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Power Sector-People's Initiative (1999-ongoing)

Consumer Organisation for Regulation of Electricity (CORE) of LOK SATTA has been working since January'1999 on resolving the crisis in electricity sector. Distinguished experts, jurists and activists including N Tata Rao, Justice A.Laxmana Rao, Justice Reddappa Reddy, TL Shankar, SR Vijayakar, K Balarama Reddy, Capt. J Ramarao, MHPRao, KP Rao and Jayaprakash Narayan prepared a people's charter after careful study and intensive debate. The charter focuses largely on reduction of T&D losses, transparency, and fairness in power purchase agreements with private projects, and a transparent, competitive and efficient management of distribution sector. This charter has influenced public discourse in AP, and is now the basis of evaluation of power sector reform. LOK SATTA's proposal for micro privatization of power distribution is accepted by the state government and the distribution companies have already initiated the process of privatization at the sub-station level. In the meantime LOK SATTA has embarked on setting up four pilot projects in East and West Godavari, Guntur and Krishna Districts to demonstrate how distribution systems can be made more efficient and consumer friendly with a single point responsibility of a franchisee, working in tandem with LOK SATTA volunteers and the consumers of the area, particularly, the farmers.

LOK SATTA has emerged as one of the most authoritative voices on power sector reforms in the country.

Elimination of short delivery at petrol pumps across A.P. (1999)

Short delivery and adulteration of petrol are very common across the country, as a result of which the loss to the public in Andhra Pradesh alone is to the tune of Rs. one crore a day, or over Rs. 300 crores an year. Adulteration is slightly more difficult to detect , but short delivery is something which can be arrested very easily. LOK SATTA has taken this up as a campaign across the state. In October 1998, we mobilized hundreds of volunteers, informed the media, the concerned government departments and publicized this drive through a variety of channels. The technique we employed is very simple - our volunteers went to every petrol pump with a pre calibrated measure and compared it with the meter reading at the pump. As a result of our publicity and concerted action, the state department of weights and measures took it upon itself to fix the meters at all the 1500 petrol pumps across the state. LOK SATTA activists now check meters at petrol stations sporadically all across the state. Today we can confidently claim that as a result of our work, short delivery is arrested at most of the pumps across the state, resulting in a saving of almost Rs.1000 crores in the past 3 years. This improvement is now sustainable, and can be replicated all over the country.

Empowerment of Local Governments (1999-ongoing)

Decentralization and empowerment of local governments is one of LOK SATTA's primary goals. LOK SATTA has declared the year 2003 as the year of local governments and launched a "Little Republics" campaign in Andhra Pradesh, calling for genuine decentralization and transfer of funds, functions and functionaries as per constitutional provisions to the local governments. LOK SATTA helped launch India's first Federation for local governments' empowerment involving all elected local government leaders cutting across four barriers: urban-local; male-female; parties; and hierarchies (tiers of local governments). Functionaries from all parties and all regions participated in it. Instead of being a trade union of elected representatives, the people of AP are involved to make it a people's movement for empowerment of local governments.

Political Funding Reform

LOK SATTA was one of the first organizations in the country to articulate the need for a comprehensive legislation on political funding reform. LOK SATTA has effectively lobbied with the government and major political parties for political funding reform. A reasonably good legislation is pending in the Parliament which has several positive features including tax exemptions for political funding, compulsory disclosure, indirect public funding etc. This law was enacted in September 2003, heralding a major development in the evolution of Indian democracy.



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