We need answers from the government? Why are the public misled on unrealistic, election promises?

November 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

Appeasement of minorities, caste & social blocs

The nature of Indian politics is such that appeasement is universal across parties, although at varying degrees. Appeasement of religious groups, castes, social segments are different in scale but the idea remains the same. Capture votes by satisfying the needs & wants of particular sub group.

The BJP projects itself as a champion of women’s rights by introducing Muslim Women’s Bill 2017, which was a progressive gesture but done arbitrarily to divert the attention away from other points of national interest such as the financial emergency. Was it a surgical strike performed on minorities to fool the majority?

Another example being the internal custom of the Dawoodi Bohras which is being played out in the media & which is causing divisions between men and women of the community. Muslims are divided socially to create disunity amongst them. Sunni Muslims are projected as the enemies of Shias & other groups such as Kutchis, Dawoodis & Bohras. What is this but not the repeatof divide and rule as practiced by the British. Tipu Jayanthi should have been a simple celebration to honour a warrior who fought against imperial forces. Today, it is an issue that is creating huge rifts in several parts of Karnataka.

During the last assembly elections in Karnataka, a farm loan waiver scheme was proposed by the Janata Dal (S) to appease farmers in the state; a sizeable segment of population. Whereas the previous government waived a total of ₹8000 crores, the current government has promised to waive close to ₹32,000 crores of farm loans. This is a mindless freebie to farmers which effectively states that your loans will be taken care of as long as you vote us into power. But funds these populist schemes and what is the message we are driving across. Whereas the world over, governments are encouraging innovative farming practices, guaranteed support prices, state of the art storage facilities and logistics, we are still playing catch up through such schemes. Would the capital better put to use through such innovative measures rather than stop gap solutions? Does this not hurt the progressiveness of the farming community? Will this encourage default rates in the future, with farmers keen to exploit their economic & social status?

In India hunger, meaningful employment, lack of education & medical facilities has become a slogan for the poor. Unless these issues are resolved, what is the justification for the huge salaries being paid to government officers and elected representatives? While corruption exists everywhere, the poor are marginalized and only leveraged as vote banks during the time of the elections. Prior to 1970, every election was fought on the promise of realistic, social change not on a cocktail of appeasement and bombast. Are we really that unfortunate to live in such times? Or do we just pack our bags and head for a holiday during Election Day?

The Helping Citizen is actively involved in the discouragement of freebies during elections & appeasement of certain segments of the society. In this regard we have started innovative farming techniques & the disbursal of basic healthcare kits & medicines. Our program is completely self funded and we have seven dedicated trucks that carry our material and medicines to every part of India. Our sole aim is to show officials and politicians that imaginative practices & simple tools can help the poor become self sufficient. Only when self sufficiency is achieved will the children of the poor have aspirations and with the right support framework these aspirations can be translated into reality.

(This article is a personal viewpoint of Mr. Alam Pasha, Founder: The Helping Citizen and People’s Court. As published on Sanjevani evening publication)

Money & Muscle power in Karnataka politics: How did it come to this?

October 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

An early hub for Public Sector Enterprises, the cradle of Indian banking, a pioneer in education, research & technology, the driver of Indian IT & Biotechnology industries and a frontrunner in social justice & affirmative action. These are but few sobriquets that are bestowed upon the state of Karnataka. The erstwhile Mysore kingdom, ruled by progressive rulers who enjoyed far greater autonomy from the British compared to other Indian states help lay the foundation of the modern state which post independence were served by able, judicious & qualified administrators.    

Since the year 2004, we have faced the rule of coalition politics. The current dispensation being the latest one, where the JD(S) with a mere 36 seats out of 225 is the leading partner in a coalition with Congress; traditionally a very strong political outfit in the history of Karnataka. Prior to the coalition, the BJP candidate served as CM for 3 days during which he failed to prove his majority. (An earlier stint of 7 days in year 2007 ended with him toppled from government due to the actions of the present CM).

The current cabinet comprises of 68 MLA’s who have criminal cases with 35 of them with serious charges. More than 90% of MLA’s across all parties are crorepatis with the top 5 MLA’s in terms of wealth belonging to the Congress party.

The cabinet comprises of 26 ministers with the CM leading the way with both criminal & serious criminal charges which includes forgery, cheating, criminal breach of trust & corruption in mining & property acquisition. The CM currently handles a portfolio of 8 ministries while his relatives & close confidants allotted a further 9 ministries. The CM’s brother & close relatives hold key portfolios like transport, PWD and higher education. The list of Congress ministers is no different. The minister of Medical Education & Major and Medium irrigation is a well known national figure with interests in mining & realty, facing serious allegations of criminal conspiracy & destruction of evidence.  

