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  1. Hello, Anybody help me to find the information about all GOVERNMENT JOBS and their ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA in INDIA. Is it possible to get from RTI?
  2. Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 By Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner Judgment : Thalappalam Ser. Coop Bank Vs. State of Kerala (2013) 16 SCC 82 The issue before the Court: Whether a co-operative society falls within the definition of "public Authority" under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act and be bound by the obligations to provide information sought for by a citizen under the RTI Act. The observations of the Court: Para 37: “We often use the expressions “questions of law” and “substantial questions of law” and explain that any question of law affecting the right of parties would not by itself be a substantial question of law. In Black's Law Dictionary(6th Edn.), the word 'substantial' is defined as 'of real worth and importance; of considerable value; valuable. Belonging to substance; actually existing; real: not seeming or imaginary; not illusive; solid; true; veritable. Something worthwhile as distinguished from something without value or merely nominal. Synonymous with material.' The word 'substantially' has been defined to mean 'essentially; without material qualification; in the main; in substance; materially.' In the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (5th Edn.), the word 'substantial' means 'of ample or considerable amount of size; sizeable, fairly large; having solid worth or value, of real significance; sold; weighty; important, worthwhile; of an act, measure etc. having force or effect, effective, thorough.' The word 'substantially' has been defined to mean 'in substance; as a substantial thing or being; essentially, intrinsically.' Therefore the word 'substantial' is not synonymous with 'dominant' or 'majority'. It is closer to 'material' or 'important' or 'of considerable value.' 'Substantially' is closer to 'essentially'. Both words can signify varying degrees depending on the context. Para 38. “Merely providing subsidiaries, grants, exemptions, privileges etc., as such, cannot be said to be providing funding to a substantial extent, unless the record shows that the funding was so substantial to the body which practically runs by such funding and but for such funding, it would struggle to exist. The State may also float many schemes generally for the betterment and welfare of the cooperative sector like deposit guarantee scheme, scheme of assistance from NABARD etc., but those facilities or assistance cannot be termed as “substantially financed” by the State Government to bring the body within the fold of “public authority” under Section 2(h)(d)(i) of the Act.” The Court held that: Cooperative Societies registered under the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act will not fall within the definition of "public Authority" as defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act unless they are substantially financed. The Court ruled that Cooperative Societies are not Public authorities covered in RTI unless they are substantially financed. It defined the word substantial finance thus: The Court after looking at the various dictionary meanings-‘material’, ‘important’, ‘of considerable value’, ‘not illusive’ decided that it means essential only, when it says, 'Substantially' is closer to 'essentially' . It further said at para 38. “Merely providing subsidiaries, grants, exemptions, privileges etc., as such, cannot be said to be providing funding to a substantial extent, unless the record shows that the funding was so substantial to the body which practically runs by such funding and but for such funding, it would struggle to exist. The State may also float many schemes generally for the betterment and welfare of the cooperative sector like deposit guarantee scheme, scheme of assistance from NABARD etc., but those facilities or assistance cannot be termed as “substantially financed” by the State Government to bring the body within the fold of “public authority” under Section 2(h)(d)(i) of the Act. But, there are instances, where private educational institutions getting ninety five per cent grant-in-aid from the appropriate government, may answer the definition of public authority under Section 2 (h)(d)(i)” Effectively this states that the finance must be essential to its functioning that it would struggle to exist without it. No Information provided. Our analysis of the judgment: The conclusion of the court that cooperative societies are not public authorities unless they are substantially financed is correct. However in defining the phrase ‘substantial finance’ it appears to have narrowed the scope of the RTI act by claiming that ‘substantial finance’ means ‘essential’ finance without which the body would struggle to exist. Thus even if a NGO or private body receives 100 crores annually it may not be deemed to be substantially financed if its total budget is around 500 crores and it argues that the amount from the Government is not essential for its working. The Court did not choose the words ‘material, important, of considerable value, not illusive’ which would have expanded the scope of the Act. Whereas its ruling that a Cooperative society does not automatically become a public authority appears right, its ruling on the words ‘substantial finance’ appears to constrict the ambit of the law, far more than what it should. satyamevajayate.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Analysis-of-Supreme-Court-judgments-on-RTI.pdf
  3. ashakantasharma

    Why Indian “Secularism” Is So Distorted ?

    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. https://socialissuesindia.wordpress.com/why-indian-secularism-is-so-distorted/
  4. ashakantasharma

    Right to Information - International Positions

    Right to Information - International Positions Right to Information (hereinafter read as RTI) which is the cynosure of this discourse is not something new. In fact there is a long history at international level towards the attainment of this right and mobilization of the masses for achieving it. With development of human ideals and establishment of democratic governments in most of the civilized countries, this topic came to the fore. The United States and Sweden constitute the two main models for Freedom of Information. While the Swedish law is a precedent to the American one by 200 years, both are considered important legal precedents that helped shape other Freedom of Information (hereinafter read as FOI) laws around the world. i) Sweden Sweden is a constitutional monarchy, with a king or queen as the head of state (the King or Queen who occupies the throne of Sweden in accordance with the Act of Succession shall be the Head of State). But like in most liberal democracies, the royal head of state has no real political power. The Swedish system is unique because of a high degree of institutional autonomy underlying power dispersal to various levels of government. The Swedish system is known for ―its ideology of local government, which basically means that local governments enjoy a great deal of autonomy, limited only by the legislative powers of its national counterpart. The father of the Swedish Freedom of Information Act (hereinafter read as FOIA), Chydenius, was a member of the Captions party who introduced freedom of information as a means of ―promoting social reforms and opposing the supremacy of the nobility.‖ Chynedius was inspired by John Locke among other political philosophers during that era (which is known in Sweden as ―the age of Liberty).‖ John Locke saw ―the supreme power of the State residing in a legislature and behind the legislature in the people. The people would govern, but ―they were not the government.‖ Chydenius considered the introduction of the right to access for citizens as his greatest lifetime achievement. The Swedish parliament passed the legislation in 1766, and established the world‘s first parliamentary Ombudsman (the word itself is Swedish for delegate and has been imported directly into the English language). Birkinshaw observes that ―a very large degree of Swedish public administration is depoliticized in so far as many, sometimes important, decisions are not taken by political overlords.‖ The principle of openness ―Offentlighetsgrundsatsen‖ (in Swedish public sector) has been long enshrined in Swedish politics. The major underlying incentive for adopting the FOIA in Sweden, was ―an information-starved political opposition that was given a rare chance to pass legislation that would grant them and all citizens access to government-held documents and information‖. The introduction to the Swedish Constitution describes a time of great change: ―the death of Carl XII in 1718 brought to an end not only Sweden‘s great power status but autocratic rule as well. The pendulum now swung back in the other direction. A new form of government took shape, which became significantly known as the Age of Liberty government‖ Swedish FOI system is found in the Swedish Constitution (in the basic principles of the form of government): ―All public power in Sweden proceeds from the people. Swedish democracy is founded on the free formation of opinion and on universal and equal suffrage. It shall be realized through a representative and parliamentary polity and through local self government. Public power shall be exercised under the law.‖ This premise resulted in four fundamental laws found in the Swedish Constitution. One of these laws is the ―Instrument of Government and the Freedom of the Press Act,‖ which specifically provides for freedom of information and the right of citizen‘s access. Chapter 2, Article 1 of ‗the Instrument of Government‘ guarantees that all citizens have the right of: ―freedom of information: that is, the freedom to procure and receive information and otherwise acquaint oneself with the utterances of others.‖ Specific rules on access are contained in the Freedom of the Press Act, which was first adopted in 1766. The current version was adopted in 1949 and amended in 1976. Sweden was the first to enforce the policy of openness in administration. There all governmental information is public unless certain matters are specifically listed as exemptions from the general rule. They have provided for a system of appeal against the wrongful withholding of information by public officials, as long ago as 1766. It provided constitutional safeguards under Freedom of Press Act, 1766, the oldest and probably still the most liberal of its kind in the world. It has been revised and modernized a number of times, most recently in 1978. Sweden has proved that legitimate national interests can as well be safeguarded under conditions of administrative openness. Sweden has established cultures that access to government department and documents as a right and non-access an exception. The principle gives any one, actually even aliens, the right to turn to a State or municipal agencies and ask to be shown any document kept in their files, regardless of whether the document concerns him personally or not. Officials are legally required to comply and even to supply copies of the document requested if this is feasible. In Sweden and other Scandinavian countries documents dealing with national security, foreign policy and foreign affairs can be withheld from public scrutiny but the government is bound to give a written statement quoting legal authority for withholding the document ii) United States of America The US constitutional fathers created the three arms of government legislative (Congress), executive (President) and judiciary (the Courts); the separation of powers accounts for a system of checks and balances. At the heart of the US political system is the concept of the ‗balance of power.‘ According to some sources, the US is indeed an important role model for FOI worldwide. Lidberg (2006) notes that, ―the US FOI model grew out of a global move towards more open government following World War II.‖ America and democracy are generally synonymous. America apparently proclaims it to the torchbearer of the plethora of democratic rights that ought to be the part of a true democratic framework. The same applies on the dispensation of information too. Antipathy towards the inherent secrecy is therefore not a surprising attribute exhibited by the Americans. Schwartz observes, ―Americans firmly believe in the healthy effects of publicity and have a strong antipathy to the inherent secretiveness of government agencies.‖ The Freedom of Information Act, 1966 and The Administrative Procedure Act, 1946 are two main statutes which confer RTI. The Constitution of America does not deal specifically with RTI. However, such right is considered to be corollary of the First Amendment freedoms. A provision of a statute was held to be a restriction on the unfettered exercise of First Amendment Rights and hence was declared invalid by the Supreme Court. Similarly in Stanley v. Georgia it was observed that freedom of speech necessarily protects the right to receive information. In America there are three Acts which upheld the freedom of press and information. (A) Freedom of Information Act was made in 1966, which was amended in 1974 to make it more effective, (B) The Privacy Act, 1974 protected individual privacy against the misuse of federal records while granting access to records concerning them which are maintained by federal agencies and (C) The Government in the Sunshine Act, 1976 provided that meetings of government agencies shall be open to the public. The US Supreme Court has recognized the right to know more than fifty years ago. The right to freedom of speech and press has broad scope. This freedom embraces the right to distribute literature and necessarily protects the right to receive it." First Amendment contains no specific guarantee of access to publications. The basis of right to know is the freedom of speech, which is protected under Bill of Rights. The policy behind the Freedom of Information Act is to make disclosure a general rule and not the exception, to provide equal rights of access to all individuals, to place burden on the government to justify the withholding of a document, not on the person who requests it, to provide right to seek injunctive relief in the court if individuals are denied access improperly. Right to know is the cornerstone of citizen participation. Under the Information Act any person, nor merely an affected individual or group, is eligible to ask for information because what is aimed at is not merely redressal of grievances but encouragement of an informed citizenry. The 1966 Freedom of Information Act requires executive branch agencies and independent commissions to make available to citizens, upon request, all documents and record except those, which fall into the following exempt categories: 1. Secret national security or foreign policy information. 2. Internal personnel practices. 3. Information exempted by law. 4. Trade secrets or other confidential commercial or financial information. 5. Inter agency or intra-agency memos. 6. Personal information, personnel or medical files. 7. Law enforcement investigatory information. 8. Information related to reports on financial institutions. 9. Geological and geophysical information. But there are major problems. They are: Bureaucratic delay and cost of bringing suit to force disclosure, and excessive charges levied by the agencies for finding and providing the requested information. To meet these problems, Act was amended in 1974. Main provision of amendment is allowing federal judge to review a decision of the government to classify certain material. Another provision set deadlines for the agency to respond to a request for information under the law. Another amendment permitted judges to order payment of attorney's fees and court costs for plaintiffs who won suits brought for information under the act. Other Countries like Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Australia, Canada, Uganda, the United Kingdom,261 New Zealand and South Africa have also enacted similar legislations to enforce a measure of accountability and transparency on the agencies of the State. To say in the spirit of a democratic world order, it is necessary that each one of us everywhere on this earth under the Sun has a right to know and a duty to shape the course of things, on a national also as on international level. The philosophy of freedom of information and open government has been well described by the U.S. House Committee on Government Operations, which approved the Feedom of Information Act, in 1966, "A democratic society requires an informed, intelligent electorate, and the intelligence of the electorate varies as the quantity and quality of its information varies. A danger signal to our democratic society in the United States is the fact that such a truism needs repeating....". The root truth is that freedom without information is meaningless and liberty without light will perish because "all governments are obscure and invisible." There is a burden on the government to justify secrecy. Failure on this front is bound to spell dangerous consequences. In a democracy, citizens' right to know is assumed rather than guaranteed. This right is derived from the accountability and answerability of the government to the people. In the period of analysis immediately after the war, he US and several other members of the newly formed United Nations concluded that too much secrecy in too many countries had provided fertile soil for conflict. The case of the US displays is a struggle of maintaining the principle and practice access to public records. One expert on US FOIA explains why this is a struggle, the legacy acquired from the British Empire is for bureaucracies to be secretive; since those times knowledge and information meant power; and trading information was ―power trading‖ among bureaucratic agencies. Today, standards should allow for power sharing. Everyone, everywhere has the right to know. In the 1970s in the US, the Department of Defense showed high compliance to FOIA because the military were used to obeying legal orders. Whereas, the Department of Agriculture struggled with the newly adopted practice of power sharing and exercised high levels of secrecy; the bureaucrats were simply not used to openness.‖ In addition, Court records and legislative materials have been open to the public for a long time. In 1946, Congress enacted the Administrative Procedures Act. It required ―that government bodies publish information about their structures, powers and procedures and make available all final opinions or orders in the adjudication of cases (except those required for good cause to be held confidential and not cited as precedents) and all rules.‖ During the 1950‘s both Congress and media groups started to advocate for a more wideranging and assertive law. The first effective attempt for a FOIA came in 1958 in the form of an amendment to the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act, which made it mandatory for government agencies to ―keep and maintain records.‖ FOIA forced agency compliance and required that proof of justification be given when denying access to records. Following a long period of hearings based on the 1958 amendment the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted in 1966 and went into effect in 1967. The US FOIA is inspired from and based on the First Amendment of the Constitution. Before 1966, statutes had existed but only allowing the public ―access to government documents if a need to know was established,‖ this also allowed agencies the prerogative to hold withhold information for a good cause. A comprehensive ―Citizens Guide to FOIA‖ published in 1966 points out the paradigm and practice shift that the enactment of this legislation caused; ―the need to know has been replaced by the right to know.‖ Thomas Susman served as Chief Counsel and General Counsel to the Antitrust and Administrative Practice Subcommittees and to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Susman was the principal Senate staff lawyer responsible for development of the 1974 Freedom of Information Act Amendments. He explains that ―prior to 1974 FOIA was ineffective and in fact the real road to change in US government transparency began with the 1974 amendments. In the 1966 version the ability to obtain court reviews was difficult for example.‖ Susman noted that ―the 1974 amendments responded to the failures in the 1966 FOIA but placing fee restrictions for instance.‖ The original 1966 Act only allowed occasional disclosure while after 1974 Americans enjoyed broader maximum disclosure. All information available today was made available because of the successful lawsuits that employed the 1974 Act. FOIA became a long term strategy for advocates, industries, businesses, lawyers, journalists, NGOs and citizens to participate in government processes. The Act was amended most recently in 1996 by the Electronic Freedom of Information Act (which allows any person or organization, regardless of citizenship or country of origin, to ask for records held by federal government agencies). The Act‘s objective is ―to provide public access to an agency‘s records.‖ The applicant does not have to demonstrate a specific interest in a matter to view relevant documents – an idle curiosity suffices. Agencies covered within the Act include ―executive and military departments, government corporations and other entities which perform government functions except for Congress, the courts or the President‘s immediate staff at the White House, including the National Security Council.‖Each agency or public body that is included within the FOIA has to publish in the ‗Federal Register‘ the details of its organization as well as the rules and policies of its procedures. There are nine categories of discretionary exemptions: ―national security, internal agency rules, information protected by other statutes, business information, inter and intra-agency memos, personal privacy, law enforcement records, financial institutions and oil wells data.‖ The US FOIA is similar to the Swedish FOIA in that it emphasizes that ―the request for documents should have priorities; that real avenues for citizen appeals should exist, and that legally binding rulings would ensure repercussions for the public servants that refuse to comply.‖ It differs from the Swedish FOIA because freedom of information in the United States is not a constitutional concept. Moreover, the cost of processing a request and photocopying documents is much higher in the US. Appeals of denials or complaints about extensive delays can be made internally to the agency concerned. The federal courts review appeals and can overturn agency decisions. The courts have heard thousands of cases in the 40 years of the Act. Alongside, FOIA the Sunshine Act (also known as an ‗open meeting‘ law) allows―access to the meeting of those agencies within its scope. Its aim is to open up to the public portions of the ‗deliberative processes‘ of certain agencies.‖ A week‘s notice is required of the time, date, topic and location of the meeting. In addition, ―a named official with a publicized telephone number must be appointed to answer queries.‖ The US FOIA mode of management is characterized by decentralization; The US Justice Department (DOJ) provides some guidance and training for agencies and represents the agencies in most court cases. The 1996 E-FOIA amendments require agencies to create electronic reading rooms and make available electronically the information that must be published along with common documents requested. In 2000, the U.S. federal government received more than two million FOIA requests from citizens, corporations, and foreigners.According to Banisar‘s 2006 survey, the American FOIA ―has been hampered further delay. Many international organizations and regional groups recognized this right to be part of their systems. Swedish Freedom of Information Law (a literal translation of the native term indicates the Freedom of Printing Act) passed in the year 1766 is considered to be the oldest and earliest legislative recognition of RTI. This law was passed by Sweden. A large number of countries have followed the same line and have enacted access laws after it. For example, Finland in 1950, Denmark in 1950, Norway in 1970, and United States of America in 1966 enacted such laws in order to facilitate information access. Before discussing the various international instruments, let us first analyse the status of RTI in the two most developed democracies of the world U.S.A and England. iii) Position in England Democracy has been the basic tenet of England since ages but ‗secrecy‘ is emphasised rather than openness. This is due to the innate tendency of legislature and executive to enshroud policies instead of making it transparent. England has enacted Freedom of Information Act, 2005. But basically, the present law is contained in the Official Secrets Acts of 1911, 1920, 1939. Judiciary in England has approved of openness in Government. The same is reflected in the decision of House of Lords where it established its jurisdiction to order the disclosure of any document. However, it was also emphasized that balance between conflicting interests of secrecy and publicity should be maintained. Importance of freedom of expression in English law can be ascertained by the observation of Lord Steyn in a case which goes as following: ―Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy. The free flow of information and ideas informs political debate. It is a safety valve; people are more ready to accept decisions that go against them if they can in principle seek to influence them. It acts as a brake on the abuse of power by public officials. It facilitates the exposure of errors in the governance and administration of justice of the country….‖ In Britain, the campaign for reduction of secrecy was going on. They have rule for non-disclosure of sensitive information for about thirty years. When 1957 documents were released, they showed that Prime Minister Harold Macmillan had ordered suppression of information on the Wind scale nuclear accident. It was a startling revelation because it was the worst known nuclear disaster before Chernobyl. But the nation came to know only after thirty years. Under their Official Secret Act some documents could even be blocked for a hundred years. Even in America the tendency is to increase the items under the list of exemptions to freedom of information. When some documents were released under the Act revealed that FBI and CIA illegally harassed Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and several other things like illegal surveillance of dozens of writers and political groups for over a period of 30 years. In 2000, the Freedom of Information Act came into existence. Australians are amongst the world's most avid media consumers and there is legislation protecting their rights of access to Federal Government documents of interest to them. In December 1982, Australia enacted Freedom of Information legislation, which gives its citizens and persons entitled to permanent resident status in Australia a free access to various Federal Government Records. Main features of this Act are the creation of public right of access to documents, the right to amend or update incorrect government records, the right of appeal against administrative decisions barring access and the waiving of any need to establish interest before being granted access to documents. iv) Public Charter of Official Documents in Finland Finland has a law on the Public Charter of Official Documents in 1951. Norway and Denmark have also statutorised public access to official information sources. Canada and Australia also made useful legislation on this subject. A French Commission on Access to Administrative Documents has been formulated. French Constitution recognizes the free communication of thoughts and opinions as among the most precious rights of man. v) Open Democracy Bill in South Africa The South African Law on this right is a unique example of principle of open governance. The South African Open Democracy Bill provides for public access as "swiftly inexpensively and effortlessly and reasonably possible to information held by governmental and bodies without jeopardising good governance, personal privacy and commercial confidentiality. It also empowers the public to effectively scrutinise and participate in governmental decision making that affects them. It also provided a mechanism to correct the inaccurate information possessed by the government about them and protects individuals against abuse of information about themselves held by the government or private bodies. Canada made Access to Information Act, 1980, and New Zealand enacted the Official Information Act, 1982
  5. Whether an application made under RTI through e-mail is valid or not?
  6. ashakantasharma

    How to Stop Corruption ?

