In the media

  • Demonetization is a difficult, massive operation. Now that the government has taken this major initiative , the people are very receptive to all  major reforms. Excessive empowerment of tax officials letting loose Inspection Raj and overregulation in license-permit Raj created black money and corruption in the first place.  Therefore relying on these methods will be a recipe for disaster.

    What then are the practical, rational, effective steps that will radically transform the way citizens look at tax laws, the public servants behave, and government acts?  Here are the five doable things along with this massive exercise of demonetization touching the life of almost every citizen.

    1.Service Delivery

    Taxation without commensurate services is only legal plunder.  Our tax rates are comparable to most countries at 30% of top rate.  But services people get in return are appallingly bad.  Our infrastructure, water, sanitation, storm water drainage, education and healthcare are among the most unreliable and sub-standard in civilized world.  On top of this, for almost all basic, paid services citizens are entitled to, people are forced to pay a bribe to avoid delays, repeated visits, harassment, humiliation or denial of services.  In most cases, a ration card, birth certificate, income or caste certificate, land records, registration of a sale deed, water connection or power connection cannot be obtained without a bribe.

    Immediate enactment and effective enforcement of a Public Service Delivery law which guarantees services in a fixed time, and compensation is paid for every day’s delay will improve citizen satisfaction, give fair returns for taxes paid, and enhance trust between people and government.  Considering that it is the poor and middle classes who suffer most from poor service delivery, this step will improve lives for the bulk of the people at no additional cost and will reduce the ubiquitous, day-to-day petty, extortionary corruption.

    2.Tax Rates

    Considering the appallingly poor quality of basic services provided by government, our tax rates are high.  Now that unaccounted money is going to reach the banks, government can safely reduce tax rates in a revenue-neutral manner.  Taxation without services cannot be tolerated in a democratic society, and it soon degenerates into legal plunder and extraction under duress. The best way to raise tax, GDP ratio and ensure willing compliance is to reestablish the link between taxes and services.  Three measures are vital to ensure willing tax compliance of citizens:

    a). An immediate reduction of top rate of income tax in a revenue neutral manner – by say 5%.

    b). Fair tax assessment, and non-discretionary application of tax laws so that harassment and corruption of tax officials are a thing of the past.

    c). Devolution of resources to local governments – especially in urban areas – where citizens see where their money is going, along with encouragement to raise local taxes based on services and accountability institutions to prevent abuse.

    3.Real Estate Reform

    Real estate reform is long overdue.  Many honest farmers and salaried middle classes are forced to deal in cash transactions without any benefit to them.  Three simple steps by union and states together will eliminate black money in real estate in a revenue-neutral manner.

    a). Increase basic valuation of land and property to reflect 75% – 80% of current market price

    b). Reduce stamp duty in a revenue neutral manner, so that buyers can show real value and pay fair duties and government does not lost revenue.

    c). Reduce capital gains tax from 20% to 10%, which will be revenue neutral as the actual market value will be reflected in the registered sale price.  When long term capital gains are not taxed in stock market, it makes no sense to tax 20% of capital gains on urban housing when most often replacement cost is high, urban land values keep rising, and most people invest life’s savings in a house or urban property.

    4.Collusive Corruption

    Once small corruption is reduced by service guarantees and localized, accountable exercise of power, the grand, collusive corruption needs to be confronted. In grand corruption, both bribe giver and bribe taker collude to defraud the public, undermine competition, cause loss to exchequer, appropriate natural resources, provide low quality public good and services or damage the environment. If this collusive corruption is not addressed swiftly and sternly, corruption will shift from cash to assets, and deposits in foreign accounts will soon become the habitual medium of corruption. Three practical steps are needed to address grand, collusive corruption.

    a). Withdraw the unwise amendments proposed in anti-corruption law – they make 3-year prison term mandatory for ordinary citizens compelled to pay bribes for services they are entitled to, and give protection to all bribe takers at all levels from even police investigation into corruption without prior government approval. Instead, grant full immunity to citizens who are forced to pay a bribe for what is their due, and give protection to those public servants who are subjected to vexatious investigations – those related to policy advice and policy formulation at government level, or bona fide decisions taken in compliance with government policy.

      b). Compulsory retirement of at least 1000 senior officials with known record of immense corruption and misgovernance. Government has power to retire them after 50 years of age or 25 years of service without assigning any reason. But for this step to be truly effective, government should identify the worst offenders without fear, favour or prejudice, and must be utterly fair, and objective in its decisions. Otherwise, it will only lead to more damage than good.

      c). Bring in a law to curb corruption similar to SAFEMA, 1976 intended to curb smuggling and foreign exchange manipulation, and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1988. The SC suggested that such a law should be enacted to curb corruption. In this law, there should be three key provisions – confiscation of all property, including benami properties; mandatory jail term of 15 years or more; and reversal of burden of proof once there is prima facie evidence.

    5.    Systemic political reform to end vote buying

    All these steps listed above will help a great deal in curbing black money and corruption. But they cannot be sustained for long unless we stop vote-buying and vast, illegitimate expenditure in elections.

    In a cycle of 5 years, nearly Rs.100,000 crore (one trillion or one lakh crore) is spent illegitimately in elections at national, state and local levels. Such a system cannot be sustained without a ten-fold returns to those who are elected to office. That means political corruption of the order of Rs. 10,00,000 cr (ten trillion).

    This political corruption is mediated by contracts, licenses, natural resource allocation, interference in rule of law, and most of all transfers, postings and key placements. In return, much of the vast machine of bureaucracy that has paid for transfers, posting and placements and the entrepreneurs who bribed to get licenses, favours, loans or natural resources, have to either indulge in corruption for returns on investment, or suppress revenue and evade taxes to make a profit in a business venture.

    We need the following three systemic reforms to alter the incentives for candidates, parties and voters.

    a). Proportional Representation in States

    The requirement of marginal vote in the winner-take-all first-past-the-post system is at the root of vote buying in our country.In the quest for winning votes, most major contenders for power – candidate and parties – are forced to spend lavishly and buy votes. Vast, unaccounted expenditure has become the necessary entry fee for serious electoral competition. it had become a huge entry barrier, has distorted political competition and incentives in politics, has attracted wrong kind of people and repelled most of the public-spirited citizens, and created a system of corruption, bad governance, cynicism and under-performance.

    If we allocate seats in proportion of the share of votes of a party in a state, then marginal vote is not vital; winner does not take all; there is no desperation to buy votes; ethical groups and parties will have voice; consensus becomes necessary in governance; representation is available to all views; and ethical politics and entry of truly public-spirited citizens become assets, not liabilities for parties.

    There are various models of such Proportional Representation (PR). But simple, state-based models with a reasonable threshold of vote requirement to prevent excessive fragmentation, and multi-member constituencies to continue link between people and their representative will work best in Indian conditions.Such a PR system is technically easy to introduce – it only requires a change in law.

    b). Direct Election in States

    Now that there is a vigorous debate about simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, the best way to accomplish that goal is election of the head of government in states by the people in a direct election, with clear separation of powers, fixed tenure, term limitations, and the freedom to appoint the cabinet from outside the Assembly. In a large, aggregate election in the whole state, the risks of vast investment in vote buying are too high, and rewards are too low. Therefore leaders and parties will depend on the personality, character, record and credibility of the candidate, and the agenda, rather than on vote-buying. At the same time, as the legislative majority is no longer necessary for the survival and functioning of the executive, the profit making opportunity of the legislator diminishes substantially (he can no longer pressurize government for transfers, contracts and other favours). Therefore, the risk of high investment in vote-buying becomes unsustainable, as the rewards are few. The whole system will go into a virtuous cycle, and black money and corruption will decline significantly.

    c). Accountable, Empowered Local Governments

    Well-designed, accountable local governments are where people can see the links between their vote and personal outcomes (very similar to residents’ welfare associations – RWAs), and between taxes and services. Also in empowered local governments authority can be fused with accountability, and there will be clear lines of accountability and no alibis for non-performance or failure. If we allow the local governments to be the real third tier of governments with clear separation of functions listed in the Seventh Schedule, and with a definite share of devolution on par with states through Finance Commission, our democracy will undergo radical transformation and vote buying, black money and corruption will be reduced substantially. We also need strong, independent, empowered local ombudsman, so that the pervasive culture of corruption and mis-governance does not destroy local governments before a virtuous cycle can be established.

    All these five fundamental reforms – service delivery, tax rates and administration, real estate, grand collusive corruption and electoral system – are achievable and within reach. The demonetization is a difficult, massive operation. Now that the government has taken this major initiative, the people are very receptive to all these major reforms. All we need are clarity of purpose, a sense of strategy and deep insights into how free societies operate. If these steps are proposed by the government, and the first four easy, popular steps are implemented quickly, the conditions for the major political reform with popular will and broad consensus would be created. Time is of the essence. If this priceless opportunity is squandered by inaction or arbitrary action, we may not recapture the momentum for positive change for a long time.

    *The author is the founder of Lok Satta movement and Foundation for Democratic Reforms.

    12/05/2016 - 21:00
  • We recognize that there will be paralysis of governance at the top levels of bureaucracy if there is needless harassment, vexatious investigation into bonafide decisions, and reckless prosecution of senior officials for bonafideadvice or decisions in conformity with Government policy. The recent vexatious investigations of several upright public officials for legitimate actions and decisions have done immense damage to Governmental decision-making. Therefore, Government officials should be given immunity and protection from vexatious investigations in matters related to policy decisions in discharge of their functions at the government level. But extending such immunity to all the 20 million public servants irrespective of nature of functions exercised by them paralyses all anti-corruption institutions, renders anti-corruption law ineffective, overburdens the government and further promotes the ubiquitous culture of corruption. Therefore, in place of the omnibus protection to all public servants and in respect of all kind of allegations, there must be selective protection in matters relating to policy recommendations and decisions at the Government level.

    Secondly, when corruption is rampant, we need reliable evidence to act decisively against public servants. Most retailcorruption in India is extortionary where a citizen or corporate is fleeced by an unscrupulous official simply to do what was originally due to them or what they are entitled to. In such a scenario, it is important to give immunity to bribe-givers who are victims of extortion in order to be able to prosecute corrupt officials. In a climate of appallingly poor service delivery, ubiquitous corruption and harassment of innocent citizens seeking even the simplest of services, most households are compelled to pay bribe for even a birth certificate, ration card, caste or income certificate, land record, registration of a sale deed,water or power connection or building plan approval.Unfortunately, the government seems to have not understood this fact and proposed to punish all bribe-givers, including the helpless, ordinary citizens who are forced to pay a bribe. The new section 8 (1) proposes to enhance punishment for all forms of bribe giving, including by ordinary citizens to get a service they are entitled to get. The punishment under this law, once enacted, can be upto 7 years, with a mandatory minimum of 3 years.

    Background to the insertion of Section 17A

    1. PC Act, 1988 gives full freedom to investigative agencies to conduct enquiry into allegations against any public servant. No prior permission was envisaged in law for investigation. However, Section 19(1) of the PC Act, 1988 as well as Section 197 of CrPC envisage prior sanction of prosecution of a public servant.
    2. In 2003, Section 6A was incorporated in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DSPE Act, 1946) dealing with CBI. This section mandated prior approval of government before CBI took up investigation of cases of corruption under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act, 1988) relating to officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above.
    3. In 2014, in the case of Dr. Subramanian Swami vs Director, CBI and others (writ petition (civil) number 21 of 2004 of Centre for Public Interest Litigation vs Union of India) the Supreme Court struck down Section 6A as unconstitutional and violative of rule of law.
    4. Now, the Union government is introducing an official amendment in the pending legislation The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013. Under the proposed Section 8B of the Amendment Bill, a new Section17A is sought to be inserted in the Principal Act as follows:

      "8A. In section 17 of the principal Act, in the second proviso, for the words, brackets, letter and figure "clause (e) of sub-section (1)", the words, brackets, letter and figure "clause (b) of sub-section (1)" shall be substituted'; Amendment of section 17.
      8B. After section 17 of the principal Act, the following section shall be inserted, namely:- Insertion of new section 17A.

      "17A. (1) No police officer shall conduct any investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under this Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in the discharge of his official functions or duties, without the previous approval- Investigation of offences relatable to recommendations made or decision taken by public servant in discharge of official functions or duties.

      (Source : Notice of Amendments, RajyaSabha, November 2015)
      http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Corruption/List%20of%20Amendments-%20PCA%20November.pdf

    Implications of the proposed Section 17A:

    Section 17A makes it mandatory on the police/probe agency to obtain sanction of Lokpal, in cases involving employees of the Union, and of respective Lokayuktas, in cases involving employees of the States before initiating any inquiry/investigation against a public servant in all cases of corruption except where the public servant is caught red-handed. Any complaint to police/probe agency shall be treated as a deemed complaint to Lokpal or Lokayukta as the case may be. The Lokpal/Lokayukta should therefore go through elaborate and cumbersome procedure prescribed in Chapter VII of Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013.

    However, given the way Lokpal/Lokayukta institutions are structured, it is likely that there will be great delay in sanction of investigation and the whole sanctioning machinery – Lokpal or Lokayukta or respective government will be paralysed with tens of thousands of cases needing prior sanction for investigation. And with nearly 200 lakh or 2 crore public servants in India and the CBI and State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) forwarding each case to Lokpal/Lokayukta before even commencing investigation, the whole anti-corruption institutional framework will be jammed and paralysed.

    The Rajya Sabha Select Committee recommended that this prior sanction of investigation should be by the Union or state government. Evidence in many states shows that requests for sanction of prosecution are pending with governments for years even in cases of clear and compelling evidence. It would be unreasonable to expect that the Union or State governments can handle the enormous workload involved in sanction of investigations. If even investigation cannot be launched against a clerk or a minor government official without prior government consent, and if it takes months or years to approve investigation of corruption, public trust in government will be severely eroded, and the corrupt officials will be emboldened to be even more rapacious.

    Therefore, it is illogical to extend the discredited single directive to all classes of government employees, retrogressive as it weakens investigative agencies, burdensome on the institutions of Unions and State governments or Lokpal/Lokayuktas, and ultimately counter-productive in combating corruption.

    Nevertheless, there is a genuine case to provide protection from malicious or vexatious investigations to key officials at the level of decision-making and policy formulation. Therefore, the following provision may be inserted to give protection in such cases:

    “17A (1) No police officer shall conduct any investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under this Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or Policydecision taken at the government level in the discharge of his/her official functions or duties, without the previous approval-

    in the case of a person who is or was employed, at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed, in connection with the affairs of the Union, of that Government;

    in the case of a person who is or was employed, at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed, in connection with the affairs of a State, of that Government;

    in the case of any other person, of the authority competent to remove him from his office, at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed:

    Provided that no such approval shall be necessary for cases involving arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person:

    Provided further that the concerned authority shall convey its decision under this section within a period of three months, which may, for reasons to be recorded in writing by such authority, be extended by a further period of one month.

    Prosecution of bribe-giver

    As pointed out in the report of the Select Committee of the RajyaSabha, the proposed Section 8 in the PCA Bill 2013 criminalizes the act of bribe-giving as an independent offence and provides that anyone who offers, promises or gives 'undue advantage' to any person to induce the public servant to perform public duty improperly would constitute cognizable offence. The bribe-giver has been given protection in the proposed sub-Section (2) of Section 8 where the bribe-giver informs the law enforcement authority or investigation agency before giving the bribe. But the Committee does not recommend any protection to ordinary citizens who are forced to pay a bribe for myriad simple services they are entitled to. Parliamentary Select Committee recommends that if the bribe-giver within seven days of giving or payingbribe to public servant reports the matter to police or law enforcing agency, he may be given immunity from criminal prosecution. It is unrealistic that a helpless, poor citizen can avail this facility and report to the police in a milieu of ubiquitous corruption in most interactions between a citizen and a government agency. There is tremendous asymmetry of power in India which makes 90% citizens weak, defenseless and vulnerable to extraction of bribes even by low-level functionaries in government. Criminalizing most citizens trapped in the milieu of corruption is counter-productiveand unenforceable. The state that has failed to protect the citizens and provide even the most basic services without corruption cannot put the onus on citizens and treat them as criminals. Such an approach is morally reprehensible and will only alienate ordinary citizens from our government process. And to incorporate such a provision to severely punish helpless citizens while the Bill seeks to give extra protection to the corrupt employee who receives the bribes is extremely detrimental to public morale and credibility of law makers and government.The answer to extortionary corruption is to create a framework in which efficient and prompt services are delivered without bribe, influence, or harassment; not punishing the hapless citizen who is the victim.

    However, there is another class of bribe givers that undermines public good and profits from collusion with corrupt public servants. In awarding of contracts, allocation of natural resources, granting of licenses, appointment and transfer of officials, andfabricating evidence or unduly influencing investigation or prosecution, the bribe giver is gaining undue advantage, obstructing law, undermining public good, plundering the state exchequer, distorting fair competition, adversely affecting the quality of public goods and services, and in general seriously damaging the governance process. Such bribe givers need to be dealt with sternly by law. The present law is too feeble and ineffective to deal with collusive corruption. The Second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended that in cases of collusive corruption, the punishment should be enhanced and the burden of proof should be shifted on the accused once prima facie evidence is established.

