Laws needed to give lokpal teeth


“This is not about one Bill; this is about the framework and we would like to deliver that framework to the country.” Rahul Gandhi said so, in a rare intervention in LS before the Lokpal Bill’s passage. It was an appeal to the 15th LS that, besides Lokpal, it should “consider and enact all six pending anti-corruption Bills before its term expires”.

He proposed that the winter session be extended “to complete our unfinished work in our fight against corruption”. Law minister Kapil Sibal made a similar request in RS, “Let’s try and work extra hours to bring these Bills to the House and to have them passed.” Though the House has been adjourned indefinitely, the proposal of reconvening it merits serious consideration, as demanded by Aruna Roy on behalf of civil society — more so because there is apparently a political consensus in favour of these legislations.

Since the term of the 15th LS has been marred by scams, there cannot be a more fitting way of signing off than carrying out this “unfinished work” to complement the Lokpal legislation. Consider the difference each of these Bills could make once passed.

Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011: As Arun Jaitley pointed out in RS, Parliament was obliged to pass this Bill to honour its 2011commitment before Anna Hazare broke his fast. One of the three clauses of the Sense of the House resolution passed then was a promise to enact a citizen’s charter for every public authority. This Bill subsequently introduced seeks to create a mechanism under which the charter will detail goods and services to be provided and their delivery timelines.

The proposed mechanism will have to redress within 30 days grievances related to the charter, functioning of the public authority and violations of a law or policy. It provides for the appointment of central and state public grievance redressal commissions, which will fine errant officers up to Rs 50,000. While Lokpal will deal with corruption, this Bill is about grievances like potholed roads or failure to supply ration cards.

Whistleblowers Protection Bill, 2011: The government came up with this Bill to strengthen safeguards for whistleblowers. It widened the whistleblower definition to include not just a conscientious public servant exposing corruption but also “any other person” including NGOs so that even RTI activists get similar protection. Disclosures of whistleblowers could be about an act of corruption, misuse of power or any criminal offence by public servants.

Under this, whistleblower can make his disclosure in confidence to the central or state vigilance commission. Anyone disclosing the complainant’s identity will be penalized. It imposes a penalty on whistleblowers if they knowingly make false complaints.

Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010: This lays down enforceable standards of conduct for SC and HC judges. Sixteen of the 18 enumerated standards are derived from SC’s code of conduct for judges and requires judges to declare their and their kin’s assets and liabilities. Given the need to maintain judicial independence, it creates three mechanisms to deal with complaints on grounds of misbehaviour or incapacity. Once a complaint is filed, the proposed Judicial Oversight Committee will serve as first check. It will be a five-member body comprising two serving judges, a retired judge, attorney general and an eminent person. In keeping with the practice in countries like UK and US, this panel will allow non-judicial members to evaluate complaints.

If the complaint is in order, the oversight committee will forward it to the Scrutiny Panel comprising judicial members. Two of the three members will be judges sitting in the same court as the judge against whom there is a complaint. If the scrutiny committee is convinced of the complaint’s truthfulness, it will be referred to the Investigation Committee, which will have civil court powers. Penalties that may arise from this network of committees could range from an advisory to public censure of a sitting judge. This may also lead to a recommendation to the President for a judge’s removal.

Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013: After the coal scam, the government came up with a radical proposal scrapping the notion of punishing somebody for corruption even when there is no quid pro quo or bribery. The proposed amendment seeks to delete the clause in the corruption law against “misuse of official position to extend undue favours”. This will ensure that a public servant isn’t booked for a judgment error on his part unless there’s evidence of graft.

This introduces the need for sanction to prosecute retired bureaucrats, joint secretary and above and strengthens the investigating agency’s power to go after bribe givers.

The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials Bill: It penalizes Indian companies and individuals bribing foreign state or international agency officials.

Public Procurement Bill: It seeks to ensure transparency in procurement by the Central government and its entities. It exempts procurements for disaster management or strategic purposes, and those below Rs 50 lakh. It sets open competitive bidding as preferred procurement method and mandates publication of all information on a portal.

122SOURCE : TOI

 

 

Congress has always misused CBI: Hazare


Social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday said it was wrong to presume that the CBI acts of its own volition and alleged that Congress had always “misused” the central investigating agency.

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Asked about the CBI raid on DMK leader M K Stalin’s residence immediately after the party withdrew its support to the UPA government,
Mr Hazare told reporters, “Everybody knows that the CBI is under government’s control. If it is brought under the Lokpal’s control, it would help in curbing corruption.”

Mr. Hazare alleged that Congress had always “misused” the agency, even though it has some good officers in its fold.

“It is not that all people with the CBI are bad. But they are subjected to pressure as they have their jobs to protect.

Congress has always misused it,” he alleged.

When asked to comment on the UPA allies leaving Congress, Mr. Hazare said the party was losing the sympathy of the people because of the corruption associated with it.

“Congress is taking wrong steps. People have lost their sympathy for the party as responsible ministers in the government too are involved in scams,” he added.

