Press Releases Archive

Interim budget a damp squib: Lok Satta

Lok Satta Party expressed its dismay and disappointment over the interim budget presented by acting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, who asserted that extraordinary economic circumstances warranted extraordinary measures did not walk his talk by announcing any new package to arrest and reverse the downtrend in the Indian economy.

It was tragic that he preferred propriety to addressing the grave economic crisis in the country. The present Government might not get another opportunity to address the problems as its policymaking mechanism gets paralyzed once the election process is under way, said Lok Satta vice-president Mr. DVVS Varma, General Secretary Mr. V. Laxman Balaji.

They said that the global economic recession coupled with liquidity crunch has led to curtailment of production in a number of sectors ranging from automobiles to information technology, gems and jewellery to leather and textiles. Millions of people have been losing their jobs and livelihood in the wake of the economic crisis stalking the country.

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee did not unveil any package to address the grave problems facing the economy. Instead, he chose to list out the accomplishments of the UPA Government. Although higher allocations to some of the flagship programs of the UPA Government like the NREGS and NRHS are welcome, the UPA Government has failed to seize the opportunity of presenting an interim budget to mitigate the sufferings of common people.

Mr. Varma pointed out that poverty could be eradicated only if quality health care, education and job oriented skills and employment opportunities are provided to all and agriculture and allied sectors including traditional occupations are made remunerative. “Perpetuation of poverty suits the traditional parties because they will have an abundant reservoir of unskilled, unemployed and underemployed people ever ready for being hired as political workers.”

Monday, February 16, 2009 - 21:10

Lok Satta movement to work for political change

The Lok Satta movement will be enlightening the people on the need for changing the nature of politics during its second phase.

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, the founder of the Lok Satta movement, and now President of the Lok Satta Party recalled that the NGO accomplished a number of reforms ranging from voter registration at post offices to disclosure of poll contestants’ criminal antecedents and from the Right to Information Act to the Gram Nayalaya Act. “But people’s living conditions cannot be improved unless politics is rid of corruption.” The Lok Satta movement, as part of its second phase, would be focusing on educating the public on the need for new politics and good governance.

Dr. JP was addressing a meeting on the occasion of election of new office-bearers of the Lok Satta movement. Mr. DVVS Varma, Vice President of the Lok Satta Party, said the Lok Satta movement was in the forefront of many democratic movements during the last ten years.

Mr. P. L. Narasimha Rao was elected Coordinator and Mr. Bandaru Rammohan Rao, General Secretary, of the movement. Ms Vijayalakshmi Baksh, Mr. T. Rajamouli, Mr. C. Yellaiah, Mr. Somasekhar and Mr. Meeneswara Rao were elected Secretaries.

Saturday, February 14, 2009 - 16:53

Railway investments in infrastructure Inadequate: Dr. JP

Railway investments in infrastructure have not been growing in tune with the growth in the economy, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. As a result 80% of the freight is being moved by roads and only 20% by rail. Road traffic is expensive, pollutes the environment and results in innumerable accidents and heavy damage to roads.

Commenting on the railway budget, Dr. JP said that successive Governments have added only some 10,000 km of railway track since the country attained Independence. There is no reason why all of the districts barring the hilly ones cannot have a railway line. The track maintenance is so poor that the so-called super fast trains run at an average speed of 70 km an hour against 120-150 km in the developed world. The railways have not been able to meet the demand for train services by increasing the frequency because electronic signaling has not been introduced in most of the country. While in advanced countries one can travel across countries by walking into a railway station any time, here in India one has to book a ticket three months in advance or pay through the nose under the tatkal scheme to get a berth on a long-distance train. Nowhere in the developed world toilet waste from running train toilets is discharged on railway tracks. And the railways have failed to develop services in tune with the demand in metropolitan cities like Mumbai.

Dr. JP said members of Parliament should concern themselves with ensuring that trains are run fast and not slow them down by demanding a halt or a station in their constituencies. By developing effective linkages between bus and rail services, trains can be speeded up. Bus services should be encouraged to cover short distances and trains, long distances.

Dr. JP welcomed the introduction of some new trains and the proposal to introduce bullet trains. But the railways should introspect and ensure that its investments in infrastructure take the economy forward as railways are the economy’s lifeline. “Let not the railways miss the wood for trees”, he added. The improvement in the balance sheet of railways and the surplus of Rs. 25,000 crore in fiscal 2008 is welcome. But we need to take a long-term view and build the Indian Railways as an effective life line of our economy symbol of national integration.

Friday, February 13, 2009 - 18:10