I have compiled guidelines to be followed while undertaking inspection of records under RTI. The same is attached herewith.
GUIDELINES FOR INSPECTION UNDER RTI
1. Even if you do not desire to carry out an actual inspection of records, invariably request as under in RTI application:
This will have deterring effect on PIO against providing false information.
2. If you are not very conversant with the language of record or have any other disability, please also add the following sentence in RTI application:
3. When you get permission for inspection from PIO, FAA or Information Commissioner, send a letter by speed post to PIO stating list of records that you would like to inspect. Please also mention three tentative dates with time which would be convenient to you and also seek an exact name, address, email ID and phone number of PIO.
4. On appointed day, visit the office well before fixed time with your assistant [if permitted] and with copy of relevant decision, photocopy of your photo ID proof [election card, PAN card, passport etc], digital camera, mobile [with recording facility], blank papers, carbon papers, note pad, blank CD, 20-25 paper flaps [ for putting in registers or files to identify papers], pen, pencil, copy of RTI Act and Rules etc.
5. Please make note of your visit and that of your assistant in register maintained at entry point or reception as now most of govt. offices are having such register. This will be proof of your visit at the fixed date and time.
6. Contact the PIO and request for inspection.
7. Ask PIO to prepare inspection slip for noting down date and time etc of commencing inspection and ending inspection and payment of inspection charges. Some offices have register for these details. If he insists that charges be paid in advance before commencing inspection as per tentative hours required for inspection, pay the amount against receipt and then start inspection.
8. Please insist that PIO or any other person from office should be present with you during inspection.
9. In case if sitting arrangement, lighting and air in the room are not conducive to inspection, inform PIO orally and in writing [if need be], with time and date.
10. Start inspection and whatever record you find worth obtaining certified photocopies, use your digital camera and put a paper flap.
11. Go on making notings in your notepad of whatever is necessary from the record with page number and name of register or file etc.
12. In case despite all efforts, you are not in a position to inspect, give in writing to PIO all the reasons and obtain his acknowledgement on copy then and there. Also inform personally or on phone to FAA.
13. If you need data from computers, ask PIO to provide assistance of office staff for accessing computer data. Note down details so that required information can be obtained in a CD. Do not operate office computer yourself.
14. Whenever you talk to PIO keep the audio recorder on in your mobile and ensure that conversation is recorded.
15. At the end of inspection or during it ask PIO that you need certified photocopies of record where flaps are kept and collect the same before leaving the office.
16. Once you end inspection, make entry into inspection slip or register with problems faced by you if any or that you want to continue inspection on next date. Put date and time and pay or seek refund of balance of inspection fees. Pay as per RTI rules applicable for central govt. or state govt. rules for inspection as the case may be.
17. In case certified copies or CDs are not provided before leaving the office, give a written request [against acknowledgement] with page numbers of record etc to PIO for the certified copy.
18. Be cool, collected and courteous during entire visit and inspection. Thank all the staff and PIO if they have cooperated with you for inspection.
19. Do not write anything on govt. record.
20. Next week mail a list of papers you require from PIO which have been identified by you during inspection, as a reminder. Pay the charges if papers are provided within 30 days of submission of RTI application.
21. If you face serious difficulties in inspection, file the detailed written complaint with FAA or Information Commissioner [with copy to PIO in his name] and request for appropriate orders to facilitate proper inspection.
22. CIC has permitted videography and photography during the inspection in following two decisions:
Happy officially inspecting of govt. records by a common citizen under RTI.
J. P. Shah, Junagadh [Gujarat] Cell: 09924106490
“The real swaraj will come not by the acquisition of authority by a few, but by the acquisition of capacity by all to resist authority when abused.” Mahatma Gandhi
Please also refer
RTI applicants face the problem of language of reply, especially if the information is sought from other states. I had sought information from BBMP [municipalcorporation] Bengaluru and had requested that information be supplied in English. However, I received a reply in Kannada and I had to email to my relative to translate it.
I append below relevant extract from a judgment of High Court of Uttarakhand.
I infer that information supplied in language which the applicant does not understand is no information. PIO should supply either in English, Hindi or State language of PIO as per the choice of the applicant.
Recently, in Gujarat entire land acquisition process was declared invalid because notices were published in Gujarati newspapers, but notices were in Hindi which most of the affected farmers do not understand.
I hope this will be useful to applicants.
LANGUAGE OF REPLY.doc
Of late defiance of orders of Information Commissioners has become rampant. The only remedy with the information seeker is to lodge a complaint with Chief Information Commissioner, who routinely issues another order for compliance that too after a delay ranging from 6 to 36 months depending upon efficiency and pendency of CIC/SIC. Commissions hardly invoke powers of Civil Court vested in it u/s 18.3 to ensure speedy compliance with its own orders.
Hence I suggest that if after two months of filing complaint of non-compliance [with copy to PIO, FAA, and Head of public authority], as suggested in my separate article posted at http://www.rtiindia.org/blogs/338-non-compliance-orders-cic-sics.html, you do not get information or compliance, please send letter as per attachment, after making suitable changes to suit your case. It may sensitize the machinery.
It is to be addressed to Chief /Principal Secretary heading ministry at Delhi under which public authority works for central govt information. In case of state govt information, it should be addressed to Chief/Principal Secretary of the Department which oversees the department of SPIO/PIO. Details are available on the website of Ministry or Department.
Download: NON COMP IC DECI - COMPT 2 GOVT.doc
1. Provisions in a law cannot be read in isolation, but all the relevant provisions have to be read along with together, for its harmonious construction:
The basic principle to be followed in law, is that while interpreting any provision, it has be read along with all the other relevant & applicable provisions, for the correct interpretation of the provision in question.
Sec 7 (1) is relevant & applicable while interpreting sec. 7(9) and therefore both these provisions will have to be read along with together for correct interpretation of sec. 7(9) of the Act .
2. Please find quoted below the text of section 7(1) & section 7(9) of the RTI Act, 2005 (emphasis added) :
3. Now, let us read sec. 7(1) along with 7(9) for its correct interpretation:
As per sec. 7(1), a request for information can only be rejected for any of the reasons specified in sec. 8 & 9 of the Act. Therefore it can be reasonably construed from sec. 7(1) that a request for information cannot be rejected under any other provisions of the Act. As such, sec. 7(9) cannot be given a meaning / interpreted in such a way so that it of becomes a ground for rejecting a request for information, in addition to sec. 8 & 9 of the Act.
4. So, what is sec. 7(9) about?
Sec. 7(9) is all about providing a requested information in a particular FORM. Especially, when there may be a choice before a PIO to provide an information in one particular form, from amongst the various other alternate forms available to him.
Following are some probable examples for the purpose of understanding sec. 7(9):
Example - 1
An information is requested in a printed hard copy form,
The same information is available with a PIO in a soft copy form,
The PIO may then decide to provide information in the readily available soft copy form citing sec. 7(9) that if the information is provided in printed hardcopy form it would disproportionately divert the resources of the Public Authority.
Example - 2.
A particular digitized form (say 300 dpi / gif / png etc. format) is requested of some very old documents,
The information may have been scanned & archived long time back (in say 100 dpi / jpeg format) by a Public Authority.
The PIO may then decide to provide the requested information in the "Available Digitized Form", citing sec. 7(9), if the information were to be re-digitized in the requested form then it the would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question if it .
A PIO cannot quote sec. 7(9) as a ground for rejecting a request for information, stating that no matter in whatever form the information is provided, it will disproportionately divert the resources of the Public Authority. But, in that case, the requested information has to be provided irrespective of the resources factor.
6. Link to a compilation of some useful judgments on the subject of sec. 7(9), by Shri jps50:
WHY DO INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS NOT IMPOSE PENALTY?
ICs are under the wrong impression that it is their discretion to levy or not to levy penalty at their will. In fact, once the breach of RTI Act is committed and not reasonably explained, the penalty must follow.
ICs are afraid because if they levy penalties, the serving govt officers may dig out their [ICs] misdoings when ICs were in service and ICs may have to face investigating agencies post-retirement.
ICs want to follow the line of action and guidance given by political appointees.
ICs are attitudinally conditioned not to displease other govt officers and politicians, as they have been doing while in service, lest some day ICs may be exposed.
Conceptually ICs have no respect for common citizens since they were uncommon citizens while in active service for a very long period of their lives.
Heart in heart, ICs believe that govt servants and politicians are borne to rule in India and common Indian [mango] citizens are their subjects.
ICs do not appreciate and internalize their own duties and responsibilities under RTI and continue to function as an administrative entity.
ICs lack training in knowledge and attitude to effectively act as ICs.
ICs treat appointment as post-retirement paid holiday time to enjoy bypassing routine and stereo-type orders [clerical or fill-in the blanks] without much taxing their minds. Imposing penalty requires the application of mind.
ICs may have tie-up arrangement to absolve PIOs for a “fee”, as the majority of govt offices have in India [agents or touts].
ICs do not believe that common Indians deserve transparency and time is not ripe for opening up governance to such immature mango citizens.
Very few appellants will move higher courts [due to the prohibitive cost of litigation and exorbitant delay ] for information and penalty, while PIOs will challenge at public cost, any order of penalty and if it is not upheld, ICs may lose face.
RTI appellants or complainants have not so far moved vigilance machinery of Govt against ICs absolving PIOs of penalties even in serious RTI violations, alleging corruption.
Citizens do not move petitions to remove ICs to President or Governors for not imposing penalties in many cases, where it should have been definitely imposed.
ICs are aware that they are totally overprotected by law for whatever decisions they take including not imposing penalties even in deserving cases.
ICs psychologically want to retain their image of being very good, understanding and kind among govt staff, even at the cost of making RTI defunct affecting fundamental rights of common citizens.
ICs know that after demitting post, they will be common men/women and will have to approach the same govt. staff for their mercies. Hence they do not risk offending govt staff for RTI violation by imposing the penalty.
Some ICs believe that penalties will have a demoralizing effect on govt staff and may reduce their efficiency. ICs also know that poor PIOs are under pressure for not meticulously following RTI provisions, lest many of PIOs’ bosses [including politicians] and colleagues would land in trouble.
ICs hasten to levy penalties when their authority is challenged by PIOs by being absent in hearing or not complying with ICs orders. However, ICs forget that in a democracy citizens are the supreme authority.
ICs are under impression that getting information is important and not the penalty, irrespective of breach of provisions or harassment to information seekers.
Some ICs believe that at least now citizens are getting information, which was not available to them prior to RTI enactment, hence he should not think of penalty, whether imposed or waived.
ICs feel that appellant or complainant has no right to insist upon penalty. It is ICs exclusive domain.
ICs still hope that they may get some govt post even after demitting post of IC .
India is a soft State even when it comes to terrorists and criminals. ICs give benefit to PIOs for civil violations of RTI, even when it affects fundamental rights.
Many ICs are afraid of govt officers who hold high posts or are well connected.
Appellants or complainants do not even insist in writing after the decision is pronounced, that penalty should have been imposed by IC by giving their justification for the penalty.
There is no social audit of decisions of ICs nor is feedback given by RTI activists to concerned IC with a copy to Chief IC. Hence ICs do not improve.
There are certain ICs and Chief ICs whose past record is full of misdeeds and they could escape penalties by manipulations and secrecy. Hence they have special love for defaulting [brother-like] PIOs.
Politicians select only such ICs who cannot be attitudinally strict for benefit of common men at the cost of govt employees.
Most of ICs are with govt. service background and mentally carry that baggage even after retirement.
ICs are not adversely commented upon by auditors of CIC or SIC, even when the penalty is not imposed in very deserving cases.
There is no system to effectively recover penalties even when imposed by ICs. This discourages ICs from penalizing. 41.68% of penalty is not recovered by CIC and situation in most SICs may be worse than this.
PENALTY -WHY NOT.doc
Nagpur: In a revelation through the RTI enquiry made by Mr Naveen Agrawal, Registrar, Dada Ramchand Bakhru Sindhu Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur, it is clear now that the posts of Registrar which are vacant in the government aided colleges affiliated to Non-Agricultural universities in Maharashtra can be filled by direct recruitment, if eligible candidate for promotion to the post of the Registrar is not available.
There are around 35% posts of Registrars in the Maharashtra which are vacant due to wrong interpretation of The Maharashtra Non-Agricultural Universities and Affiliated Colleges Standard Code (Terms and Conditions of Service of Non-Teaching employees) Rules, 1984 about the recruitment. In the code it has been mentioned that 50:50 percent posts should be filled by Direct Recruitment as well as by Promotion. The problem of filling of the post of Registrar came as there is only one post of Registrar in each college. The concerned Department recruiting personnel has interpreted the code as the post has to be filled once by Direct Recruitment and next time it should be filled by promotion only. The problem came when the suitable person to be promoted was not available in the college. Thus the post remained vacant for an unlimited time as it could not be filled in by direct recruitment.
Mr Naveen Agrawal, who is the President of the Maharashtra State Non-Government College Registrar Association, Nagpur Region understood the difficulty in the recruitment of the Registrars in Aided Colleges and made an online RTI enquiry to the Higher and Technical Education Department, Maharashtra Government. The above RTI enquiry has resulted into getting the government GR No 1287/(1311)/fof'k 4, dated 05/01/1988 which stated that ‘if the post of Registrar is singular, it would be filled by the promotion but if the suitable candidate is not available, it should be filled in by the Direct Recruitment.’ Based on the above GR the similar amendment was made in the Standard Code 1984. After receiving the information it was sent to the University which promptly published it in ‘University Guidelines’.
After the ban on recruitment of the posts vacate, the posts of the registrars in government aided colleges can be filled by direct recruitment.
Mr Naveen Agrawal made an appeal that if anybody wants the GR related to the recruitment of the Registrar can contact him on his Cell No. 9273301557.
Nagpur. 28th September is observed as International Right to Information Day across the world. Mr. Naveen Maheshkumar Agrawal, Registrar, Dada Ramchand Bakhru Sindhu Mahavidyalaya, with a view to creating awareness about the Right to Information Act, 2005 in society sent the soft copies of the RTI Act to 1000 people on International Right to Information Day. It was indeed a novel way on his part to spread awareness about the Act. The copies of the Act were sent in English, Hindi and Marathi languages. Introducing transparency in the government work is the main purpose of this Act. But even to the lack of awareness in information seeker and information provider, the effective implementation of the said act is badly affected. In 2017 also Mr. Naveen Agrawal had sent 101 applications under RTI Act 2005 to different public authorities seeking information on different issues on International Day of Right to Information with the purpose of creating awareness about the Act. On the invitation of YASHADA, Pune which is the Apex body set up for imparting training to state level officers, Mr. Naveen Agrawal has so far imparted training to more than 500 government and semi government officers in the RTI Act.
I have completed 15 years and 4 months of service in Indian Air Force. Due to my domestic issues i am becoming absent without leave and hence have became a potential habitual offender. If, i do one more mistake I will be discharged from service under Rule 15 (2)(g)(ii) of Air Force Rule 1969 i.e SERVICE NO LONGER REQUIRED. I have completed minimum years of service required for earning pension. What will be the consequence if I get discharge from service under this rule.
Will iI get all financial benefit i.e PENSION, GRATUITY, LEAVE ENCHASHMENT AND OTHER FINANCIAL BENEFITS?
Can i get job under ex-servicemen quota?
Sir, please guide me.
Posted 12 hours ago
On appointment of transparency officer I obtained this information from RTI foundation web ite in this regard a circular was also issued by DOPT.
In the W.P.(C)3327/2012 (Union of India V. Central Information Commissioner and Ors.), Hon'ble Mr. Justice V.K. Jain has dismissed the writ petition. The bench observed “No one was present for the petitioner on the last date of hearing. No one is present for the petitioner today. The writ petition is dismissed in default and for non-prosecution” Following the rejection of the petition, the seven member bench order for the appointment of the “Transparency officer” now comes into force. Earlier, the Secretary, Central Information Commission had issued an order for the implementation of the CIC order. Central Information Commission August Kranti Bhawan Bhikaji Cama Place New Delhi-110 066 Date: 09-12-2010 Subject : 1. Roles of CPIO and Transparency Officer (TO) 2. Level of Transparency Officer (TO) 3. Job Chart of Transparency Officer (TO) Reference: D.O.No.CIC/AT/D/10/000111 dated 15.11.2010 Apropos the subject and reference cited, certain public authorities have requested clarification regarding the roles of the Transparency Officer (T.O.) vis-à-vis the CPIO, and the level of the Transparency Officer. 2. It is clarified that the institution of Transparency Officer is in fact an administrative arrangement for promotion of institutional transparency within the public authority through proactive and effective implementation of the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005. These include effective record management, digitization of records, networking and incremental proactive disclosures. 3. The CPIO and the Appellate Authority, on the other hand, are parts of the RTI-regime and, in that sense, are statutory officers under the RTI Act. Their functions shall be as defined in Sections 7 and 19(1) of the Act respectively. 4. Within the public authority, a CPIO will be free to seek guidance from the Transparency Officer about disclosure-norms ⎯ both in its general and specific aspects. 5. The level of Transparency Officer, in any public authority, may vary depending on the availability of personnel of a requisite level. However, to be effective, a Transparency Officer should be of sufficiently high seniority in the organization, having uninterrupted and free access to the head of the public authority. He should also be able to effectively communicate and liaise with Divisional Heads of the public authority. It is, therefore, desirable that T.O. is either No.2 or No.3 behind the head of the organization, in the official hierarchy. 6. Job Chart of Transparency Officer Transparency Officer (TO) shall be the main centre of all actions connected with promotion of institutional transparency commensurate with the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. In performing this role, the TO shall: i. Act as the interface for the Commission vis-à-vis the public authority on the one hand, and on the other vis-à-vis the public authority and the general public/information seeker. ii. Engage continuously, in implementing the Commission’s directive dated 15.11.2010 regarding pro-active disclosures under section -4 of RTI Act, vis-à-vis the public authority concerned. iii. Regularly monitor decisions of the Central Information Commission (http://cic.gov.in) with a view to identify areas of openness both generic and specific as a result of such decisions. Ensure that all levels of employees of the public authority are sensitized about these decisions and their implications. Be responsible for issuing advisories, to officers/staff about need for sensitivity to institutional transparency and act as a change agent. Be responsible for sensitizing the officers/staff that the time limit stipulated in the RTI Act are outer limit for matters raised under RTI Act and officers/staff are required to be mentally tuned to disclose all informations, predetermined as open, within the shortest possible time on receiving request. iv. Be the contact point for the CPIO/FAA/Divisional Heads in respect of all RTI related matters of the Organisation. He will be the clearing house in all matters about making transparency the central point of organizational behaviour. v. Constantly remain in touch with the top management in the public authority about the strategy and the action to promote transparency within the organisation. Promote good management practices with the organisation centered on transparency. vi. Devise transparency indices for various wings of the public authority in order to introduce healthy competition in promoting transparency. vii. Help set up facilitation centres within the premises of the public authority, where members of the public can file their requests for disclosure of specific information and can inspect the records and documents etc. viii. Work out, in consultation with the departmental officers, the parameters of record management- its classification and indexing, plan of action for digitization of documents and records, networking etc and oversee and help implement the functions laid down in section 4 (1) (a) and 4 (1) (b) of the RTI Act. ix. Prepare information matrix based on analysis of RTI applications filed before the public authority and response thereof and, suggest to the top management the need for process reengineering, wherever necessary, as well as work out modalities of suo motu disclosure of such information. x. Be responsible for creating condition(s) in the organisation to establish an information regime, where transparency/disclosure norms are so robust that the public is required to have only the minimum resort to the use RTI Act to access information. xi. Be responsible for operating a user-friendly website for various information relating to the public authority concerned, including inter alia search option. xii. With the help of the appropriate wing of the public authority, set-up arrangements for training of the personnel to promote among them higher transparency orientation away from intuitive reflex towards secrecy, now common. xiii. Establish dialogue with the top management and key officials of the public authority regarding prevention of unnecessary confidentiality classification of documents and records under the Official Secrets Act and to check over classification. (B.B. SRIVASTAVA) Secretary Share your comments with RTI Foundation of India.
Read more at:http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/would-public-authority-appoint-“transparency-offic#.W0d65OHhU0N
कानून जिसे इंसानों की रक्षा के लिए बनाया गया है उसी कानून को बड़े बड़े अधिकारियों द्वारा नेताओं मंत्रियों सांसदों विधायकों और माफियाओं का गुलाम बनया जा रहा है
सूचना का अधिकार अधिनियम 2005 में पारित हुआ जिसे आम आदमी का अधिकार कहा जाता है ये कानून इस लिए बनाया गया ताकि भ्रष्टाचार पर अंकुश लगाया जा सके
मगर आज स्थिति ऐसी हो गई है कि यूपी जैसे राज्यों में इसका कोई प्रभाव नहीं है आज भी यहां सूचना मिल पाती और अगर किसी ने संसद विधायक या किसी अधिकारी से संबंधित सूचना मांगने की कोशिश करता है तो उसे डराया जाता है उसको और उसके परिवार को झूठे केस में फंसाया जाता है इस सबके बावजूद आरटीआई कार्यकर्ता को सूचना नहीं दी जाती 1st अपील करो या सेकंड अपील करो कोई फायदा नहीं होता ये तो कहा जाता है कि हम लोकतंत्र में जी रहे हैं लेकिन हालात उसके उलट हैं ऐसा लगता है जैसे हम गुलामी में जी रहे हों सच को सच नहीं बोल सकते गुंडागर्दी अपने उरूज पर है और हमारे मंत्री से प्रधान मंत्री तक इन गुंडों को फॉलो करते हैं ये गुंडे बे लगाम हो गए हैं और पोलिस अधिकारी प्रधान मंत्री बन बैठे हैं आम आदमी पोलिस से सवाल नहीं कर सकता अगर पोलिस के पास जाना है या कोई शिकायत करनी है तो जेब में पैसा हो या साथ में दलाल हो तब ही पोलिस आपकी सुनेगी मैं यूपी के जनपद बांदा का रहने वाला हूं जनपद बांदा के थाना चिल्ला में पुलिस की लापरवाही और गुंडागर्दी थमने का नाम नहीं ले रही है यहां माफिया पुलिस को अपनी जेब में बंद रखते हैं यहां रेत माफिया का बोल बाला है 25 जनवरी 2018 को सादी पुर की बालू खदान चालू हुई खदान का रास्ता लौमर की सड़क से दिया गया जो की सरासर नाजायज है गांव वालों ने इसका विरोध किया अपनी सड़क बचाने के लिए गांव वालों को भारी कीमत चुकानी पड़ी चिल्ला थाने के प्रभारी श्री राकेश सरोज साहब ने गांव के 55 लोगों पर मुकदमा कायम कर दिया 7 नवजावनो पर डकैती का मुकद्दमा और 12 लोगों पर गुंडा एक्ट लगा दिया डकैती और गुंडा एक्ट मुकद्दमा उन लोगों पर लगाया गया जिनके खिलाफ पूरे देश में कहीं भी एक शिकायत या एफ आई आर तक नहीं है । अब आप सोचेंगे कि ऐसा क्यों हुआ पुलिस कि क्या दुश्मनी थी वो ऐसा क्यों करेगी तो उसका सीधा जवाब है कानून बिक रहा है और कानून के रखवाले उसे बेंच रहे हैं
यहां इंसाफ नहीं है अगर भ्रष्टाचार को रोकना है तो सबसे पहले पुलिस विभाग में बदलाव लाना होगा सिस्टम को बदलना होगा उदाहरण के तौर पर में आपको अपनी एक कहानी बताता हूं
मैंने चिल्ला पुलिस की शिकायत एसएसपी बांदा को किया एसएसपी साहब ने उसी अधिकारी को जांच करने के आदेश दिए जिसे मैंने आरोपी बनाया था अधिकारी ने एसएसपी को दी गई अपनी रिपोर्ट में ये लिखा कि शिकायत निराधार और गलत है मुझे यही उम्मीद थी चोर कभी नहीं बोलता की उसने चोरी कि है फिर मैंने डीएम बांदा और डीआईजी चित्रकूट आईजी आलाहाबद डीजीपी यूपी को पत्र लिखकर इस बात की शिकायत कि उन सभी ने भी एसएसपी को आदेश दिया कि इस प्रकरण की जांच की जा य और एसएसपी ने वापस उसी अधिकारी को जांच सौंप दी फिर वही रिपोर्ट कि ये शिकायत निराधार और गलत है फिर मैंने सीएम यूपी और पीएम भारत को पत्र लिखकर इंसाफ की मांग की उन्होंने भी वही किया जो अभी तक होता आया है पीएम ने सीएम को सीएम ने डीजीपी को डीजीपी ने डीआईजी को और डीआईजी ने एसएसपी को और एसएसपी ने वापस उसी अधिकारी को जांच सौंप दिया मजाक बना कर रख दिया है इन लोगों ने ऐसा लगता है कि कानून है ही नहीं
बाकी कल पढ़ें
भारत में आज भी गांव के 80% लोग अनपढ़ है उन्हें अपने अधिकार भी नहीं मालूम वो नहीं जानते की भारत सरकार ने उनके लिए कौन सी योजनाएं बनाई है भारत सरकार की ओर से लाभान्वित योजनाएं जो उसने गांवों में रह रहे गरंवसियों के लिए बनाती है उसमें सिर्फ 10% पढ़े लिखे सिक्षित लोगों का कब्ज़ होता है और वो लोग इन अनजान और सीधे सादे लोगों को इन योजनाओं के बारे में नहीं बताते ग्राम प्रधान हो या कोटेदार या फिर कोई भी अधिकारी हो अपनी मन मानी करते हैं अब बताए कि जिसे अपने अधिकार नहीं मालूम जो एक पोलिस वाले के सामने तेज आवाज में बात नहीं कर सकते उन लोगों को क्या पता सूचना का अधिकार क्या होता है उन्हें तो ये भी नहीं मालूम कि ऐसा कोई कानून बनाया है सरकार ने इस लिए जरूरत है कि गांव के लोगों को इस कानून के बारे में बताया जाए उन्हें ये समझना होगा कि उनके गांव के विकास के लिए ये कानून कितना प्रभावी है
मैं उत्तर प्रदेश के जनपद बांदा के ग्राम laumar का मूल निवासी हूं मेरे गांव के 99%लोगों को इस कानून कि जानकारी नहीं है यहां तक की गांव में जो व्यक्ति बड़ा नेता माना जाता है उसे भी नहीं मालूम कि ये क्या है प्रधान को भी नहीं मालूम अब इससे बड़ी विडम्बना क्या हो सकती है कि जिसे गांव वाले अपना नेता चुनते हैं कि वो गांव का विकाश करेगा उस को ही नहीं मालूम कि सूचना का अधिकार क्या है वो सिर्फ इतना जानता है कि जो बीडीओ और एसडीएम साहब कहदें वहीं कानून है और वहीं होना है और होता भी वही है जो जो बीडीओ सचिव और एसडीएम कह दें क्योंकि इन्हें अपने अधिकार ही नहीं मालूम इसलिए मैं चाहता हूं कि मेरे गांव का बच्चा बच्चा अपने अधिकार जाने और गांव जिला में ग्राम विकाश में भागीदार बने तभी शाशन प्रशाशन सही से कार्य करेंगे
Let me ask you a question as easy as ABC but the point is you have to answer it with appropriate evidence and proof . So here we go .....