Referring to the support of Samajwadi Party (SP) to the Congress-led government, Mr. Hazare said, “Regional parties pose a threat to the country as they bring pressure (on the government).”

He said although he had parted ways with his erstwhile colleague Arvind Kejarwal, there was no conflict between them and he wished him well for their cause through political means.

Mr. Hazare said he had not instituted any core committee of his own after breaking away from IAC. “It is difficult to get selfless workers for a cause. I am at present associated with ’Janatantra Morcha’ along with former Army Chief V K Singh, which is a non-political organisation,” he added.

Later, addressing a gathering, the activist said he was confident that the Lokpal would be a reality. “We have seen part one of the Lokpal bill,” he added.

He also noted with satisfaction that the provision of a fine for civil servants, who delayed their work beyond the stipulated period under Citizens’ Charter.

“When the elections are declared, I would be once again be at the Ramlila maidan to press for the demand for Right to Reject as part of electoral reforms to keep anti-social elements out of Parliament and the state legislatures,” Mr. Hazare asserted.

Candidates get power by using money, and money by using power: Anna Hazare


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Declaring that he would mobilize six crore people over next one and a half years for his anti-graft campaign, Anna Hazare on Sunday said Jan Lokpal alone cannot root out corruption and called for comprehensive electoral reforms and empowering of village-level bodies.

Addressing a public meeting here, he said his fight was for changing the entire system and called upon youths to join hands with him. The 75-year-old said Jan Lokpal can control 50 to 55 percent corruption.

“What about the remaining corruption? That is why we are demanding right to reject a candidate (in the elections),” he said.

“If all five contesting candidates in an election are goondas, whom the people will choose? We are saying that you provide an option to the voters to reject them. If maximum number of voters reject the candidates, the election should be cancelled and these five should not be allowed to contest again,” Anna Hazare said.

He felt this reform is a must to check corruption in elections and pointed out that a candidate is spending Rs5 crore to Rs6 crore in each election to bribe voters.

“They get power by using money, and money by using power. There is need to put an end to this vicious circle,” he said.

He vowed to continue fight for Jan Lokpal and alleged that the government is not sincere in bringing the anti-graft legislation.

Hazare explained that the government initially turned down the demand to involve people’s representatives in bringing the legislation. He also referred to the government’s reluctance to bring middle and lower-level bureaucrats under Lokpal.

“For the next one-and-half years, I will visit all states to create awareness. I don’t know if I will be able to awaken all 120 crore people but if I go around, I can mobilize six crore people who can force the government to change the system,” he said.

Hazare claimed that the nation-wide campaign launched by Janatantra Morcha from Patna last month evoked good public response. He told the gathering that Morcha would be built from village level and that every person involved in it would be a leader.

He also clarified that nobody in the Morcha would be allowed to collect money.

Stating that he had been carrying on the fight for the last 30 years, the social activist said he had no fear of death. “I will feel honoured if I die while serving the society and the country,” he added.

Five Initiatives Inspired By Swami Vivekananda


Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be…They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive“, with his golden words, the youth icon of 18th century Swami Vivekananda ignited a spark in every soul in the world.

India celebrates his anniversary as National Youth Day every year. But his words has not only encouraged youths but also inspired many phenomenal figures who tried to bring a change in the society. On the eve of 150th anniversary of Vivekananda, we have come up with some icons and interesting incidents and situations which have inspired them to walk on the way of mankind and bring a change in the world.

Vinayak Lohani-Founder of ‘Parivaar’

Vinayak Lohani, a B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and an IIM graduate from Calcutta founded a Dreamweaver organization called ‘Parivaar’, which takes care of children who are unsupported, children who can not afford education and healthcare.

This young man didn’t attend his placement process immediately after his post-graduation in IIM. It was the icon Swami Vivekananda who influenced him to do something for others. He says, “Swami Vivekananda has been the inspiration for me as he says that any work done with selflessness and purity, one can be sure that God’s par is behind that work, as there is nothing stronger in the world than a pure will… In a process of service, the server is the one who is benefitted the most, as he is going through a tremendous change”, as told to CNN IBN.

V. Muralidharan-Founder of ‘Sevalaya

Sevalaya is a charitable organization on Chennai, founded by V. Muralidharan with his friends. Along with Swami Vivekananda, he was much influenced by Mahatma Gandhiji and Mahakavi Bharathiyar. This organization runs a free school for the children of their orphanage and the surrounding village; a free medical center; a free library; a goshala to protect & raise cows; and, an old age home for destitute senior men and women.

He says, Vivekananda says that “People who are poor and needs support, they are Gods. Even if a single animal in the World remains hungry, then what is the need of having religion and so many Gods. We want our children to learn everything and not just bookish knowledge. We want them to respect old people and animals as well.”

Sevalaya also have Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Old Age Home which provides shelter to poor and destitute old men and women, who have nobody to care for them and who cannot afford to go to institutions where they have to pay for their maintenance to spend their final years in peace and with dignity.