    How to Stop Corruption? Corruption is one of the most disruptive problems faced by the world and it needs to stop without further damage to the humanity so as to have a better future for the coming generation. Corruption is a disease, a cancer that eats into the cultural, political and economic fabric of society, and destroys the functioning of vital organs. In the words of Transparency International, “Corruption is one of the greatest challenges of the contemporary world. It undermines good government, fundamentally distorts public policy, leads to the misallocation of resources, harms the private sector and private sector development and particularly hurts the poor.” Corruption is found almost everywhere, but it is stubbornly entrenched in the poor countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, it is widespread in Latin America, it is deep rooted in many of the newly industrialised countries, and it is reaching alarming proportions in several of the post- Communist countries. Corruption has been the subject of a substantial amount of theorising and empirical research over the last 30 years, and this has produced a bewildering array of alternative explanations, typologies and remedies. However, as an extensively applied notion in both politics and social sciences, corruption is being used rather haphazardly. Corruption is understood as everything from the paying of bribes to civil servants in return for some favour and the theft of public purses, to a wide range of dubious economic and political practices in which politicians and bureaucrats enrich themselves and any abusive use of public power to a personal end. Besides, corruption is in itself a many-faceted phenomenon and the concept of corruption contains too many connotations to be analytically functional without a closer definition. The forms of corruption are diverse in terms of who are the actors, initiators and profiteers, how it is done, and to what extent it is practised. Also the causes and the consequences of corruption are complex and diverse, and have been sought in both individual ethics and civic cultures, in history and tradition, in the economic system, in the institutional arrangements, and in the political system. India is one of the countries which are suffering due to the existence of Corruption. Impact of corruption is very hard on public life. This is more of awkward and defaming condition than being problematic. But it appears that the corruption is ever rising and unstoppable. Further the people involved in corruption seem to be hiding themselves by blaming others. Even they are proud of themselves as they made more money in short time. Politicians and black money go hand in hand. In north Indian states likes Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, MLAs move around in a fleet of SUVs, with a host of lackeys in tow. Each minister is a parallel economy unto himself, his cronies entirely dependent on him for survival and more. Who finances their politics? Most government contracts – for roads, bridges, liquor and so on – are cornered by cartels controlled by the legislators themselves. These contracts generate cash in abundance to keep the political cycle of an average legislator lubricated. Many ministers and MLAs are strongmen – extortion, protection money, supari and other kinds of crime proceeds add to their well of black money. A large part of the black money thus generated goes to party funds. The deeper the war chest of a party, the more power and influence it has and greater are its chances of winning an election. In addition, parties are funded by contractors and corporations. Bigger the party, bigger the corporations financing it. Departments like public works, urban development and irrigation make major contribution to party funds. Contracts are awarded in government departments, but decided in party headquarters. To worsen the condition further, those involved in corruption are able to get better promotions and opportunities. Corruption is a symptom of deeper-seated factors. The causes are complex, and the means to control it are not fully understood. Corruption thrives when economic policies are poorly designed, education levels are low, civil society is underdeveloped, and the accountability of public institutions is weak—conditions that exist in many settings but are particularly prevalent in some developing countries. Corruption often has a political dimension and reflects the way power is exercised in a country. And it is constantly changing its form in response to changes in the global economy and technical innovation. Then President Nelson Mandela emphasised this in his opening address to Parliament in 1999: “Our hope for the future depends on our resolution as a nation in dealing with the scourge of Corruption. Success will require an acceptance that, in many respects, we are a sick society. It is perfectly correct to assert that all this was spawned by apartheid. No amount of self-induced Amnesia will change the reality of history. But it is also a reality of the present that among the new cadres in various levels of government you will find individuals who are as corrupt as – if not more than – those they found in government. When a leader in a provincial legislation siphons off resources meant to fund service by legislators to the people; when employees of a government institution set up to help empower those who were excluded by apartheid defraud it for their own enrichment, then we must admit that we have a sick society. This problem manifests itself in all areas of life”. If we have to reduce corruption from society then we have to: 1. Stamp out corruption at all levels in society. 2. Develop a culture of zero tolerance of corruption. 3. Visibly support and subscribe to the national integrity strategy in order to combat corruption in all sectors of civil society and Government. 4. Educate all persons to work together towards a higher moral purpose. Corruption is a serious problem and social ethics has a significant impact on all societies. It is a phenomenon which is globally widespread and can be generally defined as the use of public power to benefit a private interest. It is a complex and multifaceted concept with several and heavy complications for the economy and environmental sustainability. Despite the existing theorizations and descriptions of the political economy concerning environment/society interactions and widespread evidence of bribery and illegal exchange in natural resources management, nowadays, fighting corruption goes on widely ineffective, with serious consequences for environmental quality. The main focus of this study is the different forms of corruption and its consequences and costs to the Environment, especially in resource-rich developing countries. It explores a few practical examples taken from these countries due to the linkages between corruption and weak environmental governance. The institutional set-up of the country such as the characteristics of the political and judicial system determines the extent of corruption. In such a context, transparency has been described as a cure for corruption. Good governance including a broad commitment to the rule of law is crucial for environmental sustainability and is a way to put a stop to the devastating impact corruption has had on the environment. The sustained reduction of systemic corruption requires committed leadership and support from citizens and civil society. Corruption is a universal problem. It is present in all societies, political systems and cultures. It is a cross-cultural reality and it is not only detected in democratic systems which are by definition more open and therefore more exposed to the watchful eyes of pluralistic, interventionist media. It is also a centuries-old phenomenon, and allusions to this type of improper behaviour can already be found in several holy texts and in the codes of ancient civilizations. However, it was not until the Modern state was established that corruption took the proportions we know today. Corruption has real political, economic and social costs. Its costs are often difficult to quantify, since corruption by its nature is difficult to measure. Yet corruption leaves people in worse condition and impedes development all over the world. First, it is an obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. Second, it distorts the allocation of resources, reduces the productivity of public expenditures, lowers investment, and slows down economic growth. Moreover, it constitutes a severe obstacle to entrepreneurship and innovation. Third, perhaps most insidiously, corruption leads to frustration and apathy among the citizens of corrupt states. Corruption is a complex phenomenon. Its root lie deep in bureaucratic and political institutions and its effect on development varies with country conditions. But while costs may vary and systemic corruption may coexist is bad for development. It leads governments to intervene where they need not, and it undermines their ability to enact and implement policies in areas in which government intervention is clearly needed—whether environmental regulation, health and safety regulation, social safety nets, macroeconomic stabilization, or contract enforcement. The term corruption covers a broad range of human actions. To understand its effect on an economy or a political system, it helps to unbundle the term by identifying specific types of activities or transactions that might fall within it. We settled on a straightforward definition—the abuse of public office for private gain. Public office is abused for private gain when an official accepts, solicits, or extorts a bribe. It is also abused when private agents actively offer bribes to circumvent public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit. Public office can also be abused for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs through patronage and nepotism, the theft of state assets, or the diversion of state revenues. This definition is both simple and sufficiently broad to cover most of the corruption that the we encounters, and it is widely used in the literature. Bribery. Bribes are one of the main tools of corruption. They can be used by private parties to “buy” many things provided by central or local governments, or officials may seek bribes in supplying those things. • Government contracts. Bribes can influence the government’s choice of firms to supply goods, services, and works, as well as the terms of their contracts. Firms may bribe to win a contract or to ensure that contractual breaches are tolerated. • Government benefits. Bribes can influence the allocation of government benefits, whether monetary benefits (such as subsidies to enterprises or individuals or access to pensions or unemployment insurance) or in-kind benefits (such as access to certain schools, medical care, or stakes in enterprises being privatized). • Lower taxes. Bribes can be used to reduce the amount of taxes or other fees collected by the government from private parties. Such bribes may be proposed by the tax collector or the taxpayer. In many countries the tax bill is negotiable. • Licenses. Bribes may be demanded or offered for the issuance of a license that conveys an exclusive right, such as a land development concession or the exploitation of a natural resource. Sometimes politicians and bureaucrats deliberately put in place policies that create control rights which they profit from by selling. • Time. Bribes may be offered to speed up the government’s granting of permission to carry out legal activities, such as company registration or construction permits. Bribes can also be extorted by the threat of inaction or delay. • Legal outcomes. Bribes can change the outcome of the legal process as it applies to private parties, by inducing the government either to ignore illegal activities (such as drug dealing or pollution) or to favour one party over another in court cases or other legal proceedings. The government benefits purchased with bribes vary by type and size. Contracts and other benefits can be enormous (grand or wholesale corruption) or very small (petty or retail corruption), and the impact of misinterpretation of laws can be dramatic or minor. Grand corruption is often associated with international business transactions and usually involves politicians as well as bureaucrats. The bribery transaction may take place entirely outside the country. Petty corruption may be pervasive throughout the public sector if firms and individuals regularly experience it when they seek a license or a service from government. The bribes may be retained by individual recipients or pooled in an elaborate sharing arrangement. The sums involved in grand corruption may make newspaper headlines around the world, but the aggregate costs of petty corruption, in terms of both money and economic distortions, may be as great if not greater. Theft. Theft of state assets by officials charged with their stewardship is also corruption. An extreme form is the large-scale “spontaneous” privatization of state assets by enterprise managers and other officials in some transition economies. At the other end of the scale is petty theft of items such as office equipment and stationery, vehicles, and fuel. The perpetrators of petty theft are usually middle- and lower-level officials, compensating, in some cases, for inadequate salaries. Asset control systems are typically weak or non-existent, as is the institutional capacity to identify and punish wrongdoers. Theft of government financial resources is another form of corruption. Officials may pocket tax revenues or fees (often with the collusion of the payer, in effect combining theft with bribery), steal cash from treasuries, extend advances to themselves that are never repaid, or draw pay for fictitious “ghost” workers, a pattern well documented in the reports of audit authorities. In such cases financial control systems typically have broken down or are neglected by managers. Political and bureaucratic corruption. Corruption within government can take place at both the political and the bureaucratic levels. The first may be independent of the second, or there may be collusion. At one level, controlling political corruption involves election laws, campaign finance regulations, and conflict of interest rules for parliamentarians. At another level corruption may be intrinsic to the way power is exercised and may be impossible to reduce through law-making alone. In the extreme case state institutions may be infiltrated by criminal elements and turned into instruments of individual enrichment. Isolated and systemic corruption. Corruption in a society can be rare or widespread. If it is rare, consisting of a few individual acts, it is straightforward (though seldom easy) to detect and punish. In such cases noncorrupt behaviour is the norm, and institutions in both the public and private sectors support integrity in public life. Such institutions, both formal and informal, are sufficiently strong to return the system to a noncorrupt equilibrium. In contrast, corruption is systemic (pervasive or entrenched) where bribery, on a large or small scale, is routine in dealings between the public sector and firms or individuals. Where systemic corruption exists, formal and informal rules are at odds with one another; bribery may be illegal but is understood by everyone to be routine in transactions with the government. Another kind of equilibrium prevails, a systemic corruption “trap” in which the incentives are strong for firms, individuals, and officials to comply with and not fight the system. And there may be different degrees of coordination between those taking bribes, ranging from uncontrolled extortion by multiple officials to highly organized bribe collection and distribution systems. AntiBribery laws notwithstanding, there are many countries in which bribery characterizes the rules of the game in private-public interactions. Systemic corruption may occur uniformly across the public sector, or it may be confined to certain agencies—such as customs or tax authorities, public works or other ministries, or particular levels of government. Corruption in the private sector. Fraud and bribery can and do take place in the private sector, often with costly results. Unregulated financial systems permeated with fraud can undermine savings and deter foreign investment. They also make a country vulnerable to financial crises and macroeconomic instability. Entire banks or savings and loan institutions may be taken over by criminals for the purpose of wholesale fraud. Popular support for privatization or the deepening of financial markets can be eroded if poor regulation leads to small shareholders or savers withdrawing when confronted by insider dealings and the enrichment of managers. And a strong corporate focus on profitability may not prevent individual employees soliciting bribes from suppliers. Furthermore, when corruption is systemic in the public sector, firms that do business with government agencies can seldom escape participating in bribery. While noting the existence of fraud and corruption in the private sector and the importance of controlling it, this report is concerned with corruption in the public sector. Public sector corruption is arguably a more serious problem in developing countries, and controlling it may be a prerequisite for controlling private sector corruption. Still, Bank activities can also promote the control of bribery and fraud in the private sector by helping countries strengthen the legal framework to support a market economy and by encouraging the growth of professional bodies that set standards in areas like accounting and auditing. In the long run, controlling corruption in the private sector may require improvements in business culture and ethics. People also have developed an opinion that it is the only way to get their work done. If not, the work will be pending for long or even might not be done. Corruption—an important problem imposing political, economic, and environmental costs to societies around the world. Corruption is a phenomenon involving many different aspects, and it is therefore hard to give a precise and comprehensive definition. However, at the core of most definitions of corruption is the idea that a corrupt act implies the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Classic examples Include bribery, clientelism, and embezzlement. Other, often more subtle and sometimes even legal examples of corruption includes lobbying and patronage. While long-run data on corruption is very limited, historical examples suggest that corruption has been a persistent feature of human societies over time and space. Two such examples are the sale of parliamentary seats in ‘rotten boroughs’ in England before the Reform Act of 1832, and ‘machine politics’ in the US at the turn of the 19th century (Aidt 2003). The unethical and often illegal nature of corruption makes measurement particularly complicated. Corruption data usually comes from either direct observation (e.g. law enforcement records and audit reports), or perception surveys (e.g. public opinion surveys, or expert assessments). In this entry we discuss data from both sources, and discuss their underlying limitations. As we show, although precise corruption measurement is difficult, there is a clear correlation between perception and behaviour; so available corruption data does provide valuable information that, when interpreted carefully, can both tell us something important about our world as well as contribute to the development of effective policies. For example, the data from perception surveys suggests that corruption correlates with human development, and a number of studies exploiting rich data from law enforcement records have shown that education is an important element explaining this relationship. Specifically, the data provides support for the idea that voters with more education tend to be more willing and able to monitor public employees and to take action when these employees violate the law. Corruption is sometimes hard to tackle precisely because it is common, so people perceive it to be a natural economic transaction: it is easier to act corruptly if there are many other individuals who think it is fine to be corrupt. This is the rationale behind 'big-push' policies that aim to shift norms and perceptions. For those without money and connections, paying even small bribes to access basic public services such as public health or police can have important consequences. In fact, petty corruption in the form of bribes often acts as a regressive tax, since the burden typically falls disproportionately on the poor. Corruption is not something that only affects low income countries—and in fact, many high income countries have become increasingly aware of this in recent years. There are many factors that simultaneously drive corruption and development. Education is an important case in point. A strong positive relationship: countries where people are more educated tend to have better scores in the Corruption Perception Index. One of the most widely accepted mechanisms of controlling corruption is to ensure that those entrusted with power are held responsible for reporting their activities. This is the idea behind so-called 'accountability' measures against corruption. As we can see, people are less likely to pay bribes in countries where there are stronger institutions to support accountability. A common policy prescription to fight corruption is to increase monitoring and punishments. The logic supporting such policies is straightforward: better monitoring and harsher punishments increase the expected cost of acting corruptly, so people rationally choose not to break the rules. To test the extent to which monitoring and punishments effectively reduce corruption, economists often rely on 'policy experiments', where they administer these policies to 'treatment groups'. Olken (2007) follows this approach, increasing the probability of central government audits from 4 percent to 100 percent (the 'policy treatment'), in the context of Indonesian village road projects. Olken (2007) compares the outcomes for villages that received this intervention with those that did not, and finds that audits significantly reduced missing expenditures, as measured by discrepancies between official project costs and an independent engineers’ estimates. The following visualization summarizes these results. The height of the bars shows the percent of expenditures that engineers found to be missing. As we can see, missing expenditures were much lower in villages where audits were certain. Olken (2007) provides further evidence of the extent to which officials in charge of road projects responded to private incentives: he finds that (i) audits were most effective when officials faced elections soon, and (ii) village elites shifted to nepotism (the practice of hiring family members), which is a form of corruption that was harder for audits to detect. Corruption affects us all Corruption affects us all. It threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice; it destabilises our society and endangers the rule of law. It undermines the institutions and values of our democracy. But because public policies and public resources are largely beneficial to poor people, it is they who suffer the harmful effects of corruption most grievously. To be dependent on the government for housing, healthcare, education, security and welfare, makes the poor most vulnerable to corruption since it stalls service delivery. Delays in infrastructure development, poor building quality and layers of additional costs are all consequences of corruption. Many acts of corruption deprive our citizens of their constitutional and their human rights. Economic implications Corruption and international perceptions of corruption in South Africa has been damaging to the country’s reputation and has created obstacles to local and foreign direct investment, flows to the stock market, global competitiveness, economic growth and has ultimately distorted the development and upliftment of our people. Public money is for government services and projects. Taxes collected, bonds issued, income from government investments and other means of financing government expenditure are meant for social grants, education, hospitals, roads, and the supply of power and water and to ensure the personal security of our citizens. Corruption and bad management practices eat into the nation’s wealth, channelling money away from such projects and the very people most dependent on government for support. Countless studies around the world show how corruption can interrupt investment, restrict trade, reduce economic growth and distort the facts and figures associated with government expenditure. But the most alarming studies are the ones directly linking corruption in certain countries to increasing levels of poverty and income inequality. Because corruption creates fiscal distortions and redirects money allocated to income grants, eligibility for housing or pensions and weakens service delivery, it is usually the poor who suffer most. Income inequality has increased in most countries experiencing high levels of corruption. The need for good governance Adherence to good governance creates an environment where corruption struggles to flourish. Failure to adhere to the practices of good governance means stakeholders increasingly demand accountability. Mass action and strikes are organised in protest as citizens begin to lose faith in the ability or willingness of their elected officials. Political instability increases. Investment declines. The sale of shares by investors decreases the value and rating of companies. Their regulators can deny them licences, a stock exchange listing or the ability to sell products and services. Other organisations refuse to do business with them. And donors or economic organisations grant fewer loans or aid to nations whose governance is murky. Key principles of good governance include: Honesty – Organisations are the sum of their parts. Employees and managers who operate in good faith, with integrity and no conflicts of interest, will underpin the governance cornerstone of honesty and elicit trust from stakeholders. Transparency – Decisions made, action taken and how it is reported to stakeholders must be communicated clearly and made easily available for those affected by the organisation. Responsiveness – Listening to stakeholders, taking action or reporting transparently should be done within a reasonable time of a request, complaint or concern. Management independent of governing bodies – There must be a separation of powers and chain of accountability. Friends and family members, or suspected conflicts of interests cannot overlap between layers of management and directors, boards or senior politicians. Independence ensures better judgement, assessment of risk and optimum performance. Rule of law – Institutions must comply with the laws, codes, guidelines and regulations of the nations in which they operate. Effectiveness and efficiency – Good governance is also delivering to mandates, meeting the needs of stakeholders, curtailing expenditure, streamlining decision-making and action, and making the best use of available resources. Fairness – Good governance entrenches the principle of fairness, and treating stakeholders equally. Just – Justice and governance concerns the moral responsibility and integrity of individuals within an organisation and the behaviour of the organisation itself. Accountability – Ensuring that public and private institutions, corporations and individuals entrusted with public resources and civil society are held to account, means they are answerable to their stakeholders. Life is full of ripples; our actions affect each other, whether for good or ill. When one person acts selfishly, there is always a ripple effect. It gets paid forward. The ripple effect of government corruption can be far reaching. A government officer stealing millions of dollars affects countless individuals, budgets, programs, and more. Corruption’s far-reaching consequences are significant. For decades, it has caused severe poverty, with millions of citizens fleeing the nations to pursue the hope of a better tomorrow in other countries. Nine Reasons why Corruption is a Destroyer of Human Prosperity We noted that the presence of dysfunctional and onerous regulations and poorly formulated policies, often created incentives for individuals and businesses to short-circuit them through the paying of bribes. We now turn to the consequences of corruption, to better understand why it is a destroyer of human prosperity. First, corruption undermines government revenue and, therefore, limits the ability of the government to invest in productivity-enhancing areas. Where corruption is endemic, individuals will view paying taxes as a questionable business proposition. There is a delicate tension between the government in its role as tax collector and the business community and individuals as tax payers. The system works reasonably well when those who pay taxes feel that there is a good chance that they will see a future payoff, such as improvements in the country’s infrastructure, better schools and a better-trained and healthier workforce. Corruption sabotages this implicit contract. When corruption is allowed to flourish taxpayers will feel justified in finding creative ways to avoid paying taxes or, worse, become bribers themselves. To the extent that corruption undermines revenue, it adversely affects government efforts to reduce poverty. Money that leaks out of the budget because of corruption will not be available to lighten the burden of the poor. Of course, corruption also undermines the case of those who argue that foreign aid can be an important element of the fight against global poverty—why should taxpayers in the richer countries be asked to support the lavish lifestyles of the kleptocrats in corrupt states? Second, corruption distorts the decision-making connected with public investment projects (Tanzi and Davoodi, 1997). Large capital projects provide tempting opportunities for corruption. Governments will often undertake projects of a larger scope or complexity than warranted by the needs of the country. Public investment will thus be higher—the world is littered with the skeletons of white elephants, often built with external credits, and representing a heavy burden on meagre budgets. In the context of scarce resources, governments will find it necessary to cut spending elsewhere, sometimes in socially vital areas, or in operations and maintenance. Tanzi (1998) plausibly argues that corruption will also reduce expenditure on health and education because these are areas where it may be more difficult to collect bribes, though some have argued that provider absenteeism, a serious problem in the educational and health sectors of many countries, is itself a form of “quiet/silent corruption.” Third, there is solid empirical evidence that the higher the level of corruption in a country, the larger the share of its economic activity that will go underground, beyond the reach of the tax authorities. