#India – Website to help SC/ST students #mustshare


 

RANCHI: To create awareness among SC/ST and OBC students about ongoing scholarship schemes in all the states, as well the Centre, a website (www.scstscholarships.com) was launched by the Aryan group of colleges in the state.

According to the website’s developers, around Rs 6,500 crore is disbursed annually by the Union government to all the states that gets diverted due to lack of awareness the students.

Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman of the Aryan group, said, “The objective behind launching the website is to make the students know about their rights. Due to lack of understanding about the schemes many students fail to avail the benefits of these scholarships.”

He added that there are more than 6 lakh SC/ST students in Bihar and Jharkhand who are ignorant about these government schemes and are not getting their benefits owing to which the funds lapse.

Scholarships are to fund higher studies after Class X. Several of the scholarships come in also for students who want to study abroad.

Kataria said former IPS officer and Team Anna member Kiran Bedi was associated with the Aryan Group of Colleges and she came up with the idea to start this kind of a website that will help students about the schemes.

 

India – Government needs to make amendments to law public


Make amendments to law public, says Aruna Roy

Rahi Gaikwad

Aruna Roy

Aruna Roy

Terming the right to information a fundamental function in democracy, Aruna Roy, RTI pioneer and social activist, who recently quit the National Advisory Council, said here on Sunday that on the last day of her term, NAC had sent a suggestion to the Prime Minister for making public changes in laws.

“If any amendment is made to the new laws and regulations, it should be put in the public domain for scrutiny, before it goes for drafting. The draft law should be put up on the website,” Ms. Roy said. She was delivering the Pradhan Jwala Prasad memorial lecture on “The Challenge of Transparency and Accountability in Indian Democracy.”

Critical of middle class cynicism, Ms. Roy warned against such a “defeatist” attitude. She said the landmark right to information law was born from the distress of the poor. She stressed engaging with the government. In her first term at NAC, important legislation related to forest rights, domestic violence and employment guarantee were brought into force.

Ms. Roy said her departure from NAC had been “sensationalised” in the media.

“I was not against anybody. I only said that there were two thought processes in the country — one that believed that market growth would solve all problems and the other that advocated socialistic measures.”

The Indian government was highly averse to participatory decision-making, she said.

Raising concerns over the harassment faced by information-seekers, Ms. Roy said asking questions had become difficult.

“What is the price of asking a question in this country? IAS and IPS officers can’t ask questions. Students can’t ask questions and these days even journalists can’t. We have been suppressed for long … Those who are asking questions on sensitive issues, like the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, are called extremists and Maoists. They are harassed and killed,” she said.

About 30 lakh people in India were asking questions under the RTI, but it had cost the lives of 30 people, from all sections of society, including engineers, intellectuals, and farmers. They paid with their lives because “they had the audacity to ask questions.” Earlier in the day, Ms. Roy attended a meeting of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, where she met RTI activists in Bihar and learnt about the threat and intimidation they faced.

Ms. Roy questioned the Unique Identification project for being ambiguous on the issue of privacy.

 

#India – Why were 103 women sterilised and left to die in a family planning camp #Vaw


 

On February 5, 2013 a mega female Minilap Ligation operation camp was held at Manikchak Rural Hospital (RH) of district of Malda, in West Bengal. On this particular day 103 women were sterilised. It was reported in the local media that the women who were sterilised in this camp were kept on the open ground (hospital campus premises) in semi conscious state, and their relatives were asked to take them back home immediately after the operation. This was highlighted in the media (NDTV and other news channels) as gross human rights violation and later enquires were conducted by the state health department and the national human rights commission. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to West Bengal’s Principal Secretary Health West Bengal and the Malda district magistrate, taking cognizance of an NDTV report that showed how nearly a hundred women were dumped unconscious.

Civil Society Fact-Finding: There was strong opposition to this from civil society groups as it is felt that despite government guidelines on quality assurance and standard procedures to be followed in camp settings are not being followed and implemented properly. This is a summary of this fact-finding exercise.

