Translate

Monday, July 21, 2014

What PM should have in I-Day address

Does every rapist not have parents? Does every rapist not have a teacher? Don't rapists have a family and close friends? Then? Where is the mind of a rapist coming from? Where is it getting formed? Home? School? College? Neighbourhood? TV? Item songs? Mobile technology?
So, where do we begin the prevention of such a mindset before the systems respond, which being - police, crisis centres, forensics, law, courts, prosecution, witnesses and prisons and more.
India needs a mindset revolution at the people's level first, alongside all other institutions. This social revolution to be electric and magnetic will have to be led by no other than one person and position - MrNarendra Modi, the Prime Minister's Office. Because when PM speaks, country listens. When the PMO coordinates the government is synergised. 

The beginning of this revolution could be from the ramparts of Red Fort, in the PM's first Independence Day message to the nation when the entire country will be glued to their televisions, listening.So, where do we begin the prevention of such a mindset before the systems respond, which being - police, crisis centres, forensics, law, courts, prosecution, witnesses and prisons and more.

India needs a mindset revolution at the people's level first, alongside all other institutions. This social revolution to be electric and magnetic will have to be led by no other than one person and position - MrNarendra Modi, the Prime Minister's Office. Because when PM speaks, country listens. When the PMO coordinates the government is synergised.
We cannot lose this national day. In view of the gravity of the situation concerning repeated incidents of brutal rapes and atrocities concerning women. We are being internationally condemned in this regard. Therefore this is an open letter to our Prime Minister to please consider the following in his Independence Day message; with a similar request to state CMs to follow the spirit.
Here are the messages required for this social revolution. Beginning with:
1. All parents - To take responsibility for the children they give birth to. They must instil a sense of responsibility in their sons and courage in their daughters equally. Responsible behaviour respects all. It can never commit rapes! They must ensure that homes are safe havens where no crime against a woman takes place. Parents have to take responsibility to be the first teachers of their children.
2. Message for school teachers - Their role is not only to make students pass the class courses and get marks but ensure they learn value-based life skills, which ensures civility in their behaviour towards all. Persons groomed in civil behaviour do not commit rapes! They are sensitive to others dignity.
3. To people at large - If they see a woman in distress, in their neighbourhood, in their community, or in a public place, they must respond, intervene and not walk away as is the case today. It's about responsible citizenship.
4. To his own political fraternity - To be respectful. They cannot afford to say anything, which brings down the respect towards women. No casual remark, which causes disrespect, be tolerated. They instead need to take charge of their respective constituencies, go house to house to drive the change. Like they went house to house with folded hands to get votes! And hold corner meeting to fast track the social revolution.
5. To tell the cops - That no government will tolerate their callous or unprofessional response to any complaint of crime against a woman. They must not accept any interference in the process of investigation. They must also be diagnostic and inform people of what is causing such crimes for people and all other stakeholders to do correction.
6. To the district administration - To ensure the panchayats do not demean women's position. On any grounds of caste or creed. They need to mount vigil in their respective villages through community policing.
7. For his own government - That it will ensure speedy justice! On all counts.
The PM could assure country men and women that he will lead the social revolution and will set up a task force to oversee it and report directly to him. He will review the situation every three months and do all that it takes to change mindset that hereafter no one will tolerate violation of a women's dignity.
Last but not the least. The PM could urge the media to exercise self-regulation and self-restraint in projecting women in a manner, which is derogatory to the dignity of women! Finally, it's all about self-regulation and mutual responsibility.
In brief, we are talking of a 6P comprehensive plan of crime prevention. It's people, politicians, police, prosecution, prisons and press. Once this revolution is announced by the Prime Minister on August 15 from the ramparts of Red Fort, it will assume a whole new dimension of seriousness. Perhaps override all the misstatements made so far by several politicians, which haunt us repeatedly!
Prime Minister Modi, by giving a call for respect and safety of women and turning it into a social revolution, will be correcting historical and cultural infirmities, which have seeped into our mindsets! And in our DNA. It will not change in one year - it may require all his term and more. But the decline will have got checked and hope revived!
Honourable Prime Minister Sir, what purpose will a strong economy and skills development serve in a country where half of its population feels insecure? And lacks basic security infrastructure?  India owes it to itself. India owes it to the world community!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Action plan to fight drug menace -Punjab (Hindi )