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that corruption also undermines foreign direct investment since it acts in ways that are indistinguishable from a tax; other things being equal, investors will always prefer to establish themselves in less corrupt countries. Wei (2000) reviewed FDI data from 14 source countries to 45 host countries, and concluded that: “an increase in the corruption level from that of Singapore to that of Mexico is equivalent to raising the tax rate by 21-24 percentage points.” Fourth, corruption discourages private-sector development and innovation and encourages inefficiency. Budding entrepreneurs with bright ideas will be intimidated by the bureaucratic obstacles, financial costs and psychological burdens of starting new business ventures and will either opt for taking their ideas to some other less corrupt country or, more likely, desist altogether. In either case, economic growth is adversely affected. The high incidence of corruption will mean an additional financial burden on businesses, undermining their international competitiveness. Unlike a tax, which is known and predictable and can be built into the cost structure of the enterprise in an orderly fashion, bribes are unpredictable and will complicate cost control, reduce profits and undermine the efficiency of those who must pay them to stay in business. Mauro (1995) used some indices of corruption and institutional efficiency to show that corruption lowers investment and, hence, economic growth. Fifth, corruption contributes to a misallocation of human resources. To sustain a system of corruption, officials and those who pay them will have to invest time and effort in the development of certain skills, nurture certain relationships, and build up a range of supporting institutions and opaque systems, such as off-the-books transactions, secret bank accounts, and the like. Surveys have shown that the greater the incidence of corruption in the country, the greater the share of time that management has to allocate to dealing with ensuring compliance with regulations, avoiding penalties, and dealing with the bribery system that underpins them, activities that draw attention and resources away from production, strategic planning, and so on. Sixth, corruption has disturbing distributional implications. Empirical work shows that corruption actually contributes to worsening income distribution. Gupta, Davoodi and Alonso-Terme (1998) have shown that corruption, by lowering economic growth, perceptibly pushes up income inequality. It also distorts the tax system because the wealthy and powerful are able to use their connections to make sure that the tax system works in their favour. It leads to inefficient targeting of social programs, many of which will acquire regressive features, with benefits disproportionately allocated to the higher income brackets; e.g., gasoline subsidies to the car-owning middle classes in India. Seventh, corruption creates uncertainty. There are no enforceable property rights emanating from a transaction involving bribery. The firm that obtains a concession from a bureaucrat as a result of bribery cannot know with certainty how long the benefit will last. The terms of the “contract” may have to be constantly renegotiated to extend the life of the benefit or to prevent its collapse. Indeed, the briber, having flouted the law, may fall prey to extortion from which it may prove difficult to extricate himself. In an uncertain environment with insecure property rights, the firm will be less willing to invest and to plan for the longer-term. A short-term focus to maximize short-term profits will be the optimal strategy, even if this leads to deforestation, say, or the rapid exhaustion of non-renewable resources. This uncertainty is partly responsible for a perversion in the sorts of incentives that prompt individuals to want to seek public office. Where corruption is rife, politicians will want to remain in office as long as possible, not because they are even remotely serving the public good, but merely because they will not want to yield to others the pecuniary benefits of high office. Where long stays in office are no longer an option, then the new government will want to steal as much as possible as quickly as possible, given a relatively short window of opportunity. Eighth, because corruption is a betrayal of trust, it diminishes the legitimacy of the state and moral stature of the bureaucracy in the eyes of the population. While efforts will be made to shroud such corrupt transactions in secrecy, particularly when the opportunities for bribery are linked to some government-inspired initiative, the relevant details will leak out and will tarnish the reputation of the government, thereby damaging its credibility and limiting its ability to become a constructive agent of change. Corrupt governments will have a tougher time being credible enforcers of contracts and protectors of property rights. Ninth, bribery and corruption lead to other forms of crime. Because corruption breeds corruption, it tends soon enough to lead to the creation of mafias and organized criminal groups who use their financial power to infiltrate legal businesses, to intimidate, to create protection rackets and a climate of fear and uncertainty. In states with weak institutions, the police may be overwhelmed, reducing the probability that criminals will be caught. This, in turn, encourages more people to become corrupt, further impairing the efficiency of law enforcement, a vicious cycle that will affect the investment climate in noxious ways, further undermining economic growth. In many countries, as corruption gives rise to mafias and organized crime, the police and other organs of the state may themselves become criminalized. By then, businesses will not only have to deal with corruption-ridden bureaucracies, but they will also be vulnerable to attacks from competitors who will pay the police or tax inspectors to harass and intimidate. There is really no limit to the extent to which corruption, once it is unleashed, can undermine the stability of the state and organized society. Tax inspectors will extort businesses; the police will kidnap innocents and demand ransom; the prime minister will demand payoffs to make himself available for meetings; aid money will disappear into the private offshore bank accounts of senior officials; the head of state will demand that particular taxes be credited directly to his personal account. Investment will come to a standstill, or, worse, capital flight will lead to disinvestment. In countries where corruption becomes intertwined with domestic politics, separate centres of power will emerge to rival the power of the state. At that point, the chances that the government will actually be able to do anything to control corruption will disappear and the state will mutate into a kleptocracy, the eighth circle of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Alternatively, the state, to preserve its power, may opt for warfare, engulfing the country in a cycle of violence. In any case, corrupt failed, or failing, states become a security threat for the whole international community, “because they are incubators of terrorism, the narcotics trade, money laundering, human trafficking, and other global crime—raising issues far beyond corruption itself” (Heineman and Heimann 2006). Corruption will not do any good to anyone in the long term basis, either to the giver or the receiver of the corrupted money. Corruption harms everybody because it is based on injustice! EVIL EFFECTS OF CORRUPTION Merited but Poor People are Denied: Merited & qualified people who are poor & honest, not wanting to bribe, will remain unemployed thus depriving the expertise & knowledge of the good individuals to effective applications for the advancement of the individuals & society. Bad Consequences of Selecting Unfit People: Demerited & disqualified people when given in-charge of the posts they don't deserve; they will start malfunctioning resulting in unwanted outputs. If in administration, it will be mismanaged; if in engineering, structures won't last long; if in medical line, people will die of wrong prescriptions or wrong surgery; if in manufacturing, only substandard products will come out; if in education, substandard students will be the products; if in politics, faulty policies & mismanagement of public funds will happen... No Hope for Educated Poor Poor people who managed hard to get higher education when they completed their studies; they are given the popular 'Unemployed!' title to cap on all their certificates/diplomas/degrees/masters/PhDs and to start any self-employed venture also needs capital and to get loan for it again they need money to bribe here & there! Those who are poor or educated poor and want to live honest but progressive life without bribery/corruption see no hope for development in life in the corrupted society. So, it is of no surprise that some/many of these unemployed youths are turning to insurgency as the alternative way of life. Corruption Widening the Rich-Poor Gap: People in power who have the advantage of accumulating bribed money will become richer & richer and the poor people who try to pay huge amounts as bribes will remain in debt thus creating a huge rift between the rich & the poor. The consequence of this extreme inequality in the society will brew disunity, envy, hatred & enmity between the people of the haves and the have-nots. Corrupted People Degrades Self & Society: People who became materially rich through corruption will degrade morally and start misusing the ill-accumulated money in higher criminal activities like maintaining criminal gangs to support his nefarious activities; himself or his children may become drug addicts or alcoholics or gambling or in prostitutes etc. thus further tearing down the moral fabrics individually and socially. When Poor People are looked down by Rich: Poor people, who are constantly looked down upon by those rich counterparts in the society; having no means of decent living will turn to armed gangs to extort money from those rich & corrupted people thus sprouting up of pseudo insurgent groups. When Honest People are not respected by Society: In the corrupted society, honest & hardworking people will not be respected but will be considered as fools and so even those who were sincere & hard working before will start joining the corrupted rat race of the fallen society thus the evils of corruption will spread all over with no future hope & aspiration to live for. Where the Corrupted Money go: Huge amounts of corrupted public funds becoming black money will either divert away clandestinely to the foreign banks or the huge amounts remain as black money hiding doing nothing good for himself or the society. Society where Corruption prevails: Where corruption prevails, in that society, people will become more & more material minded, thinking that money is everything and thus start losing the spiritual qualities like the fellow feeling of love, sincerity, empathy, equity, unity, justice etc. and thus trying to accumulate money by hook or crook; people will become materially mad and start living restless & meaningless life in greed. Corruption is Fundamental Crime: Crimes & killings will be the direct consequences of a society drowned in corruption; this simply being the law of karma that crime begets crime because corruption is a fundamental crime against humanity that causes multi-dimensional social problems. No true Happiness in Corrupted Society: In the corrupted society, nobody will be truly happy; fear, insecurity and unhappiness will spread all over and there will be no far sighted visions for future prospects or prosperity and people will become more selfish and narrow minded. Final Result of Corrupted Society: Final result of a society drown in corruption is the total degradation of the whole people in the society. Effects of corruption on people:- Lack of quality in services: In a system with corruption there is no quality of service. To demand quality one might need to pay for it. This is seen in many areas like municipality, electricity, distribution of relief funds etc. If a person has to purchase a like medicine, due to corruption in education then the candidate after completion of his course will not like to provide quality health service if there is not enough remuneration for his service. Further candidates who do not have the ability can also get into the same seat by purchasing it. So though he becomes a medical practitioner, he may not be competent enough. Lack of proper justice: Corruption in judiciary system, leads to improper justice. And the victims of offense might suffer. A crime may be proved as benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence or even the evidence erased. Due to corruption in the police system, the investigation process goes on for decades. This lets the culprits roam free and even perform more crimes. There are even chances that criminals due to old age due to delayed investigation. So it lead to “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Chances of Unemployment: This we can see with an example. The private education and training institutes are given permits to start providing education. This permit is given based on the infrastructure and sufficient recruitment of eligible staff. Here there are good chances of corruption. The institute or college managements try to bribe the quality inspectors so as to get permits. Though there are no sufficient eligible staff these institutes get permission by the inspectors leading to unemployment. Instead of 10 faculty a college is run by 5. So, even if well qualified persons wish to get job there, they will not be offered. If there was no corruption by inspectors, then there would be chance for more employment. Poor Health and hygiene: In countries with more corruption one can notice more health problems among people. There will be no fresh drinking water, proper roads, quality food grains supply, milk adulteration, etc. These low quality services are all done to save money by the contractors and the officials who are involved. Even the medicine provided in hospitals for the hospitals are of sub-standard quality. So all these can contribute to ill health of common man. Pollution: Pollution is mostly emitted in the form of water pollution, air pollution and land pollution. This pollution is from vehicles and factories. The governments have a monitor on this pollution by regular check of vehicle emissions and also industrial exhausts. Corruption in the government department lets the industry people opt to release of untreated and harmful waste into rivers and air. If there is no corruption, there can be fair probes. Then the industry personnel will treat the waste such that it is less toxic and harmless to environment and people in it. So we can mean that corruption is also the main cause of pollution. Accidents: Sanction of driving license without proper check of driving skills in the driver leads to accidents and death. Due to corruption, there are countries where one can driving license without any tests. Failure of genuine research: Research by individuals needs government funding. Some of the funding agencies have corrupt officers. These people sanction the funds for research to those investigators who are ready to bribe them. In doing so, they do not sanction the funds to genuine and hardworking investigators. Thus the research and development will be lagging. This seems to be not a problem to the common public. But if we notice the resistance of microbes to drugs, we can know that there were no new compounds discovered in the past few decades for efficient treatment of resistant microbes. Effects of corruption on Society: Disregard for officials: People start disregarding the official involved in corruption by talking negatively about him. But when they have work with him or her, they again approach them by a thought that the work is done if some monetary benefits are provided. Disregard towards officials will also build distrust. Even lower grade officer will be disrespectful to higher grade officer. So even he may not obey his orders. There were even incidents where a lower grade police officer kidnapped higher grade officer for not offering him leave when asked. Lack of respect for rulers: Rulers of the nation like president or prime ministers lose respect among the public. Respect is main criteria in social life. People go for voting during election not only with the desire to improve their living standards by the election winner but also with respect for the leader. If the politicians involve in corruption, people knowing this will lose respect for them and will not like to cast their vote for such politicians. Lack of faith and trust on the governments: People vote to a ruler based on their faith in him/ her. But if found to be involved in corruption people lose faith in them and may not vote next time. Aversion for joining the posts linked to corruption: Sincere, honest and hardworking people develop aversion to apply for the post though they like to as they believe that they also need to be involved in corruption if they get into post. Effects of corruption on Economy:- Decrease in foreign investment: There are many incidents where in foreign investments which were willing to come to India have gone back owing to heavy corruption in the government bodies. Delay in growth: Due to desire to mint money and other unlawful benefits, the official who need to pass the clearances for projects or industries delay the process. A work which can be done in few day may be done in months’ time. This leads to delay in investments, starting of industries and also growth. Even if started, company growth hinders as every work linked to officials get delayed due to need to provide bribes or other benefits Lack of development: Many new industries willing to get started in particular region change their plans if the region is unsuitable. If there are no proper roads, water and electricity, the companies do not wish to start up there. This hinders the economic progress of that region. Differences in trade ratio’s: Some countries have inefficient standard control institutes. Or in other word these standard control institutes are corrupt that they can approve low quality products for sale in their country. Hence you can see countries manufacturing cheap products dump them in big markets. These countries can manufacture cheap quality products but cannot dump in countries with strict standard control institutes. They can do so only in countries with chances of corrupt officials in standard control. One best example is China products which can’t be just dumped into Europe and US markets. But can be done in Indian and African markets. So there arises trade deficit that these countries cannot manufacture their own products at cheaper price than those exporting to them. So if corruption is minimized than these countries will have less trade deficits in-terms of exports and imports with other countries and their economies can prosper. If you see the history of the Telephone Department there was a lot of corruption in the department when it was the government department. One has to wait for years to get a BSNL connection. Even after getting the connection employees were demanding money for giving the connection. Also there were cases the employees taking bribes and the bills were reduced for the customers by stopping their meters. After the entry of private operators and the conversion of telephone department to public limited company everything has changed without any punishment to any employee. Now the corruption has almost nil in the BSNL. If you see the corruption in a department 80% of the employees will be taking the bribes. But the anti-corruption department will be catching only 1% of the corrupted people. So this was it is very difficult to stop corruption. Many people think that the corruption will reduce if the punishment is given to those who are doing corruption .The corruption is caused due to both giver and taker. The corruption will be reduced when the competitiveness by converting government departments to public limited or privatized. Every department which linked to the public money should be privatized and the competitiveness should be brought in the departments just like BSNL. Then the corruption will be automatically come down of course a lot of other things also need to be done along with this which is getting discussed later in this article. The corruption elimination should become motive for each and everybody of us. All of us should take it as an oath to eradicate it. Because many time we only offer bribes to finish our jobs early. If any competition exists people used to get advantage out of it by buying some of the officers involved. We should take it as a crime for shortcuts of the processes. If people stop giving bribes then automatically corruption will be eliminated. Factors are many for this scourge which has seeped into everyday life of this country. However, we should not despair easily and much less, link it with our fate. Yes, India is a great nation, with its seemingly peculiar incongruent layers of materialistic forces and vagaries of emotional dimensions. Yes, as with human nature, we are also driven by greed and inhibited by panic. Tangible factors such as inequality of resources with people, and advantage one has over the other due to disparity of wealth and power, have rendered the common man to adopt any method to narrow the gap. They do not actually care much for adhering to ethics while pushing to bridge the gap. The tangible reasons are numerous, among these poverty reigns over almost all others. A person ravaged by the cruelty of it will come to believe that ‘money is everything’, because he sees money that might deliver him from the clutches of perpetual poverty to a comfortable life. Once he attains a life of comfort, he wishes for more. He sees the other rich people and their lifestyle; he desires to get to their level of opulence. How he gets there does not matter. It is the end that will justify the means. What faster medium than to become a party to corruption? Well if we think deeply, it’s the attitude of the individual that should count much to calibrate corruption. Not every poor is corrupt. Not every rich is corrupt. What could be the cause having the most weightage? I believe it’s called ‘scarcity mentality’ versus ‘abundant mentality’. ‘Scarcity mentality’ is not necessarily attributed to the have-nots. On the other hand, ‘abundant mentality’ is not always the guiding force of the rich. Once we understand these and change our thought processes on these lines, I believe we may have an insight into corruption. And we might just begin to develop that ‘abundant mentality’. Corruption can only be stopped when each person thinks bad about corruption because it is not something that we can stop others from involving in corruption. They themselves have to realize the ill effects of corruption. Another good method is the fear factor. When people are threatened with great threat people tend to submit. This fact can be applied carefully to stop corruption. Don’t encourage corruption. Report whenever you find any corruption in your day to day life. Don’t take bribe as well as don’t give bribe. Teach good moral values to your children. By educating the illiterate. By implementing special agency to catch bribers. By having separate courts for this issue to punish immediately. Corruption must be eliminated first from ourselves then we should talk about the whole society. 1. Transparency International in its study on index of corrupt countries in 2012 placed India at 94th rank out of 176 countries while Somalia tops the list. Corruption in all walks of life in India is making it weak and has adverse impact on its growth. As per an estimate 80% of the public servants in India are corrupt because of which the wheel of growth is being pulled down. 2. The Constitution of India describes the country as “Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic” leading to socialist-inspired policies for an entire generation from the 1950s until the late 1980s. Extensive protectionism in Industry, license Raj had contemporary policies vulnerable to pervasive corruption and slow economic growth, Rajagopalachari"Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari always stated that the system of License Raj would remain at the core of corruption and would pull back the economic growth in the country. 3. How does the growth is adversely affected due to rampant corruption - the former Indian Union Home Secretary, N.N. Vohra, in October 1993, submitted a report on corruption in politics and its criminalization. Politicians have the nexus with criminals. This criminal network is running a parallel government and satisfying the selfish ends of vested interests. More than 100 Members of Parliament are facing charges of corruption or related criminal charges. Public money which has otherwise been utilized for the growth of economy and for welfare of the public was misused to satisfy the greed of such networks. 4. The people have to pay bribe to get a job done in a public office. Taxes and bribes are common between state borders. As per an estimate more than Rs. 24,000 crores is paid in bribes. Government regulators and police share in bribe money, Transporters have to pay bribes to cross the state borders within the country and this phenomenon can be witnessed at any state border including the capital. These stoppages including those at checkpoints and entry-points take up to 10-12 hours in a day. This is despite the fact that many of the sates have done away with many taxes or the same have been made centralized. About 60 percent of these (forced) stoppages on road by concerned authorities such as government regulators, police, forest, sales and excise, octroi, weighing and measuring department are for extorting money. The loss in productivity due to these stoppages is an important national concern. The number of truck trips could increase by 30 to 40%, if forced delays are avoided. According to a World Bank report, the travel time for a Delhi-Mumbai trip can be reduced by about 2 days per trip if the corruption and associated regulatory stoppages to extract bribes was eliminated. 5. Various government officials, politicians in connivance with Criminals tend to grab the public property illegally. This land and property is meant for infrastructural or community development. These activities hamper the growth of economy. 6. Corrupt construction contractors in association with corrupt politicians and Public Works Department officers get the contracts and deliver poorly constructed roads, buildings, bridges. News of building, bridge collapse, is very common. 7. Corruption caused problems in government funded projects are rampant almost in all the states. Only 40% of grain handed out for the poor reaches its intended target. The World Bank study finds that the public distribution programs and social spending contracts have proven to be a waste due to corruption. MGNREGA, (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), NRHM (National Rural Health Mission), and other such programmes have become controversial as poor quality of infrastructure is built, Poor is still poor to the same level, Funds assigned for rural health care and Medicines are misappropriated. Corruption, waste and fraud-related losses from this government program has been alleged to be around Rs.10,000 crores. 8. Mineral resources are the back bone to the prosperity of the country. The corrupt Ministers and government officials of such states go for awarding illegal mining of such rich resources. They illegally help transport the minerals like coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper, etc. to other places for their personal benefits. The economic growth is severely affected by such corrupt activities. 9. According to a report corrupt officials in India may be making the country poorer by more than Rs.90, 000 crores every year, (More than 1% of the GDP, through corruption) These politicians, corrupt officials and business associates have black money in Swiss banks to the tune of Rs. 10,000 crores or more depriving the Indian Economy of its path on sustained growth. 