    Therefore, a clear distinction needs to be drawn in the definitions part for collusive and coercive corruption. A few verifiable standards would be:

    1. Is there any out of turn, undeserving benefit to the bribe giver?
    2. Is there any fraud, misrepresentation or undermining of competition?
    3. Is there a loss to the exchequer?
    4. Has the bribe affected the decision materially so that an undeserving person got a benefit?
    5. Has the quality of public goods or services suffered on account of corruption?
    6. Has public interest suffered by violation of safety norms, or environmental standards?

    If the answer to any of these is positive, it becomes a case of collusive corruption.

    Therefore, there is a need to define the offence of ‘collusive bribery’ in Section 7 in the PCA (Amendment Bill), 2013. An offence could be classified as ‘collusive bribery’ if the outcome of the transaction leads to a loss to the state, public or public interest. The punishment for all such cases of collusive bribery should be double that of other cases of bribery and the victims of coercive corruption should be completely protected by law. In all such cases if it is established that the interest of the state or public has suffered because of an act of a public servant, then the court shall presume that the public servant and the beneficiary of the decision committed an offence of collusive bribery.

    The answer to coercive bribe-giving is timely services without having to resort to bribes, not harsh punishment of the victim of corruption. It is the government’s duty to enact a public service delivery law with the provisions for time lines for each service and compensation for delay. The strange consequence of proposed amendment is that the small bribe-giver who is a victim of a dysfunctional system will be cruelly punished, while bribe taker will enjoy immunity.

    Therefore, we request you to ensure that the Members of Parliament across parties are made aware of these grave implications and the proposed amendments be modified accordingly.

    ***

    Foundation for Democratic Reforms
    # 6-3-1187, Flat No. 801 & 806,
    8th Floor, Srinivasa Towers,
    Beside ITC Kakatiya Hotel,
    Begumpet, Hyderabad – 500016
    Telangana
    Phone: 91-40-2341 9949;
    Fax: 91-40-2341 9948
    Email: jp@fdrindia.org ;
    web: www.fdrindia.org

    11/26/2016 - 20:30
  • Following is the text of the letter that Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan sent to PM and Party leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seeking changes in Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill.

    ****

    24th November, 2016

    Dear ……

    Kindly find enclosed a note on the grave implications of the official amendments proposed to Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 seeking to incorporate a new Section 17A. This amendment attempts to bring back the discredited Single Directive and the Section 6A of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE Act) which was quashed by the Supreme Court in May 2014, and make them applicable to all public servants of all ranks. While the erstwhile Section 6A of DSPE Act provided for mandatory prior approval for investigation of corruption offences against senior officials of the rank of Joint Secretary and above, this new amendment makes such prior approval for investigation in respect of all corruption investigations relating to all public servants. There is need to protect officials involved in policy making or in implementing government policy from vexatious investigation or prosecution. But an omnibus protection to all public servants involved in all forms of corruption defeats the purpose.  

    Secondly, the proposed Section 8 in the PCA Bill 2013 criminalizes the act of bribe-giving as an independent offence and provides that anyone who offers, promises or gives 'undue advantage' to any person to induce the public servant to perform public duty improperly would constitute cognizable offence.  The small bribe giver who is a victim of a dysfunctional system is going to be cruelly punished with a minimum imprisonment of three years, while bribe taker will enjoy immunity, if such a provision is incorporated.

    We, therefore, urge you to take corrective action and ensure that the deeply offensive provisions of severe punishment to ordinary citizens who are forced to pay a bribe for services they are entitled to, and protection from investigation of bribe takers of all ranks are suitably amended in the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013. The following changes are needed in the bill: 

    1. Removal of omnibus protection to all public servants, in respect of all kind of allegations and providing selective protection in matters relating to policy recommendations and decisions at the Government level.
    2. Drawing clear distinction in the definitions part for collusive and coercive corruption. 
    3. Incorporating fair provisions to give immunity to bribe givers who are victims of extortion and prosecute corrupt officials

    The amendments proposed in the Bill in the current form will weaken anti-corruption institutions and undermine the very purpose of the law. I therefore, urge you to take the initiative and ensure that the offensive provisions are altered and a pragmatic, fair, effective anti-corruption regime is in place. The attached note explains the implications of the amendment and suggests the necessary amendments. 

    With warm personal regards,

    Jayaprakash Narayan
    General Secretary

    Encl: Note on implications of official amendments proposed to PC Act

    11/26/2016 - 20:00
  • Loksatta founder Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan is participating as a special invitee in a High Level Round Table Discussion in Delhi on 24 May 2016, organised under the auspices of Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in Hotel Taj Mahal, Man Singh Road, New Delhi.

    Politicians with expert knowledge on health related aspects, senior journalists, health professionals, and psephologists with insights in voter preferences  will be participating in the  Round Table, chaired by Sasi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, Lok sabha. Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is invited as a specialist to share his vast experience in politics, health administration and his pioneering work in formulating policies for systemic reforms in various aspects of governance.

    The Round Table will be broadly discussing as to why public health is not a pressing political and electoral issue in India. After all, the country is torn between the dichotomous challenge of a youth bulge and an increasingly aging population. While a large section of the country suffers from malnutrition, an equally significant section is experiencing a spurt in non-communicable diseases like obesity ushered in by the changes associated with an urban lifestyle. These challenges are further exacerbated by distinct gaps India’s health system. Childhood diseases, including vaccine-preventable ones, are not just big killers in India but severely impair our demographic dividend. In terms of health care provision, poor access, particularly in rural areas, lack of trained medical professionals and high out-of- pocket costs feature as major impediments. Despite the magnitude of India’s public health challenge, healthcare does not feature prominently in political and policy discourses. 

    On the one hand, government spending in and policy attention to public health has been rising appreciably in the past decade, using frameworks such as the National Health Mission and the Mission Indradhanush immunisation programme. On the other, healthcare still remains absent from political discourse and election campaigns. What could explain this? 

    Is it because voters don’t see health as a public issue and are comfortable with regarding it as a private burden? Is it because politicians and candidates either evade public health, in pursuit of other, more compelling election and voter hooks? Is it because voters don’t question or pressure candidates on health? Or do they so in an indirect manner, raising ancillary concerns that parties and candidates, and the media, don’t immediately connect with public health?

    05/23/2016 - 17:45
  • Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan, Founder, Loksatta has stated today that with the passing away of Sri Chennamaneni Rajeswara Rao, we have lost a true democrat who fought relentlessly, throughout his life, for a strong India, for the progress of Telugu people and for Telangana’s bright future.  Dr.JP added that Rajeswara Rao was a very broad-minded and enlightened social democrat, who wished for the genuine progress of each and every Indian, cutting across the barriers of caste, religion and region.

    With an aching heart and tearful eyes, Dr. JP said in his tribute, that it is very rare to find a person like Rajeswara Rao, a towering personality of great stature, commanding respect and fame equal to that of Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers, loved by one and all, and yet a very simple person to the core of his being, without an iota of arrogance and pride.

    A very enthusiastic participant in all the programmes of Loksatta 

    Recalling his long association with Sri Rajeswara Rao, Dr. JP said in a media statement that he used to participate with great pleasure in all the programmes of Loksatta without caring for his ill-health or old age constraints. He has said that his passing away is a great personal loss to him and Loksatta has lost a staunch supporter and well-wisher. It is indeed very painful that his very valuable advices based on mature and prescient thinking will no more be forthcoming and it is a big void, Dr.JP added.

    Dr.JP said that the day is not too far, when Rajeswara Rao’s most cherished dream of an egalitarian society based on universal values and equality will become a reality and whole-heartedly wished that all right thinking people will come together to make our nation a genuine democracy, politically, economically and socially as well.  

    Lok Satta leaders paid respects to Sri Chennamaneni Rajeswara Rao at his residence and offered their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members.

    05/09/2016 - 18:00
  • Loksatta/ Foundation for Democratic Reforms (FDR) has prepared a detailed Plan of Action-Document on Health for All through which, each and every person, right from Delhi to the remotest corner of India, can access quality health services without spending a single rupee from own pockets and at the same time, costing very little to the Government.
     

    With a view to ensure its implementation throughout India, Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan, under the auspices of Loksatta/FDR and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) will be organising a Round Table Conference on 23rd April, in the India International Centre, Delhi. Many experts from the field of medicine and health services will be participating in the Round Table Conference.
     

    Thereafter, on 25th April, there will be a detailed presentation by Dr. JP and Prof Srinath Reddy (PHFI) before the NITI Aayog, as per their invitation.
     

    The Health for All document is prepared by Loksatta after an in-depth study of the prevailing health systems in various countries.  A detailed analysis of their experience and results achieved, self-evident statistics and all the relevant factors are incorporated into the Report to make it comprehensive and easily implementable.
     

    The Report reveals the bitter truth that even small countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, with much less GDP as compared to India, have fared far better in ensuring quality health care to their peoples. Dr.JP has reminded the Media that in the OECD Survey on Educational Standards, conducted in 74 countries, India stood woefully at No.73.  Kirgizstan had got the dubious distinction of standing at the bottom of the list at 74.  But when it came to Health Services, even Kirgizstan’s health care system is far better than that of India.  In the above mentioned four countries, as compared to India, the infant mortality rate is far less.  India is spending just a pittance of 1.1% of its GDP on Health Care, and this is one of the lowest allocations compared to any major country or significant economy- developed, emerging or poor.
     

    A workable solution lies in using India’s Innate Strengths
     

    One need not despair and lose heart over the present sad state of affairs. India is blessed with many crucial strengths.  We have a great medical expertise in the form of highly skilled and dedicated doctors and health personnel.  We also have the wherewithal in our strong pharma sector to manufacture medicines at a fraction of the cost prevailing in the developed world.  Coupled with the demand and technical knowledge of our people, India can provide free and quality Healthcare Services to her vast population, even on a very limited budget.  Clarity on implementing the scheme and a strong political will are the crucial factors which will ensure healthcare to the last person in the most vulnerable position, throughout the length and breadth of the country, and that too, on a totally cashless basis.
     

    LOKSATTA’S MODEL PLAN - SALIENT POINTS
     

    Loksatta/FDR’s Model Plan for its Health for All Mission has taken a final shape after a long churning process and detailed deliberations.  Under this easily implementable Action Plan, there will be one doctor for a population of 5,000 each.  There will be a Team or Panel of Doctors available and based on their personal requirement, the patients have the freedom to choose a doctor of their choice from the said Panel.  The expenses will be borne directly by the Government, through District Medical Boards, to be put in place.  As regards the Primary and Secondary Sectors, it will be based on a Public Private Participation (PPP) Model.  There will be a Super Speciality Hospital in each district to take care of the Tertiary level of Healthcare Services.  Since the tertiary level involves high cost and low result, the treatment and expenses will be totally in the Government Hospitals only. If properly implemented, Loksatta’s Health for All model can deliver quality health without out of pocket expenditure of moderate cost of only 1.7% of GDP.
     

    Loksatta has been arguing from the very beginning of its inception that it is the responsibility of the Government to provide free of cost, quality education and good healthcare services to its people.  This step alone ensures that every child will have an equal opportunity to grow to its full potential. And this and this alone is the remedy to eradicate poverty and end discrimination on the basis of caste, gender, language, region and so on.  Dr.JP has stressed the point that Loksatta is always forthright in denouncing freebies and loan-waiver schemes which only widen disparities in society and reduce the poor into beggars.
     

    Dr.JP has recalled the success that Loksatta could achieve to some extent, through it National Health Mission. Now with the freshly prepared ‘Health for All Mission’ in hand, he will be meeting the Prime Minister, the leaders of the Opposition and other important persons to convince them for its effective and speedy implementation all over India.
     

    Loksatta sources have stated that as part of their Five Point Agenda,  they will be organising many programmes based on this crucial point of Health for All, so as to create awareness among people and through them bring pressure on the Government and the concerned  agencies to implement this vital piece of reform, which will make India into a healthy and strong nation.

     

    04/21/2016 - 15:15
  • 5th April, 2016

    To
    Sri N. Chandrababu Naidu
    Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
    AP Secretariat
    Hyderabad

    Countless innocent purchasers of immovable properties are being cheated by unscrupulous land mafias all over the State, and particularly in major cities and other urban areas. Our legal provisions are very weak, and though the middle class and poor buyer of property pays a substantial stamp duty and registration fee running into vast sums, the Government does not guarantee the title of land. At present the amount collected through the stamp duty and registration fee as per 2016-17 budget is estimated at Rs 5,180 Crores. Unfortunately, the innocent buyer in most cases is not even aware of any pending litigation in respect of the land. A middle class or poor family invests a lifetime’s savings in purchasing valuable immovable property. When such a property is found to be involved in litigation, or the seller has already sold it to another buyer, or the seller is not a bonfide owner of the property, the innocent buyer is subjected to enormous hardship, anxiety, litigation, and potential loss of lifetime’s savings.     

    The 2006 Bhu Bharathi land survey programme taken up as pilot project in of Nizambad in the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh has raised the expectations of all stake holders, including the poor buyers of immovable properties, realty promoters and banks who lend substantial funds on the basis of documents. However the programme has failed to take off and people’s expectations were dashed. It is estimated in a study conducted by National Institute for Smart Government that 28% of the lands in peri-urban areas are affected by land disputes and the litigants end up spending about Rs.750 crores per annum without an end in sight. The Government which collects substantial sums from the public by way of stamp duty and registration fee has got a bounden duty to protect and reinforce the title to the properties purchased by unwary public.
     
    The recent decisions of the Andhra Pradesh government to digitize and make revenue records accessible for verification by the banks and simplify the loan disbursal process to help the farmers and to amend the Registration Act to prevent the menace of double registration are positive steps to ensure transparency of property transactions.  
         
    This letter is regarding the need for a mechanism for prospective purchasers of immovable property to verify whether a property is subject to any pending suit, decree or an attachment. Thousands of prospective purchasers are buying lands every year unaware of the pending litigations over the immovable property that they purchase. This is causing a lot of hardship, loss, anxiety and unnecessary litigation since the purchaser has no way of ascertaining if litigation is pending over the property if the person offering the property for sale does not disclose it or if he deliberately suppresses the information.

    Registration of any property should ensure the following:

    1. Registration of any property must guarantee a clear title. Irrespective of whether the buyer knew or did not know about the pending suit, he would be subject to Court’s decision.  
    2. Information about pending suits must be made accessible to the buyers. In the absence of such mechanisms thousands of innocent people are being drawn into unnecessary legal battles 

    The law as it stands today states in Transfer of Property Act, Section 52 that if a property is bought while a case is pending with respect to any right to such property directly and specifically in question, the buyer will be subject to whatever the court decides. As a result, after parting with the life time savings, the purchaser gets a shock of his life when he comes to know that the property is subject to litigation, and that it may stretch for decades and ultimately deny him the title to the property.  

    The states of Maharashtra and Gujarat by a State amendment to Section 52 of The Transfer of Property and the Indian Registration (Bombay Amendment) Act, 1939 have facilitated registration of the notice of lis pendens so that the office of sub-registrar will disclose to the prospective buyer whether there are any pending litigation along with other encumbrances over the property. The Supreme Court in 2010 cited this Act and recommended to the Law Commission and the Parliament to consider such amendment or other suitable amendments to make registration of notices in respect of decrees and in regard to attachments of immoveable properties compulsory in all other states too. The 157th report of the Law Commission submitted in April 1998 also recommended the amendment of these two sections.   In 2011, the Gujarat High Court held that due to this amendment, “the purchaser may not be in a position to contend that he was not aware about the pendency of the litigation…” When the pending litigation is registered, the purchaser can protect his bonafide interests. 

    Considering the commitment of Andhra Pradesh State Government to proactively reduce needless litigation and to protect the interests of the unwary public who otherwise may get entangled in avoidable litigation, we request you to amend Sec 52 of Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and Section 17 or 18 of Indian Registration Act, 1908 as proposed in the Annexure.

    Sincerely,

    Jayaprakash Narayan

     

    04/05/2016 - 19:00
  • 5th April, 2016

    To
    Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao,
    Chief Minister of Telangana
    Hyderabad

     

    Countless innocent purchasers of immovable properties are being cheated by unscrupulous land mafias all over the State, and particularly in Hyderabad city and other urban areas. Our legal provisions are very weak.  Though the middle class and poor buyer of property pays a substantial stamp duty and registration fee running into vast sums, the Government does not guarantee the title of land. At present the amount collected through the stamp duty and registration fee as per 2016-17 budget is estimated at Rs 4,219.99 Crores. Unfortunately, the innocent buyer in most cases is not even aware of any pending litigation in respect of the land. A middle class or poor family invests a lifetime’s savings in purchasing valuable immovable property. When such a property is found to be involved in litigation, or the seller has already sold it to another buyer, or the seller is not a bonfide owner of the property, the innocent buyer is subjected to enormous hardship, anxiety, litigation, and potential loss of lifetime’s savings.     

    The 2006 Bhu Bharathi land survey programme taken up as a pilot project in Nizambad district has raised the expectations of all stake holders, including the poor buyers of immovable properties, realty promoters and banks who lend substantial funds on the basis of documents. However the programme has failed to take off and people’s expectations were dashed. It is estimated in a study conducted by National Institute for Smart Government that 28% of the lands in peri-urban areas are affected by land disputes and the litigants end up spending about Rs.750 crores per annum without an end in sight. The Government which collects substantial sums from the public by way of stamp duty and registration fee has the bounden duty to protect the title to the properties purchased by unwary public.

