Posts Tagged ‘Government’

GOVERNMENT’S CONSCIENCE, PUBLIC’S CONFIDENCE: LOKAYUKTALokayukta is the anti-corruption hero, an ombudsman constituted at state level. It is responsible to deal with the public grievances against corruption and mal-administration against public servants.

ORIGIN

The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on ‘Problems of Redressal of Citizens’ Grievances’ in 1966. In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as ‘Lokpal’ and ‘Lokayukta’ for the redressal of citizens’ complaints.  

A WATCHDOG WITHOUT TEETH!

A Lokayukta can conduct raids amongst the alleged politicians and officers in the Government service. But, it does not have binding powers to punish anyone. The Lokayukta Act takes within its sphere the Ministers including the Chief Minister, Members of the Legislative Assembly, Municipal Councilors and the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Members of Boards which are subject to the control of the Government. 

The mission of the Lokayukta is: To eradicate the vice of corruption, favoritism, abuse of position and power among the public functionaries. To improve efficiency and to present cleaner image of the top public functionaries. To promote fairness and honesty.

THE PERSON

The Lokayukta is independent and impartial in its functions and works for a fixed tenure. The person appointed is usually a former High Court Chief Justice or former Supreme Court Judge. The public can approach him directly, with their complaints.

Legal experts claim that the success or the failure of a Lokayukta depends solely on the “personal qualities such as the image, caliber, drive, persuasive power, dynamism, perception of his role and institution of the individual Lokayukta”.

The Cabinet of India: the ultimate, collective decision-making authority comprised of the Prime Minister and 35 Cabinet Ministers

Officially termed as the Union Council of Ministers of India, the Cabinet of India is a body of high-ranking, senior-most Government ministers, typically belonging to the executive branch. The Cabinet includes the Prime Minister, followed by the Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and the Deputy Ministers. The Cabinet may be contracted or expanded. However, the number of members is stated by the Constitution of India. The council is supposed to report to the Indian Parliament.

Originally, Cabinets were born as small groups named as ‘Cabinet Counsel’ that referred to the advice given to the monarch in private.

THE MEMBERS

Cabinet Secretary: India’s most powerful bureaucrat and the right hand of the PM

  • Heads the Cabinet after the President of India
  • Comes under the direct charge of the Prime Minister
  • Administrative head
  • Also the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board, and thus the head of the Indian Administrative Service
  • Generally, he is the senior most civil servant
  • Provides assistance to the Ministers, PM and Cabinet Committees
  • Lends an element of stability and continuity in the administration
  • No fixed tenure, though the average is less than 3 years, can be extended
  • Heads all the civil services under the constitution like IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS, PCS, PPS et al
  • Ranks eleventh in the Table of Precedence of India

The Cabinet Secretariat has 3 wings: Civil, Military and Intelligence.

Civil: Provides help and advice to the Union Cabinet
Military: Provides secretarial assistance to the Defense Committee of the Cabinet, the Military Affairs Committee, the National Defense Council and other committees dealing with defense matters
Intelligence: Deals with matters pertaining to the Joint Intelligence Committee of the Union Cabinet

Council of Ministers:

In a Cabinet, apart from collective responsibilities, the members are also individually responsible for the functioning of their respective departments. They are given the title of ‘Minister’ and each holds a different portfolio of Government duties (E.g. ‘Minister for the Environment’). Also, the Constitution has made it mandatory for the Council Ministers to be the members of either House of the Parliament.
Apart from this, the Council

  • Prepares and introduces bills in the Parliament
  • Assists the President to execute his functions
  • Determines policies and administers the same
  • Implements all the decisions adopted by the Parliament of India

There are three categories of Ministers:

  • Union Cabinet Minister: Senior Minister in-charge of any ministry
  • Minister of State (Independent Charge): Handles a portfolio that no other Union Minister oversees
  • Minister of State (MoS): Junior Ministerusually looks after a specific responsibility in any ministry

Together, the Cabinet forms the big wheel of the Government that runs the Republic of India.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Big%20Wheel%20Of%20The%20Government_677

• Vishwanath Pratap Singh (1990)
• H. D. Deve Gowda (1997)
• Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1999)

What is common amongst the three? These all were defeated Prime Ministers of India – defeated by a parliamentary motion of no confidence.