Who is the Prime Minister of India ?
Its seems to be a Kindergarten Level question . Isn't it! . But the tough nut to crack is you have to provide adequate evidence for the same . Most of us are not fortunate enough to personally meet Mr Modi Or visit 7RCR . So from where did we came to know that Alia Bhat Is not Prime Minister but the Prime Minister of India is Shri Narendra Modi .........
May be from TV ,Radio , Newspapers, Magazine , Internet and so on....In one word MEDIA .
The Crux is without media we are not even capable enough to know the name of our premier
The Great Indian Media is the fourth pillar of worlds largest democracy . But the question is whether this fourth pillar is strong enough to balance and provide foundation for a magnificent Democratic set up . We all may have different opinions & perceptions about credibility of Media .For the real Litmus test let we proceed to World press freedom Index 2017 Report published by most renowned Reporters without borders . India is ranked 136 in the World Press Freedom Index, three points down from last year. Following were the remarks from Reporters without borders --
Threat from Modi’s nationalism
With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals. Prosecutions are also used to gag journalists who are overly critical of the government, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment. No journalist has so far been convicted of sedition but the threat encourages self-censorship. The government has also introduced new foreign funding regulations to limit international influence. .
Concentration of Media Ownership in India
Open a link along side this blog and ask Mr. Google Baba about Media ownership and for sure there will be hundreds of articles alleging about Media ownership and there links with different political parties & Dirty Political campaigns . Some of most credible points are mentioned below .
Recently Dr Subash Chandra Chairmen of Essel Group & Zee News (there are 50+ channels of Zee Group) was elected as member of Rajya Sabha from Haryana via support of BJP .
Shobhna Bhartia, owner and editor-in-chief of Hindustan Times is a Congress MP from Rajya Sabha.
HT media is runs by Shobna Bhartiy with her two sons Priyavrat & Shamit Bhartia. Intresting fact here is to note is Shamit Bhartia wife Nayantara Kothari is a niece of Anil and Mukesh Ambani.
Kalaignar TV is owned by Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
Sakshi TV a Telugu channel in Andhra Pradesh is owned by ex-chief minister's son and family.
News24 Hindi media channel Owned by ex-journalist and editor Rajiv Shukla, famous Congress MP in Rajya Sabha, Union minister, industrialist, BCCI vice president and IPL chairman.
Times Of India, Mid-Day, Nav-Bharat Times, Stardust, Femina, Vijay Times, Vijaya Karnataka, Times Now (24- hour news channel) and many more...
Times Group is owned by Bennet & Coleman. 'World Christian Council' does 80 percent of the Funding, and an Englishman and an Italian equally share balance 20 percent. The Italian Robertio Mindo is a close relative of Sonia Gandhi.
NDTV: A very popular TV news media is funded by Gospels of Charity in Spain Supports Communism. Recently it has developed a soft corner towards Pakistan because Pakistan President has allowed only this channel to be aired in Pakistan. Indian CEO Prannoy Roy is co-brother of Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the Communist party of India . His wife and Brinda Karat are sisters.
India News (Information Tv Pvt. Ltd.) : Information Tv. Pvt.Ltd. runs a media brand called India news & news x. It is owned by Mark buildtech and Omkareshwar property’s, Where owner of the Mark buildtech is Kartikay Sharma who is a son of former congress politician Vinod sharma and brother of Manu Sharma ( Who was Involved in Jesicca lal murder case) and Omkareshwar property belongs to Bhupender Shingh Hooda (Former congress CM of Hariyana ) and his son Deependar Singh Hooda.
A detailed report Regarding Ownership of Media and there connection with business tycoons and politicians was published by Newslaundry in Report Who owns your media?
Also Recommended to Read - TRAI set to regulate corporate control of media (THE Hindu)
#Paid_News . Indian Media on Sale
Paid news is a phenomenon in Indian media, that refers to the systematic engagement of mainstream media outlets in publishing favorable articles in exchange for payment.. This type of news is typically sponsored by politicians, businessmen, and celebrities in order to improve their public image or accomplish political goals.
You may have herd about Dons & Mafia's who demands ransom to forgive your life . But here The Media'n Mafia also demands mighty sums to stop character assignation of celebrated creatures . Indian media Houses often blackmail famous personalities & celebs some of cases are as follow
In 2012 senior editors of the television channel Zee News were arrested for allegedly demanding Rs 100 crore from Jindal Power and Steel Ltd. In return for this pay-off they offered to dilute their network’s campaign against the company in the coal scam. The blackmail was exposed when JSPL chairman and Congress MP Naveen Jindal conducted a reverse sting on the network’s executives.
Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd, which owns the Times of India, is reported to have asked celebrities and the wealthy to pay for favorable coverage. They have offered a "private treaty" agreement, which accepts an equity stake in a company in return for favorable coverage. The New York Times described "private treaties" as an example of the commodification of business news. A New Yorker article says that the Times of India "have been dismantling the wall between the newsroom and the sales department" with Times MediaNet.
Deepak Chaurasia, host of India News, is accused of being a promoter of paid news in India.
As per official statistical report of Election Commission of India more than 3100 notices were issued in alleged case of Paid news and about 787 were confirmed .(by May 2014)
Advertising and Media
Here I would like to put forward an astonishing fact and perhaps you will be jolted after reading it .
If we statistically estimate aggregate/sum total of world spendings (including both govt and private expenditure) on different sectors than -
As expected spending upon defense , arms and weapons is at top . Approx 1.57 trillion
You will guess health or education at 2nd place but my dear friend you are certainly incorrect .Global Spending upon advertisements ranks 2nd which is a bit higher than lay out on Health & Education .
Just look around advertisements are at every nook and cranny . While operating Mobile apps you see advertisements . On internet advertisements are always there . If you are too a part of typical Indian family than probability is quite high that while you are reading this blog your mum or pop will scold you out for always remain sticked to cellphone .Being an obedient Indian you may open book to react that you are studying but pause for a second have you noticed most of books and magazines are too full of advertisements .
I dont know why they call a Newspaper as Newspaper .If We can rename Bombay to Mumbai , 7RCR to 7 Lok Kalyan Marg with out any solid reason .than shouldn't we rename Newspaper to advertisement paper because approx 60% of space is given to advertisements and rest to paid news and if than also some space left than that it is for hate story of Mohammad Shami , Love story of Virat and Romance of Ram Raheem & Honeypreet .the scenario is quite similar among News channels of television. I don't know why they keep telecasting SAAS BAHU AND SAJISH .I think in hot Indian summer noon due to high temperature there mind doesn't function properly therefore they become insane and forgot that they are news channels not Entertainment ones . By the way news had also become a sort of entertainment these days .
Ok so we were talking about advertisements our television Channels too can't compromise without
showing advertisements and yes TV advertisements are very interesting . God of Cricket Sachin Tendulkar will come and request you to purchase pen,pencils LEDs , Fans and inverter batteries . Beauty Queen Hema Malini will emphasis you to purchase water purifiers RO .Rising star Virat Kohli will sold you tyres and captain cool Dhoni will plea you to buy engine Oil ...........Height of Hypocrisy ..........
Walking is good for health ! move out from your sweet abode and enjoy the creativity of advertisements shown on bill boards . Let me remind you some of them .The picture of Justin Bieber at local Barber shop who cuts hair for RS 10 , Photograph of Salman Bhai and Kajol at Juice stall of sugarcane .
So the nucleus is every time , every where we remain surrounded by advertisements and they often cause deep impressions on your sub - conscious mind which will insist you to purchase particular products even if they are not of our use and hence promoting consumerism . You know Mukesh Ambani is Mukesh and Mark Zukerberg is Mark Zukerberg because of us We The People the day when we will stop using Reliance services and Facebook they too will become Nirav modi and Vijay Mallya .Consumers are very powerful but we don't know our potential .Consumer behave like dummy puppets because of the brain wash done by black magic of luring advertisements .
The Sole purpose of Media houses is not to publish genuine news and stories but to increase TRP to attract companies for Advertisements and hence genrating revenues and all together there only aim is profit maximisation rather than social awareness .
Journalists and Media men get there livelihood from advertisements of MNCs indirectly they depend on MNCs for there survival . Than it is obvious they will favor there business clients .Here is case study for you ,
Have you ever thought how a Newspaper with large pages , colored print , consist of latest news , with expensive articles of world famous authors and home delivery costs us just Rs 5 - 10 .How ? a A big question Mark ?
How newspaper agencies afford to provide such an expensive piece of paper for almost free not only Newspaper firms but TV channels also at minimal cost of approx Rs 250 . You can see Movies made by celebrated artists . News debates there analysis by wise Anchors and a hidden team of 1000s of members .If you are a cricket fan than why to go stadium and pay kilos of money just switch on your TV and enjoy HD quality Live Show .
We all know the answer is They earn there profit from advertisements . Than the question arise is whom should Media be accountable to ,we Kanjooos people OR to business tycoons who fed there families .
In the latest IRS report, Dainik Jagran and Times of India have retained top slots among Hindi and English dailies respectively. Dainik Jagran has a total readership (last month) of 7,03,77,000 while The Times of India has a total readership of 1,30,47,000.
Hence Approximately a front page advertisement in above two newspaper on a normal day with all external factors as average will cost you 2-5 Crore INR .
Similarly on a popular channel like Aaj Tak , Star Plus , Star Sports at prime time (generally around 8-10pm) a Commercial ad of 10secs costs around 15-25 lakh Rupees . And suppose if election results are to be declare or there is any world cup or Olympics or a new movie telecasted for first time on TV than amount per 10 secs may reach to 40-50 lacs.
Today , What we eat ? What we drink ? What we study ?where will we do jobs ? where we reside ? which party will come in power ? Govt policies etc are directly or indirectly decided by Businessmens and remember media is there Brhamastra . Henceforth for a bright future There is an urgent need to stop this dark era of crony capitalism .
Two more issues mentioned below will be addressed and analysed very soon
Brick wall between Citizens and news publishing house
Promotion of Violence , westernism and Nudity by Media
#अंधेरनगरी #चौपट #राजा
समझ में नहीं आता कि कहां से शुरू करूं सवाल तो बहुत हैं दिल में लेकिन कुछ बातें ऐसी हैं कि अगर नहीं लिखता तो सच्चाई को छुपाने का आरोप लगेगा और लिखता हूं तो किसी का छुपा हुए राज से दुनिया को अवगत कराने का आरोप लगेगा इस लिए मुझे दोनों बातों का ख्याल रखते हुए लिखना पड़ रहा है
ये बात तो सभी जानते हैं कि गांव में विकाश की क्या हालत है सड़कें 20 साल से वैसी हैं जैसी 20 साल पहले थीं गांव में गरीब भी उतने ही हैं जितने 20 साल पहले थे जो गरीब थे वो आज भी गरीब हैं उन्हें कोई भी सरकारी योजना का लाभ नहीं मिलता सरकारी योजना का लाभ सिर्फ उन्हीं को मिलता है जो या तो किसी विधायक या प्रधान की चमचा गिरी करते हैं या पैसे वाले होते हैं मेरे गांव में आज ऐसे बहुत से परिवार है जिन्हें सरकारी अनाज की सख्त जरूरत है मगर उनका तो राशन कार्ड ही नहीं है और जिन्हें उज्ज्वला योजना के तहत गैस मिलनी चाहिए उन्हें आज तक नहीं मिली और जिन लोगों के पास गाड़ी बंदूक है खेती है saoodi वगैरह में कमाने वाले हैं उनके पास राशन कार्ड भी है और उज्ज्वला योजना के तहत गैस भी मिल गई है यानी गरीबों के हिस्से का अमीर खा रहे हैं मगर इस बात को बोलने वाला कोई नहीं है बोलेगा भी कौन वैसे भी गरीबों के हक के लिए कौन लड़ता है इंद्रा आवास योजना को ही देखले इस योजना के तहत जितने भी घर बने हैं उसमें से 70% घर उन लोगों को दिए गए हैं जिनके पास पहले से ही 2 2 पक्के घर बने हुए हैं और इन सबका कसूर वार कौन है इन सब के कसूर वार वहीं हैं जिन्हें। हम चुनते हैं कभी हिन्दू के नाम पर तो कभी मुसलमान के नाम पर क्या कभी हम किसी को विकाश के नाम पर चुने हैं यहां तक कि आज तक किसी ने प्रधान तक से ये सवाल नहीं किया होगा विधायक और संसद से सवाल करने का तो कोई सवाल ही नहीं उठता भूतपूर्व प्रधान राम कुमार ने इंद्रा आवास में उन्हीं लोगों के नाम लिखें हैं जो या तो उसके चमचे थे या फिर उसके साथ में दारू पीने वाले थे और जितने भी आवास पास हुए हैं उनमें से अधिकतर के पास पहले से ही पक्के घर बने हुए हैं और ये बात प्रधान और सचिव पंचायत मित्र सभी जानते हैं लेकिन कोई भी इसे सही करने की कोशिश नहीं करेगा यहां तक कि विधायक जैसे लोग भी सिर्फ हिन्दू मुस्लिम की बात करते हैं इस मामले में बात नहीं करते मैंने आज एक बड़े नेता से फोन पर बात की उनसे कहा कि साहब हमारे गांव में में बालू की 2 खदान चालू हुई हैं जिसकी वजह से हमारा पूरा गांव एक जेल बनकर रहगया गांव के दोनों तरफ से बालू के भरे ट्रक निकालते हैं आप कुछ करिए वर्तमान में आपकी सरकार है अगर आप कुछ कहेंगे तो आपकी अधिकारी और सरकार आपकी मानेगी तो सबसे पहले तो उन्होंने मेरा नाम पूछा तो मैंने अपना नाम संतोष बताया जानते हो उन्होंने क्या जवाब दिया अब उनका जवाब पढ़िए
उन्होंने कहा कि यार तुम लोग हिन्दू हो कैसे हिन्दू हो अरे यार हिन्दू भाई अपना अगर कमा रहा है। तो इसमें तुम्हें क्या तकलीफ़ है तुम्हें तो खुश होना चाहिए कि कोई हिन्दू मजबूत हो रहा है सिंधन में एक मुसलमान खदान चला रहा है तुम लोग उसमें नहीं बोलते हथौड़ा के मदरसे में आतंकवादी पढ़ते हैं तुम लोग उसमें नहीं बोलते तुम्हें सिर्फ यही लोग दिखते है अरे भाई जब हिन्दू मजबूत होगा तभी तो मुसलमान कमजोर होगा तो मैंने कहा साहब लेकिन हमारे गांव में खदान चालू हुई हैं उसमें मुसलमानों का कोई नुकसान नहीं है वो तो गांव के बीच में नुकसान तो हमारा हो रहा है एक तरफ ब्राह्मणों की बस्ती है तो दूसरी तरफ केवतों की बस्ती है अगर कोई दुर्घटना होगी तो हमारे साथ ही होगी मुसलमानों के साथ कहां होगी इसमें सबसे ज्यादा तकलीफ़ तो हिन्दुओं को है तो उन्होंने कहा कि भाई में इसमें कुछ नहीं कर्साकत ये हमारे एजेंडे में नहीं है तुमने बीजेपी को वोट दिया है तो मुसलमानों को कमजोर करने के लिए दिया है खदान बंद कराने के लिए नहीं दिया तो मैंने फोन काट दिया और फिर सोचता रहा की क्या वाकई हमारे गांव के हिन्दुओं ने मुसलमानों को कमजोर। करने के लिए बीजेपी को वोट दिया था ये तो वही लोग बता सकते हैं जिन्होंने बीजेपी को वोट दिया हो मगर ये बात समझ में आगई है कि बीजेपी ने मुसलमानों के नाम पर वोट लिया है उसका मकसद सिर्फ हिन्दू मुस्लिम करना है और कुछ नहीं और यही वो कर भी रहे हैं वरना क्या वजह है कि मैंने इस खदान के लिए प्रधान मंत्री को 3 बार लिख चुका हूं लेकिन कोई कार्रवाई नहीं हुई कार्रवाई होगी क्यों उन्हें तो हिन्दू भाई को मजबूत करना है सो वो करते हैं उन्हें इससे कोई लेना नहीं है कि जब पूरे गांव को तकलीफ़ होगी तो उसमें सिर्फ मुसलमान हो या हिन्दू सब को तकलीफ़ होगी अब ये बात हमारे गांव के हिंदुवो को सोचना चाहिए कि उन्होंने बीजेपी को वोट देकर कहीं ठग तो नहीं गए
The Commission deeply appreciates valuable inputs received from the Group it had constituted in finalising the report on “Imtiyaz Ahmad v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors (Criminal Appeal No.s254-262 of 2012)” to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the present report. The group that initially comprised : Prof. Theodore Eisenberg, Henry Allen Mark Professor of law, Adjunct Professor of Statistical Sciences at Cornell University; Prof. Sital Kalantry, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School; Prof. Sri Krishna Deva Rao, Registrar, National Law University, Delhi (as representative of NLU Delhi); and Mr. Nicholas Robinson, Fellow at Centre of Policy Research was expanded when Dr. Aparna Chandra and Mr. Utkarsh Saxena, Consultant to Law Commission of India joined it. Mr. Madhav Mallya and Ms. Vrinda Bhandari, Research Associates, National Law University and Mr. Saral Minocha and Ms. Sonal Sarda, students of National Law University also helped in analysing and compiling the data. Enthusiasm and dedication apart from research inputs of Dr. Aparna Chandra deserves special mention.
Denial of ‘timely justice’ amounts to denial of ‘justice’ itself. Two are integral to each other. Timely disposal of cases is essential for maintaining the rule of law and providing access to justice which is a guaranteed fundamental right. However, as the present report indicates, the judicial system is unable to deliver timely justice because of huge backlog of cases for which the current judge strength is completely inadequate. Further, in addition to the already backlogged cases, the system is not being able to keep pace with the new cases being instituted, and is not being able to dispose of a comparable number of cases. The already severe problem of backlogs is, therefore, getting exacerbated by the day, leading to a dilution of the Constitutional guarantee of access to timely justice and erosion of the rule of law. The present report is aimed at addressing this scenario that demands a multi-prong approach including more sensitive and rational judicial (wo)manpower planning.
It may be acknowledged that the present report is largely driven by the Hon’ble Supreme Court when in the matter of Imtiyaz Ahmad1 it directed the Commission to undertake an inquiry and submit its recommendations in relation to the following:
“I. Keeping in view that timely justice is an important facet to access to justice, the immediate measures that need to be taken by way of creation of additional Courts and other allied matters (including a rational and scientific definition of “arrears” and delay, of which continued notice needs to be taken), to help in elimination of delays, speedy clearance of arrears and reduction in costs. It is trite to add that the qualitative component of justice must not be lowered or compromised; and
II. Specific recommendations whenever considered necessary on the above aspects in relation to each State be made as a product of consultative processes involving the High Courts and other stake holders, including the Bar.”
For arriving at informed understanding of the problem at hand and for making any meaningful suggestion(s), to deal with it, the Commission requested all the High Courts to provide data on litigation in each district within their jurisdiction. To facilitate orderly organization and supply of data, the High Courts were sent a prescribed format (Annexure I). Some very useful data was produced. However, most High Courts due to variety of reasons, could not fully provide the data / information sought.
Keeping in view insufficiency of the data received, after detailed in-house discussions and also involving experts that an additional questionnaire was sent to various High Courts. In response, no doubt, some relevant data was received. However, lack of scientific collection, collation and analysis still remained a
serious constraint. Despite these constraints, reading and analyzing data received very closely, especially in the light of different methods of data analysis available that the Commission gave its response to queries and matter raised by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the same has provided the basis of this report.
While acknowledging that the problem of delay is not only enormous but complex, the Commission in the present report has remained confined to developing more informed understanding of as to whether problem of delay and strength of judges is a related one in some ways and if so how? In the report, an attempt has been made to suggest number of judges as are required to reduce delays. In a way, the report provides a roadmap for judicial (wo)manpower planning. While agreeing that there exists no clear ‘time standard’ or a ‘reference’ to which a case can be classified as ‘delayed’. How one defines ‘timeliness’ (and, therefore, how many cases are delayed) is crucial to suggest any kind of basis for computing how many additional judges are required to process cases in timely manner. Without arriving at some such definition, it is difficult to suggest any appropriate method for planning and computing additional resources required to contain problem of delay. Similarly, the Commission is fully aware as thus undermined in the report that terms, such as ‘arrears’, ‘pendency’ and ‘backlog’ which are so oftenly used in almost all kinds of discourse on working of justice administration system in India are used very vaguely and beg clear and precise definition. The report is an attempt to reflect and throw more light on some of these terms, and it is hoped that the policy makers and other stakeholders in the system may find these reflections and attempt to introduce some clarity by the present work of some use during their course of deliberations on judicial reforms.
As the pivotal issue for the report is to suggest some basis for computing as to how many additional judges are required to process cases in ‘timely’ manner to large extent, answer to this question depends on how one defines ‘timeliness’ (and, therefore, how many cases are delayed). As already mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs, it may be emphasized at the cost of sounding repetitive that without arriving at some such definition, it is difficult to suggest any appropriate method for planning and computing additional resources required to contain the delay. A significant portion of the report right at the start, after critical examination of various approaches to defining terms like ‘arrears’, ‘pendency’ and ‘delay’ as floating around in the literature on the subject incorporates Commission’s own reflections. These reflections, while may provide little more clarity to assigning meaning to above referred terms which have been generally understood so ambiguously, the Commission still views that it may not be possible to devise any perfectly scientific and uniform definition of these concepts. Acknowledging such definitional limitation and of inadequacy of data received, present report culminates in making some suggestions on the additional resources required to dispose of the current pendency, and to prevent the backlog in future.
DEFINING KEY CONCEPTS: PENDENCY, DELAY,
ARREARS, AND BACKLOG
There is no single or clear understanding of when a case should be counted as delayed. Often, terms like “delay,” “pendency,” “arrears,” and “backlog” are used interchangeably. This leads to confusion. To avoid this confusion and for the sake of clarity, these terms may be understood as follows:
a. Pendency: All cases instituted but not disposed of, regardless of when the case was instituted.
b. Delay: A case that has been in the Court/judicial system for longer than the normal time that it should take for a case of that type to be disposed of.
c. Arrears: Some delayed cases might be in the system for longer than the normal time, for valid reasons. Those cases that show unwarranted delay will be referred to as arrears.
d. Backlog: When the institution of new cases in any given time period is higher than the disposal of cases in that time period, the difference between institution and disposal is the backlog. This figure represents the accumulation of cases in the system due to the system’s inability to dispose of as many cases as are being filed.
Therefore, as is evident, defining terms like delay and arrears require computing “normal” case processing time standards. How should the normal time frame be determined? It may be noted that since the Supreme Court had directed the Law Commission to recommend a “rational and scientific definition of “arrears” and delay,” the Commission clarified to the Hon’ble Court at the outset that there exists no single “objective” standard or mathematical formula by reference to which “normal” case processing time and hence delay can be defined or calculated. However, Commission is of the view that various methods, drawing on statistics, social science research techniques and experiential inputs can help make “rational” determination of “normal” case disposal times, and hence of delay. Based on a survey of various jurisdictions and previous reform efforts in India it is revealed that two approaches, and combinations thereof, are generally used in computing rational timeliness requirements.
The first approach, which can be called the Practice Assessment Approach, involves studying the patterns of current filing, disposal, case-length and pendency. A comparative analysis of these patterns inter se and between jurisdictions, can help policy makers determine whether a particular Court takes more or less time compared to either a system-wide average, or the median case in the system. This analysis does not tell the policy maker whether a particular Court or type of case is delayed. However, it does allow for a relative assessment of which Courts are taking longer than others, such that they may require targeted intervention in terms of greater allocation of resources, etc.2 When a Court is a complete outlier in terms of its case processing time, the policy maker (or superior Court) may be able to draw an inference that cases in that Court are unacceptably delayed and are, therefore, in arrear. 3 Further, while current practice assessments are inadequate for defining delay, they can reveal when and where (in which Court and in which types of cases) backlog is being created, so that targeted intervention is possible to address the issue. In the absence of other measures, this is the approach that the Commission has adopted in examining the question of adequate judicial strength for the Subordinate Judiciary.
Another approach, which may be called the Normative Assessment Approach, is to fix time standards for the disposal of cases. Cases that are disposed of within such time are not delayed; cases beyond such time are delayed; cases which exhibit unwarranted delay are in arrears. One of the means by which such standard setting can take place in a rigorous and rational manner is to begin by studying the current patterns of filing, disposal, pendency, length, etc. Based on this study, the policy maker can determine the average or median time taken for processing various types of cases. Studies based on interviews with stakeholders, examination of the life cycle of sample cases, etc, can then be undertaken to understand whether these time frames reflect an optimal standard for timely disposal. A committee of experts, drawn from persons with extensive experiential knowledge of the system, can then review the current patterns to determine optimality, keeping in mind resource constraints, Court cultures, system goals and constitutional and statutory requirements. The Normative Approach therefore, relies on an amalgam of past and current statistics, social science research techniques and experiential inputs to make a “rational” determination of “normal” case disposal times, and hence of delay.
One method of defining delay through the Normative Assessment Approach is by determining the normal time frame within which cases of a particular type should be processed through a Court. If a case takes longer than this time frame, then the case is delayed. Time frames can be in the nature of mandatory time limits, or they can provide general guidelines that are normally to be followed, but can be departed from in exceptional circumstances.
Countries like the US have limited mandatory time frames, for example under the US Speedy Trial Act, 1974.5 However, India does not have general statutory time limits comparable to the US Speedy Trial Act. While the Civil Procedure Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code, have time frames for completing certain stages of the case, these statutes generally do not prescribe time limits within which the overall case should be completed, or each step in the trial should be concluded.6
On the judicial side, setting of mandatory time limits was attempted by the Supreme Court in a series of cases.7 However, in 2002 a seven judge bench of the Court in P. Ramchandra Rao v. State of Karnataka8 held that mandatory time limits could not be prescribed by the Court.9 Though the Court was not in favour of mandatory time limits, it did not find problematic the use of time frames as guidelines for the Court. The prescription of such non-binding, directory guidelines has been a common means of defining normal time frames and evaluating delay, both in India and abroad.10 In India, previous Law Commissions and various Governmental Committees have suggested various directory time frames both as guidelines to Courts for the timely disposal of cases, and as standards by which delay in the system can be measured.11 However, all these suggestions are based on ad-hoc prescriptions rather than grounded in empirical analysis and observation. And thus the concern raised by the Hon’ble Supreme
It is neither advisable, nor feasible, nor judicially permissible to draw or prescribe an outer limit for conclusion of all criminal proceedings. The time-limits or bars of limitation prescribed in the several directions made in Common Cause (I), Raj Deo Sharma (I) and Raj Deo Sharma (II) could not have been so prescribed or drawn and are not good law. The criminal Courts are not obliged to terminate trial or criminal proceedings merely on account of lapse of time, as prescribed by the directions made in Common Cause Case (I), Raj Deo Sharma case (I) and (II). At the most the periods of time prescribed in those decisions can be taken by the Courts seized of the trial or proceedings to act as reminders when they may be persuaded to apply their judicial mind to the facts and circumstances of the case before them and determine by taking into consideration the several relevant factors as pointed out in A.R. Antulay’s case and decide whether the trial or proceedings have become so inordinately delayed as to be called oppressive and unwarranted. Such time-limits cannot and will not by themselves be treated by any Court as a bar to further continuance of the trial or proceedings and as mandatorily obliging the Court to terminate the same and acquit or discharge the accused.
