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Thursday, 5 June 2014

If I were the PM of India, what would I do?

IF I WERE TO BE MODI, THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA, WHAT WOULD I DO?




This is what probably every one of us will be having in our minds 'if I were in his position.....'. Today I am going to do the same. Being in politics for many years I had an idea of my own as to what should be done being at the helm of the governement. If I were to be the Prime Minister of India I would work on the following
  1. Corruption
  2. Quality and Free Education
  3. Quality and Free Health Services
  4. Infrastructure Development
  5. Reforms - Electoral, Police, Judicial
  6. Economy
  7. Defense

1. Corruption

  • Will not induce any Member of Parliament in to the Cabinet, who is facing grievous corruption charges
  • Strengthen Anti Corruption Law
  • Amend the Lokpal Law  to make it more stronger and Implement to its letter and spirit
  • Strong directives tagged with incentives and disincentives regarding strengthening   Lokayukta in line with the amended Lokpal Law
  • Will make sure that the investigative agencies viz. CBI, CID, CVC, ACB (through directives reg Lokayukta) remains autonomous and independent of political influence.
By taking the above measures to curtail corruption it will increase the functioning and efficiency of all the sectors to be mentioned below.

2. Quality and Free Education

Increase the number of primary schools (LKG to 5th class) to the ratio of 5000 population. From there on, shall be boarding school concept like Navodaya, a very successful model which follows all best in class standards and have been continuously giving good results.

Higher secondary and Higher education shall be skill and research oriented. Shall make universities a hub for experiments and self learning. For that universities shall be established in line with Oxford, Cambridge and increase the number of IITs, IIITs, IIMs, National Law Schools, JNU and so on such that every state has at least any three of such kind. 


3. Quality and Free Health Services


Getting a health service, from a normal head ache or fever to maternal delivery to heart and other complicated surgeries, should be very easy and with nil monitory efforts. This we can achieve by,
 · Strengthening already existing Hospitals by equipping with all infrastructures like Doctors  and other related staff in proportionate to the population; put in place the required medical equipment and so on.
· Increase the number hospitals so as to a Sub Centre (pre-primary unit) for every 3000 population, one Primary Health Care Centre (PHC) for every 20,000 population; 'Area Hospital' for every 1 lac population; Multi and super specialty hospital (like Gandhi and Osmania) coupled with Medical College for every district.
· Make available of the generic drugs in all government dispensaries. And also encourage private and public pharmaceutical companies to get into the track of generic drugs.

4. Infrastructure Development

It is elementary sense that infrastructure is one sector if taken care of, will influence many others viz industries, employment and economy as a whole.


· Electricity

Ø  Increase the production of electricity by diversifying the sources of production. viz. unconventional sources of energy (Solar, Wind, Nuclear, Wave etc.)

Ø  Bringing down the Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses as these losses are at 30-40% of the total production. So half the job is done if we concentrate on curtailing T&D losses

· Development of Roads 

National Highways; State Highways; District, Mandal, Village Roads.

· Railways
Ø  Bringing in fool-proof safety measure so that no single accident happens
Ø  Increase the number of trains to connect the nook and corner of the country and meet the huge demand
Ø  Introduction of High Speed Trains (300Kms/hr) connecting all the major cities across the country

· Airports 
International Airports in all Capital cities and near to world class airports in all 2 tier cities and district head quarters.

  All modes of transportation viz. Roadways, Railways, Airports will be interconnected and well integrated 


5. Reforms -


Electoral

  • Replace 'Proportional Representation' (preferably with Preferential Voting System) in place of existing 'First Past the Post'
  • Debar the people from contesting any elections who are chargesheeted with heinous crimes, until cleared by the courts. And if convicted should be permanently debarred for contesting any political office.
  • State Funding of political parties
  • Institutionalization of political parties
  • Full time dedicated staff to the Election Commission at all levels - streamlining all election related procedure including enrolling and deletions of voter ids
  • A law to bring in - Inner party Democracy; Strict Auditing & Accounting; making distribution of money and liquor a cognizable offence by conferring Statutory status to the 'Model Code of Conduct'. 