यह सबसे बड़ी चुनौतियों में से एक के साथ अपनी सरकार सौदे की मदद करने के लिए आप को एक खुला पत्र है  पंजाब युवा जीवन के हजारों बर्बाद कर दिया है जो नशीली दवाओं के दुरुपयोग और अवैध व्यापार,: आज चेहरे. माना जा रहा है के रूप में वास्तव में, यह युवाओं की एक पीढ़ी हो सकता है. मैं पुलिस भर्ती काफी युवा पुरुषों को भर्ती करने में विफल रही है कि सूचित कर रहा हूँ. वे! अर्हता प्राप्त करने में विफल रहे हैं सिर्फ दो दिन पहले, मैं दवा की समस्या से, मेरे गृह राज्य पंजाब में सेवा और बचाने के लिए अपने प्रस्ताव ट्वीट. मैं अपने अनुभव का उपयोग किया जा सकता है पर क्यों कारणों बाहर सूचीबद्ध. मेरे tweets कई भी उनकी सेवाओं के स्वयं सेवा के साथ काफी ध्यान आकर्षित किया. कुछ मैं आप को लिखने का सुझाव दिया. इसलिए, यहां फाइलों में खो नहीं मिलेगा जो एक खुले पत्र है.
ट्रिगर
नशीले पदार्थों की तस्करी, खपत और रोकथाम के क्षेत्र में मेरा सीखों मादक पदार्थों के सेवन के प्रबंधन के लिए समग्र योजना का हिस्सा हैं. क्या आप का समर्थन करने के लिए इस भावना ट्रिगर अगले तीन महीनों में पंजाब भर में उपचार क्लीनिक की स्थापना की अपनी घोषणा से आया है. इस इलाज से पहले और बाद समर्थन के साथ संवर्धित किया जा करने की आवश्यकता है क्योंकि मुझे राहत मिली और एक ही समय में चिंतित छोड़ दिया.
यह दृढ़ता से दवाओं की आपूर्ति के साथ ही पुनर्वास उपचार के बाद जाँच का मतलब है. मैं मादक पदार्थों के सेवन, उपचार और 35 साल की कानून प्रवर्तन के क्षेत्र में मेरा अनुभव उपलब्ध बनाने का फैसला यही कारण है. कार्रवाई के संभावित योजना के रूप में इस खुले पत्र का इलाज करें.
सक्रिय पुलिस सेवा में, मेरे एनजीओ बुलाया जबकि Navjyoti इंडिया फाउंडेशन 1986-2012 नशीली दवाओं के दुरुपयोग उपचार केन्द्रों भाग गया. हम पंजाब से कई नशेड़ी के हजारों, इलाज किया. हम अनुभव से सीखते हैं और लागत में कटौती और सफलता दर को बढ़ा सकते हैं.
महत्वपूर्ण परिवार का समर्थन
नशामुक्ति कार्यक्रम परिवार के समर्थन पर निर्भर करता है. परिवार दौरान और देखभाल के बाद संबद्ध किया गया है. हम उन्हें शामिल करना कैसे महत्वपूर्ण है. Navjyoti में, हम देखभाल के बाद संभाल करने के लिए परिवारों को एक साथ लाया है कि सक्षम समूहों का गठन किया था. नशेड़ी का इलाज मात्र अस्पताल देखभाल नहीं है. हम स्वैच्छिक सहायता समूहों को शामिल करने की जरूरत है. सरकार इसे लेकिन वे मदद करता है में विशेषज्ञों रहे हैं में योगदान करने के लिए नागरिक समाज समूहों को शामिल करना होगा कि क्या करना चाहिए.
अनुभव के निर्माण
हम जगह में इन प्रशिक्षण की योजना डाल की आवश्यकता होगी. हम पुस्तिकाओं और साझा किया जा सकता है कि प्रक्रिया है. ऐसे डॉक्टरों, सलाहकारों, प्रबंधकों, स्वयंसेवकों और परिवार सहायता समूहों के रूप में विशेषज्ञों का नाम भी साझा किया जा सकता है. हम अनुभवी संसाधनों पर बनाने के बजाय एक खरोंच से शुरू करने और लड़खड़ाना कर सकते हैं. दवाओं के लिए मांग को कम करने के लिए बर्बाद करने के लिए समय नहीं है. हम भी राज्य के भीतर संसाधनों में नल चाहिए.
कानून प्रवर्तन
मैं साझा कर सकते हैं कि एक बड़ी सीखने की कानून प्रवर्तन के अपने अनुभव पर आधारित है.मैं दिल्ली में जिला पुलिस प्रमुख, नारकोटिक्स कंट्रोल ब्यूरो और डीआईजी के उप निदेशक (मिजोरम सीमा), भारत और म्यांमार सीमा पार से जहां तस्करी के रूप में विभिन्न पदों पर प्रभावी अपराध नियंत्रण उपायों के माध्यम से दवा नगण्य, दुरुपयोग और अवैध व्यापार की काफी अपराधों कम बाद में महानिरीक्षक, तिहाड़ के रूप में एक चुनौती है, और था. इसलिए, मैं, आपूर्ति में कमी सुनिश्चित करने के लिए एक योजना तैयार करने के लिए चार्ट कानून लागू करने वाली एजेंसियों की मदद कर सकते हैं. लेकिन यह अच्छा समन्वय की मांग.
घनिष्ठ समन्वय
केवल आपूर्ति में कटौती के बिना कमी और खोलने नशा मुक्ति क्लीनिक मांग सभी प्रयासों उठा देना होगा. इसलिए, आपूर्ति में कमी के इलाज या मांग में कमी के साथ हाथ में हाथ जाना चाहिए. असली चुनौती दवाओं की तस्करी की जा रही है, जहां से स्थानीय पुलिस थाना क्षेत्रों की जवाबदेही होगी. संदिग्ध अतीत के रिकॉर्ड और स्थानीय खुफिया के साथ लोगों को यह सुनिश्चित करना होगा. निर्वाचित प्रतिनिधियों के सहयोग से स्वतंत्र रूप से और भी काम महत्वपूर्ण रखता है. काफी योगदान दे सकते हैं, जो सरकारी एजेंसियों सीमा शुल्क, सीमा पुलिस, नारकोटिक्स कंट्रोल ब्यूरो और जमीन पर पहचाना जा सकता है जो दूसरों रहे हैं.
दवा मुक्त जेलों
इसके अलावा, मेरे जेल प्रबंधन के अनुभव के आधार पर, हम भी वहाँ उचित नशीली दवाओं के दुरुपयोग उपचार केन्द्रों की आवश्यकता होगी. अपराध और मादक पदार्थों के सेवन दृढ़ता से अंतर से संबंधित है, इसलिए हम मांग और आपूर्ति पर दबाव है, एक बार, जेल आबादी कूद जाएगा. इसलिए, हम नशा इलाज और बरामद स्वास्थ्य में रिहा हो इतना है कि वहां की व्यवस्था करना है. हम अपने जेलों दवा मुक्त कर रहे हैं यह सुनिश्चित करना चाहिए.
मैं दवाओं और घरेलू हिंसा के क्षेत्र में मेरी डॉक्टरेट किया था और महिलाओं को घर पर नशा के प्रधानमंत्री शिकार हैं कि पाया. माताओं और पत्नियों दवाओं को खरीदने के लिए पैसे के लिए नरम लक्ष्य कर रहे हैं. Navjyoti 20,000 से अधिक नशेड़ी इलाज किया. हमारी सफलता हम नागरिक समाज, गांव प्रधान, युवा और दवा रोकथाम को बढ़ावा देने के लिए शिक्षकों को शामिल किया गया, जहां सामुदायिक पुलिस और अपराध की रोकथाम का एक उत्पाद था.

