|Posted by [email protected] on August 21, 2011 at 7:30 PM|
Memorandum to India against Corruption:
Youth 4 Democracy (Y4D) firmly believes that the country is poised for a giant leap for comprehensive reforms in the system. When on 15 August, Gandhian Anna Hazare gave a call for reforms in the system to provide succour to the ordinary citizens and declared that the Jan Lokpal Bill was not the end of the struggle for justice, Y4D was jubilant since this is what we have been saying all through.
Even after 64 years of independence, the country is groping in the dark in a bid to make public authorities more accountable. Mahatma Gandhi called it trusteeship and wanted that such holders of public offices be transparent and accountable. In the present Indian set-up, people have to run from pillar to post for getting small things done. Even an FIR is so difficult to be lodged in most parts of the country unless the complainant has enough money or is ‘well-connected’.
The system of government and administration has been hijacked by elites in business, bureaucracy and politics. Since problems in the system do not affect them, they are not bothered about the plight of the common man. The suffering masses keep waiting for deliverance.
Anna has struck the right chord with the majority of population by talking of comprehensive reforms in the system.
About the Jan Lokpal Bill, we feel that Shri Anna Hazare should beware of those who argue for dilution in the original stand on inclusion of the Prime Minister’s Office and the judiciary in the Jan Lokpal. One only needs to talk to the man on the street to understand the state of lower judiciary in the country. There have been numerous instances of inappropriate behaviour on the part of some judges in higher judiciary as well. While a lot has been spoken about the Judges’ Accountability Bill, we strongly feel that it needs to be studied vis-à-vis the Jan Lokpal Bill to figure out which is better.
Jan Lokpal with decentralised structures at district levels under different nomenclatures is the right approach. Now it is for Team Anna to hold on to the original position and persuade the parliamentarians to present the Jan Lokpal Bill and let the Standing Committee make amendments to this. For transparency of operation, it is pertinent that the deliberations of the standing committee on this issue be made public. It will help people know the stand taken by various political leaders inside the committee. It is essential to explore if the committee that will study the Jan Lokpal be made more broad-based to include representative sections of the civil society.
Anna has created hope for reforms and we salute him for that. People have come out in large numbers to pledge support to him. Now it is for Team Anna to translate this mass upsurge into a nationwide movement for positive change.
Y4D strongly believes that if reform is the agenda, those talking of it should not practice untouchability, which is also a form of corruption. Mahatma Gandhi never practiced it in public life. All those desirous of joining this movement should be welcomed with open arms irrespective of ideological differences.
In this connection we would like to refer to the movement launched by Swami Ramdev to bring back black money stashed in tax havens abroad and the other by Sri KN Govindacharya who has been talking of change in the system for delivery of justice to the poor and the needy. Anna should bring all of them under his leadership and plan a strategic war against corruption.
Y4D volunteers have courted arrest in support of Anna, volunteered for the movement when most of Team Anna leaders were arrested and mobilised youth, particularly college students in and around Delhi, in favour of the movement. We hope Team Anna will take into account the issues raised by us.
Fighting corruption is an ethical issue, and therefore the war must be waged on the political plain too. It requires the purest form of morality — be it dealing with the political parties or religious and social leaders. ‘Civil society’ should not be perceived as some persons’ propriety. It should appear to represent the entirety of society. It cannot be a cherry-picked group of persons that fails to represent India as a whole. To that end, intense reforms are needed in the attitude and conduct of Team Anna too.