Updated on February 2006
on Political Parties
Satta along with International IDEA and Lokniti, held a Dialogue
on Political parties on the 2nd and 3rd December 2005 at ASCI
Bella Vista, Hyderabad.
one was divided into a welcome session and a post lunch session.
The welcome session began with the presentation of a country
report jointly produced by Lokniti and International IDEA.
The presentation provided an overview on the functioning of
the political parties and sought to explain the mechanisms
of origins of political parties, leadership selection, their
support base, membership, candidate selection, women's representation
and their sources of funding.
post lunch tea session focused on the intricate relationship between
money, muscle power and political parties. The session also discussed
public disappointment with political parties, party leadership issues,
lack of willingness among the parties to change and enable reforms,
women's representation, and internal democracy.
participants were later divided into three groups. Each group was
assigned a topic to discuss and present the next day. Day two consisted
of presentations on the three topics namely, Political Party Structures
and Organizations, Elections and Candidates and Political and Electoral
final session involved active deliberations over the two prevalent
election systems - the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) and the Proportional
Representation (PR). While most participants were convinced that
the current election system of FPTP needed to be changed, some academics
had reservations. Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan then presented the model
of Mixed PR, which would constitute the best elements of both systems.
It is in the parties' interest to opt for an electoral system, which
eliminates dependence on marginal vote in constituencies for victory.
It is this desperation to garner the marginal vote, which compels
parties to nominate those with unaccounted money, muscle power,
and local political and caste links unrelated to public good.
political participants present placed the ball in the civil society's
court and affirmed their willingness to examine suggested changes
once the specific reform goals had been finalized and agreed upon.
here to download the Summary of the Proceedings
Administrative Reforms Commission
Second ARC spent three days in Hyderabad from 18-20 November interacting
with officials at the NPA,Government as well the general public.
Following is the summary of their interactions.
November 2005: Discussion on Collaboration on Reforms in relation
to Rule of Law and Public Order , National Police Academy,Hyderabad.
The Second ARC headed by Chairman Shri. Veerappa Moily met with
the Director, National Police Academy
(NNPA) and other NPA personnel. The discussions focused on the current
methods of police training, possible areas of improvements, creating
an approach to police reform as well as possible collaborations
with NPA to finalise a list of police reforms based on a national
consultation or workshop.
November 2005: Meeting with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Government
meeting with the Government focused on pushing for effective and
accountable local governments. While local governments in countries
such as communist China,military controlled Pakistan, are suitably
empowered and effective, the unsuitable notion of a vast nation
like India being ruled by a few centres of power was discussed.
Talks also focused on implementation of the Right to Information
Act (2005), Citizens charter, as well as establishment of
an independent ombudsman with the power to investigate,
impose penalties and remove both elected officials and other appointed
The meeting with the CM too focused on restructuring of village
panchayats to make them viable units with economies of scale. One
of the greatest challenges faced by the nation lies in restructuring
in order to suit the requirements of growing urbanization, and to
meet challenges infrastructure.
Currently there are 1.5 million habitats in rural India, each with
an average population of about 500 people. These are organized into
600,000 revenue villages and around 250,000 panchayats. In Andhra
Pradesh itself, there are 55,000 habitats, 29,000 revenue villages
and 22,000 village panchayats. These 55,000 habitats are scattered
far and wide, making it virtually impossible to provide meaningful
public service infrastructure or urban amenities to the people.
Many major states of India have been addressing
this problem in recent years by clustering several villages
and constituting bigger village panchayats.
November 2005 : Public Hearing,Jubilee Hall
The Public Hearing received 63 specific suggestions/recommendations
pertaining to the ARCs subjects, 22
Broad recommendations/suggestions (but related to ARC's subjects),
and 67 Unrelated/Extraneous/ Personal issues, etc.
The outcomes of the hearing were as follows:
was a huge response from public-spirited citizens.
While a majority of people expressed only their angst and desire
for change,a significant minority did come up with very concrete,
insightful and practical suggestions for reform.
such a participative or deliberative culture is not fostered in
our democracy,the discussions sometimes tended to be in-disciplined
and even chaotic.
because people rarely have a chance to express themselves on issues
of governance, there was a lot of unrest and anger about corruption,
mis-governance and perceived injustices suffered at the hands
of a callous administration.
is a sampling of suggestions received:
Instant compound penalty to be levied on persons who are caught
Greater financial autonomy for police stations,lesser emphasis on
the police post hierarchy, minimum
qualification should be raised,local government can be handed to
handed over civil law and order matters.
Specific Reforms for better administration:
Specialization for IAS at the state level, which can be introduced
after 15 years of field experience,Rotation of officers from focal
to non-focal posts once every three years, to
reduce the scope of corruption.
initative to spread Public Awareness
comprehensive and universal Right to Information (RTI) Act was passed
on June 15 and came into force starting October 12.
light of this development, the following activities and initiatives
were taken up by Lok Satta, Center for Good Governance (CGG), Andhra
Pradesh Press Academy (APPA) and Andhra Pradesh Union of Working
Journalists (APUWJ) in a collaborative effort:
Information as a Right for Citizens'
State-level Workshop on Right to Information
Date: July 17, 2005
Venue: Jubilee Hall, Public Gardens, Hyderabad.
workshop was conducted with the aim of improving public awareness
and evolve ways to enhance the capacity of public agencies to
provide information under the new law. In addition to the four
organizers (above), the government and public agencies were
represented by the (then) Chief Secretary of AP, Special Chief
Secretary (GoAP) while the representatives of the electronic
and print media along with members of the civil society and
other public-spirited individuals participated in the workshop.
sessions in the workshop included: (i) presentations on the
essential features of the new RTI law (ii) open and wide-ranging
discussions on the optimal ways for various government agencies
to document and provide information to the public (iii) the
role of media and civil society organizations in creating public
awareness about using RTI and (iv) future course of joint action
towards effective implementation of the RTI law.
Printed publicity material produced, distributed and displayed across
25,000 posters, 50,000 stickers, 1,00,000 leaflets, 15,000 booklets,
400 'flex' banners for hoardings and 100 CDs were prepared and prominently
displayed/shown across the state, with the aim of creating awareness
among citizens for using RTI for their benefit. The AP State Road
Transport Corporation (APSRTC) too had joined this effort and as
a result, these colourful posters are being displayed in over 20,000
buses and bus stations, serving to take the message to millions
District-wise Training Workshops:
Dates: October 15 - 23
Venues: Please see attached note
Workshops were conducted in 16 districts of AP in October where
representatives of the civil society and media participated to gain
improved understanding of the law and its provisions and also chalk
out future course of action towards creating enabling environment
for the successful utilization of this law. Government officials
too participated in the proceedings.
'Meet to evolve future course of action'
Workshop with NGOs
Date: September 24, 2005
Venue: AP Press Academy Office, Hyderabad.
workshop was organized to create synergy between the efforts of
various civil society organizations across the state.
addition to the above, Lok Satta had prepared a series of creative
public service message audiovisual capsules with the objective of
creating public awareness on RTI. These messages were adopted by
all the major cable television networks and were (and are still
being!) telecast across the state, entirely free of cost.
Downloads for the Citizens
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