Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Aarogyasri : Lok Satta challenges Botsa for a debate

The Lok Satta Party today charged the Government with enriching private and corporate hospitals by aggressively promoting “Rajiv Aarogyasri” and by quietly withdrawing from the health care sector in its bid to privatize it.

In a strong rejoinder to Housing Minister Botsa Satyanarayana taking exception to Lok Satta Party’s criticism of “Aarogyasri”, party spokesman Karthik Chandra challenged the Minister for a public debate. Of the 7600 surgeries performed under “Aarogyasri” until December 1, 2007, 95 per cent had been done in private and corporate hospitals and that three hospitals groups cornered the lion’s share of the insurance amounts.

Mr. Karthik Chandra said it was a matter of shame that the Government advertised the scheme as a boon to the poor by arranging for 7600 surgeries till now, ignoring the grim reality that every year six million people were sliding below the poverty line, most of them unable to pay for their medical care. “Aarogyasri” covers only a few rare ailments but not ailments like gastroenteritis, diarrhea, malaria, encephalitis and dengue and dog and snake bites that plague the common man most.

Mr. Karthik Chandra said “Aarogyasri” was nothing but “corporatesri” in that it was meant to benefit them and not the poor people.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Is Government fuelling caste wars?" Asks Lok Satta

Dr. JP Advocates 10% Weightage to Poor

Hyderabad, Dec. 20 - Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan (Dr. JP) today came down heavily on the Andhra Pradesh Government's "insincere and cynical" decision to constitute a commission to go into the inclusion of Kapus and 17 other castes among backward castes.

Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said "the manipulative decision is meant to drive a wedge between Kapus and other backward castes to derive short-term political gains."

There is indeed backwardness and deprivation among Kapus and for long they have demanded that they be included among backward castes. But the timing and manner of the decision makes it amply clear that the Government is motivated not by a genuine desire to help those suffering from deprivation and discrimination, it has all of a sudden resurrected the long ignored demand apparently in the light of the changing political firmament in Andhra Pradesh.

The decision will merely spark another 'kula kurusketra' (caste war of epic proportion) like the ones between Malas and Madigas in Andhra Pradesh and Gujjars and Meenas in Rajasthan.
Need for scientific study

Dr. JP said that several disadvantaged communities have genuine grievances about their non-inclusion in reservations, or wrong classification of BCs, SCs or STs. He demanded that all such communities should be carefully considered and included among categories eligible for various reservations only after a scientific, independent, objective and credible analysis of their economic, social, cultural and anthropological background. Without such a study, the Mandal Commission had included Kamma, Reddy and Telaga castes among other backward castes. Any unscientific effort will merely trigger irresistible demands for inclusion of every community as in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

But pending a scientific study, the Lok Satta Party believes, that justice can be rendered by awarding 10 per cent weightage in marks to children from poor families and with rural background irrespective of their community in both admissions to educational institutions and Government jobs. If a qualifying exam has total marks of 1000, children from poor and rural backgrounds shall be added 100 marks to their score. Then they too will be in a position to compete with their wealthy, urban counterparts.

"The Lok Satta Party is irrevocably committed to such a weightage in all competitive examinations for higher education including in MBBS, engineering and other professional courses and for Government jobs for all poor and rural children. Dr. JP said such a formula will once and for all guarantee justice to all communities and ensure that the Government does not exceed the 50 per cent ceiling on reservations mandated by the Supreme Court". Existing reservations can thus be continued that yet justice can be done to all deserving, underprivileged children irrespective of caste.

Free quality education to all
Dr. JP demanded that the Government provide at its cost quality education in English medium up to the 12th class to all children and higher education to all deserving and desirous students irrespective of their means. "The Lok Satta Party has, therefore, made quality school education to all children and free higher education to deserving students of all castes the centerpiece of its political and social agenda. Eventually caste should be abolished over a generation and our children should grow up with their heads held high, untainted by caste and parochialism, Only then will the dream of Dr. Ambedkar be realized".
At present only seven per cent of all children pursue higher education while 93 per cent do not go to school or pursue higher education. Even the seven per cent in the 11-14 age group that attend school are victims of poor quality education. Thirty per cent of them cannot read a single passage in any language while 70 per cent cannot answer even a simple arithmetic problem like division.
Dr. JP also called for the establishment of schools and hostels and provision of scholarships to children of EBCs (economically backward castes). Government apathy towards education of SC and ST children was evident from its failure to spend Rs.342 crore, as pointed out by CAG in its latest report.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lok Satta's "Grama Nyayalaya" Initiative Gets the Cabinet Nod

Parliament to approve seven-year fight for common man's justice
After a stiff resistance within the government, the cabinet finally approved the "Grama Nyayalaya" bill after seven long years.

Lok Satta, pioneer of political and governance reforms in the country had spearheaded this cause and submitted a report with the aforesaid "Grama Nyayala" initiative to "The National Advisory Council" 2003 in order to facilitate speedy justice at the grass root levels in the country.

According to Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, "it definitely is a satisfying moment not only for us but also for the cause of democracy and rule of law.