Mamoon Akhtar-Founder of ‘Sanaritan Help Mission’

Vivekananda once said, “There is no chance for the welfare of the world if the condition of women doesn’t improve.” With this thought in mind, a young lad Mamoon Akhtar from a basti of Tikiapara (West Bengal) initiated a self help group to empower women.

Mamoon had to leave his studies as his father couldn’t afford the fees, but his aim in life is to provide good education to the children of his locality. He says, “Every human being has equal rights and the right to education. Every woman should be trained and should be empowered.” The girls and women of his basti were not allowed to go out of their home for long, but now the situation has changed. Women work in this self help group and are self dependent, unlike before when they were dependent on their family and had no freedom.

Anna Hazare-Social Activist

All know the name Anna Hazare as one of the greatest social activist of modern India. With is firm determination and dream to see India as a corruption free nation, Anna has taken up many reforms one of which was to demand for the Lokpal Bill. Being a former solder of the Indian Army, Anna always dreamt of a better India.

But hardly few people know that this man of firm determination and strong moral values once went for committing suicide. Failed to find the answer to his human existence Anna got frustrated and wanted to end his life. Just before he was thinking to do so at a railway platform, Anna chanced upon a book on Swami Vivekananda. He kept on reading the book and finally realized the true purpose of human existence was to serve selflessly to his fellow humans.

Today, Anna is idolized as a genuine fighter against corruption and despite of being a 75 year man, is considered as the most respected youth icon.

Aditya Maheswaran
Aditya Maheswaran, now a Marketing Manager at Cognizant, got associated with the Ramakrishna Mission to help the Youth Leadership Program in 2011. Being a management student, at that time it was more of an opportunity to attend an event than spirituality. But the monks dressed in saffron robes, oblivious to material needs and physical desires made him more curious.

He asked himself, “Who are they? Were they born different? Raised different? How do they manage to see the other side of the wall when we are still playing in our compound?” He was so influenced by the teaching of Vivekananda that he made a documentary. He says, “Great people can make you change your outlook towards life. Swami Vivekananda has done that to me.” (as Quoted by Wikipedia)

Teach yourselves, teach everyone his real nature, call uon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity”, Swami Vivekananda.

 

விரதமே மகத்தான மருத்துவம்!


இயற்கை மீதான பேரன்பும் உடல் மீதான அக்கறையும் எந்த வயதிலும் ஒருவரை இளமை குறையாமல் வைத்திருக்கும் என்பதற்குச் சாலச் சிறந்த உதாரணம் நம்மாழ்வார். சிறிய எழுத்துக்களையும் கண்ணாடி இல்லாமல் துல்லியமாகப் படிப்பது, சோர்வே இல்லாமல் பல கிலோ மீட்டர் தூரம் நடப்பது, தோட்ட வேலை, எழுத்துப் பணி, மேடைப் பேச்சு என ஒரு நாளைக்கு 16 மணி நேரம் பம்பரமாகச் சுழல்கிறது நம்மாழ்வாருக்கு. ”75 வயதிலும் எப்படி இப்படி ஒரு சுறுசுறுப்பு?” எனக் கேட்டால், சிறு குழந்தையாகச் சிரிக்கிறார் நம்மாழ்வார்.

”எத்தனையோ வருஷங்களுக்கு முன்னாலேயே, ‘உணவே மருந்து; மருந்தே உணவு’ன்னு திருமூலர் சொல்லிட்டுப் போயிட்டார். இந்த அற்புதமான வாக்கை ஆராதிக்கத் தவறியவர்கள்தான் எண் சாண் உடம்பில் எண்ண முடியாத வியாதிகளோடு அலையறாங்க. வாழ்க்கையில் இரண்டு வகை இருக்கிறது. ஒன்று நோயே வராமல் வாழ்வது. இரண்டாவது, நோய் வந்த பின் வருந்தியபடியே வாழ்வது. முதல் வகையில் இணைந்துவிட்டால், நமக்கு இன்னல்கள் இருக்காது.

‘மருந்து என வேண்டாவாம் யாக்கைக்கு அருந்தியது அற்றது போற்றி உணின்’ என்ற குறளிலேயே நோய் அண்டாமல் வாழ்வதற்கான வழி சொல்லப்பட்டு இருக்கிறது. உண்ட உணவு சீரணமாகிவிட்டதை அறிந்து, அதன் பிறகு உண்டால் அந்த உடம்புக்கு மருந்து என்ற ஒன்றே தேவை இல்லை எனச் சொல்லி இருக்கிறார் வள்ளுவர்.