    The recent initiative of your government to digitize land records should be aimed at protecting not only the Government lands but patta lands as well. There are however a few legal tangles that have to be resolved and a few practical steps need to be taken.
         
    This letter is regarding the need for a mechanism for prospective purchasers of immovable property to verify whether a property is subject to any pending suit, decree or an attachment. Thousands of prospective purchasers are buying lands every year unaware of the pending litigations over the immovable property that they purchase. This is causing a lot of hardship, loss, anxiety and unnecessary litigation since the purchaser has no way of ascertaining if litigation is pending over the property if the person offering the property for sale does not disclose it or if he deliberately suppresses the information.

    Registration of any property should ensure the following:

    1. Registration of any property must guarantee a clear title. Irrespective of whether the buyer knew or did not know about the pending suit, he would be subject to Court’s decision.  
    2. Information about pending suits must be made accessible to the buyers. In the absence of such mechanisms thousands of innocent people are being drawn into unnecessary legal battles.

    The law as it stands today states in Transfer of Property Act, Section 52 that if a property is bought while a case is pending with respect to any right to such property directly and specifically in question, the buyer will be subject to whatever the court decides. As a result, after parting with the life time savings, the purchaser gets a shock of his life when he comes to know that the property is subject to litigation, and that it may stretch for decades and ultimately deny him the title to the property.  

    The states of Maharashtra and Gujarat by a State amendment to Section 52 of The Transfer of Property and the Indian Registration (Bombay Amendment) Act, 1939 have facilitated registration of the notice of lis pendens so that the office of sub-registrar will disclose to the prospective buyer whether there are any pending litigation along with other encumbrances over the property. The Supreme Court in 2010 cited this Act and recommended to the Law Commission and the Parliament to consider such amendment or other suitable amendments to make registration of notices in respect of decrees and in regard to attachments of immoveable properties compulsory in all other states too. The 157th report of the Law Commission submitted in April 1998 also recommended the amendment of these two sections.  In 2011, the Gujarat High Court held that due to this amendment, “the purchaser may not be in a position to contend that he was not aware about the pendency of the litigation…” When the pending litigation is registered, the purchaser can protect his bonafide interests. 

    Considering the commitment of Telangana State Government to proactively reduce needless litigation and to protect the interests of the unwary public who otherwise may get entangled in avoidable litigation, we request you to amend Sec 52 of Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and Section 17th or 18 of Indian Registration Act, 1908 as proposed in the Annexure.

     

    Sincerely,

    Jayaprakash Narayan

    04/05/2016 - 18:45
  • Leak of offshore account details from Mossack Fonsesca are only tip of the iceberg, tweeted Loksatta founder Dr Jayaprakash Narayan today. But they remove lid of secrecy, he said. “It will now be harder for secrecy havens to operate. Whistleblowers did a great service to global community. Nations must now act. Indians have $b700+ in offshore havens. What is revealed is peanuts. We are losing $b70+ a year. We must stop this haemorrhage. If $b700 offshore money & half of idle money in our 20000 ton gold is invested wisely, we will have great infrastructure & millions of jobs” said Dr JP.

    04/05/2016 - 18:30
  • LokSatta founder Dr Jayaprakash Narayan welcomed the proposal for conduct of simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.  Referring to the news reports of Prime Minister’s support for simultaneous polls, Dr JP stated that repeated election cycles are disrupting administration, delaying vital decisions in national interest, and undermining governance.  Dr JP recalled Lok Satta team’s evidence before the Parliamentary Committee on the subject.

    Dr Jayaprakash Narayan pointed out that in our Westminster model of government, even if simultaneous elections are somehow held in 2019 by amending the constitution suitably, there is no guarantee that State Assemblies will not be dissolved or midterm polls will not be conducted.  Therefore a series of steps should be taken to achieve the objective and improve governance.

    Dr Jayaprakash Narayan proposed that first at national level we should incorporate a provision in the constitution for ‘constructive no – confidence’.  Germany has a similar provision.  Under constructive no – confidence, a government can be unseated in Lok Sabha only if an alternative government with majority support is feasible. This will guarantee stability and ensure that the Lok Sabha will run its full term.  There will be no occasion for midterm polls.  

    Westminster model is suitable at the national level given our diversity, vastness, and complexity.  However in states, dependence of chief ministers on support of MLAs for survival and the enormous illegitimate expenditure for vote buying are undermining governance.  In general, from Panchayat to Parliament the people are voting for or against the state government. Voters see state as the true political unit. Given that, if the head of government in states is elected directly by the people for a fixed term of five years and he (she) has the choice of cabinet, and government’s survival does not depend on MLAs, we can ensure stability, good governance and effective delivery in states.

    Dr Jayaprakash Narayan appealed to all political parties to set aside their differences and come together on these critical proposals of constructive no – confidence at national level, and direct election of chief ministers in states for a fixed term.  These vital reforms will ensure simultaneous elections and improve our governance and economic growth vastly.

    04/02/2016 - 13:30
  • Loksatta founder Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan attended a 2 day India conference at Harvard University on the 6th and 7th of February.  Speakers at the conference included several top politicians, business leaders, bollywood celebrities, artists, NGO leaders, and Faculty of leading US universities researching on various aspects of India’s development. Over 750 students and participants were in attendance. Dr. JP was a key note panelist at the conference along with Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for IT and communications, and Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda a four time MP from Orissa belonging to the BJD party. The panel spoke to all the attendees on the topic of ‘Indian Politics at the Crossroads’. 

    In his highly regarded and enthusiastically received speech, Dr. JP said that India is such a large country that anything we say about it is both true and untrue at the same time! While the country has made enormous progress, we have been blind to some basic needs of our people.  The rest of the World wants India to succeed because of China he said, amidst applause.  We cannot continue to languish in 19th century politics aspiring to live in the 21st century economy. There is an increasing gulf between aspiration, policy, and outcomes. For example, in education, our focus has been on student enrollment numbers without attention to the quality of education. Several international and internally conducted studies like the PISA study by the OECD have ranked Indian education quality at the bottom of the World he said. 

    In healthcare, it is well known that India’s spend including both public and private spend is less than 4% of GDP which is about 4 times lesser than the US and at least twice as low as most developed and developing countries.  

    While candidates battling for party nominations in the US are debating education and healthcare policy there is no such public debate on ideas by political leaders in India he pointed out drawing huge cheers from the attendees. 

    While in the past we had strong state governments, we now have creeping centralization of state powers into the center. Our democracy has been reduced to voting and shouting. 

    He concluded saying we need to do three things urgently. One, limit Delhi’s power to Central and international topics. Two, states must get more choice to decide their own manner of governance, and even system of governance. They should make local governments more powerful. Today, only 7% money goes to local govt. This is making citizens professional protestors and mendicants as they have no self-governance. Three, refine the bureaucracy and make them work for the public good by asking them to specialize, and by introducing a transparent system of accountability.

    02/08/2016 - 18:45
  • "On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which is Assembly has to laboriously built up.” Dr B R Ambedkar.

    This 66th year of the Republic of India, we hang our heads in shame at the casteist cauldron that our institutes of higher learning have become while our eyes well with tears at the truncated life of a 26 year old PhD aspirant, Rohith Vemula. It is indeed the saddest portent when Dr B R Ambedkar's prescient warning comes true. And that too, at an altar of science. 

    The Hyderabad Central University.

    It has a sordid history of Dalit student suicides and rustication with the stench of a caste ridden administration, who instead of engendering a cordial and welcoming atmosphere of education for the underprivileged and under represented, have modeled themselves into a feudal stronghold. 

    Any place of higher learning, especially a centrally administered one and even more so, one that specializes in scientific studies, should strive to be a shining example to society, putting the scientific minds of students ahead of their caste identities. In fact, it must journey a few extra miles in fashioning an environment where the curious mind thrives in peer company and under expert professorial guidance. Not only that, but in a country that is sorely lacking of scientific expertise and a long and established paucity of Dalit, socially backward and female scientists, it behooves the HCU to accord special guidance and extra classes as required, to rectify this grievous disparity.

    The revelation that even an institution populated by the most educated professors of science, instead of being a safe haven for reasoning minds, reeks of intolerance, castesim and a socially regressive environment is telling of the state of education and the educated in India. 

    This is has now not only ended in a tragic loss of young life but is further erupting into larger social protests and clashes seeking justice. It is therefore imperative for the Central Government to act swiftly and conduct a thorough inquiry. In the interest of justice and impartiality, the inquiry must be conducted by an independent judicial committee and it's findings published. HCU must bear responsibility to create a conducive learning environment and implement measures to root out the evil of casteism.

    In addition, all central government institutions must conduct mandatory caste and gender sensitivity courses for its employees, once a quarter. While constitutional and legal safeguards serve as bare minimum guarantees of political and legal equality, they clearly fall short of ushering in social equality. World wide data clearly points to the role of social sensitivity training in development. To impact rampant feudal mindsets and if indeed we want to progress as a nation, Loksatta Party demands that the Central Government and indeed the State Governments across India to increase awareness and sensitivity of this socially grave issue of caste.

    There must not be another that suffers the fate of Rohit Vemula. We grieve with his family.

    "I ask but one thing of the youth of this country. Shed your caste names, caste suffixes, caste prefixes proudly, visibly and emphatically. Resolutely refuse a marriage arranged with caste as a factor. Shed the shackles of caste, and be yourselves. Forge your own unique identity and marry per your choice, not caste. This is the best contribution you can make for the future of India. Jai Hind!", said Dr Jaya Prakash Narayan, Founder President of Loksatta Party.

    01/19/2016 - 17:30
  • The One Hyderabad alliance for clean politics announces that seat sharing negotiations between Loksatta Party, CPI(M), CPI have concluded successfully. Loksatta Party will contest 35 seats, CPI(M) 33 seat and CPI 22 seats, MCPI(2) 2 seats Several other organizations including the Most Backward Class JAC, nd colony welfar associations will be joining and contesting few seats. More seats will be contested by the alliance and announced shortly.

    One Hyderabad is a first for Indian politics as the only alliance based on clean politics and a compelling agenda for Hyderabad as outlined in our Common Minimum Program. The seat sharing negotiations themselves were historical with discussions entirely centered around what is best for the people of Hyderabad, candidate and party strength and a spirit of give and take with not a hint of horse trading, money or muscle power, proxy candidates and dynastic politics and other corrupt and divisive angles.

    In a press meet announcing the seat sharing arrangement, the alliance partners said One Hyderabad is the only alternative for the people of Hyderabad given the rotten and decrepit politics of TRS-MIM, TDP-BJP or Congress. Moreover, these parties have no relevance or standing in the eyes of the youth of Hyderabad as they're clueless about young people's attitudes and aspirations while being mired in retrograde politicking."

    The specific seats allocated are tabulated below.
     

    LOKSATTA PARTY (35)   CPI(M) (33)   CPI (22)
    S. No Div No. Division Name   S.No Div No Division Name   S.No Div No Division Name
    1 2 AS Rao Nagar   1 1 Kapra   1 5 Mallapur
    2 3 Cherlapalli   2 4 Meerpet HB Colony   2 11 Nagol
    3 13 Hayatnagar   3 8 Habsiguda   3 19 Saroor nagar
    4 14 BN Reddy Nagar   4 9 Ramanthapur East   4 27 Akbar Bagh
    5 15 Vanasthalipuram   5 10 Uppal   5 32 Pathergatti
    6 21 Kothapet   6 12 Mansoorabad   6 35 Gowlipura
    7 22 Chaitanyapuri   7 17 Champapet   7 36 Lalithabagh
    8 23 Gaddi Annaram   8 18 Lingojiguda   8 38 IS Sadan
    9 25 Moosarambagh   9 39 Santosh Nagar   9 45 Jangammet
    10 70 Mehdipatnam   10 44 Uppuguda   10 60 Rajendra Nagar
    11 81 Nallakunta   11 50 Begum Bazaar   11 67 Golkonda
    12 87 Ram Nagar   12 51 Ghosha Mahal   12 83 Amberpet
    13 89 Gandhi Nagar   13 59 Milardevipalli   13 104 Kondapur
    14 93 Banjara Hills   14 62 Zia Guda   14 112 Ramchandra Puram
    15 95 Jubilee Hills   15 66 Langar House   15 120 Balanagar
    16 96 Yusufguda   16 71 Gudi Malkapur   16 126 Jagathgirigutta
    17 97 Somajiguda   17 82 Golknaaka   17 125 Gaajula Raamaram
    18 98 Ameerpet   18 84 Bagh Amberpet   18 127 Ranga Reddy Nagar
    19 100 Sanath Nagar   19 86 Musheerabad   19 135 Venkatapuram
    20 102 Rehmat Nagar   20 88 Bholakpur   20 136 Neredmet
    21 107 Madhapur   21 90 Kavadiguda   21 141 Gowtham Nagar
    22 109 Hafeezpet   22 99 Vengala Rao Nagar   22 143 Tarnaka
    23 110 Chandanagar   23 101 Erragadda        
    24 114 KPHB Colony   24 103 Borabanda        
    25 116 Allapur   25 105 Gachi Bowli        
    26 117 Moosapet   26 106 Serilingampally   MCPI(U) (2)
    27 119 Old Bowenpally   27 115 Balaji Nagar        
    28 121 Kukatpally   28 129 Sooraram   1 94 Shaikpet
    29 122 Vivekananda Nagar   29 138 Moula Ali   2 108 Miyapur
    30 124 Allwyn Colony   30 142 Addagutta        
    31 134 Alwal   31 144 Mettuguda        
    32 137 Vinayak Nagar   32 146 Boudha Nagar        
    33 139 East Anand Bagh   33 147 Bansilalpet        
    34 140 Malkajgiri                
    35 149 Begumpet                
    01/14/2016 - 17:30
  • AGENDA: OVERALL PROTECTION OF THE FUTURE OF ALL THE THIRTEEN DISTRICTS OF ANDHRA PRADESH

    DATE: NOVEMBER 7, 2015

    VENUE: ANANTAPUR

    Smt. Hyma Potineni,  National General Secretary and Sri Bheesetti Babjee, AP State General Secretary have stated in a Press Release on Friday that the 9th Anniversary Celebration Programme on 7th November in Anantapur is the platform to announce the Action Plan to protect the future well-being of all the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh in a holistic manner.

    They extend a cordial and warm invitation to the people of AP and all the Party leaders and activists, especially the youth to attend the meeting that will be addressed by Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan, who will be the Chief Guest.

    They recalled that during the troubled times of division, it was Lok Satta which prepared a comprehensive Roadmap to protect the interests of both the Telugu States. They reiterated the strong resolve of the Party to continue with its constructive course of action as hard as ever.  During the course of the drafting of the Division Act, in the Assembly and at various Central, State and round-level campaigns, through its Telugu Tejam and Telugu Bhavita Programmes, the Lok Satta Party demanded vociferously the following aspects

    o Special Status to the backward districts/regions

    o Tax holiday to promote industry and manufacturing in the fund- deficit State of AP

    o Effective decentralization for good governance

    o Completion of the Inter-State, Multi-purpose Polavaram Project within the next four years

    o Development of infrastructure

    They pointed out that it is very interesting to note that all the mainstream Parties are now talking about these very issues, which, indeed, is a welcome and happy outcome. Even though the Party does not enjoy any representation in the Assembly, they will strive relentlessly to realise the above demands.

    They released the details of the Anniversary Programme, being organized by the AP wing of Lok Satta Party.

    SCHEDULE OF LSP’S NINTH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS ON 7TH November, 2015 IN ANANTAPUR: 

    Saturday - 10 AM

    Meeting of the District level Representatives in Ramnagar Function Hall, Anantapur to discuss and pass Resolutions on Political Action Plan for the future of the State.

    Evening 5 PM:

    Public Meeting near Saptagiri Circle - Dr. JP’s Address on Special Status to AP and Constructive Solutions to end Rayalaseema Backwardness.

    Smt. Hyma Potineni stated that the LSP has proved that it is possible to run a Political Party based on ethics and people-oriented principles, which was the most cherished  dream of our freedom fighters and Constitution-makers.  Smt. Hyma and Shri Bajee thanked all the donors and contributors. Amidst the depressive scenario wherein the mainstream parties  are grabbing power through unhealthy practices of spending unaccounted money, promising non-implementable poll-promises,  unethical hate-mongering through divisive tactics, and thereafter, feathering their cozy nests through humongous corruption and leaving people to their fate, Lok Satta is still able to bring in the last 15 years, not less than 15 fundamental reform Laws through Constitutional Amendments, even though it enjoys no political clout or power. 

    Honest politics need honest money. And for this purpose, Lok Satta is the harbinger of Constitution amendment (2003) Bill that facilitates tax exemption to donations to political parties and thereby paving a new road to good politics. Lok Satta is the only platform that enables the capable youth of our country to participate in politics based on their caliber and not on factors such as caste, religion, language, money and muscle power, regional  parochialism, etc., which are presently ruling the roost.  They called on everybody to come forward to collectively nurture and strengthen the new culture of politics based on honesty,  personal integrity and caliber.