मेरा अनुभव बड़ा अच्छा के लिए है और मैं पंजाब वापस अच्छे स्वास्थ्य के लिए प्राप्त करना चाहते हैं. मैं इसे मुझे दिया है कि सभी के लिए आभार के रूप में, बदले में अपने गृह राज्य के लिए कुछ देना चाहता हूँ.

Action plan to fight drug menace -Punjab

Respected chief minister Parkash Singh Badal,

This is an open letter to you to help your government deal with one of the biggest challenges Punjabfaces today: drug abuse and trafficking, which has ruined thousands of young lives. In fact, it may be a generation of youth as is being perceived. I am informed that police recruitment is failing to enroll enough young men. They are failing to qualify!Just two days ago, I tweeted my offer to serve and save my home state, Punjab, from the drug problem. I listed out the reasons on why my experience could be of use. My tweets drew considerable attention with many volunteering their services too. Some suggested I write to you. Hence, here is an open letter which will not get lost in the files.
The trigger
My learnings in the field of drug trafficking, consumption and prevention are part of the holistic plan for drug abuse management. What triggered this feeling to support you came from your announcement of setting up treatment clinics across Punjab in the next three months. This left me relieved and worried at the same time because treatment requires to be augmented with support before and after.
This means firmly checking the supply of drugs as well as rehabilitation after treatment. This is why I decided to make my experience available in the field of drug abuse, treatment and law enforcement of 35 years. Please treat this open letter as a possible plan of action.
While in active police service, my NGO called Navjyoti India Foundation ran drug abuse treatment centres from 1986 to 2012. We treated thousands of addicts, several from Punjab. We can learn from experience and cut costs and increase the success rate.
Family support vital
The de-addiction programme depends on family support. The family has to be associated during and after care. How we involve them is vital. At Navjyoti, we had formed capable groups that brought families together to handle after care. The treatment of addicts is not mere hospital care. We need to involve voluntary support groups. The government must do what it must but involving civil society groups to contribute in what they are experts in helps.
Build on experience
We will need to put these training plans in place. We have manuals and processes that can be shared. The names of experts such as doctors, counsellors, managers, volunteers and family support groups can also be shared. We can build on experienced resources rather than starting from a scratch and falter. There is no time to waste to reduce the demand for drugs. We must tap in resources within the state too.
Law enforcement
A major learning that I can share is based on my experience of law enforcement. I reduced considerable crimes of drug peddling, abuse and trafficking through effective crime control measures in various capacities as the district police chief in Delhi, deputy director of the Narcotics Control Bureau and DIG (Mizoram range), where smuggling from across the Indo-Myanmar border was a challenge, and later as inspector general, Tihar. I can, therefore, help law enforcers to chart out a plan to ensure supply reduction. But this demands good coordination.
Close coordination
Only demand reduction and opening de-addiction clinics without supply cut will nullify all efforts. Hence, supply reduction must go hand in hand with treatment or demand reduction. The real challenge will be accountability of the local police station areas from where drugs are being smuggled. Persons with dubious past records and local intelligence will have to be ensured. Working independently and also in cooperation with elected representatives holds the key. Government agencies who can considerably contribute are the Customs, border police, Narcotics Control Bureau and others which can be identified on the ground.
Drug-free prisons
Additionally, based on my prison management experience, we will need proper drug abuse treatment centres there too. Because crime and drug abuse is strongly inter-related, once we mount pressure on demand and supply, the prison population will jump. Hence, we have to make arrangements there so that addicts get treated and released in recovered health. We must ensure our prisons are drug-free.
I did my doctorate in the field of drugs and domestic violence and found that women are prime victims of addicts at home. Mothers and wives are soft targets for money to buy drugs. Navjyoti treated more than 20,000 addicts. Our success was a product of community policing and crime prevention where we involved civil society, village pradhans, youth and teachers to promote drug prevention.

My experience is for the larger good and I want Punjab to get back to good health. I want to give my home state something in return, as gratitude for all that it has given me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

An actionable agenda for police reforms

On June 9, the President addressed both Houses of Parliament after the recent elections to the 16th Lok Sabha. In his address, he declared zero tolerance for violence against women saying the government was committed to strengthening the criminal justice system. Later in the address, the President committed his government to reforming the criminal justice system so that dispensation of justice became simpler, quicker and more effective.
Following the presidential address, an interdisciplinary group got together to propose reforms to police and criminal justice. It has prepared an 11-point agenda for the Central and state governments and the Indian citizens. The agenda is meant to be actionable as well as a starting point for a national discussion.