Court in Imtiyaz Ahmad, viz., of providing “a rationale and scientific definition of ‘arrears’ and ‘delay’ demands deeper study and rigorosity in terms of data.
Time frames serve as performance benchmarks and provide guidance to Courts as well as other stakeholders on what constitutes the timely disposal of a case, and enable them to determine both whether an individual case is being processed in a timely manner; and whether a Court or system as a whole is providing timely justice. Where time frames are not mandatory, they can be departed from, but only in limited circumstances, and often with the requirement of justification for why such departure from the time frame is necessary. This provides the flexibility needed to individualize case processing, while at the same time, taking care of the systemic concerns over timeliness.
Though general time frames of this type serve a useful benchmarking purpose, and are well suited as a time template for the run of the mill or average case, they require further fine tuning for cases which require less or more time. A standardized time frame is likely to be both over and under inclusive in determining the requirements of timely justice. The intention behind benchmarking performance is not to have all cases processed at the same time. Each case is different and might have different requirements. Therefore, apart from general guidance there is a requirement for case-specific determination of what would amount to a timely disposal of the case. Case-specific time tables are generally adopted to meet this object of individualized timely justice. Such time tables are fixed by the judge hearing a particular dispute, generally at a scheduling hearing held towards the start of proceedings, so that all parties know who has to perform what activity, and by when. Setting individualized time-tables allows the judge to mould the general time frame to suit the requirements of the individual case, while at the same time keeping in mind the needs of the overall case-load before the judge. The time table set at the beginning of the case proceedings then becomes the benchmark by which the timeliness of the proceedings is measured. Unforeseen events may de-rail the time-table, but the case, though delayed, would not be counted as an arrear, if the delay was warranted.
Case specific time-tables are used as timeliness standards, delay reduction methods, and yardsticks for measuring delays in the system in various jurisdictions around the world, including U.S.,12 U.K.,13 and Canada.14 In India the Supreme Court has also recently advocated the use of case-specific time tables for the timely disposal of cases, in the case of Ramrameshwari Devi v. Nirmala Devi.15
As a staple part of systematic case management strategies, such timetables provide clear time frames for dispute resolution, define litigant expectations of timeliness, and thus impact the litigant experience of delay. They allow the judge flexibility to take into account the specific aspects of an individual case in framing a time schedule for that case. When accompanied by general time frame guidelines, the possibility of abuse of the power by setting long time frames can be avoided.
When case-specific targets cannot be met because of systemic delays the system needs to take responsibility for allocating proper resources. Where the delay is because of the conduct of parties, the judge can provide sanctions for such behavior, including, dismissing the application, imposing costs, etc.
The Normative Assessment Approach requires state level studies to determine optimal time frames. High Courts are best placed to take into account state level concerns and circumstances in determining adequate time standards. Within the frame work of these time standards, individual Subordinate Court Judges can set time frames for individual cases. For this system to work, a strong monitoring frame work would be required, whereby the timeliness of the caseload of individual judges can be supervised by High Courts. Annual reporting of disposal
and timeliness data will also ensure public scrutiny and add another layer of accountability towards timeliness goals and standards.
As a beginning however, the Normative Assessment Approach requires extensive and sustained study over a period of time in order to provide a rational and scientific definition of delays and arrears. In the meantime, in the absence of such time frames, and for the purposes of the study of adequate judicial strength in India’s Subordinate Judiciary, the Commission has examined the current patterns of institution, disposal and pendency, to address the question of whether more judicial resources are required (and where they should be targeted) in order to clear the current pendency and prevent the accumulation of backlog in the future.
COMPUTING JUDGE STRENGTH
A. Overview of Data and its Limitations
Lack of complete data was a great handicap in making critical analysis and more meaningful suggestions as responses to questionnaires received from many High Courts16 were incomplete. However, data supplied by High Courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab & Haryana, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand proved very useful in furnishing the basis for the present work. The analysis in this report is based on the data received from these High Courts.
High Courts have provided data for the period 2002 to 2012. All the data received has been computed on an annual basis. Therefore, for example, each High Court has provided data as on 31st December of each year, under the categories of institution, disposal, pendency, etc.
Some High Courts provided data that was disaggregated into two categories: Higher Judicial Service and Subordinate Judicial Service. Other High Courts provided data disaggregated by cadre, i.e., Higher Judicial Service, Civil Judge (Senior) Division, and Civil Judge (Junior) Division. For uniformity of analysis, all the data has been analysed in the two broad categories of Higher Judicial Service and Subordinate Judicial Service.
It is important to note that the data on institution, disposal and pendency does not indicate the actual number of cases in the system. High Courts count data in various ways. Some High Courts such as those of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa and Sikkim count interlocutory applications before Subordinate Courts as separate institutions, disposals and pendencies. Kerala even counts committal proceedings as separate for purposes of institution, disposal and pendency. Therefore, a single case may be counted multiple times in some High Courts. Thus, the number of cases pending, instituted or disposed of by the Courts is significantly smaller than the overall pendency, institution or disposal figures would suggest.
Further, the multiplicity of approaches in tabulating data make a cross-comparison between different High Courts problematic. For example, in the High Courts of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh,
B. Analysis of Data
The data shows that overall, institution, disposal and pendency have all been on the rise in this category in the last decade.
The data shows that while the annual rate of institution, disposal and pendency has increased overall in the 2002-2012 period, in the last few years, pendency has been on a decline whereas institution and disposal are largely constant.
The data for the Higher Judicial Service also indicates that in the 2002-2012 period, by and large, more cases have been instituted than have been disposed of in any given year. As a result, a backlog is being created in the system.
12. Backlog Creation Rate is the ratio of institution to disposal in any given year. If the ratio is greater than 1, this implies that more cases are being instituted than are being disposed of. If the ratio is less than one, then more cases are being disposed of, than are being instituted. A number less than 1, therefore, indicates that the judicial system is being able to handle new institutions.
As the figures indicate, the Higher Judicial Service is disposing of fewer cases than are being instituted. As such, it is adding to the backlog of cases in the system. On the other hand, in the Subordinate Judicial Service, the disposal rate is higher than the institution, implying that the backlog is being reduced. It should be pointed out here that the backlog creation analysis does not indicate whether the same cases that were filed in a given year were disposed of in that year. Rather, it takes a systemic perspective and looks at how many new cases are coming in, in relation to how many cases are going out. A low backlog creation rate, therefore, indicates that the system as a whole is incapable of dealing with the recurring annual demand for Judicial Services, and is, therefore, in need of additional resources.
As mentioned realier, the Backlog Creation Rate focuses on the number of cases going in and out of the system in a given year and does not take into account the already backlogged cases that carry forward from year to year.
To understand how well Courts are handling the already backlogged cases, the Pendency Clearance Time is useful. This figure is arrived at by dividing the pendency at the end of the year by the disposal that year, and indicates the amount of time it would take to dispose of all pending cases if no new cases were filed. The following figures indicate the annual pendency clearance time in the 2002-2012 period for the Higher Judicial Service and the Subordinate Judiciary, respectively.
Overall, for both the Higher Judicial Service and the Subordinate Judicial Service, the time it would take to clear pendency has declined in the 2002-2012 period. This implies that overall, the system is processing cases faster at the end of 2012 than it was in 2002. While these figures do not indicate the types of cases that are being processed through the system, the figures do provide an overall picture of the system and indicate the broad trajectory of the system in the past decade.
The data also indicates that in the High Courts under consideration, in the last three years 38.7% of institutions and 37.4% of all pending cases before the Subordinate Judicial Services were traffic and police challans.19 An additional 6.5% and 7.8% cases account for institution and pendency respectively of Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act, matters.20 Annexure V provides the numerical data and the following figures provide State-wise breakup of institution and pendency including data on traffic/police challans and Negotiable Instrument Act matters.
Cases of traffic and police challans generally do not require much judicial involvement. However, given the high volume of such cases, they cumulatively take up a significant amount of judicial time. The bulk of these cases deal with the payment of fines and are usually uncontested by parties. For such cases, automation of the system through the ability to pay fines online or at a designated counter in the Court complex, can significantly free up valuable Court time. For the remainder, the Commission considers that the creation of separate Special Traffic Courts, over and above the regular Courts, may significantly reduce the burden on regular Courts. These Special Courts can sit in two shifts (morning and evening). Since most such cases are not contested and do not involve lawyers, the shift system is not likely to inconvenience other stakeholders. In fact, the evening Court shift is likely to assist parties to come to Court after work hours and pay their fines. Recent law graduates can be recruited on a temporary basis (e.g., for 3 year periods) to preside over these Courts.21 However, cases in which there is a possibility of imprisonment, should be tried by regular Courts.
Thus, a simple analysis of data supplied shows that there is a large amount of double counting of institution, disposal and pendency figures in the Subordinate Judiciary, such that the total volume of cases being processed through the system is significantly less than the figures supplied by the High Courts. Tit is also evident from the data that a high proportion of cases before the Subordinate Judicial Service comprises of petty matters like traffic and police challans. As already suggested, it is reiterated that these petty matters can better be dealt with by special morning and evening Courts over and above the regular Courts. The burden on the regular Courts will be significantly reduced as a result.
C. Methodologies for Computing Adequate Judge Strength
Most oftenly referred methods in most discussions for computing adequate judge strength are: the judge-population ratio, the judge-filing ratio, the ideal case load method, time based methods, and the rate of Disposal Method. Briefly analyzing these methods and looking into their pros and cons the report finds greater favour with the rate of Disposal Method.
1. Judge to Population Ratio & Judge to Filing Ratio
One method commonly advocated for determining how many judges are required in the judicial system is the judge to population ratio, i.e., the number of judges per million persons in the population.22 The Commission finds this method very wanting because there is no objective number by reference to which we can determine whether the judge to population ratio of any State is adequate. It is known that filings per capita vary substantially across geographic units. Filings per capita are associated with economic and social conditions and can vary across India’s States by as much as a factor of 50.23 The justice needs of different societies thus vary, and no universal standard can be prescribed in this regard. Therefore, while population might be the appropriate metric to measure the availability of other essential services like health care and nutrition, it is not an appropriate standard for measuring the requirement for Judicial Services.
Another similar method oftenly referred to on various discussions is to look at the Judge to Institution Ratio.24 This would tell how many judges a State has relative to the existing pattern of demand for judicial services within that state. Here, again, however, there is no ideal number of judges per 1000 instituted cases, by reference to which one can determine whether or not a State needs more judges and by how much. Further, institution figures often vary depending upon the issue area and the social identity of those instituting cases. Socially marginalized groups are likely to have lower institution rates for reasons of lack of access to Courts.25 Institution figures may also vary depending upon the geography. Far-flung areas, where physical access to Courts is a problem, may have low institution figures compared to the population. No doubt, while these are not by themselves reasons to discard the judge to institution ratio method but they do caution that merely meeting some ideal ratio will not necessarily fulfill the justice needs of a society.
2. The Ideal Case Load Method
Another method sometimes advocated for fixing the appropriate judge strength is the ideal case load method. This method requires a determination of the ideal number of cases that a judge should have on his/her docket. The total caseload (existing pendency plus new institutions) can then be divided by the ideal case load to estimate the number of judges required by the system. Where the number of cases per judge is disproportionately higher than the ideal case load, additional judges are required to be recruited.26
The ideal case load method seems difficult to implement in practice. One is absence of any exhaustive study, one does not find any fixed criteria for determining what the ideal case load should be. Generally, ideal case loads are fixed on an ad hoc basis. To give one illustration, the Law Commission vide letter no. 6(3)/224/2012-LC(LS) dated 28.05.2012 had asked High Courts to provide “reasonable workloads that each category of Courts (DJ, Sr. Civil Judge, Jr. Civil Judge/Magistrate) can bear in order to establish better and speedy access to justice.” However, the information received from various High Courts revealed that measurements of ideal case load for each cadre of judge varies widely across states. Thus for instance, the reasonable workload for the Higher Judicial Service was suggested to be 120 in Madhya Pradesh, 500 in Andhra Pradesh, 750 in Jammu and Kashmir and 1000 in Orissa. This wide variation across states is a result, in part, of the lack of a rational basis for determining the ideal case load.
Second, different types of cases require different amounts of judicial time. A murder trial is generally likely to consume much more time, for example, than a summary trial in a petty offence. An ideal case load approach that looks only at the number of files before the judge, will treat both cases as equal even though a judge with 500 murder cases is likely to be over-stretched and one with 500 summary trials, under-utilized. To be fruitful, the ideal case load method requires some analysis of the types of cases likely to come up before a judge. Also, there is need to analyze as to the amount of time each type of case normally takes. Such analysis may probably give an idea of what should constitute ‘ideal case load’ before a judge. However, there is need to be cautious because the existing case mix can change fairly quickly, for instance, through the emergence of new laws and increased rights awareness. For example, The present section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, was a result of an amendment in 2002 vide the
Negotiable Instruments (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2002 (55 of 2002). This provision has been wide used and has drastically changed the number and type of cases in the case mix before the Subordinate Judiciary.
Finally, if we were to do the study into the case mix and case times required to operationalize the ideal case load method, this information can be directly used to determine the appropriate number of judges required by the system. The via media of ideal case load would not be required. The method to determine the appropriate number of judges by using case mix and case times is discussed below.
3. The Time Based Method
Another model often used, as for example in the US, for determining the number of judges required by the judicial system is the Time Based Method.28 Broadly speaking, this method determines the time required to clear the existing judicial caseload. It then determines the time available per judge for judicial work. Dividing the first number by the second provides the number of judges required to deal with the existing caseload.
In more detail, the time based method involves determining the ideal or actual time taken by judges in deciding a particular type of case on average. Then it requires determining the average number of cases of that type being instituted and pending in the Courts. Multiplying the number of cases with the time required per case, gives the number of judicial hours required to deal with cases of that type. Dividing this by the number of judicial hours available per year gives the number of judges required to deal with cases of that type. Adding this information for all types of cases that a particular category of judges deals with gives the number of judges required for disposing of the caseload.
In the United States where this approach is followed, the National Centre for State Courts (“NCSC”) conducts studies to determine the number of minutes it takes judges to resolve certain cases. Judges are interviewed and are often required to keep time sheets in order to determine the time value of each type of case.
The Time-Based Method, as followed by the NCSC computes the number of judges using four pieces of data:
1) The number of cases instituted by Court, district, and type of case
2) The average bench and non-bench time a judge requires to resolve each type of case within the Court
3) The amount of time a judge has available to complete case-related work per year
4) The number of active judges by Court and district
All the information required to run this model for Indian Courts is not available. In India, the system does not have any information about the time required by judges to resolve each type of case. This lack of information points to a larger systemic problem. Any effort at delay reduction has to first determine how many cases in the system are delayed. This requires determining what the normal time frame for a particular type of case should be, such that anything beyond this time frame is considered delayed. The judicial system has no such benchmark and, therefore, has no data on how many cases are delayed (as opposed to pending).
One proxy for time could be units. Since judges are required to complete a certain number of units per month, and one knows the time available per judge for judicial work per month, and can calculate the time value of each unit. One can then determine the time value of each type of case by looking at the number of units allotted to that type of case. This would give the data required in point 2 above.
However, two problems arise:
1. Units are not a good proxy for time. Units serve as performance benchmarks for judges. As such they are used for different purposes. Often units are used to incentivize the quick disposal of certain types of cases, for example, cases pending for a certain number of years. Second, they are used to incentivize greater productivity. Therefore, for the same type of case, more units per case is sometimes awarded if a judge completes a certain number of such cases. Therefore, the allocation of units is not based solely on time.
2. The data about institution, disposal and pendency that High Courts record, often do not map well against the information available on units. For example, while it is known that the number of Section 302, IPC cases instituted and pending before the Sessions Courts of Delhi, it is not clear how many witnesses are required to be deposed in each case. Units though are awarded, inter alia, on the basis of the number of witnesses in a particular case. Hence, even if one knew the time value of each unit, one would not know the unit value of each murder case instituted or pending before the Court.
For these reasons, the Commission feels that any approach that uses “unit as a proxy for time” may not be a sound approach. There is no other proxies for time and further no scientific data in this regard is available. The time Based Method as practiced elsewhere may not be applicable or feasible in Indian context.
4. The Rate of Disposal Method
In the present scenario, especially in the absence of complete and scientific approach to data collection that the commission finds the use of the Rate of Disposal Method to calculate the number of additional judges required to clear the backlog of cases as well as to ensure that new backlog is not created as more pragmatic and useful. This method generally speaking addresses two important concerns: (a) a large existing backlog of cases and (b) new being instituted daily which are adding to the backlog.
To address both these concerns, the Rate of Disposal Method can be applied to provide for two sets of judges: (a) Number. of judges required to dispose of the existing backlog and (b) Number of judges required for ensuring that new filings are disposed of in a manner such that further backlog is not created.
It may not be out of context to briefly explain what constitutes “Rate of Disposal Method”. Under the Rate of Disposal Method, one first looks at the current rate at which judges dispose of cases. Next one determines how many additional judges working at a similar level of efficiency would be required so that the number of disposals equals the number of institutions in any one year time frame. As long as the institution and disposal levels remain as they currently are, the Courts would need these many additional judges to keep pace with new filings in order to ensure that newly instituted cases do not add to the backlog.
Second, working with the current rate of disposal of cases per judge one is also required to look at how many judges would be required to dispose of the current backlog. Backlog, for the present, has been defined as those cases which have been pending in the system for more than a year.30
It has to be noted that in the past the Law Commission and other Committees have suggested that since the judges required to dispose of the backlog are needed only till the backlog is cleared, therefore, short-term ad hoc appointments be made from among-st retired judges, for the purpose of clearing backlog. Most recently, the National Vision Statement and Action Plan presented by the Law Minister in October 2009, also recommended that retired judges and eminent lawyers may be appointed as ad hoc judges for a period of one year for dealing with arrears.32 However, as previous experiences with appointing ad hoc judges has shown, there are serious concerns about such appointments, especially the lack of accountability in the functioning and performance of ad-hoc judges, since these are short term appointments.
Further, even if ad hoc judges were to be appointed, additional infrastructure for these Courts would have to be created. Though the National Vision Statement recommended adopting a shift system to overcome the infrastructure problem,33 this proposal has been resisted by members of the Bar since it significantly increases their working hours.34
Significantly, the Central Government, the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, and the Advisory Council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, have all proposed the doubling of the current judge strength.35 As per the information supplied by the Department of Justice to the Law Commission indicate that consultations are currently underway between the Central Government, the State Governments, and the High Courts, on formulating memoranda to be presented to the 14th Finance Commission regarding funds required for doubling the judge strength. The Commission recommends that since this decision to double judge strength has already been taken, the judges required for disposing of the backlog can be drawn from the new recruitment itself. Once backlog is cleared, these judges can be deployed for disposing of freshly instituted cases, which will also increase over time.
Given the vast resources required to double the existing judge strength, the time that it will take to complete selection and training processes, and the funds and time required to create adequate infrastructure, the Commission is of the opinion that the Rate of Disposal Method should be used to indicate how many judges should be appointed on a priority basis for the interim period. Tables I- XII below, provide data for how many judges need to be hired to dispose of the backlog in one, two, or three years.36
The Rate of Disposal Method provides an approximation- a rough and ready calculation- based on current efficiency levels of the Subordinate Judiciary, of the adequate judge strength required to address the problem of backlog in the judicial system. The formula as proposed below has been evolved largely based on the data that the Commission could gather. With more precise data, the formula indicated below can be fine-tuned to provide a more exact estimation of the additional judges required. Keeping in view concerns expressed about other methods and other analysis as carried out here, the Commission is of the view that the method proposed here could provide a reasoned basis (as opposed to ad-hoc) for determining adequate judge strength.
The method is as below:
1. The method aims at calculating the number of judges required in each cadre of Subordinate Court Judges, i.e., Higher Judicial Service, Civil Judge Senior Division and Civil Judge Junior Division. For evolving the method, a separate analysis of figures for institution, disposal and the working strength of judges in each of these three cadres from 2010 to end 2012 was carried out.
2. Disposals for one cadre of judges (e.g., Higher Judicial Service) is divided by the working strength of judges in that cadre. Working strength refers to sanctioned strength minus vacancies and deputations. This division gave the annual Rate of Disposal per judge in a cadre for each year from 2010 to 2012. The average of these annual rate of disposal figures gave the Average Rate of Disposal per judge in that cadre.
3. An average of the annual institutions before each cadre of judge for the years 2010-12 was taken.37 The average institution was divided by the
Average Rate of Disposal per judge for that cadre to give the number of judges required to keep pace with the current filings, and ensure that no new backlog is created. This figure has been described as : The Break Even Number.
4. Subtracting the current number of judges from the Break Even Number gives us the Additional Number of Judges required to ensure that the number of disposals would equal the number of institutions.
5. The backlog for a particular cadre of judges (defined as all cases pending before that cadre of judges for more than a year) was then divided by the rate of disposal for that type of judge. This gave the number of judges required to clear the backlog within a year. Dividing this number by 2 gives the number of judges required to clear the backlog in 2 years, and so forth.
Based on application of these formulae, the following tables were generated. These tables indicate the additional number of Subordinate Court Judges required to breakeven, and the number of Subordinate Court Judges required to clear the existing backlog for the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab & Haryana, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand.
The method can easily be illustrated with an example. Table I shows the rate of disposal analysis for the Andhra Pradesh Subordinate Courts. As this data shows, in 2010 Andhra Pradesh had 129 judges of the Higher Judicial Service who disposed of 109085 cases, at an average of 109085/129 = 845.6 cases per judge. Similarly, in 2011, 139 judges disposed of 111892 cases at an average of 111892/139 = 805 cases per judge; and in 2012, 136 judges disposed of 106997 cases at an average of 106997/136 = 786.7 cases per judge. On average, therefore, judges of the Higher Judicial Service disposed of (845.6+805+786.7)/3
= 812.4 cases per judge per year in this time period. This is the Average Rate of disposal per judge.
Now the average institution per year from 2010-2012 in the Higher Judicial Service cadre is (112209+112710+113250)/3=112723. If each judge is disposing of on average 812.4 cases per year, then the number of judge required to dispose of 112723 cases is 112723/812.4 = 138.7. This is the breakeven number, which implies that if there were 138.7 Higher Judicial Service judges then in any given time period, all new institutions would be disposed of without adding to the backlog. Since currently there are 136 judges of this cadre, there the need is 138.7- 136=3 (rounding off to the higher number) additional judges to reach the breakeven number. The breakeven number deals with the current institutions.
There is also a huge backlog of cases. In the case of the Higher Judicial Service, 98072 matters are pending for more than a year, as on 31.12.2012. If one judge disposes of 812.4 cases per year on average, then system would need 98072/812.4 = 121 judges to dispose of all pending matters in one year, or 121/2=61 (after rounding off), or 121/3=41 (after rounding off) for disposing of all pending cases in 2 and 3 years respectively.
A closer look at the foregoing analysis of the data and evaluating various methods as discussed the Commission considers it important to emphasize the following:
1. Appointment of judges on a priority basis: As this data indicates, the situation is indeed grim, and is getting worse by the moment. In all states, there is a significant backlog of cases which requires a massive influx of judicial resources even if one takes a 3 year time frame for clearing backlog. Bihar, for example, requires an additional 1624 judges to clear backlog in three years. The problem of backlogs is compounded by the fact that in some states, Courts are unable to even keep pace with the new filings, thus adding to the already huge backlog. As the data shows, even where the Courts are breaking even, the system is severely backlogged and requires urgent intervention.38 Given the large number of judges required to clear backlog and the time it will take to complete selection and training processes, the Law Commission recommends that the recruitment of new judges should, therefore, focus, as a matter of priority, on the number of
judges required to breakeven, and to dispose of the backlog in a 3 year time frame. This has to be dealt with on a priority basis, otherwise the already severe problem of backlogs will only get worse.
2. Special Traffic Courts: The figures for institution and disposal do not include traffic challans/police challans. As mentioned in Part III A above, the Law Commission recommends that these cases be dealt with by Special Courts, over and above the regular Courts. The Special Courts can function in morning and evening shifts. Much of the work of these Courts is likely to require very little judicial involvement. Therefore, recent law graduates can be appointed for short durations, e.g., 3 years, to preside over these Courts. Providing online facilities for the payment of fines, or separate counter facilities in Court precincts for this purpose, can ease the work load of these Courts considerably. In order to ensure fair process, Special Traffic Courts should deal only with cases which involve fines. Where imprisonment is a likely consequence, the matter should be heard by a regular Court. Staffing such Courts with recent law graduates will also have the added benefit of providing such graduates with a meaningful stepping stone for careers in litigation or the judicial services.
It is to be noted that the Backlog figures do not exclude traffic challans. Data on what proportion of pending traffic/police challans were more than a year old were not available. However, given that these cases generally do not require much judicial involvement, most of these cases are not likely to be backlogged.
3. Periodic Needs Assessment for the Judiciary: The present work is based on analysis of institution, disposal and pendency data for the time period 2010-12. Institution and disposal trends can and will change over time. New laws, greater awareness of rights, changing social circumstances, and even the reduction of judicial delay are likely to lead to an increase in the number of cases being instituted. At the same time, better infrastructure, more support staff, access to time-saving technology and better training are likely to increase the efficiency levels (and hence, rate of disposal) of judges. Since the method of calculating Additional number of Judges depends on these figures, the Law Commission recommends that the trend of institutions and disposals should be constantly monitored by the High Courts, in order to meet the evolving needs of the judiciary. Using the formula provided above, judge strength should be increased periodically, particularly when institution rates start climbing over disposal rates. The Commission also recommends that in order to engage in this analysis, High Courts should put in place reliable and regular data collection and management systems.