    11/06/2015 - 22:00
  • Terming the Supreme Court verdict striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act as hasty and patently unconstitutional, Loksatta founder Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that an emergency session of Parliament be convened immediately so that it can assert its supremacy in determining the procedure for judicial appointments.

    Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP recalled that Parliament had enacted the Constitution 99th Amendment providing for the NJAC to recommend appointments and transfers in higher judiciary as the Supreme Court by judicial pronouncements had usurped the power to recommend appointments through a collegium of judges.

    The Foundation for Democratic Reforms (FDR) and Lok Satta have for long argued that appointment of judges by collegiums of judges is antithetical to democracy and accountability. At the instance of the FDR/Lok Satta, three eminent jurists of unimpeachable integrity (Justice MN Venkatachaliah and (late) Justice JS Verma, both former Chief Justices of India, and (late) Justice VR Krishna Iyer, former Judge of Supreme Court) had studied the system and recommended constitution of a National Judicial Commission (NJC) for recommending judicial appointments. The NJAC proposed by the Government is on the lines of the NJC recommended by the three jurists.

    Fearing the repercussions of quashing the 99th Amendment, Dr. JP in a September 15 letter to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and all MPs had said that if the 99th amendment is quashed by the court, it will be a fit case for Parliament to stand its ground and assert its supremacy in determining the procedure for judicial appointments.

    Dr. JP said there are three compelling reasons why judicial appointments cannot be the sole preserve of the judiciary. 

    First, no organ can appoint itself in a democracy. The SC cannot be a self-appointed permanent priesthood. "Independence of judiciary does not mean judges are independent of the Constitution. By SC's logic, Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Union Public Service Commission, Central Vigilance Commission, Lokpal, - all must appoint their own successors to preserve their independence." Every state functionary must derive legitimacy from people directly or indirectly. Second, in all democracies judges are appointed by government and legislature with participation of lay citizens. In the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, France and other democracies where government is the biggest litigant, judges are not appointed by judges. "It is universally accepted that democracy and justice are too important to be left to judges alone." 

    Third, it is important to protect the credibility of the higher judiciary. If the Court’s credibility is eroded because of usurpation of powers not granted under the Constitution, it will hurt the court, the Constitution and democracy. Only a credible and respected Supreme Court can safeguard the Constitution and the nation in a highly polarized society with a propensity to visceral reactions based on primordial loyalties of caste, religion, region and language. The frequent agitations for and against reservations in education and public employment, highly emotive issues like the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, river water sharing, and other highly contentious disputes in a complex and diverse society need to be resolved away from partisan politics, and in the cold light of logic, Constitution and the law. 

     Dr JP urged that the Parliament should meet in an emergency session and debate threadbare the mechanism for judicial appointments. The issue must be beyond parties and petty politics. Mrs Sonia Gandhi already wrote to FDR on Sept 23 pledging continued support of Congress party to NJAC. The media, civil society leaders and eminent citizens must come together to resolve the issue peacefully in keeping with democratic norms, judicial independence, constitutionalism and political consensus. 

    Dr. JP said the Supreme Court verdict also underlined the need to cleanse politics and not to revile and reject it. "We all love to hate politicians. But the answer to dirty politics is not divine institutions; it lies in political reform. Political parties abusing and opposing each other recklessly has led to a culture of revulsion of politics. This climate has led to today’s SC verdict."

    10/16/2015 - 18:45
  • Answers to Key Questions Raised

    Following Gujarat Patel agitation for OBC status, FDR / Lok Satta initiated a genuine debate towards protecting affirmative action policies, ensuring that benefits of reservations go to the deserving families and promoting harmony in society. Zero-sum approach to reservations deepened caste divisions without helping the truly poor, deserving kids in depressed communities to advance in life. We need a creative response - not conflict. Reservations so far limited benefits to a few well educated families in the reserved communities. The truly deserving among SCs/STs and OBCs are still left marginalized. Poor among OCs are resentful and helpless. Except well-off and educated families in reserved communities, all others feel betrayed. We need changes.

    FDR/Lok Satta is broadly proposing the following key changes in reservation policy along with other essential steps

    1. Families of public officials of a certain rank - IAS, IPS, other Central and State civil services, present and former MLAs, MPs, other senior politicians - certain high income professionals like physicians, chartered accountants, managers above a certain rank in the private sector, and businessmen and others above a certain income should be dis-reserved. This gives the poor in depressed communities a realistic opportunity for growth.

    2. Children belonging to poor OC families should be awarded additional marks as decided by an expert group to overcome their handicap. Income certificates are prone to manipulations, and therefore verifiable, credible, fair means should be evolved to identify eligible families. This can be based on parental education and the school the children went to. Other criteria may be identified by broad consensus. Once poor children get a weightage of marks (5 to 10%), they can compete with the more privileged children of their own communities on a level playing field.

    3. We must ensure that no bright child with ambition should be denied higher education on account of poverty or birth. Scholarships, free tuition, soft loans and other mechanisms must be strengthened.

    4. These efforts should be coupled with a vigorous national effort to improve school education outcomes. We must ensure quality schooling to every child irrespective of birth and poverty. Right now our school education outcomes are appallingly poor as evidenced by India’s 73rd rank in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and results in Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) surveys. Quality education and utilizable wealth-creating skills are the only passports to vertical mobility

    The proposals are being widely debated across print, electronic and social media.An editorial of Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan titled “A new edifice for reservations” has been published in The Hindu on 02/09/2015 and other vernacular papers. Efforts are being made to improve the proposed reforms by widening the debate and building consensus on fair, pragmatic, effective proposals.

    The frequently asked questions pertaining to reservations and the reforms proposed by FDR/Lok Satta have been compiled as below

    1) Should there be reservations?

    Yes, reservations are emphatically needed. In a country of India’s circumstances with mass poverty, caste oppression, centuries of discrimination and future of majority of children being determined by birth, it is absolutely essential that special efforts are made to give extra opportunities to the oppressed communities. There is a broad consensus in India that reservations are necessary to help uplift the disadvantaged sections.

    2) Even after 65 years, should reservations continue?

    Undoubtedly YES.The government in 65 years has failed spectacularly in fulfilling its basic duties, particularly in guaranteeing quality education for at least ten to twelve years for every single child irrespective of circumstance of birth. Most civilized nations have made systematic efforts and achieved great progress in ensuring quality education (without out-of-pocket expenditure) to every child irrespective of birth.

    Among large economies, India is the singular exception to this. We have appallingly poor quality of education. The few opportunities for quality school education are limited to the wealthy and upper middle classes. Most government schools have lost credibility and most low-end private schools are sub-standard. The quality of school education and outcomes are appallingly poor.

    The PISA survey (by OECD) conducted in 2009 ranking educational outcomes at the age of fifteen has placed India in 73rd rank out of 74 nations. The cynical response of the Government of India is to withdraw from this survey instead of radically improving school education. The ASER surveys have been consistently recording that the educational attainments of rural children both in government and private schools are appallingly poor.

    Therefore, in the absence of real quality school education for no fault of the poor, the disadvantages of birth continue to plague the bulk of our children. Therefore, reservations should continue so that there is a level playing field.

    3) Should caste be the primary criteria for reservations?

    Emphatically YES. Caste needs to be the primary criterion. Many socio-economic surveys have clearly demonstrated that there is a definite link between caste, education, opportunity and poverty.

    While the overwhelming number of the poor and deprived sections in India belong to Dalits, STs or Backward Classes, it is true that there are poor in all communities and all sections of population. In this whole debate we must not forget that India is an incredibly poor country with a vast majority living lives of quiet desperation with low income, low literacy, low per capita expenditure, poor nutrition and ill-health. Nevertheless, a vast majority of SCs, STs and OBCs are poor and deprived, while a smaller proportion of other sections (OCs) are also poor and deprived. Therefore in any affirmative action policy, caste will have to remain as a primary consideration.

    However, caste cannot be the sole criterion for affirmative actions. The benefits should flow to the vast majority of underprivileged children from deprived castes; not to a few privileged children with a caste tag.

    4) Have reservations really achieved the desired results? How do you support your argument that the reservations have benefited only the elite strata in reserved community?

    The results have been inadequate by any standard. The limited success of reservations is largely because of two factors as explained above. Our school education is of appallingly poor quality as is our healthcare. The children from poor families with little parental education have virtually no support system in our country at the school level.When school education itself is defective and the poor cannot access quality education the benefits of reservations are illusory to the bulk of the people. The poor are not given opportunities to acquire skill or participate in wealth creation. As a result, poverty is perpetuated and backwardness is institutionalized.

    After a point, reservations will no longer favor the majority of the poor among SCs, STs and OBCs because the benefits tend to flow increasingly to those whose parents have the advantages of income and education. This process is particularly evident in the past 25 to 30 years. Those families that benefitted from reservations in education and employment for about four decades after independence tended to outrun and outcompete the truly poor and disadvantaged among these communities. In most selections to/in premier institutions in higher education or recruitment to high-end jobs, it is the children of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service officers and other senior officials, the progeny of Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLA), Members of Parliament (MP) and the other political elite, and the offspring of successful professionals and businessmen who dominate the scene in communities eligible for reservations.

    We are also conducting an evidence-based enquiry by gathering information from reputed institutions to further establish the skewed benefits of reservations to a privileged families, leaving most poor families in the depressed communities far behind.

    5) Does Reservation eliminate discrimination?

    No. The logic behind reservations is, once the person is equipped with access to higher education and economic security through public jobs he/she would attain a reasonable capacity to withstand discrimination in society. The state has only the power to give these opportunities. Beyond this, anything to end caste-based discrimination in totality has to be through social and religious reforms.

    A larger social and religious movement is needed to confront caste in all spheres of our life. Even with increasing urbanization caste divisions are not sufficiently diluted largely due to deep-seated discrimination and political mobilization of caste groups as vote banks. In fact the way reservations are implemented has become a sore point further accentuating caste divisions.

    The long-suffering disadvantaged groups quite rightly and genuinely feel that their lives have not changed significantly and their children continue to suffer for want of educational opportunities. At the same time the so-called ‘upper castes’ increasingly harbor animosity against the communities included in caste reservation on the mistaken belief that it is the disadvantaged sections that are depriving their children of opportunities.

    The all-pervasive general poverty of the country, the poor quality of school education, inadequate economic growth and job creation and caste based political mobilization have all ensured deepening of caste divisions. Improving the quality of school education and affirmative action are the only tools that the state has at its disposal to reduce discrimination. Simultaneously, political parties must shed politics of zero-sum game; society must accept and encourage inter-caste marriages as a way of life and religious leaders must aggressively and consistently denounce caste and promote unity and harmony.

    6) Why not we add poor among OCs in reservation quotas?

    This is neither desirable nor feasible. The Supreme Court has already put a 50% cap on reservations. Most objective observers believe that 50% is reasonable. We cannot expand the reservation basket if we want to remain as a credible society with rule of law and constitutionalism. However we can devise an innovative mechanism by which the children who suffer a disadvantage from the OC community will be given an added opportunity to compete with the more privileged children from among OC communities.

    One such mechanism could be giving an added weightage or handicap, duly recognizing the circumstances. Let us take the case of a child from a poor, illiterate rural family going to ordinary government school or low-end private school who obtains 80% marks in 10th or 12th standard. He / She will be regarded in any fair society as more capable and deserving than a child from a well-educated, high-income urban family attending a high-end private school with an annual fee of, say INR 20,000 per annum and obtaining 85% - 90%. Unfortunately, our system of evaluation of merit does not recognize this distinction. We are assessing the accomplishment of the child in a mechanical way purely measuring the marks obtained. Therefore, it is fair and reasonable to give the truly disadvantaged children the weightage in the form of marks. This will have three special benefits -

    1. The weightage goes only to truly disadvantaged children measured by objective and verifiable criteria.

    2. This does not necessitate the creation of more quotas for poor among OCs that do not have reservation.

    3. It will ensure that even disadvantaged children from these communities will have to perform well and meet certain standards. They only get a weightage in marks, not an assured quota irrespective of performance.

    7) How do you judge who is entitled or who is not entitled in unreserved community (OCs)?

    Undoubtedly, poverty determines the quality of schooling and lack of opportunity. However, in most states of India, over 90% of the people from all sections manage to get ration cards giving them heavily subsidized rice or wheat. Almost anybody can get an income certificate entitling their family to fee reimbursement or some other concession intended for the poor.

    Therefore, while income is the obvious criterion, in actual implementation income certificates will not work in most cases. Therefore, we need to identify specific, verifiable, rational and fair criteria that cannot be manipulated easily. For the time being we are suggesting two such criteria:

    1. Parental education and employment

    2. School the child attends

    If the parents are uneducated or have minimal schooling it is reasonable to assume that in most cases children suffer from poverty, lack of opportunity and poor quality education. Even more important is that if the child goes to an ordinary government school (not Kendriya Vidyalayas, model schools and such other elite institutions) or attends a low-end private school with an annual fee of say INR 6,000 or less, it is a sure indicator of poverty and lack of opportunity. However, these criteria are not set in stone; they need to be constantly adjusted to suit the changing conditions. An effort should also be made to identify other fair and objective criteria.

    If the parent (major income earner) is uneducated or semi-literate and the child has attended a government school or low-end private school, we can be sure that the child’s family is economically backward.

    8) Will these measures improve the lot of the poor?

    No; these are necessary measures but not sufficient. We can end poverty and discrimination and create opportunity only when every single child gets quality education without out-of-pocket expenditure and irrespective of circumstances. Good schooling is the only assured guarantor that birth will not impede a child’s progress in life. We have to build a robust economy that can create jobs and raise incomes so that people can be lifted out of poverty. News reports show that recently in the state of Uttar Pradesh 23 lakh young people applied for 368 peon jobs in the government. Lakhs of them are university graduates and hundreds of them are Ph.D’s. In Chhattisgarh also, for thirty peon jobs 75,000 have applied. This is a pattern seen in almost all States of India. That in this day and age the government still recruits peons and so many ‘well-educated’ young people feel desperate enough to chase these few menial jobs amply illustrates the enormity of challenges we face.

    All over the world it is commonly observed that the higher the education, the lesser the unemployment. India is the sole exception among major economies to this norm. Unfortunately, in our country unemployment is directly proportional to the years of education. The illiterate are almost all fully employed as wage laborers etc; the semi-literates are mostly employed in some form or the other. But as the child gets more and more years of schooling and college education, there is less and less employability. This fact alone speaks of an enormous crisis in both our education and our economy. Both these crises need to be addressed on a war footing. The increasing polarization on issues like reservation is merely a reflection of our failure as a society to provide meaningful education and create genuine opportunities for vertical mobility of bulk of the population.

    9) What about reservations in private sector?

    There cannot be reservation quotas in private sector. Coercive action by the state would be regressive and would not be constitutionally permissible. Therefore, in order to ensure equal opportunities in private sector the following market mechanisms need to be encouraged by the state.

    1. There must be statutory disclosure by companies about current recruitment policy, employment requirement and likely recruitment.

    2. Based on the above disclosures, there should be skill development programmes by government and big employers, preferably in PPP mode.

    3. There should be Independent monitoring and rating on employment practices. Comparative data of employment practices between enterprises belonging to the same sector and enterprises belonging to different sectors have to be made public.

    4. Government and civil society should put pressure on the companies showing discrimination in recruitment. It can be in the form of eligibility for tendering in public procurement. More importantly, if a corporate indulges in clear discrimination, civil society must boycott its good and services. This market mechanism of naming, shaming and denying market share will be very effective in ensuring fair practices in recruitment.

    10) Are there any plans to initiate a social movement combining all political forces? What are the steps to implement your suggestions/proposals?

    First we need to recognise the need for rationalization of reservations. It cannot be the question of should there be reservations or not. We are witnessing frequent agitations by some or other caste group; now that we have momentum across the country, this crisis has to be converted into opportunity to promote genuine debate towards rationalization of reservations. We are trying to take constructive suggestions to improve this proposal. Once there is wide consensus on the proposal then it’s only the matter of political will.

    Reservations are neither panacea to end backwardness and discrimination, nor are they the problem denying opportunity to the others. They are an important tool in giving confidence and opportunity to the disadvantaged groups and promoting harmony in an unjust society. We are therefore not in favour of sectional movements centered around the issue of reservations. Such movements only accentuate divisions in society, promote primordial loyalties, deepen prejudice and undermine harmony. What we need are patience, understanding, perseverance, constant improvisation based on evidence and logic, and all-round efforts to give universal access to quality education and healthcare, and create real, wealth creating jobs to give opportunity to every Indian.
     

    09/19/2015 - 16:00
  • Reacting to the Leading US based South Asian academics urge, Silicon Valley to be cautious in dealing with Modi government, Loksatta Party's National President Surendra Srivastava in a statement cautioned them that one may oppose a political party or dislike a politician, but a country is much bigger than a party or a person. To caution against investing in a democratic country based on an ill-advised visa denial or allegations never proved yet in a Court of Law is not just ludicrous, it belies an academic frame of mind.