Commenting further, he stated "It is the most important step towards implementation of speedy justice. We at Loksatta movement had been fighting for this since its inception. Loksatta party painstakingly drafted this bill and pursued it at every level right from the beginning" he added.

He further stated" There is a market to demand for criminals to provide rough and ready justice through brutal means. This lead to criminalization of the society and politics as well. Without rule of law, due process and speady justice, democracy becomes illusory to the bulk of the people.

"Once this bill is implemented, it will be a great step towards a more efficient and accessible justice system. But for local justice to be effective, the police must be reformed. The crime investigation process should be made independent of partisan politics and at the same time made accountable", he said.

He further emphasised that "These local courts should conduct trials in local language and there is a dire need for "mobile courts" where in the courts will go to the location or crime or dispute and record evidence. This will substancially eliminate perjury. These courts would be an integral part of the independent justice sytem with a provision for appearance of lawyers to represent the clients"

Dr JP summed up by saying "A free society cannot exist without accessible systems of justice. Indian judiciary and legal profession have set high standards of excellence. But the bulk of the people are beyond the pale of our justice system. We need to restore public confidence in our legal system, and ensure peace, order and harmony in society. Many reforms are required to provide speedy, accessible and efficient justice. One simple, low-cost, effective, painless solution is the institution of local courts following summary procedures. This measure is not sufficient to address the monumental crisis facing our judiciary, but is a necessary first step in that direction".

If local courts are appointed at the rate of one per 50,000 in rural areas, and one per 1,00,000 in urban areas, we will have about 15,000 new mobile magistrates accessible to people at the local level, providing justice at the door-step, following simple, easy and citizen-friendly procedures, and ensuring all these at a very low cost, which can be recovered in multiples by imposition of even a small court fee. The presence of lawyers, effective mechanisms for monitoring and accountability, and provision for appeal, guarantee fairness in the process and real justice to the poor. The whole Local Courts system will be an integral part of the independent judiciary, and fully controlled by the judiciary. This ensures strict separation of powers as envisaged in the Constitution, and effective supervision and control by the judiciary.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lok Satta announces state-wide anti-corruption movement

People's Commission against Political Corruption

Are you tired of reading newspaper headlines on political corruption every day?

  • Do you know about a politician who is blatantly corrupt? Do you have some information on a public servant earning .tons of money. illegally?
  • Do you know about a public work, government project or a scheme where unscrupulous politicians, middle-men and contractors are misusing public money and resources?
  • Do you know about abuse of authority, land grab or blatant violation of public norms?
Our governments and political parties have utterly failed in catching and punishing those involved in serious, top-level corruption. Every once-in-a-while they make a show of catching the small-fry, but the big fish? They always managed to get away. Until now.

In order to highlight and combat the menace of corruption, Lok Satta Party has constituted a People's Commission against Corruption. The Commission will be chaired by Justice Ramanujan, former Lok Ayukta of AP. Other members of the Commission will be named in consultation with the Chairman within a week's time.

It is time, we, the citizens do our bit to uproot political corruption from our State. All you need to do is give us information about any corrupt politician, unscrupulous middlemen or about a scam in a public work. The best part is, you can do it in an easy, safe and anonymous manner!

People's Commission Against Corruption:

You can directly send your complaints to this Commission about:

  • Vast undisclosed assets of politicians and public servants (with as much documentary evidence as possible).
  • Gross acts of corruption by public servants in contracts, tenders, postings, transfers, etc.
    Blatant misuse of office - serious instances of nepotism and favouritism
  • Misuse and misappropriation of public money/resources; serious instances of cheating and fraud by public servants
  • Land grabbing; unjust allocation of land and land alienation (resulting in wrongful loss to public and/or wrongful gain to any individual)
  • All forms of irregularities in public works and contracts; major cases of over estimates; any case where tenders pertaining to public money is actually executed by a sub-contractor - at a cost of 80% or lower than the bid price.
You can send your complaints with supporting documents/evident directly to the People's Commission Against Corruption by post, phone, and through email/internet.

How can you provide information on corruption:

A dedicated mailing address has been created to receive your complaints and information: PO Box 100, Hyderabad . 500 004. In case you wish to inform via telephone, our team of experienced volunteers are on standby: just call 040 . 2323-2711 anytime between 8 AM and 9 PM and our volunteers will help you provide the information, discreetly. You can also email complaints and information to

A website has been launched where information will be posted about the information regarding electoral candidates. disclosures, assets and liabilities of legislators.

Post P O Box 100 Hyderabad 4
Phone 040-2323-2711 (8:00 AM to 9:00 PM)

The Commission will conduct a thorough, impartial enquiry into all your complaints. They will give specific and concrete recommendations to the Government and credible non-government organizations and associations.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

MLAs: Assets or Liabilities?