4. Efficient Deployment of Judicial Resources: The Commission recognizes that apart from increasing the judge strength, there is also need for efficient deployment of the additional judicial resources. While the rate of Disposal Method indicates how many additional judges are required it does not indicate how these additional judicial resources should be allocated (e.g., which Courts, which districts, what types of cases) to best meet the goal of delay reduction. Further, the Commission also recognizes that the most efficient allocation of resources will depend upon various local factors and micro level analyses, for which pan-India recommendations may be inappropriate. Therefore, the Law Commission recommends that once appointments are made, High Courts should make appropriate allocation of judicial work, keeping in mind the following factors:
a. In this report, all cases pending for less than a year have been treated as current cases. All cases pending for more than a year have been categorized as backlogged cases. The Commission recognizes that this division is ad hoc. However, as elaborated earlier in this report, we do not have any established metric for determining when a case can be considered delayed for purpose of counting only delayed cases in the backlogged category. In the absence of this information, a time frame of one year has been taken as the period for considering a case as current or backlogged. It is possible that a Court with high pendency of backlogged cases might have many recently filed pending cases whereas another Court with a relatively
lower backlog may have a high proportion of very old pending cases. High Courts should, therefore, allocate more resources for Courts with more old pending matters than those with relatively new case loads.
b. It is also important to note that not every case requires the same amount of judicial time or resources. A petty case may be considered delayed if it takes more than 3 months whereas a murder case may be considered disposed of well in time if it takes 6 months for disposal. However, the rate of Disposal Method does not take this complexity into account. The Commission has taken one, two and three years as the time frames within which pending cases should be disposed of. However, one year might be too much time for some cases, and too little for others. A benchmark to determine delay and the requisite age wise break up of cases by subject area, can help to determine what percentage of cases are delayed and hence require targeted intervention. On the general principle of first in, first out for each type of case, High Courts should allocate more resources for Courts with more delayed pending cases.
c. Similarly, even if a Court has a relatively high rate of disposal, some cases in that Court might be very old and moving at a very slow pace, compared to the bulk of the case load, which may be simpler and moving at a much faster rate. Since the overall rate of disposal averages out the rate of disposal of specific types of cases, a high overall rate of disposal may mask the fact that some cases such are stagnating for long periods within such a Court. Therefore, even if some Courts have a very high rate of disposal, the High Court should not re-allocate judicial resources in those Courts, without first determining how current their case loads are.
d. Relatedly, even though the general picture that emerges lets system know how much extra judicial time is required to clear up the backlog and prevent the system from getting backlogged in the near future, the Rate of Disposal Method does not tell anything about how judicial time and effort should be spent so as to cater to the needs of the socially and legally marginalized who are often likely to need more judicial resources in order to meet their basic legal needs. The method does not provide a way to tailor judicial resource allocation based on the different needs of different groups. It treats all cases as similar from the point of view of delay reduction regardless of the nature of the right being asserted or the person making the assertion. Therefore, High Courts should provide guidelines to Subordinate Courts to ensure that older or more complex or more priority cases (for example, those relating to sexual violence) do not stagnate in the system.
e. Finally, even if judges of a particular category are disposing of cases at a high rate, this indicates nothing about the quality of decision-making of such judges. The focus of the method is on the quantitative output without compromising the current qualitative standard. However, there might be trade-offs involved between the quantity and the quality of decision-making that the model does not take into account. If some judges are actually compromising on the quality of decision-making and are thus being able to dispose of more cases, the model will recommend a lesser number of additional judges, compared to the additional judges that would be required to dispose of the same number of cases in a more qualitatively sound manner. The Commission, therefore, recommends that in allocating the additional judicial resources, High Courts should pay heed to the quality of decision making in the Courts concerned.
In sum, therefore, the rate of Disposal Method described in this report should be seen as giving an approximation of required judicial strength that can then be adjusted and allocated on the basis of other considerations, which can include, but are not limited to:
(1) adjustments made for inaccuracies in available data; (2) a particularly large number of cases that have been pending for an excessive period of time which may indicate a need for more judicial resources and (3) relevant feedback about pendency and judicial functioning in the State and particular districts from stakeholders.
6. Timely filling of vacancies; increase in age of retirement of the Subordinate Judiciary: As Table XIII indicates, most High Courts have a high vacancy in Subordinate Courts. Additionally, every year many vacancies are created through retirement. It takes time to select and train new judges to replace the retiring ones. In the meantime, the backlog piles up. To deal with this concern, the Commission recommends that in addition to recruiting new judges, the age of retirement of subordinate judges be raised to 62 in order to meet the need for a large number of adequately trained judicial officers. The benefit of increase in the retirement age can be made available to judicial officers in terms of the directions of the Supreme Court in All
India Judges’ Association v. Union of India.40 Further, the directions of the Supreme
Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan v. U.P. Public Service Commission,41 regarding the time bound filling of vacancies, needs to be strictly adhered to.
7. Need for system wide judicial reforms: From a litigant’s point of view, what matters is not just the timely disposal of his/her case at the trial Court level, but at all levels of the judiciary. Therefore, judicial reform targeted at delay reduction is required not only in the trial Court, but throughout the judicial system. In particular,
a. If the number of judges in the trial Courts increases significantly the number of cases being disposed of by the trial Courts will rise sharply. The total number of cases being appealed to the High Courts will also increase. The case load of High Courts will, therefore, increase. If a corresponding increase is not made in the judge strength at the High Court level, the system as a whole is likely to remain backlogged.
Data obtained from the Supreme Court publication Court News shows that High Courts are already backlogged and are not being able to keep pace with new filings. The recent annual data from Court News is for the time period 01.10.2011 to 30.9.2012. In this time period, though 1909543 fresh institutions were made in High Courts, only 1764607 matters were disposed of. The backlog, therefore, increased by 144936. On average, in this time period, High Court judges disposed of 2821.07 cases per judge. As of 30.9.2012, 4407861 matters were pending before all the High Courts. At the current rate of disposal, High Courts require an additional 56 judges to breakeven and an additional 942 judges to clear the backlog. It is relevant to note here that the sanctioned strength of the High Courts is 895. As on 31.12.2012, 31.4% of these positions were vacant. Therefore, there is already a massive shortage of judges in the High Courts. The increase of judge strength in the Lower Judiciary is likely to further exacerbate the problem.
b. Without adequate infrastructure or support staff, an increase in judge strength will not be effective as a delay reduction strategy. A systemic perspective, encompassing all levels of the judicial hierarchy, is, therefore, needed for meaningful judicial reform.
c. Other approaches like encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, where appropriate, can divert cases outside the Court system and lead to an overall reduction in pendency in the judicial system.42 Therefore, a piecemeal approach to delay reduction should be eschewed in favour of a systemic perspective.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In conclusion, it would not be wrong to say that at general level and in nutshell, the present report in a way deals with the issue of arrears and delay and problem of judicial (wo)manpower planning - a problem that for quite many years remained ignored. Undermining this, the Law Commission, in its 120th Report: “Manpower Planning in Judiciary: A Blue Print” had observed, “The Commission was of the view that the question of judicial manpower planning had generally been ignored in India’s planned development. The developing science of manpower planning has not attracted the attention of policy opinion makers in the field of administration of justice in India. All reorganization proposals are basically patch work, ad-hoc, unsystematic solutions to the problem”. Importantly, the report, while confessing its limitations and inability said: “Commission itself is in no position, given the fact of its present structure, to provide this kind of technical analysis only on which sound programme of change can be envisaged. Of course, the Commission has done the next best thing and elicited extensive opinion of those knowledgeable in the field and the general public. But we must admit that, all said and done, this is a very poor substitute for sound scientific analysis.” The Commission, thus, while being expressly conscious of limitations inherent in suggesting any scientific method to deal with problem of arrears and delay relied on the judge population ratio method as a way for judicial manpower planning. In making such suggestion, the Commission was inspired by prevalence of such method in few other countries. The Commission in its report recommended that there was strong justification to increase the then existing ratio from 10.5 judges per million to at least 50 judges per million of Indian population. Thus, it is primarily because of non-availability of data and their scientific analysis, that the Commission simply adopted the simple approach of Judge-Population Ratio. In fact, the report had no occasion to analyse strengths, weaknesses and relevance of adopting Judge-Population Ratio method in Indian context especially the context that has its own peculiarities different in many respects from the systems where Judge-Population Ratio method prevail.
No doubt, in recent years, the issue of arrears and delay and problem of Judicial (wo)man power planning has attracted attention of almost all major stakeholders including the judiciary, executive, media, policy makers, and public in general. However, despite this spurt of rising attention, it is largely due to the dearth of any uniform and scientific approach to data collection and its analysis that arriving at more scientific and futuristic suggestions with regard to judicial (wo)manpower planning to deal with issue of arrears and delay still remains a challenge.
However, the present report, while fully realises the frustration expressed by the Commission and consequent failure in making deeper analysis of the problem when submitting 120th Report, is an attempt to deal with the problem somewhat more analytically and scientifically. As the Commission, in the process of preparing the present report and response submitted to the Hon’ble Supreme Court adopted every possible venue and opportunity that could be thought of for collecting data including through questionnaires and personal interviews and subjecting information thus collected to rigorous analysis adopting various tools of data analysis available in the domain of research methodology.
Analysis of data and information thus made was then examined in light of various methods of judicial (wo)manpower planning practised in many other systems while keeping in view peculiarities of Indian judicial and profession’s culture. Adopting this approach, the Commission has finally arrived at making following suggestions and recommendations:
Rate of Disposal Method
That, given the existing availability of data, the Rate of Disposal Method and formulae be followed for calculating adequate judge strength for Subordinate Courts, instead of Judge-Population or Judge-Institution Ratio, Ideal Case Load Method or the Time Based Method.
Number of judges to be appointed on a priority basis
That, data obtained from High Courts indicates that the judicial system is severely backlogged, and is also not being able to keep pace with current filings, thus exacerbating the problem of backlogs. The system requires a massive influx of judicial resources in order to dispose of the backlog and keep pace with current filings. The data indicates the need for taking urgent measures for increasing judge strength in order to ensure timely justice and facilitate access to justice for all sections of society.
That, as per the resolution of the Advisory Council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, the resolution of the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Conference, 2013, and public addresses of the Prime Minister and the Law Minister, the current judge strength is being doubled over the next five years. Given the large number of judges required to clear backlog and the time that it will take to complete selection and training processes and to create adequate infrastructure, the Law Commission recommends that the recruitment of new judges should focus, as a matter of priority, on the number of judges required to breakeven and to dispose of the backlog, in a 3 year time frame.43
Increasing the age of retirement of Subordinate Court Judges
That, in order to meet the need for a large number of appropriately trained Subordinate Court Judges, the age of retirement of Subordinate judges be raised to 62 The benefit of increase in the retirement age be made available to judicial officers in terms of the directions of the Supreme Court in All India Judges’ Association v. Union of India.44
Creation of Special Courts for Traffic/Police Challan Cases
That special morning and evening Courts be set up for dealing with Traffic/Police Challan cases which constituted 38.7% of institutions and 37.4% of all pending cases in the last three years, before the Subordinate Judicial Services. These Courts should be in addition to the regular Courts so that they can reduce the case load of the regular Courts. In addition, facilities be made available for online payment of fines as well as the payment of fines at designated counters in the Court complex. This measure will further reduce pendency before such Special Courts. Recent law graduates may be appointed for short durations, e.g., 3 years, to preside over these special traffic Courts. These special Courts should only deal with cases involving fines. Cases which may involve imprisonment should be tried before regular Courts in order to ensure fair process.
That, if Special Traffic/Police Challan Courts are not created, the number of judges required in the regular cadres should be further increased to take into account traffic and police challan cases.
Provision for Staff and Infrastructure
That, adequate provisions be made for staff and infrastructure required for the working of additional Courts.
Periodic Needs Assessment by High Courts
That the present work is based on analysis of institution, disposal and pendency figures upto 2012. Needless to say, over time these figures are likely to change, affecting the requirement for additional Courts to keep pace with filings and disposals. The Law Commission does not have sufficient information to predict by how much institution is likely to vary in the coming years.46 Therefore, the High Courts may be required to carry out Periodic Judicial Needs Assessment to monitor the rate of institution and disposal and revise the judge strength periodically, based on institutions, disposals, pendency and vacancy, using the formula given above.
That, in the light of revelation before the Commission about the lack of uniformity in data collection and concerns with the quality of data recorded and provided by High Courts, the Commission strongly recommends that High Courts be directed to evolve uniform data collection and data management methods in order to ensure transparency and to facilitate data based policy prescriptions for the judicial system.
Need for system-wide Reform
That a systemic perspective, encompassing all levels of the judicial hierarchy, is needed for meaningful judicial reform. Taking measures for the timely disposal of cases at all levels of the judicial system, including by monitoring and increasing judge strength throughout the system; encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods, where appropriate and more efficient allocation and utilization of resources is required to fulfill the goal of providing timely justice to litigants. In particular, the Commission emphasizes the urgent need to increase judge strength in High Courts to ensure that appeals/revisions from additional cases disposed of by the newly created Subordinate Courts, are dealt with in a timely manner, and that the already heavy backlog in the High Courts is adequately addressed. Therefore, a piecemeal approach to delay reduction should be eschewed in favour of a systemic perspective.
That, as the Supreme Court recognized in its order in Imtiyaz Ahmad dated February 1, 2012, the creation of additional Courts is one amongst various measures required to ensure timely justice and facilitate access to justice. The Commission recognizes that apart from increasing judge strength, many other measures have to be undertaken for reducing delays, including the application of good judicial management practices such as putting into place timeliness and performance benchmarks. As discussed earlier in this report, the Commission emphasizes the need for establishing, based on rational criteria, non-mandatory time frames for the resolution of different types of cases.48 Unless judges and litigants have clear expectations of how soon their cases are likely to resolved, there will be little accountability for delays, and systemic problems are likely to increase. Therefore, the Commission seeks to highlight an urgent need to fix rational, non-mandatory time frames for different types of cases, and use such time frames as a basis for setting judge performance standards, litigant expectations, and making more robust policy recommendations for the judiciary.
AUGUST 30, 2017 BY SHAILESH GANDHI
Presently there is considerable focus being paid to the Judicial accountability and Judicial appointments bills. These are necessary but do they address the biggest problem of the judicial system? The biggest problem of our judicial system is that it does not deliver in any reasonable time. Consequently over 80% of Indians will not approach the courts, unless they are trapped by the system. If a poor man is implicated in a civil or criminal case he is unwillingly trapped, since there is no time limit for the judicial system. The respect for rule of law has almost disappeared since the powerful can ensure that they will never have to pay for their crimes, even if they are caught.
The Chief Justice has rightly refused to fast track only cases against MPs, since it effectively means pushing the others back in the queue. The Supreme Court needs to make a commitment on how it would deliver timebound justice and what would be required for this. I decided to take a look at the issue by doing some number crunching with the objective of trying to estimate the number of judges required. Data has been taken from the Supreme Court website for twelve quarters from July 2009 to June 2012.
I noted the new cases Instituted in each quarter, disposal and the pending cases in the Supreme Court, High Court and the District & Subordinate Courts. Using simple arithmetic it is possible to get the number of months’ pendency. I have calculated for each quarter, and in no case did the backlog appear to be over 36 months. The average pendency for the Supreme Court, High Court and the District & Subordinate Courts for the period July 2009 to June 2012 comes to 9 months 30 months and 19 months respectively. The legal profession is aghast when one talks about measuring such numbers, on the ground that the differences in cases is vast. However, over a large number of courts and cases, the large variations due to different cases would even out and can be used to compare or find possible solutions. Besides the evaluation is based on 12 quarters over three years, and appears to show some consistency as revealed in the graphs.
This appears to indicate that if the principle of ‘First In First Out’ (FIFO) could be strictly followed, this may be the time for a case to go through the Courts. This would not be feasible completely, but there can be no justification for many cases taking more than double the average time in the Courts. The Courts should lay down a discipline that almost no case could be allowed to languish for more than double the average time taken for disposals. Presently the listing of cases is being done by the judges, and no human being can really do this exercise rationally, given the mass of data. It would be sensible to devise a fair criterion and incorporate this in computer software, which would list the cases and also give the dates for adjournments based on a predetermined rational basis. This would result in removing much of the arbitrariness, and also reduce the power of some lawyers to hasten or delay cases as per their will. If this was done, the maximum time at the three Courts would be 18 months, 60 months and 38 months.
The average vacancies in the three levels are 15% for the Supreme Court, 30% for the High Courts and over 20% for the lower courts. When citizens are suffering acutely because of the huge delays in the judicial system, there can be no justification for such high levels of sanctioned positions being vacant. The dates of retirement of judges are known in advance and hence the vacancies are largely because of neglect. After filling the vacancies, if the Courts stick to their avowed judgments to allow adjournments rarely, it should certainly be possible to increase the disposals by at least 20%. If Courts basically follow the principle of dealing with cases primarily on a FIFO basis, the judiciary could deliver in a reasonable time.
My suggestions based on the above are given below:
1. Courts must accept the discipline that over 95% of the cases will be settled in less than double the average pendency. Then, reasonable equity could be provided to citizens, and Article 14 actualized in the Courts.
2. The listing of cases should be done by a computer program, with judges having the discretion to override it in only 5% cases.
1. Vacancies in the sanctioned strength of judges should be less than 5%.
2. Adjournments should be rare and maximum number fixed by a computer. Even when an adjournment is given the next date should be given by the computer program.
3. A calculation could be done to see the number of judges required to bring the average pendency in all Courts to less than one year. Most probably an increase of about 20% judges in the High Courts and lower judiciary could bring down the average pendency to less than a year.
4. Disposal per judge and Court along with data of pending cases giving details of the periods since Institution should be displayed by the Courts on their websites.
This would be meaningful judicial accountability.
Former Central Information Commissioner.
The Times of India (Delhi) - 70K Judges
May 29 2016 : The Times of India (Delhi)
BY INVITATION – Don’t need 70,000 judges. Just fill vacancies to cut backlog
Everyone agrees that judicial pendency is a serious problem in India.Most of the suggested big-ticket reforms call for major changes in the way the judiciary and bar function, way the judiciary and bar function, and a threeto four-fold increase in the sanctioned strength of judges. On the ground, though, nothing has changed. It is almost as if we have come to accept that the problem cannot be solved.
To understand why the right to speedy justice -recognized as a fundamental right by our courts -is violated in India, I analysed data from January 2009 to September 2015. The information was taken from the Supreme Court’s website (http:supremecourtofindia.nic.incourtnews.htm) and the idea was to deter mine how many judges would be required to dispose of incoming cases as well as reduce the backlog -assuming there is no change in functioning, adjournments and judges’ vacations. The analysis exposes several myths about the justice system:
India needs more prisons as the ones we have are overcrowded with criminals -4.2 lakh in 2014, against a capacity of 3.6 lakh.
Only 1.3 lakh prisoners were convicts. The rest were undertrials, most of them poor. And in many cases, their only `crime’ perhaps was poverty .
Many of them were like Tukaram, whose story was recounted to me by a prison volunteer. Tukaram, 27, came to Mumbai from a village in Vidarbha. He dreamt of earning enough so his wife and one-year-old daughter wouldn’t have to go hungry . While sleeping on the footpath one night, he was picked up by the police and put in jail. Tukaram had no idea what crime he had been arrested for. He managed to send a postcard to his wife, who sent back a reply saying she could not come as she had no money . Sometimes Tukaram was taken to the court, but he did not understand what was happening. After six years, a sympathetic lawyer heard his story and got him released. Tukaram went back to his village and found his daughter had died and his wife had married a 60-year-old widower. A broken man, he committed suicide.
Backlog in courts is increasing at a galloping pace. “There are over three crore cases pending and it might take 320 years to clear these.“ This statement by Justice V V Rao of Andhra Pradesh has been quoted extensively .
Every year about two crore cases are instituted and a similar number decided by the courts. Between January 2009 and September 2015, the backlog increased from 303 lakh to only 312 lakh. While talking of a backlog of three crore cases we do not realize that each year our courts dispose around two crore.
We need 70,000 judges instead of the sanctioned 21,542 to clear the backlog.
That’s complete fiction. The average vacancies in sanctioned positions of judges in this period were about 21%, whereas backlog increase was less than 1.5% per year. If the judicial positions had been filled, the backlog would have gone down to less than one crore cases.
The government is solely at fault for not appointing enough judges.
Though there are 462 vacancies in high courts currently, the judges’ collegium has only recommended 170 names. Neither the government nor the judiciary has paid attention to the simple fact that merely ensuring zero vacancy in judicial positions would lead to reduction in backlog.
Some argue that it is difficult to find good people to fill vacancies of judges. If India cannot find 21,542 judges, what purpose will be served by sanctioning 70,000 judges? Large companies in India sometimes hire more than 10,000 persons in a single year, for jobs requiring both logical thinking and ethical standards.
Unless major judicial reforms take place, the backlog will remain.
Judicial reforms will help, but a simple, doable solution exists already . All it takes is will.
The judiciary cannot force the government to fill vacancies.
As far as the Supreme Court and high courts are concerned, selection is only done by the collegium. So this is clearly the responsibility of the judiciary . In the case of lower courts, it is a joint exercise. The judiciary had recently ordered the government to fill up vacancies in the Central Information Commission and the order was complied with. The apex court can certainly do the same for judicial vacancies.
These myths need to be dumped and the judiciary must accept its primary responsibility of ensuring fewer delays by appointing judges as sanctioned.
The writer is a former central information commissioner
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention
ISSN (Online): 2319 – 7722, ISSN (Print): 2319 – 7714
www.ijhssi.org Volume 2 Issue 2 ǁ March. 2013ǁ PP.11-22
Right to Information and Good Governance
The right to information act is a path making legislation which brings to light the secrecy of administration. It is an effective means to promote democratic ideology. The act is powerful instrument to fight against corruption. By realizing this significance the Second Administrative Reform Commission had prepared a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administrative system. The second Administrative Reform Commission, government of India has published its first report in ―Right to Information: Master key to good governance.‖ Through this report the commission directly mentioned that access to information can empower
the poor and weaker sections of society to demand and government information about public policies and actions, thereby led to welfare of all.
Good governance and right to information are complimentary to each other. A nation whatever form of government it pursues must fulfill the aspirations of common man. Good governance is the only avenue, which can provide guaranty the life of individuals. Good governance is characterized by- political accountability, availability of freedom, bureaucratic accountability, availability of information, effectiveness, efficiency, law abiding citizen and cooperation between government and society. As such the Right to information is a natural corollary of good governance. The enactment of RTI act 2005 introduces an open and transparent government and gives every citizen right to seek and receive information to make administration more responsible and transparent which means good governance. So, World Bank once rightly remarked, ―Right to information is an integral part of good governance.‖
V.K Agnihotri and B.V.R Subrahmanyam opined that Right to Information is a part and partial of success for good governance. They said the minimum expectations of citizens from the governance are- - Timely prompt service.
- Minimum Red Tape.
- Minimum waiting time.
- Minimum visit to multiple officers.
- Minimization of Arbitrariness.
- Prompt information in delays, waiting times etc, and
- Prompt information on status of application.
In the following paragraph, this paper tries to examine the right to information and transparency of administration as an effective tool of good governance.
Participation of both men and women is the cornerstone of good governance. Representative democracy does not mean the rule of chosen few; it must take into interest of all sections specially the most vulnerable sections in the society. The Right to information acts gives people a chance to participate not just one in five years, but every day and question any decisions. The right to Information act gives an opportunity to the common men to participate in governance and reduce the imbalance in power relationship, provides a tool to oppose injustice and allows collective spirit to make democracy work for everyone. Right to information act also strengthen grassroots democracy and ensures peoples participation in local governance and development activities.
Right to Information makes it possible to easy access of information from government departments, documents, records, services, finances and policies to all sectors of community. The Right to Information act by providing easy access of information reduces the traditional long gape between citizens and administration and thus helps in nation building process. The right to know and easy access of government information helps the people to understand the limitations of government at different levels. The availability of information also helps to foster in development process and it is a symptom of true and mature democracy.
Transparency is the milestone of good governance. Transparency means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations. It also means that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement. Transparency and accountability is possible only when the public have access to information. The enactment of Right to Information act 2005, people are now able to seek information from any government department with a definite time frame. The Right to Information act is intended to promote accountability and transparency in government by making the process of government decision making more open. Though some departments of the
Union government are exempted from this act but the information can be sought if it is concerned with violation of human rights. Even the information from the private authority can be sought only through the controlling authority and controlling authority will send the notice to the institution concerned under section 11 of the act. In addition to this, the citizens are taxpayers, so they have every right to ask the government.
Accountability is another requirement of good governance. Not only the government, the private sector institutions should also accountable to the people. Information is power and Right to Information act brings accountability and transparency in the administration. The Right to Information act provides people with mechanism to access information, which they can use to hold the government accountable or to seek explanation as to why decisions have been taken, by whom and with what consequences or outcomes. However, accountability can not be achieved without transparency and rule of law.
Before enactment of Right to Information Act, participation in political and economic processes and the ability to make informed choices has been restricted to India. As a consequence, commoners remain ignorant of various schemes and are unable to resist when their rights become causality. At the same time, people remain ignorant in terms of the ways and means through they can obtain their entitled rights from the concerned departments legally. Now with enactment of Right to Information act people can participate in decision making process and it enables the citizens to know about the government decisions. The Right to Information act empowering people by removing unnecessary secrecy surrounding in decision making process of the government.
(6) Equity and inclusiveness
Equity is another prominent feature of good governance. It implies everybody is a part of the governance and they do not feel excluded from the mainstream of society. The Right to Information act also does not make any discrimination between rich and poor and it covers all the citizens in India. It always comes forward to fight against inequality, injustice and inhuman activity.
(7) Effectiveness and Efficiency
The Seventh feature of good governance is efficiency and effectiveness. The concept of efficiency in good governance covers doing work at first speed and effectiveness means doing things effectively with result oriented. In this connection Right to Information act will bring more effective and efficient record management techniques that are needed to facilitate the provision of information in response to public interest. Under RTI provision 4 (1) it is clearly mentions, ―It is the obligatory of public authority to maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed.‖ Under section 4(b) ―every public authority is requested to publish within 120 days from the enactment of the act as many as 17 manuals.
What are the powers and functions of Information Commissions?
Section-18. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person,—
(a) Who has been unable to submit a request to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, either by reason that no such officer has been appointed under this Act, or because the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has refused to accept his or her application for information or appeal under this Act for forwarding the same to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer or senior officer specified in sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be;
(b) Who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act;
(c)Who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified under this Act;
(d) Who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers unreasonable;
(e) Who believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false information under this Act; and
(f) In respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Act.
(2) Where the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission,as the case may be, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter, it may initiate an inquiry in respect thereof.
(3) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall, while inquiring into any matter under this section, have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:—
(a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or things;
(b) Requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
(c) Receiving evidence on affidavit;
(d) Requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office;
(e) Issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents; and
(f) Any other matter, which may be prescribed.