எதை, எப்போது, எப்படி உண்ண வேண்டும் என்பதே நம்மில் பலருக்கும் தெரிவதில்லை. நாம் உண்ணும்போது முதலில் உணவை விழுங்குறோம். ஆனால், அப்படி விழுங்கக்கூடாது. பற்களால் நன்றாக அரைத்து, கூழாக்கி உமிழ்நீரோடு சேர்த்து உள்ளே தள்ளவேண்டும். இதைத்தான், ‘நொறுங்கத் தின்றால் நோய் தீரும்!’ எனப் பழமொழியாகச் சொன்னார்கள். அளவு கடந்து உணவு உண்பவர்கள் நோய்களை எதிர்கொள்ளவேண்டி இருக்கும். நாம் உண்ணும் உணவுக் கழிவுகள் உடம்பில் உள்ள ஒவ்வொரு செல்லிலும் கொஞ்சம் கொஞ்சமாகத் தேங்குகிறது. இதன் அளவு அதிகரிக்கும்போது நோய் உண்டாகிறது. சரி, அதை எப்படிக் களைவது? இதற்கான சுலபமான வழி, உண்ணாநோன்பு. இதைத்தான் ‘விரதம்’ என்ற பெயரில் கடைபிடித்தார்கள் நமது முன்னோர்கள். ‘நோயிலே படுப்பதென்ன கண்ண பரமாத்மா, நோன்பிலே உயிர்ப்பதென்ன கண்ண பரமாத்மா’ எனப் பாடினார்களே… அந்த நோன்புதான் உண்ணாநோன்பு. இறக்கும் தருவாயில் இருப்பவனைக்கூட உயிர்த்தெழுச் செய்யும் சக்தி உண்ணா நோன்புக்கு இருக்கிறது. இதைத்தான் ஆங்கிலத்தில் ‘தெரப்பூட்டிக் பாஸ்ட்டிங்’ (Theraupeutic fasting) என்று சொல்கிறார்கள். இன்றைக்கு சர்வதேச அளவில் இந்தச் சிகிச்சை பிரபலமாகி வருகிறது. உண்ணாநோன்பு இருக்கும்போது நம் உடலுக்குள் இருக்கும் தேவையில்லாத கழிவுகள் தன்னாலே வெளியேறி விடுகின்றன. உடல் தன்னைத்தானே குணப்படுத்திக்கொள்ள நாம் அனுமதிக்க வேண்டும்.

அடுத்ததாக, எதைச் சாப்பிட வேண்டும் என்பது மிகவும் முக்கியம். நம் உணவில் காய்கறிகள், கீரைகள், பழங்கள் ஆகியவற்றை அதிகம் சேர்த்துக்கொள்ள வேண்டும். ‘வெந்ததைக் குறைத்தால் வேதனையை குறைக்கலாம்’ என்பார்கள். அதாவது வேகவைத்த உணவைக் குறைத்துக்கொண்டு பச்சைக் காய்கறிகள், பழங்களை உண்ண வேண்டும். நான் 35 வயதில் கண்ணாடி அணிந்தேன். 60 வயதில் அதை அகற்றிவிட்டேன். இப்போது கண்ணாடியைப் பயன்படுத்துவதே இல்லை. பொடி எழுத்துக்களைக்கூட என்னால் துல்லியமாக வாசிக்க முடியும். இதற்குக் காரணம் எனது உணவுப் பழக்கங்கள்தான்!” – விழி விரியவைக்கும் அளவுக்கு ஆச்சரியமாகப் பேசுகிறார் நம்மாழ்வார். அடுத்து, மூலிகைகளை நோக்கி நீள்கிறது பேச்சு.

”இயற்கை நமக்குக் கொடுத்த அருட்கொடை மூலிகைகள். நாம் பயிர் செய்யாமலேயே நமக்கான உணவாக சில மூலிகைகளை இயற்கை உற்பத்தி செய்கிறது. உதாரணமாக, பிரண்டை. இதைத் துவையல் செய்து சாதத்தில் குழம்புக்குப் பதிலாக பிசைந்து உண்ணலாம். தூதுவளை, மொசுமொசுக்கை இலைகளைச் சேர்த்து ரசம் வைத்து உண்டால் நாள்பட்ட சளி தீரும். வாய்ப்புண்ணை ஆற்ற மணத்தக்காளி, வெட்டுப் புண்களை ஆற்ற வெட்டுக்காயப் பச்சிலை, அனைத்துக் கும் சிறந்த ஆவாரை, துளசி என மூலிகைகளின் அதிசய ஆற்றல் கொஞ்சநஞ்சம் அல்ல. நம்மைச் சுற்றி வளர்ந்துகிடக்கும் எண்ணில்லா மூலிகைகளை நாம் சரியாகப் பயன்படுத்தினாலே பாதி நோய்கள் காணாமல் போய்விடும்!” எனச் சொல்லும் நம்மாழ்வார், உடலின் மகத்துவத்தையும், யோகாவின் சிறப்பையும் சொல்லத் தொடங்கினார்.

”இயற்கை ஒருபோதும் தவறு செய்வதில்லை. உடல் ஒருபோதும் தன் கடமையை நிறுத்துவதில்லை. பசி வந்தால் உணவு, தாகம் எடுத்தால் தண்ணீர், சோர்வு வந்தால் உறக்கம் என உடல் சரியான சமிக்ஞைகளை நமக்கு கொடுத்தவண்ணம் இருக்கிறது. அதன்படி உணவு, உறக்கத்தை நாம் கடைப்பிடித்தாலே உடலுக்கு எந்தவிதமான சிக்கலும் வராது. பலர் உடம்பு வலிக்காக மாத்திரை, மருந்துகளை உட்கொள்கிறார்கள். வலி என்பது உடம்பு தன் உள்ளே இருக்கும் நச்சுப் பொருட்களை வெளியேற்றும் முயற்சி. அதைத் தடுக்கக்கூடாது.

