Friday, December 30, 2011

Lok Pal

At midnight on 29th December, the much debated Lokpal bill was allowed to die an unnatural death in the Rajya Sabha.Congress party is happy that atleast for the time being ,Lokpal is off its chest.BJP is wondering if it has scored one more brawny point over Congress.People are wondering if they have been cheated once again.Team Anna is busy in strategy sessions.Media is looking for the next big story,of 2012.The corrupt are happy that they can get back to their bad old ways.
I feel that the people have not given it up as yet.They have decided to wait and respond in the elections.It will be interesting to analyse state election results on 4th March 2012 in the light of what happened last night.
Term TRILOK appears in Hindu mythology,explaining the three worlds [Heavens,Earth and Underworlds] TRILOK PAL is our God who ensures that his law prevails in all the three worlds.This TRILOK PAL too appears to be fed up with the corrupt ways of our rulers.He is likely to intervene in favour of people.Reason why I have labeled this post as " Trilokpal"
Wait for the redeemer from above.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Relationship with Pakistan

During SAARC summit in Maldives, our PM issued the statement last night [ 10.11..2011], that he wants country to " Open a new chapter with Pakistan" letting bygones be bygones.
This is strange,coming as it does in repsonse to a big "nothing"from Pakistan.Last week there were talks of Pakistan granting us MFN status, which we have done to them in 1996.Then Paki PM went back on this, while Indian MEA establishment and media continued with the " celebrations" that included counting of chickens by way of export earnings and so on.
It appears, Pakistan is least interested in improving her relations with us.It is interested in taking Kashmir from us and then if possible, destabilising us further through acts of terror.
With such a neighbour, why this government is so keen on improving relations?
Only reason , this pow vow can be explained is vote bank politics of Congress party.It is convinced that it can't win elections without the votes of entire muslim community.Congress believes that Indian muslims vote for a a party that seeks good relations with Pakistan.This might have been true in the past.It is no longer so.Even if it is so, a government is supposed to put the national interests first wrt foreign relations.
Congress by trying to be unduly friendly with Pakistan is playing party politics with our foreign policy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Media musings

Today, Afghan President Karzai is in India.He had wide ranging discussions with our PM,his cabinet colleagues and several officials.In the late evening there was an important joint declaration by both the countries.
In the light of assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani,US allegations that ISI is hand in glove with Haqqani network, and attacks in Kabul on American embassy few days ago.This visit and discussions have assumed enormous importance.Reason why BBC tonight had debate with K C Singh[ former diplomat] from India and a US based Pakistani diplomat participating. Rabbani was killed after his visit to India a few weeks ago.Still Karzai is here.India is playing an important role in Afghanistan.
Our media has reported this tonight.But alas there were no debates or discussions on this.
People would want to know what Pakistan or Americans think of these agreements we have with Afghans. Yet,all TV channels were screaming about arrest of an IPS officer in Gujarat.All channels had anti Modi crowd,all going hammer and tong against Modi for his dictatorial ways.These debates appeared barren and frivolous in view of so many serious issues that we have, including one stated above.
This is the height of the myopia of our media.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fighting Terror -II