WHAT IS A MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE?

It is alternatively known as vote of no confidence, censure motion or no-confidence motion. It is a parliamentary vote that represents the parliament’s lack of confidence in the ruling party’s ability to lead the country. The elected members of the parliament vote for this motion. A passed motion of no confidence usually results in the Government’s fall and the calling of a general election.

RESPONSE TO THE MOTION

In an existing Government, when a motion of no confidence is passed, the head of state replies in either of the two ways:
• Ask another individual, who he believes will command the confidence of parliament, to try to form a Government
• Dissolve the elected parliament and call a general election to elect a new parliament
To determine whether an individual can gain the confidence of the parliament or not, the head of state examines whether that individual has the backing of a parliamentary party or a coalition of parties and MPs. He may also be selected based on an agreement of support with enough parliamentary seats to withstand any confidence challenges against them. If this cannot be done, parliament is dissolved and a general election is called.

EXAMPLES

The first record of a motion of no confidence occurred in the United Kingdom in 1782 immediately after the British defeat in the American colonies at Yorktown. The then Prime Minister Lord North presented his resignation to King George III. In the United Kingdom, there have been 11 Prime Ministers defeated through a no-confidence motion. There has been only one (against James Callaghan) since 1925.

Unlike the British system, in Germany the Chancellor is not required to resign if he or she receives a motion of no confidence.

MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE IS NOT IMPEACHMENT

Many people mistakenly associate a motion of no confidence with the term ‘impeachment’. The two words mean different things. Impeachment implies that a crime has been committed by a Government official. It is a rare political process. However, politicians may receive motion of no confidence. And that doesn’t imply that the person under the vote has committed a crime.
It should be noted that in modern times, votes of no confidence are relatively rare occurrences in democracies. Parties typically handle tiffs among their members without resorting to the motion of no confidence.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Right%20To%20Say%20%20No%20_648

India is a collection of small and big villages. In addition, Panchayats have been the backbone of Indian villages since the beginning of recorded history. Gandhiji, the father of the nation, in 1946 had aptly remarked that the Indian Independence must begin at the bottom. He wished that every village should be a Republic or Panchayat having powers. He named this as ‘Gram Swaraj’ (Village Self-rule).
On 15th May 1989, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had introduced a constitutional amendment bill in the Lok Sabha. This was initiated to make Panchayati Raj a truly representative and effective system in India. The bill could not become a law, as it was not passed by the Rajya Sabha. It was reintroduced in the new parliament by the Narasimha Rao Government.
And the wish of Gandhiji came true, when through the 73rd Amendment in 1992; on April 23, 1993 the Institution of Panchayati Raj was accorded the constitutional status.

THE FOUNDATION

Panchayati Raj is a system of governance in which Gram (village) Panchayats are the basic units of administration. It is a decentralized system of self-government, where each village is responsible for its own affairs.
The concept comes from the traditional assemblies that settled individual and village disputes. ‘Panchayat’ literally means assembly (yat) of five (panch) wise and respected elders chosen and accepted by the village community.
The main aim of Panchayati Raj is to see that the community at large participates in strengthening of the systems and in the development journey along with the Government. This aim has been translated into reality with the introduction of the three-tier system viz.

