Tag Criminalisation of Politics

Save the Honest Man 12

Apr29

Sometime back, there was a high decibel campaign unleashed jointly by Aircel & WWF-India called ‘Save our Tigers‘ . The glitzy campaign, replete with TV spots of M.S. Dhoni, Baichung Bhutia, Kiran Bedi et al. & large hoardings sought to highlight the plea of depleting Tiger reserves and the dwindling number of Tigers in our country. Save our Tigers Graphics continue reading »

Bribe Rate Chart 8

Jan1
Each of us have our own experiences of Corruption to share. Bribe Rate Chart is an effort to pool our common knowledge of Corruption into making a price list of corruption services through out the country. Any reader may add new information to the table and become a contributor to this collective effort. The modification will however be subject to moderation by the moderator. As per decision of the moderator the proposed addition/ change may be accepted or deleted.
Department/ Designation Service Location Rate Reference
Income Tax Refund (Manual IT Return) India up to 10% of Refund Amount @NoBribe
Police FIR – Stolen Car Noida Rs. 5,000/- @Akshay_Khanna
Police Passport Police Verification India Rs. 200 – 500/- @NoBribe
Police Passport Police Verification Bangalore Rs. 100/- msubbudu
Police Traffic Violation Bangalore Rs. 100/- msubbudu
Railways Ticket-less Travel India upto 50% of Ticket Price @NoBribe
BDO/ Mukhiya/ Gram Sevak BPL Card Bihar Rs. 5,000/- Hindustan Times – Patna, 30.04.2010
District Registrar Marriage Registration Noida Rs. 1,100/- @Naina
KEB Repairing Main line from Pole Bangalore Rs. 75/- per person msubbudu
TNEB Allocation of Transformer/ Cable to an area Tamilnadu Rs. 5,000/- TOI
TNEB 3 Phase, 50/100 Amps Meter Tamilnadu Rs. 3,000 – 5,000/- TOI
TNEB Replace burnt Meter Tamilnadu Rs. 2,000/- TOI
BSEB New Connection/ Load Enchancement Bihar Rs. 1,000 per KW @NoBribe
BSEB Removing Old Meter after disconnection Bihar Rs. 1,500/- @NoBribe
State Govt – Registrar House Registration Mumbai Rs. 5,000/- sriram

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Wings of Education 6

Dec6

Literacy rate in Bihar has consistently been the lowest in India and it has been responsible for the state being a laggard in all developmental indicators. Education in Bihar is characterised by poor quality of infrastructure, lackadaisical attitude of teachers, rampant corruption in student welfare schemes, teacher absenteeism and chronic session delays. As a result many students migrate out of the state for higher education. Migrant bihari students have even become the main stay of several private professional colleges nationwide. Anyone who has had the discomfort of traveling in Bihar during examination or interview dates, when entire trains are taken over by examinees, would also be witness to the longing and yearning of students who wish to flee the clutches of poverty on the wings of education.
New Bihar Image
Another manifestation of this hunger for education is the widely acclaimed Super 30 which is a free residential JEE coaching program for extremely poor students that has turned out 100% success rates in last two years.

When Nitish Kumar took office, mending education was one of his key priorities. To fix the prevailing teacher student ratio of 73 : 1, he plunged headlong into recruitment of 2.35 lac school teachers at one go. Such a scale of recruitment was previously unheard of. Simultaneously he also reserved 50% positions for women and decentralised recruitment down to the panchayat level. The ensuing period has been anything but smooth, with systems creaking under record 10 million applications, post offices running out of stamps, fake degree rackets being busted, charges of corruption at ‘mukhiya’ levels, court cases being filed by disgruntled candidates, protests, ‘dharnas’ et all. Yet unfazed, the government has recruited more than 2 lac school teachers in the last 4 years and is still trying to recruit many more. While it is true that quality has given way to quantity and the endemic problems of teacher absenteeism, inadequate infrastructure etc are yet to be addressed satisfactorily, the resolve and priorities of the government have shone through. Another key development has been the realisation that gender differential (large female illiteracy) is the main culprit behind the abysmally low literacy rate in the state. Hence a number of schemes specially targeted at girl students have been launched. These include a free dress scheme & a popular bicycle gift scheme for every girl student (recently extended to boys too), ‘Hunar – a vocational training program for girls from marginalised community, and a scheme to improve sanitation facilities (Poor or lack of sanitation facilities forces many girls to drop school out of shame) in schools.

