SWARAJ Power to the people a book By Arvind Kejriwal Team Anna Member Excerpts from book SWARAJ power to the people
SWARAJ Power to the people a book By Arvind Kejriwal Team Anna Member
Excerpts from book SWARAJ power to the people
SWARAJ – power to the people is a book written by Arvind Kejriwal
The book is translated by Ravindra Shrivastav.
Excerpts from the book SWARAJ Power to the people written by Arvind Kejriwal
I was working for the income tax department earlier. At the end of the 90’s, the income tax department carried out a survey of many MNC’s. During this survey, these MNC’s were caught red handed evading income tax.
They accepted their crime and paid the entire amount without an appeal. Had these companies been in other countries, their senior executives would have been jailed.
During the survey one chief executive of an MNC threatened the income tax team by saying that their presence in the country boosted its economy; that they were here to help a poor country like India but if the income tax department continued to bother them they would pack up and leave.
His boast did not seem an idle one when he said that he had access to the parliamentarians at the centre; that he could get his bills passed and could even get personnel who bothered them transferred. The threat rang true when one of the senior officers of our team was actually transferred.
But I started to see the truth behind their talks by many incidents that happened in the last few years. I started to question the truth of their claim; “Did they really have control over our parliament?”
Are we citizens of a free country?
A few days back when I read in the newspapers about the Nuclear Civil Liability bill being presented in our parliament then all fears seemed to come true.
The bill proposes that if a foreign company sets up a nuclear facility in the country and if an accident were to occur in the said nuclear facility then the liability of the company is limited to Rs.1500 crore only.
Whenever, an accident has taken place in a nuclear facility anywhere in the world hundreds have perished and that country has suffered losses amounting to several thousand crores.
For example estimates of Chernobyl nuclear accident in Russia are pegged at Rs. 11650 thousand crores (US $235 Bln)
Here our parliament is ready to accept a meager sum of US $ 0.35 bln (Rs.1500 crore). In the Bhopal Gas leak tragedy 2000 people died and an estimated 578000 people were affected but Union Carbide, the company responsible for the same, paid a sum of Rs.2200 crore (US $ 470 million) only, that too after twenty years of litigation.
Compare this to Oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico where the Obama administration is demanding damages to the tune of US $ 40-60 bln. (Rs.1800 thousand crore-2600
thousand crore) from British Petroleum.
The best part is that there was no loss of human life in the oil spillage
What we have started to understand is that the law of the land must empower the citizens so that instead of making complaint against the theft of ration, the people themselves could punish the shop keeper.
The citizens must have direct control over the establishment where the decision of the people is implemented by the government officers and political leaders.
Can this happen? Can one hundred and twenty crore people of this country be empowered to take judicial decisions?
Citizens are the owners in a democracy.
The citizens have given the right to parliament and the government to take decisions on their behalf, for their welfare.
But the government, the parliament and the legislative assemblies have blatantly misused this right. Shamelessly and openly they have sold the citizens and their rights for Money.
CITZENS HAVE NO CONTROL
Root problem is the politics of electing our representatives once in five years who are not accountable to the people.
The elected representatives once sent to the parliament are law unto themselves.
People have no control over the same people in whom they had reposed their trust.
There is No Control over Government Employees In a village government school, if a teacher does not teach properly or decides to come late to school or prefers not to come at all , no action can be taken against him, even if a complaint is filed to this effect
In the same way when you go to the police station to lodge a complaint, the station house officer does not accept your complaint and many a times will initiate false cases against you.
You can do nothing against him except seethe with an impotent rage.
We pay taxes. You will be surprised to know that the poorest of the poor including a beggar also pays taxes.
Are you aware that every time you buy insignificant products like toothpaste, brush, cloths, copy , pencils, or a soap cake, then excise duty or sales tax is included in the price of that product.
This tax that has gone into the government coffers is our money. There are stamp duties, service taxes, custom duties and plethora of other taxes that go to government coffers.
You are the owners of this tax which has been collected by the government.