On 19.7.11,I wrote about the subject after Mumbai blasts of 13.7.11.I am saddened ,that what I stated there is repeated to day after one more blast in a Delhi High court entrance,that has killed 11 and injured 70,till writing of this blog.
I need not repeat, what I have stated on 19.7.11.Except that most of the panelists [in the TV debates] have re re re emphasised the role of the beat constable.Ex.cop.Kiran Bedi stated that there are 1.75 million policemen in the country.Out of these 1.25 million are constables.
One panelist [ Ajay Sahani] stated on CNN-IBN, that NIA was never and will never be a solution.He is a renowned security expert.But I still hold the view that a nation wide indepedent investigating agency for terror is the way forward.Central govt has not done enough on NIA except setting it up.When it is fully staffed,fully equipped and given operational autonomy,it can produce better results than the investigators [ trained in general investigation technics]at state level.
Now the new pattern of such attacks is emerging.Attacks are not spectacular.Attacks can never be linked to outsiders [ ISI has learnt its lessons from Kasab].Larger terror organisations are creating local,autonomous ,self sustaining cells without traces to parent organisations.
Response to such changed tactics needs to be differant.We can not and need not blame outsiders.But we need to act very quickly and effectively against local cells/operatives.How? Read my previous blog of 19.7.11.
One more aspect has emerged in today's blast.Anger/anguish/aversion to VIP visits that I had mentioned on 19.7. Today,Rahul Gandhi was booed by crowds of relatives of the victims at RML hospital.All parties should agree now to stop such visits.They hamper relief.They don't provide any immediate succur.They are no longer liked! Media should also agree that they will not report the absence of politicos as crime.This should put an end to this practice, which appears farcical due to painful regularity with which these attacks are happening.There is very little by way of investigations,prosecution and punishments which can be shown by the ministers.People want them to work on these aspects rather than visit them with their entourage.
Blast has put the central govt in very tricky situation.Digvijay Singh from Congress wrote few days ago in his blog that communalism was more dangerous than corruption.This was to pander to minority votes in upcoming elections in UP.Congress party has also orchastrated TV debates on hanging of Afzal Guru.Now HUJI, a Bangladesh based terror outfit has taken responsibility for this blast and warned that it will organise more such blasts in courts, if Afzal Guru is hanged.What a govt that has been going soft on muslims for their votes will do now?If they hang him, there could be blasts.If they don't there could still be blasts on some other pretext by terror outfits,as they would sense the helplessness of this govt.Besides this,govt will also face "blasts" from the people,for doing nothing!
This is the price you need to pay for ignoring security.Primary function of the state, as I have discussed in my blog on " Governance".If you can't protect us, you can't rule us.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Communal Violence Bill

On 31st August,attended a discussion on above by Shri Sheshadri Chari [ RSS Pracharak since 1978] in Surat.
The draft bill has been prepared by NAC [ National Advisory Council] that advises Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Congress party president and UPA II Chairperson.
Bill seeks to protect the minorities [ identified as GROUP] in the bill from the majority.It has several draconian proviso which can be used against Hindus.Such a bill is non starter in Hindusthan, where 85 % of the population is Hindu.
Congress is really not interested in passing this bill and protecting minorities.
This bill is part of Congress strategy to divert the attention of the people [and electorate] from the main issues.These are,
A. Corruption
B. Price rise,inflation and economic mismanagement
C. Poor governance
Congress expects that people will not vote for Congress if these issues remain in public memory for long.With this Communal Violence Bill , it is throwing the bait at BJP to drag the debate down to communalism versus secularism.BJP should oppose the bill if tabled in Parliament,but it should also state that communalism is not the issue agitating the minds of the people.People are more concerned with issues stated above.Therefore Congress should be forced to restate its priorities.This may result in muslim votes gravitating towards Congress in 2012 elections, especially in UP.BJP should not worry about this.Because,middle classes have already deserted Congress.They will not only vote against Congress but also swing votes of other classes in favour of BJP and allies.
With this bill, Congress is also trying to ensure that BJP does not rope in more allies for NDA.More vociferous BJP gets on this bill, lesser are its chances of strengthening NDA with more allies like AGP,Biju Janata Dal,TDP or even AIADMK.
Congress party is trying to counter opposition onslaught with more and more negatives.Eg trying to implicate BJP men in the murder of an RTI activist in Bhopal,trying to imlicate Narendra Modi in Haren Pandya murder case, implicating former BJP ministers in 2G scam,notices from ED to Baba Ramdev,notices to Arvind Kejrival,privilege motion against Kiran Bedi etc.BJP should be able to highlight this to the people.When you are in the government, you better govern well, rather than find faults with others.That is the job of the opposition.
It is also orchastrating debates on death penalties to Rajiv Killers.So far as laws exist for death penalties,such debates only vitiate the atmosphere.Congress wants that!
BJP and allies should steer the debate back to real issues.
More on this in cominig days,weeks and months.These are very exciting times for students of politics and sociology.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lokpal in Delhi,Lokayukta in Gujarat

