Reclaim “Swarajya”

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I would like to narrate an event that took place in Calcutta some 80 years ago. Sri Chittaranjan Das (C R Das) was elected as the  Mayor of the newly constituted Municipal Corporation of Calcutta in 1924. He argued with the British Governor of the province that as the elected head of the local government he should have the right to appoint his own chief executive officer (Commissioner). Even though the British offered him any ICS official of his choice, Das declined and won the right to appoint his own man. Das selected a bright 27 year old as his Commissioner.

Policing – Welcome Changes

Recently, the home minister Sri Devender Goud has announced some major changes in the functioning of the police. The three critical changes deal with: abolition of the outdated and inhuman “Orderly” system, introduction of citizen’s charters for various services, and removal of the responsibility of guarding the treasuries. All the three are welcome changes and the government should be commended for initiating these measures.

Docs should stop taking patients for a ride

While we boast of having one of the world’s largest trained manpower pools in health care sector and a world-class pharmaceutical industry, there are many problems afflicting our health care system. Three critical issues standout. First, most people do not have access to health care of acceptable standards. Second, whatever is available is unaffordable to the bulk of our population. And third, there is absolute lack of accountability. Let us examine the issue of lack of accountability.

Political Parties – Victims of a Vicious Cycle

The whole of last week, the entire media and the state was agog with the Krishna Yadav episode. The details of the scam were covered widely elsewhere. Instead I would like to focus on why are criminal elements finding a place in the political arena and why are political parties harbouring them?

No place for violence in a democracy

Most of us are still recovering from the shocking attack on the chief minister’s convoy. Fortunately the chief minister escaped with minor injuries, while some of his colleagues are seriously injured.  This is the latest episode in the ongoing violent struggle with the extremist naxal groups, which saw some brutal and gruesome attacks over the past few years during which both sides stand accused of grave excesses.

Lessons of California Recall

This week’s recall election in California shows us how dysfunctional the democratic process can become even in a great democracy like the United States.  In spite of its spectacular advances in communications and technology and the presence of a vibrant media, Californians fell prey to the distortions of the democratic process. As a result an actor known only for his brawn and nothing else is elected as the chief executive of the largest state in the US, which also happens to be the 5th largest economy in the world.

Inhabitants or Citizens?

This weekend LOK SATTA will be celebrating the successful completion of “One Crore Signature Campaign.” Often, we were asked why is it we want to empower the local governments. Our answer has always been that it is not merely about empowering local governments. Rather, it is also about empowering people. There are many well-intentioned people, who are appalled at the existing state of affairs and want to contribute to the well being of the society.

Practical Measures to Combat Corruption

align="left">The State Cabinet announced a series of legislative initiatives aimed at combating corruption. The three Bills under consideration are the AP Performance Accountability Bill, Corrupt Public Servants Forfeiture of Properties Bill and AP Transparency in Public Procurement Bill.

AAG and VIP Culture

International athletes waved goodbye to Sheroo in an impressive event, but the real chunk of Hyderabadi sports-lovers was not even there.  Only around 2000 tickets were sold to the enthusiastic public for the Afro-Asian Games’ (AAG) closing ceremony on November 1, even though the GMC Balayogi stadium can seat around 30,000.  The VIPs and their dear ones filled up almost the entire venue.  Even more shameful is that some people with valid tickets (costing 500 rupees, each!) were denied entry to the grand show staged at great public expense.

If only Women had Wives!

Needless to say half the world’s population are women. In most western societies women play an equal and some times even a dominant role (as in Scandinavian countries) in the social, economic and political spheres. These gains came after long, hard battles and coincided with the industrialization and modernization of these economies. But the women in traditional, patriarchal societies like India continue to suffer discrimination and humiliation that the western women have largely overcome almost half a century ago.