(4) Notwithstanding anything inconsistent contained in any other Act of Parliament or State Legislature, as the case may be, the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may, during the inquiry of any complaint under this Act, examine any record to which this Act applies which is under the control of the public authority, and no such record may be withheld from it on any ground.
(1) Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified
in sub-section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a
decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer,
as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the
receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the
Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may
be, in each public authority:
Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of
thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient
cause from filing the appeal in time.
(2) Where an appeal is preferred against an order made by a Central Public
Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under
section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party
shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order.
(3) A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within
ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was
actually received, with the Central Information Commission or the State Information
Provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information
Commission, as the case may be, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period
of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause
from filing the appeal in time.
(4) If the decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public
Information Officer, as the case may be, against which an appeal is preferred relates
to information of a third party, the Central Information Commission or State
Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give a reasonable opportunity of
being heard to that third party.
(5) In any appeal proceeding, the onus to prove that a denial of a request was
justified shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information
Officer, as the case may be, who denied the request.
(6) An appeal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be disposed of within
thirty days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding
a total of forty-five days from the date of filing thereof, as the case may be, for
reasons to be recorded in writing.
(7) The decision of the Central Information Commission or State Information
Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding.
(8) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information
Commission, as the case may be, has the power to—
(a) Require the public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to
secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including—
(i) By providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form;
(ii) By appointing a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information
Officer, as the case may be;
(iii) By publishing certain information or categories of information;
(iv)By making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance,
management and destruction of records;
(v) By enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its
(vi) By providing it with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of subsection
(1) of section 4;
(b) Require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or
other detriment suffered;
(c) Impose any of the penalties provided under this Act;
(d) Reject the application.
(9) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the
case may be, shall give notice of its decision, including any right of appeal, to
the complainant and the public authority.)
(10) The Central Information Commission or State Information
Commission, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal in accordance with
such procedure as may be prescribed.
(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information
Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees:
Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of
being heard before any penalty is imposed on him
Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and
diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
(2) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information
Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is
of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause and
persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished
information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely
denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or
misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request
or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall recommend for
disciplinary action against the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
Information Officer, as the case may be, under the service rules applicable to him.
Delivery Of Justice
AUGUST 30, 2017 BY SHAILESH GANDHI
Justice can be delivered in reasonable time without undertaking Major Reforms
We have been hearing that the Indian Judiciary would need decades to clear its backlog, unless the number of judges is increased multiple times and certain other reforms brought in. The judicial system has become irrelevant for the common citizens, and this is responsible for many ills plaguing our Nation, like disrespect for laws and corruption. The ease of doing business also suffers and the rule of law cannot really prevail.
Most people have started believing that this can change only if there are major judicial reforms, or judges do not give adjournments or forgo their vacations. These would require changing the attitudes of judges and lawyers and there is no sign of it happening. On the other hand a fairly popular belief is that the problem will defy any solution unless the number of judges is increased by three to four times. It appears to have been accepted that a judicial system which can deliver timebound justice is unlikely, and the fundamental right to Speedy Justice will be a mirage.
I decided to look at the data and analyse it to arrive at the number of judges required. The 20thLaw Commission in its report no. 245 submitted in July 2014, after examining the issue from different perspectives has come to the conclusion that the Rate of Disposal per judge per year is the right method for evaluating this. In simple terms it assumes that if ten judges dispose 1000 cases, 12 judges will dispose 1200 cases. I took the data reported by the Law Commission in its report no. 245, and did that a proper analysis of its data for 2002 to 2012 of fourteen states for the subordinate courts it had taken. It shows that if it had been ensured that all sanctioned positions of judges were filled there would have been no backlog by 2007. This would mean the queue would disappear and it would be possible to devote adequate time to all cases without having to wait. In most cases it may be possible to dispose cases in less than 3 months.
I decided to also take a look at this issue by analyzing the data given on the Supreme Court’s website at http://www.supremecourt.gov.in/publication for a ten year period from 2006 to 2015 which has a quarterly report for all the courts. The summary of this analysis is tabulated below. This shows that the number of sanctioned judges is adequate and if all the sanctioned judges were appointed mounting pendency would be history.
The number of judges sanctioned in the three levels on 31 December 2015 was 31, 1018 and 20620, whereas the actual number of judges was 26, 598 and 16119. Thus the total number of sanctioned posts were 21669 whereas the working judges were only 16743! Filling about 5000 vacant positions can make the judicial system deliver efficiently.
Another way of looking at this data is, for the ten year period from 2009 to 2013:
The increase in pendency in ten years was about 38 lac cases whereas the disposal missed due to not filling all sanctioned posts was nearly 400 lacs!
There can be no excuse for keeping judicial positions vacant while the nation suffers because of this neglect. The retirement date of judges is well known. The process of selecting new judges can start six months ahead for those retiring. We need just about 22000 judges. Even if infrastructure is inadequate it would need to be augmented by only about 20%. This is a simple solution and can be implemented very easily. This does not assume any change in the way judges and lawyers function. It only assumes that the extra judges who fill the vacancies will also dispose matters at the same rate as those who are already in the system. The average rate of disposal for the lower court judges taking the data of the Law Commission for eleven years from 2002 to 2012 gives an average rate of 1380 cases per year. On the other hand rate of disposal for all the subordinate courts for the ten year period 2006 to 2015 gives a rate of 1232. This is a variance of just about 12%. This shows that over a reasonably long period all the variability of cases would even out.
For the sake of the nation all those responsible must ensure that all judicial appointments are made in a timely manner. An easy solution is available. This analysis suggests that if a simple discipline of ensuring zero vacancy is followed, the sanctioned strength is adequate to dispose the inflow of cases and some backlog. Even if we assume that there would be upto 5% vacancies, the backlogs would go down. If this simple solution is implemented the problem will move towards a resolution.
Former Central Information Commissioner,
Why Is India So Obsessed with GDP Growth?
A recent announcement by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that the GDP of India will grow by 7.4% during 2017-18 and 7.6% in the next fiscal.
Announcements such as the above are very common. Whenever people – policymakers, politicians, economists, international agencies as well as the media – across the world want to talk about progress they talk of ‘growth’ – pointing to economic growth (GDP Growth). It is not surprising if leaders in India also routinely promise to speed up the ‘GDP growth.’ They ask for votes promising “rapid” or “double-digit” GDP growth.
Before we go ahead, it helps to know what the GDP really is. The GDP is just a measure of total marketed activities, money changing hands. The more you consume, waste or spend the GDP gets boosted. It is a useful gauge of the economical aspect of nation’s progress when seen alongside other economic parameters.
However, being a pure economic number it is not designed to represent human or social welfare. It has no direct connection with people’s wellbeing except that a growing economy creates more national wealth. Yet, modern economists want the GDP to grow year by year till eternity. Why?
Because in industrial economies if the GDP falls for 2-3 consecutive quarters the economic Pandits call it a recession (a word that sends shivers down their spines!). It scares western people – the dread of job-loss and stock market crash start crossing imagination. This is the simple logic that dictates all economic activities of the market.
Origin of GDP
In reality, GDP is a relic of a pre WW2 era. Around the period of the Great Depression, in early 1930s the US government wanted to have some way of knowing how well the economy was doing. In the faltering economy of those years, the idea of combining production and spending was simple enough to do the job. It laid the foundation for what became the GNP (gross national product), and later the GDP. [Difference between GNP and GDP]
Thus, particularly during WW-II, the GNP became the primary way to keep track of the US economy. As the US churned out war machinery from its wartime factories, it helped maximize factory output which not only helped the US better prepare for the war but it also lifted the nation out of Depression.
After the end of war, citizens replaced the military as major consumer but the factories kept churning out products. At that time, bigger factory output and increasing consumption was progress itself. Thus, the GNP (or GDP) also symbolized progress. In the 1950s and 1960s, personal incomes and GDP really moved up hand in hand. But those days are history now.
Yet, the GDP has remained the primary indicator of national progress and growing it continually has come to become a national obsession — the sole national goal. The compulsion to keep economy growing gave birth to relentless consumerism that we see today. Here is the thought process that went into that.
“Our enormously productive economy…demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.” – Economist Victor Lebow in 1955 in his paper Price Competition
The Perverse Nature of GDP
As mentioned, GDP is a pure economic number and reflects only the gross tally of products and services bought and sold. Things which aren’t sold, say household work, have no relevance in GDP calculation, despite the fact that they add value to people’s lives. In fact, they reflect the true human side of people.
Thus, GDP is blind to all activities where money is not exchanged; for example, parenting, community work, volunteering and so on. If you grow your own vegetables and fruit in the backyard and consume, it is not included in the GDP. But if you buy vegetables from the market, it adds to the GDP. If 6 members of a family cooperate and share a mobile phone, it doesn’t help the GDP growth. But if they start fighting and separate six mobile phones will be needed, that’s wonderful for GDP growth. Consequently, the GDP not only conceals the breakdown of the social structure and natural habitat; worse, it portrays such breakdown as economic gain.
In fact, when governments legalize things like prostitution, drug use, liquor bars, etc it is only trying to boost its revenues and prop up the GDP.
When you apply the GDP yardstick to poor nations there is problem. Most of their production takes place in the informal sector, in the household or community, or in the voluntary sector – all invisible to the GDP. When policies are created to raise the GDP in the poor nations, it effectively goes against the informal, cooperative and household economy – and works to degrade the humane and cooperative culture of societies, in other words, increase social chaos.
The truth is: in societies with limited resources the sense of cooperation and community bonds allows people to help each other. As a result, economic size may be small but people have good life. No wonder, over the decades families and societies have been falling apart as a result of forces that boost GDP growth.
No Distinction between Good and Bad Things
The GDP counts every transaction of money as a gain. It makes no distinction between economic activities that enhance people’s well-being, and those that diminish it. It treats all economic activities as making positive contribution, without separating costs from benefits, or constructive activities from destructive ones. For example, natural disasters such as cyclones or floods increase GDP because of the cost associated with repairs, clean up and reconstruction. Increasing crime rates result in bigger expenditure on police, jail and legal procedures; an increase in diseases results in more medical spending; an oil spill results in extensive and costly clean-up; wars and other international tensions increase arms expenditure – all these increases the GDP. Thus, the GDP not only ignores social and natural disasters, it takes them as economic expansion.
Blind to Social and Environmental Impacts
Pollution increases GDP
By nature, the GDP is oblivion to the environmental and social impact of monetary activities. The GDP violates common sense and basic accounting principles – it treats the depletion of natural capital as income. As a result, the more a country consumes its natural resources, the more its GDP goes up. Suppose you clear all forests to sell the timber, the GDP will suddenly shoot up. Or catch all fish from lake overnight and sell, GDP will shoot up.
Clearly, it is dangerous to look at GDP as a measure of progress.
GDP also does not account for income distribution or income inequality in a country. Globally, there is a trend of increasing inequalities with just 1 percent richest controlling almost as much as the rest. The GDP no longer reflects the economic experience of ordinary citizens.
Here are some more healthy things that will depress GDP growth
Good Habits. What will happen if people stop eating junk food and regularly exercise or practice Yoga?
People will become healthier and illness will reduce. This will result in less business for doctors, hospitals and pharma companies. It will shrink the economy and reduce the gross domestic product (GDP).
People Live in Peace. What will happen if conflicts and wars vanish and there is peace everywhere?
There will be less demand for weapons and less business for arms manufacturers; again the GDP will decrease.
People become good citizens. What will happen if crimes reduce and criminals transform into law obeying good humans?
There will be less expenditure on police, jail staff, lawyers and courts. This will also hurt the GDP of the country.
These are all desired things that are good for people and societies, but would show up in the GDP in the negative way.
Inefficiencies Increase GDP!
In India, there is a huge market for voltage stabilizers and inverters (UPSs). Why? Because there is wild voltage fluctuations and frequent power cuts. They happen because of inefficiencies in the electricity generation and transmission systems. The battery market has also mushroomed to feed the inverters and UPSs. The purchase of these devices boosts the GDP.
So when we tolerate inefficiencies in one part of the economy – the power sector here – another segment of the economy gets boosted. Here an entirely unnecessary product range has grown out of inefficiency. Further, the more we begin to rely on stabilizers and inverters the more we turn a blind eye towards inefficiencies and shortcomings of the power sector. And the vicious cycle continues.
It is purely a wasteful way to progress and senseless destruction of natural resources – coal, gas, water, and nuclear material here – and we see it as progress in the form of economic growth!!
From GNP to GDP
When nations shifted from GNP to GDP, another subtle deception crept in. Earlier the earnings of a multinational company with production facilities, say in India, were counted as part of the GNP of its home country – say Germany, US, UK. But under the GDP rules, the incomes of MNCs are counted towards the GDP of the country where the plants are located – it is another story that big chunk of profits goes to their home country. What does this peculiar little twist means in real life? It means that several poor countries appear to be booming on paper, but in reality, rich nations walk away with the resources of poorer ones. Yet, this gets noticed as a GDP gain for the poor country!
See, how clever economics of rich nations are! And, we in India follow them blindly, as a routine.
The Way Forward
As long as the GDP is viewed like any other economic parameter, things remain in perspective. The problem creeps in when GDP expansion alone becomes the prime national goal. It is grossly flawed as a measure of people’s wellbeing. For poor nations, it is of little relevance to say that the GDP has gone up. It would be more useful to know if people are better off.
Human life is multidimensional and complex; it should be always seen as such. No economic number can measure status of human life. It is like using litres to count apples!
The only reason GDP has remained popular as yardstick of progress is its simplicity and that it suits the interests of people who rule the world today, particularly the industrial corporate world. The richest corporate houses can easily dominate and dictate any small or poor country, and the rules of globalization have been framed to suit their interest. However, today their interests are at odds with rest of humanity which is troubled by climate change disasters and ever increasing gap between the richest and rest of the people. Now more and more people are realizing that ever increasing GDP growth is only increasing consumption (depletion of natural resources) without meaningful enhancement in people’s sense of well-being.
One really wonders: if human life is multidimensional why the hell we are stuck chasing ‘GDP growth ‘ year after year, in the name of progress or development?
Why Indian “Secularism” Is So Distorted ?
Indian intelligentsia and media are in love with the word “secularism”; it is taken as a sign of being liberal and progressive. But when you look at their discourse, you soon begin to see signs of their empty brains. Whenever they pretend to be championing the cause of ‘secularism’, they are either deriding Hindus by calling them communal or pretending to be the advocates of minorities (for all practical purposes, minority in India mostly means the Muslim community and occasionally the Christians).
If you ask me, “Are there no other minority ‘religions’ in India?” I will have to just laugh out loudly at your ignorance! Because you don’t know what ‘religion’ is – and if you don’t know what is religion, you can’t understand what is secularism! Both are 100% western inventions.
But looking at how media intellectuals and politicians use the word ‘secularism’, it is clear that they haven’t the least idea what they are talking about or why the West had to coined this word! Come election time, and the word ‘secular’ gets into the mouth of every politician – each one trying to be a bigger ‘secular’ than the other!
Being a western concept, therefore, the idea of ‘Secularism’ needs to be put into the right perspective.
Contrary to popular belief in India, secular and communal are not each other’s opposite. Communal as not such a bad thing, it simply means something ‘related to a community’. A community can be any group of people; not necessarily people belonging to a single religion. In Germany, local body elections are called “communal elections”.
So, next time when you are hear Laloo or his opportunist buddy Nitish Kumar saying that “all secular forces should unite in the Grand Coalition against the Communal BJP and super communal Modi” you should laugh out loudly! Because what they are saying is totally ridiculous!
Even their ‘secular’ buddy, Italy born Sonia, is as illiterate when it comes to secularism. In fact, she should have known better because it was her mother-in-law Indira who inserted this word into the Constitution. But as we all know, during her 10 years of UPA government she proved to be just a mediocre power hungry politician like any Laloo, Pawar or Nitish. Anyway, her only strength in politics comes from the Nehru family connection that unites sycophantic and sub-mediocre submissive Indians into the Congress Party.
It is sad that Sonia and her Son appear to be taking the once prestigious party, connected with India’s independence, to slow death.
Leaving the Congress obituary for the right time, let’s get back to Secularism.
‘Secular’ is Opposite of ‘Religious’
Secular is something non ‘religious’. For the context of this article, being ‘religious’ refers to Christianity, which is a well-organized, dogmatic faith that claims to be the Only Keeper of the ‘Truth’, revealed by God himself through his Son Jesus.
And, briefly, what truth did Mr God reveal?
He revealed that you as a human are a born sinner – here you must recall the fairly tale of Adam and Eve and their fall to temptation. Then around 2000 years ago he felt mercy on the ‘humans’ – the sinners – and sent his son Jesus to salvage them from their sins by dying on the Cross! After the act, Jesus again became alive and went back to his Father God in the Heaven, somewhere up in the sky.
Yes, this is the revealed Truth, the ONLY Truth !!
So if you want to get rid of your label of ‘sinner’ you can take benefit of Jesus’ ‘sacrifice’ by becoming a Christian. Else, you, on some future Judgement Day you will be sent to eternal hell!
This is the ONLY divine truth! And you must believe in it and become the privileged Christian and feel obliged (or guilty) that Jesus Died for your sins !!
So, shut your mouth as well as the brain – and just Believe. Being a ‘believer’ is enough to salvage yourself from all your sins!
Even if you are not a Christian, you may ask – so what is wrong in believing in this story?
There is absolutely nothing wrong in believing in this story or some other story!
The problem cropped up when the story is imposed on people as the ONLY TRUTH by the State, which traditionally has also been the Christian Church in Europe. It is a big problem when you are asked to believe in this story alone, and nothing else. In effect, you are asked to live as if you are a brain-dead man or surrender your rational mind and its reasoning ability.
Christian clergy (or Church) had assumed the role of the State in the West almost since Christianity was born, and it was dictating so-called holy laws under the fear of punishment. Torture and death were common for disobeyers or those who dare question the authority of the Church. It demanded a ‘shut-minded’ adherence to whatever it said in the name of the ‘holy god’.
Therefore, rational and free thinking people had to remain silent for fear of punishment. People had no choice of questioning the imposed belief or to express opinion different from it. This was the PROBLEM.
In nutshell, faith is not a problem; discriminating on its basis or imposing it is the PROBLEM.
Need to Separate Church and State brought “Secularism” 350 years ago !
Thus, for centuries, the Church played the role of the State and demanded absolute unquestioning surrender to its dictates from the masses – in the name of religion. But things started to change around 350 years ago as scientific discoveries began to emerge that demanded free, open and rational thinking – and dogmas and blind beliefs were seen as barriers to human progress. Thus, more and more Europeans started to speak against the dictates of religion. Many faced punishments in various harsh ways, we can’t even image now.
But slowly the idea that reason and rationality (not blind and imposed religious beliefs) should guide society gained ground. It ultimately led to the demand for separating the State and the Church. This separation is called SECULARISM. It was born out of the need to get away from Church imposed blind beliefs and shut-minds.
Today, most western democracies are ‘secular’. Religious (Christian) beliefs don’t dictate state policies, although most western democracies still grant Christianity preferential treatment. For example in Germany, the Constitution guarantees that the Christian doctrine is taught in government schools.
However, Muslims appear to be moving in just the opposite direction – always ready to put political power in the hands of their Maulwis and Mullah. In fact, for the extreme Islamic cults progress only means one thing: living like Arab tribes of 7 century in the modern 21st century world!
Nothing can be more unfortunate for humanity than this.
Indian Situation is Different
The situation in India has been entirely different. India never had a faith based governance that imposed pre-defined dogmas and beliefs on people and to punish them if they did not blindly follow them.
In India the vedic knowledge, by its very nature, does not stifle rationality. On the other hand, it encourages open thinking and enquiry to find one’s own path to Moksha (Liberation). Hindu philosophy accepts that people can choose their own path to realise the same ultimate truth – which is experiential. It is fully liberal and allows Hindus full freedom to use their minds. Nothing is ever imposed on Hindus – in the name of Ultimate Truth.
In must be stressed that Hinduism is entirely a different philosophy than dogmatic religions of the West. It is a Dharma based life philosophy that evolved spontaneously and collectively through the experiential knowledge of ancient Rishis, sages and ascetics who aimed to realise full liberation. Their focus was always on reason, intuition and direct experience. So, people followed a multitude of paths according to their conscience. Their efforts were always about living in the right way or doing the right thing at the right time.
Their faith was all about reverence for the One Universal Consciousness that permeates all life and all existence. Therefore, everything that exists in nature became the object of reverence – the rivers, trees, mountains and living creatures. This gave rise to the concept of non-harming and peaceful coexistence. So, people in India traditionally lived in an open environment, believing in different beliefs and rituals was a normal way of life.
Arrival of Christians and Muslims Changed the Situation
However, arrival of Christianity and Islam changed this open atmosphere. Drilled to believe in the ‘only truth’ revealed by their ONLY god or allah they despised and ridiculed the good natured Indian people who considered the whole world as a one big family. For their Dharma based thinking it was a strange thing to look down upon people who held different beliefs.
Trained to think that good moral conduct makes good human beings, they found it weird when told that mere believing in Jesus or Mohammad – or someone else for that matter – makes people superior. They also could not understand how it is right to kill another human being just because he believes in a different path.
Islamic invaders from Central Asia brought the ‘religious barbarism’ to India when they slaughtered countless Hindus simply because they were ‘Hindus’ (which is actually a geographical term) and believed in a different faith. It was totally unbelievable for them to see merciless killings in the name of god and then the shouts of “Allah is Great! Guru Nanak had left a graphic testimony describing how bad the situation was.
Nothing much has changed in the 21st century as far as the basic Muslim mindset is concerned. Here are typical pieces of wisdom from the mouths of some Indian Muslimsthat shows what they feel about Hindus.
Voltaire, who opposed the stranglehold of the Church in Europe, had accurately observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.
Thus, under the centuries of Mughal rule Hindus had to remain low for fear of life.
But arrival of the Christian brained British and missionaries also brought similar oppression. They imposed Macauley education system designed to create Indians suitably trained to carry out clerical work for the British administration; it further cut them off from their traditions. This naturally took a toll on their self-esteem.
Even today, this low self-esteemed mindset is evident in the English educated class – who ‘naturally’ think that good things only come from ‘foreign’. It is obvious to the outsiders, though it may not be clear to the persons concerned. Swami Vivekananda tried to instil confidence in the people of India but his efforts failed to impact this brown English class of people.
Nevertheless, it is a big achievement that Hindu Dharma survived through all these centuries of mental slavery. In fact, it should have started to flourish in ‘independent India’ but politics of ‘brown Englishmen’ continued to give priorities to Muslims and Christians, leaving Hindus still feeling inferior and left out on their own ancient land!
India’s Secularism is Utterly Nonsense
After Independence, Muslims and Christians pushed for special civil laws and other benefits in the name of religion. Such laws were squarely against the spirit of Secular India. Long used to adjusting with others Hindus, however, never made any demand in the name of religion, nor dictated any term to the Indian state.
So, it is mysterious why the word ‘secular’ was added to the Constitution of India in 1976 – almost 30 years after the British departure. Perhaps the most plausible explanation is that it was to assuage the faith-based fear psychosis among Christians and Muslims looking at the awe inspiring high population of Hindus. But even after adding this word in the Constitution, things remained the same. The Congress government remained eager to give benefits to just these two dogmatic religious communities.
Ironically, if the concept of secularism is to be applied, it applies only to these two faiths! Rest of the Indians don’t practice ‘religion’; they practice Dharma based life philosophies like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and so on.
None of these faiths divide people into believers and non-believers or discriminate against those hold different beliefs. They also don’t go on Conversion Spree to pop up their numbers like the Christians and Muslims do.
Therefore, logically speaking after the word ‘secular’ was added in the Constitution it should have been the burden of Muslims and Christians to prove that they are secular – and all their demands in the name of religion should be declared unconstitutional.
But what actually happened was silly and ridiculous – and this sick comedy still continues. The word ‘Secular’ got an entirely new and unusual meaning in India.
Today, secularism has come to mean championing the interests of Christians and Muslims in the name of religion. Quite often the concept of secularism gets further distorted: when it means calling Hindus ‘Communal’. These are pathetic display of ignorance: How can anyone call Hindus ‘communal’ when Hinduism is not a religion.
It is really a sad irony and a serious distortion in the political discourse.
Today, many Hindus wonder: Partition of united India gave Pakistan to the Muslims, in the name of religion. What did Hindus get?
“A ‘Secular’ State where all preferential treatment goes to the Muslims and Christians.”
Can someone explain why “Secular India” gives Haz subsidy to the Muslims (when even Muslims call it un-Islamic!)? And why 2 MPs are nominated from the Christian community to ensure their representation in the Indian parliament?
How long Hindus will continue to remain unassertive on their own ancient land – even after the so-called ‘freedom’ in 1947 !!
In fact, soon after August 1947 Hindus should have been demanding apology and compensation for the centuries of occupation and injustice done to them both by the Muslims and Christians during the Mughal and colonial periods.
Can you imagine the Jews giving special privileges to the Germans in Israel?
I just hope that Hindus soon start thinking of uniting themselves and shake off the slave mindset resulted from centuries of Islamic and British exploitation. They need to learn from the Jews, Germans and Japanese how to take pride in their ancient culture and way of life.
Looking at the rise of global Islamic terrorism and terrorist sympathisers, the 100 crore Hindus have the sole responsibility to protect India and keep vigil on separatist forces whose loyalty lies in foreign lands. There must not be another 1947 in the 21st century; no ‘another Pakistan’ in the name of Islam.
Population Development: What Kerala can Teach India and China
Kerala: The Most Women Friendly State !!!
Kerala, a tiny southern state of India, has drawn both international and national attention due to its impressive performance in social development and demographic transition. Its human development indicators are the best in India and compare with some of the developed countries. Its achievement of demographic transition is rather unique and has earned worldwide accolades for Kerala. Its population development model is ideal for developing countries who are struggling with issues of population and poverty. Kerala amazes Western demographers because it achieved demographic transition despite poor economic development. Nothing surprising, because for a Western mind everything must correlate with economic development.
Many experts wonder: What is the development model of Kerala?
The answer is simple: Kerala focused on its people and improving their quality of life, a human development model. This is totally opposite from what the West thinks and prescribed: put economic growth at the center-stage and make people subordinate to it. This is flawed, as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has often emphasized - put people at the center of development and develop economy along with social and political processes according to what they need. In fact, people need many more things other than economic growth; such as freedom to participate in social and political processes and activities, opportunity for spiritual growth, family life and relations, easy access to social support systems and quality health services, freedom from all forms of insecurities, clean environment, sufficient leisure time and so on.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of Kerala is the Female/Male sex ratio: According to the 2011 census, Kerala has 1084 females (up by 26 since 2001) for 1000 male against the national average of 940. In past hundred years, this has steadily improved. Even the most economically advanced states like Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra don’t match Kerala in female-friendliness and women empowerment.