Today at 10am,Anna Hazare broke his 13 day long fast for a strong Lokpal bill to fight corruption.It was on April 11, that government agreed for a joint draft with team Anna.Then govt went back and came out with its own draft which was rejected by team Anna and everyone else.Hence this fast and hence its calling off today.
Now we need to mark this date 28th August 2011 and wait for the day on which the first case of corruption is filed against a politician or a public servant.That will be the proof of the pudding.
On 26th August, Governor of Gujarat unilaterally appointed the Lokayukta [ Mr R A Mehta] in state of Gujarat[ ruled by BJP] to probe the cases of corruption against the govt of Gujarat,.Governor took this decision on the premise that this appointment was kept pending by the state govt since last 7 years.State govt stated that this was due to the games that the Congress party in the opposition was playing all these years.Governor's decision has been challenged by the BJP govt in SC.BJP's state govt in Gujarat,headed by Narendra Modi has been the least corrupt govt in the entire country.Yet a Lokayukta has been unilaterally appointed for policial reasons.Congress party wants to fix Narendra Modi.Why?
Congress does not expect to win Gujarat assembly elections to be held in 2012.It also does not expect to win the Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2014 or earlier.Congress party presumes that BJP with its allies will project Narendra Modi as their PM candidate.If that happens Congress and other left liberals entrenched in Delhi since the time of Pt Nehru may find it hard to survive,in Delhi.They have been so dependent on so many favours from the state all these years.So this is the question of their survival.Hence very proactively, they have tried to rein in Narendra Modi with false corruption charges through Lokayukta, who is their own appointee.
This raises the question of appointing the Lok Pal, once the said bill is turned in to a law.If Congress or any other party which is ruling at the center is to behave the way, Congress in Gujarat has behaved,what is the use of such an instituion?
In the case of Lokayukta, there needs to be the consensus between the ruling party and the opposition on a name.Yet, Gujarat Governor has done it in the name of expediency.Can we expect similar " expediency" in cases of Lokpal at the center? For reasons of power politics?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Governance Part II

Today is 15th August,India's 64th independence day.PM has addressed the nation from Red Fort.He appears very phlegmatic,helpless and worried.Worried because of Anna Hazaare's fast from 16th August for an effective Lok Pal to fight corruption.Worried also because of the drift that has set in.
Whoever comes to power in 2014, should look afresh at issues of governance.If we follow the same old ways, we will continue to get the same results. In my previous blog,I discussed some of the issues of governance.Here are some more, dedicated to all those who laid down their lives to make us free.Justify Full
[1].Ministries of Defense & Home should be merged to create one ministry for SECURITY, headed by a senior leader.Under this minister, there should be ministers for [a] Defense [b]Internal Security [c] Judiciary [d] Constitutional rights.[ including Parliamentary affairs]A holistic security architecture should be developed and managed by this single ministry.
[2].All ministries dealing with economy should be merged in to a single minstry of ECONOMY,headed by an Economist.Under this minister,there should be ministers for [ a] Finance [b]Revenue,[c] Commerce, [ Industry, internal/external trades][d] Energy [ all sources of energy] ,[e] Transportation [ different ministries for Air,sea,rail and road transports should be merged to create a single Transport ministry] [f] Agriculture [ irrigation, food,horticulture & civil supply ministries should be merged in to a single Agriculture ministry] and [g] Labour
[3].HUMAN RESOURCES, minister here should be a proven educationist, responsible for education, training, employment, R & D [ no need for separate minister for Science & Technology, R & D can oversee all aspects of scientific development ] and Human Rights.
[4].ENVIRONMENT ,ministry should be headed by a PHD, responsible for Forests,water pollution,air pollution,coastal zones across entire geography of the nation
[5] EXTERNAL AFFAIRS , ministry should be headed by a senior ,energetic, charismatic and very articulate person.He/she should head a very large ministry with desks for continents and important countries and adequate staffing in foreign consulates.Country can afford to have younger minsters of State here to handle specific policy issues/countries.This ministry needs complete make over in the light of our growing international influence.
The PRIME MINISTER should head the cabinet comprising of above five key ministers, while retaining sensitive portfolios related to security [ nukes].He should also keep General administration and Personnel depts under him.He should replace present I & B ministry with Ministry of COMMUNICATION and retain the same with him.He should be aided by NSA and an effective PMO as at present.
Such a small and effective government should be aided by several regulators, such as ,
CAG,CBI,ED, RI,TRAI,NIA,PLANNING COMMISSION,CVC,LOK AYUKTA ... all responsible to Parliament and not to any ministry.
This way , we can eliminate several ministries, many of which are redundant due to liberalisation[ eg ministry of steels, heavy Industry,Chemical....], We don't need independent ministries for Power, Petrochemicals, Telecom [!],Shipping,Corpotate affairs, minorities etc.Aforesaid five ministries can have junior ministers for such functions if required.
Governments at the center and in the states should follow this model.Then expand IAS,IPS,IFS cadres and start out sourcing clerical work with the aim of reducing/eliminating armies of clerks.
Time has come for all political parties to agree for abolition of the posts of Governors.We don't need them.Political parties should find other vocations for their superannuated leaders.High Court judges in the states are most qualified to double as representatives of the President, to report consitutional issues through a small cell of constitutional experts.After doing away with Governors, the Raj Bhavans with their lands and assets should be auctioned off and money placed with respective state exchequers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dr.Aeyesha Khan & issues in Gujarat