1. Repeal the 1861 Police Act and replace it with the updated Model Police Act of 2006 drafted by the Soli Sorabjee Committee.
2. Address burning issues pertaining to the constabulary, especially issues of recruitment, health and training.
3. Implement the Supreme Court judgment of 2006 delivered by the then Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal.
4. Strengthen police stations, especially their capability, capacity and liveability.
5. Embrace technology and ensure time-bound implementation of Crime Criminal Tracking Network System as well as pending schemes such as the one pertaining to creating a database of all missing children.
6. Adopt integrated citizen information systems such as text messaging, social media and police community radio stations, allocating the police two national frequencies -one for states and one for the central agencies.
7. Legislate charter and give statutory basis to all investigation and intelligence services such as the CBI, IB and RAW that are deemed to be on a weak legal footing.
8. Conduct an annual audit of our police systems both by the comptroller and auditor general and academic institutions such as law, technology and management schools besides universities.
9. Involve panchayats in policing by expanding the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme to incorporate security duties at the village level and student cadet service in urban areas. Furthermore, panchayats must record any migration from or to the village as well as report potential human trafficking.
10. Start CCTV surveillance on all national highways with centralised command and control systems.
11. Reform criminal justice through formation of an Indian Judicial Service with civil and criminal tracks, a national prosecution service with the same two tracks and the provision that one prosecutor handles a case from start to finish. Implement time-bound processes for court procedures and bring about transparency and accountability.
BRITISH LEGACY
The British designed the police to be an instrument of oppression. Unlike their indigenous policing systems that had close ties with the community, the police in India was the handmaiden of the heaven-born Indian Civil Service (ICS), forerunners to the modern Indian Administrative Service.
The job of the ICS was revenue maximisation for the British Empire with as little expenditure on the police. The native constabulary was treated horrendously, starved of resources and expected to live off the land. The gora sahib might have left in 1947 but his system lives on.
MURDER, RAPE AND NO RECOURSE
The imperial system of policing in India is no longer working. The Bureau of Police Research and Development found in 2012 that barely 1.64% of the police budget is spent on training our constables. The population per policeman is supposed to be 568, but it is 761, making India a policing nightmare because of the extreme paucity of policemen, the pathetic quality of their training and the perverse deployment of scarce resources to provide security to a large population.
In many parts of the country, the proverbial constable Ram Lal is writing the general diary, carrying out investigation, breaking up dharnas, providing security for VIP visits and doing whatever the district administration wants. Ram Lal often does not have resources to do patrolling.
They might be operating out of a police station in a crumbling building with inhuman sanitary conditions. They operate by raising resources from the local population and their senior figures judge them as per the crime figures they report. It is little wonder then that registering a first information report is almost impossible. Even if Ram Lal were to do a superhuman job and finish an odd investigation, there is no lawyer to press the prosecution in court. The courts themselves take decades to hear arguments. In summary, the system of the gora sahib is broken.
TIME FOR ACTION
Following the Presidential address, seven of us sat down together the very next day and penned down the ElevenPoint Agenda that we are sharing with the country. A lot of what we say has been said by the Supreme Court and numerous commissions. Now is the time for action.
First, we propose repealing of the Indian Police Act of 1861. A committee led by noted jurist Soli Sorabjee has drafted the Model Police Act of 2006 that is progressive, democratic and accountable.
Chapter 13 of the proposed Act deals with police accountability and Chapter 2 sets term limits for police officers. It has a number of decent provisions and we could start with updating and adopting this as our new police act.
Second, we propose to focus on our constabulary, the proverbial Ram Lals. They are our own people and do a brutal job. We have to ensure that we recruit them properly, train them well and keep them healthy if we want a semblance of rule of law. Third, we suggest that both central and state governments adopt the 1996 landmark judgment delivered by the then Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal.
We propose other commonsense measures such as using technology to connect with citizens, whether it is radio or text messages. We believe it is high time our Parliament drafted laws defining the charter and giving clear statutory basis to institutions such as the IB, RAW and CBI. We want panchayats involved and annual audits of policing.
Finally, we want an Indian Judicial Service and a national prosecution service that expedite cases in efficient and transparent courts. As the adage goes, justice delayed is justice denied. So, let us get started and inaugurate an era of justice or a nyayaraj in our ancient civilisation.