     

    Mr. Srivastava said, "It is unfortunate that a group of academics are unable to differentiate between an individual and a head of government.  In a democratic setup, one has a right to criticize and protest government policy, programs and make their views known, but it is unfortunate and extreme to call for Silicon Valley companies not to conduct business with Indian government”  If the group of academics have reservations about ‘Digital India’ program, they must use every available forum to raise their voice and engage with government in constructive dialog instead of urging world’s most advanced technology companies, to not work with India

     

    He urged people to differentiate between India and her elected leaders, and to stop using personal dislike of an elected executive to deny investment in the future of India's citizens, respect the democratic vote, desist from asking others not to assist in development of a country.

    A letter signed by a presumptuous group of US-based academics, apparently opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, has advocated a boycott of India by Silicon Valley. The attempt to instigate a boycott by Silicon Valley, one of the leading sectors of the US and world economy, against cooperation with a vital flagship information technology program of the Government of India effectively constitutes a call for economic war against India itself. If this boycott is to be adopted there are no grounds for not widening it to all economic and other forms of cooperation with India. The justifications for the advocated boycott apply, mutatis mutandis, to all aspects of India’s international economic relations because the reason is the alleged dire threat the democratically elected PM Narendra Modi himself poses. India’s digitization aspirations predate the election of the Modi government and are an ongoing process that Mr. Modi is seeking to expand and deepen. It will transform the lives of ordinary citizens who have to run from pillar to post in their dealings with bureaucratic India and ensure speed, a critical factor, cross-referencing, accuracy and disbursement of welfare to the poorest. The latter is bedevilled by leakages that deny them the intended help, which is now significantly pre-empted by intermediaries. The process of digitization of the government-citizen interface is already in place in most advanced countries, including governments whose intelligence surveillance activities are extensive and not just in relation to their own citizens. Yet, paradoxically, academics based there allege civil liberties in India will be endangered if its own government adopts the rational and efficient measure of digitizing records to improve governance that are standard elsewhere. The vast majority of beneficiaries of digitization will be anonymous and apolitical citizens, who must unavoidably interact with government, are of no interest to security agencies! These agencies are perfectly able to identify and interdict those of interest already. And having access to records of the income and assets of citizens may help reduce tax evasion, but will provide little additional help for more serious illegal activities. Loksatta while strongly asks govt to provide appropriate safeguards including an effective privacy law, the benefits of digitization of India out ways the risks. 

     

    Mr. Srivastava further said that the signatories to the disgraceful recommendation to derail India’s attempt at modernity and progress hurled mud in the hope some of it would stick. Other slanders against India’s incumbent executive authority are unworthy of comment. These supposed luminaries of deep thought and intellectual probity are only succeeding in discrediting themselves by resorting to flimsy abuse. The cavalier disregard for facts and paucity of measured judgment also demonstrate that signatories to the malicious counsel against India have very little stake in it. They are determined to pursue their vendetta against the democratically elected government of the country even if it seriously harms the interests of the people of India. The ordinary people of India are more sagacious and patriotic than these petty individuals and have elected the government to lead their nation into a better future.

     

    Mr. Srivastava also clarified that “People for Loksatta (PFL)” a support organization of Loksatta based in US, which has a large presence in Silicon Valley is mobilizing support for Prime Minister’s visit.

    09/09/2015 - 18:45
  • "My greetings to all Indians on completion of 68 years of Independence. We are like no other nation.  5000 years of continuing history and civilisation, unmatched linguistic and ethnic diversity, peaceful coexistence of every faith and belief known to man, and extraordinarily rich and varied cultural heritage - all these make India an unlikely nation-state. And yet this great nation was brought together by Mahatma Gandhi's genius and the untiring efforts of our founding fathers.

    Happily, we disproved the forebodings of sceptics and doomsayers, and continue to endure as one nation united, and yet celebrating our rich diversity and preserving our liberty. Increasing urbanisation, growing middle classes and a vibrant young population unburdened by past baggage make our bonds of unity stronger everyday.

    Unity and liberty alone are not sufficient. Our long-suffering people need prosperity, opportunity, true empowerment and a clean and efficient political and governance system that can help fulfil our aspirations and make us stand tall and proud. In these spheres, we have a long way to go. This is time for introspection.

    Poor infrastructure and fractious politics with a lust for power sans purpose are perpetuating mass poverty and suffering. Appallingly poor quality of education and healthcare are perpetuating caste oppression and denying the bulk of our children the opportunity to fulfill their potential and realise their dreams. The recent parliamentary paralysis underscores our deepening political and governance crisis. Centralisation in a vast and complex nation is holding all of us back. Weak, disempowered local governments and inefficient, dysfunctional bureaucracy are sapping our energies and weakening our morale. A corrupt, plutocratic, plunder-driven political process that seeks power devoid of public purpose is making our democracy hollow. Law's delays and unequal application of laws are undermining rule of law.

    All these challenges can, and must, be addressed swiftly. We do not have the luxury of time to wait indefinitely to set things right. The rest of the world marches ahead. In a globalised world our inadequacies will make future generations pay a heavy, intolerable price.

    We need a sense of urgency and purpose to overcome our failings. Democracy cannot be an alibi for failure. This is the time to resolve to reengineer our instruments of state to make them a vibrant machine to take us to our destination. Our people deserve better lives; our children deserve greater opportunity, our nation deserves a pride of place in the world. It is time empty rhetoric and shibboleths give way to resolute action. It is never too late. If we now act, by 2022, when we complete 75 years of freedom, India can overcome all our shortcomings and march ahead unhindered. Let us aim at that goal and transform India. That is the only ambition worthy of our great national movement and our glorious civilisation." - Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta founder

    08/14/2015 - 16:00
  • Loksatta Party national leadership is convening in Hyderabad July 31st and Aug 1st for their strategic planning leading to the GHMC elections. Addressing the press, the National President Mr Surendra Srivastava said, "The recent spate of unbridled corruption across the country, be it the Vyapam Scam in MP, the Chikki Scam in Maharashtra or the corruption within Karnataka Lokayukta, has affirmed that all of the ruling parties are undifferentiated in their taint. Dr Jaya Prakash Narayan was the original author of the AP Anti-corruption Bill and Loksatta in Karnataka is now the only party with a solution to the Lokayukta corruption stalemate. "

    With the new leadership in the past year, the party has a strong emphasis on youth and women and has taken a decisive turn towards aggressive political action. On International Women's Day, Loksatta had launched an online campaign  to solicit input from the public on how the 3000 cr Nirbhaya Fund could be put to productive use and received tremendous response from both men and women. Earlier today, Loksatta intensified this campaign further this by assembling around 40 thought leaders, activists and political drivers like to debate, decide and deliver an actionable plan on this topic.

    Hyma Potineni, National General Secretary said "Loksatta has constituted a Nirbhaya Action Team along with eminent Hyderabadis like Ms Devi, Ms Jamuna etc. to fight for ... Hyderabad is third only after Delhi and Bangalore in violence against women and TRS has not submitted a single proposal for remedy against the available 3000 cr Nibhyaya Fund. This is a disgrace and a denial of basic human rights to the thousands of affected women in a state that leads the nation in female trafficking for prostitution."

    Telengana President Mr Panduranga Rao attacked the TS Govt for utter failure in handling the Cash For Vote corruption scam. "TRS displayed characteristically fake bravado in naming CBN and claiming to have his voice on tape. Since then, either they have chickened out or a back room deal has been hatched between the two and no one but the pawn Revanth Reddy has been targeted!"

    GHMC General Secretary Bonthu Sambi Reddy highlight the successful campaigns undertaken by Loksatta in the recent weeks.  He said, "TRS has forgotten about the Telengana students after state creation. Loksatta alone took up the issue of ECET students fee reimbursement. Tens of thousands of students have expressed their support to Loksatta vocally, through missed calls, by attending meetings and protesting with us. Loksatta has delivered for the youth!"

    National Communications Chairperson, Mr A Srinivas conducted the press meet and invited the Hyderabad youth to dream big and join Loksatta to take over the city corporation. "This would be the best tribute to the legacy of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam."

    07/30/2015 - 20:30
  • Dr. Jaya Prakash Narayan, Founder of Loksatta Party, expressed deep shock over the unfortunate deaths of innocent citizens in the stampede at Rajamundry earlier today.   Dr. JP appealed to the state government to provide medical assistance to all injured and to standby the families that lost precious lives.

    "Everyone knew that there will be huge crowds, but the local administration is not empowered due to over centralization and remains passive. The prevailing attitude that differentiates VIP ghats and 'general' ghats seemed to have caused this terrible tragedy.   Administration must be on high alert to avoid any further incidents. I request the Telangana government to take precautionary measures." said Dr. JP in a media statement

    Dr. JP appealed to the people to consider taking the dip anywhere along 100s of kilometers that the river flows and on any day during the year.

    Mr. Surendra Srivastava, National President,  Ms. Hyma Potineni, National General Secretary and A Srinivas, Communications Chairperson expressed shock over the incident  "Yet another tragic instance of completely avoidable suffering. It is unfortunate that the focus is more on publicity than on maintaining order.  A thorough investigation must be carried out immediately and action must be taken on those found guilty"

    Loksatta Party Andhra Pradesh state unit President Dr. Pattabhi Ramaiah and General Secretary Bheesetti Babji expressed their anguish over losing lives of senior citizens, women and children and conveyed their heartfelt condolences to the families, many of them from Uttara Andhra region. Mr. Babji demanded the government to support the families of those affected.

    07/14/2015 - 18:45
  • The following is the text of Loksatta Party founder President Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan’s letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Governor of AP and Telangana.

    19th June, 2015

    Shri Narendra Modi
    Prime Minister of India 
    152, South Block, Raisina Hill, 
    New Delhi-110011

    Esteemed Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji,
     

    One year after the contentious bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and the creation of Telangana State (TS), visceral passions and parochial polarization are once again emerging as serious threats in the two States. 

    Already, the past year had witnessed acrimonious and disquieting discords between the two State governments, especially over allotment of officers and staff including officials of all-India services, creation of a separate High Court, common governmental institutions, college admission and financial assistance for students, and management of irrigation projects where the police of the two states had even fought a pitched battle in Nagarjunasagar - an unprecedented event in modern India.  During such episodes, the governments and political leaders in both States had deliberately and calculatedly indulged in partisan rhetoric aimed at rousing regional sentiments and scoring cheap political points. Yet, the lives of the vast majority of ordinary citizens have remained peaceful during this period.  

    However, the latest episode of party defections and attempted vote-buying before the recent elections to the TS Legislative Council, the related allegations and counter-allegations including telephone tapping, and the subsequent developments in both States present a far graver challenge:  ranged on diametrically opposing sides are the Chief Ministers along with the respective cabinets, senior government officials, law-and-order and security machineries and the political leaders.  In both the States, the day-to-day governance, normal developmental agenda and virtually the entire administrative machinery all have become hostages of this war-like atmosphere. Relentless, partisan and sensational media coverage is only accentuating the regional disharmony.  The deteriorating tone and tenor of the public discourse and the surcharged atmosphere in both States have become mutually reinforcing. 

    The repeated and reckless public utterances of the two Chief Ministers and the manner of deployment of the security personnel and investigative agencies in the two States have created the wide and deep impression that the police and investigative agencies are serving only the partisan interests of their respective political masters rather than the cause of rule-of-law and justice.  In such a vitiated atmosphere, any enquiry and investigation conducted by State-level investigative agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the case of Telangana or the Special Investigative Team (SIT) in the case of Andhra Pradesh, would seriously suffer from lack of credibility and broader acceptability.  Even if the investigative agencies act fairly, public opinion is likely to be mobilized and polarized by political parties for partisan ends, further vitiating the atmosphere. 

    Therefore the Union Government must immediately step in to reconcile the conflict between the two State governments and restore the spirit of harmony and cooperation.   The first step in such an effort would be to ensure an impartial and credible investigation into this entire vote-buying episode and alleged telephone tapping by handing them over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Only a clinical, comprehensive and dispassionate investigation by the CBI – one that is insulated from the narrow politics of the two States and also is immediately undertaken and quickly completed – can ensure that the truth comes out and people’s faith in the rule-of-law is restored.  

    Simultaneously, the Union Government must play a greater and proactive role to ensure the smooth resolution of all outstanding bifurcation-related issues between the two States, especially those arising out of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.  Only such an effort could promote harmony through effective and permanent solutions that also carry credibility among the public in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States.  

    We urge you to immediately act to defuse the situation and restore harmony and civility between the governments and people of the two Telugu States. 

    With warm personal regards,

    Yours sincerely,

     

    Jayaprakash Narayan
    Founder, Loksatta

    06/19/2015 - 17:00
  • The Cash-For-Vote scam is yet another sad reminded of the sorry state of politics in the two new states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Not only the political parties are indulging in deplorable actions during elections, they continue the vote buying and divisive brand of politics even after elections.

    Loksatta party strongly condemned the parties involved in Cash-for-Vote scam from Day 1, demanding Mr. Naidu to answer if it is indeed his voice and if it is not fabricated, he must resign. We  also demanded Mr. KCR to explain how TRS now has 77 MLAs when they won only 63 seats in last election.

    Intensifying our protest against more than 500 Loksatta members sat on a dharna today at Indira Park Hyderabad demanding answers from Telgu Desam and TRS party. To create public awareness about the obscene nature of money politics, we held public demonstration by distributing ZERO RUPEE Notes (With a pledge to NOT GIVE OR TAKE BRIBE).

    Loksatta Party Greater Hyderabad President Dosapaty Ramu addressing the gathering said 'Voters are forced to choose between the lesser of the evils and these incidents prove that lesser evil is still EVIL. Parties are focused on growing their own seats and personal property and not interested in working towards creating jobs for youth or even making our cities safe and clean. Voters are sick of jump jilani MLAs that care for themselves and not for their assembly constituency that sent them to Legislature'.  Mr. Sambi Reddy, Secretary of LSP Hyderabad said that 'Loksatta will take this message to every single person in Hyderabad and Loksatta will strengthen as a viable platform for everyone keen to see real change in politics'.

    Loksatta Party Telangana State leaders, and Hyderabad city unit and constituency leaders from all across the city participated with great enthusiasm and pledged to continue this fight until justice is done and all concerned individuals are prosecuted in a free and fair investigation.

    06/13/2015 - 19:30
  • Mr.Chandra Babu, Don't hide behind inane technical points. Don't project your problem as people's problem.  If the voice is not fabricated and proved to be yours, will you resign?  

    Instead of dealing with the real day to day issues and problems concerning people and governance, today, the five crore scam to buy just one MLA's vote is rocking both the Telugu States. The leadership in both the States is acting as if it is a non-issue and no-holds-barred attempts are being made to hoodwink people of the enormity of this criminal activity. Efforts are on to create a war like situation between the people of the two States to cover up their greed for power and pelf, Dr. JP stated today.  He further said that Chandrababu is trying to wriggle out of the unpleasant situation by saying first that this was not his voice and secondly, as tapping was illegal, Court wouldn't take cognizance of the evidence and so on.  Should the CM of a State stoop so low as to hide behind such technicalites and try to escape? Is he not aware of the serious implications of the dirty events on display before the nation in such a shameless manner? Dr.JP questioned whether the standards to decide the culpability of a lowly criminal and the standards to decide the stature of a CM and party top leader in public life be the same. He challenged the CM of AP whether he would resign from his post if it is proved that the voice is his only and not fabricated.

    Mr.Chandrababu is manipulating the issue by equating his personal problem as that of the people and the State. He tried to sensatioanalise the issue by referring to it again and again in the meeting of the Maha Sankalpa Deeksha on 8th June,as the pain of the people of AP. Nothing can be farther from truth.  This case of Chandrababu's note for vote does not concern the people of AP in any way. It is his and his problem alone and he and his corrupt party MLAs are responsible for the imbroglio. His attempt to paint it as an insult to AP people is a shameful act. People who voted for him have got nothing to do with his immoral practices. People in the two States are reeling under regional prejudices and the need of the hour is to douse the fire of hatred by fostering brotherhood among the divided people, Dr. JP added that attempts should be made earnestly to conduct a proper inquiry into the ugly incident. It does not behove the stature of a CM to rouse passions and a true leader is he who tries to make his people see reason.

    JP addressed the Media on Tuesday, in connection with the events in which a TDP MLA, Revanth Reddy tried to buy the vote of Mr.Stefensen, a nominated Member offering him 5 crores, the leaking of tapes comprising Mr. Chandrababu's alleged conversation with Stefenson, the role of Telangana CM Mr.K.ChandraShekar Rao in encouraging defectors and so on.     

    Addressing the Media, JP highlighted the fact that five crores of rupees is such a huge amount that it is more than the combined annual income of 500 ordinary Indians. Chandrababu Naidu reiterated in the meeting of the Sankalpa Deeksha that the State is totally brankrupt.  If the State is bankrupt, how can its rulers spend five precious crores of people's hard earned tax money to buy an MLA's vote?  It is like the MD of a company spending crores of rupees lavishly for his personal comfort and gain, when the company is reeling under the burden of unbearable debt and when Banks are not willing to come to its rescue any more. Though the State is totally bankrupt, the personal accounts of our political leaders are overflowing with crores and crores of rupees. Is it not clear that the leaders are robbing the people of the State for their personal gain? And to hide it from people and  with a view to deceive them, they are trying to project it as if it is some entertainment for the people and thereby rousing their passions to resort to violence and hatred. JP reminded the fact that it was Chandrababu who first introduced money politics in the State and later it was Rajsekhar Reddy who encouraged it more and more.  If in today's politics, money is playing such an ugly role in such gigantic proportions, the credit or discredit goes to these two corrupt politicians.