On 28th July, I attended this lecture by Dr Aeyesha Khan, Sr.Assistant Editor - Indian Express -Ahmedabad.Lecture was organised by CSS, Center for Social Studies - Surat
During her lecture, she came out with following " concerns" about Gujarat, arising out of the agitation against land acquisition by farmers in Mahuva - Saurashtra
1. Land acquisition move by Gujarat government for a cement plant by Nirma group near Mahuva in Saurashtra is being opposed by the local farmers.This movement is being led by local BJP MLA and is supported by BKS [ Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, inspired by RSS], Khedut Samaj, [ affiliated to Congress party],Congress party, Chunibhai Vaidya [ 90 year old Gandhian from Ahmedabad], Sanat Mehta [ 80 year old socialist from Vadodara] and many others
Inspite of such all round support,
why such movement has failed to trigger a pan Gujarat movement/agitations against land acquisition in general and against BJP govt led by Narendra Modi in particular?
2.Why media has failed to give adequate coverage to this movement?
3.Why PATELS have not joined this movement?
4. Why farmers from other parts of Gujarat whose lands are being acquired, are not coming together to form a joint front against such moves [ she sited examples from Umbergaon,Dahej, Hazira,Bhavnagar etc]
5.Why urban Gujarati middle class is a silent spectator to the plights of small farmers?
6.If anti land acquisition movement in Singur could overthrow a government in West Bengal,why can't such pan Gujarat movement think of overthrowing present BJP government in 2012 on such an issue?
7.Why Narendra Modi/BJP were not sacking their Mahuva MLA for agitiating against his own government?

As I was not given much time to reply to many of her "concerns",I have listed my replies here on this blog.
1.Very few Gujarati farmers, solely depend on farms for lively hoods.They have dairy co operatives to support incomes.Some family members will be having jobs/small businesses to support farm incomes.Agriculture,businesses and industries are closely woven in the fabric of Gujarati community.Every one appreciates the need for land for industry etc.Every one is fully aware of the " valuations" that it brings to the area.
No where in Gujarat, the government has forcibly grabbed any one's land.Movements are sparked generally, when there is undue show of force by the state or a sense of wide spread injustice among large sections of society.
2.She informed that " Gujarat Samachar" , an influential daily from Ahmedabad had completely blanked this event.She stated though that " Divya Bhaskar", another pan Gujarat daily had extensivey covered the agitation, so did her own news paper.I added that local dailies in Surat like " Gujrat Mitra" had reported extensively on this agitation.
Her concern of " lack of media attention" appeared to be restricted to Gujarat Samachar.
3.Why Patels, an influential landed gentry in Gujarat have not joined the movement? Patels did join the freedom movement in very large numbers, led by Sardar Patel! Patels or any other people will support/join a movement if it is just and affects very large number of people.Sporadic cases of injustices can not spark a state wide movement.Especially when the State is perceived as working effectively and honestly.
4.Why farmers from other parts of the state, whose lands are being acquired are not coming together for a state wide movement? This is answered in [3] above.
5.Why urban middle class is a silent spectator to this plight of farmers? Urban middle class in Gujarat [ and in many other states] has been part of the process of building a consensus around the idea that India needs to move quickly from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy.India needs to suck out surplus labour from rural area so that [i] Wages in rural sectors go up [ii] Farm sector takes to mechanisation,thus improving farm productivity [iii] Industrial sectors get adequate man power for labour intensive manufacturing hubs, that create wealth ,which in turn can alleviate poverty.
Since 1991, this model has been accepted as an alternative model to the Statist model of the socialists, that was in vogue from 1947 o 1991. Land acquisition process, if fair and transparent will not spark a movement [ or a revolution!] because majority of the people are agreed on aforesaid issue.
6.If an anti land acquisition movement in WB could overthrow a government in WB, why can't such a movement in Gujarat overthrow Narendra Modi in the elections, scheduled in 2012?
This is THE ISSUE ! You want to build a people's movement around the agenda to overthrow a man who is being repeatedly elected by the majority of voters.People are aware of such [hidden] agenda and hence are not joing in such movements.They of course will join, if they too think that Narendra Modi should be voted out.At present that is not the case.But that is the case at present for the UPA II in Delhi! reason why large number of people [ including Patels!] are joing the several movements across the country against this corrupt and incompetent government.
7. Why Narendra Modi or BJP were not sacking this MLA from their own party for leading this agitation against his own government?
Simple.Narendra Modi and BJP may be thinking that the man is right ! rather than arguing, quarreling or going to media, they may be trying to find a solution, acceptable to all in this issue.
It appeared that the lady belongs to that section of the media which some how wants to FIX Narendra Modi.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dadasaheb Phalke