(Kiran Bedi is the first woman IPS officer, Atul Singh is an Oxford scholar and an ex-IAS officer, and Rishi Rai and Manu Sharma are technology entrepreneurs. Views expressed their personal)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How to tackle Punjab’s drug menace

I have been hearing and reading with great concern about the problem of drug trafficking and drug abuse in Punjab. As per ground reports, it certainly has assumed very serious proportions, to the extent that it is destroying a generation of youth of Punjab known for physical prowess and stamina. India today needs all of its youth to contribute to nation-building.
First, the focus must be to reduce demand and cut off supplies. To do this we must begin with the local politician, which includes the municipal councillor and the village heads. They are closest to the ground. They must delink themselves any seller or supplier, and have to be prime educators.
Let me share with you most humbly some practical ideas on how we diminished the problem of drug sale and abuse in one of my postings in Delhi Police. The strategy is simple and comprehensive. We must begin with the existing resources, with a commitment to considering the drug abuse as an epidemic. The plan requires a team-leadership that is accountable and transparent. With this system in place, the Punjab situation can improve in the next two to three years.
To reduce the drug demand, there have to be more responsible parents and teachers who ensure no students drop out of schools; and community leaders who are looked up to for guidance. They must collectively mobilise resources for setting up holistic treatment centres.
Local politicians also need to create skill-training programmes which generate employment in their respective areas, encourage sports and various other creative activities.
Second, politicians must not interfere with law-enforcement authorities to ensure effective interdiction both on supply and demand side. Police must enforce the law effectively, firmly and fairly as this is their primary responsibility. Through systems of community policing, the police can be assisted on information on traffickers and addicts. They need strong support of social and health departments to open and run treatment centres.
Abusing drugs even for personal consumption is an offence, though under certain conditions. Such as those indulging in violent behaviour, which almost all do, must be jailed and treated inside the jail for reasons of restraint.
Prisons too have to be drug-free with treatment centres. Addicts must be released only conditionally, which is, to remain drug-free with regular reporting to the treatment centres. Courts must be moved for forfeiture of sureties in cases of breach of bail conditions.
A database must be kept of all traffickers and abusers, for law to be applied on them unsparingly. This will send a clear message to all that drug crime will not pay.
In the ’90s, we faced a similar sort of situation in Delhi and did not let anyone worth his salt interfere in police work. We booked them if they made a bad recommendation, thus neutralised them.
Police must work in close cooperation with the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Border Security Force, the Customs and other intelligence agencies. For this, the state police leadership or bureaucracy is vital. Coordination ensures success. The local administration like the district magistrates and superintendents of police are important hubs for local coalitions.
As a crime-prevention measure we used to track addicts, either arrested them in preventive sections of law or under drug offences or sent them for treatment on need basis. Actually, for the first time we in Delhi Police opened our own treatment centres to meet the demand. It worked. This was the rehabilitative role of community policing.
Crime prevention cannot be without the support of community. For this we created border groups and worked with local bodies on a regular basis. We also opened toll-free phone lines to inform us of sale or consumption. This sent the scare.
The judiciary too has a vital role in expediting drug cases and punish stringently. Delayed trials make drug cases ‘rewarding’ as by then substantial money has been made. Drug money must not be seen to be ‘enriching’.
Under the law, properties can be attached. Regular update in law training is essential for enforcers too. We kept track of all drug trials. And ensured we keep past criminals and addicts under local watch. If they slipped, we went back to court to cancel their bails, which meant stiffer penalties.
The problem is of our own creation, thanks to weakening of governance and breakdown of social systems. Public representatives must take the lead, with unsparing and impartial police, caring parents and strict teachers, responsible community participation, and expeditious judiciary. All must work in tandem.