On April 6, 2013, an independent fact finding was conducted by a team comprising of public health experts, health and women’s rights activists and members of networks including Heath Watch Forum, Bihar; Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population Policies and Human Rights Law Network (HRLN). National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR) supported the team by sharing the ethical guidelines and checklists for case documentation. The team members are working actively on issues related to reproductive health and rights and are engaged in post ICPD processes in India. Dr. Prabir Chatterjee, RCH Raiganj, West Bengal; Praveer Peterfrom HRLN, New Delhi; Kanti from Smokus local NGO Raiganj, Leena Uppal from Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population Policies, New Delhi; Devika Biswas from Health Watch Forum, Bihar (also filed the PIL in Supreme Court earlier in 2012 about 53 women who were sterilised in a government school in Araria district of Bihar) formed the team.

The main aim of the fact-finding was to systematically document whether the standards specified in different guidelines (a) ‘Quality Assurance Manual for Sterilisation Services, 2006′, (b) ‘Standard Operating Procedures for sterilisation services in camps, 2008′ (c) ‘Standards for Female and Male Sterilisation Services, 2008′ were adhered to during this camp and assess whether the providers are maintaining standards of care as specified in the service guidelines.

Villages Visited: The team visited six villages in Malda district from where women had come for the operation.  Villages included Niranjanpur, Nawada Maheshpur, Fakirtola, Gopaltola, Bagditola and Najiruddinpur. Women who had undergone operations on February 5, 2013 and their families were interviewed. Meetings and interviews with the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Block Medical Officer of Health (BMOH) of Malda district, five ANMs and four ASHAs were also conducted.

Key Findings: The fact-finding report describes the concerns and challenges faced by the women and their relatives, who underwent operations in the camp. It also throws light on the lack of basic minimum standards adhered by officials in the camp.   

One of the key finding was the fact that the standard camp protocols of the GOI were not followed. Infection control practices were inadequate. Though the GOI guidelines emphasise maintenance of prevention of infection, however the health care providers are unable to monitor or maintain records of infection control mechanisms followed at such family planning camps, given the large number of operations that that they conduct in a single day.

A total of nine women were interviewed. All women interviewed reported that they were not provided options for informed choice at the camp. All the women and their families voiced an environment of utter confusion and chaos at the camp. Women reported pain and minor complications after the operations, lack of complete knowledge about the operation procedure, consent being only in terms of thumb impressions and out of pocket expenditures during and after the operations.

A quick analysis of number and sex of children of all the women interviewed clearly showed a high preference for male child. Most of these women reported that they have been waiting for at-least one son before they go in for permanent sterilisation.  

Discussion: Women, who have undergone inhuman treatment where their dignity and rights have been denied, must be provided some form of redressal. The Family Planning Insurance Scheme which includes provisions for compensation to women who face failures and complications (and death) should be expanded to include humiliation of this nature. The Department of Family Welfare must also audit and ensure strict compliance of the quality assurance mechanisms it has already issued. The state government urgently needs to put the grievance redressal system/complaint box in place and ensure that such negligence is not repeated and the underlying deficits are addressed effectively.

It is hoped that the analysis from fact-finding will be of use to the larger community concerned with the experiences of women who have used family planning services and who are going to use them in future. It is also hoped that these findings will be deemed as relevant by the district officials at Malda, West Bengal who have been a part of this fact-finding process. 

We request you to share this summary widely and to urge your governments to stand up for women’s rights including their right to control their own bodies, fertility and sexuality!