10. Such corruption leads to further bureaucratic delay and inefficiency. Corrupt politicians and bureaucrats may introduce ways and means to extract more money affecting institutional efficiency. This would affect growth indirectly. Corruption also results in lower economic growth for a given level of income. With the reduction in Corruption level in India the growth rate of GDP might increase by 5 to 7%. As per an estimate the rampant corruption in India causes loss of growth in terms of investment and employment by Rs.25000 crores. The history of corruption in India is not new. Even during the regime of East India Company in 17th Century it was a serious issue. The economy has been running infected since then. To make India corruption free it is important to explore the root causes of corruption in India which includes excessive regulations, complicated taxes and licensing systems, numerous government departments infested with bureaucracy and discretionary powers, monopoly by government controlled institutions. These features cater to the corruption on one hand and the lack of transparent laws and processes put the public at the receiving end. However, corruption varies from state to state and place to place, from man to man. Those who have the knowledge of rules and regulations find it easier to keep the corrupt away from indulging in corruption while for others it is difficult. India has wide spread illiteracy. To weed out the corruption and to put the wheel of growth on right track, Education is the basic requirement. Suitable law requires to be passed to make it a fundamental right as well as fundamental duty of the state to impart education to each and every person in the state. Make a positive approach to conclude – P S Bawa, Chair of Transparency International India, stated “Corruption is a hydra-headed monster and governments have to make efforts to tackle it from all sides. This can only happen if all stakeholders work together," the efforts being taken by the watchdog to create awareness about corruption among people and steps being implemented to curb the menace have to be intensified to achieve a higher growth rate and improve the image of the country creating a better environment for investment and employment. India requires a transparent and effective policy implementation with more employment and business opportunities to curb corruption and move fast on the path of growth. Main Causes of Corruption:- The causes of corruption are always contextual, rooted in a country’s policies, bureaucratic traditions, political development, and social history. Still, corruption tends to flourish when institutions are weak and government policies generate economic rents. Some characteristics of developing and transition settings make corruption particularly difficult to control. The normal motivation of public sector employees to work productively may be undermined by many factors, including low and declining civil service salaries and promotion unconnected to performance. Dysfunctional government budgets, inadequate supplies and equipment, delays in the release of budget funds (including pay), and a loss of organizational purpose also may demoralize staff. The motivation to remain honest may be further weakened if senior officials and political leaders use public office for private gain or if those who resist corruption lack protection. Or the public service may have long been dominated by patron-client relationships, in which the sharing of bribes and favours has become entrenched. In some countries pay levels may always have been low, with the informal understanding that staff will find their own ways to supplement inadequate pay. Sometimes these conditions are exacerbated by closed political systems dominated by narrow vested interests and by international sources of corruption associated with major projects or equipment purchases. The dynamics of corruption in the public sector can be depicted in a simple model. The opportunity for corruption is a function of the size of the rents under a public official’s control, the discretion that official has in allocating those rents, and the accountability that official faces for his or her decisions. Monopoly rents can be large in highly regulated economies and, as noted above, corruption breeds demand for more regulation. In transition economies economic rents can be enormous because of the amount of formerly state-owned property essentially “up for grabs.” The discretion of many public officials may also be large in developing and transition economies, exacerbated by poorly defined, ever-changing, and inadequately disseminated rules and regulations. Finally, accountability is typically weak in these settings. The ethical values of a well-performing bureaucracy may have been eroded or never established. Rules on conduct and conflict of interest may be unenforced, financial management systems (which normally record and control the collection of revenues and the expenditure of budgeted resources) may have broken down, and there may be no formal mechanism to hold public officials accountable for results. The watchdog institutions that should scrutinize government performance, such as ombudsmen, external auditors, and the press, may be ineffectual. And special anticorruption bodies may have been turned into partisan instruments whose real purpose is not to detect fraud and corruption but to harass political opponents. A defining characteristic of the environment in which corruption occurs is a divergence between the formal and the informal rules governing behaviour in the public sector. The World Bank is unaware of any country that does not have rules against corruption, although not all countries have all the rules that may be necessary. These range from laws making it a criminal offense to bribe a public official to public service regulations dealing with the expected behaviour of public officials, conflicts of interest, the acceptance of gifts, and the duty to report fraud. Government agencies—police and army, tax and customs departments, local governments, and public enterprises—may have their own regulations and codes of behaviour. Organic laws, often embedded in constitutions, cover budgeting, accounting, and auditing, supported by laws and regulations on public procurement and the safeguarding of public assets. In addition, there are laws on the conduct of elections and the appointment of judges, and codes governing the conduct of legislators. Some of these laws are a colonial inheritance, some have been adapted from countries with a similar legal tradition, and some are additions to existing laws (for example, providing for special anticorruption commissions and other watchdog bodies). Where corruption is systemic, the formal rules remain in place, but they are superseded by informal rules. It may be a crime to bribe a public official, but in practice the law is not enforced or is applied in a partisan way, and informal rules prevail. Government tender boards may continue to operate even though the criteria by which contracts are awarded have changed. Seen in this light, strengthening institutions to control corruption is about shifting the emphasis back to the formal rules. This implies acknowledging that a strong legal framework to control corruption requires more than having the right legal rules in place. It means addressing the sources of informality, first by understanding why the informal rules are at odds with the formal rules and then by tackling the causes of divergence. In some countries the primary reason for divergence may be political, a manifestation of the way power is exercised and retained. Economic research. The body of research addressing the economic effects of corruption has grown significantly in recent years. The research is both macroeconomic and microeconomic, theoretical and empirical. Its conclusions depend in part on what the researcher views as the bottom line: short-term economic efficiency in private markets, long-term dynamic efficiency and economic growth, equity and fairness, or political legitimacy. One strand of literature explores, primarily from a theoretical perspective, the likely economic effects of different forms of corruption. Some writings of this group argue that corruption can be efficiency enhancing. First, the argument is made, corruption may not distort the short-run efficiency of an economy if it merely entails a transfer of economic rents from a private party to a government official. Thus a bribe to an official who is allocating, say, foreign exchange or credit in short supply can be seen as a market payment for ensuring that resources go to the party most likely to use them efficiently (the one who can pay the highest bribe). The problem with this line of reasoning is that it fails to take into account any objective other than short-term efficiency. In the long run, expectations of bribery may distort the number and types of contracts put up for bid, the method used to award contracts, and the speed or efficiency with which public officials do their work in the absence of bribes. It may also delay macroeconomic policy reform. In addition, the gains from such bribery may be inequitably distributed (accessible only to certain firms and public officials). Second, bribes can theoretically increase economic efficiency if they allow firms to avoid overly restrictive regulations or confiscatory tax rates. That is, bribes lower the costs of bad regulations to firms that bribe. There may be some validity to this argument, particularly in the short run. Yet such bribery defuses pressure for broader reform and invites firms to evade good regulations as well as bad. Furthermore, the costs of such a system may fall disproportionately on smaller firms. A policy framework based on many legal restrictions and widespread bribery to avoid them is like a highly regressive system of taxes on the private sector, and few would argue for such a system in developing countries. And in some transition economies such restrictions have proliferated in an uncontrolled way with the express purpose of extracting rents. This causes a shift of economic activity to the informal sector. To summarize, models purporting to show that corruption can have positive economic effects are usually looking only at static effects in the short run. In the long run, opportunities for bribery are likely to lead public officials to change the underlying rules of the game or their own behaviour in the absence of bribes, and the results are likely to be costly in terms of economic efficiency, political legitimacy, and basic fairness. Another strand of literature examines the links between investment, economic growth and the quality of government institutions. It finds that weak public institutions, as evidenced by unreliable contract enforcement, unclear property rights, unpredictable policies, inefficient public administration, corruption, and other indicators, significantly reduce private investment and lead to slower growth. While useful in highlighting the broad economic effects of institutional deficiency, much of the literature has been unable to separate the effect of corruption from other dimensions of government quality. Finally, there is the uneven performance of countries to contend with. While few would disagree that corruption has undermined development in Africa and has slowed the emergence of well-functioning market economies in the former Soviet Union, the coexistence of high growth and systemic corruption in some Asian countries challenges those who believe that corruption is always economically harmful. Several explanations have been suggested. First, perhaps predictability is what matters, and some governments reliably deliver what is “bought” with bribes while other governments do not. Second, others view highly concentrated corruption at the top of the political system (cited as more the model in some Asian settings) as less distortionary than uncontrolled corruption at lower levels (as in parts of the former Soviet Union). Third, if political systems are well established and the rules of the game are known to all, the transactions costs of rent seeking may be less costly than in less stable, less certain environments. Fourth, corruption may be imposing environmental and social costs that are not captured in national accounts data. We do not know these costs, and country experience differs widely even within Asia. Nobody, however, argues that corruption is good for development, and recent research suggests that corruption may be restraining growth even in Asia. What is clear is that the nature and dynamics of corruption vary greatly among countries, making it a diverse and complex phenomenon to address. Political Science. Political scientists look beyond the visible signs of corruption to the broader setting in which it occurs. They see corruption in relation to the legitimacy of the state, the patterns of political power, and the engagement of civil society. Corruption may be a manifestation of the way political power is contested and exercised. To the leadership the creation and allocation of state rents serves political purposes: rewarding supporters, buying off opponents, ensuring the backing of key groups, managing ethnic diversity, or simply accumulating resources to fight elections. To obtain these resources, leaders may forge alliances with business groups or create and distribute rents through the bureaucratic apparatus. The resulting policies may favour or discourage capital accumulation and economic growth, depending on the nature of the alliances struck. Politicians in such countries may be aware of the distortionary consequences of such rents but view them as a necessary tool of political management. If this is the case, the pattern of corruption will change only if the power structure changes, which may result from a popular outcry against corruption. Political scientists also take a historical perspective. Over time most industrial countries have developed merit-based bureaucratic values, institutionalized competitive politics, established transparent government processes, and fostered an active media and an informed civil society. These mechanisms constrain political and bureaucratic corruption, making it the exception rather than the norm. The transition may be spurred by an enlightened ruler or, more likely, by the growing power of new political groups with an interest in better-performing government. In developing countries, in contrast, government institutions are weaker, civil society is less engaged, and political and bureaucratic processes are less accountable and transparent. An effective state apparatus and capacity for law enforcement may be virtually non-existent. In such settings, sustained progress in building an honest and effective state apparatus requires addressing the mix of factors in the state and in society that give rise to both corruption and weak social and economic performance. This is an exceedingly complex and long-term effort. Public Management. The public management view of corruption is clear-cut. Systemic corruption, in the form of graft and patronage and the inefficiencies that accompanied it, spurred the nineteenth-century reforms in Europe and North America that created the modern bureaucratic state. Corruption opposes the bureaucratic values of equity, efficiency, transparency, and honesty. Thus it weakens the ethical fabric of the civil service and prevents the emergence of well-performing government capable of developing and implementing public policies that promote social welfare. The machinery of modern government, as it evolved in industrial countries and has been transferred to developing countries, includes systems that protect public organizations from corruption and promote accountability. These systems, including a meritocratic civil service and watchdogs such as supreme audit institutions, ombudsmen, and public service commissions, should not be neglected. Some OECD countries seeking to improve government performance through New Public Management reforms are developing “risk management” perspectives on corruption. But they do so within a framework of strong financial management control systems and a renewed emphasis on the ethical values of public service. While economies may still grow in countries in which corruption is entrenched in the public sector, the public management view is that successive stages of economic and social development will be harder if not impossible to achieve without well-performing government. Ultimately, countries need to create durable institutions to foster and protect integrity in public life if public policy is to achieve the objectives (such as poverty reduction and environmental protection) that are at the core of sustainable economic and social development. 1. Low Pay scales/ Wages: Most of the employees in government sector are paid low wages and salaries. Hence some employees revert to corruption for more financial benefits. 2. Low Job opportunities: This is another cause of corruption. Due to lack of job opportunities at will, there are many people who like to go for corruption mode to get the job offer. They will be ready to pay lump sum amounts for the job offer to the higher officials or politicians. 3. Lack of Strict and fast punishments: Even if someone is found guilty or even caught red-handed by the anti-corruption officials or media, the convicts get less punishment. First they will be suspended for few months or weeks and then re-posted to another location with same Job grade and pay. So this means the official who did the corrupt practice is given a free license to continue his practice. If the government is so strict that any such corrupt incidents will lead to permanent removal from job and also punishment like several years imprisonment then the corruption will come down to a large extent. 4. Lack of ill fame: If a person is found to be corrupt or has done some unacceptable misconduct, he or she has to be avoided and not be respected. But in India those with corruption and other offense related history are given prominent positions like the Member of Parliament or even higher posts. Instead of being disrespected they are respected. 5. Lack of Unity in public: Public openly criticize corruption but interestingly there is no unity among the public to stop corruption. If a person wants to get his done his work, he gets it done by corruption means if possible and then later criticizes the corrupt official. If the public stands united against corruption in such a way that no one is ready to offer bribes to get their work done then the corrupt officials will have no other option but to work in corruption free manner. During election, politicians try to lure the people by offering money and other things. If these politicians win and get power, they try to regain 10 to 100 times the amount spent for their elections. 6. Lack of transparency in affairs and deals: Many seat selection processes like in education, contracts for job, employee income reports (wealth possession), etc. lack transparency. For this purpose, there is a new act namely RTI : Right to Information, but the act is not strong enough to prevent malpractices. 7. Lack of Independent detective agency: India has no independent detective agency which can investigate with full power and freedom to expose the corrupt individuals. The existing agencies like Central Bureau of investigation are named by the highest court of Indian judicial system as a parrot which indicates how frees these investigating agencies to work. Hence anyone who commits offense will not be as afraid of the investigation as they can escape from it by taking help of ruling political party. 8. Option of many political parties: In India anyone can establish a political party. So there are many political parties in India. If the political party wins, then the members in it will desire to expand the party to all over the country. To do so, they need enough financial reserves. For this, once they come into power, they opt for corrupt means to make the wealth needed to expand the party. 9. Lack of enough powers to the judicial system and other independent organization: Like the election commission cannot ban a politician from contesting in case they make a mistake or do not comply with the rules during election campaign (like distributing money to people etc.). Similarly, the judicial system has low options to punish someone who is found to be 10. Lack of accountability: In government there is a big trend of corruption. This is because of lack of accountability. The employee’s on government offices do not perform to their par excellence. If they receive 100 files to be cleared in a week they may not even clear 50 of them in that week. They tend to post-pone the clearance of the files. So those who are in urgency of the clearance have to get them done by rewarding the officials involved in the clearance office. This lack of accountability in government offices is chief cause of corruption. If there is a mandate that all the files or at-least 95% of files received by government offices for clearance are cleared in the said period than corruption can be minimized to a large extent. 11. Encouragement of unhealthy competition: Competition in business is a good sign for quality of service to be delivered. But in India there is encouragement of unhealthy competition. When there is a tender, you can notice that only few companies bid for it. This is because the companies having political relations have higher chances of winning while others do not. So, companies with no political influence will not bid for the tender in-spite of being a good company. That is here the number of bidders for a tender will be low due to political interference. These causes of corruption have to be eliminated for better growth of the nation. 5 Places Where Corruption Exists Most: - 1. Lekhpal, a government official, whose job is to examine report and keep all records of lands. But recently, there have been a lot of cases in the court, which are based on land dispute. Why is it so? This is due to the flaws in the department of lekha vibhag. As far as this department is concerned, if the people pay attention towards professional accountability, land disputes can be considerably reduced or resolved faster. This would account for a fairly large control over corruption. 2. Another type of profession where corruption is rampant is the medical sector. How? There are many government hospitals and public health centres in villages and cities. There are some doctors, appointed for the treatment of the people. But in government hospitals, there is hardly ever proper treatment for the common man. Doctors have started opening their own private clinic to earn more money. The public hospitals lack adequate medicines and other required facilities. Doctors may not be found on the scheduled timings. The poor people, who only depend upon the government hospitals, are suffering since they can’t afford treatment from the private hospital. If the doctors would come in time, and in hospital there is sufficient medicines and proper treatment available, then most of the people would have been healthy. Thus doctors need to give their job professional accountability. 3. Third one is the revenue department. In this department, a fairly large number of the employees are corrupt. They take bribes and leave the person who didn’t even give tax off the hook. For e.g. income tax. If every person is honest towards his/her profession then a heavy loss of Indian government may be saved. 4. There is a lot of crime around us and criminals are doing their work without any fear. If police becomes serious then there will be control over corruption to the extent of nearly, say about 60-70%. They should perform their duty honestly. The day all the officers will be serious towards their profession, we may expect a corruption-free environment. 5. And last but not the least, is the Department of Judiciary. We know there are several lakh cases which are pending in the courts in India. The process of justice is very delayed in our country. Due to this, the numbers of cases are increasing day by day. If the proceedings are fast, people may see that if they do wrong or commit any crimes then they will have to face punishment. People thus will hesitate to take bribe. To recall and mention a famous quote here, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. BAN ENTRY OF CRIMINALS INTO POLITICS. THERE SHOULD BE NO CRIMINAL CANDIDATE IN ALL TYPE OF ELECTIONS. CORRUPT PERSONS MUST BE PUNISHED STRICTLY; ALL BLACK MONEY MUST BE SNATCHED FROM THEM, MOREOVER PENALTY SHOULD BE IMPOSED ON THEM. ALL LAWS IPC OR CRPC SHOULD BE REFRAMED OR REVIEWED ACCORDING TO CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES SO THAT A PERSON MAY GET JUSTICE HONESTLY IN TIME. The below are some ways which can help in removing the Corruption:- EDUCATION: With the help of education we can reduce corruption. According to a survey the least corrupt state is Kerala, because of Kerala has literacy rate is highest in India. It is due to unawareness in the field of law, public rights and procedures thereof that a common and an uneducated suffer out of the corrupt society. This suggests that if we are educated, we can understand our rights well. The first tool is ‘education’. With the help of education we can reduce corruption. According to a report by Transparency International, the least corrupt state is Kerala, the reason being that Kerala’s literacy rate is highest in India. So we can see how education effects education. In most of the states, normally a fairly large number of people are uneducated. Those who are uneducated do not know about the process, provisions and procedures through which they can get justice. Corrupt public servants try to make a fool of them and often demand bribes. It is due to unawareness in the field of law, public rights and procedures thereof that a common and an uneducated suffer out of the corrupt society. This suggests that if we are educated, we can understand our rights well. Individual Contribution: Main cause of corruption is lack of values, student's minds must be inculcated with values such as honesty, integrity, selflessness etc., we should be honest to ourselves. Until and unless we will not be honest, we can’t control corruption. If each of us is honest towards our profession, then corruption will automatically decrease. Ask for bills, even when you buy anything. Make it sure that the vendor also has a counter copy of the same. Whenever you convey any message to authority, make it via registered mail or e-mail; else record the call and make sure you ask the name of the concerned with his/her employee id. Feel free to file RTIs. This can make many things move in right direction. Make it to use in a legislative way Whenever you are fined, never give bribes; nor use political power. Ask the authority, in writing, to mention the lead time for a given task. If you forget it first time, file RTI for it. Eligibility of politician: One can only become politician of he/she should not have any criminal record. If the members of the governing body are government officials, there will certainly be fewer reports of the criminal cases. The provision is that, if there is any case filed against a person then he would not be eligible for election. Unfortunately a fairly large number of them are a part of it. If the members of the governing body are government officials, there will certainly be fewer reports of the criminal cases. The reverse may be possible only when there are no more criminal politicians in our government. The provision is that, if there is any case filed against a person then he would not be eligible for election. But if we see 100 politicians then about 60% of those would have a criminal case against them. If these ‘criminal’ politicians are in charge of forming and implementing laws, what type of law would be formed, one can only guess! Thus during election, we should keep in mind the person for whom we shall not vote. In India there is a provision that no person as a criminal shall be allowed as a Member of Parliament or member of legislative. Unfortunately a fairly large number of them are a part of it. Bring political parties under RTI: Currently, political parties are required to report only donations above ₹20,000 to Income Tax Department. Political parties are exempted from filing income tax returns and contributions to political parties are deductible from assesses total income. Thus, political parties keep no record of donations less than ₹20,000. Donations only in above of ₹20,000 are reported to the Election Commission. This is crucial because about 75% of donations to political parties fall into the below ₹20,000 category. Thus, there is no record of source of funds for almost 3/4th of the funds received. RTI will affect the smooth functioning of political parties. Political rivals will start using RTI tool with malicious intent. Existing I-T provisions enough to ensure financial transparency. Increase in digital and e-governance: Using CCTV in the govt offices and exposing those videos in the media. Also several case studies of e-government applications from developing countries report some impact on reducing corruption. Many governments have chosen to go on-line in departments such as customs, income tax, sales tax, and property tax which have a large interface with citizens or businesses and are perceived to be more corrupt. Corruption treatment: That means, instruments which are in use, are not running properly. For example Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 came into force on 9th September, 1988. But corruption is still flourishing. Why? Because of weak actions and proceedings towards corrupt people. People don’t have any fear of this act and the court. The act may thus be revised for its better implementation. Lack of effective corruption treatment is another reason. That means, instruments which are in use, are not running properly. Despite the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, corruption is still flourishing. Why? Because of weak actions and proceedings towards corrupt people. People don’t have any fear of this act and the court. The act may thus be revised for its better implementation. Transparent tax structure by clean and clear enforcement: Our direct taxes are no longer unreasonable, so there's little excuse for trying to evade them. But there is an unhealthy trend in piling on surcharges on various pretexts. Also, there are tons of other taxes that can add up to quite a bit. Finally, there's the larger question of how efficiently and honestly taxpayers' money is put to use — when you see the state of government hospitals and schools, and rotten roads, you wonder where the money you paid as tax has gone. Salary increase: This would minimize the 'need' for bribes. Their salaries could be bench-marked against corporate sector salaries. But higher salaries should be combined with exemplary punishment, including dismissal from service and a police case if an employee is caught indulging in corrupt practices. Mere transfer or suspension won't do. Police reforms and stronger judicial: This has been discussed for decades but there's been no action. The recommendations for reforms are already there. Set a time frame for implementation. This will make the police not just a professional force that's not at the beck and call of politicians, but also a trained one with in-built checks against developing vested interests. Today the situation often is that the investigator (police officer) is answerable to the person being