In the past decade, all districts of Kerala have shown improvement in the sex ratio. As per the 2011 data, the top 3 districts are Kannur (1133), Pathanamthitta (1129) and Kollam (1113) and even the worst districts have better figures: Idukki (1006), Ernakulam (1028), and Wayanad (1035).
Kerala’s also tops the literacy rate at 94% (male literacy (96%) and Female literacy (92%)) compared with the national average of 74% (Male 82%, female 65.5%).
Kerala is a Female Surplus State!!
Long Tradition of Girls’ Education
The Maharaja of Travancore established the first girl's school in the 1850s. His example was taken up by neighboring kingdoms such as Cochin.
Demography of Kerala
The state of Kerala is wedged between the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east. It covers only 1.18% of India's landmass. Situated at the southwestern tip of India, it has Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as its neighboring states. Kerala's coast runs 580 km in length, while the state itself varies from 35-120 km in width. Kerala is among the preferred destinations for nature loving tourists from across the world.
In the 2011 census, the population density of Kerala is 860 persons/sq km up from 819 in 2001, next only to Bihar (1106 up from 881) and West Bengal (1028 up from 903). The national average is 382 up from 324 ten years ago. In the State, The highest density of 1,508 persons per sq. km is reported from Thiruvananthapuram district while Idukki with 255 has the lowest density. The high density has played a major role in improving access to social services like schools and hospitals leading to improved development indicators.
A steadily aging population (13% people over 60 years compared with 8.2 in the country) and low birthrate (14.8 per 1,000 compared with national average of 22.1 ) make Kerala one of the few regions of the Developing World to have undergone the "demographic transition. It is highest among the major states of India. The highest percent of elderly population falls in Alappuzha district.
Children in the age group 0-6 year are just about 10% and up to 14 years, are less than 25% of the total population, which is lowest among the major states of India. The dropping number of children is endangering the primary schools. More and more schools are turning uneconomical every year in Kerala. The school drop out rate is the state is less than 0.5% - the lowest in the country.
Kerala has the highest literacy rate (94%) and life expectancy (75.8 years; national average 65.5 years) in India. Its fertility rate is below sub-replacement level (at around 1.7) and the infant mortality rate (only around 10 deaths per 1,000 live births) is among the best in the country.
Over the past century, Kerala's population increased by over five times from 6 million in 1901 to 33.4 million in 2011. Currently, it is the 12th populous state with slightly less than 3 percent population share. Its population compares with those of Canada and Iraq but is somewhat larger than populations of Afghanistan, Nepal, and Malaysia.
There has been a five per cent fall in population growth rate in the state in every succeeding census since 1971. The decadal population growth rate was 25% growth rate in 1971, reduced to 20% in 1981, 9.4% in 2001 and stands at 4.9% in 2011. If this trend continues, the growth rate in 2021 will be either zero or negative. The birth rate among all the communities has been declining. At present it is around 1.2 among Christians as against 1.4 among Hindus and 2.1 among Muslims.
The difference in the birth rate among different communities must show up in the overall state population composition. It is expected that the Christian population should be about 16% in 2011 down from 19.5% in 2001 and the Muslim community must have reached 25% as against 21% in 2001. In 2011, the Hindu community should be around 54% against 56% in 2001.
Women constitute 51.9 percent of the total population of the state and outnumber men by 1.3 million. Here also women outlive men.
Better Female Literacy in Kerala Compared with Rest of India
Kerala has Lowest Infant Mortality Rate in India
A country’s population remains stable when the birth and death rates match. Demographic transition is the shift from a stable population with high birth/high death rates to a stable regime with low birth/low death rates. A society with high birth/death rates is clearly underdeveloped. When it advances in healthcare, education, sanitation and nutritional facilities, both birth and death rates fall because people realize the importance of smaller families and plan for it and aged people enjoy better health and live longer.
Western societies achieved this transition long ago due to their technological and economic advancement. Developing nations are now moving towards it and are at different stages of demographic transition. Countries take more or less time depending upon their policies and strategies. Age structure of the population changes during such transitions. Read, for example,
Demographic Transition in Kerala
In India the demographic transition has been relatively slow but steady. As a result, India was able to avoid adverse effects of too rapid changes in the number and age structure of the population, as is seen in China which abruptly reduced population by imposing the one-child policy.
Kerala has been setting an example of potentials of human development over last several decades. This beautiful tiny state has emerged far ahead in human development indicators, leaving behind even the economically advanced states like Gujarat and Maharashtra. It also has the lowest rate of population growth, achieved without coercive sterilization policies of family planning ministry. Kerala has the lowest crude death rate (around 6 per thousand), lowest infant mortality (around 10 per 1000 live births), highest life expectancy at birth (75 years) and highest literacy rate (94 percent).
Kerala attained replacement level fertility, or total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.1, during early 1990s. Other states which achieved this feat in the following years are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra and Punjab.
Total Fertility Rate
Total fertility rate (TFR) is the average total number of children a woman will have her lifetime. Associated with total fertility rate is the concept of replacement rate which is achieved when, on an average, every woman gives birth to just one girl child in her lifetime. In order to do that she gives birth to just two children (TFR of 2.0), so that statistically one would be girl. It leads to population stabilization – zero population growth.
In reality, to account for mortality of young women before they produce new offspring, the replacement level fertility is kept slightly above 2.0. In developed countries where healthcare facilities are good, it is taken as 2.1. In societies where child or adult death rates are higher, the replacement rate is kept around 2.3.
Currently, China’s TFR is 1.70 (similar to Kerala) and India’s about 2.7. China reached the replacement fertility level around the year 2000; it is expecting to see population stabilization by 2030. Population stabilization takes place about 30-35 years after it the replacement fertility has been reached; until them population continues to grow due to momentum. It is hoped that by 2020 India’s TFR would have fallen to replacement level.
To put things in perspective, here are some very high TFR nations: Niger (7.03), Mali (6.25), Somalia (6.17), Uganda (6.06), Zambia (5,81), and Afghanistan (5.54). Some very low TFR countries include Singapore (0.79), Taiwan (1.11), South Korea (1.24), and Japan (1.39). EU as a whole (1.58). The US (2.07) is hovering just below the replacement value of 2.1. World average is around 2.45 (down from 2.8 in 2002 and 5.0 in 1965).
Power of People Development
It is noteworthy that that Kerala achieved it despite a sluggish growth in economy – because normally economic growth has been known to curtail population growth. Sociologists attribute these achievements to Kerala’s better healthcare, high literacy rate, and better standard of living compared to other Indian states. Kerala's human development indices — elimination of poverty, primary level education, and healthcare — are among the best in India.
Kerala's healthcare system has garnered international acclaim, with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) designating Kerala the world's first "baby-friendly state". For example, more than 95% births in Kerala are hospital-delivered. The state also nurtures several traditional forms of medical practices – apart from Ayurveda, siddha, and Unani many endangered and endemic modes of traditional medicine, including kalari, marmachikitsa, and vishavaidyam are practiced in Kerala.
Experts tried to figure out which socio-cultural or developmental factors contributed significantly towards Kerala’s demographic transition. People often point to high literacy as the most dominant factor leading towards lower fertility. Noted scholar D. Radhadevi examined the correlation between education and fertility and compared the fertility parameters of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. She wondered why fertility is fairly high even among women graduates in Madhya Pradesh and fairly low even among illiterates of Kerala? She concluded that the spread of formal education among women can’t by itself bring about a drastic change in their reproductive behavior.
Another researcher, Zachariah argued that in case of Kerala the high population density and the rather homogeneous spread of population (without the drastic village-town divide) helped develop infrastructure of schools and healthcare facilities in such a way that they were easily accessible to the whole population. In Kerala 95 percent population has been living in such settlement pattern. This pattern eliminated the lopsided development in other states where facilities get concentrated in or around cities and rural areas are left behind both in facilities as well as easy access.
In addition, rather low or absence of gender bias in Kerala should also be given credit. When women are free of male dominance they are in a better position to control their fertility. This empowerment must get as much credit as other physical facilities and family planning programs.
The Population Pyramid of Kerala is Distinctly Different
Kerala Martial Art
Praise for Kerala
The case of Kerala is unique because the demographic transition was achieved in the absence of a high level economic development as prescribed in the theory of demographic transition, and observed in the West in the late 19th and early 20thcenturies. Kerala’s human development model of fertility transition appears better suited to developing countries which are struggling with poverty and population stabilization issues.
Noted author and environmentalist, Bill McKibben, described as "the world's best green journalist” by Time magazine, summarized Kerala's unusual socioeconomic and demographic situation in these words:
“Kerala, a state in India, is a bizarre anomaly among developing nations, a place that offers real hope for the future of the Third World. Though not much larger than Maryland, Kerala has a population as big as California's and a per capita annual income of less than $300. But its infant mortality rate is very low, its literacy rate among the highest on Earth, and its birthrate below America's and falling faster. Kerala's residents live nearly as long as Americans or Europeans. Though mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development; there's truly no place like it.”
Lessons from Kerala
Question: What can Kerala teach other developing nations?
Answer: People development and women empowerment are the best contraceptives in the world!
Kerala demonstrated that demographic transition, and hence population stabilization, can also be achieved through people development. It proved many Western thinkers wrong who believed that economic development along can bring about demographic transition, as they had observed in their countries.
It also highlighted that imposing smaller family size is NOT at all required to reduce population growth, as China has done. Kerala also highlights the role of gender equality and women empowerment. Coercive state policies, such as the One Child Policy of China, combined with gender prejudice against women, has led to a highly disturbed sex ratio creating several serious social issues. China already has a surplus of over 30 million men under the age of 20 and adds about one million “extra male child” each year. This scenario is loaded with potential for serious consequences in the future and is showing up in increasing sex related crimes and women trafficking from neighboring North Korea and Myanmar. Kerala avoided all such side-effects of societal distortions. Read, for example, The Dark Side of One Child Policy of China.
Indian government should learn from Kerala (certainly not China) and shift the focus of family planning efforts to socio-cultural issues like raising age at marriage, women education, gender equality and women empowerment. Incidentally, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen's capability approach to development also focuses on people development as the right sustainable growth model.
This article is inspired by a one day roundtable held in New Delhi (Jan, 2011) on “Population and family Planning: Contemporary Challenges & Opportunities”, organized by the National Coalition on Population Stabilization, Family Planning & Reproductive Rights.
Population of India: Women’s Empowerment is the Best Contraceptive.
Is Population a Problem?
Yes; if your thinking is shaped by the enlightened philosophy of English cleric Mr Thomas Robert Malthus prophesied 2 centuries ago. If you see people merely as food eating morons their increasing number is clearly a burden. In his 1798 piece Essay on the Principle of Population Malthus observed, “…in nature plants and animals produce far more offspring than can survive, and that Man too is capable of overproducing if left unchecked. Malthus concluded that unless family size was regulated, man's misery of famine would become globally epidemic and eventually consume Man.”
Whenever philosophers and scientists extrapolate observations from "plants or animals" to the human world deficiencies are in-built into the logic. Because humans are far too superior compared with plants or animals in every aspect -- whether we like it or not!
If Malthus' ideas survived and found prominence, a large part of the credit goes to the elite class of Western societies which found a rationale for their supposed supremacy over ordinary and poor people. Most of the class and race bias in the Western world most definitely originated from his philosophical ideas.
Malthus was concerned about the decline of living conditions in the 19th century England and argued that growing population is a burden on nature’s resources. He also noted that the lower classes were bearing more children; therefore, he suggested that poor families should only produce as many children as they can support. Why he did not think of helping poor become rich is not known; probably he had no interest in uplifting the poor despite being a cleric.
Given his observations and the socioeconomic conditions at that time, his conclusions were certainly logical. What is wrong is to apply them in today’s world by ignoring the premises on which he said what he said. In fact, Malthus's ill founded ideas shaped much of the aid politics during the mid 20th century.
China’s One Child Policy
Yet the most faithful disciple of Malthus and his philosophy turned out to be the Communist China, whose One Child Policy is often touted as a brilliant example of Malthus’ ideology in action and how any country should check its burgeoning population quickly. In fact, Chinese turned out to be more enthusiastic than Malthus – they implemented their One Child policy across board to all families, not just in the poor class as Malthus initially suggested!
However, what is left unsaid is the havoc the One Child policy caused in the basic structure of the Chinese society and the long term social problems it created for China and its neighbors. Rather than a discourse here, a link to The Dark Side of China’s One Child Policy should suffice. In direct contrast to the State control of people’s reproductive behavior there is a bright example of Kerala here in India. In fact, Kerala has demonstrated how people development can give more humane and more sustainable population control without denying basic reproductive rights to the people. Kerala’s model has been highly applauded and both India and China have a lot to learn from Kerala.
"Women do two-thirds of all the work in the world. They produce over 50 % of the food, but earn less than 1 % of the income and own less than 10 % of the property. It will be an enormous challenge to overcome this depth of inequality."
- Joanna Maycock, President, CONCORD, An European NGO
Need to Learn from the ICPD, Cairo 1994
In the current world order, not Mr Malthus, but the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of 1994 held in Cairo and its Program of Action (PoA) should guide the policies of population dynamics. The Conference marked a watershed in the understanding of population and development issues. What appears to be “population problem” is nothing but an indication and a symptom of lack of “people development.” It is in direct opposition to the scare mongering of “population explosion” type rhetoric and endorses the idea of rights based approaches in health through the adoption of the concept of “reproductive rights.” The ICPD Program of Action also highlighted the need for male responsibility along with the empowerment of women and mentioned sexual health.
As the Conference highlighted and further corroborated by many studies, women empowerment has a direct bearing on their reproductive behavior and a controlling effect on fertility. A woman’s ability to control her reproductive activities and fertility are very much affected by her status, self-image, and the sense of empowerment. The more empowered she feels, the greater is the freedom and options available to her in terms of education, time of marriage, contraceptives she would like to use, when to bear children, and how to participate in social and work related activities.
I am not sure why Mr Malthus could not think of empowering women at that time. Probably gender equality and its positive consequences were unknown to the primitive English society he lived in.
Early Marriages Feed both Population Growth and Poverty
Best Investment – Girls’ Education
In a recent study of 65 countries including India, the World Bank also concluded that for development there is no investment more effective than educating girls. This one action alone solves several problems in one go; for instance,
Reduction in Women’s Fertility Rate: Educated women are more likely to use family planning methods, delay marriage and child-bearing compared with women with no or little education. There are studies to suggest that one year of female schooling, particularly secondary school, reduce fertility by 10 percent.
Reduction in Infant and Child Mortality Rates: Educated women are more aware of healthcare, children’s immunization and their nutritional requirement, and adopt improved sanitation practices. Hence, their kids have higher survival rates and tend to be better nourished and healthier.
Reduced Maternal Mortality Rate: Due to their better knowledge, educated women are better equipped to avoid unwanted pregnancies and have better planned and well spaced pregnancies and take care of pre- and post-natal issues. It has been estimated that an additional year in school for 1000 women prevents two maternal deaths.
Protection against HIV/AIDS Infections: Girls’ education is a powerful tool for reducing their vulnerability. Education provides access to information that enables them to stay protected.
Education Enables Women to earn More: Education opens the door for jobs, income, and opportunities. They become a contributing part of the society.
Educated Mother Means Educated Kids: Education of mothers is a significant variable affecting children’s educational opportunities. Thus, an educated mother pulls her children from the quagmire of ignorance and poverty.
The problem with the rigid patriarchal society like India is that women have been traditionally confined to home and their role has been limited to mere breeding and shouldering responsibility of all domestic work. Even now in many pockets of rural society the world beyond home boundary is an alien land for them. Male dominance is the sole reason for domestic violence in Indian society. Women get least priority in everything in the families, including education. So, they remain trapped in the self sustaining cycle of exploitation and misery. Therefore, it is also vital to work with men and bring change in their patriarchal mindset.
Involving Men for Women Empowerment
Involving men in the process of gender equality and women empowerment is equally important because that will automatically serve the purpose of population stabilization. When men change, the societal perception and definition of female gender will also change – that in turn will be good for women’s own sense of self worth.
Fortunately such an effort has emerged during last ten years, in the form of a network called Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against Women (MASVAW). While typically groups working on women empowerment focus on women – that is quite logical – but MASVAW approaches it from the other side, men. Yes, it puts men in the center to change their gender definition and redefines masculinity to include the concept of “share and care.” The changed men then become role models for other men to emulate. Being focused on “men” MASVAW also provides a supportive platform where men can discuss their intimate issues freely and help each other to concretize the change in them.
“MASVAW initiative was first of its kind in Asia which helped propagate such movements in many other countries. It also played an important role when the “Men Engage Global Alliance” was set up in 2004 at the international level.” – Satish Kumar Singh, MASVAW Convener
If all subtle or gross forms of violence against women (VAW) are eliminated, an important mile stone is already achieved on the way to women empowerment. A violence-free environment offers them “normal” atmosphere to grow, discover self-worth, and participate in all types of decision making in the family including reproductive activities and fertility.
Perhaps the happiest individuals from MASVAW's work are the wives of MASVAW activists!! For instance, sample this:
“Now (after joining MASVAW) my husband does not beat me. In fact, now he even counsels me why I should not beat kids. He also encourages me to go out and work. I like the fact that he trusts and respects me.” – Wife of a MASVAW activist
Men are certainly part of the problem; they must share their responsibility in solving it too!
Guidelines on Women's Empowerment
UN guidelines for implementation of ICPD Program of Action.
A reputed NGO in Uttar Pradesh working for women empowerment since 1992. It is also responsible for the birth of MASVAW.
MASVAW(Men's Action for Stopping Violence Against Women)
MASVAW's work is highlighted on his blog.
Population Growth and Women Empowerment
It is amply clear to population experts at least, that the current population growth is momentum driven – too many young people in the reproductive age group – and not because family sizes are increasing. The remedies to check the population momentum are societal – Not clinical. It can be checked by two simple steps: delay the woman’s age at first birth (by discouraging early or child marriages and delaying first pregnancy) and then spacing further births. Child marriages – and hence early pregnancies – are the biggest source of population rise in India. According to UNICEF, 15 percent of girls in rural areas across the country are married before they are even 13; and 52 percent of girls have their first pregnancy between 15 and 19. So, the most effective way to solve the population problem is to kill the population momentum by preventing early pregnancies.
Women empowerment is the ideal way to kill the momentum of population growth. When women have control on their bodies and reproductive health and have the freedom to make decisions and choices a lot of imposed or unwanted pregnancies will be automatically eliminated.
Indian government will do well to heed the experts and don’t just allocate funds for clinical sterilization of women that have been traditionally target driven. The whole focus is loaded against women as if they are solely responsible for pregnancies and child births – and men have no responsibilities. Sensitizing men through a network such as MASVAW for the ultimate goal of women empowerment will automatically put the population issue in perspective.
So, the bottom line is: There is no other contraceptive as effective as women empowerment in the long run; and population is just one of the symptoms of lack of women empowerment, along with poverty. That’s all!
Child Marriages Feed Poverty In The Developing Countries
Child Marriages Cover-Up Lifetime Abuse Of Girls
"Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects." – Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA.
Every year about 14 million girls are locked into marriages, often with much older men. The tradition of “marriage” provides cover for the tale of life-long physical and sexual abuse of the girl. It legitimizes denial of her human rights and dignity. From a broader perspective, it is just a part of the ongoing discrimination that begins with her birth and continues till she dies. Child marriage is defined as a marriage before age 18.
It is perhaps the harshest symbol of male dominance over the female who are viewed as mere objects of lust gratification. In this information age, we still have societies where rich tycoons in seventies hunt for virgins teenage girls for wedlock. Sounds sick, but all you have to do is to look for where a lot of young girls end up in the Gulf countries after disappearing from Bangladesh or India. Rest assured, it is part of the lifestyle of the rich. There are societies where rapist is exonerated and allowed to marry the victim. But we need not blame these rich lecherous characters, a lot of girls particularly in the developing countries find themselves into marriages they never intend or understand.
However, child marriage can’t be seen as a stand-alone abusive practice, but must be seen in the larger context of discrimination and violence against women and girls. It is only a proof of girls’ vulnerability that exposes them to abuses throughout their lives. According to the UN reports, the leading cause of death for girls aged between 15 and 19 years old in developing countries is pregnancy-related complications – their immature body can't properly cope with the physical demands of carrying a baby. Stopping child marriages is the key to achieving UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of improving child mortality and reducing maternal deaths directly. Early marriages not only fuel population growth but also sustain poverty.
The situation is nothing but a life-long trap in the cycle of poverty. The social pressure, especially to produce male offspring, soon after marriage is another tormenting aspect of life in many societies. As a result of the highly unequal gender equation and patriarchal family structures the young bride are left with few choices and little control over their own bodies.
South Asia And Sub-Saharan Africa Are Global Centers Of Child Marriages
Child marriage transcends regional and cultural boundaries and persists to varying degrees around the globe. It is commonly measured by the percentage of women aged twenty to twenty-four who report being married before eighteen. The highest rates are found in South Asia and West and Central Africa, where an estimated two out of five girls are married as children. Across all developing countries, an estimated one in three girls is married before turning eighteen, and one in nine before fifteen. However, in terms of absolute numbers, India surpasses other countries by a wide margin due to its huge population; it accounts for about 40 percent of all child marriages in the world.
Around 37,000 girls under the age of 18 are married off everyday – which translates to about 13.5 million a year. If not curbed, the numbers would go to 14 million a year by 2020 and 15 million annual by 2030. According to the UNFPA the highest prevalence of child marriage is seen in Niger, where 75 per cent of girls are married before 18, and a third are wed before age 15. Under Niger’s law, the minimum age for marriage is 15, but traditional customs often prevail in villages.
In the Central African Republic and Chad the rate of child marriage is 68 percent, it is 66 percent in Bangladesh, and 47 percent in India. In Afghanistan 46 percent of girls are married before 18; 60-80 percent of those girls were forced into the marriages by their parents. In Nepal, 41 percent of girls end up as child brides.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, approximately 14 percent of girls in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest countries, get married before the age 15, and 52 percent wed before they turned 18. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are the only Arab countries that do not have laws that set a minimum age for marriage. Yemen has recently proposed a law to set the legal age of marriage at 18 along with other reforms; it has yet to become a law.
The UN has launched a campaign to end child marriages by 2030 which means freeing the girls from poverty, ignorance and abuse at the hands of their husbands. The problem is mainly concentrated in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where girls as young as 5 or 6 are married off. Despite laws setting a minimum age for marriage in many countries, social and cultural norms continue to weigh heavily and provide a semblance of legitimacy to child marriage. It legitimizes human rights violations and abuses of girls under the guise of honor, tradition and religion.
Age Of Consent And Marriage!
While international legal conventions consider 18 as an acceptable age of marriage. But many countries allow marriages at lower ages with the consent of parents or judicial authorities. About three dozen countries allow children at the age of 15 or younger to get married with parental consent. In many more countries girls are allowed to marry with consent at younger ages than boys. Clearly, early marriage is also a gendered phenomenon.
Some Child Marriage Facts
One-third of the world’s girls are married before the age of 18
1 in 9 is married before the age of 15.
At the present trend, each year about 14 million girls are married before 18.
Girls from poor families are almost twice as likely to marry before 18 as girls in higher income families.
Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.
Pregnancy is the leading cause of deaths worldwide for girls ages 15 to 19.
Girls in the age group 15-19 are two- to six-times more likely to contract HIV than boys of the same age in sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: International Centre for Research on Women
What Prompts Early Marriages Of Girls
The Value of Brides!
Poverty, patriarchy, cultural norms, and the low social status of women and girls are the primary driving forces behind early marriage of girls, although the precise reasons differ from society to society.
Male dominance is the unwritten rule of law in most poor countries. Given the state of widespread backwardness and ignorance girls and women become easy prey to male dictates. It is taken for granted that women have to make babies and take care of the family – the only roles traditionally assigned to them.
Many cultures place an emphasis on girls' virginity, which is closely tied to a family's honor. Parents may marry off a daughter at an early age to ensure that she marries as a virgin and to prevent the shame of out-of-wedlock pregnancies. Marrying the girl means getting rid of the responsibility to “protect” her. A married girl becomes protected from male eyes of the society and her abuse is limited to that coming from just one man, her husband!
Then there are religious sects that support early marriage. For instance, in Ethiopia child marriage is embedded in the customs of Orthodox Christian communities such as those in the Amhara region, although country’s Orthodox church opposes the practice.
In Muslim communities, some follow a conservative interpretation of sharia and argue that girls can be married upon reaching maturity, which they define as puberty. However, there is debate within Islam about at the age of maturity of a girl. Others agree with the internationally recognized age of maturity, 18. Many Muslims further argue against child marriage because Islam mandates that men and women should choose their partners freely, and children are not capable to do so.
In several communities girls are seen as economic burden. For impoverished parents marrying off girls soon is the best option to get rid of the financial load. Some countries have the popular tradition of using girls as a means to settle family debt or gain financially when the husband pays dowry. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, bride prices (money given to the bride's parents) rise if a girl marries at an earlier age. Rich elderly men exploit young girls in these societies.
I was really in need of money and thought it was a solution for the family. – Abdul Mohammad Ali, father of a 9 year old girl in Yemen
"The man I loved did not have cows and my uncles rejected him. My husband paid 120 cows. ... I refused him but they beat me badly and took me by force to him. The man forced me to have sex with him so I had to stay there." – A South Sudanese child bride
Families in crisis situations are more likely to marry their daughters early, either to preserve the financial status of the family by shedding the economic responsibility for the girl children or in an attempt to ensure daughters’ safety from potential sexual abuse.
Crisis Makes Girls "Dispensable"
A March 2013 report from World Vision titled, “Untying the Knot: Exploring Early Marriage in Fragile States” studied countries like Bangladesh, Somaliland and Niger and found that fear of rape, premarital pregnancy, hunger, and homelessness were major drivers of early marriages. Most of the countries with the highest rates of early marriages are affected by conflict, fragility, or natural disasters. Other drivers of child marriages included lack of alternative opportunities for girls such as the lack of opportunity to go to school.
The current Syrian conflict has also unleashed another round of child marriages – gender based violence on the displaced population. Syrian refugees are marrying their daughters for financial gain as well as to lodge the girls in the safety of the marriage institution. Lecherous characters are always lurking around the refugee camps to hunt for young brides.
Why Early Marriages Are Harmful
Child marriage is a human rights as well as developmental and health issue.
International conventions define 18 as the age of adulthood. Matrimony before the age of 18 is termed child marriage which is prohibited. The reasons being that children and adolescents are not mature enough to make choices about marriage, and that early marriages often lead to lasting emotional, physical, and psychological harm. Moreover, child marriage robs girls' of educational opportunities and income-earning prospects, and perpetuates poverty.
According to a United Nations Population Fund report, “When a young girl is married and gives birth, the vicious cycle of poverty, poor health, curtailed education, violence, instability, disregard for rule of law . . . continues into the next generation, especially for any daughters she may have.”