Download Fact Finding Report

 

Narendra Modi claims he inaugurated India’s First Yoga University #Fekuexpose


FeKu-Expose

Narendra Modi the Liar, proved beyond Doubt.

and Media never verifies his claims

Narendra Modi, yoga and a new university for Gujarat

Reported by Rohit Bhan, Edited by Janaki Fernandes | Updated: May 24, 2013 10:10 IST

 

PLAYClick to Expand & Play

? Ahmedabad, May 23: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday regretted that successive governments at the Centre neglected the importance of yoga, which is gaining prominence in the world. “Yoga was intentionally neglected by Britishers while they were ruling the country as they feared that through yoga India will become powerful in the world,” Modi said inaugurating the Lakulish Yoga University. “But even after Independence, we didn’t come out of the slave mentality and continue to ignore the importance of yoga. And sometimes by equating yoga with communalism, we inflicted a great damage on us,” Modi said. Lakulish Yoga University, established by Life Mission Trust of Gujarat, is claimed to be the first ever such private sector self-financed institution in the country. Modi, while citing Sanskrit ‘shlokas’, stressed the importance of yoga and how it can play a vital and decisive role in the lives of people. “Today, every human being in the world is confused, unhappy and is seeking inner peace. He does not need materialistic wealth but needs peace and only yoga taught by a professional, an exponent or a complete teacher can facilitate this peace,” he said. “People across the globe are curious about yoga and it would have been better if successive governments of our country had included yoga as a path to reach the whole world. Then India would have got a great opportunity to connect with the entire world,” Modi said. “I hope and wish that this Lakulish University, inspired by one of the authority in yoga of our time, Swami Rajrshi Muni, will generate expert yoga teachers which in turn will spread it (yoga) in the world,” Modi added. Addressing the gathering, varsity founder Swami Rjarshi Muni said there would not be just one medium of teaching in the institution. “No matter which language they (students) speak, here we will impart education in their preferred languages. We have yoga teachers from every part of the world,” he said. The university will award degrees for the three-year courses. The state government had earlier enacted a law for creation of a Yoga university in the state.

ALL ABOVE IS A LIE 

There are many Universities of Yoga in India The Bihar Yoga University is an internationally acclaimed school of Yoga founded by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in 1964 to fulfill the instruction given by his Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda of propagating the ancient wisdom of yoga from door to door and from shore to shore. Situated on the banks of the Ganges, the campus of Bihar School of Yoga is known as Ganga Darshan, located at the top of hillock in the town of Munger in the Indian state of Bihar. Bihar School of Yoga imparts traditional yoga teachings to householders and sannyasins alike from across the globe.
S-VYASA is a Yoga University declared deemed to be University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956,, started in 1986, in Bangalore in Karnataka yoga university .

 

PRESS RELEASE- Govt removes two child norm from maternal entitlements #Victory #Goodnews


The Coalition Against Two-child Norm and Coercive Population Policies, the National Alliance on Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR), the Right to Food Campaign (RTFC), and the Working Group for Children under six (WGCU6) with the support of  national networks and NGOs , have been advocating for the removal of these conditionalities with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the last three months.

Our submissions, supported by members of the NRHM Mission Steering Group and the Department, have led to a revised GO on theremoval of conditions related to the two-child norm and age from maternity entitlements like JSY and NMBS by the MoHFWw.e.f. 8 May 2013 , check GO on removal of 2CN in JSY

Our next effort collectively should be directed towards the removal of these disqualifying conditions from the IGMSY (Pilot) scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child to ensure that the universal maternity entitlements promised in the NFSB, will be unconditional.

We also hope that this directive from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare  can now be used in your own states, to advocate for removal of this norm from all other schemes. Please let us know if we can work together or help in this.

In solidarity,Jashodhara, Sejal and Abhijit

*This is despite the fact that the poorest women (including Dalits and Adivasis) who most need these schemes as social support, are usually the ones who have more than two children. These women also have high unmet need for contraception. These women are constrained by the fact that child survival is lowest among them (four times more babies die among the poorest families as compared to the richest) and they desperately need children since the state does not provide adequate social support in old age.