We made this happen, and succeeded. This plan is based on not mere recall, but duly documented. And it was a major reason recorded in my Ramon Magsaysay Award citation in 1994. Where there’s a will, there is a way — not a cliché, it’s true!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

मतदान न करना जिम्मेदारी से भागने जैसा


Our vote will decide quality of governance

India is world's largest democracy with 81 crore voters, of which 10 crore are first-timers. The right to vote comes to us every five years to elect our Parliament and state assemblies. We also elect our municipal councillors and panchayats. It is this one vote collectively counted that brings into power a group of people who then govern us for five years.

None of them can be recalled once elected for there is no provision in our Constitution to do so. We as voters have only been recently given the right to 'No Vote' if we do not like any candidate. But even that does not amount to recalling the elected candidate.
Sacred responsibilityHence, voting is our sacred responsibility for the quality of governance of the village, district, state and the country. How have we exercised this power in the past over 60 years? Did we consider it as a conscientious duty which must be performed with a sense of full responsibility?
Voting is not compulsory in our country unlike in some other countries such as Australia. But it is our duty as a citizen.
In the past, in some key metropolitan cities, the voting percentage was even less than 50%. This is negation of one's responsibility as a citizen. If one does that, one has no right to complain about bad governance. Hence, let us commit that this time no one will miss this sacred duty.
Once at the polling station, we need vote for the future of the country rising above narrow interests. We should know full well who are we voting for and why. Is it in national interest or we are having a personal and narrow view?
Party credentials
Both the candidate and party are important. Also, by whom is the party led? Who all does the party comprise? What is their spread and organisational strength? What is their past record? What are their policies, manifestos and declarations, their capability and capacity, their vision and intention?
This is everyone's duty that cannot be delegated. There was once a king who one day asked all his court persons to bring a glass of milk each and pour it in a big pitcher placed in the centre of the courtyard. People thought how did it matter if they did not bring in milk because their water would get mixed with the others' milk. Little did they realise that many others were thinking on similar lines. So when the king saw the pitcher, it had only water. Moral of the story: do your duty and don't expect others to do what you are supposed to.
This is what many of us voters did in the past thinking what if I didn't vote, others would. Or if I voted with a sense of irresponsibility, it wouldn't matter for I would have the right to claim good governance anyway for others would vote with responsibility. It won't happen this time.
Each vote is a responsibility for voting for good governance, which ensures longevity, sustainability and right policies, which are in the best interest of the country, giving people a sense of security, enhancing prestige and power of the nation, getting out of debt traps, balanced budgets, inclusive growth, generating employment, increasing infrastructure, ensuring health care, education and skills for all and more. Most of all ensuring our hard-earned money is not wasted or stolen.
For this each of us has to cast our vote with a full sense of responsibility. It's a vote for our future and the future of our children. We all love our children. And we love their motherland, which is ours too.