Judicial Reforms 

Reforms in judiciary can be seen from three fronts Pending Cases, Corruption and inefficiency. And to address that we shall have to go with the following measures
    video
  • Increase the number of courts proportionate to the pending cases and future demand
  • Increase number of judges
  • Computerization of all courts
  • The above three measures should be materialized in such way that any case should not take more than 6 months to 2 years to be finally cleared
  • Create National Judicial Commission, to protect the independence, impartiality, integrity and competence of the judiciary. It will oversee the appointments and removal of judges and other related staff of judiciary
  • Create All India Judicial Council, to increase the competence and quality of judges in line with IAS and IPS.


Police Reforms 

Shall send strong directives coupled with incentives and disincentives to the states to bring in reforms in police department such as,
Pictorial presentation of Police Reforms
  • Recruit adequate police personnel in proportionate to the population i,e. 1:270 (1 police for every 270 people) or increasing police force to 6% of the total population
  • Allocate adequate Financial resources to - create Technical infrastructure; increase salaries; increase expenditure of operational officers
  • Separation of responsibilities of the police viz. Law & Order, Crime Investigation and VIP protection
  • Do away with undue political influence or interference in matters of day to day functions and transfers and promotions
  • Set 'Police Complaints Authority' to look in to complaints on police personnel
  • As suggested by 'Soli Sorabjee committee on Police Reforms', 100 years old acts on which police system is based should be replaced with the new acts

6. Economy

Encourage Public Private Partnership in huge projects viz. Intercity High Speed Trains, Roads, Airports etc.

·To reduce Fiscal Deficit (FD)
There will be spurt in expenditure keeping in view of the introduction of huge projects; increase in payment of salaries (as the government work force will be increased to the proportion of the work load). This may in turn cause FD to increase. However it can be reduced with following measures
ü  With reduction in corruption, the hitherto un accounted drained money can be used efficiently. As our PMs time and again been saying that only 25% of the allocated money is being actually spent on the projects and the rest is swindled.
ü  One,Stream lining the composition of Taxes and  two, increase in the collection of the taxes. Both these are inter connected and interdependent.

· To reduce Current Account Deficit
ü  With a friendly and economic oriented Foreign Policy there will be scope of increase in exports.
ü  Focusing on our strengths like Software services , Tourism and so on
ü  Encourage Domestic Savings

· Creation of Employment
ü  Along with Administrative reforms (Police, Judicial) one important demand erupts is recruiting staff in proportionate to the work load. 
ü  Regularizing lakhs of contract Labors as it includes sheer exploitation. 
ü  How so ever we increase Government jobs it would be only a fraction of the demand. Thus we shlould encourage Self employment by strengthening the related schemes and streamlining the process like providing loans and so on
ü  Manufacturing sector plays a key role in terms of employment generation. And the performance of this sector is dependent on many infrastructural sectors like electricity, roads, monitory market etc. 

· Farming
Ø  Develop Cold Storages
Ø  Encourage usage of Technology in farming right from which crop to plant to tilling to sowing to reaping. By doing so we can reduce the cost of production and improve the productivity in the available limited land
Ø  There is a huge disparity in land holding. The scarce limited natural resource- cultivable land has to be redistributed to the marginalized farmers
Ø  Irrigation – make sure that every hectare is supplied with water
Ø  Making the 'producer - whole seller - retailer - consumer' chain fool-proof by removing all unnecessary middle men

7. Foreign Policy


Renew and maintain friendly relations’ shall be made to be as a policy. ‘You can choose your friends but not neighbors’. Thus we shall have two approaches when it comes to the relationship with our neighbors.
One with Pakistan and China where we shall have regular communication in regard to commerce, defense, intelligence; increase economic and sports activities; being assertive on matters like defense
Two, with Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Miyanmar and Maldives. Opening up and granting MFN (Most Favored Nation) to all South Asian Countries; sharing border related and intelligence information; make monitory transactions more regulated with particular reference to Maldives from where most of the Indian black money reenters India.
Other far away neighbors like US, E.U, Russia, Brazil, and Israel etc shall be dealt with economic and strategic angles.

8. Defense

Defense as the name and it's functions goes, misses a humane approach. so my defense strategy would be to bring in welfare and developmental measures in the lives of soldiers (low cadre), like increasing the salaries into two folds and so on.
Increase allocations for Intelligence so that they have all infrastructure in place to identify internal and external issues like terrorist threats and so on.
Unlike any conventional thought process there shall be Decrease the budgetary allocation of arms and ammunition (not to confuse with arms and ammunition of the police force which shall be increased). Divert the decreased fund to Health and Education sectors.
Encourage R&D in space which would have direct impact on the well being of the people of the country.