As citizens we trust our leaders to make the right decisions in the interest of their people. However, with an arrangement like the one in Karnataka, where the third best party is leading the government there are bound to be ineffective people who are put in positions of power.

The minister of higher education has not completed matriculation nor has he held any position of power or influence in the field. How do we expect him to perform his duties independently without outside influence?  The food & civil supplies minister is an 8th standard pass with serious charges of criminal negligence & endangering the lives of the public. Can we really expect him to discharge his functions judiciously in a key & critical ministry?

A 12th standard pass was our IT & BT minister in the last cabinet of ministers, currently the gentleman heads the social welfare ministry with his prime qualification for both the posts being that he is a son of a popular leader of national stature. Has the minister ever led a social agitation, was he ever a part of a research think tank or did he conduct ground breaking work for the progress of the disadvantaged sections

Similarly, our current minister for IT & BT is a 12th standard pass with a successful career in businesses such as real estate, but will he ever come up with path breaking initiatives in Information Technology. 

And what other options do we have. The leader of the opposition spent time in jail on serious charges of corruption & land embezzlement. A good number of elected number from BJP faces serious charges that are on par with the charges faced by the Congress & JD(S) MLA’s. Do the citizens have a choice or more importantly do they care?

16th Lok Sabha: State of the performance of Karnataka MP’s

October 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

We send elected representatives to parliament to put forth the needs of the citizens & bring attention to issues of priority. The Member of Parliament is the most powerful voice of the constituents & the office of the M.P. is a key instrument in the democratic process. In Karnataka we have 28 Lok Sabha MP’s & 12 Rajya Sabha MP’s to work for the welfare of the constituents. A sum ₹5 crore is allotted to these members to recommend improvements in civic welfare in their respective constituencies every year.

Thanks to the pioneering work conducted by organizations like ADR & PRS India & access to electronic communications enabled by technology, citizens can now track the performance of their elected representatives. 9 Lok Sabha MP’s of Karnataka have criminal cases against them with 4 of these representatives with serious criminal cases. 50% of these MP’s have declared assets over ₹5 crore. Amongst the Rajya Sabha members from Karnataka, the minimum value of the declared assets in ₹1 crore with 2 members having criminal cases declared against them.        

Now withstanding questions of education, wealth & criminal record, we analyzed the performance of our MP’s in parliament in both the houses for the State of Karnataka. In terms of attendance; a basic indicator of performance 6 Lok Sabha Members have an attendance percentage of less than 60%, considering the houses of Parliament function for less than 9 months a year. In the Rajya Sabha it gets much worse. 4 members from Karnataka have an attendance of less than 30%.

Some of the numbers reflected against our candidates is embarrassing. 6 Members of Parliament have never taken part in a debate throughout the tenure. 7 of them have never raised a question. Interestingly, the MP’s from Mandya, Shivamogga & Bellary who have low attendance & performance rates in comparison with others saw it fit to contest assembly elections of Karnataka 2018 with the winners having to vacate the Lok Sabha seat which leads to a by election where the winning candidate has less than 6 months to work.

Our MP’s are also allocated a sum of ₹5 crore every year for recommendation of works that are executed by the district administration. Against an entitlement of ₹700 crore allotted for the state of Karnataka in the 16th Lok Sabha the members have sought fit to recommend an amount of ₹500 crore of which ₹438 crore was released by the district authorities with percentage of utilization over spend coming to 79.27%.

Amongst the bigger states, only Rajasthan has a lower percentage than Karnataka with the national average being 85.35%. Just to put things in perspective, Gujarat with 26 MP’s & Madhya Pradesh with 29 MP’s have ₹485 crore & ₹592 crore released by the Government of India over the same period. Historically, Karnataka has recorded a 92% utilization of released funds which only indicates the further gap in performance of our MP’s.  

Interestingly, in Karnataka it is well established that candidates with wealth & criminal charges have a higher chance of winning elections. Such candidates deliver weak performance & spend less on their constituencies compared to candidates who are not wealthy & have no criminal cases against them.

As the 2019 General Elections draw near it is the duty of every citizen to ask themselves; what has been the performance of our elected representatives? How much time have they spent in dealing with matters of priority? How well have they allocated works towards core issues like provision of drinking water, betterment of educational facilities & the upgrading and improvement of civic infrastructure?