50 வயது வரை உடம்புதான் உன்னதம் என நினைக்கும் மனது, அதற்குப் பிறகு ஆன்மாவை ஆராதிக்கிறது. ஆன்மா இந்த உடம்புக்குள்ளேதானே இருக்கிறது! அதனால், உடலைப் பராமரிப்பதும் அவசியம். இது இரண்டையும் ஒரே நேரத்தில் பராமரிக்க உதவுவதுதான் யோகா. நான் நீண்ட காலமாக யோகா செய்து வந்தாலும், ‘ஈஷா’ பயிற்சியில்தான் அதை முறைப்படுத்தினேன். தினமும் காலையில் நடைப்பயிற்சி, மூச்சுப் பயிற்சி, யோகா செய்கிறேன்.

ஈஷா யோகா பயிற்சியின்போது நடந்த நேர்காணலில், ‘யோகா செய்வதன் மூலம் நோய்கள் குணமாகும் என்றால், எதற்காக இத்தனை மருத்துவர்களும், மருத்துவமனைகளும் இருக்கின்றன?’ என சத்குருவிடம் கேட்டேன். ‘நாட்டில் தினமும் ஆயிரக் கணக்கில் விபத்துகள் நடக்கின்றன. விபத்தில் கடுமையாக பாதிக்கப்பட்டவர்களுக்கு யோகா சொல்லிக் கொடுக்க முடியாது அல்லவா? அவர்களுக்குத் தேவை, அவசர சிகிச்சை. அதற்காகத் தான் மருத்துவர்களும், மருத்துவமனைகளும்!’ என்று அவர் அமைதியாகச் சொன்னார்.

அவர் சொன்னது உண்மைதான். ஆங்கில மருத்துவத்தை அவசரத்தேவைக்கு மட்டுமே பயன்படுத்த வேண்டும். மாத்திரை, மருந்துகளைத் தொடர்ச்சியாக உட்கொள்ளும்போது, அதுவே உடம்பில் பல உபத்திரவங்களை உண்டாக்குகிறது.

மொத்தத்தில், சரியான பழக்க வழக்கங்களும், உடலைப் பேணும் உணவு முறையும், ஆரோக்கியமான சுற்றுச்சூழலும் இருந்தாலே நோய்க்கு ‘நோ என்ட்ரி’ போட்டுவிடலாம்!” எனச் சொல்லும் நம்மாழ்வார் இறுதியாக இப்படிச் சொல்கிறார் வாழ்வியல் மந்திரத்தை.

‘கணியன் பூங்குன்றனார் சொன்ன ‘தீதும், நன்றும் பிறர் தர வாரா’ என்கிற வரி நம் உடலுக்கும் உள்ளத்துக்கும் ஒருசேர வழிகாட்டக்கூடியது. அந்த வரிகளை மனதில் ஏற்று இயற்கையை வணங்கி, உடலை ஆராதிக்கக் கற்றுக் கொண்டால் வாழ்வின் சிறப்புக்குக் குறைவே இருக்காது!”.

– நன்றி சக்தி விகடன்

 

 

 

 

The 14 Ministers You Need To Know Should Be Jailed


Hardening its stand again after the Assembly elections, Team Anna moved from setting deadlines for the Lokpal Bill to naming Union ministers with a tainted reputation. They warned of a nationwide ‘jail bharo’ agitation in August if criminal cases were not filed against 14 Union Ministers on charges of corruption and criminal intimidation. The team said that the dates would be announced later.

Team Anna addressed crowds at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, the venue of a fast to demand protection for whistleblowers campaigning against corruption. Team Anna also demanded investigation of allegations against 1,300 elected representatives (MPs as well as MLAs) across the country against whom criminal charges have been leveled.

Arvind Kejriwal, the core member of Team Anna, named the 14 Union Ministers who, he alleged, were “corrupt.” He himself had no direct evidence of wrongdoing on their party, but there have been allegations in newspapers and on television, and they needed to be investigated.

Indian Express listed out the 14 Union Ministers whom Kejriwal named corrupt and the specific charges against them. (SiliconIndia takes no stand on these allegations, but just lists out the names as given by Kejriwal. As it is in the public domain, it can evoke a public discourse and/or litigation.

1. P Chidambaram:

Chidambaram was one of the 14 ministers on the list, for his alleged controversial role in the 2G scam, and the charge that his wife (a lawyer) defended a Kolkata businessman named Kashinath Tapuria in an income tax claim of 580 crore.

Last year in September, referring to Chidambaram’s involvement in the scam, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said “Had there been a Jan Lokpal now, Chidambaram would have been in jail.” Referring to the same, Kejriwal named him on the list.