    Dr.JP stated that he examined very minutely the contents of the Sankalpa Deeksha speech of the CM of AP, and  he demanded answers to the point, to the following questions on Note for Vote scam.

    1. Chandrababu garu, whatever be the other deatils, did an MLA of your Party try to buy a vote in the Legislative Council's elections?

    2. If this had happened, did it happen with your approval or without your approval? 
    Without your encouragement and approval, can an MLA give five crores on his own, for just one MLC's seat for your Party?

    3. If the said MLA bought the vote without your knowledge, why didn't you take immediate action against him? Even though, he acted without your permission or knowledge and even though it would affect the future prospects and credibility of your Party, why did you not take any action against him?

    4.  Sometime back when a gentleman like Bangaru Laxman took just one lakh rupees in cash as donation for his Party, he had to resign from the post of Party President. If that is so, here when five crores are involved, how is it no action is taken against the MLA so far? Have politics come to such a pass now?

    5.  As regards your audio tape, the courts will decide whether it is phone-tapping or string operation or recording or whatever. You are saying that it is a fabricated case of cut and paste job from different places. Whether it is a case of phone-tapping or recording, Courts will decide whether these can be used as evidence in a criminal case. Are you degrading yourself to an ordinary petty criminal? Sitting in the high seat of Chief Minister, shouldn't you be demanding and setting  high standards in politics? 

    IN 2014, PEOPLE VOTED FOR YOU ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE SCARED OF JAGAN.  (PREFERRING A LESSER EVIL, SO TO SAY)

    Drawing the attention of the Media to the fact that Chandrababu Naidu took the name of Late Sri NT Rama Rao umpteen times in his Sankalpa Deeksha speech, Dr.JP stated that NT Rama Rao could make so many Rajya Sabha MPs to win without spending even 100 rupees. Chandrababu Naidu talked about NDA also in his speech JP recollected that in the Jain Hawala case, just because his initials LKA were mentioned against a donation of 5 lakh rupees, even though it was just an unproven insinuation, LK Advani tendered his resignation.He did not bother to ask whether it was recording or phone-tapping or whether there was any proof.  LK Advani simply declared that he wouldl not come back to active politics till his innocence was proved beyond any doubt. Our former Prime Minister, Late Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao stood before the Court as an accused in the JMM bribery case, even though there was not even an iota of evidence about his involvement. JP questioned as to what high moral standards are being followed by Chandrababu who declares himself as an heir of Anna Hazare and Gandhi Bapu. In 2014, because of the TINA (there is no alternative) factor, dreading the rule of YCP and Jagan, people had to, per force, vote for Chandrababu. Going from pan to fire, people have to lament the fact now, that Chandrababu has  become a bigger threat than Jagan.

    JP NOW COMES TO KCR THE GREAT!!

    Mr. K. Chandra Sekhar Rao, how did you manage to get 77 MLAs now?

    KCR garu, when people voted for only 65 TRS MLAs, how come, you have 77 MLAs in your kitty now?  If BSP candidates joined TRS, JP wondered when Ms. Mayavati merged her Party with TRS.  You have honoured 4 Congress MLAs, 2 BSP MLAs, 2 YCP MLAs, 10 Congress MLCs and 5 TDP MLAs with your Gulabi Kanduvas (pink angavastram - the official colour of TRS). With such a blatant act, where is the need for morality, fair elections, etc.?

    Turning the focus on to Chandrababu again, JP stated that  the CM of AP got the MPs of Nandyala and Kurnoon into his Party, following identical modus operandi of KCR.  If these candidates defect to the Party against   which they contested, is it not a betrayal of faith of the people who voted against the said Party?  If the Speaker does not bother to take action against such shameless defectors, JP wondered where DEMOCRACY is gone.

    Both KCR and CB Naidu  are resorting to street level fighting, publicly stating that both have their respective ACB and Police forces, as if these institutions are their personal fifedom and private armies.  JP said that this indeed is a very dangerous trend. Forgetting the basic fact that they are mere elected representatives in a democracy, these two are behaving as if they are monarchs and as if these two States are their inherited Kingdoms.
    In his sankalpa deeksha speech, Chandrababu is seen to be inciting people to take direct action, in case if something happens to him. The personal feud of these two should not become a curse or bane to the innocent people of the two Telugu States  and ignite violence and hatred between them. People should be alert and aware of the fact that the Courts will decide the fact of the matter based on the evidence. Once the institutions of ACB and Police are stamped as Andhra and/or  Telangana, even if they were to act impartially, there is every danger of blaming them as partisan and hence JP demanded that this note for vote case should be investigated by the CBI under the active supervision of Lokpal.

    INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT IMPORTANT.  PEOPLE SHOULD DECIDE WHETHER TO CONTINUE WITH THE PRESENT STATE OF AFFAIRS OR WHETHER TO BRING ABOUT THE MUCH REQUIRED CHANGE THROUGH APPROPRIATE REFORMS.

    JP has said  that for the last 20 years, he has been fighting relentlessly for political reforms and Loksatta could bring about some key reforms even without  politica lpower. To a question from Media, JP reiterated his view that individuals are not important. He said that it was Loksatta who could get the 122 licences cancelled in the 2G spectrum case, after painstakingly collecting the necessary evidence and using the same to protect the institutions and the precious national revenues.  He said that Loksatta will continue to fight corruption to the best of its ability even though its resources are meagre.  Presently, people have resigned themselves to their fate that spending crores and crores to garner votes as a normal and accepted part of their life. This note for vote scam should be viewed as an important opportunity to usher in the much needed change in society.  If you think that change and reforms are unnecessary,if you don't mind electing corrupt people, then you need not talk about constitutional niceties and ethical politics.   

    JP said that he believes in the wisdom and sagacity of common people.  Electing Chief Ministers directly in the States, proportional  representation at the national level, empowering local bodies, ensuring autonomy to ACBs and the CBI, a strong Lokayukta, confiscation of ill-gotten assets of criminals, are some of the important reforms that Lokstta wants to usher in. JP expressed his hope that if these are implemented in letter and spirit, money power in politics can be curbed to a large extent. 

    Mr Solkar Reddy, General Secretary , Loksatta Party Telangana State Unit,   Mr. Dosapati Ramu, President, Loksatta GHMC, Mr B Sambi Reddy,General Secretary  Loksatta GHMC, Ms. G.Vasanta, Chairperson, National Organisation Development Committee participated in the media briefing.

    06/10/2015 - 15:30
  • Arrest of TDP MLA Revanth, Gujjar Reservation is an indication of crisis in states

    The arrest of TDP MLA Mr. Reventh Reddy for attempting the buy the vote for MLC election  and the Gujjar reservations crossing 50%  are just another reflection of the massive corruption in politics and highlight the crises in our states, said Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan founder of Loksatta party in a statement.

    "Vote buying is not just about general elections, it happens for Rajyasabha and Legislative Council as well.  The going rate for a single vote for MLC seems to be  Rs 5 Crore, we can easily understand the degree of levels of greed for power and political corruption.

    We have 2 new states, but the same old politics continue,  not withstanding the celebrations on June 2 to mark the state formation. Nothing changed.

    Other than fiscal policy and key infrastructure and national security, the Central government has no role to play. It is the state governance that needs major reform.  We need state governments that practice politics of truth and have competence and fresh energy to bring development and jobs.

    M.L.A candidates are spending  Rs 5-10 Crores, and getting involved in every aspect of governance and giving away sops and dividing people based on caste, region and religion.  Unless we say a big emphatic NO to such politics, we cannot dream of providing quality education , basic infrastructure and healthcare for our citizens.

    Dr. JP said he believes that  direct election to Chief Minister is a viable alternative to fix our state governments and  invited a national level debate from concerned citizens.

    06/01/2015 - 20:00
  • In a statement issued to media today, Loksatta party founder, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan reviewed the performance of first year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government.

    "The government was elected for five years. It is too early to judge. Real change takes time & perseverance. Modi's one year does give us pointers. The record is mixed. Three areas are crucial: growth agenda; flagship programs and delivery reform.

    Modi gets A in economic management. Fiscal and monetary policies, infrastructure, energy sectors - record is impressive given the hurdles.

    Swachh Bharat, Smart Cities etc - the government gets B grade. Ideas are good, but poorly designed & executed. A slogan, acronym and PR campaign not enough. 

    Real change in education, healthcare, local empowerment, police reform, speedy justice and service delivery - government gets C.  I see almost no effort at all in these critical areas.

    We cannot get miracles in one year in a vast, complex, dysfunctional state. But proper design and real reform in delivery are vital"

    Referring to the ongoing spat of  AAP & Arvind Kejriwal's with Delhi bureaucracy and said "Only a bad workman complains against his tools. What next? People are bad?"

    "Winning elections is not the same as delivering results. We have perfection of means & confusion of ends! Power game is all consuming.

    Deep understanding of institutions & agenda for reform to reorder incentives are tasks of elected leaders; not media frenzy & alibis" 

    05/19/2015 - 18:45
    • In 2003, Section 6A was incorporated in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DSPE Act, 1946) dealing with CBI. This section mandated prior approval of government before CBI took up investigation of cases of corruption under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act, 1988) relating to officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above.

      In 2014, in the case of Dr. Subramanian Swami vs Director, CBI and others (writ petition (civil) number 21 of 2004 of Centre for Public Interest Litigation vs Union of India) the Supreme Court struck down Section 6A as unconstitutional and violative of rule of law.
       

    • PC Act, 1988 gives full freedom to investigative agencies to conduct enquiry into allegations against any public servant. No prior permission was envisaged in law for investigation. However, Section 19(1) of the PC Act, 1988 as well as Section 197 of CrPC envisage prior sanction of prosecution of a public servant.
       
    • Now the Union government is introducing an official amendment in the pending legislation The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 (PC Amendment Bill, 2013). Under the proposed Section 8B of the Amendment Bill, a new Section 17A is sought to be inserted in the Principal Act as follows:

     

    “17A (1) No police officer shall conduct any investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under this Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in the discharge of his official functions or duties, without the previous approval-

    (a) of the Lokpal, in the case of a public servant who is employed, or as the case may be, was at the time of commission of the alleged offence employed in connection with the affairs of the Union, and is a person referred to in clauses (a) to (h) of sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013;

    (b) of the Lokayukta of the State or such authority established by law in that State under whose jurisdiction the public servant falls, in the case of a person who is employed, or as the case may be, was at the time of commission of the alleged offence employed in connection with the affairs of a State,

    Conveyed by an order issued by the Lokpal in accordance with the provisions contained in Chapter VII of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 or the Lokayukta of the State or such authority referred to in clause (b) for processing of investigation against the public servant:

    Provided that no such approval shall be necessary for cases involving arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person.

    (2) Any information received or any complaint which is made to a police officer or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) in respect of an alleged offence relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by a public servant in discharge of his official functions or duties shall, first, be referred by such police officer or agency-

    (i) in respect of a public servant referred to in clause (a) of sub-section (1), to the Lokpal;

    (ii) in respect of a public servant referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (1), to the Lokayukta of the State or such authority referred to in that clause.

    (3) Any information or complaint referred by a police officer or the agency under the subsection (2), shall be deemed to be a complaint made to-

    (a) the Lokpal under clause(e) of sub-section (1) of section (2) of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas, Act, 2013 and all the provisions of the said Act shall apply accordingly to such complaint;

    (b )the Lokayukta of a State or such authority established by law in a State, as the case may be, and all the provisions of the law under which the Lokayukta or such authority has been established shall apply accordingly to such complaint”.

    Implications of the proposed Section 17A:

    1. This covers all recommendations and decisions of all public servants in the discharge of their official functions or duties. That means, except in cases of successful trap, every allegation of corruption must first be forwarded to Lokpal/Lokayukta for prior approval of investigation. The police, who have the duty to investigate any and every crime, including murder, rape, misappropriation, are prevented from investigating corruption on their own.
       
    2. Given the way Lokpal/Lokayukta institutions are structured, we can have every confidence that each case will be decided on merits. But there are about 60 lakh public servants of Union government (including public undertakings and departments), and in many major states there are over 10 lakh public servants. Overall, there are about 200 lakh or 2 crore public servants in India. If the CBI and State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have to forward each case to Lokpal/Lokayukta before even commencing investigation, the whole anti-corruption institutional framework will be jammed and paralysed.
       
    3. The proposed Section17A does not even allow a summary, instant decision by Lokpal/Lokayukta. The amendment specifies that the Lokpal/Lokayukta must give prior approval conveyed by an order issued in accordance with the provisions contained in Chapter 7 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. Chapter 7 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 envisages an elaborate procedure even for preliminary enquiry. In case of Lokpal, it may again involve CVC, CBI or Lokpal’s own investigative wing. Also, even at preliminary stage, the public servant must be given an opportunity of being heard. The preliminary enquiry may take 90 days or longer. Only after such an elaborate procedure can Lokpal/Lokayukta accord approval for investigation.
       
    4. This provision ultimately creates enormous hurdles to the investigation of any corruption offence even in the preliminary stage. What is needed is speedy sanction of prosecution under Section 19(1) of the PC Act, 1988 and Section 197 of CrPC, and to ensure that such sanction power vests in an independent, impartial authority like Lokpal/Lokayukta. Instead, even powers of investigation are taken away from CBI and ACBs by the new Section 17A.
       
    5. The net result will be tremendous weakening of investigative agencies, and dilution of Lokpal and Lokayuktas. The Lokpal/Lokayuktas are intended to be high ombudsmen to hold senior civil servants and highly placed public servants to account. By bringing every case of corruption before them even at the allegation stage prior to investigation, the Lokpal/Lokayuktas lose all relevance as high ombudsmen, and will become ineffective, overburdened, dysfunctional, slow-moving bureaucracies, defeating the very purpose of Lokpal legislation.

     

    This provision is unconstitutional as declared by the Supreme Court, illogical in extending the discredited single directive to all classes of government employees, retrogressive as it weakens investigative agencies, burdensome on the institutions of Lokpal/Lokayuktas, and ultimately counter-productive in combating corruption.

    We urge you to use your good offices to ensure that the Members of Parliament across parties are made aware of these grave implications and the proposed amendment is dropped. All parties, civil society & media must raise voice against this retrogressive step. We need strong, effective institutions.

    - Dr Jayaprakash Narayan

    05/16/2015 - 17:30
  • Loksatta Party sternly condemns the GoI for not criminalizing marital rape. In the name of Indian culture, the sitting BJP government at the center is blatantly abdicating their responsibility to ensure basic human rights and  constitutionally enshrined fundamental rights of women. Instead the GoI is audaciously citing Indian culture for their rejection of basic governmental duties.

    Rape or non consensual sex is by definition an act of violence. To claim that Indian culture treats marriage as sacred and therefore espouses violence and forced sex within marriage is both a contradiction and travesty, not to mention denigrating of India.

    Loksatta Party National President Surendra Srivastava lambasted the GoI for misrepresenting Indian culture to suit their atavistic gender related attitudes. "The beauty of Indian culture is its ability to hold a mirror to itself and reflect on it's own anachronisms. It is to live and let live. That has led to repealing of many unfair laws and creation of other laws to protect and engender social good. Rape, in any circumstance is abhorrent and by tolerating marital rape, India daily acknowledges that women are lesser humans without right of their bodies and no recourse for pain and violence. As a lawyer and a human being, I find this stance of the GoI unacceptable."

    Tara K, National Chairperson of Strategy for Loksatta Party, commented, "We are glad that the sitting governments of yesteryears did not preclude the abolishing of dowry and passing of anti Dowry and anti bride burning laws, the banning of child marriages and the passing of the prohibition of child marriage laws and the eradication of widow burning, all in the name of tradition, culture, education and background of the Indian people. Had they appropriated to themselves the sole custodianship of Indian culture the way the current GoI is acting, these barbaric practices would never have been outlawed."

    Loksatta Party, as a relentless champion for women, strongly urges the GoI to criminalize marital rape. India must treat women as first class citizens. accord them dignity of life and a marital institution that is safe and happy.

    04/30/2015 - 18:15
  • Loksatta party Hyderabad (GHMC) has been fighting on behalf of thousands of youth and senior citizens, walker associations groups and women’s groups that use NTR grounds on daily basis and requesting the Government to find alternate location in Hyderabad for Telangana Kala Bhavan.

    Loksatta Party founder Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan visited the ground early Sunday morning to meet with local residents and youth and express his resolve to preserve the much valued lung space in the heart of the  city. During his interaction with youth Dr. JP was surprised to find that many of the children come from far away places like Attapur and Uppal, Amberpet beyond local areas of Himayatnagar, Gandhinagar, Ashok Nagar, Musheerabad etc.

    “Youth traveling long distances to come here indicates the lack of play grounds in the city. Instead of increasing such open spaces, the current government is attempting to do the contrary!  We heartily welcome the construction of Telangana Kala Bhavan, but Government must find alternate location.  Ravindra Bharathi, Laliha Kala Thoranam, Harihara Kala Bhavan and other existing public auditoriums are not put to good use. Government should evaluate all options available.

