Skip to main content

2019 polls: Actionable plan to end corruption, generate jobs discussed with political parties

By Our Representative
A civil society-sponsored Jan Manch organised in Delhi, where what are claimed to be “peoples’ issues” for the 2019 elections were discussed with representatives of political parties, has been told that the BJP rulers came to power on the anti-corruption plank of a Bhrastachar Mukt Bharat, but the government “systematically weakened and destroyed the anti-corruption framework.”
Anjali Bharadwaj, co-convener, National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), said that the government “repeatedly tried to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act and did not operationalise the Whistleblowers Protection Act, weakened the Prevention of Corruption Act and appointed the chairperson and members of the Lokpal in complete secrecy.”
The Jan Manch was aimed at putting forth peoples’ demands before political parties. The meeting saw the release of "Reclaiming the Republic", a document which claims to bring together urgent actionable reforms needed to protect and strengthen the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity. The document has been endorsed by various campaigns and groups across the country.
The document, prepared in English and Hindi, puts forth the reforms required in law, policies and institutions to undo the damages inflicted by the current ruling establishment and to strengthen proper operation of the rule of law in our country, non-interference with judiciary and anti-corruption institutions, the integrity and fairness of administrative structures, a communique by the organizers of the Jan Manch said.
Those who organized the Jan Manch included NCPRI, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), Right to Food Campaign (RTF), Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) and Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS). Representatives several of the political parties – Communist Party of India (CPI), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Samajwadi Party (SP) – participated, though there were none from the Congress or the BJP.
A representative of grassroots organization, Sunita from Kusumpur Pahadi testified about the discrimination suffered by Dalits even in cities like Delhi, where, she said, they are forced to do manual scavenging, garbage disposal as there are no other employment opportunities and are discriminated against in education, housing etc.
Annie Namala, associated with Dalit rights struggles, said that statutory provisions to prevent and redress caste-based discrimination and their proper implementation is a key demand of people for the forthcoming elections. She said the right to work with dignity must be recognised and provided.
Several people from slum settlements across Delhi spoke about the insecurity of living in a slum where the government, without any notice evicts people in the middle of the night. Shama of Kathputhli Colony, which was demolished, testified about the sub-standard temporary living conditions provided to them and demanded that parties must commit to providing decent housing.
Responding to the testimonies about the lack of employment opportunities even for youth who have completed schooling and college and the rising cost of living, Nikhil Dey of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) said that right to employment is an important issue which has also been flagged in the "Reclaiming the Republic" document.
Noted economist Jayati Ghosh stated what was necessary was provision of universal basic services- free education, health, universal pensions and rations. She said that money for an employment guarantee program and for providing universal basic services can be raised by reforming the tax regime to introduce wealth tax, inheritance tax, gift tax and by doing away with some perverse subsidies.
Top Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan said that huge corruption scams including the Rafale scam exposed the reality of how the BJP government had not only failed to address the issue of corruption but that the Prime Minister himself was involved in the scams.
Highlighting how the government had undermined every institution of oversight, Bhushan said, there was an urgent need to put in place reforms to safeguard institutions like CBI, anti-corruption agencies, CAG, judiciary from influence of the government.
Yogendra Yadav of Swarajya Abhiyan spoke about how the government, unable to account for its poor performance and in an attempt to divert attention from its failures was trying to centre stage the Pulwama attacks and the strike by the Indian Air Force as election issues. He said that leaders of the BJP were openly using the attacks to garner votes and were politicising the armed forces for their political benefit.
Kavita Srivastava of the Right to Food Campaign, highlighted the demands around food security including reforms required in agriculture, strengthening childrens’ right to food, ensuring maternity benefits and proper implementation of the National Food Security Act. Madhuresh of NAPM highlighted the loot of natural resources and the need to undo many of the regressive amendments made to environmental and land laws.
Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) said that women’s rights must be centre staged in this election and this requires substantive reforms to ensure their right to work, equal pay, protection against violence, rations, health, education for the girl child.
Ghanshyam Tiwari of SP stated that his party is committed to working towards equality in society. He added, he agreed with most of the demands put forth in the Reclaiming the Republic document and that the manifesto of his party will include many of these.
RJD’s Prof Manoj Jha said that his party fully endorses all the reforms contained in the “Reclaiming the Republic” document and that the party in its manifesto has committed itself to work towards each of the reforms. He said that the demands would not just form part of the manifesto but pledged that the party would work towards realising them.
D Raja of CPI said that this was the time to save the republic and that deep reforms are required to protect the country and safeguard democracy. He stated that the manifesto of CPI will be released shortly and will reflect the demands put forth by peoples’ movements and campaigns, including those made in the “Reclaiming the Republic” document.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.