  • Gram Panchayat
  • Taluka Panchayat
  • District Panchayat

In Gujarat, there are 26 District Panchayats, 224 Taluka Panchayats and 13,693 Gram Panchayats, while the revenue villages are 18,356.
The Panchayati Raj system exists in all the states of India except Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

THE 73RD AMENDMENT

The Amendment Act of 1992 contains provision for devolution of powers and responsibilities to the Panchayats. These are delegated to Panchayats at the appropriate level:

  • Preparation of plan for economic development and social justice
  • Implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice in relation to 29 subjects given in 11th schedule of the Constitution
  • To levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees

The provisions of the Act are as follows:

  • Establishment of a three-tier structure
  • Establishment of Gram Sabhas at the village level
  • Regular elections to Panchayats every five years
  • Proportionate seat reservation for SCs/STs
  • Reservation of not less than 1/3 seats for women
  • Constitution of State Finance Commissions to recommended measures to improve the finances of Panchayats
  • Constitution of State Election Commission
  • Others

To support this Act and to look after all the matters related to the Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj was formed on 27th May 2004. The Ministry advocates the working and implementation of this Act and ensures systematic function of the Panchayati Raj.
Panchayati raj is indeed the grassroots of any self-government. It ensures greater participation of people and more effective implementation of rural development programs. Freedom and development can be sustained only when it begins from the bottom. And thus, every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs even to the extent of defending itself against the whole world. What can be a better system than Panchayati Raj for achieving this goal?

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=GrassRoots%20Of%20Self-Government_622

LOBBYING: IT IS NOT A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION, IT’S THE NERVE OF THE MODERN CORPORATE COMMUNICATION

Lobbying – a word that is used very frequently and commonly – but its meaning is often misunderstood. One definition that makes the connotation clear is offered in the ‘Principles for the Ethical Conduct of Lobbying’ developed by Georgetown’s Woodstock Center: “Lobbying means the deliberate attempt to influence political decisions through various forms of advocacy directed at policymakers on behalf of another person, organization or group.”

A lobbyist is an activist employed by an interest group to promote their positions to legislatures. A lobbyist can also work to change public opinion through advertising campaigns or by influencing ‘opinion leaders’ or pundits, thereby creating a climate for the change that his or her employer desires.

THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD
The term lobbying has been used since as long as 1820. There are different beliefs regarding its etymology. The BBC believes that the word originates from the gathering of the Members of Parliament and the peer groups in the hallways (lobbies) of Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates.

Another story believes that the word comes from the act of meeting important people in the lobby of the hotel they are staying. It is said that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, where it was used by Ulysses Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers who frequented the hotel’s lobby to access Grant – who was often there to enjoy a cigar and brandy.

In American politics, most lobbyist organizations are headquartered on or near K Street in Washington DC, so ‘K Street’ has become somewhat synonymous for lobbying.

MISCONCEPTIONS AND FACTS
Lobbying is often misunderstood as consultation or yet another act of bribery. Also, lobbyist has a negative connotation these days, which is not the case. The reason for this is that a lobbyist rarely makes the news unless he or she has infringed the regulations. The caricature is as little familiar as the name: well-built, cigar-smoking men who wine and dine lawmakers while slipping money into their pockets. However, the facts are little known to the public.

Lobbying involves much more than simply persuading legislators. Its principal elements include researching and analyzing legislation or regulatory proposals; monitoring and reporting on developments; attending regulatory hearings; working with coalitions interested in the same issues; and then educating not only Government officials but also employees and corporate officers as to the implications of various changes. What most laymen regard as lobbying – the actual communication with Government officials – represents the smallest portion of a lobbyist’s time; a far greater proportion is devoted to the other aspects of preparation, information and communication.

THE MISUSE OF POWERS
“The problem is not lobbying, it’s the misuse of authority and discretionary powers. Middlemen will always exist in a corrupted and opaque system that privileges influence peddling.” This is the take of IBN on ‘Whether lobbying should be legalized’.

On one hand, where lobbying helps to voice the opinions, on the other, it supports campaigns with large amounts of money and sways opinions. And therefore it limits the mobility of politicians by creating the sense that they are owed.

Yet, there are examples of bad actors in all the professions. To paint all lobbyists with the same brush as those who have run into conflict with the laws, however, is unfair simply because it is not supported by the facts.