  •   Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population Policies
  • CommonHealth – Coalition for Maternal Neonatal Health and Safe Abortion
  •  Healthwatch Forum, Bihar
  • Healthwatch Forum, Uttar Pradesh
  • India Alliance for Child Rights (IACR)
  • Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA)
  • National Alliance on Maternal Health and Human Rights
  • Right to Food Campaign
  • Working Group for Children Under 6 (Right to Food Campaign)
  • Download GO on removal of 2CN in JSY

 

India Bihar rapes ’caused by lack of toilets’ #Vaw


By Amarnath TewaryPatna, Bihar, BBC

Toilet in India villageMore than half-a-billion Indians lack access to basic sanitation

Most of the cases of rape of women and girls in India’s Bihar state occur when they go out to defecate in the open, police and social activists say.

Some 85% of the rural households in the state, one of India’s poorest, have no access to a toilet, a study says.

The police reported more than 870 cases of rape in Bihar last year.

More than half-a-billion Indians lack access to basic sanitation. Many do not have access to flush toilets or other latrines.

The issue of sexual violence against women and girls in India has been under intense scrutiny since the gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus in December led to widespread protests.

In March, India passed a new bill containing harsher punishments, including the death penalty, for rapists.

‘Worrisome trend’

There have been a number of recent cases where women and girls have been raped in Bihar after they stepped out of their homes to defecate:

  • On 5 May, an 11-year-old girl was raped in Mai village in Jehanabad district when she was going to the field at night
  • On 28 April, a young girl was abducted and raped when she had gone out to defecate in an open field in Kalapur village in Naubatpur, 35km (21 miles) from the state capital, Patna
  • On 24 April, another girl was raped in similar circumstances on a farm in Chaunniya village in Sheikhpura district. She told the police that two villagers had followed and raped her. One of them has been arrested.

Senior police official Arvind Pandey told the BBC that such cases happen every month in Bihar.

“They take place when women step out to defecate early in the morning and late evening. It is a very worrisome trend.”

Mr Pandey said that about 400 women would have “escaped” rape last year if they had toilets in their homes.

A recent study by global health organisation Population Service International (PSI) and Monitor Delloitte, done in collaboration with Water for People, said that Bihar had India’s poorest sanitation indicators with 85% rural households having no access to toilets.

The report added that 49% of the households that did not have a toilet wanted one for “safety and security”.

Some 45% wanted a toilet for “convenience”, while 4% wanted one for “privacy”.

“Surprisingly, only 1% indicated health as a motivator for having a toilet,” the report said.

The Bihar government says it plans to provide toilets to more than 10 million households in the state by 2022 under a federal scheme.

A law making toilets mandatory has been introduced in several states as part of the “sanitation for all” drive by the Indian government.

Special funds are made available for people to construct toilets to promote hygiene and eradicate the practice of faeces collection – or scavenging – which is mainly carried out by low-caste people.

#India – A sound whistleblowers’ protection law is long awaited


The responsibility to protect

Anjali Bhardwaj , Shekhar Singh : Mon May 06 2013,
A sound whistleblowers’ protection law is long awaited. It languishes in Parliament at the system’s perilNandi Singh, a resident of a remote village in Assam, was brutally attacked with axes in September 2012 as a result of a complaint filed by him regarding irregularities in the functioning of fair price shops supplying rations under the public distribution system. He succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital and his wife was seriously injured in the attack. Nandi Singh had also been attacked a month prior to his murder and had filed a case and sought protection. His wife and two children await justice.Ram Thakur from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district was shot dead last month by relatives of the mukhiya of his village. He had exposed embezzlement of funds in the MGNREGA in Ratnauli panchayat using muster rolls and other information he had accessed under the RTI Act. He had also alleged that the mukhiya of the village had siphoned off the funds. Prior to the fatal attack, there had been several incidents of attacks on him and he had repeatedly sought protection from the police.

Nandi Singh, Ram Thakur and thousands like them across the country have been threatened, assaulted, even killed for raising their voices against corruption and wrongdoing. Following the passage of the RTI Act in 2005, it isn’t just officials within the system who have access to government information — ordinary citizens across the country are holding local officials to account in ways that were unfathomable even a decade ago. Unfortunately, for these whistleblowers who dared to show truth to power, there has been no justice. Neither have their attacks and murders been properly investigated, nor have the cases of corruption and wrongdoing they exposed been dealt with.