Statement on declaration of assets by elected representatives

Only 83 of the total 294 elected MLAs in the current (12th Assembly; from 2004) have submitted their financial details to the Speaker. 211 MLAs did not submit the details of their assets and liabilities to the Speaker, even once.
Only 36 MLAs have submitted their financial details for more than one year. Only 7 MLAs submitted for all four years (as on 7th November 2007):
  • KR Suresh Reddy (Speaker)
  • N. Chandra Babu Naidu
  • T. Devender Goud
  • Ch. Rajeswara Rao
  • Y. Ramakrishnudu
  • N. Rajyalakshmi
  • Patra Prakasa Rao
Apart from the Hon'ble Speaker, only 2 INC MLAs and 4 TDP MLAs submitted for all four years. Even the CM himself submitted only for 2 years - 2005 and 2006. The legislative affairs minister K. Rosaiah submitted only once. Ministers Konatala Ramakrishna, Mandali Buddha Prasad, K. Jana Reddy, Galla Aruna Kumari, D. Srinivas, Sabita Indra Reddy, Maganti Babu, J. Geeta Reddy, Pinnamaneni Venkateshwara Rao and Kanna Lakshminarayana submitted their financial details.
Ministers who did not submit even once: Md. Ali Shabbir, Sambhani Chandrasekhar, Reddyvari Chenga Reddy, Damodar Rajanarsimha, R. Damodar Reddy, J.C. Diwakar Reddy, Mohammed Fareeduddin, M. Hanumanth Rao, T. Jeevan Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, M. Mareppa, M. Mukesh Goud, Dharmana Prasad Rao, N. Raghuveera Reddy, J. Ramamohana Rao, A. Ramanarayana Reddy, Koneru Ranga Rao, J. Rathnakar Rao, D. Redya Naik, Botcha Satyanarayana, P. Subash Chandra Bosu, Gollapalli Surya Rao, K. Venkata Krishna Reddy, M. Venkata Ramana Rao, Sri V. Venkateswara Rao, S. Vijayaramaraju, G. Vinod
Out of 185 INC MLAs, only 45 submitted their details and 24 submitted only for one year. Out of 46 TDP MLAs, only 20 submitted their details, of whom only 12 submitted more than once.
Out of the 26 TRS MLAs, only 5 members have given their assets to the Speaker, of whom Mandadi Satyanarayana Reddy submitted twice. The rest have disclosed their details only once.
The floor leader of TRS did not submit even once.
Out of 9 CPM members, only 3 submitted their financial details: Nomula Narasiah, Abdul Gafoor and Paturi Ramaiah.
Out of 6 CPI MLAs, only 3 three submitted their details: Sheikh Naser Vali, G. Demudu and Chada Venkat Reddy.
From the BJP, only Kishen Reddy submitted his financial details. Likewise, among the 5 Majlis
MLAs, only Akbaruddin Owaisi submitted his financial details and that too, only once.
Excepting, MV Pratap Appa Rao and Ch. Rajeshwara Rao, the following members of the Assembly Ethics Committee did not submit their financial statement even once: C. Ramachandra Reddy (Chairman of the Ethics Committee), Sudarshan Reddy, Manikya Vara Prasad Rao, Anam Vivekananda Reddy, Capt. V. Lakshmikanth Rao, Palla Venkata Reddy, T. Rama Raeddy, S. Santosh Reddy, Katta Venkatanarasiah, Jalagam Venkat Rao and Jupalli Krishna Rao.
The leader of the House, Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy declared his wealth in his affidavit before returning officer during elections to the Assembly as Rs. 3,36,61,943 which included 45 acres of agricultural land and 6.65 acres of non-agricultural land, two buildings at Hyderabad and Pulivendula. His shares in companies are to a value of Rs. 42 lakhs. He paid Rs 12,491 only as income tax for the assessment year 2004-05.
Leader of the Opposition Sri N. Chandra Babu Naidu declared his wealth in his affidavit before the returning officer during 2004 elections as Rs. 20,92,29,305 which included Rs. 16,69,63,220 worth of shares and three buildings at Hyderabad. Subsequently Sri Naidu submitted his financial statement to the Speaker revealing that he purchased 2,01,020 shares in Heritage Foods from the market, which are valued at around Rs. 3 crores. The total value of his shareholding in the company, at the current market rates, now stands at Rs. 55 crores.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rescue Gulf workers, Pleads Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party’s National Coordinator Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan (Dr. JP) today asked the State Government to go to the rescue of Nizamabad district workers who had reportedly been sentenced to death or various terms of jail. The State Government, through the Indian Embassy in the UAE, should provide legal assistance and enable the sentenced to go in appeal.

Dr. JP said the incident once again highlighted the troubles the illiterate and gullible migrant workers faced because of the unscrupulous methods employed by brokers with political backing. Those who had returned on their own or with Government assistance are facing extreme hardship and some of them have reportedly ended their lives.

Dr. JP said the Government should immediately arrange to bring back Telugu-speaking people who are without proper job visas by sea route, if necessary. The Government should declare a three-year moratorium on their debts and provide them employment skills.

The Government of India, he said, should take up with the International Labor Organization the grievance of Indian workers that they were being thrown out of Gulf countries without being paid wages for the days they had worked. Simultaneously, the State Government should take stringent action against brokers with political backing who were taking innocent people for a ride.