Devil is in Detail, so to keep crisp and short, I have mentioned only a broad framework of the vision or to call it a mini 'Manifesto' which in my view, would suffice to eradicate poverty, bring up the Human Development Index parameters (education, Health etc). If we go by this, calling our country, India is a developed nation is not a far cry.




Wednesday, 7 May 2014

TSUNDUR CARNAGE- when Judiciary turned down the victims-an analysis;Solutions

Tsundur Carnage- when Judiciary turned down the victims-an analysis;Solutions


"Animals, drums, illiterates, low castes and women are worthy of being beaten" -'Manu Smriti, a book of Hindu religious scriptures.

Cast, in India is one such phenomenon where in the natural instinct of Dominance, Supremacy, Control played a crucial role in Social suppression and alienation of a part of a divisional society for centuries. This resulted in economic and cultural dependency of these sections on the rest of the communities. The former being called as dalits (untouchables) and the latter elites (upper class).

After independence, with all privileges provided by the Constitution of India, helped in enlightenment and advancement of these down trodden sections of the society. However there was every effort to prevent reforms aimed at their emancipation. 
The social upward movement-still in its baby steps, of these hitherto suppressed classes on one side and the age old mindset of hegemony of the upper caste on the other; the friction between these communities was obvious. But unfortunately this friction on many counts led to gruesome massacres, be it in Andhra Pradesh,

 ·        Karemchedu, 1985 - 6 people were killed and 20 others grievously injured
 ·        Tsundur, 1991, - 8 people were killed
 ·       Lakshimpeta, 2012 - 5 were killed

At national level,
· Bathani Tola Massacre, Bihar, 1996 - 21 Dalits (includes 11 women and 6 children and 3 infants) were      slaughtered by the Ranvir Sena, a militia of upper caste Bhumihar landlords.

· Laxmanpur Bathe and Sankarbigha, Bihar, 1997 - Ranvir Sena in a series of attacks killed 81 dalits

· Kilvenmani massacre, 1969, Tamilnadu - 42 dalit labourers were herded into a hut and burnt them alive by a gang of landlords.

· Khelranji massacre, 2006, Mahrashtra - 4 members of a family were slaughtered and 2 women, mother and daughter of the same family were paraded naked in public, then allegedly gang raped before being murdered. All this for just, refusing to lay a road from their farming land into the upper caste habitats.

· It is strange that a political party being involved in atrocities against a community in 2013 Marrakkanam violence, a clash between Pattal Makkal Katchi Party (PMK) cadres and Dalit villages at Marakkanam in   Tamilnadu.

The judicial system has not been so supportive to the aggrieved.  Most of the above cases are still lingering in the courts; worse, few have been hostile, denying the justice to the people looking for it. For example,

· In Kilvenmani massacre, 1969 - the landlords responsible for 42 deaths could not be convicted
· In Laxmanpur Bathe, Bihar -  Patna High court in 2013 acquitted all 26 accused citing lack of evidence
· Karamchedu, 1985 - where in High Court of AP has acquitted all the accused. However later Supreme   Court in 2008 has convicted 31 people guilty.

High Court of Andhra Pradesh
The relevance of this post is the recent judgment by the Andhra Pradesh High Court which has acquitted all the accused of Tsundur massacre, where in 8 people were killed and several others injured. There is a furor over this judgment.

Was the Judgment really biased in favor of the accused? Let us analyze.

Historical background of the incidence.

The differences in Tsundur, Guntur district about 350km from Hyderabad of A.P. between Socially advanced Reddys and Telagas and backward Dalits (lower castes) over the years took new shape when a person belonging to lower caste clashed with the dominant upper class group in a cinema hall. He was beaten up badly. The aggrieved person along with the villagers filed a complaint with the police. Hard to digest on complaint, the surrounding villages caste Hindus has imposed a social boycott.

A ration shop dealer from dalit village, on the pretext of attending a meeting called by the MRO (Mandal Revenue Officer) has entered this socially barricaded area. He was beaten up badly for doing so, leaving with bloody injuries.