Child brides are often expected to bear children soon after marriage, which makes them vulnerable to pregnancy and childbirth complications, including obstetric fistula, a condition that causes chronic incontinence and occurs commonly in young girls who give birth before their bodies have matured. According to WHO reports, pregnancy complications remain the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19 in low- and middle-income countries, and those girls are twice as likely to die in childbirth as are mothers aged 20 and older. Further, babies born to adolescent or child mothers are more likely to die than those born to mothers over age 20. They tend to have lower birth weights and weak immune systems, and face higher risks of malnutrition. In areas with high infection rates, early marriage makes girls more vulnerable to HIV and other STDs.
According to UN studies, girls who marry before they are 18 are more likely to become victims of violence from their partners, with the risk increasing as the age gap between the couple gets larger. Once married, young girls suffer a traumatic initiation into sexual relationships, are put at risk of domestic violence and the chances of a career are gone almost forever.
Isolation of Girls
Marriage generally cuts-off the girl from her families and peer network and is thrust into hostile environments where she is beholden to her new husband and in-laws. This isolation can have emotionally scarring effects, particularly if the new family mistreats her and husband forces her into non-consensual intimacy. The option of divorce, even if available, is beyond her capacity because she lacks financial support. Her life becomes more miserable if her husband ditches her or dies – when she is left alone to look after her kids.
The Education Dilemma
Education generally becomes the first casualty of child marriage. This has life-long consequences and restricts their earning potentials. It further weakens their status and makes them dependent on the husband.
The high prevalence rates of child marriage correlates well with lower education for girls. A study by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) found that girls with no education were up to six times more likely to marry as children than girls who had received secondary education. Likewise, a UNICEF study from 47 countries found that girls with primary school education were less likely to be married than girls with no education. Therefore, child marriage feeds this vicious cycle and perpetuates the cycle of misery in the female gender.
The Poverty Cycle
As discussed above, early marriage leaves girls without the skills, knowledge and social networks to financially support their families. The effect is passed-on to the next generation and the cycle of poverty continues. There are numerous studies to link girls' education and development to larger economic benefits. As their education level increases the impact is reflected in lower child and maternal mortality rates, lower birthrates and higher female participation in the economic activities. Child marriage, then, not only adversely impacts the trajectory of young girls' lives, but also of the society and country.
The International Day of the Girl Child
The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 on Dec 19, 2011 to declare 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, in order to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
11 October – The International Day of the Girl Child.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Child Marriages
Although the tradition of child marriage is entrenched in the social customs maintained by patriarchy, it can be easily seen as a problem of lack of social development, education and gender equality. Therefore, the solution lies in working from different perspectives to create an environment where child marriages are discouraged and finally eliminated altogether. Experience from around the world tells us that the following 2 broad strategies can be used at the local, national and international levels to curb the practice of child marriage.
1. Girls’ Empowerment
This lies at the core of the whole issue and education has been proven to be the best tool to achieve it. Both formal and informal education and skill and knowledge development play important roles.
Incentives can play a crucial role in encouraging education, if they can outweigh the hurdles that keep girls away from the school. It works well if parents have incentive to keep their daughters in schools. For instance, parents may be given some monthly cash incentive as long as the girls are attending schools. Another form of incentive pertains to delaying their marriages till they are eighteen. India has an effective Apni Beti Apna Dhan (my daughter, my wealth) scheme; it offers bonds to newborn girlsthat can be redeemed only if they remain unmarried until the age of 18.
Promote Reproductive Health Knowledge
A vital aspect is to give girls’ the education and information about reproductive health issues. Married girls can be targeted for regular visits to local health centers where they can share their problems and learn about various aspects of maternal and reproductive health. Such facilities, if easily accessible, are highly empowering for 'girl wives' who have little support mechanism at husbands home.
2. Changing the Traditional Mindset
Spread Awareness in the Communities
Community-based targeted programs can be highly effective in changing traditional mindset of people about the roles of women and girls in society, if done consistently over a period of time. Involvement of local leaders and parents make such programs more effective. They should be presented with the negative consequences of child marriages as well as the alternatives. There are organizations in different countries that directly work with the society.
Laws pertaining to minimum age of marriage and against sexual violence need to be strengthened and the justice delivery mechanisms should be bolstered. A first step towards monitoring child marriages can be requiring registration of births and marriages. Such a law passed in Bangladesh in 2004 contributed to an increase in birth registrations from 10 percent to 54 percent over three years. Girls found this requirement as an effective way to uphold laws against child marriage. Regular data collection and updates go a long way in strengthening the monitoring mechanism.
Raising Diplomatic Pressure
Since child marriages work against development and human rights goals, global leaders like the US and UK and organizations such as the UN and World Bank should exert pressure on countries with high levels of child marriages. They can selectively lend support to countries that are already making efforts to prevent child marriage – like India and Ethiopia.
Poverty is Multidimensional, So should be Development
Why Poverty? Let's Talk People Development !
Looking at Poverty, Beyond Lack of Income
Different Types of Poverty
Traditionally, poverty is associated with lowness of income. They don’t earn enough income to take care of all their basic requirements; as a result, they lead a life of shortages and hardships. It is obviously a state of low human well-being. A simple way to look at the well-being of people is to see whether their basic needs of life like food, clothing, housing, education, medical care and public transportation are adequately met. They live deprived of many things considered essential for normal living.
The World Bank uses a benchmark of $1.25-a-day for extreme poverty. On this yardstick it estimates that globally around 1bn people live in extremely poverty. Such a simple yardstick is convenient for policymakers although it tell nothing about the nature of poverty or hardships the poor face.
Regardless of the causes of poverty we can broadly identify three types of poverty.
First is the Short-Term Poverty. – This is a situation where people lose the source of livelihood for whatever reason and try to survive with available resources (assets and savings) until the next source of income comes. This can happen in the life of any person, rich or poor and in any country, rich or poor.
Second is the Structural Poverty – This is a situation where people have income to survive but one or more basic requirements remain unsatisfied. This is a typical situation in countries where the State run public services are absent (or when basic services like healthcare and education are run by private players for profit and hence costly for the poor) but people somehow earn enough to subsist. In such a situation it helps a great deal if the State provides basic facilities so that people have access to shelter, sanitation, clean water, education and healthcare.
Countries with similar average incomes can differ substantially when it comes to people’s quality of life: access to education and healthcare, employment opportunities, availability of clean air and safe drinking water, the threat of crime, and so on.
The third category is Chronic Poverty when people are not earning enough and public services are absent. It means people live deprived of many basic needs. This situation is typical of poor countries where economies are weak and public services and infrastructure are lacking. This is actually a poverty trap – many deprivations reinforcing each other.
Without multi-pronged attempts for economic and social development it is difficult for people to come out of chronic poverty in these countries.
Therefore, the extent and type of poverty depends upon the state policies, socio-economic conditions. Social traditions and culture also have significant influence on people’s lives. Hence, it is important to consider all these factors in order to understand poverty in any country.
Poverty is Multidimensional
The income poverty line is too simple a proxy of poverty to reveal anything about the nature or depth of deprivations people face. Lowness of income is clearly an important parameter to view poverty but it must be seen along with deprivation of other basic necessities of life. Hence, in the recent decades the focus of poverty discourse has shifted to broader definitions so that poverty is seen with all its manifestations and consequences beyond income and money. Thus, the multidimensional poverty concept has emerged.
For instance, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set in the Millennium Declaration in 2000, may be seen as an attempt to view poverty in terms of its individual manifestations. Another explicit example, of course, is the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) launched in 2010 by the UNDP which uses a set of 10 indicators to probe the status of health, education and living standard. It can reveal both the extent of poverty and the nature of deprivations poor are facing.
Many Dimensions of Poverty
Who Says Poverty in not Multidimensional!
Love and Trust Poverty
Multidimensional Poverty Perspectives
A consensus has emerged that poverty should be explored beyond difficulty in meeting the basic minimum physical requirements of life and must also consider inability to function properly in the social and political environment. This leads to exploration of all factors that affect the capacity of people to live comfortably.
Researchers and developmental agencies have different perspectives when they explore the multidimensional nature of poverty. For instance, poverty may be viewed in terms of lack of resources to meet social demands and customs (Townsend), or as a lack of capacities to participate fully in society (Amartya Sen) or in terms of human development (Alkire).
But perhaps the most influential viewpoint is provided by Amartya Sen’s capability approach which is grounded on a solid theoretical foundation. It not only goes well beyond the confines of income and consumption and also beyond the physical and economic needs of people. It is focused on ‘the capability to function and participate fully in the society.’ The capability approach offers a comprehensive framework for assessing poverty by combining all aspects of human life – personal, economic, social and political. As interest in considering poverty from social and political perspectives is increasing more and more people now want to see poverty in terms of people’s ability to do or to be.
The UN’s definition encompasses most of these concepts in its human development approach: “If human development is about enlarging choices, poverty must mean denial of most basic opportunities and choices to lead a long, healthy, creative life and to enjoy a decent standard of living, freedom, dignity, self-respect and respect for others.”
A consequence of using such a comprehensive framework is that the phenomenon of ‘social exclusion’ gets highlighted as it usually sets up a poverty trap. Well known examples of people affected by it are the Roma in Europe, the African Americans in the US and the so-called lowest caste (untouchables) communities in India. It doesn't make sense to discuss poverty in these communities by ignoring this important factor which lowers their ability to function properly. Therefore, the development model must be able to handle things beyond economy and money.
Goals and Means of Development
Different countries have different priori- ties in their development policies. So the crucial question is: what development really means to you, what it is supposed to achieve. Indicators measuring this achievement could then be used to judge progress in development.
Is the goal merely to increase national wealth? Or is it something more subtle: Eradicating poverty? Reducing rich-poor inequality? Ensuring people’s freedom?
According to the Human Development Report 1996, published by the United Nations Development Program, “human development is the end, economic growth a means” (p.1) Amartya Sen puts it more eloquently:
"Human development, as an approach, is concerned with what I take to be the basic development idea: namely, advancing the richness of human life, rather than the richness of the economy in which human beings live, which is only a part of it."
Sen’s writings on the ‘capability approach’ provide the philosophical basis for human centric development. This approach has the flavours of sustainable and participatory development and focuses on enhancing people’s freedoms and choices. It is equally applicable in both the developed and the developing countries. Pakistani economist, Mahbub ul Haq, applied Sen’s theory to propagate the human development approach. He wanted to see development in a different way, away from the economic growth considerations.
Societies can Develop Despite Poor Economy
The tiny southern state of India, Kerala, developed its society by focusing on people. It paid particularly attention to Women Empowerment. Today, its human development indicators compete with those of economically most developed nations, making it an object of several international studies.
Human Development is Multidimensional
The first Human Development Report of 1990 defined human development as ‘both the process of widening people’s choices and the level of their achieved well-being’ (UNDP, 1990, p9). It covers all aspects of human life – cultural, social and political. No aspect of the development falls outside its scope, but the focus remains on widening people’s choices and the enriching their lives.
Since people are put at the center of attention, the economy becomes secondary as a tool to enable people to enjoy a long, healthy and creative life. Economic growth provides means for things like good education, better nutrition and health services and state policies create enabling environment for citizens to have more secure livelihoods, security against crime and physical violence, satisfying leisure hours, political and cultural freedoms and a sense of participation in community activities. All these measures empower people; make them capable in different ways.
In this paradigm, economy related factors become only one subset of the overall human development. This form of comprehensive human development is needed if we really want to eradicate poverty from the societies and the world while limiting inequalities within reasonable limits.
8 Reasons Why India Is so Poor
The Super Poor India !
India has 269 million (21 percent of total population) people under the poverty line, as per the latest official headcount of the poor in India. It used to be 396 million (29 percent) prior to the announcement of new counting in June 1024.
However, World Bank recently estimated Indian poverty to be 172 million (12.4 percent), based on its new poverty line of $1.90 per person per day using the new 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP) data. This is a measure of extreme poverty. [The World Bank revised its poverty line in October in 2015 to $1.90 a day from the earlier $1.25 a day.]
In 1947 when colonial British left India, they left 70 percent Indians in deep poverty and a tiny elite class that controlled everything. Over six decades later in 2011-2012, poverty is down to 21 percent despite the multifold increase in population. However, despite the significant progress, even 21 percent poverty means a huge headcount in a country of 1.3 billion people.
You may like to know that World Bank has set the target of bringing down the global extreme poverty to less than 3 percent by 2030. The global community is now also duty bound to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which provides a holistic global development agenda, particularly for the poor countries.
There is a more comprehensive way to measure poverty, through the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). It is a joint venture of UK based Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Its 2017 report estimated India’s poverty at 41 percent (528 million).
Note that various dimensions of the MPI are connected with the SDGs. Thus, progress in SDGs can be suitably monitored through the MPI data.
While there can never be agreement on poverty numbers, compare these numbers with the European Union and US populations of 500 million and 320 million, respectively.
The mammoth Indian poverty is a delight for poverty experts for playing the game of poverty line and counting the poor!
Due to its very large population India holds the distinction of having the most number of poor of the world – a super poor nation! Consequently, South Asia has become the world’s biggest center of extreme poverty, followed by the sub-Saharan Africa.
In both regions the MPI estimates higher poverty than calculated by the one dimensional income poverty line ($1.90 a day) of the World Bank. In South Asia, the MPI reveals 41.6% percent poverty compared with 19.2 percent from the WB’s income indicator. For the sub-Saharan Africa these figures are 60.1 percent and 46.4 percent, respectively.
Multidimensional poverty indicators map the SDGs
Poverty is Inherently Multidimensional
Wise people say: Poverty is easy to spot, but hard to define.
The income based one dimensional poverty line of the World Bank fails to reflect the hardships faced by the poor. It gives only headcount. A life in poverty means living deprived of sufficient food and nutrition, education, proper shelter, sanitation, clean water and so on. This points to the need of seeing poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon. The way MPI is constructed it offers a useful breakup of various deprivations faced by the poor as if poverty is being looked through a microscope.
Education of girls is the best anti-poverty tool.
Major Factors Behind India’s Poverty
In this page, we will discuss major factors that led to deeply entrenched poverty in India. Given the multitude of languages, customs, cultures and castes in India, these factors are further intertwined. Here we highlight 8 important reasons for high poverty in India. However, one message is very clear: One has to look at poverty, beyond income.
1. Social Inequality Leading to Exclusion and Marginalization
Societies cannot progress if certain sections of people are left-out simply because they happen to be from the “wrong” class, caste, ethnic group, race or sex. If the virus of color and race based discrimination has damaged the social set up of many countries in the West, the bacteria of “caste” division has undermined the cohesive social fabric of India. Lower caste people have traditionally been excluded from the mainstream society governed by the so-called upper caste communities. They have historically lived isolated in the periphery of the villages and townships and subsisted doing only those tasks considered “unfit” for the other castes. Their un-touchability can be considered the worst form of rejection by the mainstream society.
While considerable change has taken place in people’s attitude since 1947, but the “lower caste” communities are still not satisfactorily absorbed in the mainstream society. Rural India (where 70% of the population lives) is still quite “caste conscious” compared with the urban society where education and financial well-being has largely erased the caste divisions. Mahatma Gandhi tried to remove the social stigma of un-touchability by coining the label "Harijan" (god's people) for them but with only partial success. The official label for about 170 million (around 14 percent of current total population) unfortunate lower caste people is Scheduled Caste (SC).
Another segment of society that is still very much detached from the mainstream is the tribal community forming 8% of the population. These tribal people (called Scheduled Tribe (ST)) have historically lived in secluded areas such as forests. The Colonial British designated their habitations as "excluded areas", not due to any special privilege but for convenience of the colonial policies. Unfortunately, the “free” governments after 1947 never bothered to assimilate them into rest of the mainstream society and the tribal communities continued to remain isolated and “barely governed.” As a result, besides the poverty of the tribal communities, their backward due to lack of governance of their areas also gave rise to armed Maoist movement. It, ideologically, wants to establish communist state based on Mao’s principles through gun battle. Popularly called Naxals, these Maoists now pose the biggest internal security threat for the country. Fortunately, even now they have not formed any nexus with Islamic terrorist groups of next door neighbor Pakistan.
Beside the SCs and STs, there are several other communities designated “Other Backward Classes” or simply OBC – they may or may not be Hindus. Their socioeconomic plight is also similar to SCs and STs. The list of OBCs is dynamic and every now and then the government edits it (mostly for political reasons); there is significant confusion about their exact proportion. However, most experts agree OBCs to be in the range 25 – 35% of the population. Combined together they form 50 – 60 percent India's population! Thus, the population of the so-called forward or upper class is less than one-third, but who by and large control everything.
Now tell me how any country can possibly progress if over half of its people get excluded from the mainstream societal processes.
While marginalization and exclusion happen in all societies, but in India it is in grotesque proportions due to sheer numbers.
The policy of reservation in government jobs for the backward communities has certainly helped them to rise up to some extent. But it is insufficient because government jobs are limited. A far better way is to train and turn them into entrepreneurs. Here the idea of ‘social business’ offers a great opportunity for NGO and social organizations to make a difference.
High level of illiteracy, particularly in the rural areas and among women, has been a crucial factor not only in perpetuating economic backwardness but also for high population growth. The persistence of high illiteracy has created a situation where poverty and population have been feeding each other. It is well established that female literacy plays an important role in the well-being of the family in many ways. When women are educated, they not only contribute economically but also raise healthier kids and keep the family size small. Early marriage of girls and early child bearing is closely related with their low literacy; it feeds poverty.
In 2010 only 26.6% women above 25 years found to have received secondary education, as opposed to 50.4% men. In comparison, in China 54.8% women and 70.4% men had secondary education; in the US, this figure was 94.7% for women and 94.3% for men.
While the growth rate of population has decreased significantly over the decades and the rate fertility decline has accelerated since 2011, India's population is currently growing annually at the rate of about 1.4 percent. The total fertility rate has sharply fallen to 2.3 and should approach the replacement rate of 2.1 by 2020 and country's population should stabilize by 2050 at around 1.5 billion and then begin to fall. The current population increase is largely driven by population momentum (large base of people in the fertile age); not because people want large families. Around 18 million people are added to population each year. However, not that many people are lifted out of poverty every year.
Early marriage of girls and lack of awareness about reproductive healthcare, particularly in the rural areas, are major factors behind current population growth. Population is clearly a factor contributing to, and sustaining, high levels of poverty. But the Chinese population control through one-child model would be a bad example to follow for the democratic India. ()
4. Gender Inequality
Gender equality is both a core concern and an essential part of human development. Indian social fabric is highly patriarchal which has left women significantly exploited and discriminated. If caste based biases work only outside home in the open society, the discrimination against women operates both in and out of homes. Not only men always get preference in every walk of life, their attitude towards women is largely patronizing and imposing.
Their weak status, particularly in the rural areas, is at the root of most chronic problems. It is their lack of awareness or access to family planning tools and early marriage of girls and their early child bearing, which ultimately have led to high population; lack of awareness of health issues related to pregnancy and child upbringing has resulted in high mortality rate, under-nutrition and malnutrition among children; lower education and lack of freedom has resulted in low participation in societal processes. All these factors are enough to feed and sustain poverty.
On the World Economic Forum’s 2016 gender gap index (GGI) India ranked 87 out of 144 nations.Last year it was at 108 position. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health criteria.
Indian Muslim community is easily the most backward group in terms of gender inequality. Its clergy habitually wants to live like the Arab tribes of the 7th century uncivilized Middle East, in the name of Sharia'h Law - confining women inside the veils and oppressed by polygamy and 'triple' Talaq.. But for their resistance, India would have by now a Uniform Civil Code for all Indians. As radical Islam (Wahhabi Islam) is spreading across the world due to push from the Saudi Arabia it will make the task of providing equal treatment to Muslim women even harder.
Fortunately, Indian government is now firmly pushing an end to the stone-age practice of ‘triple talaq’ in the Supreme Court of India. There are chances that Indian Muslim women would now move a bit closer towards gender equality.
5. Unequal Distribution of Wealth
India happens to be a rich country inhabited by very poor people. – Dr Manmohan Singh
Unfortunately, since departure of the colonial British in 1947 all economic development has taken place in the cities, while the majority of the population lives in the countryside. Thus, the rural India has always remained neglected. Another peculiarity is the land holding pattern in India: most land has traditionally been under the control of a few landlords, leaving the vast majority landless. The "Zamindari system” of lopsided land ownership has ancient origin but given a boost during the British rule. Handful zamindars became legal owners of vast tracts of land and all others had to work for them to survive. This rent seeking exploitative system has since kept a vast majority of people in the rural India poor. Land reforms were debated noisily after independence but implementation lacked honest political will, despite the famous "Bhoodan Andolan" of Vinoba Bhave. Unfortunately, land reforms are no more an issue of public debates at present. All talks of poverty removal appear to center only around economic reforms, imitating the unsuitable Western capitalism.
Rising wealth inequality
According to the latest edition of Oxfam International’s global inequality report titled An Economy For The 99 Percent published in Jan 2017, the richest 1 percent in India owns 58 percent of the country’s wealth. As the myopic ‘economic experts’ gloat over rising number of billionaires in India, the inequality is growing bigger with each passing year. Rising inequality is trapping more and more Indians in poverty; it is also fracturing the society and undermining Indian democracy.
It is in fact a global phenomenon. The report also revealed that 7 out of 10 people live in countries that have seen inequality widen in the last 30 years. Furthermore, the report also mentioned that during 1988 - 2011, the incomes of the poorest 10 percent around the world increased by an average of just $65 per year, while those of the richest 1 percent grew by an average of $11,800 a year—182 times as much!
6. Faulty Economic Reforms
The so called economic liberalization and market reforms that started in the 1990s are nothing but an attempt to replicate the Western capitalism that promotes "trickle down" economy. It serves to make the rich richer and expand the economy. India has become more unequal in recent years. In early 1990s, there were just 2 billionaires; now there are 97 billionaires, in a country of 1.33 billion people. The rich elites are also controlling more wealth, their share increased from 1.8 percent in 2003 to 26 percent in 2008. Today, they are still richer and much more powerful.
Experts suggest that if India could only freeze its rising inequality, by 2019 around 90 million more people could come out of extreme poverty. Reducing inequality by 10 points in Gini coefficient (equivalent of a 36 percent reduction) could further lift up another 83 million poor people.
The push to urbanization means uprooting the poor from their rural roots and turning them into “cheap labor resource” for businesses in the town. In the cities they would live in large slums, exploited both by the mafia and employers, devoid of human dignity and livelihood security.
Given the huge population and poverty, India needs an "employment centric" economy – millions of micro, small and medium business units. Only they can employ the unskilled or low skilled people from the vast pool of the poor.
Large high-tech industrial units don't generate too many jobs and whatever jobs they create is suitable for those who are already well off. According to the NSSO survey, the size of India's workforce is around 450 million. Of which only about 30 million work in the formal or organized sector. The government recognizes only about 70 million as unemployed or underemployed. Thus, there are 350 million unrecognized by the government as unemployed. Government surveys list them as "self employed" but they barely survive and live chronically in poverty. Who are these "self employed" people, more in numbers than the population of United States, and how do they survive?
They milk the cows, become seasonal farm workers, run small shops or sell on the roadsides, make incense sticks, match sticks and bidis, drive manual or auto rickshaws, work as domestic help, work as unaccounted contract workers on daily wages, work as gardeners and watchmen, or work as plumbers, carpenters or shoe repairers and so on. They have no safety net such as pension or healthcare benefits enjoyed by the regular employees and hence, are the most vulnerable. They are also the first victim of natural calamities, now becoming more frequent due to climatic disorder. [The poor are always the first victims of climatic disasters. Of course, nothing changes for better after their death-toll makes headline news.]
Jobless Economic Growth
Considering the population growth of around 18 million every year, around 10 million new jobs need to be created per year. In 7 years, between 2005 and 2012, India's GDP growth was 5.4% and only about 15 million new jobs were created. Official data say that 1.55 lakh jobs were created in 2015 and 2.31 lakh in 2016. All these numbers talk about the so-called formal economy of the rich people and their firms. This formal sector is all about the prosperity of the rich; not at all about the well-being of the poor.
Arrival of the dynamic Modi government in 2014 did not make things any better for young job seekers. The GDP may be growing at 7% per year. But job growth remains pathetic and that too for those well educated. India’s textbook ‘economic experts’ are ‘worried’ about stagnating 5% unemployment rate because their book knowledge ends at GDP growth. They have never lived in poverty or read books that talk about how the poor masses survive and what type of economy they actually need. Why? Because the ‘poor men economy’ is labeled ‘informal economy’ and it is all about people’s well being; not GDP.
The Economic Survey 2015-16 estimated that this informal sector provided 90% of jobs through the period 2004-05 to 2011-12. Further, the Survey also pointed to a shift in the pattern of employment from permanent jobs to casual and contract employment. The increasingly “temporary” nature of work has an “adverse effect” on the level of wages, stability of employment, and employees’ social security. It also indicates preference by employers away from regular/formal employment to circumvent labour laws.
Here is another twist. Such employment surveys do not consider the hugeworkforce – people working in units employing less than 10 people – and those employed in the informal sector.
A commonsense question: Why Indian government doesn’t make policies around this informal sector, if it is serious about eradicating poverty?
And the answer is: because India is run by the "follow West" economists who haven't the slightest idea what type of economic reforms India and its poor people really need. Their thinking stops at inviting "foreign direct investments" and vision fails to go beyond air conditioned corporate houses of the rich few. They are capital market fundamentalists who worship their only God called GDP!
I wonder why Indian finance minister doesn’t read about the capability theory of Nobel winner economist Amartya Sen to come out of his morbid obsession to GDP growth.
India Needs “Social Capitalism”
India must reject the Western capitalism model; it needs a “Social Capitalism” that is ideal for solving India’s problems. It should follow twin goals: ‘maximizing employment’ – given its huge population and poverty – and ‘maximizing social good’. This involves shifting away from the ‘shareholder’ to ‘stakeholder’ capitalism by incorporating interests of other stakeholders: employees, society, customers, and environment. Then finally encouraging what nobel winner Bangladeshi economist calls “social businesses” which operate to maximize chosen social goals while keeping the business profitable.
Corruption and leakages in government schemes are widespread in India. Late Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi had famously admitted that only about 15% money actually reaches the ultimate beneficiaries. Even if we discard this figure as highly pessimistic and assume that say 30-35% of the welfare funds actually reach the designated beneficiaries, the rest is siphoned off by the middlemen and people connected to the implementing government machinery. This is a common way for the people with “high connections” to acquire dirty wealth – by depriving the poor who generally have no voice or ability to assert. Another common form of corruption in schemes designed for the poor is inclusion of non-poor people with political connections in the list of beneficiaries. The end result is that the eligible poor are denied the benefits.
The scale of corruption has steadily increased since the economic reforms were started. In 1992, when market reforms just started Harshad Mehta led stock market scam was estimated at 750 crores; it was mind boggling figure then. Corruption peaked during 2004-14 when Manmohan Singh ruled the country. India was rocked by scam after scam, as if the country was literally thrown to dogs.
