The government is formed by the representatives elected by us. It is given powers by us through constitution and law, so that many issues we cannot handle personally are taken care of by it.
We retain all power over ourselves on all matters affecting our lives, except where the interests of others are also involved. For instance, what you read, whom you worship, where you live, what you say, the work you do, whom you marry, the number of children you have, the schools to which your child goes, the marriage of your son or daughter are all your personal and family choices, and no one has any right to interfere or dictate terms to you.
The government is not our lord and master, it is only our servant engaged for our convenience. We should keep a constant vigil over what the government does, so that it does not overstep its boundaries and cause inconvenience to us.
We must also exercise constant supervision over government's functioning so that we get the best results for our convenience, and our tax monies are properly utilized.
In order to ensure the best results under our constant care and attention, we should insist on transferring most powers to the local government as close to us as possible. Only those issues that cannot be handled by the local community or village or town should be handled by the local community or village or town should be handled by a bigger unit of mandal. Only those that cannot be handled by the mandal should go to the district…… and so on.
There is an important area which cannot be controlled by us individually, but any government even at the local level may not have as much interest or commitment in it as we have. Only those of us who have stakes in the services provided by an institution will have the knowledge, interest and patience to improve its functioning.
For example only parents of children who go to a school have stakes, and therefore interest, in its functioning. Other parents or our representatives may not care for that school at all. Similarly, only those farmers who get water for their fields are interested in maintaining a canal or a tank. The farmers who produce and sell in a market yard are the only ones who have stakes in the proper management of the market yard. Only the ration card holders are keen to see that their fair price shop functions properly. Only the citizens who need the health services of a local primary health centre know its importance in their lives.
In all such cases where the stake-holders can be clearly identified, the responsibility to manage and supervise the services should be entrusted to the stake-holders themselves. All grants and resources meant for that school or canal or market yard should be transferred to the stake-holders.
Legal mechanisms should be devised to organize stake-holders democratically, and transfer the powers, resources and control over employees dealing with those services to the elected bodies of stake-holders.
A few belated and halting efforts are being made by various governments for organizing stake-holders. Usually governments are not keen to transfer power where it belongs, the people and stake-holders. The elected representatives and public servants develop a vested interest in concentrating powers in their hands, instead of recognizing and respecting people's birth rights of self rule and sovereignty.
Please equip yourself with knowledge of the legal provisions as existing now, and the services supposed to be provided by public institutions. It is your right and duty to assert as a stake-holder.
Such assertion will be effective only if it is collective. If you need any assistance or information, please contact your local Lok Satta unit. Where there is no such unit, please form one in consultation with the Lok Satta district branch or Apex unit.
We should all launch a vigorous campaign and movement to gain control of institutions in which we have stakes as individuals and as groups.
Lok Satta is dedicated to this cause of empowerment of stake-holders as part of its movement for democratic reforms. Please join this movement and fight for your rights and your children's future.