    Young people of our city deserve open spaces for play. Rapid urbanization gave us lifestyle health issues and open spaces help people relax, exercise and build physical strength. If we take away the few open spaces left, we are forcing our people to watch TV indoors instead of playing cricket. 

    Not only should the NTR ground be left alone, I strongly urge  the Government to find open spaces for youth in all divisions of GHMC for play and recreation so they do not need to travel long distance to play.

    I urge the Telangana Government to reconsider their decision. Let us identify alternate location for the construction of Telangana Kala Bhavan” Dr. JP said speaking to media persons at the grounds.

    Loksatta Party Telangana unit President Bandaru Ramamohana Rao also spoke at the venue. Loksatta Hyderabad President Dosapaty Ramu said that the party will continue to mobilize public opinion and fight to change the decision made by the Government and find alternate location for proposed Kala Bhavan.  

    Many youngsters playing cricket, walkers, women, discussed the issue with Dr. JP and requested Loksatta party’s support and leadership to help save the ground.

    04/26/2015 - 21:15
  • Clearly and openly backing the concept of ‘net neutrality’, the Loksatta Party said on Friday that the role of internet service providers should only be to provide access to data irrespective of the source.
     
    Weighing in on the raging debate sparked by the demand by some telecom giants to be allowed to charge for internet access based on usage, Pallav Pradyumn Narang of the LSP’s Delhi unit said such an approach would impinge upon the freedom of speech and expression of users.
     
    Opposing the plan of some ISPs to tie up with internet companies to provide preferential access to their sites and services, Narang said such a move, too, would impinge upon freedom of speech and expression, not to mention the fact that it would be detrimental to one and all.
     
    The role of the internet in advancing human learning and capacity has been beyond expectation, he said. The Net has allowed an unprecedented interchange of information across borders, opening our eyes to the world at large, helping to create and foster communities, and enriching our lives. A United Nations report had gone so far as to declare unrestricted access to the internet a human right.
     
    Any move, under any pretext, to provide preferential access, based upon business deals, to one stream of data over another would sound the death-knell of freedom of information as we know it today, he said.

    04/19/2015 - 18:45
  • A new energy, direction and sense of purpose chalked out at the party plenary

    “A new and energized Loksatta Party will focus all its energies on enrolling lakhs of new members and emerge as a mass party for youth and women. “ Dr. JP said. Under the chairmanship of national president Mr. Surendra Srivastava the three day national council meet has discussed the action plan, and taken resolutions on organizational strategies to achieve this goal. The conclave was attended by 200 delegates  across 9 states.

    Though Loksatta Party, with its unmatched ideology and orientation towards sustainable reforms, is influencing the national political discourse, it is so far limited to Telugu speaking states. Therefore, Dr. JP opined that there is a dire need for the party to expand its scope and turf to the entire nation by putting the national interest to the fore. It is therefore imperative that the party national council has convened here in Hyderabad and conducted its plenary for 3 days, under the chairmanship of party national president Surendra Srivastava. A wide range of issues have been discussed and some important decisions were made in the lines of organizational matters, electoral stances and leadership development etc. Party has decided to ensure that youth and woman should be inducted into the party and give them leadership by identifying the best talent, to transform this party into an alternative political party that truly represents the aspirations of youth and women of current society. Not only that, but also Loksatta Party is going to be the natural platform for weaker sections of the society where problems of such sections will be taken and fought head on. Apart from AP, Telangana, Maharastra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Delhi, where Loksatta Party already has its presence, we are now trying to spread our base in states like MP, UP and Bihar.

    Founder president Dr. JP, national president Surendra Srivastava, national general secretary Ms. Hyma Potineni have spoken to the media today, and explained about the details of this plenary that went on for 3 days starting from April 3, 2015. Party president from Telangana state Mr. Bandaru Ram Mohan Rao, National chairperson for communications committee Mr. Srinivas Alavilli also have participated in this meeting. On the eve of the conclave dr. JP and Surendra have launched Loksatta e-paper. 

    Swachh Bharat:

    Speaking to the council members, Dr. JP has opined that the current BJP government at the center has failed in having a clear national vision for policies on health, education, farming and decentralization of local governments. Dr.JP criticized that Swachh Bharat, which is the brain child of BJP, has become a PR campaign rather than a sustainable effort to instill a sense of cleanliness in public and private sector. He also demanded BJP govt. that it should not limit itself to lip service but convert its intent into action. A mere PR campaign can only catch some eyeballs but the purpose is all lost when the local governments completely fail in implementing it. Therefore, Loksatta Party will expose this hypocrisy and pressurize the BJP government to take swachh bharat campaign seriously.

    Loksatta Party – A party by youth and women

    National president Mr. Surendra Srivastava has categorically stated that Loksatta Party has come up with some structural changes and is now ready to become as a default platform for youth and woman. A new membership program is launched where any supporter of Loksatta Party can now become a member with Zero rupee membership fee. He also opined that LSP has been very systematic in approach but without electoral results, so from now on LSP will be practical in approach to make some tactics to convert the public support into electoral victories.
     
    Bihar assembly elections:

    Loksatta Party has stepped into Bihar and formed its unit and decided to fight in the forthcoming assembly elections. Party National president Mr. Surendra Srivastava has appointed Captain Sudhir Sinha (9810259539) as convener and Dr. Ravindranath Shukla (9801380270) as co-convener of Bihar unit of the party. 

    Nirbhaya:

    Party National general secretary Hyma Potineni stated that the BJP government has failed miserably in implementing the Nirbhaya Act. The anger of men and women regarding safety is ever increasing with incidents like the rape of a 14 year old girl in Visakhapatnam that surfaced lately yesterday. LSP will not stop fighting until India is safe for all sections of the society. LSP will fight for effective utilization of Nirbhaya Fund of Rs 2,000 crores. 

    Loksatta party Telangana president Mr. Bandaru Rammohan Rao criticized that the TRS government, which came into power with the promise of employment to the youth, has miserably failed in fulfilling the aspirations of the youth. He demanded that the government should immediately issue the notification for the vacant government posts. He also demanded that the state government should initiate action towards creating jobs and providing employment in private sector as well. Loksatta party has already been fighting and will not rest until Telangana state achieves its real goal of Jana Telangana.

    2nd Phase of Telugu Bhavita: 

    As part of the Telugu Bhavita agitation that Loksatta Party took during last month, the council has decided to continue the 2nd phase of Telugu Bhavita program by reiterating its demands that AP government should immediately come up with a white paper with details of revenue deficit,  and that the central government must give tax waiver for industries.

    04/05/2015 - 19:15
  • The Loksatta Party’s national council meeting, a three-day affair that is expected to chart a new course for the party, began in Hyderabad on Friday with a session of the national steering committee.

    Speaking to reporters after the session, A Srinivas, who chairs the party’s national communications committee, said, “This is the first national convention to be held after Mr Surendra Srivastava took over as party president. More than 200 delegates from nine states across India are expected to deliberate and decide on the course to be taken by LSP and will be announced to the public on April 5th.”

    Srinivas said many organizational and political decisions are expected to be made by the national council. The goal, he said, is to grow the party across the country and make it a serious player in politics. The council will discuss these ideas and finalize a strategy. National President Mr Surendra Srivastava and party founder Dr Jayaprakash Narayan will disclose the new programmes on April 5 after the national council session ends.

    Ms Hyma Potineni, National General Secretary, said, “Loksatta Party had the highest number of members in Hyderabad in 2006. We are going to take our party to such heights again by strengthening the organization and launching innovative programmes.”

    Jagadheeswaran Dakshinamoorthy, National Spokesperson from Chennai, said, “Loksatta will fight for the rights of unorganized labour and build a mass movement to assert their rights, improve safety and working conditions, and eliminate corruption that impacts their lives. These proposals are ready to be presented to the National Council and will be announced on April 5.” 

    Rajeev Pai, party spokesperson from Mumbai, said, “Loksatta pioneered the idea that politics is the vehicle of change and inspired millions to look at politics without disdain. Many political parties and intellectuals are now speaking Dr JP’s language. Under the leadership of our National President Mr Surendra Srivastava, Loksatta is expanding to other states. The Bihar unit will be launched in the National Council in view of the upcoming assembly elections there.”

    04/03/2015 - 17:45
  • Dr. JP has paid tributes to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew in the following words:

    Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has built Singapore from a poor and deprived state to a modern state that excels in providing efficient public services through its political and administrative machinery. The rise of Singapore has left a lasting impact in Asia, including the two Telugu states. The transition of Singapore from a land that was inhabited by migration of multicultural and multiracial population and beset with internal conflicts to an economic giant punching above its weight is a lasting testimony to Lee's genius. His vision helped shape Asia today. Lee Kuan Yew's death marks the end of an era. He symbolized Plato's guardians - dynamic, public-spirited, fair, ethical & authoritarian.

    As Singapore was small city-state and it was effectively led by Lee, his centralized administration has yielded favourable results but the circumstances in our country are completely different from Singapore. The country and states must take lead from Lee in ending corruption, imposing rule of law, delivering quality public services and aggregating interests of various groups but not in centralizing governance.

    Speaking on raging debate on land acquisition issue, Dr.JP mentioned that as the country is adding 10 Lakhs unemployed youth every month, land acquisition must enable balance and parity between agriculture, manufacturing and services. Treating non-agricultural use of land as sinful is an economic suicide. Adequate compensation for land acquired, a share of developed land, skill promotion, & job for farmers' children should be integral to the land acquisition process. Insistence on consent in each case, too many procedures even when there is consent, placing bureaucratic hurdles & political polarization will hurt India. We need agriculture, industry & services. We must have win-win approach.

    03/26/2015 - 07:00
  • Loksatta Party has expelled Mr DVVS Varma and Mr Katari Srinivasa Rao, who were earlier suspended from the membership of the Loksatta Party, and Mr Siva Ramakrishna Karuturi for ongoing anti party activities, damage to the reputation and credibility of the party by repeatedly addressing both the electronic & print media on party internal matters, maligning leaders including Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, and for indulging to declare themselves as a separate entity. This is in accordance with Article XXVI of the party constitution.

    Loksatta Party National President Mr Surendra Srivastava, National Vice President Dr Ashwin Mahesh and National General Secretary Ms Hyma Potineni hereby intimate the members of the public and press not to honour any statements related to Loksatta Party from the above mentioned individuals as they are no longer associated with Loksatta.

    03/17/2015 - 18:15
  •  Dismissing the shrill 'debate' over the Land Acquisition Bill as nothing more than political cacophony aimed at scoring brownie points, the LokSatta Party has offered an innovative solution to the current impasse over the law.

    Urging all parties to refrain from petty politics and to analyse the issue objectively, LSP national vice-president Dr Ashwin Mahesh said we would be living in a fool’s paradise if we ignored the land needs of a large number of projects that are essential for India's development (such as infrastructure projects) or its security (defence projects). At the same time, he said, issues relating to land must be handled “carefully, fairly and lawfully” so that landowners get justice.

    "Farmers have historically been cheated by the land acquisition law," Ashwin said. "The only way to ensure they are not cheated is to give farmers trade-able stake-holding rights in projects that come up on their lands."

    Ashwin said any ‘compensation’ that is limited to the act of acquisition would continue to cheat farmers irrespective of the amount offered. “Land-losers should have the opportunity to benefit from projects in the same way as the promoters,” he suggested.

    LSP’s senior leader and  Delhi chief, Achyutam Kallani suggested that a win-win situation can be created if the land owners are given a right to buy-back a fraction of the land at acquisition cost plus a reasonable development cost so that the land-owner benefits from the future increase in market rates. In this context, the government’s move to allow 20% of the land to be bought back is welcome.

    Achyutam also added that the LSP is strongly against the proposed clause that would make prior sanction from the government necessary to initiate legal proceedings against any erring official. Such provisions, he said, are not healthy for the rule of law. “Offences committed should be examined by the judiciary,” he said. “The government should not pre-empt prosecution of its officials.”

    LSP national president Surendra Srivastava hoped good sense would prevail and the various parties would work together to safeguard the interests of farmers without jeopardising the country’s future.

    Following is the LokSatta Party’s stand on various issues in the proposed law:

    ·  LSP supports bringing all previously exempted 13 laws within the purview of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 (LAAR) so that landowners can claim the benefit of compensation for projects covered by those 13 laws. It was a mandate of the original act in 2013 to bring all such laws in its purview after a year. 

    ·  LSP supports scrapping of the explicit clause of returning the land if unused for five years. Many large infrastructure projects have a high gestation period and it is not always possible to complete a project in five years. This clause should be modified by adding the following: “or any period specified at the time of setting up the project, whichever is later”.

    ·  LSP supports in principle excluding certain categories of land use -- (i) defence, (ii) rural infrastructure, (iii) affordable housing, (iv) industrial corridors, (v) infrastructure projects -- from the purview of the consent clause, social impact audit, and the bar on using multi-crop irrigated land. However LSP is of the opinion that the list be pruned and specifically defined for only critical and narrow list of projects.

    ·  LSP advocates addition of an explicit provision that the law may not be abused by any “private entity” or real estate behemoth to grab land and become land sharks under the pretext of ‘affordable housing’ — as has been witnessed over the years across the country. 

    ·  LSP believes the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) clause adds to the indirect transaction cost of the acquisition process. As long as adequate compensation and rehabilitation is provided, SIA in certain critical categories may not be necessary. 

    ·  LSP believes that even in sectors where SIA should be undertaken, the law/rules need to be firmed up and define the process clearly.

    ·  LSP believes the definition of “PPP projects where Government holds the land” should be clarified further.

    ·  LSP opposes the idea of Government acquiring land on behalf of private schools, hospitals and NGOs. Land dealings by such parties should be handled by themselves. LSP advocates keeping these outside the purview of Land Acquisition law.

    LokSatta Party calls upon the Government and the Opposition to rise above the narrow political interests and negotiate the changes to the Land Acquisition Law which is fair, just and pragmatic. LSP urges urgency in this regard so that the impediments to our critical infrastructure projects are removed and the economic vitality is restored.

    03/09/2015 - 18:00
  • On International Women's Day, the Loksatta Party has called upon all citizens to come up with ideas to use the 'Nirbhaya fund' set up by the central government on the recommendation of the Justice JS Verma committee. LSP founder and chief ideologue Jayaprakash Narayan said it was a shame that the fund lies unused till date.
     
    "When my dear friend, the late Justice Verma, asked us for recommendations after the ghastly Nirbhaya tragedy, a key proposal to set up a Nirbhaya Fund was accepted and a budget allocated," JP recalled. "It angers me that not a single rupee of this fund, now Rs2,000 crore, has been put to use! We don't need another reminder of the dismal state of our governance and the lethargy in every layer of government."
     
    JP said it was important to think about the India we want for all of us, including women. "On this Women's Day, LokSatta Party is seeking ideas from all citizens on how to utilise this fund. It is my personal commitment to take the best of these ideas to Delhi and not rest until they are put to action," he said.
     
    Addressing the press, LSP president Surendra Srivastava said, "We walk the walk. Unlike other parties that pay only lip service to women's empowerment and participation in the political process by fielding proxies and heirs, LSP is being built for women, by women. I am proud that every single aspect of our party, at the national and state levels, be it strategy, leadership, organisation development or ground-level protests, is headed by young and dynamic women who are not only passionate about politics but know what they are talking about."
     
    Elizabeth Seshadri, who chairs the party's national legal committee, said, "LSP had provided a robust set of policies and changes to legislation to replace the antiquated half-measures that currently pervade our law. While some of our recommendations were implemented, several were left out, like fast-track local courts for speedy justice in sexual harassment cases. This must be remedied on priority."
     
    Wishing all Indians and, in particular, women on Women's Day, LSP national general secretary Hyma Potineni urged girls and women to "set themselves free and occupy the playgrounds of the country's towns and cities".
     
    Rejecting the patronising protectionism and overt misogyny of the BJP, proxy female leadership of a near extinct Congress, and empty rhetoric unsupported by action from the Aam Aadmi Party, she demanded not just a day for women but the entire year. The call to take over playgrounds is part of a year-long campaign by the party to unshackle women from regressive social conditioning and empower them.
     
    "Everywhere I see, there are only boys or men at playgrounds," Hyma said. "Girls and women are excluded and seem to have renounced physical activity." If the public mindset is to change, she said, women must lead that change. "We demand that local governments create the infrastructure and ecosystem, including grounds, toilets and facilities, to enable girls and women to participate in and enjoy sport!"
     
    The general secretary said LSP does not agree with the regressive thought that women must be protected. "We believe the fundamental guarantees provided by our Constitution must be enjoyed by every single citizen of this country. Women's right to freedom of movement, livelihood, education, and living with dignity are what we will fight for,” she said.
     
    Those wanting to contribute to the cause can visit www.loksatta.org/nirbhaya and share their thoughts. The web page was launched by national spokesperson Jagadheeswaran Dhakshinamoorthy on Sunday.

     

    03/08/2015 - 12:45
  • The LokSatta Party has condemned the Union information and broadcasting ministry's advisory to television news channels against broadcasting the BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ based on the Delhi gang-rape incident of December 2012.

    “Not showing the documentary fearing that it would bring shame on the country is unbecoming of a government that claims to work for better security for women,” LSP national spokesperson Jagadheeswaran Dhakshinamoorthy said.

