Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lok Satta Welcomes Suspension of Building Regularization Orders

The Lok Satta Party today welcomed the Government decision to suspend the building regularization orders, which had sought to penalize ordinary people for crimes committed by officials and builders.

The Lok Satta Party had launched an agitation against the orders both in the districts and in Hyderabad city.

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan (Dr. JP) reiterated in a statement that penalties for regularization of apartments should be collected from officials and builders who were guilty of dereliction of their duties and not owners. Only in respect of independent houses, owners who deviated from approved plans should be made to pay the penalty.

Dr. JP also urged the Government to rationalize the proposed penalties considering factors like the location of buildings, and the year and cost of their construction.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

LSP Throws Open Toll-Free Number for Complaints on Civic Issues

Toll-Free Number

On this Republic Day, Lok Satta Party will throw open a toll-free number for the citizens of GHMC where they can complain on slackness, delay, or failure of the department/agency concerned in the delivery of services in civic amenities.

The toll-free number is:


Friday, January 25, 2008

Lok Satta Party offices to Function as Citizen Service Centers

Lok Satta Party offices will be functioning as Citizen Service Centers said Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, President of Lok Satta Party. He said in the first phase, on this Republic Day, 157 Citizen Service Centers will start functioning throughout the length and breadth of the State. Of them 43 fall under the GHMC.

He said a Citizen Service Center will perform the following functions:

· It will become the hub for citizen action and informed assertion
· It will be a repository of information that is simple, accurate and useful on a variety of services the citizens are entitled to receive from government and its agencies
· It will carry information on a wide spectrum of government activities including certificates, land-related issues, public distribution system, voting rights, civic issues, public utilities, civil rights and stake holder empowerment
· It will act as counseling center for young people seeking information on employment opportunities and where possible senior staff of LSP will guide the youngsters in the career plans

In the objective of encouraging and enabling people’s active participation in the governance process, the Citizen Service Center is an important milestone said Dr. JP.

Competitive Populism Only Perpetuates Poverty: Dr. JP

In their unabashed quest to get into power at any cost, traditional political parties are indulging in competitive populism, charged Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today.
Pretending to be benefactors, politicians treated people as mendicants and doled out sops and handouts as if they owned the money. Unfortunately, Governments and the media conveniently glossed over the fact that politicians lorded over money collected from people themselves. They remained silent even as politicians exploited people's poverty, illiteracy and ignorance.

Dr. JP said that that no one would dispute that the State should protect the poor and the dispossessed in an underdeveloped country like ours. But it should not be at the cost of the Government's fundamental and primary duty of eliminating poverty and enabling people to stand on their own feet with dignity. "But in India politicians have developed a vested interest in perpetuating poverty and lost sight of the country's future".

Dr. JP was reacting to the sops being showered on people by both the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party with an eye on the elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha in the near future. If one party promises loans at 'pavala vaddi', the other rivals it with '10 paise vaddi'. If one offers to write off interest, the other promises to write off loans plus interest. If one promises subsidies on a product or service, the other offers to provide it free of cost. If one arranges free marriages, the other offers a golden 'tali'.

"What the nation needs today is a comprehensive social security scheme and not piecemeal and ad hoc relief".

Dr. JP said "doles and handouts will not mitigate the suffering of the poor or enable them to live with dignity unless Governments address people's basic problems". The Lok Satta Party, he said, firmly believes that people can live with dignity and partake in wealth creation only when all forms of discrimination based on birth are eradicated.

It is possible when:
:: Quality education is made free and accessible to all
:: Free and comprehensive healthcare is guaranteed to all
:: Youth are empowered to participate in wealth creation through acquisition
of skills.
:: Incomes of people in traditional occupations like farming and weaving are enhanced.
Dr. JP said it was a shame that a visiting British Prime Minister has to remind the Indian Prime Minister on the importance of universal and free primary education. "It is time that the politics of competitive populism and plunder gave way to politics of promoting human dignity." There should be a national debate on the appropriate anti-poverty schemes and the methods of their implementation.

Dr. JP pointed out how inefficiencies and corruption prevented even targeted people from availing of Government sops. For instance, the people covered by white cards in Andhra Pradesh exceeded the State's population. According to the Planning Commission and the National Sample Survey, only 16 per cent of people in Andhra Pradesh with a population of 80 million are below the poverty line. But Andhra Pradesh has more than 18 million families with white cards, accounting for a population of more than 80 million, assuming that each family has four and half members. "Yet, we hear that thousands of genuinely poor do not have white cards. Similarly, we hear pensions meant for widows, the aged and the handicapped as also houses under the INDIRAMMA scheme are cornered by the rich."

Even when the schemes reach deserving families, there is corruption every step of the way. Typically, Rs. 3000 is the bribe demanded for releasing money under housing programme for the poor. As Mr. Rajiv Gandhi once said, only 16 paisa is reaching the people on every rupee spent.

Dr JP called for a national debate on education and healthcare for all, and on ways of eradicating poverty and helping people stand on their own feet with dignity. "Political parties must shed self serving hypocricy and cynicism, and treat people as soverigns and citizens with self respect, not as vote banks and mendicants".