2. Kapil Sibal:

Kapil was on the list of the corrupt ministers for allegedly lowering Rs 650 crore fine on Reliance Communication to Rs 5 crore. He was accused of favoring Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infocomm.

Anna Hazare had then appealed to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take action against Union Telecom minister Kapil Sibal, and expressed grief that frivolous litigations were being filed to settle personal scores. He also said that he himself would enquire into the matter and bring out details about the HRD Minister.

 
3. Praful Patel:

Praful Patel was also on the list for his alleged role in running Air India to the ground when he was civil aviation minister.

4. Sharad Pawar:

Sharad Pawar was named as well for his alleged “links” with Abdul Karim Telgi in the Maharashtra stamp duty scam.

He was named by Abdul Karim Telgi, during a narcoanalysis test, stating that it was Pawar’s idea to print fake stamp papers across the country and mint money. Pawar was also accused in a multi-crore scam concerning wheat imports and institutions headed by him and his close associates were served notices by the Bombay High Court for showing favoritism to his family.

 
5. SM Krishna:

SM Krishna made it on the list of 14 ministers too for his alleged involvement in the Karnataka mining scam. An FIR was filed against him by Karnataka Lokayukta for allegedly de-reserving large forest areas for mining in Bellary as the Chief Minister of Karnataka in 1999-2004.

6. Kamal Nath:

Kamal Nath, the Union Cabinet Minister of Urban Development, made it on the hit list too over allegations relating to the rice export. The alleged 2, 500-crore rice export scam of 2008-09 took place in his watch.

 
7. Farooq Abdullah:

Farooq Abdullah is on the list for alleged financial irregularities in the J&K Cricket Association.

The JKCA headed by union minister of new and renewable energy Dr Farooq Abdullah, is facing charges of grave financial irregularities and mismanagement. 50 crore is said to have been diverted to different accounts opened in the name of the JKCA by its officials to mint money, which comes as subsidies to promote sports and particularly cricket.

8. Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh :

Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh, both are on the Kejriwal list of corrupt ministers for their role in the Adarsh housing scam and a land allotment allegation against Deshmukh.

Adarsh Housing Society, a cooperative society in the city of Mumbai, was supposed to be reserved for the war widows and veterans of the Kargil War. However, it came to light that houses in the society were not given to the presumed beneficiaries, but taken over by politicians, bureaucrats and top ranking military personnel. There are allegations that former chief ministers of Maharashtra, Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh were also involved in the scam.

10. Ajit Singh:

Ajit Singh makes it on the hit list too for charges that in 2008, when UPA 1 government was tottering after Left parties withdrew support over the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal; he supported the government for a monetary consideration.

The Wikileaks claim that during the nuclear deal trust vote, he had charged Rs 10 crore per MP to vote for the UPA government.

11. GK Vasan:

GK Vasan is a prominent Congress leader from Tamil Nadu and is on the corrupt minister list for allegedly giving away 16,000 acres near Kandla Port of Gujarat at a loss of Rs 2 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Vasan instead called these allegations “baseless” and pointed out that he was not in charge of the ministry when the alleged irregularities surfaced in 2008. He was quoted saying to the Hindustan Times “Allegation regarding irregularities in Kandla Port Trust Lease of Land case are totally baseless and there is no truth in it. When the report by CVO of the Port Trust was originally given in 2008, I was not the Minister of Shipping.”

12. Sriprakash Jaiswal:

Sriprakash makes it on the list for alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks. This allotment of coal blocks gave ‘undue benefits’ to scores of companies causing an enormous loss of Rs 10.67 lakh crore to the nation’s exchequer.

The Coal Minister in his defence said “We gave advertisements for allocation of coal blocks and invited applications…after the applications were received by us (Coal Ministry), the state governments were consulted and thereafter the coal blocks were allocated,” as reported Business Today.

 
13. MK Azhagiri:

MK Azhagiri makes it on the hit list for alleged attacks on political rivals.  He was also accused of conspiring in the murder of the former DMK Minister, T. Kiruttinan.

14. Virbhadra Singh:

Virbhadra Singh is the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He is one among the fourteen ministers named by Kejriwal, for assorted allegations of bribery.

Team Anna, BJP Rejects Lokpal Bill Tabled in Parliament.


The Congress-led UPA government has tabled the Lok Sabha 2011 in the Lok Sabha only to be welcomed by severe criticisms and opposition, both from the civil society and the political parties. 

Team Anna has mocked the Lokpal bill prepared by the Government and called it “anti-people, dangerous and useless.” The Bharatiya Janata Party condemned the unconstitutional” minority quota provision in the legislation and demanded the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The Congress-led UPA

BJP leader and leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj objected this particular provision and told, “We are disappointed. This is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has given dozens of rulings stating that any reservation should not be more than 50 percent.” “It is important we make a law that is not patently unconstitutional and later rejected in the court of law,” she said.

In a strong counter attack, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee, said, “This is not just a piece of law. There is an agitation on in the country for the Bill and a committee has been working to bring this Bill. If a bill is struck by courts it doesn’t mean that Parliament doesn’t pass the bill. It is for the courts to judge the constitutional of a bill. Our job is to make and pass the bill. Let the court do their job, we will do our job.”

