Lok Satta Junction

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Archive for March 2010

JP on Telangana – videos

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Written by jujung

March 13, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Posted in Agenda, Andhra pradesh, Ideas

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Proposed changes in women’s Reservations Bill

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Source: Loksatta news

Welcoming the UPA Government move to introduce a Bill in Parliament to provide for reservations to women in legislative bodies, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today suggested that the flaws in the Bill be removed if it were to be meaningful.

Talking to the media, Dr. JP pointed out that the Bill proposes reservation of one-third seats for women and the rotation of such reserved seats once in every general election.  As a result, two-thirds of incumbents will be forcibly unseated in every general election. When male incumbents are forced out, they field their womenfolk as proxies and hinder development of natural leadership.

“Such compulsory unseating violates the very principle of democratic representation and jeopardizes the possibility of any legislator choosing a constituency and nursing it. When legislators do not have the incentive to seek re-election from the same constituency, politics will become more predatory and unaccountable.  The Bill in its present form is silent about women’s representation in the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils. In addition, the Bill warrants a constitutional amendment.”

Studying all these, the Lok Satta had as early as 1998 presented an alternative for consideration by all political parties.  It calls for an amendment to the Representation of the People Act making it mandatory for every recognized political party to field women candidates in one-third of constituencies. To prevent a party from nominating women candidates only in States or constituencies where the party’s chances of winning are weak, the Bill proposes that each party should consider the State as a unit for fielding women candidates in elections to the Lok Sabha.  In other words, a party has to field one-third of women candidates in every State.  A party’s failure to field the requisite number of women entails a penalty.  For the shortfall of every woman candidate, the party cannot field male candidates in two constituencies.

The Lok Satta Bill proposes that for reservation of seats for women in a State Assembly, the unit shall be a cluster of three contiguous Lok Sabha constituencies. The Election Commission had endorsed the Lok Satta Bill, Dr. JP said.

Dr, JP said that the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act should be amended to provide for reservation of one-third of seats to women in the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils.

Dr. JP pointed out that political parties denied party ticket to women claiming their chances of winning an election were remote. Results in election after election have demonstrated that voters have no prejudice against women.

Written by jujung

March 13, 2010 at 8:17 AM

Liberalize the railways, demands Dr. JP

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Source: Loksatta news

The Indian railway system continues to be in a crisis since it has kept the winds of liberalization at bay, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said here today.  When Delhi let go its stranglehold on airports and sea ports and permitted States to promote them, the country has witnessed a dramatic growth in the two sectors.

Commenting on the railway budget presented by Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Dr. JP said the railways’ failure to be the lifeline of the economy has resulted in the road sector overtaking the railways in goods movement.  The railways which once carried 80 percent of the cargo now handled only 20 percent. Neither the NDA Government nor the UPA Government has taken cognizance of the enormous losses the nation is put to because of road transport.  Road traffic resulted in regular accidents and huge loss of life, involved huge expenditure, warranted fuel imports, caused pollution and wear and tear of roads.

Dr. JP also suggested that each zonal railway be given total autonomy and treated as an independent profit center.  The South Central Railway earned a daily profit of Rs.5 crore while the Eastern Railway incurred a daily loss of Rs.6 crore.  For want of autonomy, the SC Railway has not been able to address the pressing needs of people in the region whereas thanks to political patronage the Eastern Railway continued to bag many projects.

Dr. JP welcomed the Railway Minister’s proposal to encourage railway development under the public-private partnership mode since there is no alternative.  A white paper published by the Railways has estimated that it has to invest Rs.14 lakh crore in the next 10 years on construction of new lines, acquisition of rolling stock etc. There is no way in which the railways can raise such resources and become the country’s lifeline.

For instance, the 13 projects under construction in Andhra Pradesh call for an investment of Rs.3600 crore, not to talk of the new lines proposed in the current budget.  The budget allocated a total of Rs.4300 crore for the entire country for construction of 1000 km of lines in the coming financial year.  At this rate, completion of the projects already taken up will take a decade or two.

Dr. JP disclosed that Andhra Pradesh accounted for 5500 km of the total 36000 km of railway lines already surveyed but there is no prospect of the lines materializing in the near future.  An autonomous SC Railway, for instance, could complete them in a few years because it can raise loans to match its Rs.2000 crore annual profit.

The Lok Satta leader also took exception to the Railway Minister’s attempt to placate all States by allocating nominal amounts to one project or the other in each of them.  Saying that bad politics drives away good economics, he said that the Carriage Repair Workshop at Tirupati could be developed into a coach manufacturing plant with a few hundred crores of investment.  Instead, the Railway Minister proposed construction of a new plant in West Bengal at a cost of a few thousands of crores of rupees.

Again, the Union Railway Minister sought to please MPs by introducing a large number of passenger train services unmindful of the huge losses in running them. The railways should focus on long-distance travel with express services and leave short distance travel to the road sector.

Dr. JP said it was a fact that Andhra Pradesh had received a better deal than in the past.  Yet, without a paradigm change in the working of the railways, the country could not progress.

Written by jujung

March 13, 2010 at 7:30 AM