The well-known case of Satyendra Dubey, a graduate from IIT-Kanpur who was murdered in 2003, after he exposed financial and contractual irregularities in the Golden Quadrilateral Corridor Project of the National Highways Authority of India, had sparked the demand for an effective bill to protect whistleblowers. However, over nine years and innumerable attacks on whistleblowers later, the bill remains stuck in legislative morass.

The Whistleblowers Protection Bill, introduced in Parliament in August 2010, was passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2011 and has been awaiting discussion and passage in the Rajya Sabha. The bill provides for a mechanism to conceal the identity of a whistleblower, where (s)he feels that revelation of identity would lead to victimisation or harassment by vested interests. The bill makes it an offence to reveal the identity of the complainant and prescribes imprisonment and fine for anyone who reveals the identity. In addition, there are provisions to protect the whistleblower from victimisation resulting from the disclosures made.

There are, however, several lacunae in the bill that need to be discussed and addressed in Parliament. One of the most significant is the lack of a clear and adequately broad definition of what constitutes victimisation. It is critical to ensure that under the law, in case of a complaint of victimisation, the charge should stand established if the action or inaction that led to the complaint violates any law, rule, policy, order or is not in conformity with the general practice, procedures and norms in the matter, or is not based on sound reasons.

The bill is also silent on penalties and compensation vis-à-vis victimisation. If the legislation is expected to effectively deter victimisation, it must provide for strict punishment and penalties to be imposed on anyone who victimises whistleblowers. It must also ensure that wherever a whistleblower is killed or suffers grievous injury as a result of making a complaint, action is taken on a priority basis on the original complaint of corruption or criminal offence filed by the whistleblower. Cases of people like Nandi Singh, Ram Thakur and scores of whistleblowers who are poor and marginalised, bear testimony to the fact that whistleblowers and their families need to be compensated for any loss or other detriment suffered by them as a result of victimisation.

The law must cover complaints against the prime minister, chief ministers and all other public authorities, like the armed forces. Also, it is important that complainants against the private sector get protection under this act. It is widely recognised that corruption in private institutions has a significant impact on the public. Given the vast scale of the private sector in India and the corruption therein, it is important that this bill be extended to complaints about the private sector when they either abet corruption (under Section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act), or commit a criminal offence. This would also be in keeping with the stated position of the government, as indicated in the prime minister’s speech at a CBI conference in October 2011, to bring the private sector within the ambit of anti-corruption laws.

The law must take care to not empower anyone to dismiss or close a complaint on the grounds that it is “frivolous” or “vexatious”. These terms are impossible to define objectively and are likely to be misused. It may lead to a situation where most complaints would be routinely rejected as being frivolous or vexatious.

It is the moral obligation of the government to protect whistleblowers like Satyendra Dubey, Ram Thakur and Nandi Singh, who represent the conscience of the nation. A robust mechanism for the protection of whistleblowers in a time-bound manner is necessary to promote an environment to encourage people to blow the whistle about wrongdoings. A sound whistleblowers’ protection law might not be sufficient to protect whistleblowers, but is certainly a long-awaited and necessary first step. The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) has been demanding that the Whistleblowers Protection Bill be immediately discussed and passed by Parliament in the current session. This legislation is a key measure for fighting corruption, and in conjunction with other anti-corruption and grievance redress legislations like the Lokpal bill and the grievance redress bill, will ensure better governance.