Yesterday, I saw this movie " Harishchandrachi Factory", on UTV.based on life and works of late Dadasheb Phalke, pioneer of Indian Film Industry.Movie is in Marathi, and has been much acclaimed in India and abroad.
After struggling for many years to make films, eventually, Dadasaheb succeded in making his first movie, titled " Harishchandra Taramati".His successes prompted his film contacts in England to invite him to England.On his visit, his aforesaid film was screened in a theater , after which Dadasaheb, was personally introduced by his British friends to the audience, which gave him a standing ovation.After this, he was offered work of film making in England by his British friends , promising handsome money.It is shown in the film, that Dadasaheb, very politely refused this offer, stating that, he would like to continue making films in India on Indians, as this will help him establish this new industry in India.
That was nearly 90 years ago.A man decided that money and other comforts of life were less important than pioneering a nascent industry.Results.India in 2010 became the largest producer of films in the world,directly employing 30lakh people.
In memory of this pioneer, government honoures a distinguished film personality every year for his/her contribution to the film industry with DADA SAHEB PHALKE AWARD.
Award is generally given to persons who have put in several decades in the film industry, with very substantial contribution in the growth of industry.
See list of awardees at

Thursday, July 21, 2011


As a young man in the sixties, for the first time I heard about ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS.Late Mr Morarji Desai had submitted to the government, the voluminous report [ first of its kind?] on Administrative Reforms.That was 50 years ago.Since then, we have produced tons of written materials on the ways of governing or "administering" ourselves.Results are there for all to see.
Administration, is Anushashan as per Bhishma Pitamaha in Mahabharata, which has a full chapter devoted to this aspect of the state craft, known as Anushashan parva.So, we Indians have been at this since last 5000 years.We should have the best administration in the world.We have got the worse, if not the worst.What can we do?
" That government is the best, which governs the least" That was Mahatma Gandhi.
Modern nation states or ancient empires were founded on two basic principles.
1.Security, 2. Revenues to provide for this security.
So the rulers need to have,
[a] Security apperatus that protects the geographical boundaries and protects the people.In modern context,this will mean external security [ standing army, espionage, strategies, & diplomatic corps]
[b] Internal security systems that maintains law & order, prevents crimes through effective jurisprudence & judicial processes and protects individual liberties
[c] Revenue collection system to provide for [a] & [b] above.
In our last central budget [ of Rs 12 Lakh crores] 1.7 L crores were provided for armed forces and about 25,000 cr were provided for internal security]
This works out to less than 20% of the total budget and does not include the budgeted amounts for policing by various states of our union.
Besides above two basic aspects, modern state is also responsible for following additional aspects of public life.
[d] Establishing,operating & maintaining nation wide infrastructure of roads,raiways, ports, air ports,power plants,their transmission & distribution systems, irrigation systems,communication systems,warehousing etc.
[e] Systems for education, training and effective deployment of our human resources
[f] Systems for primary health care.
[g] Systems for preventing disasters, both, natural and man made and mitigating their effects, upon failures to prevent them.
In the present context, we, as people need to ask the state, and its administration,how are they DELIVERING on aforesaid basic issues? They number only seven.
Refer to the central budget figures [ 2011]of Rs 12 Lakh crores above.If we add yearly budgets of all the states, this figure will be around Rs 30 Lakh crores.So out of these 30L crores, how much is being spent on above 7 aspects?
We know for sure, that the state has failed us [ the people] on all those basic aspects of governance or administration inspite of having about Rs 30 Lakh crores as the revenue collected from all of us.Why ?
Reasons are as follows
1. Electoral politics.This forces an honest political activist to become a morone , whose sole purpose is to get elected to a body and then STAY elected to this or that body for his/her life.This prevents fresh talents from emerging at grass root levels