    In a clip from the documentary, Mukesh Singh, driver of the bus in which Nirbhaya was attacked and who is currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail, blamed the young woman for the tragedy. “You can’t clap with one hand — it takes two hands. A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” he told BBC.

    Sadly, this ghastly view is not very different from the opinion held by some politicians and self-styled godmen, Jagadheeswaran said. It stems from the sick attitude many Indian men grow up with, which encourages them to shamelessly strip women of their dignity and right to equality.

    K. Tara, political secretary to LSP president Surendra Srivastava, said these are exactly the opinions we as a society need to hear "loudly and emphatically". "The narrative is so shameful and dehumanising that it must be heard by the entire country,” she said.

    Echoing the sentiment, Jagadheeswaran said Leslee Udwin, director-producer of ‘India’s Daughter’, had done what the government should have. “Reading the mind of a rapist and understanding his psyche could help the government formulate a punishment that is far greater than the sense of entitlement his twisted mind holds," he said. "The interview is proof of how as a society we have failed to teach our boys how to ‘see’ women. It’s more shocking to see interviews of the lawyers who seem to uphold the views of the rapist as true.”

    He added that political representatives who have been crying foul over the interview saying it “insulted” Nirbhaya and India had failed to understand that turning a blind eye to it will not make the country safer for women.

    Maitreyi Nadapana senior party leader from Bengaluru said airing the documentary would open the eyes of thinking citizens and force the government to focus on core issues. “Why have we come to such a situation?" she said. "The process of justice is so long and arduous that there is no fear of the law in the perpetrators. Fast-track courts are anything but fast. The government needs to analyse why this is so."

    Meanwhile, though the Rs1,000 crore fund earmarked for rape survivors under the Nirbhaya scheme remains unused, it got a boost of another Rs1,000 crore in this year’s Union Budget. “What is the use of these funds if women’s safety is still not given the attention it needs?” said Nadapana.

    03/05/2015 - 06:30
  • New Delhi: The LokSatta Party has deplored Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s statement crediting the Hurriyat Conference, Pakistan and separatist outfits for the peaceful election in the state.

    “It is deplorable that a newly elected chief minister says the peaceful conduct of historic elections would not have been possible without the support of Pakistan and militants," LSP president Surendra Srivastava said. "The mufti should thank the people of Jammu & Kashmir for coming out and voting fearlessly. Our armed forces too should get credit for ensuring a record turnout.”

    After taking oath as chief minister on Sunday, Sayeed had said: “I want to say on record and I have told this to the Prime Minister, that we must credit the Hurriyat, Pakistan and militant outfits for the conduct of assembly elections in the state. People from across the border made the atmosphere conducive. They also have assets -- Hurriyat, militants... if they had done something (during the election) such a participation of people would not have been possible. This gives us hope.”

    Srivastava said it was more disturbing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not objected to Sayeed’s misplaced comments. The PM must respond to this claim and make his government's stand clear, he said.

    For details contact:

    D Jagadheeswaran (0 979 1050 512)
    Rajeev D Pai (0 976 9741 674)

    National Spokespersons

    For Loksatta Party

    03/03/2015 - 10:00
  • To
    The Chief Reporter,
    Hyderabad.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Loksatta Party has suspended DVVS Varma, Katari Srinivasa Rao and Ramesh Reddy from the membership of the party for reasons of gross indiscipline. These three gentlemen no longer hold any official position in the party at any level, city/district, state or national. As such none of them can claim to speak for the party any longer and no communication issued by any or all of these three gentlemen will be deemed to be official communication of the Loksatta Party. This is for your information.

    All official communication relating to Loksatta Party will for the time being be issued by one or more of the following persons only:

    1. Mr Surendra Srivastava, National President
    2. Ms Hyma Potineni, National General Secretary
    3. Mr Srinivas Alavilli, National Communications Chairperson

    The party is pained by the behaviour of some of its senior members who have gone public with internal matters, precipitating disciplinary action. No one is indispensable. The party is bigger than individuals and the nation is bigger than the party. Loksatta Party will march ahead as a platform for the new generation of India.

    With warm regards,

    Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan
    Loksatta Party Founder President

    02/28/2015 - 20:00
  • Loksatta Party founder Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan’s response on Union Budget 2015-16:

    The Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley has presented a path-breaking, solid budget that has firmly set the direction for growth, social justice and job creation. He could have done more - particularly in delivery of education and healthcare, and empowering and involving local governments. 

    The most striking features of the budget are - the architecture of universal pension scheme, social security and personal insurance; boost to investment and economic growth; and substantial tax rationalization. Several social security schemes - accident insurance, pension plan, life insurance, senior citizens fund etc, if properly implemented, will provide much-needed social security to the unorganized sector and poor. This coupled with greater choice on EPF and ESI to the organized sector makes lives of the low income workers much better. 

    The overall goal of boosting investment has been accomplished by several significant measures. MUDRA bank for MSMES, comprehensive bankruptcy code, boost to infrastructure expenditure, creation of national infrastructure fund and tax-free infrastructure bonds, gold monetization scheme, focus on ease of doing business, and deepening bond market - all these will boost investment and infrastructure. 

    For the medium term, the FM attempted substantial rationalization of taxes. Phased reduction of corporate tax to 25%, removal of many exemptions, higher tax of 2% on super rich, abolition of wealth tax, firm commitment to launch GST from April 2016 and other tax proposals are long overdue and welcome. 

    Significant initiatives have been announced to curb black money and reduce corruption. The comprehensive new law on black money stashed away abroad will certainly act as a deterrent against flight of capital or undeclared foreign assets. Similarly strengthening the law against benami holdings and measures to promote non-cash transactions are in positive direction to curb domestic black money. Equally procurement law could curb corruption.  

    The FM has sensibly recalibrated FRBM targets, moving the fiscal deficit target of 3% to 2017-18 is a wise move that allows greater flexibility to raise borrowings for infrastructure investment.  Similarly the move for direct transfer of subsidies to prevent leakages is in line with the policy in place.  

    Though the budget is impressive and path-breaking in many ways, there are serious omissions in it.  By accepting the Finance Commission’s recommendations and increasing States’ share of central revenues from 32% to 42%, the government made a vital break through.  But local governments are not yet treated as the third tier of federalism.  The FM lost a great opportunity to transfer a significant share of states’ devolution directly to local governments, particularly for Swachh Bharat Mission and local service delivery.  Ultimately citizen satisfaction is linked to participation, accountability and local delivery.  There should have been a major attempt to link resources with service delivery and to fuse authority with accountability.  Equally glaring is the failure to recognize the appalling outcomes of education and healthcare, leading to misery, perpetuation of poverty and lack of opportunity for the poor.  Radical overhaul in both sectors incorporating choice, competition, public-private partnership, innovation, decentralization and accountability is warranted.  This budget could have been a perfect 10 if these three challenges have been addressed.

    India needs to move to outcomes and opportunity for the poor in place of allocations and short-term subsides.  Let us hope the unfinished task will not be ignored for long.

    02/28/2015 - 19:45
  • The LokSatta Party has welcomed Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu's focus on "customer experience, safety, infrastructure and self-sustenance" in Rail Budget 2015. Prabhu announced that Rs 8.5 lakh crore would be invested in the railways over the next five years to de-congest and expand the network. This spells good news for passengers who can hope to experience better facilities in the years to come.

    Welcoming the broad direction of the budget, LokSatta founder Jayaprakash Narayan tweeted: "Focus on big picture rather than on nitpicking, long-term vision & integration with other sectoral goals are hallmarks of Prabhu’s budget. Railways can emerge as an engine of growth & job creation. Leadership, competence, integrity & imagination matter (sic)."

    The party also welcomed Prabhu's decision not to announce new trains or projects but to focus on completing existing works. LSP national vice-president Dr. Ashwin Mahesh said many such announcements made every year by successive railway ministers have failed to see the light of day. He welcomed the decision to work to increase train speeds and have more semi high-speed trains but sounded a note of caution when he said these improvements must come only on the back of an upgrade and better maintenance of the railway network. 

    Among other announcements that the party welcomed were the decisions to replace 17,000 toilets with bio-toilets, set up an all-India 24x7 helpline number, create a mobile application to address passenger complaints, launch ‘Operation 5 minutes’ that will ensure that a passenger travelling unreserved can purchase a ticket within five minutes, offer paperless ticketing, set up SMS alert services to inform passengers about arrivals and departures, and provide modern facilities for disabled and senior citizens. 

    LSP national spokesperson Jagadheeswaran D  said these steps need to be implemented quickly to improve both the passenger experience and the railways' safety record, which hasn't been encouraging in recent years.

    02/26/2015 - 18:15
  • Loksatta Founder President Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, National President Surendra Srivastava and National General Secretary Ms Hyma Potineni addressed the media today regarding party organizational matters and recent developments.

    The National President Mr Surendra Srivastava shared his pain and anguish at the recent turn of events that defamed the unblemished reputation of Loksatta and Dr JP. "Loksatta has always stood for high standards of conduct. This breach of decorum and discipline in public by my own Loksatta brethren with whom we have worked have over a decade has left me deeply aggrieved. Unlike other political parties, Loksatta's firm commitment to liberal values of debate and dissent have enabled us to provide umpteen internal party forums for all members and leaders alike to air their differences and arrive at well thought through solutions to achieve our common goals. Despite all the available internal resources and unlimited access to Dr JP and myself, when senior party leaders have acted with indiscipline, it not only fills us with pain, but we also are learning lessons and evolving the party as a stronger unit. We will succeed and establish Loksatta as the default platform of the youth of India!"

    Ms Hyma Potineni, the National General Secretary said, "Our President, Mr Surendra Srivastava has even invited  Mr Varma and Mr Katari to stay at his residence in Mumbai and discuss and resolve differences amicably. He has himself traveled to Hyderabad and Guntur to reach an understanding and also invited them to join the National Teams to steer the party in the right direction with their experience. They have unfortunately refused to engage and further aggravated the situation through public defamation."

    Dr Jayaprakash Narayan said, "We are pained with the behavior of senior party members who have gone public with internal matters and forced this action. No one is indispensable. Period. The party is bigger than the individuals and the nation is bigger than the party. Loksatta will march ahead with momentum as the platform for the young people of India. The National President Mr Surendra Srivastava and his national team will take the party forward. This matter is closed."

    He also added, "Loksatta has the historic role of defining new politics and involving the youth and new faces in transforming political culture. Surendra Srivastava will now announce the new Loksatta AP State Unit leadership."

    The National President Mr Surendra Srivastava announced Dr Pattabhiramaiah as the Interim AP State President and Mr Bheesetti Babji as the Interim AP State General Secretary. "After extensive consultations with all key stakeholders and leaders, and with Dr Jayaprakash Narayan's considered opinion, we have arrived at the new leadership team.  Dr Pattabhiramaiah is a founder member of Loksatta and a long standing and highly respected public personality in Krishna Dist and is deeply imbibed of Loksatta values. Mr. Bheesetti Babji is also a founder member and a grassroots leader who has fought many a battle against the mighty and powerful corrupt elements in the highest echelons of our government. Under their able guidance, I’m confident the A.P state unit will soon be able to rally itself out of the internal chaos that has reigned in the past several months and focus instead on public interest and party building."

    Dr Pattabhiramaiah, the Interim AP State President said, "I have been asked to stand up and take charge at a time of need for Loksatta and I will do everything in my ability to grow the party." 

    Mr Bheesetti Babji, the Interim AP State General Secretary added that, "The need of the hour is for Loksatta to take the true causes of the people of AP and that is exactly what we are determined to do."
     

    02/21/2015 - 15:15
  • Loksatta Party National President Surendra Srivastava, National General Secretary Ms. Hyma Potineni along with Founder of Loksatta, Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan addressed media in Hyderabad today. 

    Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan briefed the press persons about the whopping response to the ‘Loksatta Youth Army Drive’ of Loksatta party that was launched on 14th February in Hyderabad. 1000 students joined the party, 150 of whom were invited to interact with the leaders and formally welcomed into the party. Dr. JP said “Politics is no longer a dirty word. Today’s youth look at Loksatta Party as the right platform to pursue politics and steer the nation in the right direction. The love and affection that young people show keeps me going. I am thrilled to invite all these young men and women into Loksatta. This is now your party!” “Education Skills, employment, healthcare and incomes constitute true welfare; not short-term freebies”. Dr JP declared. Lok Satta’s politics is about ending poverty; not perpetuating poverty and using the poor as vote banks”, he said.

    Mr. Surendra Srivastava, National President, announced that Loksatta is now the default party of the youth. “All changes are being made to make Loksatta the preferred platform of the young and bright citizens of India. The new National Team, the various functional teams, state structures, party programs and decision making is being transferred to young hands and minds. My sole aim is to ignite young minds so they can grow as political leaders in Loksatta, taking charge of the future of India. Other parties select leaders based on caste and lineage, money and vote banks. Loksatta welcomes the brightest and best young who are willing to serve the country as volunteers and leaders. When the youth of India win, it is a victory for India!”, he added.

    Mr. Srivastava concluded his remarks by adding that, “In 2015, citizens of India are looking at political parties to address the biggest concerns facing them –employment, safety, and environment. Politics of traditional parties that divide people with caste/religion/region/language are no longer viable for today’s generation and BJP will follow Congress in few years if it doesn’t learn lessons from Delhi. Loksatta is the answer for India's progress with the right mix of pro people and pro jobs policies, and it is heartening that the youngsters of Hyderabad see that too! Mr. Bandaru Rama Mohana Rao and Mr. Dosapaty Ramu have taken this message successfully to the people."

    Mr. Dosapaty Ramu, Greater Hyderabad Unit President who lead the Loksatta Youth Army Drive in various parts of Hyderabad said, “The youth of Hyderabad have always had a special affection and respect for Loksatta. It is a natural platform for them.”

    Mr Sambi Reddy, Special Emissary to National President, Mr Bheesetti Babji the new Interim Caretaker for Loksatta AP State, Vasantha Gullapalli Chairperson NODC, Tara, Chairperson NSPDMC and Srinivas, Chairperson NCC also participated in the press meet.

    02/20/2015 - 19:00
  • The Loksatta Party has congratulated the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its chief, Arvind Kejriwal, on their unprecedented victory in the Delhi assembly election. AAP won 67 out of 70 seats, leaving the BJP just three.

    The historic win is a sign that the citizen-centric politics pioneered by LSP over the past decade have been accepted and embraced by voters in the capital, party president Surendra Srivastava said. AAP has been given a second chance to make good governance and transparency the norm in politics, he said.

    In a congratulatory text message to Kejriwal in the morning, Srivastava said, “AAP victory in Delhi opens the door of opportunity for India to change the political culture of the country and give the young a chance.

    Traditional parties, including BJP, are suffering from a generation gap. The youth wants local governance to change to improve quality of day-to-day life.”

    LSP founder Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan tweeted: “Congrats to AAP for its spirited campaign & decisive victory. Delhi verdict shows voters are fed up with politics as usual (sic).”

    Elaborating on the new politics needed in India, Narayan said: “People want local empowerment. Nation, state, district, city, village — all must have defined roles, powers and funds. Oligarchies and traditional politics must end. Dynasties and moneybags and politics as business have no place in a mature democracy.”

    He added that quality education and health care, delivery of services, local empowerment, rule of law, growth and jobs must be at the heart of new politics.

    LSP national spokesperson Jagadheeswaran Dakshsinamoorthy said this was first and foremost a people's victory. “We salute the people of Delhi for coming out to vote en masse and providing a clear mandate for stable government,” he said. Dakshsinamoorthy also said this was a wakeup call for the BJP and prime minister Narendra Modi, and a message that the people of India will not wait for another 60 years before deciding whether they are living up to the promises made before the 2014 general election.

    For details contact: Rajeev D Pai (9769 741674) Spokesperson Loksatta Party

    For Loksatta Party

    02/10/2015 - 13:45
  • The State Information Commission in Tamil Nadu is functioning in a very inefficient manner. So many petitions which were appealed by the Loksatta Party to the Commission have been delayed and were unjustly rejected.

    Also the commission is neither levying any fines nor recommending any departmental action against errant Information officers. Because of this the Information authorities do not take the Information request petitions seriously and tend to impose exorbitant delays on the petitions and neglect them. This attitude of the SIC is against the spirit of the RTI act.

    ​Several Civil society groups are planning for a Hunger strike protest, tomorrow (05-Feb-14) from 9 AM to 5 PM at Chepauk Government guest house, demanding an efficient State Information Commission in Tamil Nadu. Loksatta Party extends its support to this hunger strike protest and party members will be participating in the protest.

    10/30/2014 - 18:00
  •   Loksatta Party leaders Mr. Jagadheeswaran and Mr. Jaiganesh ​will start the Phase two of their Bike Yatra from tomorrow (03​-​2​-2014). They will cover Cuddalore, Perambalur, Ariyalur and Trichy districts in Phase two of their journey.​

    ​They have already completed the​ir​ Yatra in Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram​ and Vizhuppuram districts.

    This Yatra is aimed at spreading awareness about ‘Right To Services’ act and

    ​to demand a strong Lok Ayukta in ​Tamil Nadu.

    To get updates during the Yatra and to see the pictures taken during the Yatra: https://www.facebook.com/events/208782012643559/

    To contact them : 9791050512

    10/30/2014 - 17:45