Friday, March 07, 2014

"Water is women's power ", how she gets it is her challenge


This Women's Day (March 8), we will have varied issues to celebrate. Women empowerment, though, remains a vital issue.
Exactly two weeks on, we will be celebrating the World Water Day ([/owa/]March 22). Have we ever thought that providing access to clean drinking water and improving inadequate sanitation facilities are some important issues for women's empowerment?
Women and girls continue to be affected by the lack of access to water and sanitation facilities. They bear the primary responsibility for collection of water, especially in rural communities. They walk miles, carry heavy burden and wait for hours to fulfil their need of water for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning, animal husbandry etc. This is time not spent in income-generation activities or girls attending school. Therefore, there is loss of opportunity in availing education, skills and knowledge outside their traditional roles. This contributes to their weaker economic status.
Inadequate sanitationWomen also suffer from lack of adequate sanitation facilties. This impinges not just on their health but also on 'dignity' and 'safety'. In our villages, there are schools that have toilets but girls come back home during lunch as there is no water in these. Non-availability of clean water at child-birth has often resulted in child and maternal mortality.
Access to clean and nearby sources of water, thus, empowers women to become self-reliant, save their future, take care of their families and help improve the country's economy. Jal Shakti (Water Power) is the basis of Nari Shakti (Women Empowerment).
This premise is what marked Navjyoti India Foundation's celebrations to mark Women's Day, as part of its rural development program.
More than 250 women from 40 villages of Sohna Block, district Gurgaon, assembled at Navjyoti's Naya Gaon campus and conducted 'Pani Panchyat' (a water council). The agenda was to prepare their action plan, be ready for the monsoon and empower themselves.
Pani Police: Women's water literacy initiative "Imagine that your children go to school without bathing everyday and they take shower only once a month," asked Rahul Gupta, head of the rural development programme, of the women. Another scenario was given, "What if we assemble here in five years and all smell filthy as we did not have water to bathe."
The women laughed, initially.
Yet another example was quoted, "Today the rate of gold is Rs. 30,000 per few grams, what if one bottle of water costs Rs. 15,000 in 2020?" Immediately, a woman responded "Sona nahi, pani chahiye (…we do not need gold but need water). By this time, the women had realised the value of water is more than gold.
One of the women said that 25,000 litres of water was being wasted everyday in their village as the taps leak profusely, when electricity comes in i.e. approximately 90 lakh litres of water in an year goes unused. They calculated that if the cost of 1 litre of bottle is Rs. 15, they were wasting Rs. 3.75 lakh every day. The women decided to form 'Pani Police' (water police) and start a helpline number. Anyone can call on the number, if they notice wastage of water, whether during construction of houses, or because of taps running at homes. The women will together visit that area and start Bhakti, i.e. sing spiritual songs. Twenty five women leaders were elected by them who would lead the initiative of Pani Policeand also generate awareness through distribution of handbills.
Women brainstormThe women brainstormed and exchanged the good practices being implemented at their homes. An action plan emerged, ranging from water awareness programmes, optimal utilisation of water, reuse of water for plants and mopping, rooftop harvesting at home and saving every drop of water. They were taught to prepare their land ready for rainwater harvesting, so that the underground water was recharged.
The women pledged that they will not let drought come in Gurgaon, which is heading towards one in years ahead!
Hope for future generationsAll NGOs must take such initiatives to mobilise women to come together and address their specific needs for water and sanitation. Women have the strength and courage to transform their families and communities. Banks can provide special loans to women encourage roof-top harvesting and construction of toilets. Special loans for women, at easier rates, can be provided. The government has schemes targeting water, but these officers must tie-up with local NGOs and participate for effective implementation. Schemes such as MGNREGA can be linked with construction of check-dams and other watershed management projects. Projects on water can be successful and sustainable only if women are actively involved to voice concerns and help themselves. These concerted efforts can take us a step closer to end the water crisis and provide hope for future generations. Providing water for women will result in improved literacy level among them, better health facilities, and improved socio-economic opportunity.
Soon after the event I recall tweeting, "What we did in Navjyoti is the primary work of local government officials. However, they neither work on Sundays nor do they bring people together on other days."
Women power is enhanced by right to water! The challenge is how does she get it?

International Women's Celebrations on Gender Equality, Equal Opportunity and Women Empowerment.

Invited to speak at British Council on International Women's Celebrations  on Gender Equality, Equal Opportunity and Women Empowerment. 
Here are my thoughts as they came. 

First and foremost:
Indian women basically are hugely handicapped in the following ways! In gender equality, equal opportunity and empowerment. 
1----The way they are groomed. 
It's highly unequal. And that is when the seeds of insecurity and inequality are sown in the minds of young girls. ( I am not talking of the privileged girls who had parents like mine, rich or not, educated or not, rural or urban)  
India's patriarchal society limits the role of a man. He is groomed to be the provider and get served! And the girl to grow up to be a dependent service provider with or without love! 
2---The media projection of women has reinforced a weak image in the minds of people. Woman , weak, attractive, alluring for entertainment. The item songs are devastating. Sadly they are money spinners for singers as well as producers! But highly damaging for weak minds. 
3---on expectations.---Are different from men and different from women. Men as providers and women as primary care givers! This perception is still the same! 
4---our culture---all our rituals, ceremonies, religious practices have women as receivers! Not givers! 
5---opportunities---are highly unequal between sons and daughters. By which the girl gets left far behind. 
6---our governance is highly opaque! It's also too crowded. One needs muscle power to get its service.  Also suffers from lack of coordination. 
7----our politicians ---themselves need to be protected from. They come from old mindsets. 
8----absence of security  systems. The widow, the old, the sick, the lonely. She is once agains dependent on her son and daughter in law!
9----
The country has a budget for the marginalized. Has corpus, the laws, policies, announcements, helplines, scholarships----but not the mindset! Which is the key! 
Unless we have a near revolution of change of mindset beginning with homes, schools, and governance Indian woman will be still decades away from holistic empowerment. 
** wish to say there are very many exceptions to my perceptions. And may their tribe increase! And good new is it is. But the scale of the population in need of change is 1.2 billion only! And counting! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