Anna Hazare rejected the bill saying “it is a betrayal of the people and the legislation would not provide for a strong anti-graft institution.” Anna challenged Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi for a public debate to justify the proposed bill as a strong one. Anna said that the new bill is useless as it does not have direct control over CBI and the lower bureaucracy. He was also quoted saying “Sonia Gandhi says the bill is strong. If it is so, let she come out and debate with us in front of media. Let people see it. Convince the people of the country that it is strong. We will explain how it is not strong.”

Kiran Bedi, member of Team Anna said, “The draft prepared by the government should be rejected and condemned in the strongest terms. This draft has several loose ends and due to this, the rational of the anti-graft legislation has been lost completely.”Referring to CBI being controlled by the government, she also was quoted saying “Of what use has a body’s power to merely inquire ever been, if the investigation that follows the inquiry will be controlled by the government?”

Anna and his team do not want CBI out of the administrative control of the bill as he says that the biggest victims of corruption are the poor who have to pay bribes to get any work done and that the ‘weak’ bill will not help the poor in their fight against corruption.

Team Anna also says the Prime Minister is provided with too many safeguards from investigation by the Lokpal and any inquiry against him would need a sanction of three-fourth of the Lokpal members in non-public proceedings and they would have no access through the Right to Information Act.

As the bill is tabled in the Lok Sabha, the anti-graft legislation will now be discussed during Parliament’s extended session on December 27.

Is This Really a Proper Way to Spend Public Money?


A recent news states that Team Anna had collected donations of Rs 2.94 crore in the past six months out of which

 1.14 crore came during Anna Hazare‘s 12-day hunger strike in Ramlila Maidan. They have already spent a huge chunk of it and have provided the expenses in approximate figures. The fact is that a lot of people have donated money and it has been heart warming to note that 23,138 contributions were of 1,000 or less. It has really been humbling and moving to note that people with very limited resources contributed with sums like Rs 1, Rs 2 and Rs 5 of their hard earned money, hoping that it is spent for a good cause and will help in developing a new India. But the expenses mentioned, are no match to it and seems just like a waste of resources.”

According to Team Anna, a total of 27,505 people, including 25,023 during Ramlila agitation, contributed financially to the anti-corruption movement with Rs 25 lakh being the highest donation and over 400 donating more than Rs 10,000. Out of the Rs 2.94 crore it collected during the six months, they have decided to return Rs 42.55 lakh to donors who “did not provide their complete details and their sources of funding”(Which indeed is a good thought), leaving Rs 2.51 crore with them.

The Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF), the Secretariat for the movement, made public its audit report for six months starting April one following allegations of financial misconduct by activist Arvind Kejriwal

by Arvind SawantA former Team Anna member Swami Agnivesh was sidelined by the Team when he questioned the depositing of donations in PCRF, saying none of the prominent Team members like Justice Santosh Hegde were trustees of PCRF run and controlled only by Arvind Kejriwal.

Of the Rs 2.51 crore, Team Anna has spent Rs 1.5 crore in the past six months with Rs 52.27 lakh being spent for public meeting expenses, mainly for Ramlila Maidan agitation which is quite acceptable. But the real doubts creating expenses follows.

Team Anna spent Rs 9.83 lakh on travel (Who’s travel? Only Team Anna or all the people at Ramlila Maidan? Did Team Anna go on a world tour? Or did they hire a Helicopter?) while another Rs 2.68 lakh was spent on communication expenses (Really shocking, what type of communication was that, which costs RS. 2.68 Lakhs in six months). Under public awareness expenses, the Team spent Rs 45.50 lakh (What kind of awareness? Did they advertise somewhere? or did they pay the media for their news to be shown???) Their printing charges are shown to be Rs 26.55 lakh.(No Comments!)

It also spent Rs 9,711 under the head RTI and also paid Rs 9.29 lakh as salary and stipend to the staff of PCRF besides a lowly Rs 36 as interest on government dues.

All this while, the people who donated their hard earned money would have expected their donations to the Public Cause Research Foundation be used for real Public Cause. They would have lived in a state of satisfaction that they helped in a good and noble cause. But seeing the expenses which almost seems to be worthless would really dishearten the donators..

by Arvind Sawant – SI

India To Witness a ‘Dalal Street’ Movement?


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The Occupy Wall Street Protests have spread like wild fire across the western world. People feel they are being exploited by big businesses. Is corporate greed ruining our country? Could this anti-capitalist mood also come to India? Will there be an Occupy Dallal Street Movement on the lines of Wall Street?