investigated (politician). Also, separate the police into two wings: one for investigation and the other for maintaining law and order. The two functions are different and require different skill sets. Blacklist corrupt businessmen: Private businesses caught indulging in corrupt practices or bribing officials should be blacklisted for, say, 10 years and be barred from government projects. In the category of corrupt practices would fall use of shoddy material -- like road contractors who give one inch of tar when they are supposed to give four inches and the road crumbles after one monsoon. Bigger instances of private businesses cutting corners in public projects by colluding with corrupt officials should attract exemplary punishment. Give equal representation to all castes/communities in all political positions and government jobs by reserving seats equally among all communities. Once there is reservation for every community and that's fixed, no community can cry hoarse playing a victim card and hence voting on caste lines. Accountability can be set in all the government jobs with hire and fire policy. i.e., if a government servant is not doing his job well he can be fired. People will agree upon the firing of incompetent and corrupt officials if they know the seat is reserved for their caste/community, and another person of the same community will be placed into that position vacated. Hence there will be no cry for caste/community based harassment of when firing a corrupt govt official. Things will improve gradually. Feedback Collection: - There would be mandatory anonymous feedback collection for every task done by every govt official. Personnel who consistently get poor ratings below a threshold must be fired periodically. This will induce fear among the govt officials and corruption will reduce to a great extent. Direct Contact with Government: - We can reduce corruption by increasing direct contact between government and the governed. E-governance could help a lot towards this direction. In a conference on, “Effects of Good Governance and Human Rights “organised by National Human Right Commission, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam gave an example of the Delhi metro rail system and online railway reservation as good governance and said that all the lower courts should follow the example of the Supreme Court and High Court and make judgements available online. Similarly, Sivraj Patil said that the Right to information should be used for transparency. We have legal rights to know a lot of information. According to this act, (Right to Information act 2005), generally people should follow the procedure of law given to then when their work is not being implemented in a proper way in public services. This act is a great help in the order to control corruption. Being Honest: - Lack of transparency and professional accountability is yet another big reason. We should be honest to ourselves. Until and unless we will not be honest, we can’t control corruption. If each of us is honest towards our profession, then corruption will automatically decrease. We need to pay attention towards professional accountability i.e., how much we are faithful and truthful towards our profession. Corruption may be controlled by handling five major professions: lekhpal, medical, revenue, police and judicial. Investment in Security Infrastructure: - Camera in most govt offices is a must. In every ATM there are cameras to keep a watch on the public taking their money. Then why not government offices have cameras to have a watch on the employ performance. Even there are many employees who openly take bribe in presence of common men. This public bribery is due to confidence that public wants their work more than the amount they are paying to them as bribes. Speed up the work process in govt institutes: Most corporate offices are in full-fledged running by 8-9 am. But the government offices start by 10 to 11 am and wind up by 3.30 to 4 pm with a lunch break of one & half hour in between. This indicates how much of commitment lies in the work and how fast the work goes on. If there are mistakes in the work or delay in the work, civilians have to run behind those workers to rectify or complete the work. In doing so they pay bribes to get the work done. This makes the chances of corruption more or else work is not done. So there should be accountability of daily work done in government works and targets to complete the work on time basis. Or else instead of being public servants, they tend to act as public bosses. Make Media responsible and fix laws to be so: There are many major scams and corruption events involving media. Though the media is well aware of the corruption happening they stay silent due to their support for some political parties or else their owners get some monetary benefits from the rulers. Even there are many reporters who though come across some scam or corruption; they stay silent without revealing it for press for having received monetary benefits to do so. If media personnel are found to be guilty for not having exposed the scam or corruption intentionally, they have to be prosecuted and their license be withdrawn. Verify the selection procedures: Many people compete for government jobs and in the process there are corruption happening in the selection of candidates for the posts. So let the selection criteria and procedure used be transparent and any misconduct from this should be punishable. Also while allotment of natural resources for business companies; the selection of bids should be transparent. There should be online details with regards to the benefit to the government, the purchase price and even benefit to the company out of the deals. This will limit the corruption related to quid pro quo. Keep inflation low: This is another factor for keeping corruption high and also persistent. Due to rise in prices, any amount of income seems to be insufficient. This inflation is a corruption involving politicians and businessmen. Businessmen try to raise the prices to sell their inventory or stock of goods at higher price. For this the politicians support them and are paid monetary or other benefits. This is a cheap business tactic but even the so called richest business magnets play this corruption game. Speed up the judgment and increase the courts: Many cases of corruption take years to be given verdict. This delay in cases creates lack of fear for being corrupt and also huge time span for court trials gives sufficient time to make alterations in the witness. Establishing fast track courts and giving severe punishment for corruption practice will keep a control on corruption. Besides these there should be collective efforts from the public to prevent corruption. When people realize the benefits of enhancing & exercising their spiritual qualities in daily life and also when they are aware of the serious bad consequences of corruption; then, instead of practicing this selfish & evil social habit called corruption; they will become more loving, sincere, kind, empathic, dutiful and rightful people away from corruption. Corruption free election for all public representatives like Members of Parliament [MPs], Members of Legislative Assemblies [MLAs], Members of Municipal Corporations [MMCs], Village Board Members [VBMs], Students Unions [SUs] etc. will be a good move to counter corruption. Top-Down approach i.e. leaders at the top like president, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers, Chief Ministers, Other Ministers, Governors, Secretaries, Department Heads, Institute Heads, NGOs etc. should be the examples of integrity and clean governance, administration & management by their own actions. Social encouragement & high respect for the people who practice the spiritual qualities like honesty, dutifulness, sincerity, impartiality, hard work, dignity of labor etc. should be the regular norm of the people in society. Economic Policy reforms should be a main pillar of an anticorruption strategy in many countries. Deregulation and the expansion of markets are powerful tools for controlling corruption. Deregulation and the expansion of markets: Markets generally discipline participants more effectively than the public sector can, and their power to do so is closely linked to sound economic policy. Enlarging the scope and improving the functioning of markets strengthens competitive forces in the economy and curtails rents, thereby eliminating the bribes public officials may be offered (or may extort) to secure them. There is a strong correlation between policy distortions and corruption. Some policy reforms can have quick results, particularly some macroeconomic reforms and deregulation, which do not make heavy demands on institutional capacity. The incentives of economic actors can be changed overnight by the removal of controls and the introduction of market-determined allocation systems in areas like foreign exchange and bank credit. The state’s role in supporting rather than supplanting markets is now widely accepted around the world. Macroeconomic and sector policy reforms that contribute to the expansion of markets and the reduction of rents include: • Lowering tariffs and other barriers to international trade. • Moving from dual to single exchange rates, with market-determined rates. • Introducing competitive credit markets. • Eliminating price controls. • Cutting subsidies to enterprises. • Reducing regulations, licensing requirements, and other barriers to entry for new firms, both domestic and foreign. • Privatizing government assets in clearly competitive markets. • Abolishing monopoly export marketing boards. Policy reform has helped reduce opportunities for corruption in many countries. In cases where countries have carried out economic reform programs and corruption persists, part of the answer lies in an unfinished reform agenda. In many countries the benefits of macroeconomic reforms have been blunted by the absence of complementary microeconomic reforms at the sector level. Policy advice when government continues to play a role: In some areas, advice on policy reform may need to pay more attention to anticorruption goals. Typically, these are areas in which the government must continue to be involved because of market failure but in which public policy can work only if sufficient institutional capacity exists. Without institutional capacity well-intended policies can lead to poor outcomes and even greater corruption. Several examples illustrate the links between design and institutional capacity: infrastructure privatization, environmental regulation, tax reform, and public expenditure reduction. In each of these areas the issue is not that the policies are necessarily misguided but that institutional capacity is crucial to a successful outcome and that policies must be designed in the light of a realistic assessment of this capacity. Infrastructure Privatization: In the long run privatization should decrease corruption, because it reduces the power and discretion of public managers and bureaucrats and increases competition and transparency. In the short run, however, the complex negotiations required for privatization—usually in a situation of shifting policies and regulations—create temptation and opportunity. Weak institutions are unlikely to resist temptation. If corruption becomes evident, a negative image of privatization builds in the public’s eye—even though the transactions themselves still make good economic and financial sense. The dangers are particularly acute in infrastructure privatization, in which, in most cases, the stakes are large, the negotiations before the sale are elaborate, and continued government oversight is justified. When a firm is divested into a competitive market, the opportunities for corruption more or less end. In the case of a natural monopoly, corruption can continue indefinitely in the regulatory system. Governments embarking on privatization of state enterprises need to reinforce institutional capacity so that clear rules can be impartially applied, both before and after sale. In the case of infrastructure, privatization should not be undertaken without also establishing a minimum regulatory capacity. It has proven costly to privatize first and try to install a regulatory regime later. Corruption is not an argument for not proceeding but for better design and implementation of privatization programs. Environmental Regulations: The environment is a sector in which governments have tended not to be involved enough in the past and are now seeking greater involvement through regulation. But tighter regulation without strong institutions is likely to lead to more corruption, because it creates rents and gives the government more coercive powers. A careful balance between policy and institutional capability is crucial but is easily overlooked. Some countries are testing new and innovative ways to use market mechanisms for environmental control. These include, for example, auctions of tradable permits to pollute and negotiated contracts with industry groups on acceptable pollution levels in a particular watershed basin. In each case the level of acceptable pollution is set by the government but how that level is reached is ultimately decided by the market or the private sector. Tax Reform: In most cases tax reforms that eliminate multiple rates and exemptions and limit the discretionary powers of tax official’s help reduce corruption and enhance economic efficiency. However, tax rates that exceed what taxpayers view as legitimate or what tax offices can administer encourage the informalization of the economy and induce tax evasion and the corruption of tax officials. High tax rates coupled with weak collection arrangements simply inflate the gains from corruption without increasing the risk of detection. Where this is the case, efforts should be made to design tax structures and rates that better match institutional capacity and to strengthen that capacity over time (and adjust policy accordingly). Public expenditure reduction: Corruption may also increase when governments are under pressure to reduce the public wage bill’s share in the budget but find it politically difficult to do so. In such circumstances a mandated reduction in the wage bill translates into yet lower real pay for government employees. Pay cuts can have devastating effects on government performance, through the loss of skilled professionals, demotivation of those who remain, and lowered resistance to corruption. When the erosion of pay makes it impossible for staff to maintain basic living standards, the government can quickly lose its capacity to control fraud, and even the honest can be driven to absenteeism and moonlighting activities that may conflict with their roles as public servants. On the surface the formal processes of government may be maintained, while underneath an alternative set of informal rules operates to the detriment of public welfare. Large public sector wage bills are fiscally unsustainable and must be addressed. But this should happen within an integrated framework of public sector and governance reform. Strengthen Institutions: Building strong institutions is a central challenge of development and is key to controlling corruption. Well-functioning public management systems, accountable organisations, a strong legal framework, an independent judiciary, and a vigilant civil society protect a country against corruption. Institutional strengthening is thus expected to form a key part of country anticorruption strategies. In strengthening institutions to control corruption, countries have moved forward in three areas: • Building traditional systems of well-performing government: a professional civil service, sound financial management, disciplined policymaking, and a balance of responsibilities among central, state, and local governments. • Strengthening the legal framework, including the judicial system. • Increasing transparency and introducing other measures that strengthen the role of civil society in demanding better government. Civil Service Reform: One of a country’s most important institutions is a professional and well-motivated civil service, with selection and promotion based on merit rather than patronage. A well-performing civil service resists petty corruption and provides the staff for many of the institutions that protect integrity in government: finance and personnel ministries, government tender boards, technical departments that evaluate bids, bodies that implement regulatory policy, accounting units, and internal and external audit departments. Budget Reform: Government should undertake only what it can do well within its resource constraints. In many countries matching policy and affordability means changing assumptions about the role and optimal size of government. Financial Management: Good financial management systems are powerful instruments for preventing, discovering, or facilitating the punishment of fraud and corruption. They allocate clear responsibility for managing resources, reveal improper action and unauthorized expenditures facilitate audit by creating audit “trails,” and protect honest staff. By reducing opportunities for corruption and increasing the risks of detection, good financial management systems help change corrupt conduct from “high profit/low risk” to “high risk/low profit.”. Inoperative control systems permit wide scale fraud, and in many cases auditing is impossible. Tax and Revenue Departments: Tax and customs departments are often the locus of major fraud and corruption and thus are candidates for inclusion in national strategies to control corruption. Such malfeasance can often be meaningfully addressed—assuming strong commitment from the top—by giving revenue agencies greater managerial freedom (relative to normal civil service rules) to hire and fire staff and to set pay levels while subjecting their performance to close scrutiny. By controlling theft, good financial management systems change the economics of bribery, and businesses no longer have an incentive to collude with a corrupt official to avoid taxes. Rather, their incentive is to report extortion. Organizational restructuring (for example, separating the tax assessment function from the collection function) and staff rotation can also help reduce opportunities for corruption, as can control systems that require supervisors to attest that they have checked the work of subordinates. Tax policy may also affect anticorruption goals. Simplifying tax and tariff schedules and keeping rates at moderate levels reduces the discretion of tax and customs staff and narrows the scope for corrupt payments. Sound macroeconomic policy also plays a role by reducing the risks of distorted valuations. How governments spend the revenues they collect also matters. If taxpayers do not see their taxes put to good use, evasion and corruption may become socially acceptable. Government Procurement: Government procurement and contract management systems in both rich and poor countries are highly vulnerable to fraud and corruption. These risks are exacerbated when budgets come under pressure. Payments are delayed and incentives to bribe increase. Institutional capacity weakens if civil service pay and conditions are inadequate and the processes that ensure transparency and good record keeping are eroded. An increased effort is needed to help interested borrowers build capacity to procure goods and services and manage contracts. A Country procurement assessment reviews be developed into a more effective vehicle for improving public procurement. The Govt should work to integrate the development of sound public procurement into country strategies for public sector reform and continue to search for new techniques and approaches that help minimize opportunities for corruption and improve value for money. Decentralization: Decentralization involves the shifting of power to lower tiers of government or the granting of greater authority to line managers. Its effect on performance and corruption depends on the setting. Decentralization can help reduce corruption if it improves government’s ability to handle tasks while increasing transparency and accountability to local beneficiaries. But decentralization can also increase corruption if local and regional governments have stronger incentives (because of lower formal pay levels, for example) or more opportunities to carry out fraudulent activities and are less constrained by financial management and auditing systems (which are often in even shorter supply in regions than in the center). In many countries, industrial and developing, more corruption is thought to exist in state and, in particular, local governments than in the national government. This is not an argument against decentralization, which for many other reasons may still have a positive economic impact. Rather, decentralization initiatives must take into account the relative accountability and capacity of national and subnational levels of government when considering the structure of power sharing and must work to develop the capacity of decentralized entities alongside the devolution of functions. Legal and Judicial Reform: A country’s legal system—its laws and regulations as well as the processes and institutions through which they are applied—is vital for addressing corruption, just as it is for resolving civil conflicts, enforcing property rights, and defining the limits of state power. Laws and regulations that delineate market-friendly policies are powerful anticorruption tools. Judicial Reform. Enforcement of anticorruption legislation requires an efficient, predictable, and accountable judiciary. There should be proper criteria for the selection and removal of judges, pay scales, training, and judicial ethics, improved court administration and cash flow management; procedural reform, including reducing ex parte communication between judge and litigants; better access to justice (through small claims courts, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and legal aid); and legal education and bar entrance requirements. Steps also need to be taken in many countries to counter corruption by court staff who, as gatekeepers to the adjudication system, may extract bribes. Special Anticorruption Bodies: There is now extensive experience worldwide with independent bodies, typically set up by statute, to increase integrity in public life. These include ombudsman offices, inspectors general, and independent corruption commissions. Experience in developing countries with ombudsman offices, which pursue allegations of abuse of official power, is mixed. In Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions the prevailing model has been an “executive” ombudsman, reporting to the head of the government rather than to the legislature and thus lacking the independent status a true ombudsman should have. Inspectors general can be powerful agents for controlling fraud and corruption within departments and agencies, depending on how they are established and operate, but they can also work at cross purposes to accountability and performance. Corruption commissions and special fraud units have been highly successful in Chile, the former territory of Hong Kong, and New South Wales (Australia). In a number of developing countries, however, they have been used as instruments of partisan politics, undermining their effectiveness and public support. In the wrong hands powerful anticorruption legislation can be abused. In some Latin American countries independent attorneys general have proven effective in bringing charges against those at the highest level of government (Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela). Had they been part of the executive branch, they would not have had the independence necessary to act decisively against high-level corruption. Anticorruption bodies appear to be a promising option if they can be made truly independent of the executive and if there is a strong and independent judiciary. However, we need to better understand the experiences of these bodies—where they have been effective and where they have failed—before recommending them to governments. Civil society and the media: Civil society and the media are crucial to creating and maintaining an atmosphere in public life that discourages fraud and corruption. Indeed, they are arguably the two most important factors in eliminating systemic corruption in public institutions. Corruption is controlled only when citizens no longer tolerate it. Private organizations, professional organizations, religious leaders, and civil groups all have a stake in the outcome of anticorruption initiatives and an interest in the process. They also may play an important role as watchdogs of public sector integrity, and there is scope for expanding this role and sharing the experiences among countries. National Coalitions: In countries where the government has sought The World Bank assistance in developing an anticorruption strategy, policymakers may be interested in taking a nonpartisan approach. EDI’s integrity workshops can facilitate this process by providing a forum for the discussion of international experiences and local alternatives. This is a new and promising activity for The World Bank, but it requires careful preparation and sensitive handling. This type of activity should be carried out only in response to a request from the national authorities, and in partnership with them. Open and Transparent Government: Corruption thrives in the dark. We should support efforts to encourage open and transparent government. Publication of government budgets and their availability in easy-to-read summary form, frequent reports to the legislature on budget implementation that enable comparisons to be made between budgeted and actual revenues and expenditures, and timely preparation of public accounts and audit reports and their scrutiny by the legislature and the media are some of the foundations of open and accountable government. Government departments and agencies should be encouraged to produce annual reports on their activities, achievements, and financial results, and national governments should report these in consolidated form. To the extent that performance information can be included, agency accountability should improve. In some countries “sunshine” laws (which require agencies to hold public hearings before making policy or program decisions) and freedom of information laws (which require governments to make information surrounding decisions available unless there are supervening public policy reasons for secrecy) may be appropriate. Court decisions should be published. And the regular publication of consultative documents when new policy is contemplated is good practice everywhere. The Government of India, The President of India, and The Prime Minister of India should take effective measures to STOP all forms of Corruption from India. Both the Central & State Government of India and every individual of our nation should contribute so as to bring the much needed change in our country for the overall Growth and Prosperity of the nation. Besides these there should be collective efforts from the public to prevent corruption. Hope all the Officials of Government of India (Central and State) and every individual of our nation can and will definitely bring the much needed positive change in India. An Awareness mail from a Well Wisher of our Nation who wants to bring a change for the betterment and growth of our great nation INDIA. From Mr. Asha Kanta Sharma ashakantasharma@yahoo.com ashakantasharma@gmail.com ashakantasharma@zoho.com #ashakantasharma #bestoftheday #bullshit #change #charges #corruptgovernment #corruption #dark #fight #freedom #good #government #governmentcorruption #govt #humanity #india #justice #lies #money #nationalembarrassment #people #politics #president #punishment #repost #shame #state #stop #system #time #true #truth #wakeup #world #economy #nation #country References:- http://www.corruptie.org/en/corruption/what-is-corruption/ http://www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/anticorrupt/corruptn/cor02.htm#note1 https://www.transparency.org/ https://www.worldbank.org/ http://www.mindcontroversy.com/impact-effects-corruption-public-life-india/ http://www.corruptionwatch.org.za/learn-about-corruption/what-is-corruption/we-are-all-affected/ http://blogs.worldbank.org/futuredevelopment/nine-reasons-why-corruption-destroyer-human-prosperity http://e-pao.net/epSubPageExtractor.asp?src=leisure.Essays.Why_Corruption_is_Bad_for_Everybody https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2010/08/5-ways-to-reduce-corruption-and-5-places-where-it-exists/
  7. Arrears and Backlog: Creating Additional Judicial (wo)manpower GOVERNMENT OF INDIA LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA Report No. 245 July, 2014 The 20th Law Commission was constituted for a period of three years from 1st September, 2012 by Order No. A-45012/1/2012-Admn.III (LA) dated the 8th October, 2012 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, New Delhi. The Law Commission consists of a full time Chairman, four full-time Members (including Member-Secretary), two Ex-officio Members and five part-time Members. Chairman Hon’ble Justice A.P. Shah Full-time Members Justice (Mr.) S.N. Kapoor Prof. (Dr.) Mool Chand Sharma Justice (Ms.) Usha Mehra Mr. N.L. Meena, Member-Secretary Ex-officio Member Mr. P.K. Malhotra, Secretary (Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Department) Part-time Members Prof. (Dr.) G. Mohan Gopal Mr. R. Venkataramani Prof. (Dr.) Yogesh Tyagi Dr. Bijai Narain Mani Prof.(Dr.) Gurjeet Singh The Law Commission is located in 14th Floor, Hindustan Times House, K.G. Marg, New Delhi-110 001 Member Secretary Mr. N.L. Meena Research Staff Dr. (Smt.) Pawan Sharma : Joint Secretary & Law Officer Shri A.K. Upadhyay : Additional Law Officer Shri S.C. Mishra : Deputy Law Officer Dr. V.K. Singh : Deputy Legal Adviser The text of this Report is available on the Internet at : http://www.lawcommissionofindia.nic.in © Government of India Law Commission of India Acknowledgements 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. INTRODUCTION 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. Illustration: 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.
  8. ashakantasharma

    Evolution of Right to Information in India.