To protest this incident along with series of harassments on them, dalits on August 6 1991 organised a rally which resulted in police lathi charge. With police attacking them dalits tried to escape. This escape proved them to be a 'death trap' as around 400 people belonging to upper caste were waiting at the exit points of the village only to kill 8 people fleeing for safety. They were lynched, bodies pierced into pieces, stuffed into gunny bags and thrown in the Tungabadra drain. It took 4 days to find all the bodies which were swollen and filled with insects, that a doctor who performed post-mortem committed suicide on that night.

Police charge sheeted 219 people belonging to Tsunduru and neighboring villages.

This incident has caught the attention of state & national media as well as political parties. Series of protests for 3-4 months resulted in, establishing a separate court, first of its kind in the country in tune to the provision of SC, ST Atrocities Act of 1989.

Special Court established in Tsundur 

The special court after 16 years of the proceedings finally gave it's judgment in 2007 and convicted 56 accused, out of which 21 awarded life imprisonment and 35 others to one year rigorous imprisonment. It let of 115 others citing lack of evidence.

The judgment was challenged in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.

The bench comprising of Justice L.Narasimha Reddy and Justice MSK Jaiswal in 2014 after 7 years of hearing, has acquitted all the accused

Now the questions raised are, was the Judgment really biased in favor of the accused? The answer is YES
Should we concur with the judgment?  NO. Let us put it analytically,

  1. "Justice delayed is Justice denied". A judgment delivered after 23 years of occurrence of an incidence itself is against the basic principle of Natural Justice which is to 'deliver in time'. 33 accused died during the course of the trial is self-explanatory. In this long period there is every possibility of the evidences be erased, tampered which may overturn the whole case.
  2. Any crime  has to be recorded with the police in the form of FIR and if no one reports, it is the duty of the police, in case of a cognizable offence, to take the case suo moto.  And judgment given on the pretext that ‘no person has complained for the crime’ shows that our judiciary is lagging some 100 years behind.
  3. In regard to Court's observation on non-identification of the accused, there are Supreme Court guidelines on Massacre which says – the eye witness need not remember all the details of the accused. Lower courts were asked to ignore insignificant discrepancies in witness statement and not to disbelieve the evidence of such witnesses altogether.
  4. H.C of A.P has raised certain doubts on its judgment when it on one side, made the minor technical aspects as the base of its judgment and on the other made a remark saying that “the case which caught the national attention led to certain accused being virtually morally convicted”, which can be presumed to be contradictory and biased statement.
  5. It is obnoxious on part of H.C, in a case of such gruesome criminal acts, to mention or to make it a point of discussion that whether the victims are dalits or converted Christians.
  The case, according to the victims, now will be appealed in the Supreme Court. Let's hope for reasoning, logical coupled with evidence based judgment.

   Apart from the court justice, what is to be done to contain this kind of violent acts?
  1.“Prevention is better than cure” Most of the incidents would have been averted if the law enforcement machinery acted swiftly and unbiased. Thus the police should enforce the law in letter and spirit with utmost sensitivity.

   2. Lives in rural areas are revolved around ‘Land’. And most of the cases of such kind, land is the epicenter of the incident. Thus to strengthen the socially and economically backward classes, government cultivable lands should be transferred on to the names of the marginalized sections. In addition, Land ceiling Act should be implemented more effectively.

  3.Any judgment delayed for certain period of time becomes irrelevant. Thus to provide justice to the victims, judgments should be delivered as soon as possible. Here more than the severity, what matters is swiftness of the punishment. The number of courts should be proportionately increased to the population. According to the government reports and once mentioned by the PM himself, that we need some 10,000 courts to meet the demand of the pending cases. To start with, Government should immediately establish 1000 courts (it will be around 2 courts per district)

   4.Though education and health care facilities should be provided to all, government should take special care to establish Schools and hospitals in the areas inhabited by the socially and economically backward people, as it will induce lot of confidence and sense of security in them.
   Finally, Government at large scale need to spread awareness on the need to make the caste irrelevant, specially the success stories, like a village in Thenampulam-Sembagarayanallur Panchayat in Tamil Nadu which has relinquished caste altogether 
     




Tuesday, 22 April 2014

WHY LOKSATTA PARTY SHOULD NOT SUPPORT MODI


LSP in supporting Modi has gone to an extent, which for the first time in the political history that a party in its own ads has been campaigning for another party’s leader. A poster which reads “Nation needs Modi, Hyderabad needs JP”. One has to remember that there is no alliance between these parties.