All the government officers, bureaucrats, the political leaders are actually your servants. It is tax paid by you that disburses their salary.
It is your money that provides them with bungalows.
It is your money that runs their air conditioners.
It is your money that provides them with those cars with flash lights, its petrol and their servants.
Our country has abundant reserves of minerals like, iron, bauxite, coal and etc.. These deposits were created by a natural process over a period of several thousands of years.
This is our natural wealth that is either being sold to business houses at throw away prices or being leased to these companies.
This wealth gets concentrated in the hands of few and we the owners of this wealth get nothing. The companies who have bought or leased these resources sell the minerals in international markets at super profits.
The rate at which iron ore is being mined will soon deplete the country’s resources if they have already not done so.
Goa exports large quantities of iron ore to Japan. It is said that this ore is of highest quality in the world but it has finished or will be exhausted very soon.
In the same way iron ore of Beladila in Karnataka is supposed to be one of the best in the world.
In last few years this iron ore was extracted at such an accelerated pace by the companies in connivance with the political leaders that it is said that within next twenty five years the deposits will be exhausted.
This ore is being exported to China. Many countries are sitting over their deposits of iron ore waiting for the day when the other countries, like India have exhausted theirs
It is evident that this wealth is not safe in the hands of political leaders and the government bureaucrats.
Is this Democracy?
We as citizens have no control over the governance of the country.
There is a free for all loot prevalent in the working of the government departments and we have no control over it.
We have no control over the government funds.
We have no say in the formation of the government policies.
We have no control over the process of creation of laws.
We cannot question the actions taken by the parliament or the state assemblies because we as citizens have no control.
We have no control over the sale of our own properties, over the mindless exploitation of our national wealth like minerals, forests, water and other natural resources.
The country is for sale and we citizens stand by like mute spectators, helpless but angry.
Is this the Democracy we had opted for?
Is this the democracy that gives us right only to vote that too once in five years, elect our representatives and give them free rein or run to do what suits them.
Is this the democracy we wanted where we pawn our ambitions, aspirations, national wealth and our welfare in the hands of greedy and avaricious political leaders and their equally greedy and avaricious government stooges, who do not care?
This cannot be democracy. Needless to say there is an inherent fault in the whole system. The fundamental problem is that this country does not have a democracy.
We need a democracy. The politics of voting for your representatives once in five years cannot go on.
Now the citizens of this country need to be partners in sharing the power that the government has.
The representatives who are selected by us with our votes must be answerable to us for all their acts of omission and commission.
The government servants who are paid salaries through the taxes that the government collects from us are our servants and must be accountable and subservient to us the citizens.
The decisions on what to do and what not to do should be taken by the people. Political parties, political leaders and government agencies should only implement them.
What we need is change in the way we operated for last sixty three years.
CITIZENS ARE THE MASTERS
We had adopted the model of democracy after the independence in 1947, Government by the people, of the people and for the people.
Once in five years “We the people” choose our representative from amongst ourselves and empower them to take decisions for “We the people”.
But as soon as the elected representatives are installed in the parliament, the power goes to their head and they become arrogant and autocratic.
The power that “We the people” give to the representatives for life and liberty of “We the people” is totally misused.
Decisions taken by the representatives are not for “We the people” but for “I the people”.
The basic principal of democracy is violated. Of the people, by the people is alright but FOR THE PEOPLE is missing in this matrix.
This is what needs to change.
The representatives of the people should be accountable to “We the People”. Once the vote is obtained the elected leaders are there in Parliament or Legislative assemblies for five years.
They are then not accountable to the people whom they were representing.
The leaders do what they want or what suits their interest.
The people’s power is limited to electing their representatives only.
A change must be brought about where the people take all decisions and the implementation is left in the hands of the elected representatives.
Another change that needs to be brought about is ability of the people to recall the self serving elected representatives, inept and corrupt.
If such legislation comes in force then the same representatives would bend backwards and forward in front of the people.
Need control over government servants
The right to take all decisions about the village and its organizational set up should be of the villagers.