 Wall Street protests may not be exactly aimed at business or capitalism as a whole, but seems to be largely against the financial sector. There have been problems in the financial sector, and people in America are protesting against it. In America, capitalism has over matured, leading to many financial problems. The last decade in U.S. has seen a tilt towards corporate sector against people. Its financial sector makes 40percent of corporate profits. The income levels of ordinary people have hardly grown. Government bailed the banks out, but made people pay for it, leading to the present outcry.
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What is the situation in India? India on the other hand has not felt the contagion of financial problems. Capitalism seems to be doing well here with an impressive annual growth rate of around 8percent, but are common people really benefited? The problem of inequality has remained, and seems to rise with the corporate culture. The income disparity between the poor and the rich has only grown in the last decade. So, is capitalism a problem, or the unhealthy system that it has woven itself in? Protests in advanced capitalist countries like America seem to point to certain faults in the system. Unemployment in America has touched 10percent, highest in last 60 years. India may not be experiencing the complete cracks of the system, as it is still a developing economy, but it is already affected by some faults like inequality.   
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The larger problem in India is the unholy nexus between government and corporate. Political System functions on black money, and black money comes from business men bribing political parties. This has led to a kind of crony capitalism in the country. Nira Radia tapes showed a close nexus between ministers and businessmen. Corporate are happy to align themselves with political parties as they get many advantages leading. The kind of irregularities scams and exploitation that corporate sector has seen, has given economic reforms and liberalization itself a bad name. The Anna Hazare led movement seeks to address the corrupt practices of politicians, but has hardly done anything to tackle the inequalities and scams of corporate sector.  
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Maruti India is witnessing one of those protests in the country that could soon reach a critical mass and fill Dalal Street in Mumbai and extend to whole country. The company has seen profits going up from 200 crore to 2000 crore in the last decade, while the wages of the bulk workforce hardly touched 4000 a month, a great example of how our corporate works. Companies should do justice to their laborers and give them fair share.

The public anger is growing each day against corruption and inequality in political and business sector. While the income of the lowest 10percent might have increased in the last decade, the standard of living has hardly improved due to inflation. If the problem is not address soon, we may see powerful backlashes like Occupy Wall Street in the country. Or has it already begun through the Anna movement?    

Why can’t Team Anna wait until the Winter Session?


Why can’t Team Anna wait until the Winter Session?It’s still not clear why Team Anna cannot wait for the Winter Session of Parliament. PTI

So Jan Lokpal Bill it is. ‘The’ Jan Lokpal Bill it has to be. Team Anna would settle for nothing less.

Anna Hazare is bigger than Parliament, asserted Arvind Kejriwal, key member of the team yesterday. The message: Parliament can go to hell. So can reasoned dabate. We won’t accept if it comes up with a Lokpal Bill that is not the Jan Lokpal Bill.

It’s still not clear why Team Anna cannot wait for the Winter Session of Parliament or allow the Standing Committee to study other suggestions on the Lokpal Bill and arrive at the best possible solution. It’s more confounding why it should take a controversial, and rather unnecessary, political position at this stage.

The lack of respect among the members of Team Anna for the august House was evident in the developments during second phase of Anna’s fast which began on 16 August, Kejriwal has made it an unequivocal stand. So long as the government and the political parties were the enemy number one for Team Anna, it did not matter. But the issue moves to a different plane after this.

What if Parliament votes in favour of a bill which is not acceptable to Anna’s associates? Does Anna announce “I am Parliament. My diktat is what the law of the land is”. After that? By all indications, Team Anna won’t find it repulsive. But political parties, who have taken opportunistic positions so far by trying to pander to the whims of Anna’s associates, cannot kowtow for too long. A confrontation of a different kind is on the cards. This is likely to get interesting with Team Anna taking a partisan political position.

Anna Hazare is bigger than Parliament, asserted Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

In the last few days the political leanings of Team Anna has got clearer. Though the team has been vehement in its denial of suggestions of political affiliation, by design or default it has positioned itself against the Congress and for the BJP. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has already spoken of the Sangh Parivar’s support to the anto-corruption movement of Anna Hazare. In Hisar, the team is actively asking the electorate not to vote for the Congress. In Uttar Pradesh, which is headed for assembly polls early next year, it is likely to campaign against Mayawati and the Congress, thus serving as the non-political arm of the BJP.

Nothing exactly is wrong if Team Anna backs any political party — it’s even better if it contests polls — but by positioning the popular movement cleverly to suit the interest of a few political players, it is committing a fraud on the supporters of the movement. If it backs the Congress and opposes the BJP in some other state in a balancing act, it won’t mean much. The movement was supposed to stay focused on corruption only and not get distracted by delving into political mind games.

Again, it is curious that Team Anna would issue certificates of good conduct to political parties on the basis of their support to the Jan Lokpal Bill. It is clear that none of the parties agree completely on all the provisions of the bill and they have reservations on several important clauses. That they have issued letters of support to the bill is crass political opportunism. It does not amount to much at this point since they will come open with their objections and suggestions in Parliament when the government’s bill is up for discussion. So what it is support of Team Anna to parties is all about?

Moreover, its support is not for clean candidates. The assumption is whoever backs the Jan Lokpal Bill is honest. That’s is too unusual a position. The team is inadvertently treating the corrupt on different parameters: those who support us are clean and those who don’t are not.

Should the anti-corruption movement get into all this?

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