2. Dyanstic politics.This started with late Motilal Nehru.It is part of all political parties now, except probably communist parties.This too has dried up emergence of fresh talent in all parties .Only cronies try to get in to a political party.Sole purpose of dynasts in all parties is to retain and strengthen their positions in all parties through their cronies.
3.Corruption.No need to elaborate.
4.Expansion of the government since 1950.We have 1 crore men and women as our public servants now.At the center,in the states, in local self government bodies, in PSU's.They are everywhere.Do they join governments to serve the public? Out of 30 lakh crores mentioned above, the governments OFFICIALLY spend about 70% OFFICIALLY on themselves.This is due to the pay commissions that they appoint every few years to REVISE their pays and pensions.Last one was the SIXTH in line.Next one is due any time.After spending so much of public money on themselves, do they perform as true public servants? If not, why should we have them?
That is the issue.In the short run, we should tell these governments to reduce their size and thus their expenditure on themselves.In the short run, people will have to learn to live without their governments! Can we do this? Why, we are already doing this.We don't have this government when we need it most! In the short run, we should tell them to do following.
1. Reduce your size.Reduce your expenditure on your selves
2.Suspend, sack, punish corrupt and non performers
3.Work 24/7.All departments.For you have not worked for even 100 days in a year, all these years.Work to clear all 3.5 crore court cases.Work to clear all pending projects.Work to clear all pending files.
4.Work to reduce waste.
[a]We have 1.5lakh MW as our installed capacity for power generation.On any given day, we need less than 1.2L MW.Yet, we have power shortage and power cuts.Why?
Ensure [atleast] 95 % operating efficiencies for ALL plants.40% of the power that we generate don't reach the users.It is lost en route! This is highest in the world.Bring this down to 15 % within a year.It is possible.
[b] 55% of the food grains in PDS are siphoned off in the open markets.Same with kerosene.Employees of the FCI [ Food Corporation Of India] are one of the highest paid guys in the government.Every year, they manage to waste lakhs of tons of food grains procured for the poor.We are the largest producers of fruits and vegetables in the world.We waste 40 % of these for lack of cold storages, proper warehousing and logistics of moving them to the consumers.
These are just 2 examples.This does not include the waste of TIME!
People whom we elect and whom we pay, work more to waste the time and national resources.
5. Shake off extra fat.Over 60 years, we have given ALL the responsibilities of managing our affairs to our public servants and politicians.They manage our hotels, airlines, hospitals,road networks,shiping lines,mines,markets,schools, colleges.... you name it. And we have a government department for that.Time to reduce the government functions to aforesaid seven.
Out of these last four [d,e,f&g] can be done better through PPP[ Public Private Partnerships], where government provides funds, while private parties operate/manage the affairs.This is the way to eliminate delays, corruption and attain SPEED.Learn and out source all non strategic activities to reduce armies of clerks.Eliminate institution of peons.Public servants can't have their own private servants!.
6.Reform internal security systems [ refer my previous blog],implement reforms for armed forces
7.Political reforms
[a] Fix number of terms for all electoral offices from Sarpanch to PM and President.It should be two terms as in the USA
[b] Election funding through Election Commission, subject to political parties submitting audited accounts, every year.
[c] CBI,CVC,RAW,CAG,TRAI,[ and LOKAYUKTA !],.... all such bodies should be made truly autonomous and made accountable to the Parliament and not to any ministry or any minister.
[d] Political parties should be asked to publish their membership rolls periodically.This is to ensure that there is continous infusion of new blood.
[e] Right to recall.This should be part of electoral reforms.People should have the right to recall a corrupt or non performaing representative.
[f] 100 % registration of all eligible voters.Cash incentives at the polling booth for reporting and voting[ how about Rs 25/- per each voter? That will pay for his transport,will cost 1750 cr for 100 % voting]