IT’S IMPORTANT
The Government lays down many rules and restrictions on lobbying to prevent any sort of misuse. It is an important part of any democracy as Government decisions affect both people and organizations, and information must be provided in order to produce informed decisions. Public officials cannot make fair and well-versed decisions without considering information from a broad range of interested parties.

Indeed, networking is the name of the game in lobbying, where people are hired as much for who they know as what they know.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Movers%20And%20Shakers_588

This was the need of the hour. A person who can connect alike with the young and the old, a person who can awaken the mass, who can shake up governments, who has the power to mobilize the youth, the power to lend voice to the people’s decisions – a decision that marks the beginning of a bright future. We have the man we were waiting for, Anna Hazare.

WHO IS ANNA HAZARE?

The face of India’s fight against corruption, Anna Hazare is a social activist and a veteran Gandhian. Kisan Baburao Hazare, as his real name goes, was born on 15 January, 1940 in a small village called Bhingar in Maharashtra. He was brought up by a childless aunt who funded his education in Mumbai but financial instability pushed him into selling flowers for a living and he had to quit studies after Class VII. Anna Hazare started his career as a driver in the Indian Army in 1963. He fought the 1965 Indo-Pak War in which he was the lone survivor in a border exchange of fire.

Anna left the army and shifted to Ralegaon Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district, in 1975. The village then, was in the grip of drought, poverty, crimes and alcoholism. It was then that the 39 year old Anna decided to develop the village. The village, today is considered as a model village for it is self-sustained, eco-friendly & harmonic. Energy is produced in the village itself from solar power, bio-fuel and wind mills.

Anna lives in a small room attached to the Yadavbaba temple in Ralegaon Siddhi, and calls himself a fakir. He says he is a man with no family, no property and no bank balance.

WHAT IS ANNA FIGHTING FOR?

Anna is supporting a cause, the amendment of a law to curb corruption in India. And whenever he starts a protest, every leader from Mumbai to Delhi gets alert, sits up and takes notice.
Anna is advocating the Jan Lokpal Bill (The Citizen Ombudsman Bill), that will form an autonomous authority who will make politicians (ministers), bureaucrats (IAS/IPS) accountable for their deeds. In 1972, the bill was proposed by the then Law minister, Shanti Bhushan. But since then, it has been neglected and some are even trying to change the bill to suit their interests.

HOW DID ANNA MANAGE TO GAIN PEOPLE’S TRUST?

India witnessed the rise of another Gandhi in Anna Hazare. People took it to the streets for the man who is fighting our second war of Independence, freedom from corruption.
The support was by the group of frustrated Indians, who before the coming of Anna into picture, simply did nothing, but cursed the systems. They were directionless. But the change-maker Anna provided a platform, a realization of people’s capability and strength. People supported him not because he was a great person, but because he was not one! The mass believed in him as he came without any political or any other intervention. He came as a solution to end the corruption, a ray of hope. He became the voice to people’s mounting frustrations and doubling anger.
The social networking sites did their bit by starting the ‘India against Corruption’ campaigns. It attracted more than 80,000 people on Facebook and 4,000 on Twitter. Apart from this, Baba Ramdev, Mallika Sarabhai, Kiran Bedi, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, film stars like Aamir Khan, Anupam Kher and others also stood by Anna Hazare.

WHAT IS JAN LOKPAL BILL?

The Jan Lokpal Bill, also known as the People’s Ombudsman Bill, is an anti-corruption bill drafted by prominent figures – Justice Santosh Hegde (ex-Supreme Court judge and present Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court Lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (RTI activist) – to put in place a unit to check corruption.
Under this bill, an independent body similar to the Election Commission needs to be formed that has the power to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without prior Government permission. It seeks the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, which would investigate all corruption cases and complete the probe within a span of a year, with a view to start a trial of the case. The trial should be completed within the next year. It also envisages a system where a corrupt person when found guilty would go to jail within two years of the complaint being made and his ill-gotten wealth being confiscated.

The Lokpal Bill has previously been introduced eight times (in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and as recently as 2008) in the Parliament, and despite being passed in the Lok Sabha on one instance in 1969, the bill never got passed in the Rajya Sabha then and has since been kept on hold.