The need is to bring about an amendment to the existing Panchayati raj and other prevailing laws where this power should be enshrined in the people of the village. The gram sabha should have the power to stop the salary of a teacher who is not coming to the school or not teaching properly.
If a Doctor does not take care of its patients then the gram Sabha should have power to stop his salary.
If a ration shop does not distribute ration properly or indulges in black market then the gram Sabha should have powers to cancel his license.
If the Station House officer of a police station does not register a report and indulges in extra constitutional methods against the people, then the gram Sabha should have powers to stop his salary, too.
LAW NEEDED FOR SELF GOVERNANCE OF VILLAGES
For people to take decisions under the aegis of gram sabhas following changes will have to be brought about in our legislation so that people will have control over their fate and their lives. They would then be responsible for their own progress. Gram Sabhas should be supreme
In the present system gram sabhas have been given very little power and the power that is given vests with the sarpanch or head of the panchayat.
This association of people on village level has no control over the actions of sarpanch.
In most of the laws enacted for gram sabhas, their role is limited to giving advice to the sarpanch. The sarpanch has the option of accepting or rejecting the advice.
Therefore, people suck up to the sarpanch.
This makes the sarpanch autocratic and corrupt.
The people of gram sabha, in absence of any power to question his actions, stand by as helpless spectators. Since they are unable to take any action, the people of gram sabhas have distanced themselves from the day to day working of the gram sabhas.
Law has not given any power to the people of gram Sabha to make amends if the sarpanch is taking wrong decisions or is indulging in corrupt practices.
The district administrator however, has the right to take action against the sarpanch.
Each district administrator has about one thousand village panchayats under him.
District administrator is located in a city far away from villages.
He has no clue to the functioning of sarpanch of a panchayat.
When villagers make complaint against the sarpanch then in most cases no action is initiated against the sarpanch because the district administrator has no time for them.
If the Sarpanch belongs to the ruling party or has affiliation with the local M.P., MLA or a leader then the administrator under their influence does not bother to initiate any inquiry. In this way no action is taken against the erring sarpanch.
Self Governance in Cities is essential too
It is defined in the constitution that Gram sabha is the common assembly of people living in a village. In spite of the fact that constitution recognizes the gram sabha yet the sabha has been vested with no power.
Under self governance we believe that Government funds, government servants, government laws, actions that go towards making laws and natural resources should come under the control of people through the gram sabhas.
Unfortunately any social set up of people living in the cities has no constitutional recognition or legal legitimacy. For this separate law will have to be drafted.
Experiment in Delhi:
This is true that Resident welfare Associations (RWA) has not been legally recognized but at many a places people have taken initiative and formed associations.
It would be worthwhile to high light the initiative in Delhi. For a long time in certain areas of East Delhi, under the initiation of SWARAJ movement, local assemblies are being organized.
The people are taking decisions in local matters of the government.
Government officials and political leaders are getting those works implemented.
This commendable work is being carried out in Trilokpuri and Sundarnagri ward of NDMC. Each ward has been divided in ten localities.
Each locality meets once in one or two months.
Control Over Municipal Corporation
We as tax payers have the right to spend our money on our own welfare.
Any RWA can forward a proposal to Municipal Corporation, for consideration or implementation of any issue related to the RWA, provided two-third of the members has voted for the same. It would be mandatory for the municipal corporation to consider such a proposal forwarded by the RWA. This proposal could be for building roads or for a park or repair of walkways or for a community centre. As long as majority vote ratifies the proposal there is nothing unconstitutional in such a proposal.
The government is spending our money indiscriminately without keeping our needs in perspective. We are demanding a change, in which we now tell the government what we want.
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How to buy the book SWARAJ Power to the people written by Arvind Kejriwal
Buy Hindi/English version Price Rs. 20/- each
Minimum order quantity 20 numbers, Rs.400.00 Cost of packing and forwarding Rs.100.00 (In India only)
Send DD to: Public Cause Research Foundation, A-119, Kaushambhi, Ghaziabad, U.P. (Phone number: 09717460029)
with your following details.
Reality views by sm –
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
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