The writers are members of the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information

- See more at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-responsibility-to-protect/1111862/0#sthash.EipBoELw.dpuf

 

#India – shocking child rape – time to re-examine exactly how we’re bringing up our youth #Vaw


Second sight

Syeda Hameed | April 27, 2013, Times Crest

 

zoom

The shocking rape of a child in Delhi must force us to re-examine exactly how we’re bringing up our youth

We are all numb with the events of the last five days, when the five-year-old child’s cries were heard by a neighbour in New Delhi and her small bloodied form was discovered in the basement, forty hours after the heinous deed. Manoj and Pradeep, the two alleged perpetrators of bestiality on the five year old ‘Gudiya’, were migrants to the city from Muzaffarpur and Lakhi Sarai in Bihar.

Around 15 years ago I had gone to these two districts in Bihar. Manoj and Pradeep must have been five or six year olds at that time, growing up in their hometowns. What schooling, what upbringing, what values were being imparted to them? Did they or their families ever imagine this tragic scene in their lives 15 years later?

In Muzaffarpur I had gone to see the work done by an activist, Viji Srinivasan, with the children of sex workers. Muzaffarpur has a famous red light area called Chaturbhuj Sthan where a certain congested row of houses has nameplates bearing names like ‘Neelam Kumari, dancer’ or ‘Pooja Kumari, dancer’. On entering the houses I discovered that all these sex workers, were Muslim girls with ‘concealed identities’. Viji’s organisation was training their daughters in skills which would help them escape the pressure of entering the sex trade.

Lakhi Sarai was another story. I had gone there to a large girls school for their Class 12 farewell function. The place was filled with girls of all ages performing around the theme ‘Beti ki Bidai’. They had used the metaphor of marriage to say goodbye to the outgoing students. Songs and dances were mostly tearfilled;the message given was that they were now ready to be married, hence the bidai. No one spoke of higher education, careers, jobs and freedom for the graduating girls.

From this intensely patriarchal society these two young men had found their way to a metro. All their supports were left behind in the village. A grandmother, an aunt, a sister;people with whom they had shared life and who were there to offer help. The city is too large, too impersonal, too cruel. Their only friends were young (and not so young men) from their own cluster of villages with whom they could speak in their own tongue.

They learnt their lessons on coping with the city from these ‘old timers’. If they were sodomised and brutalised in the process, it was part of the deal. To forget their own pain they had easy access to alcohol and pornography. They were thus hammered and hardened just as their teachers had been hammered and hardened during their own initiation.

Then there was easy access to Bollywood films in which their icons and heroes showed them the ropes. Bollywood lyrics gave then the lessons on playing havoc with a woman’s body. Examples abound;such as a song from Akshay Kumar‘s Khiladi 786 which puts words to their mouths: Chhad ke mein aaya voh tang galiyan / Aya mein aya vekhan teri rang raliyan/ Long drive pe chal pe chal mere nal soniye. (I have left behind my narrow lanes/ to feast my eyes on your fun and games/ Come for a long drive with me, Babe)

Against this black hole of a life in a big city, these two men had consumed alcohol, watched porn on their cell phones, bought chocolate bars and gone out in search of prey. That is when they saw the little child playing outside the building.

What values we are imparting to our children ? Are we teaching them to respect women and girls from the word go? What are they learning from their mothers and fathers, from families, from their schools, from their peers? Do they have the wherewithal to cope with the pressures of moving from rural to urban? We cannot stop the movement;we have not created livelihood opportunities in their native places. We have taken away their traditional livelihoods;we have opened up the world before their astonished eyes. This cohort of boys and men will grow monumentally in the years to come.

Nirbhaya is gone. Gudiya is struggling to stay alive. Media has started placing stories of sexual violence as centerpieces. Life in the cities is being disrupted by political parties and others who are using this event to make a political killing or grab media attention for two seconds. If only there were quick answers to the anguish that is pouring out from all quarters, they are very often at the wrong targets.

In Gudiya’s pain or Nirbhaya’s sacrifice we are not seeing our own failures. The road is long and arduous but it is a road that must be taken: the road to healthy values, better life and hope. Regardless of the colour of politics, it is this slow bandwagon to which all political parties need to hitch themselves to. We, the people, challenge them to do so.

