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SUPPORT ACTIVITIES......

F. Support Activities

In order to carry out the proposed activities, several support services are needed on a continuous basis. The following support services, some of which are already in place on a modest scale, are proposed.

1. Media
2. Publications
3. Internet and Web site
4. Research and documentation for day-to-day advocacy
5. Meetings/public interaction
6. Training of Volunteers
7. Demonstration campaigns

1. Media

FDR believes that radio and television are the most effective means of communication and campaign in modern era. The spectacular advances in communications technology and the ever-increasing spread of private cable television make it an accessible mode for disseminating public broadcasting messages. A media cell has been started on a modest scale for harnessing electronic media for mobilizing public opinion. A team guided by experienced film makers is attempting to develop the following broadcasting capsules.

a) various public services and Citizen’s Charters
b) various aspects of voter awareness and Election Watch
c) local governance reforms advocated
d) messages on larger democratic reforms
e) messages seeking citizens’ participation and people’s initiatives for better governance.

Budgeting for these broadcasting capsules is difficult, as there is no fixed cost of production. Estimates indicated have taken into account substantial voluntary support in the form of infrastructure and skills and time of professionals. A qualified media person who is on the payrolls of FDR is coordinating the effort. It is proposed to develop visual and audio public broadcasting messages and persuade radio and the government and private channels to disseminate them.

2. Publications

Several publications have been released by FDR in English and Telugu. The capacity to translate complex concepts and data into simple, easily understood messages, and make them available to ordinary citizens is one of the strong points of FDR/Lok Satta movement. Several pamphlets and brochures also have been released. It is proposed that similar work will continue in the next few years on a larger scale. In addition, the discussion papers produced after research and documentation effort will be published and circulated for debate widely.

The Indian Republic — Collapse and Rejuvenation: A discussion paper; an analysis of  contemporary Indian state (55 pages)

Harnessing People's Power for the Rejuvenation of our Republic- A Discussion Paper published in English and Telugu is an analysis of the current Indian state including suggested reforms and a proposed structure for building a people’s movement. The discussion paper has generated considerable debate in Andhra Pradesh, and to some extent in the voluntary sector throughout the country. (122 pages)

Lok Satta - A Call for Second Freedom Struggle: Brochures in Telugu and English giving a brief outline of the philosophy, goals and activities of    Lok Satta

Janabalam: Lok Satta monthly newsletter published in Telugu (Circulation:2000) 

Swarajya - People's Charter (in Telugu and English) -A comprehensive guide on various public services ranging from birth certificate and ration card to driving license and passport – essentially meant for spreading precise knowledge which leads to informed and collective assertion for better public services. (195 pages)

Election Watch 1999 (in Telugu) -A manual for volunteers and citizens on various Election Watch activities to promote voter awareness, improve the quality of election and bring pressure on the political parties and the state to initiate party and electoral reforms

Political Parties and Indian Democracy – delivered as Narla Memorial Endowment Lecture. An incisive analysis of our political parties and their role in Indian democracy (60 pages)

Newsletter

A newsletter ‘Janabalam’ ( in Telugu ) has been registered and is being published every month. It is proposed to publish two newsletters – in English and Telugu — and enlarge the circulation for constant and effective communication and to help in network building.

3. Internet and Web site

A Web site (http//www.fdri.org) has been designed and installed. Constant updating and regular dialogue through internet are necessary for easy, economical, rapid and effective communication and to build a global network.

4. Research and Documentation

R & D effort is necessary for day-to-day advocacy and developing material for reform campaign. The in-house R&D will be used for the purpose.

5. Meetings/public interaction

Public Interactions

  • About a 1000 public meetings and interactive sessions through out the State of Andhra Pradesh with a participation of  about 500,000 people.  Meetings and public discourse on the existing governance structure; the causes for the present breakdown; the need for reforms; the reforms needed to reverse the present breakdown; and their applicability in day-to-day life.
  • Meetings, conferences, seminars in a non-partisan manner to advocate specific democratic reforms – involving political parties, opinion makers and enlightened citizens. Interaction with political parties on a sustained basis
  • Sustained and purposive interaction with the State government
  • Campaign through newspapers and television on a sustained basis on the need for reforms – a popular weekly newspaper column, answers to readers’ questions, broadcasting capsules and a talk show on local television – reaching out to about 5 to 7 million – mostly literate population.

Building consensus among overseas Indians

  • Foundation for Democratic Reforms in India (FDRI) has been registered to mobilize opinion of overseas Indians.
  • Initial efforts are underway to focus overseas research on Indian governance reforms Series of meetings with overseas Indians in the U.S to promote 
  • Awareness and build consensus on governance reforms in India.
  • Early contacts were made with a few think tanks and scholars.

6. Training of Volunteers

FDR has started off with conducting a "Train the Trainers" programme in Hyderabad, during which key volunteers from various districts were given detailed instruction on the training programme. The trainers in turn conducted training camps in their respective districts. So far about 10,000 volunteers had been trained and a majority of them responded to our advertisements in the local media. We have distributed the "Swarajya (People’s Charter)" and "Election Watch Manual" to all the volunteers and familiarised them with the contents of the books. The volunteers also received detailed instruction on the procedures to be followed for various activities that include demonstration campaigns like checking adulteration of petrol, revision of Electoral rolls, conducting debates on common platforms, distributing "Know your candidate" forms etc. The volunteers were also trained to answer the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about the electoral process , tendered voting procedure etc.

We are in the process of imparting training to another 20,000 volunteers across the state by the end of December.

7. Demonstration campaigns

Checking malpractices in gas stations

In the last week of September, 1998 Lok Satta carried a unique campaign through out the state against the adulteration petrol. The demonstration campaign intended not only to expose malpractices of petrol bunk owners but also educate consumers of their nights and duties. The campaign is carried through people watch groups and concerned citizens. Owning to our advocacy, the state weights and measurers departmental has corrected the meters and has taken up monitoring of over 1500 petrol stations across the state and as a result tampering of meters and short delivery has come down drastically.

Signature Campaign for Swarajya goals

Lok Satta carried a signature campaign in January, 1999 through out the state in support of Swarajya goals, on 23rd January, Vavilala Gopala Krishnaiah - veteran freedom led a silent procession form Ravindra Bharati to Governors residence consisting of volunteers, intellectuals and eminent citizens and submitted the same to governor of Andhra Pradesh.

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