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fighting Terror

On 13.7.11, we had one more terror attack.In Mumbai.Since 1993, more than 500 innocents have been killed in Mumbai alone.
With every such attack, following events take place within a span of fortnight.
1.Frenzy in the print & electronic media - 48 hours
2.VIP visits at terror sites - 3 days
3.VIP's declaring their resolve to fight this menace and advising populace to maintain calm- 3 days
4.Investigating agencies start leaking several "leads" to media - one week
5.Police starts rounding up " suspects"- one week
6.News paper editiorials,articles & TVchannels discuss various " failures".Experts give opinions on things that should be or should not be done.- one week
7.Politics takes over.Blame games at their pick - 10 days
8.Only print media reports the progress.On inside pages.- TV channels report progress through tickers - 10 days
9.Weeklies, Fortnightlies bring out special editions or publish this as " cover story"-15 days
10.Memory lapse occurs among people,media,politicians and senior police echelons.Only the poor " case handlers" are left holding the baby.- 15 days.
11.Ordinary citizens await next terror strike.- from a fortnight onwards.

We can not prevent ALL terror attacks.Thus spake Rahul Gandhi.He is right.But the present government headed by his party could and should do atleast following.It is not rocket science.

1.Suspend concerned senior police and intelligence officials.
2.Set the precedent for concerned State Home Minister to put in resignation
3. Advise central home ministry to publish first status report on the attack in 30 days.To be followed with series of monthly status reports till the guilty are caught and punished, for all the terror attacks since march 1993.Punish those who fail to do so.
4.Declare that NIA [ National Investigating Agency] is a FEDERAL INVESTIGATING AGENCY,is autonomous and is empowered to investigate all cases of terror attacks across the country.
5.5.5 lakh police posts are lying vacant.Don't fill them up as " crash" programme.Develop 3 years training programme for a new cadres of " Intelligence officers".Reserve minimum 1lakh posts for this cadre.Recruit 1 lakh graduates, screening them for fitness and attitude.Reserve 15 % for minorities.Tell them that they are being taken in as trainees [ at a fixed stipend] for 3 years.Tell them that they will be absorbed as " Intelligence officers" after training and they will RETIRE as Intelligence officials only.They will never wear uniforms or display weapons.This is needed , as policemen in uniforms are not ready to shed them for a facelss[ and thank less] existence as lowly " spies". Problem with ground level intelligence gathering is this unwillingness of a cop to be a spy.Let him not be.
6Train, assess, apprise in 12 stages during 3 years.Keep removing bottom 10 % every year.This way at the end of 2 yrs, you will have 80000 trained personnel.Ready to be posted at sensitive police stations.Train,assess,apprise in 3 stages during this last year of " Hands on" training.Remove bottom 10%.Now you will have 70,000 trained personnel, who need to be absorbed in new cadres, created for them.Promotions and increaments should be linked to performances, with proviso for punishment.They should be placed in higher scales,since they will take the risks of being punished.Repeat this exercise after 3 years, based on the needs and success of the project.
7.Remaining vacant posts [ 4.5 lakhs] too should be filled in less than year.They too should be taken in as 3 years trainees, with proviso for removing bottom 10%.They should be trained for law & order and crime control for one year at academies and then placed for 2 years [ for Hands on Training] at police stations.They too should face periodic assessments, apprisals and removals during this two year long training period.Their absorption too should be conditional to performace.If successful, this project should be repeated to recruit additional policemen based on needs.
8.Senior level positions in NIA should be filled with officers from other cadres, who are PERMANENTLY transferred to NIA.No deputations please.Eventually NIA will be fully manned by its own cadres recruited, as stated above.
9.Appoinment of NSA [ National Security Adviser] should be through Parliament, like CVC.NSA should be drawn from the armed forces and not from IAS.Presently his role appears to be to aid the PMO in Foreign relations.That should be changed to Internal security.He too will have to resign in case of a major terror attack.
10.Heads of NIA,RAW,Millitary Intelligence should report to NSA, who is responsible [ and accountable] for both external & internal security.This NSA will set up a cell comprising of officers from relevant agencies.This cell will coordinate for all intelligence related functions.
11.All states should have their,own ATS, ready to assist police in case of terror attacks.Their role will always be reactive.They should be trained accordingly.For quick and effective response.
12.We are yet to hang any one for an act of terror.Afzal Guru awaits the noose.Kasab, caught red handed on 26.11.2008 continues to enjoy our hospitality.No one since 1993 has been punished.Arrests, trials, prosecution and punishments need to be on fast track.Status reports to be published periodically by the home ministry, mentioned above, must give status of every trial, with reasons for delays.
13.Time to launch nation wide initiative of " policing by people".Police stations across all cities must reach out to the citizens in their areas, recruit volunteers [ ex servicemen,retired public servants,retired professionals, housewives, private security personnel...], provide basic training and deploy them for inputs in their localities.This way police will have atleast a million extra hands at no extra costs.This can be done in less than a year.
14.Media should follow their own code of conduct that includes compulsory reporting of the state of investigations and trials for each terror attacks.Print media should have a page titled " fight against terror", where terror related issues are reported every day.
15.PM should immediately call an all party meet, evolve and declare a code of conduct for all politicians wrt to fight on terror.