5 CAN NOTS' and 5 CANS' for -More governance, less government


More 'Governance and less Government' has been integral part of Mr Narendra Modi’s public statements.   
Every time I hear this, it makes me think how will/can he ensure what he truly wants? (If he gets to be in that position nationally) Where does he begin from? Is it possible without few essential corrections? What are those basics without which he can-not achieve which he wants to?
 In other words what are the 'can-not’s which he can-not carry along, if he has to make the breakthroughs.
Similarly what are the 'cans’ which Mr Modi as a Prime Minister can/must do, to provide more governance?
These are my select five thought-through-thoughts in both the categories--the ‘can-not’s and the ‘cans’
First the 'can-not’s to provide, “more Governance and less Government”--

1) More Governance can-not begin without the elected members of parliament observe a 365 days of code of conduct. This means re-writing of the oath of office as MPs. They do not only take an oath of secrecy and allegiance to India’s constitution but also of a solemn pledge to ensure Lok Sabha does not become a ‘Lock’-Sabha and the Rajya Sabha not a ‘Rage’- Sabha. This means elected representatives set the right example of civility and decorum in parliament proceedings. Members may oppose if they need to, but without obstruction and destruction; without pepper sprays, tearing papers, pulling out mikes or indulging in unruly behaviour.
Unless the elected political class sets the right example of good governance how will they be able command moral authority, respect and trust to get citizens participation for good governance? Will Mr Modi be able to make some breakthrough in this?

2) There cannot be maximum governance with minimum government without right-bright-upright officers in the right places. And the critical positions to begin with are: cabinet secretary which overseas union secretaries and providing the critical link between prime minister's office, rest of the secretaries, at the centre and even the states. Other key positions being chief secretaries, director generals of police and the revenue commissioners! These officers’ cannot but be the best. That is if the goals of good governance have to be achieved.

3) Mr Modi (and PM in position, if wants to) can-not keep transferring saved or borrowed moneys into leaking buckets without plugging holes. This is reference to several social welfare schemes, which are money guzzlers, doled out with an eye on vote banks.

4) He can-not ignore nearly 2 Crore government employees across the country, which are the real governance to the last mile, for the poorest of the poor in the remotest corner of the country.

5) Mr Modi also can-not govern systems with 19 century mind-set, with 20 century government processes for meeting 21 century needs.
Now from these 5 challenges of can-not, I wish to share the 5 can-s which Mr Modi can ensure.
a) With the backing of his party and right minded people he can put in place systems which enable identifying right officers for postings, transfers and promotion for key positions as mentioned, such as cabinet secretary, chief secretaries, director generals of police and revenue commissioners. By chief secretaries effective coordination is ensured: with capable police chiefs, law and order is made possible, and with revenue officials, enough revenue is generated for moneys available for equitable development.
b) Mr Modi can create policies to involve education and research institutes to objectively evaluate performance of government schemes and or government department’s performance at no- cost to the exchequer. This ensures transparency, accountability through objective analysis and regular feedback, along with practical learning for students as part of their project writing.
c) All contracts above a certain amount can be on site to ensure a level playing field for business and entrepreneurial community. This will restore faith in government, while providing good governance. Most of all it will restore integrity.
d) Cooling off period for all civil servants including the judiciary for at least two years will ensure some insulation from temptations of immediate post retirement appointments. It will also enable assimilation in normal public life devoid of official trappings. This will generate re-sensitisation, essential before re-engagement with government in power.
e) Retrain and align the 2crore public servants towards citizen charter and grievance redressal issues through greater use of technology and easy access to helplines with assured timelines. This is a must for sensitive governance. Or how else will the country as a whole feel the change. Retraining, constant sensitisation of public servants can be integrated in the governance systems itself. “Old tools do not create new carvings”. They will need to be kept updated and relevant.

Mr Narendra Modi may like to remember what William Gladstone, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, four separate times said; it is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong.                                 It is the duty of governance to make it easy for people to do right.