AND HE CREATED A HISTORY!

It was January 30, Martyr’s Day, when Anna Hazare first took out a rally against corruption in over 60 cities to demand an effective Lokpal bill. He further announced a fast unto death from April 5 if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not take a decision on including civil society in drafting the Lokpal Bill.

The decision shook up entire India that stood up for the fight against corruption. The PM discussed the matter with the Gandhian and set up sub-committee to look into the Lokpal Bill, members include ministers AK Antony, M Veerappa Moily, Kapil Sibal and Sharad Pawar. But the committee did not take any commendable decisions.

The fast started as planned, amongst the support of thousands of Indians and the pressure increased day by day. Candle-light marches, protests and slogans gained momentum. Finally, on the fourth day of the fast, on 8th April, Anna announced to break his fast as the Government agreed to notify formation of a panel, with 50% civil society members, to draft the anti-corruption law and to introduce it in the monsoon session of parliament.

The man created a history!

DON’T LET THE FLAME DIE

It’s time we sideline everything and focus on this issue. The movement is for us – for our future – so that we can breathe free in an corruption free country with equal rights. Don’t let this euphoria die, that is what the culprits want, after all. Let us not sit back. India is on the verge of a revolution, let’s be a proud part of it. The least we can do is spread the word. Join the movement, use social networking, chain SMS and contribute to the change. Ask questions, until you get the desired answers.

Let’s be the change we wish to see in this world. And not let the efforts of this Gandhian go in vain.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=His%20Belief%20To%20Our%20Belief_580 

The upper house of the Indian Parliament is better known as Rajyasabha. It is called the ‘Council of States’ as the legislatures of the states and union territories elect 238 members, and the President appoints another 12. The seats are allotted in proportion to population. The members elected by the President are called ‘Nominated Members’ and are selected for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature, science and social services. Terms of office are for six years, with one third of the members retiring every two years.

The Government of India Act, 1919 provided for the creation of a ‘Council of State’ as a second chamber of the then legislature, with a restricted franchise which actually came into existence in 1921. The name Rajyasabha was announced by the chair in the House on the 23rd August 1954. The second chamber was created because a single directly elected House was considered inadequate to meet the challenges before a free India. The minimum age of thirty years was fixed and an element of dignity was added by making the Vice-President of India the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajyasabha who presides over its sittings. The first sitting was held on 13 May 1952. The Deputy Chairman of the Rajyasabha is elected from amongst its members. His role is to look after the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman.

The Rajyasabha meets in continuous sessions and is not subject to dissolution. It shares its legislative powers with the Loksabha – lower house and in case of conflicts, a joint sitting of the two houses is held. However, the Loksabha has the de facto veto power, as its members are double in number as compared to the Rajyasabha.

Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament whereas Article 102 is for the conditions on which a member of any of the houses can be disqualified. Apart from the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman, the Leader of the House is another functionary who plays important role in the efficient and smooth conduct of the business in the House. The Leader of the House in Rajyasabha is normally the Prime Minister. He coordinates all the sections of the House and the Chairman consults him for all major decisions. Also, there is a Leader of Opposition whose role is more difficult as he has to criticize, find faults and present alternative proposals/policies with no power to implement them.

The present strength of Rajya Sabha is 245, out of which 233 are representatives of the States and Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry and 12 are nominated by the President. The current Chairman of the Rajyasabha is Mohammad Hamid Ansari since 2007; Majority Leader of the House is PM Manmohan Singh since 2007 whereas the Leader of Opposition (BJP) is Arun Jaitley since 2009.

Rajya Sabha has played a constructive and valuable role in the Indian polity. Its performance in the legislative field and in influencing the Government policies has been quite pro-active. It has strengthened people’s faith in the democracy, and maintained unity and integrity of the nation.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=REINFORCING%20PEOPLE%20S%20FAITH%20IN%20DEMOCRACY:%20RAJYASABHA_492