None of the aforesaid points involve huge expenditure, save police recruitment.Which in any case is overdue.These are issues related to effective governance.[ read my next blog for issues of governance].Can this government do this?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fighting corruption

Since my last post, several months ago, nation is abuzz with scams, agitations, satyagraha, fasting , lathi charges and much more.All against corruption.
Fight against terrorism, price rise & inflation, capitalism, so called communalism, reform processes... all appear to have receded in to back ground.It is now all about corruption in high places.
Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, media, civil society, opposition parties... all appear to have united to blame the UPA II for the present mess.Central government has gone on defensive as it is unable to defend something which is indefensible.Congress party is trying to salvage its image by starting so called nation wide campaign to " educate" the masses on real issues ! .It has also "briefed" its spokes persons suitably, so that they are also posturing very aggressively against all those who are against corruption.
First family of the Congress party, Mrs Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi are silent on this issue or atleast have not said anything publically.That is strange.They seem to be relying on the dictum of public memory being short and on the facts that Gen elections are three years away.But then you will have to face electorate in so many states next year.These state elections next year will be more crucial than the Gen elections in 2014.Message that electorate convey to the corrupt in these state elections will influence country's long term battle against corruption.
So the activists, civil society, citizens of this country,media and opposition parties should unite to ensure that this corrupt Congress government is not returned to power in any of the states going to polls in 2012..Do I sound like a supporter of any non Congress party?! I may or may not be.But I am a worried citizen.Worried about corruption taking away so much from so many of us for the benefits of so few, occupying high positions.with our votes! Comprehensive defeat of the Congress party in 2012 elections will create the right kind of climate for waging a long term battle of fighting corruption.
Defeat of the corrupt in 2012, will ensure that all political parties come out clearly before 2014 Gen elections, with specific plans of preventing corrupt practices and punishing all those who are found guilty of corrupt practices.We should not forget the fact that all politicians are mortally afraid of loosing election.If we can ensure defeat of the corrupt in 2012, we may have better chances of installing a less corrupt government at the center after 2014.
That is the way forward.Anna may not undertake his next fast after 15th August.Baba Ramdev may not restart his agitation for black money in foreign banks, civil society may come out of TV studios, media may fan out in to the country side.. all with the single purpose of defeating Congress in all states.
If we achieve this, we can use 2013 to launch a nation wide programme to force all political parties to come out with specific plans, if voted to power [ about] how they will catch and punish corrupt and how they will put in place the systems that will prevent corruption at all levels of governance.
Country has lost all hopes of any actions on the corrupt by the present rulers in Delhi.So we can look only at the future with some hope.
Can we do this? All jouneys begin with a first step.In the right direction.Shivaste Panthanah.As our rishis would say, let your paths be safe and good. For all.