    Evolution of Right to Information in India. In Ancient India, traditionally man is inquisitive and from the time immemorial he has been busy in his mission of knowing and discovering the truth in whatever field his aptitude and imagination ventured. In this context there is ample evidence in this context in our great Vedic erudition where it is written- ― Life is a perennial search for the truth. The restless swan (soul) is on journey infinite to find the truth. The Indian history starts right from the post glacial epoch i.e. from about 8000 BC, ―The Rig Veda is considered to be the first recorded utterance of mankind.‖ Indians from the time immemorial, worshipped knowledge in the form of Saraswati‘, the Goddess of knowledge, Let noble thoughts come to us from every side‘ is the eternal message of the Rig Veda given several millennia ago signifying the freedom to inform and be informed. The Upanishads also expound a fearless quest of free and frank exchange of views. The Rig Veda states: 'ekam sat viprah bahudaa vadanti' meaning truth or god is one but learnt men describe it in many ways. Hinduism is based primarily on the Vedas. 'Veda' literally means knowledge or wisdom. It is also called 'Shruti' which means 'what is heard or revealed'. All other scriptures go under the omnibus term of 'Smriti' ('what is remembered'). Shruti being divinely revealed to the great Rishis of yore in the depths of their mystical experience, its authority is supreme. Smritis are the secondary scriptures which derive their authority from the Shruti. Their business is to explain, elaborate and illustrate the fundamental teachings of the Shruti. Hindu scriptures state, ―Sathya meva Jayathe‖ meaning ―Truth alone triumps never falsehood.‖ So Hindu scriptures allow free flow of thoughts and actions. Hindu authors knew that by allowing absolute freedom of expression of thoughts and actions, everyone will finally end up attaining truth. They preached, "Ignorance is the root cause of all evils and knowledge eradicates ignorance. Since the beginning of human civilisation, the need to communicate with each other has brought the homosapines into cohesive groups. Communication is not only an exchange of news and information, it lies in sharing facts, ideas, thoughts and message and other social activities. The desire to communicate has resulted in the birth of language the basic mode of communication. During the middle ages in Europe the concept of the divine right of kings developed. This right held that because kings were answerable only to God, they were exempt from criticism from the public. Freedom of information generally means access to information about any governmental entity involved in the operation of government. This includes access to reports, budgets, correspondence, and other documents related to the operational aspects of a governmental body, whether it is legislative or executive. In the early twenty-first century the concepts of freedom of information and access to information are closely aligned with democracy. Throughout history democracy and freedom of information have been limited. Public discourse and exchange of information and ideas about government were common in the development of Greek democracies beginning in the fifth century (BC). Greek citizens were welcome to attend open forums, debate issues, make proposals, and hear about matters of public debate. Around the same time the Roman Senate was a public body. Originally it was composed of the 100 leading citizens of Rome who advised the executive authority. Neither the Greeks nor the Romans practiced democracy in the modern sense, and neither society recognized equality among its citizens. Nonetheless, each saw the need for public participation in government and, in order for that government to prove effective, for citizens to be aware of the issues of the day and understand the workings of government, with kings enjoying such an exalted position and insulation, public participation in government was limited. Because kings did not answer to the public, there was little necessity for them to communicate information to the public or respond to public requests. Laws prohibiting criticism of the government or government officials, known as insult laws, still exist in many countries around the world. Although these laws are not always enforced, their existence, which limits speech and information, is considered a major hindrance to freedom of expression and freedom of information. Ideas related to freedom of information are freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Shortly after Johannes Gutenberg invented printing in the mid-fifteenth century, the Catholic Church imposed censorship on any books not approved by the Church. In England, beginning with 1530, censorship and the repression of ideas and information were common. English poet John Milton in his famous essay argued passionately for freedom of ideas and information and against the licensing and printing monopoly common in England at that time. In some of the most famous lines in Western literature Milton wrote: "And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter. The concept of the marketplace of ideas was thus born, one in which people would have access to all information and individuals would be free to publish their own ideas and opinions without fear of retribution. The fundamental belief behind the marketplace of ideas is that the people, not government, the church, or any other group, should decide what is the truth. The founders of the U.S. Constitution were inspired by the marketplace of ideas in the eighteenth century and sought to include it in the formation of a representative democracy and guarantee the free flow of information. James Madison (1751–1836) was the primary author of the Bill of Rights, in an frequently quoted letter to W. T. Barry (1785–1835) written in 1822, Madison said: "A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives" Although general openness and access to information were traditions early on in the United States, laws in the twentieth century made the process more formal and outlined specific procedures for securing information. The Federal Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1966 and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908– 1973). During that time period many individual states enacted open records and open meetings acts, part of a so-called sunshine law movement. "Government in the sunshine" became an expression of openness and accessibility to government just as the United States was making major reforms in civil rights and improving opportunities for women. The access to information law in Sweden is the oldest in the world, dating from 1766. Freedom of the press and freedom of information received a major push from various international organizations during the mid-twentieth century. Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." As of 2004 more than fifty countries around the world had laws specifying access to information.That number continues to increase, as there is an active movement to enact such laws. Among those countries enacting access laws in the early twenty-first century is India, the world's second most populous country. Access to information laws are common in Europe, and about half the countries in Latin America have some type of law regarding citizens' right to information. Mexican President Vicente Fox (b. 1942) signed such a bill into law in 2002. In the first year of its existence the law in Mexico was used by thousands of citizens and journalists seeking specific types of information from the government. Sweden was the first country to grant to its people the right of access to government information. In Sweden, all governmental information is public unless certain matters are specifically listed as exemptions from the general rule. This right is made formal by a provision for a system of appeal against the wrongful withholding of information by public officials. What is more, this law dates back to the year 1766. Sweden has thus been practising openness in its public administration for an uninterrupted period of 215 years, apparently without any harm occurring to it or loss suffered by it. This only proves that legitimate national interests can as well be safeguarded under conditions of administrative openness. Swedish legal culture treats access to government departments and documents as a right and non-access as an exception. In this context, Donald C. Rowat writes as under:- "To my amazement, all incoming and outgoing documents and mail were laid out in a special press room in each department for an hour every morning for reporters to examine. If any reporter wanted further information on a case, he simply walked down the hall to look at the departmental files. No special permission was needed. Such a system of open access is so alien to the tradition of secrecy elsewhere as to be almost unbelievable. Sweden's long experience with the principle of openness indicates that it changes the whole spirit in which public business is conducted. It causes a decline in public suspicion and in distrust of the officials, and this in turn gives them a great feeling of confidence. More important, it provides a much more solid foundation for public debate, and gives citizens in a democracy a much firmer control over their government.
  9. Historical Perspective of Right to Information in India India was a colony for long. Before that it had a feudal culture and hierarchical social structure. The Maharajas and the Mughals, the Viceroys and the British Empire defended themselves behind ramparts of secrecy. The entire freedom struggle was a battle against colonialism and for independence or self-government. Thus people became the focus and popular information was used by them as a weapon to achieve responsible and responsive government. In this perspective, the conflict between freedom of information and official secrecy, democratic culture and imperial heritage was formally resolved in favour of the latter. After the birth of Republic and enactment of the Constitution, freedom of expression became a guaranteed fundamental right. That was the watershed of jurisprudence of human rights. However, decade after decade we find free India still suffocated by official secrecy laws. There have been protests and dissents and resistance by the mass media. The human history is a struggle for rights and moves zigzag varying from country to country, culture to culture and age to age. Although the Indian legal system is largely a colonial vintage, yet our swaraj vintage is also pro-secrecy. Reference may be made to the Constitution of India, the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952 and the Atomic Energy Act, 1962. A project on freedom of information as a locomotive of human progress has to be seriously considered as a high priority on the agenda of India. The fact that the right to information is included in the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression has been recognised by Supreme Court decisions challenging governmental control over newsprint and bans on the distribution of newspapers. Liberty of thought is the basis of freedom speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a), which is an essential component of a democratic governance. As the information will be at the genesis of thought and expression, the right to information has to be an invisible integral part of the right of free speech. As the information is of vital not only for life of society but also for the life of individual, the Article 21 guaranteeing Right to live includes the basic right to be informed. In the Constitution of our democratic Republic, among the fundamental freedoms, freedom of speech and expression shines radiantly in the firmament of Part III. We must take legitimate pride that this cherished freedom has grown from strength to strength in the post independent era. It has been constantly nourished and shaped to new dimensions in tune with the contemporary needs by the constitutional Courts. Barring a few aberrations, the Executive Government and the Political Parties too have not lagged behind in safeguarding this valuable right, which is the insignia of democratic culture of a nation. Nurtured by this right, Press and electronic media have emerged as powerful instruments to mould the public opinion and to educate, entertain and enlighten the public. Freedom of speech and expression, just as equality clause and the guarantee of life and liberty has been very broadly construed by this Court right from 1950s. It has been variously described as a 'basic human right', 'a natural right' and the like. It embraces within its scope the freedom of propagation and inter-change of ideas, dissemination of information, which would help formation of one's opinion and viewpoint and debates on matters of public concern. The importance which our Constitution-makers wanted to attach to this freedom is evident from the fact that reasonable restrictions on that right could be placed by law only on the limited grounds specified in Article 19(2), not to speak of inherent limitations of the right. In due course of time, several species of rights enumerated in Article 19(1)(a) have branched off from the genus of the Article through the process of Interpretation by this apex Court, one such right is the 'right to information' Perhaps, the first decision which has adverted to this right is State of U.P. v. Raj Narain. 'The right to know,' it was observed is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute is a factor which should make one wary, when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can, at any rate, have no repercussion on public security". It was said very aptly— "In a Government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries." The next milestone which showed the way for concretizing this right is the decision in S.P. Gupta v. Union of India in which this Court dealt with the issue of High Court Judges' transfer. In this case it was held that "The concept of an open government is the direct emanation from the right to know which seems to be implicit in the right of free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a). Therefore, disclosure of information in regard to the functioning of the Government must be the rule and secrecy an exception..." Peoples' right to know about governmental affairs was emphasized in the following words: "No democratic Government can survive without accountability and the basic postulate of accountability is that the people should have information about the functioning of the Government. It is only when people known how Government is functioning that they can fulfill the role which democracy assigns to them and make democracy a really effective participatory democracy." These two decisions have recognized that the right of the citizens to obtain information on matters relating to public acts flows from the fundamental right enshrined in Article 19(1)(a)166. The pertinent observations made by the learned Judges in these two cases were in the context of the question whether the privilege under Section 123 of the Evidence Act could be claimed by the State in respect of the Blue Book in the first case i.e., Raj Narain's case and the file throwing light on the consultation process with the Chief Justice, in the second case. Though the scope and ambit of Article 19(1)(a) vis-a-vis the right to information did not directly arise for consideration in those two landmark decisions, the observations quoted supra have certain amount of relevance in evaluating the nature and character of the right. Then, we have the decision in Dinesh Trivedi v. Union of India. This Court was confronted with the issue whether background papers and investigatory reports which were referred to in Vohra Committee's Report could be compelled to be made public. The following observations of AHMADI, C.J. are quite pertinent:— "In modern Constitutional democracies, it is axiomatic that citizens have a right to know about the affairs of the Government which, having been elected by them, seeks to formulate sound policies of governance aimed at their welfare. However, like all other rights, even this right has recognized limitations; it is, by no means, absolute." The next decision which deserves reference is the case of Secretary, Ministry of I & B v. Cricket Association of Bengal. Has an organizer or producer of any event a right to get the event telecast through an agency of his choice whether national or foreign? That was the primary question decided in that case. It was highlighted that the right to impart and receive information is a part of the fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. "The right to impart and receive information is a species of the right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. A citizen has a fundamental right to use the best means of imparting and receiving information and as such to have an access to telecasting for the purpose. However, this right to have an access to telecasting has limitations on account of the use of the public property..... Jeevan Reddy, J. spoke more or less in the same voice: "The right of free speech and expression includes the right to receive and impart information. For ensuring the free speech right of the citizens of this country, it is necessary that the citizens have the benefit of plurality of views and a range of opinions on all public issues. A successful democracy posits an 'aware' citizenry. Diversity of opinions, views, ideas and ideologies is essential to enable the citizens to arrive at informed judgment on all issues touching them." A conspectus of these cases would reveal that the right to receive and impart information was considered in the context of privilege pleaded by the State in relation to confidential documents relating to public affairs and the freedom of electronic media in broadcasting/telecasting certain events. Right to information in the context of the voter's right to know the details of contesting candidates and the right of the media and others to enlighten the voter. For the first time in Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms' case, which is the forerunner to the present controversy (petition challenging the constitutional validity of Amendments to R.P. Act invalidating the Supreme Court's May 2, 2002 judgment, the right to know about the candidate standing for election has been brought within the sweep of Article 19(l)(a). There can be no doubt that by doing so, a new dimension has been given to the right embodied in Article 19(1)(a) through a creative approach dictated by the need to improve and refine the political process of election. In carving out this right, the Court had not traversed a beaten track but took a fresh path. It must be noted that the right to information evolved by this Court in the said case is qualitatively different from the right to get information about public affairs or the right to receive information through the Press and electronic media, though to a certain extent, there may be overlapping. In Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India and another, In this case it was held that the right to information of the voter/citizen is sought to be enforced against an individual who intends to become a public figure and the information relates to his personal matters. Secondly, that right cannot materialize without State's intervention. The State or its instrumentality has to compel a subject to make the information available to public, by means of legislation or orders having the force of law. The information is currency that every citizen requires to participate in the life and governance of the society. In any democratic polity, greater the access, greater will be the responsiveness, and greater the restrictions, greater the feeling of powerlessness and alienation. Information is not private property. If at all it is the property, it is the national property. Especially the property the Government has the hold over is the information generated for purposes related to the legitimate discharge their duties of office and for the service of people and hence the people as ultimate beneficiaries or sovereign, are entitled to know and benefit from it. Thus the government and public officers who are supposed to serve the people on the payment from public purs, are none else than the trustees of this national resource-information. Besides moral and legal obligation it is their constitutional obligation also based on the philosophical foundation of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. As the transparency is the culture required for good governance, secrecy directly means disempowerment. Whenever, the executive interfered with the freedom of speech and expression through its executive orders or legislative measures, the press knocked the doors of justice in apex court and the resultant judgments paved way for the jurisprudence of information rights (le development of the right to information as a part of the Constitutional Law of the country started with petitions of the press to the Supreme Court for enforcement of certain logistical implications of the right to freedom of speech and expression such as challenging governmental orders for control of newsprint, bans on distribution of papers, etc. It was through the following cases that the concept of the public's right to know developed. The landmark case in freedom of the press in India was Bennett Coleman and Co. v. Union of India in which the petitioners, a publishing house bringing out one of the leading dailies challenged the government's newsprint policy which put restrictions on acquisition, sale and consumption of newsprint. This was challenged as restricting the Petitioner's rights to freedom of speech and expression. The court struck down the newsprint control order saying that it directly affected the Petitioners right to freely publish and circulate their paper. In that, it violated their right to freedom of speech and expression. The judges also remarked, "It is indisputable that by freedom of the press meant the right of all citizens to speak, publish and express their views" and "Freedom of speech and expression includes within its compass the right of all citizens to read and be informed." The dissenting judgment of Justice K.K.Mathew also noted, The freedom of speech protects two kinds of interests. There is an individual interest, the need of men to express their opinion on matters vital to them and a social interest in the attainment of truth so that the country may not only accept the wisest course but carry it out in the wisest way. Now in the method of political government the point of ultimate interest is not in the words of the speakers but in the hearts of the hearers. This principle was even more clearly enunciated in the case of Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India, in which the court remarked, "The basic purpose of freedom of speech and expression is that all members should be able to form their beliefs and communicate them freely to others. In sum, the fundamental principle involved here is the people's right to know. Another development on this front was through Manubhai D. Shah v. Life Insurance Corporation, case in which it was held that if an official media or channel was made available to one party to express its views or criticism, the same should also be made available to another contradictory view. The facts of this case, briefly, were: One Mr. Shah who was also a Director of a voluntary consumer rights organization and had, incidentally, worked extensively on the right to information, including drafting a model Bill, wrote a paper highlighting discriminatory practices by the Life Insurance Corporation which is a government controlled body. The Corporation published a critique of this paper in its institutional publication, to which Mr. Shah wrote a rejoinder which the LIC refused to publish. The Court held that a state instrumentality having monopolistic control over any publication could not refuse to publish any views contrary to its own. In the area of civil liberties, the courts have built up the right to have a transparent criminal justice system free from arbitrariness. In Prabha Dutt v. Union of India the Court held that there excepting clear evidence that the prisoners had refused to be interviewed, there could be no reason for refusing permission to the media to interview prisoners in death row. Repeated violations of civil rights by the police and other law enforcement agencies have compelled the courts to give, time and again, directions to the concerned agencies for ensuring transparency in their functioning in order to avoid violations like illegal arrests and detention, torture in custody and the like. In cases concerning the right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution the Courts have stressed the need for free legal aid to the poor and needy who are not either aware of the procedures or not in a position to afford lawyers, and therefore unable to avail of the constitutional guarantees of legal help and bail. The Courts have said, that it is the legal obligation of the judge or the magistrate before whom the accused is produced to inform him of the that if he is unable to engage a lawyer on account of poverty or indigence, he is entitled to free legal aid. 'Right to know' has been given status of fundamental right by the highest Court of the land in S.P. Gupta v. Union of India (Judges' Transfer Case). The Apex Court held that the right to know is implicit in the right of free speech and expression guaranteed under our Constitution in Article 19(1)(a). Right to know is also implicit in Article 19(1)(a) as natural concomitant to free press which right is deducible from fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. In S.P. Gupta's case the Apex Court also recommended change in century-old provisions of Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 so as to be conducive to the republican form of government and the open society which, we the people of India, have established. Section 123 relates to immunity from production of documents and was enacted to suit the needs of the empire builders. The Supreme Court has reaffirmed this legal position in its subsequent decisions in Reliance Petro Ltd. v. Indian Express and Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v. Cricket Association, Benga. In Reliance Petro's case, the Supreme Court has observed that the right to know has reached new dimensions and urgency and is basic right which citizens of a free country aspire in the broaden horizons of the right to live in this age on our land under Article 21 of the Constitution. The people at large have a right to know in order to be able to take part in a participatory development in the industrial life. In Secretary, MIB's case, the Apex Court has given a very broad definition to the right to receive and disseminate information through any media including air waves and electronic media. Right to information is inherent in right to live as enshrined in Art.21 and freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of our Constitution. Right to information thus emanates from the fundamental right to life and fundamental freedom of speech and expression. These freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution have to be enjoyed subject to some reasonable restrictions. But these restrictions can never outweigh and dominate the freedoms. After all what is fundamental is the freedom and not the restriction. Under the mantle of Welfare State, the Government today is engaged in variety of activities which cannot be termed as sovereign functions of the Government. These activities do not constitute 'Affairs of the State' in strict sense. The Government, especially of a welfare state, is responsible for socio-economic development and uplift of the people, besides maintaining routine law and order. One of the Directive Principles of the State Policy says: "the State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice, social economic and political, shall inform all institutions of the national life. The State shall in particular strive to minimize the inequalities in Income and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in facilities and opportunities not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in difference vocations." In an independent, democratic and welfare state, the citizens occupy quite an important position. They are the ones who are not only being governed but also govern by way of exercising their right of franchise and electing their representatives, who in turn formulate policies in accordance with which the administrators are supposed to govern for the benefit of the society. The benefits are to be accorded to or conferred on the citizens by the administration in a manner whereby most optimum position is attained and no one is favoured or deprived of at the cost of or for favouring the other one. In such a system, it is expected of the administration to provide to all the members of the society a reasonable dignified standard of life in which there is no risks of insecurity or stagnation on the economic front. No individual should have any fear of suspicion and mistrust towards the system in his mind. This is possible only by disseminating proper information, of course, without leaking out the vital secrets. More than fifty per cent of the citizen's problems could be sorted out promptly through a proper communication between different channels in the administration. Administrative India puts the greatest weight on keeping happenings within its corridors secret, thereby denying the citizens access to information about them. Such orientations produce deep contradictions in the larger socio-political system of the land which itself is in a state requiring nourishment and care. As the latter is still relatively new and in its infancy, its growth processes inevitably get retarded for want of information about the government, which means from the Government. Over- concealment of governmental information creates a communication gap between the governors and the governed, and its persistence beyond a point is apt to create an alienated citizenry. This makes democracy itself weak and insecure. Besides, secrecy renders administrative accountability unenforceable in an effective way and thus induces administrative behaviour, which is apt to degenerate into arbitrariness and absolutism. This is not all, "The Government, today, is-called upon-to make policies on an ever increasing range of subjects, and many of these policies must necessarily impinge on the lives of the citizens. It may sometimes happen that the data made available to the policy makers is of a selective nature and even the policy-makers and their advisors may deliberately suppress certain viewpoints and favour others. Such bureaucratic habits get encouragement in an environment of secrecy; and openness in governmental work is possibly the only effective corrective to it, also raising, in the process, the quality of decision making. Besides, openness has an educational role in as much as citizens are enabled to acquire a fuller view of the pros and cons of matters of major importance, which naturally helps in building informed public opinion, no less than goodwill for the Government." Justice Krishna lyer while commenting on the public functionaries remarked, "Be you ever so high, the law is above you". The public power must not hide its heart in a welfare State and open system. The normal rule in the Government of India is secrecy and openness the exception. There is the Official Secrets Act, 1923 which makes unauthorized communication of information including documents, an offence punishable with imprisonment which may extend upto three years. This Act covers all documents and information and makes no distinction of kind or of degree. A blanket is thrown over everything. Nothing escapes. By secrecy system the government safeguards its reputation, buries its mistakes, manipulates its citizens, maximizes its powers and corrupts itself. In the backdrop of judgement of the Supreme Court in the Judges' Transfer case, the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and of Section 123 of the Evidence Act 1872 suffer from the stigma of unconstitutionality. These colonial provisions need to be pensioned off. "Secrecy in government is fundamentally anti-democratic, perpetuating bureaucratic errors. Open discussion based on full information and debate on public issues are vital to our health". Woodrow Wilson has rightly said, "A democratic Government ought to be all outside and not inside". Unbridled freedom is not possible in our world of perils and evils designs. Truth may have to be withheld in moments when a nation's survival is in imminent danger. In Churchill's words: "In time war, the truth is so precious that it must be escorted by a bodyguard of lies". No State should adopt the mendacious methodology of Goebbels and mislead its subjects, whatever the crisis. However, quite often the right to information is denied and a seemingly authentic diet of official lies is served with a view to condition the minds of men and they are expected to consume government's version. Free speech is sabotaged from within by fouling the fountains of information. The bureaucracy itself is banned from telling the truth by forced statutory secrecy. Administrative secrecy relating to classified documents concerning national security and foreign policy is justified. But routine claim to secrecy or privilege by the government and public bodies may jeopardize the very survival of democracy in India because this immunity is anti-democratic. Therefore, no government should think that people must be told only that much which it thinks to be good for the people and safe for itself. Dangers of burying truth have been very powerfully put by Emile Zola: "When truth is buried underground it grows, it chokes, it gathers such an explosive force that on the day it bursts out, it blows up everything with it". Equally forceful are the views of Kurt Eisner, who says that the truthful information must not be withheld because:-"Truth is the greatest of all national possessions. A state, a people, a system which suppresses the truth or fears to publish it, deserves to collapse. The overall impact of these decisions has been to clearly establish that the right to freedom of information, or the public‘s right to know, is embedded in the provisions guaranteeing fundamental rights under the Constitution. Various Indian laws provide for the right to access information in specific contexts. The system of governance in India has traditionally been opaque, with the State retaining the colonial Official Secrets Act (OSA) and continuing to operate in secrecy at the administrative level. The OSA, enacted in 1923, still retains its original form, apart from some minor amendments made in 1967. The poor flow of information is compounded by two factors -- low levels of literacy and the absence of effective communication tools and processes. In many regions, the standard of record-keeping is extremely low. Most government offices have stacks of dusty files everywhere, providing a ready excuse for refusing access to records, on the specious excuse that they have been ‗misplaced‘. The rapid growth of information technology, on the other hand, has meant that most states in the country are now trying to promote technology, primarily to attract investment. This is indirectly contributing to an improved flow of information.