Fortunately, 2014 brought a nationalist government of Modi which is honest, efficient and far sighted. Indians are now full of hope about the future.
How India was "colonized" is reflected in this "brilliant" thinking of a British Official
8. The Colonial Rule
"A significant fact which stands out is that those parts of India which have been longest under British rule are the poorest today." – Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India
The colonial British rule laid the foundation for a long term and chronic poverty in India after they departed. This is what Nehru is saying above using different set of words. The tiny state of Kerala in the southern India fortunately saw the least damaging influence of the British exploiters (there are many reasons for that) and is at present a unique model (in the world) of improvement in the quality of life through social and human development alone. It is something unthinkable for a Western brain which has been taught to see economic growth alone as "development."
It was the traditional historic prosperity of India that attracted invaders from various parts of the world in the last 2000 years. Prior to the British, India had been ruled by the foreigners like the Kushanas, Turko-Afghans and Mughals. All of them gradually got assimilated into the Indian society and culture. They not only became absorbed in India but also protected and promoted Indian society, culture and economy. None of them systematically drained India’s wealth or resources to make another country prosperous. Revenue collected or wealth acquired by them was spent within India. Whether spent on the public or for personal luxury of the ruling elite, the wealth remained within the country. Thus, India remained prosperous even in the Mughal era until the East India Company started acquiring "diwani" (right to collect revenue) around 1760. It was the beginning of the legal "plunder." The colonial rule was all about robbing India to enrich Britain.
The Battle of Plasssey in June 1757 marked the beginning of British dominance (and also the beginning of end of the Mughal Empire): when a small force of the East India Company's professional troops, defeated and killed the ruling Nawab of Bengal, Siraju-ud-daula. The outcome of the battle marked a significant turning point in the history of Indian subcontinent. It allowed the English East India Company foothold on the Indian soil, from which to undertake its future expansionist ventures within and around India. Soon, after the Battle of Buxar it acquired the "diwani" in Bengal and in 1765 its rights expanded to Bihar and Orissa.
Unlike their predecessors the British, however, consciously remained in India as foreign occupiers until their departure in 1947. They remained isolated from the Indian society and culture and formed a separate class of their own within India. The only reason for their presence in India (and in other occupied colonies) was to secure raw materials for British industries and other goods for the comforts of their citizens. The vast population in India also provided market for goods manufactured back home. They subordinated Indian economy to the British trade and industry. Their economic policies actively favored non-Indians or made things difficult for Indian businessmen. As occupiers, they used Indian wealth to pay for all their expansionist ventures and territory building both inside and outside India.
Moreover, the British policies forcibly disbanded community grain banks and promoted replacement of food crops for local consumption with cash crops like cotton, opium, tea and grains for export to feed the animals in England. This change in the cropping pattern left Indian farmers vulnerable to famines.
There are documentary evidences to suggest that the colonial rulers chose to ignore the famine affected people. It is estimated that during the two centuries of colonial rule, famines and the resulting epidemics caused over 30 million deaths. The most recent Bengal Famine of 1943-44 led to about 1.5 million deaths from starvation; 3.5 million if deaths from epidemics are also included.
In his masterpiece "Poverty and un-British Rule in India" Dadabhai Naoroji (popularly labeled as "The Grand Old Man of India" and "The Father of Indian Nationalism") also categorically blamed "the drain of wealth" for the poverty in India.
As oppose to the Western ‘trickle down’ capitalism India needs a comprehensive “human development” plan in order to really crush the widespread poverty. 1. It needs an economy that supports millions of small and medium enterprises that are suitable to employ low skilled poor people. 2. Focus on good governance to root out deep rooted corruption that eats away major chunk of the welfare budget. 3. Finally, promote women empowerment through education and healthcare; it will greatly help deal with poverty fed by the population growth.
These 8 major causes of poverty, by themselves, point to the right development model. India must realize that by blindly following GDP growth, it is only promoting inequality that sustains by keeping the poor in poverty.
Amartya Sen’s Capability Theory of Development and Poverty
Table Of Contents
1. Overview Of Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach
2. Core Concepts: Functionings, Capabilities and Agency
3. Poverty In Rich Countries
4. Non-Monetary Poverty
5. Importance Of Freedom and Democracy
6. Development means Expansion of People’s Freedom
7. Freedoms Supports Expansion of Capabilities
8. People are “Agents” of Change
9. Accepting Human Diversity
10. Poverty is Deprivation of Basic Capabilities
11. Influence of Amartya Sen’s Capability Theory
12. Challenges in applying the Capability approach
13. Critique Of Capability Approach
The Central theme of Capability Theory
1. Overview Of Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach (CA)
A People Centric Approach
The capability approach (CA) is a people-centred model of development and involves the process of acquiring more capabilities and enjoying more opportunities to use those capabilities. With more capabilities and opportunities, people have more choices. Expanding choices is at the core of the capability approach. Over the past decades, Amartya Sen’s capability theory has emerged as a serious alternative model of progress and development. It is both comprehensive and flexible.
It shifts the development discourse from pursuing material opulence to enhancing human well-being, from maximizing income to expanding capabilities, from optimizing growth to enlarging freedoms. Sen’s approach focuses on the richness of human lives rather than simply on the richness of economies, and in doing so it has changed the lens for viewing development results. It is broader than other approaches, such as the human resource approach, the basic needs, minimum rights and the human welfare approaches.
People should be the focus of development.
A Paradigm Shift!
People who have grown seeing economic growth as development will undergo a paradigm shift in their thinking when they step into Amartya Sen’s capability approach of development. People obsessed to measure human well-being in simplistic money terms get disheartened when the CA reveals social, personal or say, psychological dimensions of development. And people who have grown up taking economic expansion as the only goal of development are confused when Sen puts ‘people first.’
Rather than talking of philosophical equality of people, the capability approach explicitly recognizes the individual differences coming from things like age, sex, race, class, health, disability, intelligence, education and so on. It also accepts that people’s abilities are influence by external factors – other people, social arrangements, access to infrastructure and public services, freedom to speak and participate, state policies and so on.
Since it considers people as humans (and not as mere consumers) the scope of the capability approach is quite vast. All possible factors – personal, economic, social, political, or environmental – that can possibly influence human capabilities which dictate the real well-being of people, come relevant. In this approach social exclusion is as important as racial discrimination.
Resource based theories do not acknowledge the fact that people differ in their abilities to convert their resources into capabilities. The capability approach rejects normative evaluations based exclusively on commodities, incomes, or material resources. The capabilities don’t refer exclusively to a person’s abilities or internal powers, but it refers to an opportunity made feasible (and constrained by) both internal (personal) and external (social and environmental) factors.
In the capability framework, poverty is seen as deprivation of capabilities, which limits the freedom to pursue the goals in life. For Sen ‘capability deprivation’ is a better measure of poverty than lowness of income. He asserts that poverty should be seen "as a deprivation of basic capabilities, rather than inadequate income. If in today’s world of sheer abundance there are people living in poverty, they are living in a state of 'un-freedom', unable to realize their capabilities.
Salient Features Of The Capability Approach
The capability approach focuses on people as humans, not as mere consumers.
It focuses on individuals, unlike the basic needs and standard of living approaches that concentrate on households.
It views goal of development as expansion of people’s freedom, not expansion of economy.
The capability perspective is intrinsically multidimensional; it is concerned with a plurality of different features of our lives and concerns.
It considers individual differences. For instance, it recognizes that senior citizens, young children, people with disability need extra attention.
It does not see people in isolation, but inherently considers societal, political and other factors that affect people’s lives and capabilities to function.
It focuses, not on poverty, but on the poor – in terms of capabilities’ deprivation.
2. Core Concepts: Functionings, Capabilities And Agency
Sen argues that people’s well-being depends upon what they are actually capable to be and do with resources, facility and freedom available to them. Knowing what a person has doesn’t tell about how well his life is going. A simple example: Having a cycle doesn’t say that the owner has acquired the capability of mobility from it. He might simply doesn’t like to ride the cycle, or he might be handicapped, or doesn’t know how to ride it.
Functionings: Life of a person to consist of “a sequence of things the person does, or states of being he achieves: together they constitute 'functionings'.” Thus, functionings are what people actually “do and are” – they are achievements of people. Taken together, these doings and beings – achieved functionings – give value to life. They can be both basic and complex achievements.
Putting in simple words, functionings are various things a person value being and doing — such as being happy, being literate, able to work, rest, adequately nourished and in good health, as well as having self-respect and participating in social and political activities.
Achieving a functioning with available resources and facilities depends on a range of personal and social factors (e.g. age, gender, activity levels, health, access to medical services, nutritional knowledge and education, climatic conditions, and so on). A functioning therefore refers to the use a person makes of whatever is at his/her command. They are closely related to another core concept: capability.
Capabilities may be visualized to have two parts: functionings and the substantive freedom to choose from them. They denote a person’s opportunity and ability to achieve desired outcomes, considering all internal and external factors. Most significantly the freedom should be intrinsic (has valuable in and of itself). If the freedom were just a means to achieve an end then the capability set would simply the combination of functionings.
Thus, the capability approach is not merely concerned with achievements (outcomes), but basically with freedom of choice, which is of direct importance to a person's quality of life. They are like opportunities about what a person may like to do, have, or be. In other words, capabilities refer to the real freedoms a person “enjoys to lead the kind of life he/she has reason to value”.
Consider the difference between fasting and starving, on a person's well-being. Fasting involves a choice to not eat despite the availability of food, but another (poor) person starves because he has no choice. Clearly, the difference is the freedom of choice. Therefore, having a lifestyle is not the same as choosing it – it is important to emphasize that well-being depends on how that lifestyle came to be.
Difference between functionings and capabilities
Functionings refer to what people actually “do and are” and capabilities denote what people really “can do and can be”. The achieved functionings are the realized achievements and the capabilities are potentially possible. Functionings are, in a sense, more directly related to living conditions, since they are different aspects of actual living. Capabilities, in contrast, reflect his freedom to choose between alternative combinations of functionings. In the absence of freedom to choose, we would only be talking about his functionigs – what he can do or be. Therefore, the freedom to choose is inherent in the definition of capability.
The difference can be best illustrated with an example. Consider two persons, both without enough to eat. One is a victim of a famine in Africa and the other is sitting on a hunger strike in New York to protest against US troops in Afghanistan. Although both lack the functioning of being well-fed, their freedoms to avoid hunger are vastly different. The former is badly constrained in freedom and lacks the capability to achieve the functioning to be well-fed; the later has this capability even though he is choosing to be hungry.
The capability approach of development is about enlarging freedoms so that all people can pursue choices that they value. Such freedoms have two fundamental aspects — freedom of well-being, represented by functionings and capabilities, and freedom of agency, represented by voice and autonomy. Both types of freedoms are absolutely necessary for human development. Agency is related to what a person is free to do and achieve in pursuit of whatever goals or values he or she regards as important.
Amartya Sen defines an agent as someone who brings about change. Agency in the context of capabilities approach primarily refers to a person's interactive role in the society – his freedom to participate in economic, social, and political actions. In order to be agents of their lives, people need an environment where they have the freedom to speak in public without fear, raise their voices, associate with others and influence external factors that affect their lives.
It points to the importance of fostering institutional participation, public debates, democratic practices, and empowering policies. These are all on-monetary dimensions of life and particularly important for poverty alleviation, sees as expansion of capabilities.
Homelessness in Rich Countries
As of 2012 there were 633,000 homeless people in the United States and 284,000 in Germany. Such anomalies are part of GDP model of development which is blind to people’s well-being.
3. Poverty In Rich Countries
The capability approach doesn’t need to distinguish between developed and developing societies. The per capita GDP is the common way to compare countries’ state of development. It is expected that economic growth should automatically make people’s life better but there is no straightforward relation between per capita GDP and quality of life. For example, Sri Lanka and the Indian state of Kerala have low per capita GDP but have higher life expectancies and literacy rates than richer countries like Brazil and South Africa. Likewise, the African Americans in the US have lower life expectancy than China or Kerala despite higher average income.
Clearly, growing national wealth doesn’t automatically translate into enhanced well-being of all people. Economic growth, as we notice around the world, tends to concentrate wealth in few richest hands and very little (sometimes hardly anything) reaches the poorest section of the society. Recent reports from Oxfam International points to the disturbing trend of rising inequality where wealth is increasingly concentrating in few hands. These reports are eye opening and underscore this point with global examples and highlight how the rich elites influence state policies in their favor, which excludes the ordinary citizens from the development process. Consequently, particularly those at the bottom remain trapped in system created state of deprivations.
The human development report of 1996 also pointed out: “The imbalances in economic growth, if allowed to continue, will produce a world gargantuan in its excesses and grotesque in its human and economic inequalities.”
4. Non-monetary Poverty
It is not sufficient to know how much access a person has to resources in order to know his capabilities – well-being he has achieved or can achieve. Rather, we need to know much more about the person and the circumstances in which he or she is living. The capabilities don’t refer exclusively to his abilities or internal powers, but it refers to an opportunity made feasible (and constrained by) both internal (personal) and external (social and environmental) factors.
Resource based theories do not acknowledge that people differ in their abilities to convert these resources into capabilities. The capability approach rejects normative evaluations based exclusively on commodities, incomes, or material resources. Resource- based theories do not acknowledge that people differ in their abilities to convert these resources into capabilities.
5. Importance Of Freedom and Democracy
As mentioned above “freedom” is a vital part of the capability theory. Lack of freedom limits people capabilities in different ways. But this freedom is not what is given on paper by the national Constitution; it is also not the right to vote in elections. It is the ‘real’ freedom enjoyed by individuals so that they can live their lives in the manner they want.
Likewise “democracy is best seen as governance by discussion” – namely, people's participation and public reasoning. Citing the history of global famines, Sen asserts that “no famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy”. He cites India’s example, “The prevalence of famines, which had been a persistent feature of the long history of the British Indian Empire, ended abruptly with the establishment of a democracy after independence.” This is because democratic governments “have to win elections and face public criticism, and have strong incentive to undertake measures to avert famines and other catastrophes”.
As a contrary historical example, he cites is the massive famine in China during 1958-61 during the failed 'Great Leap Forward', which claimed close to 30 million of lives. Loss of lives could have been avoided if people and the media in China had freedom to report the truth. For various self serving reasons local authorities also did not convey the ground reality to their top bosses.
In the context, particularly of poor nations, people often think that freedom counterproductive to both political stability and development. Thus, they recommend restrictions and authoritative rule. However, Sen takes the opposing view and cites the examples of Taiwan and Thailand and claims that the rapid transformation of East Asian economies resulted from the “social opportunities” provided by governments in the form of schooling, basic health care, basic land reform, and micro-credit. As a result of development, these economies became more democratic.
Taking the same logic forward, Sen points to the breakdown of former Soviet Union and asserts that political liberties are essential for sustainable development. Thus, comparing the development strategies of India and China he argues that democratic India holds more promise for a long term and sustainable development.
6. Development means Expansion of People’s Freedom
"The success of a society is to be evaluated primarily by the freedoms that members of the society enjoy." – Amartya Sen
Freedom is the primary goal of development; freedom is also the principal means of development. It is “the enhancement of freedoms that allow people to lead lives that they have reason to live”. Thus, development is the process of expanding human freedom. It also means removal of contrary forces that restrict people’s freedoms such as poverty, all types of discrimination and inequalities, neglect of public facilities, lack of economic opportunities, social exclusion, authoritative state policies that limit freedom and so on.
He asserts that development is enhanced by democracy and the promotion of human rights – notably freedom of the press, speech, and assembly – because they foster clean, honest and accountable governance.
Development as Freedom!
In his book Development as Freedom, Sen prescribed five types of freedoms that “tend to contribute to the general capability of a person to live more freely.” They are interdependent and interconnected. Indeed, these interconnections are central to a fuller understanding of the instrumental role of freedom.
Political Freedoms: They essentially include functioning democracy, freedom to scrutinize and criticize actions of authorities, freedom of expression and speech, and presence of free press.
Economic Facilities: such as People’s opportunity to possess and use economic resources or entitlements.
Social opportunities: They include people’s ability to access health and education services, opportunities to participate in social processes and activities.
Guarantees of Transparent Governance: This concerns transparency in the functioning of authorities so that people can trust the system and information they receive.
Protective Security: This pertains to social protections of the vulnerable people so that they don’t fall into abject deprivation. It includes welfare programs and mechanisms to support and empower the weakest segment of the society.
Expanding these freedoms constitute not only the means, but also the end in development. The state must play its role in supporting freedoms by providing infrastructure and easy access to public services, social safety nets, good macroeconomic policies, and environmental protection.
7. Freedoms Supports Expansion of Capabilities
Freedom means having space to acquire capabilities and using them as one would want to. What people are “capable” of doing (achieving) is influenced by the freedom to avail economic opportunities and state programs and ability to enjoy political liberties and social powers.
It is necessary to evaluate the status of freedom enjoyed by the individuals so that effective developmental policies could be framed. In the context of anti-poverty programs, the individuals need to be seen as “agents of change” rather than “patients” diagnosed with the “illness of poverty”.
It means looking into their capabilities rather than just their income levels – more precisely, evaluating their deprivation in capability terms, not in economic terms. In other words, one needs to probe the potentials of the individual and the constraints in realizing them, as opposed to simply seeing their (often averaged out) income, consumption or expenditure. It will map out development in terms of freedoms (or their lack) enjoyed by individuals in the societies – it will be something like a Human Freedom Index.
Microfinance and Capability Approach
The Power of Micro-Credit!!
“The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world... all we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them.” – Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi Nobel laureate of 2006 and founder of the Grameen Bank to help women and poor through micro-credit
The Grameen Bank has helped 10 million Bangladeshis move above World Bank's $1.25-a-day threshold of extreme poverty.
8. People are “Agents” of Change
Sen sees people as “Agents” of Change, not passive recipients of benefits or mute followers of expert created policies. In Sen’s view, in the development process “people have to be seen … as being actively involved – given the opportunity – in shaping their own destiny, and not just as passive recipients of the fruits of cunning development programs.” So the central theme of development is to enable people to become agents of change in their own lives. When people, individually or in groups, are recognized as agents, they can define their priorities and also choose the suitable means to achieve them.
However, people differ in the ability to use the available freedom and choices and hence, in what they can achieve. In order to be good agents of change, people need the freedom to be educated and healthy, to speak in public without fear, to participate in the social and political processes, etc. On the positive side, once people have these freedoms they can themselves build the environment in which they can be educated, healthy and speak freely and participate, and so on.
9. Accepting Human Diversity
A unique feature of the capability approach is that it recognizes individual differences. Sen accepts this as ‘realism’ and steers clear of the stereotype idealism, ‘all men are equal’. He takes it as a fundamental aspect of our interest in equality” and does not consider human diversity as a secondary complication (to be ignored, or to be introduced ‘later on’!).
The capability approach categorically recognizes that there will be variations among people in conversion of resources into functionings and capabilities. These variations in conversion arise either due to personal or socio-environmental factors. The diversity will also be seen in the variations in the income-using ability of individuals, and also in their income-earning ability.
An important consequence of acceptance of diversity among people is that they can’t be assessed uniquely in terms of resources they posses; they can only be judged in terms of what they are capable of ‘doing’ or ‘being’ with the available resources.
Indeed, if people were not diverse, then inequality in one aspect (say income) would more or less be identical with inequality in another aspect like capabilities.
10. Poverty is Deprivation of Basic Capabilities
Poverty must be seen as the deprivation of basic capabilities rather than merely the lowness of incomes. – Amartya Sen
Sen has argued that poverty should be seen as the deprivation of basic capabilities, where that deprivation limits the freedom of a person to pursue their goals in life. For Sen “capability deprivation” is a better measure of poverty than lowness of income. For instance, in India over 50% of all malnourished children come from non poor families. When the Indian government claims that the poverty is down to 22% or 29% it is mere statistics that tells nothing about people’s state of well being, which ultimately depends upon what they can or cannot do – their capabilities. In the context of measuring poverty, Sen asserts that “identifying a minimal combination of basic capabilities can be a good way of setting up the problem of diagnosing and measuring poverty.”
In Amartya Sen’s view, all individuals are endowed with a certain set of capabilities. If situation is created so that they can realize their capabilities they will automatically escape from poverty (ie, from their state of 'un-freedom'). If in today’s world of sheer abundance there are people living in poverty, they are living in a state of 'un-freedom', unable to realize their capabilities.
The capability approach has revolutionized the approach to development and poverty. It is taking the thinking into areas never considered relevant before. It recognizes the presence of poverty in the economically rich countries, again in terms of deprivation of capabilities. Inequality and social exclusion have emerged as two most common side effects of the current economic growth model. While it becomes only too obvious in the poor economies, it remains somewhat camouflaged in the opulence of the rich societies.
11. Influence of Amartya Sen’s Capability Theory
The Capability Approach has been highly influential in the context of international development. It has led to a paradigm shift in the understanding of ‘development’, away from the narrow confines of economic growth to a focus of “poverty as a denial of choices and opportunities for living a tolerable life.”
Despite the challenges, attempts to apply the CA have mushroomed in recent years. Among other things the CA has been used to investigate poverty, inequality, well-being, social justice, gender, social exclusion, health, disability, child poverty and identity. It has also been related to human needs, human rights and human security.
Numerous attempts have been made to apply the CA to the measurement of poverty and human well-being. While most applications focus on functioning, some studies have tried to capture capabilities in terms of freedom to choose or human talents and skills. Perhaps, the most well known measure is the human development index (HDI)of the UNDP, for which a significant contribution was made by Dr Mahbubul Haq – noted Pakistani economist (who died in 1998) and Sen’s lifelong buddy.
The first Human Development Report of 1990 defined human development as “a process of enlarging people’s choices” and stated that “income is a means, not an end” of human development (p. 10). It was a major shift away from seeing development as mere economic growth and towards sustainable human development. It underscored that the economic growth is not an end in itself; it is only an important tool to achieve the end goal, which is human development. Development ought to be people-centric and both socially and environmentally sensitive. The annual UNDP reports also began a process of questioning the wisdom of 'trickle down' economics.
12. Challenges in applying the Capability approach
Compared with the income perspective of development translating the capability approach into practice is quite challenging due to the emphasis on value judgments with high informational requirement and its multidimensional nature. In the capability approach the units of evaluations are not opulence (utilities, goods and resources) but functionings (doings and beings). People attach varying importance to different functionings; some functionings can be essential and important, others can be trivial and valueless. But ultimately it is their freedom.
A person’s freedom to live the way one would like has intrinsic value – it constitutes a person’s being. It means not only the achieved functionings are valuable but also the individuals’ capability to choose and discriminate among different possible living. Emphasis on freedom to choose also brings out the point that not any choice counts; but only those that reflect an expansion of valuable choices. These will be different for different individuals.
In ‘Development as Freedom’, Sen argues that “People have to be seen in this perspective, as being actively involved in shaping their own destiny (given the opportunity). They are not mere passive recipients of the benefits of the development programs.” This aspect emphasizes the role of individual’s initiative and their effectiveness in social settings.
Now the question is: how to put the capability approach into practice if the capability is a possibility (exercised or not) and not an actuality?
Since the capabilities denote potential opportunities they are not directly observable. Thus, the assessment of capabilities has to proceed primarily on the basis of noting the actual functionings; it can be supplemented by other information. It should work because the valuation of actual functionings is one way of assessing how a person values his options. A practical way is to combine the information from income data with social functionings. This should easily work at the macro level and not much difference is expected between the capability approach and other approaches that also explore development in terms of non-income variables.
However, at the micro level significant differences are expected where the capability approach (CA) allows people to express their ‘power of discrimination’ about what is good life for them.
Measuring Capabilities Require Different Procedure
The existing poverty evaluations rely on income surveys which provide no guidance for policy interventions other than economic growth through top-down approach. If expansion of human capabilities is going to be the prime goal of development, then progress need to be evaluated differently. Rather than income (or material) measures one has to now probe people’s capabilities.
To apply the capability approach, capability surveys need to be designed to assess capabilities and potentials, rather than incomes, in order to determine the constraints or un-freedoms that restrict capability expansion. The conditions leading to constraint are, by nature, subjective. Therefore, the input must come through a participatory process following a down-top approach, rather than from statistical analysis of ‘experts’.
13. Critique Of Capability Approach
Sen’s thesis is focused on individualism and localism. It almost entirely revolves around the individual – his abilities and choices. In short, it boils down to ‘what can I get from what I have, under the given conditions.’ His theory ultimately appears to come out in favor of capitalism running on principles of justice and good ethics. Yet he offers no strategy for creation of such good conduct. In reality, markets are everything but just or moral.
Impact of Global Powers and Processes
Amartya Sen’s theory is clearly a humane one and has won widespread acclaim, even by the mainstream economists. However, his thesis squarely rests on Western individualism and fails to provide critical analysis of major western states and institutions.
The focus of today’s mainstream development is on development of possessive individualism, where freedom means security of property and ease tradability in the market. This has entered into Sen’s development concept also. Thus, his theory is silent on impact of global capitalism; it ignores the problems of unequal trade rules that favour the rich corporations and individuals.
The current philosophy is represented in the Washington Consensus, trade liberalization, and in agreements such as the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and Trade in Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). What goes on in the name of liberalization actually breaks down the communities and sense of justice. Today, people who manage to gain good education and skills find themselves constrained by the way the market functions, which decides where they can sell their labor, to whom, for what price, and the manner how it is used. As a result, they are left with little freedom that Sen considers vital for ‘development’.
Meanwhile, the highly powerful “institution of speculators” and middlemen operate in a way that effectively decouples prices from the demand-supply equation of the market. Their manipulative tactics sap away considerable freedom of individuals – leaving them with practically no choice.
Sen’s theory assumes presence of an honest and just world which is ruled by the most ‘capable,’ which makes it an ideal theory without legs to stand on the uneven ground.
Despite the idealism, Amartya Sen’s capability approach to development has left strong impact on the global developmental discourse. It provides a unified view of development and poverty – the opposite side of each other. If development is expansion of people’s capabilities, poverty is just the opposite – deprivation of basic capabilities. The capability approach has put the idea of development in the right perspective by considering it as a multidimensional process that can’t be adequately viewed from any one dimensional lens such as economic growth. This then makes poverty also a situation with multidimensional deficits in development.
Since capabilities go hand in hand with freedom, the development must necessarily involve expansion of people’s freedom which creates an enabling atmosphere for building capabilities. This offers directional guidance to the policymakers. Development also necessarily involves identifying factors that go against such enabling environments. This takes the development discourse to social, political and (now) environmental platforms (due to worsening climate change issues) to uncover what restricts people’s freedom and choices.
This page aims to convey basic ideas of Amartya Sen's development theory for ordinary people. Much research has been done on capability theory. Students should consult relevant journals for better accuracy.