Is it right for Loksatta, a Party with a difference to support Modi? Let us have a close look.

The purpose of politics is to bring in peace. Development and wellbeing of the people are the byproducts or consequent of peace. And for any political party it should be on its priority to do so. Unfortunately BJP has a bad track record of it. To substantiate, its core agenda itself is based on divisive nature, right from its inception in the form Bharatiya Jan Sangh.

Now its PM candidate Narendra Modi himself having the history of allegedly allowing or accentuating the Gujarat riots, 2002, where in around 1000 people died and thousands others injured and displaced. For this, Modi cannot shed his accountability and responsibility having his own cabinet ministers been convicted for the riots.

There is an argument that it has been 10 years and from then there is no single incidence of violence. We shall not mistake the duty and responsibility for virtue and achievement. That cannot, any way write off the past misdeeds.

If 2002 riots was age old incident, then out of Gujarat, under BJP what about the periodical incidents be it Kandhamal riots of 2008 (where in 38 people were killed and the violence damaged around 1400 homes and 80 worship places) and Muzaffarnagar riots which resulted in around 60 deaths and let 50 thousand people displaced.

In both cases BJP MLAs were instrumental in brewing the violence. In the latter case, two of the party members charge sheeted were facilitated on the dais shared by Modi himself and as a token of appreciation are now accorded with MP tickets.

Identity politics, in NDA coalition doesn’t end there. Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navanirman Sena, Akali Dal, PMK(Paattali Makkal Katchi) and its sister organizations Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and RSS have been with the purpose and track record of divisive, hate and identity politics. 

If all this is about BJP, the party which is supporting it, has from an NGO took shape of a political party to bring in clean politics through systematic change, thus providing an alternative platform to the traditional, identical and corrupt parties. And in its journey with all due credit, irrespective of its minimal electoral success, it has travelled in the self-regulated established path. This though with the baggage of disappointment, has garnered huge credibility, which was an investment to be proved successful in the long run.  Unfortunately the leadership has chosen to forego the long term holistic benefits for the short term limited electoral success.

The 4 yardsticks stipulated by the party for any alliance:
1.       No dynastic succession and rise of genuine leadership
2.       A conscious attempt to reduce the role of vote buying and money power in politics
3.       An agenda focused on economic growth, jobs and opportunities, not short-term freebies and
4.       An effort to unite people, not divide them on caste, religion and region for electoral gains.

From the above, if 1 & 3 are debatable, 2 & 4 perfectly fit as to not to support BJP.

Justification given for the support is to provide stability, corruption free governance and create employment.

First, as rightly mentioned by Dr.Ambedkar “Rights and Liberty of the people are more important than the stability of the government”.  BJP has proven weak track record of providing both to all sections cutting across religion and cast line basis. And if stability is what to be sought then Congress has impeccable record of providing stable governments in the last 66 years. But it is not to be forgotten that Congress has been successful in tagging corruption with stability at national and state (Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra) levels.
Second, BJP has lost all moral authority to talk on corruption free governance by continuing Babubhai Bokharia(multi crore illegal limestone mining), Purshottam Solanki (Rs,400 crore fishing scam) in his cabinet all these days on one side and bringing  Yeddyurappa, Sri Ramulu (key aid of Gali Janardhan Reddy) back in to the party on the other. So we can call BJP lesser corrupt but not corrupt free. 
Third, in the name of Development and creating jobs Modi has encouraged Crony capitalism, losing out natural resources to big corporate houses.

Loksatta Party by supporting BJP has entered into a realm of the parties like Congress, Janta Dal, Rashtriya Janta Dal and so on Started to serve the people, develop the nation but gradually diverted their course, eventually landing up in the business-politics model. If not as bad as these parties, LSP will take a shape of Left Parties, with a notion of “Perfection of ends and confusion of means”.

To conclude, Ideology, like the one of LSP, in case of conflict stays with the right and not convenience. Here the indicating ‘right’ is to fight against these traditional parties but not along with them. By doing so a fight would only be against us. Loksatta Party by supporting BJP has stretched too far for its own good.