The success in higher education has been more visible. Within 6 months of coming to power an MOU with BIT, Mesra (the Private Engineering College that ceded to Jharkhand during bifurcation of state), which was hanging fire for a couple of years was signed promptly. The first batch of students will pass out in 2010 from its spanking new campus with adjoining housing facility for staff and students. Its . Another two new impressive institutions were started by the state government, albeit from temporary campuses. One of them is Chanakya National Law University that provides an integrated 5 year degree course in Law. Another one is the Chandra Gupta Institute of Management that aspires to model itself on the IIMs pattern. More good news followed when IIT and NIFT started functioning from Patna in quick succession last year.

IIT Patna Gate Image

The dream project of Nitish Kumar is however the Nalanda University. He has roped in two distinguished patrons to pilot the project – Nobel laureate Amartya Sen & Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The project has also attracted funding interest from several budhist circuit countries . Once it comes to life, it will transport Bihar back to the glorious days at the dawn of civilization when it was a global center of learning. Other notable institutions that have begun operations in Bihar are Amity Business School & ICFAI Business School. Yet others in pipeline include AMU, IGNOU Regional Office, Aryabhatta Knowledge University etc. However not everything has worked out well . AIIMS type institute that was promised long ago has failed to take off. There are no other new Medical Colleges that are coming up. Even existing Medical Colleges are being threatened of de-recognition by MCI for lack of facilities. In case of Engineering & Management institutes too, the demand far outstrips supply. Also, most of the new institutions are operating from temporary premises. Soft infrastructure such as housing and entertainment for staff and students is still missing.

To put things in perspective, whereas during the earlier regime ‘Lathi Ghumawan, Tel Pilawan’ rallies ( Oil and wave the stick, ostensibly to ward off communal forces) were the order of the day and teachers & educationists were treated with scant respect, today education is the crown jewel of the government strategy to put the state back on track . The battle on the education front is far from over but at least it is moving in the right direction.

Part: 1 2 3 4 5

MP – ‘M’ for Murder, ‘P’ for Politics 0

Oct18

Note: This is the concluding part of the three part series on Next Generation Electoral Reforms (other two –   Intership for MPs & MLAs , Inner Party Democracy) .

Indian Electoral System today is at a point of inflection. What started in early ’90s as a  lone struggle by a maverick (T. N. Seshan) to cleanse the cesspool of Indian Elections, has now transformed into a well oiled election machinery that has won acclaims for the  successful conduct of several difficult electoral battles. Indian Elections are unique because of the number of people that vote, the varied geography it covers as well as the specter of violence that hangs around them. The real game changer has been the speedy roll out of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). From trial runs to all EVM Elections, they have even caught the fancy of the world community.  The somewhat checkered implementation of the Voter ID Cards, and the mandatory affidavits by candidates have  also contributed to the credibility of Indian Elections.  But where do we go from here?

To be sure, there are still problems galore. There is the problem of increased Naxalite insurgency and the violence inflicted by them during elections. Beside that the role of money power too has come in for sharp focus. Around 300 present MPs are known to be Crorepatis, giving rise to the feeling that in near future, being a millionaire might become a pre-requisite for the job.  However the most serious problem of them all is the twin issue of increasing Criminalisation of Politics and the lack of good people joining politics.  Both these are essentially two sides of the same coin.

Criminals in Indian Politics

For our democracy to enter the next level of maturity, we need to usher in a new generation of Electoral Reforms. It is customary in the election season to run campaigns for increased voter turnout. There have been other ideas that have come to fore such as public funding of Elections, option to reject all candidates, provisions for recall of candidates etc. However many of these ideas can only take us thus far. Increased voter turnout will only have an impact if there is a wide choice of good candidates and detailed information about their performance is available. Even though public funding is being touted as a solution to the rising influence of money power, it may end up becoming up another channel for large scale waste of public money.

The problem of the criminalisation of politics needs to be tackled head on. We have for too long, dithered on the premise that any law to debar under trial criminals before they are finally convicted by the highest court, will open the door for falsely implicating innocent persons and will be against the laws of natural justice . However such arguments have become fallacious after more and more MPs & MLAs are being convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape & sedition. We need to bite the bullet now and make the law applicable to criminals convicted of serious crimes by any court of law. Once convicted they should not be allowed to contest even if their appeal is pending in a higher court, till the time their conviction is annulled by a competent court. Besides this ‘Fast Courts’ should be mandatory in case of MPs & MLAs being accused.

The problems facing our nation are serious and the rapid degeneration in the quality of our MPs and MLAs will reverse whatever progress we have made in the past decades. An intense debate on Next Generation Electoral Reforms is the need of the hour and the denizens of Social Media Network should take a lead in this direction. These discussions will hopefully throw up some ideas that will help shape a new dawn.