences, the Lok Satta and the Left parties had similar agendas.

Replying to a question on Rayala Telangana, Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta would welcome Telangana emerging as part of a comprehensive and amicable solution after thorough discussions.

Dr. JP expressed serious concern over the continuing power crisis in Andhra Pradesh and frequent industrial accidents.

Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and Working Committee member J. Irama Murthy took part in the media conference.