The writer is member, Planning Commission, New Delhi 

 

MGNREGA inefficiently managed, finds CAG


Issue Date: 

2013-4-23

Government spent Rs. 1,26,961 crore but hardly 30 per cent works are completed

Exactly five years after the employment guarantee programme’s pan-India roll out, the programme seems to have lost favour with the rural poor. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) office submitted its latest audit report on the programme to Parliament on April 23. The audit shows around 20 per cent decline in employment generation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the last two years.

The rural employment programme guarantees 100 days of manual work if a rural household demands it. Government first implemented the programme in 200 districts in 2006. On April 1, 2008, it was extended to all rural districts in the country. This is the second such audit by CAG. The recent audit covered implementation during 2007-12 in 182 districts.

The latest audit report brings out the usual concerns associated with the programme: forgery in job cards, late payment of wages, declining job demand and non-completion of works.

Going by the extracts of the report tabled in Parliament, CAG found that lack of close monitoring of the programme has led to widespread irregularities. Many states have not been able to spend the allocated funds under the programme. Interestingly, states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar having large rural population have spent the least.

Under MGNREGA, around 13 million works were taken up at an expense of Rs 1,26,961 crore, most of them related to water and soil conservation, useful to small and marginal farmers. But, the CAG report finds, only 30 per cent of these works have been completed.

Cover Story Related Articles:

 

Parallel hearings on khaki reforms after cop excesses #policereforms


, TNN | Apr 22, 2013, 12.45 AM IST

 
NEW DELHI: Even as the police reforms issue has been lying dormant before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, anotherSupreme Court bench, this one headed by Justice G S Singhvi, has taken up the same matter with visible urgency. Responding to police excesses, Singhvi intervened in the implementation of the 2006 judgment on police reforms, although such monitoring had been done throughout by a succession of CJIs.

Thanks to Singhvi’s activism, all the states and union territories, which have been dragging their feet for years, suddenly find themselves accountable at the same time to two different benches.

Singhvi’s bench is also pushing them harder as it has already held three hearings this month, since it had ordered the states and UTs on March 11 to file affidavits within two weeks on the implementation of the six directions in the 2006 verdict. The next hearing before it is on April 25, when the petitioner in the original police reforms case, former DGP of UP and BSF Prakash Singh, is due to give his assessment on the glitches in the implementation of the first direction, namely, the creation of the state security commission to insulate the police from political interference.

In contrast, Kabir’s bench has heard the case only once ever since he had assumed office as CJI in September 2012. In that solitary hearing which took place in October, Kabir, however, steered clear of the contempt proceedings which had been initiated against four major states by his predecessor, Justice S H Kapadia. Rather than building on the progress made in the case by earlier CJIs, Kabir’s bench issued fresh notices to all the states and UTs for their status reports. The matter has since been listed thrice (the last time being on April 16) but Kabir’s bench never got around to hearing it on any of those occasions.

Meanwhile, the provocation for the entry of Singhvi’s bench into this case was a couple of police excesses in March on successive days: Punjab police beat up a woman in public in Taran Taran while their Bihar counterparts lathi-charged a procession of contractual teachers. On March 6, Singhvi’s bench took cognizance of the press reports on those two incidents and appointed senior advocates Harish Salve and U U Lalit as amicus curiae. Five days later, this suo motu intervention into two specific instances of police highhandedness enlarged into parallel proceedings on police reforms. Besides giving notices to all the states and UTs, the bench comprising Justices Singhvi and Kurian Joseph appointed two more amicus curiae: Prakash Singh and attorney general G E Vahanvati.

This unforeseen development has raised expectations that the Supreme Court would at last pursue the police reforms implementation with the seriousness it deserved. Given the difference individual judges could make, civil society activists hope that Singhvi would help break the deadlock on police reforms before his retirement by this year-end. Since Kabir himself is due to retire in July shortly after the summer break, it remains to be seen if he would formally transfer the police reforms case to Singhvi’s bench, to end the anomaly of parallel proceedings.