  10. ashakantasharma

    Movement of Right to Information in India

    Movement of Right to Information in India The right to information movement in India can be broadly classified into three phases. In the first phase, from 1975 to 1996, there were sporadic demands for information from various sections of the society, culminating in a more focused demand for access to information from environmental movements in the mid 1980s, and from grassroots movements in rural Rajasthan in the early 1990s. This phase ended with the formation of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), in 1996. This phase also saw various judicial orders in support of transparency, and the judicial pronouncement that the right to information was a fundamental right. The second phase starts in 1996, with the formulation of a draft RTI bill, spearheaded by the NCPRI, and its subsequent processing by the government and the Parliament. Various state RTI laws are passed during this period, including in Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, and Goa, as is the national Freedom of Information Act in 2002. This phase also marks the rapid growth in size and influence of the RTI movement in India, and culminates in the passing of the national RTI Act in 2005.This is also the period that sees a large number of countries across the World enact transparency laws. The third phase, from the end of 2005 to the present, has been mainly focused on the consolidation of the act and on pushing for proper implementation. Part of the effort has also been to safeguard the RTI Act from at least two efforts to weaken it, and to push the boundaries of the RTI regime and make it deeper and wider in coverage, participation, and impact. Objections to the Official Secrets Act have been raised since 1948, when the Press Laws Enquiry Committee recommended certain amendments. In 1977, the government formed a working group to look into the possibilities of amending the Official Secrets Act. Unfortunately, the working group did not recommend changes, as it felt the Act related to the protection of national safety and did not prevent the release of information in the public interest, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In 1989, a committee was set up which recommended limiting the areas where government information could be hidden, and opening up all other spheres of information. However, no legislation followed from these recommendations. In the last decade or so, citizens groups have started demanding the outright repeal of the Official Secrets Act and its replacement by legislation making the duty to disclose the norm, and secrecy the exception. It‘s taken India 77 years to transition from the repressive climate of the OSA to one where citizens can demand the right to information. The enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 2002 marks a significant shift for Indian democracy, for the greater the access to information by citizens, the greater the responsiveness of government to community needs. Interestingly, in India, the movement for the right to information has been as vibrant in the hearts of marginalised people as it is in the pages of academic journals and in the media. This is not surprising since food security, shelter, the environment, employment and other survival needs are inextricably linked to the right to information. In the early-1990s, in the course of the struggle of the rural poor in Rajasthan, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) hit upon a novel way to demonstrate the importance of information in an individual‘s life through public hearings, or jan sunwais. The MKSS‘s campaign demanded transparency of official records, a social audit of government spending, and a redressal machinery for people who had not been given their due. The campaign caught the imagination of a large cross-section of people, including activists, civil servants and lawyers. The National Campaign for People‘s Right to Information (NCPRI), formed in the late-1990s, became a broad-based platform for action. As the campaign gathered momentum, it became clear that the right to information had to be legally enforceable. As a result of this struggle, not only did Rajasthan pass a law on the right to information, but, in a number of panchayats, graft was exposed and officials punished. The Press Council of India drew up the first major draft legislation on the right to information, in 1996. The draft affirmed the right of every citizen to information from any public body. Significantly, the term ‗public body‘ included not only the State but also all privately-owned undertakings, non-statutory authorities, companies, and other bodies whose activities affect the public interest. Information that cannot be denied to Parliament or State Legislatures cannot be denied to a citizen either. The draft also provided for penalty clauses for defaulting authorities. Next came the Consumer Education Research Council (CERC) draft which was, by far the most detailed proposed freedom of information legislation in India. In line with international standards, it gave the right to information to anyone, except ―alien enemies‖, whether or not they were citizens. It required public agencies at the federal and state levels to maintain their records in good order, to provide a directory of all records under their control, to promote the computerisation of records in interconnected networks, to publish all laws, regulations, guidelines, circulars related to or issued by government departments, and any information concerning welfare schemes. The draft provided for the outright repeal of the Official Secrets Act, 1923. This draft didn‘t make it through Parliament either. Finally, in 1997, a conference of chief ministers resolved that the central and state governments would work together on transparency and the right to information. Following this, the Centre agreed to take immediate steps, in consultation with the states, to introduce freedom of information legislation, along with amendments to the Official Secrets Act and the Indian Evidence Act, before the end of 1997. Central and state governments also agreed to a number of other measures to promote openness, including establishing accessible computerised information centres to provide information to the public on essential services, and speeding up ongoing efforts to computerise government operations. In response, the Government of India set up a committee, known as the Shourie Committee, after its chair, Mr. H.D. Shourie. The Shourie committee was given the responsibility of examining the draft right to information bill and making recommendations that would help the government to institutionalise transparency. The committee worked fast and presented its report to the government within a few months of being set up, though it did succeed in significantly diluting the draft RTI bill drafted by civil society groups. Once again, the government was confronted with the prospect of introducing a right to information bill in Parliament. Clearly the dominant mood in the government was against any such move, but it was never politically expedient to openly oppose transparency. That would make the government seem unwilling to be accountable, almost as if it had something to hide. Therefore, inevitably, the draft bill, based on the recommendations of the Shourie committee, was referred to another committee: this time a Parliamentary committee. These Government committees which serve many purposes such as they examine proposals in detail, sometime consult other stakeholders, consider diverse opinions, examine facts and statistics, and then to come to reasoned findings or recommendations. However, these committees could also be a means of delaying decisions or action, and for taking unpopular, or even indefensible, decisions. The tyranny of a committee is far worse than the tyranny of an individual. Whereas an individual can be challenged and discredited, it is much more difficult to pinpoint responsibility in a committee, especially if it has many honourable members, and it becomes difficult to figure out who said what and who supported what. Inevitably, around this time various sections of the government started becoming alarmed at the growing demand for transparency. This also marked the beginnings of organized opposition to the proposed bill and to the right to information. Interestingly, the armed forces, which in many other countries are reportedly at the centre of opposition to transparency, were not a significant part of the opposition at this stage. This might perhaps have been because they assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that any transparency law would not be applicable to them. More likely, it was the outcome of the tradition in India, wisely nurtured by the national political leadership, which discourages the armed forces from meddling in legislative or policy issues apart from those relating to defence and security. Characteristically, the Indian State was a divided and somewhat confused house. There were many bureaucrats and politicians who were enthused about the possibility of a right to information law and did all that they could to facilitate its passage. However, many others were alarmed at the prospect of there being a citizen's right to information that was enforceable. Undoubtedly, some of these individuals were corrupt and saw the right to information act as a threat to their rent-seeking activities. Yet, many others opposed transparency as they felt that this would be detrimental to good governance. Some of them felt that opening up the government would result in officers becoming increasingly cautious. Already, there was a tendency in the government to play safe and not take decisions that might be controversial. It was felt that opening up files and papers to public scrutiny would just aggravate this tendency and reinforce in the minds of civil servants the adage that they can only be punished for sins of commission, never for sins of omission. Another group of bureaucrats and politicians feared that the opening up of government processes to public scrutiny would result in the death of discretion. The government would become too rigid and rule-bound as no officer would like to exercise discretion which could later be questioned. In the same spirit it was also thought that the public would not appreciate the fact that many administrative decisions have to be taken in the heat of the moment, without full information, and under various pressures including those of time. There were apprehensions that many such decisions would be criticized with hindsight and the competence, sincerity and even integrity of the officers involved would be questioned. There were also those who felt that too much transparency in the process of governance would result in officials playing to the gallery and becoming disinclined to take unpopular decisions. Some elements in the government feared that transparency laws would be misused by vested interests to harass and even blackmail civil servants. Others felt outraged that the general public, especially the riffraff among them, would be given the right to question their integrity and credentials. There were also those who felt that the Indian public was not yet ready to be given this right, reminiscent of the British on the eve of Indian independence who seemed convinced that Indians were not capable of governing themselves. There were even those who objected on principle, arguing that secrecy was the bedrock of governance! As was inevitable, these internal contradictions within and among different levels of the government had to, sooner or later, come to a head. They did, in 1999, with a cabinet minister unilaterally ordering that all the files in his ministry henceforth be open to public scrutiny.This, of course, rang alarm bells among the bureaucracy and among many of his cabinet colleagues. Though the minister's order was quickly reversed by the Prime Minister, it gave an opening for activists and lawyers to file a petition in the Supreme Court of India questioning the right of the Prime Minister to reverse a minister‘s order, especially when the order was in keeping with various Supreme Court judgments declaring the right to information to be a fundamental right. By now it seemed clear that a large segment of the bureaucracy and political leaders were not eager to allow the passage of a right to information act. On the other hand, the judiciary had more than once held that the right to information was a fundamental right and at least hinted that the government should ensure that the public could effectively exercise this right. The third wing of the government, the Legislature, had not yet joined the fray as no bill had yet been presented to Parliament. However, in certain states of India, notably Tamil Nadu, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and even Delhi, the legislature proved to be sympathetic by passing state RTI acts (albeit, mostly weak ones) much before the national act was finally passed by Parliament. Perhaps the happenings in India around that time very starkly illustrate the contradictions present within governments in relationship to the question of transparency. As was done in India, even elsewhere such contradictions can be used to weaken and divide the opposition to transparency laws and regimes, and to drive a wedge in what might initially appear to be bureaucratic unity in opposition to transparency Passing of the Freedom of Information Act, 2002 Meanwhile, a case had been filed in the Supreme Court questioning the unwillingness of the government to facilitate the exercise of the fundamental right to information. This case continued from 2000 to 2002 with the government using all its resources to postpone any decision. However, finally, the court lost patience and gave an ultimatum to the government. Consequently, the government enacted the Freedom of Information Act, 2002, perhaps in order to avoid specific directions about the exercise of the right to information from the Supreme Court. It seemed that the will of the people, supported by the might of the Supreme Court of India, had finally prevailed and the representatives of the people had enacted the required law, even if it was a very watered-down version of the original bill drafted by the people. Unfortunately, this was not really so. The Freedom of Information Act, as passed by Parliament in 2002, had the provision that it would come into effect from the date notified. Interestingly, despite being passed by both houses of Parliament and having received presidential assent, this act was never notified and therefore never became effective. The bureaucracy had, in fact, had the last laugh! In May, 2004, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress Party, came to power at the national level; displacing the BJP led National Democratic Alliance government. The UPA government brought out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which promised, among other things, ―to provide a government that is corruption-free, transparent and accountable at all times…‖ and to make the Right to Information Act ―more progressive, participatory and meaningful‖. The UPA government also set up a National Advisory Council (NAC), to monitor the implementation of the CMP. This council had leaders of various people‘s movements, including the right to information movement, as members. This was recognised by the NCPRI and its partners as a rare opportunity and it was decided to quickly finalise and submit for the NAC‘s consideration, a revamped and strengthened draft bill that recognized people‘s access to information as a right. As a matter of strategy, it was decided to submit this revised bill as a series of amendments to the existing (but non operative) Freedom of Information Act, rather than an altogether new act. Accordingly, in August 2004, the National Campaign for People‘s Right to Information (NCPRI), formulated a set of suggested amendments to the 2002 Freedom of Information Act, These amendments, designed to strengthen and make more effective the 2002 Act, were based on extensive discussions with civil society groups working on transparency and other related issues. These suggested amendments were forwarded to the NAC, which endorsed most of them and forwarded them to the Prime Minister of India for further action. Passing of Right to Information Act, 2005 Reportedly, the receipt of the NAC letter and recommended amendments was treated with dismay within certain sections of the government bureaucracy. A system, that was not willing to operationalise a much weaker Freedom of Information Act, was suddenly confronted with the prospect of having to stand by and watch a much stronger transparency bill become law. Therefore, damage control measures were set into motion and, soon after, a notice appeared in some of the national newspapers announcing the government‘s intention to finally (after two and a half years) notify the Freedom of Information Act, 2002. It sought from members of the public suggestions on the rules related to the FoIA. This, of course, alerted the activists that all was not well, and sympathizers within the system confirmed that the government had decided that the best way of neutralizing the NAC recommendations was to resuscitate the old FoIA and suggest that amendments can be thought of, if necessary, in this act, after a few years experience! The next three or four months saw a flurry of activity from RTI activists, with the Prime Minister and other political leaders being met and appealed to, the media being regularly briefed and support being gathered from all and sundry, especially retired senior civil servants (who better to reassure the government that the RTI Act did not signify the end of governance, as we knew it), and other prominent citizens. This intense lobbying paid off and after a tense and pivotal meeting with the Prime Minister (arranged by a former Prime Minister, who was also present and supportive), in the middle of December 2004, the Government agreed to introduce in Parliament a fresh RTI Bill along the lines recommended by the NAC. Consequently, the Government of India introduced a revised Right to Information Bill in Parliament on 22 December 2004, just a day or two before its winter recess. Unfortunately, though this RTI Bill was a vast improvement over the 2002 Act, some of the critical clauses recommended by the NCPRI and endorsed by the NAC had been deleted or amended. Most significantly, the 2004 Bill was applicable only to the central (federal) government, and not to the states. This omission was particularly significant as most of the information that was of relevance to the common person, especially the rural and urban poor, was with state governments and not with the Government of India. Consequently, there was a sharp reaction from civil society groups, while the government set up a group of ministers to review the bill, and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) referred the RTI Bill to the concerned standing committee of Parliament. Soon after, the NAC met and expressed, in a letter to the Prime Minister, their unanimous support for their original recommendations. Representatives of the NCPRI and various other civil society groups sent in written submissions to the Parliamentary Committee and many were invited to give verbal evidence. The group of Ministers, chaired by the senior minister, ShriPranab Mukherjee, was also lobbied. Fortunately, these efforts were mostly successful and the Parliamentary Committee and Group of Ministers recommended the restitution of most of the provisions that had been deleted, including applicability to states. The Right to Information Bill, as amended, was passed by both houses of the Indian Parliament in May 2005, got Presidential assent on 15 June 2005, and became fully operational from 13 October 2005. Even while according assent ―in due deference to our Parliament‖, the then President had some reservations which he expressed in a letter dated 15 June 2005 addressed to the Prime Minister. Essentially, the President wanted communication between the President and the Prime Minister exempt from disclosure. He also wanted file notings to be exempt. The Prime Minister, in his reply dated 26 July 2005, disagreed with the first point but reassured the President (wrongly, as it turned out), that file notings were exempt under the RTI Act. In any case, those who thought that the main struggle to ensure a strong legislation was over and that the focus could now shift to implementation issues were in for a rude shock. In 2006 the government made a concerted effort to amend the Act and to weaken it. Though this move was finally defeated, the danger has not yet abated, as will be described later. The Government of India introduced the Freedom of Information Bill, 2000 (No.98 of 2000) in the Lok Sabha on 25th July, 2000. The Bill, which cast an obligation upon public authorities to furnish such information wherever asked for, was passed by the Parliament as the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2002. However, the Act could not be brought into force because the date from which the Act could come into force, was not notified in the Official Gazette. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre, which came into power in 2004, set up a National Advisory Council (NAC). The Council suggested important changes to be incorporated in the FOI Act. These suggestions were examined by the UPA Government, which decided to make the FOI Act more progressive, participatory an meaningful. Later, however, the UPA Government decided to repeal the FOI Act, and enacted a new legislation, the Right to Information Act, 2005, to provide an effective framework for effectuating the right of information India recognised under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
  11. ashakantasharma

    Serious Concerns on the Indian Drug Industry

    Serious Concerns on the Indian Drug Industry DEPARTMENT-RELATED PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE FIFTY-NINTH REPORT ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CENTRAL DRUGS STANDARD CONTROL ORGANISATION (CDSCO) (PRESENTED TO THE RAJYA SABHA ON 8TH MAY, 2012) & (LAID ON THE TABLE OF THE LOK SABHA ON 8TH MAY, 2012 Drug Regulation 1.1 Drugs are an integral and inseparable part of medical care. As per the directory of pharmaceutical manufacturing units in India brought out by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority in 2007, more than 10,500 drug manufacturers are operating in the country with estimated turnover of just over Rs. 50,000 crore for domestic sale alone. 1.2 Medicines apart from their critical role in alleviating human suffering and saving lives have very sensitive and typical dimensions for a variety of reasons. They are the only commodity for which the consumers have neither a role to play nor are they able to make any informed chokes except to buy and consume whatever is prescribed or dispensed to them because of the following reasons: • Drug regulators decide which medicines can be marketed; • Pharmaceutical companies either produce or import drugs that they can profitably sell; • Doctors decide which drugs and brands to prescribe; • Consumers are totally dependent on and at the mercy of external entities to protect their interests. 1.3 It is because of these typical dimensions that the state’s responsibility to regulate the import, manufacture and sale of medicines so as to ensure that they are both safe, effective and of standard quality acquire almost sacrosanct dimensions. Under the circumstances, effective, transparent drug regulation free from commercial influences is essential to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of drugs with just one objective, i.e., welfare of patients. 1.4 Taking into account the immense importance and impact of drug regulation on humanity, the Committee examined the functioning of The Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO), the agency mandated with the task of drug regulation in India to determine if rules and laws were being implemented efficiently and honestly in the interest of patients. It did not go into the scientific Issues such as merits of medicines being sold in the country. As the successive narrative would unravel, the drug regulatory system in the counhy suffers from several deficiencies and shortcomings, some systemic and severa] manmade. 1.5 Drug regulation covers many functions, namely: • Marketing approval of new medicines based on safety and efficacy studies, • Licensing and monitoring of manufacturing facilities and distribution channels, • Post-marketing adverse drug reaction (ADR) monitoring, • Quality control (QC), • Periodic review and re-evaluation of approved drugs, • Control of drug promotion • Regulation of drug trials. 1.6 While most functions pertaining to drug regulation come under the jurisdiction of Central Government and are carried out by the Central Drug Standards Conhol Organization (CDSCO), others viz. licensing and monitoring of manufacturing units and distribution channels; quality control etc. are carried on by state level drugs authorities under the administrative control of State Governments. 1.7 Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945, Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 as amended from time to time are the principal legislations that govern the functioning of CDSCO and state drug authorities. 1.8 Drugs belonging to various systems of medicine (Allopathy, Homoeopathy, Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani) as well as cosmetics are regulated by CDSCO. However the present Report is confined to the aspect of regulation by the CDSCO and related agencies of drugs used in modem medicine only. OBSERVATIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS — AT A GLANCE MANDATE AND STRUCTURE OF CDSCO The Committee is of the firm opinion that most of the ills besetting the system of drugs regulation in India are mainly due to the skewed priorities and perceptions of CDSCO. For decades together it has been according primacy to the propagation and facilitation of the drugs industry, due to which, unfortunately, the interest of the biggest stakeholder i.e. the consumer has never been ensured. Taking strong exception to this continued neglect of the poor and hapless patient, the Committee recommends that the Mission Statement of CDSCO be formulated forthwith to convey in very unambiguous terms that the organization is solely meant for public health. (Para 2.2) The Committee notes with serious concern that CDSCO is substantially under-staffed. Of the 327 sanctioned posts, only 124 are occupied. At this rate, what would be the fate of 1,045 additional posts that have been proposed is a moot point. If the manpower requirement of the CDSCO does not correspond with their volume of work, naturally, such shortage of staff strains the ability of the CDSCO to discharge its assigned functions efficiently. This shortcoming needs to be addressed quickly. Consideration can also be given to employ medically qualified persons as Consultants/Advisers (on the pattern of Planning Commission) at suitable rank. (Para 2.19) The Committee also gathers that the average time taken for the completion of recruitment process is approximately 12 to 15 months. The Committee, therefore, recommends that to overcome the staff shortage, the Ministry should engage professionally qualified persons on short-term contract or on deputation basis until the vacancies are filled up. Due to the very sensitive nature of regulatory work, great care will need to be taken to ensure that persons employed for short periods did not and will not have Conflict of Interest for a specified period. (Para 2.20) At the same time, the optimal utilization of the current staff in the best interest of public is the responsibility of those who run the CDSCO. In a resource- constrained country like India, it is extremely difficult to meet the demands, however, genuine, of all the State entities in full. Hence, prioritization is the key. For example, work relating to an application for Marketing Approval of a New Drug that will be used by millions and thus have an impact on the well being of public at large in India for years to come, is far more important and urgent than giving permission to a foreign company to conduct clinical trials on an untested new patented, monopoly drug. (Para 2.21) The Committee also observes that the strengthening of drugs regulatory mechanisms cannot be achieved by manpower augmentation alone. A host of issues involving capacity-building of CDSCO like upgradation of existing offices, setting up of new offices, creation of new central drugs testing laboratories and equipping them with the state-of-the-art technology to enable them to carry out sophisticated analysis of drugs, upgradation of the existing 6 Central Drugs Testing Laboratories, skill development of the regulatory officials, implementation of an effective result-oriented pharmacovigilance programme drawing on global experience, increased transparency in decision-making of CDS CO etc. will have to be addressed before the desired objectives are realized. (Para 2.22) In the absence of any reasons for unwillingness on the part of medically qualified persons to join CDSCO, the Committee is of the opinion that emoluments and perquisites may not be the main or only reason. It is noticed that minimum prescribed academic qualifications for the post of DCGI is barely B.Pharm. On the other hand for Deputy Drugs Controller (DDC), the prescribed minimum qualification is post-graduation for medically qualified persons. The stumbling block is the requirement that DCGI should have experience in the “manufacture or testing of drugs or enforcement of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act for a minimum period of five years.” This requirement virtually excludes even highly qualified medical doctors from occupying the post of DCGI. Moreover the rule stipulates that doctors with post-graduation should be either in pharmacology or microbiology only, thus excluding post-graduates, even doctorates (like DM) in a clinical subject. Besides, highly qualified medical doctors may be reluctant to work under and report to a higher officer with lesser qualifications in a technology driven regulatory authority set-up. Unless these concerns are addressed, it would be difficult to get the desperately required medically qualified professionals on the rolls of CDSCO. (Para 2.23) QUALIFICATION AND POWERS of DCGI The Committee fails to understand as to how a graduate in pharmacy or pharmaceutical chemistry (B.Pharm) is being equated with a medical graduate with MD in Pharmacology or Microbiology. Apart from the obvious anomaly, with rapid progress in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical fields, there is urgent need to revise the qualifications and experience as minimum eligibility criteria for appointment as DCGI. The Committee is of the view that it is not very rational to give powers to a graduate in pharmacy, who does not have any clinical or research experience to decide the kinds of drugs that can be prescribed by super specialists in clinical medicine such as those holding DM and PhD qualifications and vast experience in the practice of medicine and even research. (Para 3.6) On a larger plane, the Committee is disillusioned with the qualifications provided in the age old Rules for the head of a crucial authority like CDSCO. The extant Indian system is nowhere in so far as sheer competence and professional qualifications are concerned when compared with countries like USA and UK. There is, therefore, an urgent need to review the qualifications, procedure of selection and appointment, tenure, emoluments, allowances and powers, both administrative and financial of the DCGI. While doing so, the Government may not only rely on the Mashelkar Committee Report which recommended augmented financial powers to DCGI but also take cue from similar mechanisms functioning in some of the developed countries like USA, UK, Canada, etc in order to ensure that only the best professional occupies this onerous responsibility. The Committee should be kept informed of the steps taken to address this issue. (Para 3.7) In the considered opinion of the Committee, there can never be a more opportune time than now, to usher in these changes recommended by it. The post of DCGI is vacant as of now, with an official holding temporary charge. They, therefore, desire that the government should take immediate measures in terms of their instant recommendations to ensure that CDSCO is headed by an eminent and professionally qualified person. (Para 3.8) ROLE OF THE STATE DRUG REGULATORY AUTHORITIES From an analysis of the above facts, the Committee concludes that shortcomings witnessed in respect of coordination with and between the States as also in implementation of applicable legislations in the States are primarily an offshoot of inadequacies in manpower and infrastructure in the States. Strengthening the regulatory mechanism in the States will remain a far cry unless these infirmities are taken care of. (Para 4.5) Given the lack of adequate resources in the States it would be unrealistic to expect them to improve the infrastructure and increase manpower without Central Assistance for strengthening drug control system. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should work out a fully centrally sponsored scheme for the purpose so that the State Drug Regulatory Authorities do not continue to suffer from lack of infrastructure and manpower anymore. The Committee desires to be kept apprised of the initiatives taken by the Ministry in this regard. (Para 4.6) It is a matter of grave concern that there are serious shortcomings in Centre-State coordination in the implementation of Drugs & Cosmetics Act and Rules. This, the Committee notes, is despite the Ministry’s own admission that Section 33P of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act contains a provision that enables the Central Government to give such directions to any State Government as may appear to it to be necessary for implementation of any of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules made thereunder. The Committee understands that these provisions are meant to be used sparingly. However, there have been several situations which warrant intervention through Rule 33 P. Therefore the committee hopes that in future the Ministry would not be found wanting in considering the option of using Section 33P to ensure that provisions of central drug acts are implemented uniformly in all states. (Para 4.7) As regards lack of databank and accurate information, the Committee would like to observe that given the information technology resources currently available, developing an effective system of coordination amongst State Drug Authorities for providing quality and accurate data could have been accomplished long back had the Ministry taken any initiative towards encouraging the States to establish a system of harmonized and inter-connected databanks. Evidently, no serious efforts seem to have been made in this regard. The Committee, however, expects that the Ministry would, at least now, playa more pro-active role in encouraging the States to employ modern information technology in the implementation of tasks assigned to them. At the same time a centralized databank (e.g. licenses issued, cancelled, list of sub-standard drugs, prosecutions etc.) may be created to which all the State Drug Authorities should be linked. (Para 4.8) CAPACITY-BUILDING OF CENTRAL AND STATE DRUG TESTING LABORATORIES The Committee agrees that the capacity-building of the Central Drugs Testing Laboratories is the need of the hour. In this era of newer innovations coming up at rapid pace, equipping the Drug Testing Laboratories with the high-end sophisticated equipments is very essential. However, the Committee is aware that monitoring the quality of drugs is primarily the responsibility of the State Drugs Authorities, supplemented by CDSCO, which play a major role in collection of samples and testing them. Without manpower augmentation and up gradation of State Drugs Testing Laboratories, the objective of ensuring availability of quality drugs to the public cannot be realized. The Committee, therefore, recommends strengthening of both Central and State Drug Testing Laboratories. (Para 5.11) PROVISION OF REQUISITE INFRASTRUCTURE AT AIRPORT AND SEAPORT OFFICES The Committee agrees with the above suggestion and recommends that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should take initiative towards addressing the shortcomings forthwith in coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation at all seaports/airports handling import and exports of pharmaceutical products. The Committee will like to be informed of steps taken to address this problem. (Para 6.2) NEW DRUGS APPROVAL The Committee is of the view that due to untraceable files on three drugs, it is not possible to determine if all conditions of approval (indications, dosage, safety precautions) are being followed or not. Moreover the product monographs cannot be updated in the light of recent developments and regulatory changes overseas. Therefore all the missing files should be re-constructed, reviewed and monographs updated at the earliest. (Para 7.13) .............This matter needs to be reviewed to ensure safety of patients, fair play, transparency and accountability. (Para 7.14) Unless there is some legal hitch, the Committee is of the view that there is no justification in withholding opinions of experts on matters that affect the safety of patients from public. Consideration should be given to upload all opinions on CDSCO website. (Para 7.15) According to information provided by the Ministry, a total of 31 new drugs were approved in the period January 2008 to October 2010 without conducting clinical trials on Indian patients. The figure is understated because two drugs (ademetionine and FDC of pregabalin with other ingredients) were somehow not included in the list. Thus there is no scientific evidence to show that these 33 drugs are really effective and safe in Indian patients. (Para 7.16) It is obvious that DCGI clears sites of pre-approval trials without application of mind to ensure that major ethnic groups are enrolled in trials to have any meaningful data. Thus such trials do not produce any useful data and merely serve to complete the formality of documentation. (Para 7.27) The Committee recommends that while approving Phase III clinical trials, the DCGI should ensure that subject to availability of facilities, such trials are spread across the country so as to cover patients from major ethnic backgrounds and ensure a truly representative sample. Besides, trials should be conducted in well equipped medical colleges and large hospitals with round the clock emergency services to handle unexpected serious side effects and with expertise in research and not in private clinics given the presence of well equipped medical colleges and hospitals in most parts of the country in present times. (Para 7.28) The Committee is of the view that taking into account the size of our population and the enormous diversity of ethnic groups there is an urgent need to increase the minimum number of subjects that ought to be included in Phase III pre-approval clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy of New Drugs before marketing permission is granted. In most western countries the required numbers run into thousands. However since the major objective in India is to determine the applicability or otherwise of the data generated overseas to Indian population, the requirement should be re-assessed and revised as per principles of medical statistics so that major ethnic groups are covered. A corresponding increase in the number of sites so as to ensure a truly representative sample spread should also be laid down in black and white. Furthermore, it should be ensured that sites selected for clinical trials are able to enroll diverse ethnic groups. For domestically discovered drugs, the number of subjects should be revised as well. This can be easily achieved by changes in the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines. (Para 7.29) A review of the opinions submitted by the experts on various drugs shows that an overwhelming majority are recommendations based on personal perception without giving any hard scientific evidence or data. Such opinions are of extremely limited value and merely a formality. Still worse, there is adequate documentary evidence to come to the conclusion that many opinions were actually written by the invisible hands of drug manufacturers and experts merely obliged by putting their signatures........... Is the Committee mistaken in coming to the conclusion that all these letters were collected by interested party from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Secunderabad and handed over to office of the DCGI on the same day? If so, it is obvious that the interested party was in the loop in the entire process of consultation with experts. (Annexure 6)..............It is inconceivable that a letter dated 17-6-2005 from New Delhi will be delivered to the office of DCGI also in New Delhi after more than two months. The conclusion, as in aforementioned cases, is obvious. (Annexure 8) (Para 7.31) If the above cases are not enough to prove the apparent nexus that exists between drug manufacturers and many experts whose opinion matters so much in the decision making process at the CDSCO, nothing can be more outrageous than clinical trial approval given to the Fixed Dose Combination of aceclofenac with drotaverine which is not permitted in any developed country of North America, Europe or Australasia. In this case, vide his letter number 12-298/06-DC dated 12- 2-2007, an official of CDSCO advised the manufacturer, Themis Medicare Ltd. not only to select experts but get their opinions and deliver them to the office of DCGI! No wonder that many experts gave letters of recommendation in identical language apparently drafted by the interested drug manufacturer. (Para 7.32) In the above case, the Ministry should direct DCGI to conduct an enquiry and take appropriate action against the official(s) who gave authority to the interested party to select and obtain expert opinion and finally approved the drug. (Para 7.33) Such expert opinions in identical language and/or submitted on the same day raise one question: Are the experts really selected by the staff of CDSCO as mentioned in written submission by the Ministry? If so how can they, situated thousands of miles away from each other, draft identically worded letters of recommendation? Is it not reasonable to conclude the names of experts to be consulted are actually suggested by the relevant drug manufacturers? It has been admitted that CDSCO does not have a data bank on experts, that there are no guidelines on how experts should be identified and approached for opinion. (Para 7.34) The Committee is of the view that many actions by experts listed above are clearly unethical and may be in violation of the Code of Ethics of the Medical Council of India applicable to doctors. Hence the matter should be referred to MCI for necessary follow up and action. In addition, in the case of government-employed doctors, the matter must also be taken up with medical colleges/hospital authorities for suitable action. (Para 7.35) There is sufficient evidence on record to conclude that there is collusive nexus between drug manufacturers, some functionaries of CDSCO and some medical experts. (Para 7.36) On a more fundamental issue the Committee has come to the conclusion that when it comes to approving new drugs, too much is left to the absolute discretion of the CDSCO officials. There are no well laid down guidelines for determining whether consultation with experts is required. Thus the decision to seek or not to seek expert opinion on new drugs lies exclusively with the non- medical functionaries of CDSCO leaving the doors wide open to the risk of irrational and incorrect decisions with potential to harm public health apart from the possibility of abuse of arbitrary discretionary powers. (Para 7.37) The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that there should be non-discretionary, well laid down, written guidelines on the selection process of outside experts with emphasis on expertise including published research, in the specific therapeutic area or drug or class of drugs. Currently, the experts are arbitrarily chosen mainly based on their hierarchical position which does not necessarily correspond to the area or level of expertise. All experts must be made to file the Conflict of Interest declaration outlining all past and present pecuniary relationships with entities that may benefit from the recommendations given by such experts. The consulted experts should be requested to give hard evidence in support of their recommendations. (Para 7.38) The Committee is of the view that responsibility needs to be fixed for unlawfully approving Buclizine, a drug of hardly any consequence to public health in India, more so since it is being administered to babies/children. At the same time the approval granted should be reviewed in the light of latest scientific evidence, regulatory status in developed countries, particularly in Belgium, the country of its origin. (Para 7.41) .........DCGI is expected to take action against those CDSCO functionaries who colluded with private interests and got the drug approved in violation of laws. The drug has since been banned by the Ministry for use in female infertility. (Para 7.42) The Committee takes special note of this case of gross violation of the laws of the land by the CDSCO. First, in approving the drug for use in case of female infertility and thereafter, in exhibiting overt resistance in taking timely corrective steps despite very strong reasons favouring immediate suspension of use of letrozole for the said indication. Belatedly, the drug has been banned for use in female infertility. (Para 7.43) The Committee is of the opinion that there must be some very good reasons for Danish Medicine Agency (Denmark) not to approve a domestically developed drug where an anti-depressant drug would perhaps be in greater demand as compared to India. Curiously, Deanxit is allowed to be produced and exported but not allowed to be used in Denmark. (Para 7.45) The Committee feels that the DCGI should have gone into the reasons for not marketing the drug in major developed countries such as United States, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Japan, Australia just to mention a few. United States alone accounts for half of the global drug market. It is strange that the manufacturer is concentrating on tiny markets in unregulated or poorly regulated developing countries like Aruba, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Jordan, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Trinidad instead of countries with far more patients and profits. Many of these developing countries are handicapped due to lack of competent drug regulatory authorities. Instead of examining and reversing regulatory lapses, DCGI has referred the matter to an Expert Committee to look at the isolated and restricted issue of “safety and efficacy” instead of unlawful approval in the first place. (Para 7.46) The Committee recommends that in view of the unlawful approval granted to Deanxit, the matter should be re-visited and re-examined keeping in mind the regulatory status in well developed countries like Denmark, the country of origin; the United States, Britain, Canada, European Union and Japan etc. It is important to keep in mind that in Europe, there are two types of marketing approvals: Community-wide (cleared by European Medicine Agency) and individual regulators of member nations. EMEA is known to clear drugs after great deal of scrutiny while the competence and expertise of drug regulatory authorities of individual nations is not uniform and varies greatly from country to country. (Para 7.47) The Committee recommends an enquiry into the said letter. The responsibility should be fixed and appropriate action taken against the guilty. The Committee should be kept informed on this case. (Para 7.49) The Committee takes special notice of this case of persistent insolence on the part of CDSCO and hopes that never again shall the DCGI approve drugs in violation of laws, that too for use in neonates and young children. (Para 7.51) The Committee expresses its deep concern, extreme displeasure and disappointment at the state of affairs as outlined above. The Ministry should ensure that the staff at CDSCO does not indulge in irregularities in approval process of new drugs that can potentially have adverse effect on the lives of people. It is difficult to believe that these irregularities on the part of CDSCO were merely due to oversight or unintentional. Hence all the cases listed above and cases similar to these should be investigated and responsibility fixed and action taken against erring officials whether currently in service or retired. (Para 7.52) DRUGS WITHDRAWN/DISCARDED/BANNED ABROAD The Committee has noted that there are a very large number of alternative analgesics, antipyretics in the Indian market. With so many countries banning Analgin, not to mention unlawful over-promotion by manufacturers, the CDSCO should be directed to re- examine the rationality of continued marketing of Analgin. (Para 8.4) It is to be kept in mind that a drug becomes a candidate for withdrawal not only due to serious side effects but also when safer, more efficacious drugs are launched. Unfortunately, no attention is being paid to this issue. This principle should apply to all cases and all drugs need to be evaluated periodically. (Para 8.5) The documents submitted by the Ministry show that even in large developed countries with well developed drug regulation such as US the adverse reactions are not detected by spontaneous reports from doctors in practice. All major side effects were detected in large scale controlled, focused Post-Marketing Phase IV trials involving thousands of patients such as SCOUT on anti-obesity drug sibutramine (now banned) and the RECORD trial on rosiglitazone (now banned). Therefore to expect that any spontaneous reports from medical profession, either in private practice or even institutions (medical colleges, large hospitals) will pick up hitherto unknown side effects in India is not realistic. There is hardly any alternative but to take immediate cognizance of serious adverse drug reactions reported from countries with well developed and efficient regulatory systems. The health and lives of patients in India cannot be put to risk in the hope of detecting ADRs within the country. (Para 8.7). The Committee feels that since the chances of picking up unknown serious adverse effects of drugs being marketed in the country are remote, therefore CDSCO should keep a close watch on regulatory developments that take place in countries with well developed regulatory systems in the West and take appropriate action in the best interest of the patients. (Para 8.8) In most cases, most of these experts whether appointed by CDSCO or DTAB are from Delhi. The following facts reveal this pattern: 1. Rimonabant was referred to a committee of six experts, all from Delhi. 2. Levonorgestrel: Four out of five from Delhi. 3. Letrozole: Four out of five from Delhi. 4. Sibutramine: All five from Delhi. 5. Rosiglitazone: All five from Delhi. 6. A review of membership shows that one expert sat on 5 of the 6 committees. One wonders whether expertise on drugs is confined to Delhi. (Para 8.10) The Committee strongly recommends that with some 330 teaching medical colleges in the country, there are adequate number of knowledgeable medical experts with experience who can be requested to give their opinion on the safety and efficacy of drugs. The need is to make such consultations very broad based so as to get diverse opinion. The opinions, once received, can be put in public domain inviting comments. Once the experts know that their opinions will be scrutinized by others, including peers, they would be extra cautious and give credible evidence in support of their recommendation. (Para 8.11) FIXED DOSE COMBINATIONS (FDCs) Unfortunately some State Drug Authorities have issued manufacturing licenses for a very large number of FDCs without prior clearance from CDSCO. This is in violation of rules though till May 2002, there was some ambiguity on powers of the State Drug Authorities in this respect. However the end result is that many FDCs in the market have not been tested for efficacy and safety. This can put patients at risk. (Para 9.2) To remove such unauthorized FDCs from the market, the Central Government can either issue directions under Section 33P to states to withdraw the licences of FDCs granted without prior DCGI approval or the Central Government can itself ban such FDCs under Section 26A. (Para 9.3) The Committee was informed that DCGI has been requesting State Orug Authorities not to issue manufacturing licences to new FDCs and suspend licences of unauthorized FDCs issued in the past. However in exercise of powers under Section 33P specific directions have not been issued. The Ministry failed to provide any coherent reason for lack of action under this Rule. The Ministry informed the Committee that even if Section 33P was invoked, there was no provision to take action against States if directions were not carried out. If considered necessary, the Ministry may examine the possibility of amending the law to ensure that directions under Section 33P are implemented. (Para 9.4) It is also possible to ban FDCs, not authorized by CDSCO by invoking Section 26A which empowers the Central Government to ban any drug to protect public health. The Committee was informed that the Government has not evoked Section 26A either so far. No explanation was offered for not using powers under Section 26A. (Para 9.5) The Committee was informed that the issue regarding grant of Manufacturing Licenses for unapproved FDCs by some State Drug Authorities were first deliberated in 49th DTAB meeting held on 17 February, 2000 i.e. 11 years ago. It is a matter of great concern that even after a lapse of a decade, no serious action has been taken. (Para 9.6) The Committee is of the view that those unauthorized FDCs that pose risk to patients and communities such as a combination of two antibacterials need to be withdrawn immediately due to danger of developing resistance that affects the entire population. (Para 9.7) The Committee is of the view that Section 26A is adequate to deal with the problem of irrational and/or FDCs not cleared by CDSCO. There is a need to make the process of approving and banning FDCs more transparent and fair. In general, if an FDC is not approved anywhere in the world, it may not be cleared for use in India unless there is a specific disease or disorder prevalent in India, or a very specific reason backed by scientific evidence and irrefutable data applicable specifically to India that justifies the approval of a particular FDC. The Committee strongly recommends that a clear, transparent policy may be framed for approving FDCs based on scientific principles. (Para 9.8) DRUGS ADVISORY COMMITTEES The Committee feels that though the Ministry is forming DACs, which are given very important powers, there is no transparent procedure for the selection of experts of such Committees. The Committee also recommends that institutions from which experts are chosen should be from different parts of the country. (Para 10.2) SIMILAR BRAND NAMES The Committee strongly recommends that all such cases should be thoroughly reviewed in close coordination with State Drug Authorities. Specific procedures may be framed for approval of brand names. The procedure adopted by the Registrar of Newspapers to avoid duplication may be worth emulating. As a beginning, a data bank of all branded pharmaceutical products along with their ingredients should be uploaded on the CDSCO website and regularly updated. (Para 11.2) POST-MARKETING SURVEILLANCE In order to scrutinize the compliance of this rule, the Ministry was asked to furnish PSURs in respect of 42 randomly selected new drugs. Since files in respect of three drugs were reportedly missing, PSURs should have been supplied for the balance 39 drugs. The Committee is, however, constrained to note that PSURs in respect of only 8 drugs were submitted by the Ministry. The Committee was informed that 14 drugs though approved were not being marketed or were launched lately and hence PSURs would be expected later. There was no explanation for not submitting PSURs in respect of rest of 17 drugs. (Para 12.2) Out of 14 drugs that were reported to be either not yet launched or lately launched, the Committee discovered that, at least, two products (FDC of glucosamine with ibuprofen; and moxonidine) were indeed in the market for some time and concerned manufacturers should have submitted PSURs. But the Committee has not been given any explanation for non-submission of PSURs for these two drugs. (Para 12.3) The Committee observed that even, in those cases where the PSURs were submitted, the frequency and/or format was not as per rules. In the case of two drugs of MNCs (dronedarone of Sanofi Aventis and pemetrexid of Eli Lilly), the PSURs were neither India specific nor in the approved format as required by law. Some companies submitted PSURs for the products being marketed in the country but very few PSURs were India-specific. (Para 12.4) The Committee is of the firm view that there is a poor follow-up of side effects in Indian patients both by doctors and manufacturers. The objective of PSURs is to collect information about adverse effects on patients in India which would help to determine ethnic differences, if any and result in dosage adjustment, revision of precautions and warnings, if necessary. The Committee takes strong exception to such rampant violation of the mandatory requirements. (Para 12.5) The Committee strongly recommends that the Ministry should direct CDSCO to send a stern warning to all manufacturers of new drugs to comply with mandatory rules on PSURs or face suspension of Marketing Approval. PSURs should be submitted in CDSCO-approved format which would help track adverse effects discovered in Indian ethnic groups. (Para 12.6) PHARMACOVIGILANCE The Committee feels that the conventional system of locating side effects through spontaneous reporting by doctors to either drug companies or drug regulators has been found to be unsatisfactory. The most effective system is by controlled post-marketing Phase IV studies on a very large number of patients. In the past decade, all the major adverse effects that led to banning of drugs were identified in large scale Phase IV trials. The Ministry may wish to consider the possibility of using this format in the country. (Para 13.3) UPDATION OF INFORMATION ON MARKETED DRUGS The Committee feels that unless information on marketed drugs is continuously updated, there is risk of irrational or inappropriate use of medicines putting patients at risk. The Committee, therefore, recommends that immediate steps need to be taken to address this issue. The CDSCO should be directed to continuously update monographs based on information from regulatory authorities the world over. (Para 14.3) SPURIOUS/SUB-STANDARD DRUGS A drug can be categorized ‘Not of Standard Quality’ for a variety of both major and minor technical reasons such as not stating the name of the pharmacopoeia correctly, problem with quality of bonding agent, colouring agent, dissolution time, etc. However, there are other more serious cases, where the active ingredient is significantly less in quantity that can harm patients. Therefore, this problem needs to be addressed with all the seriousness that it deserves both by more rigorous checks in procuring bulk drugs (particularly from developing countries with not so stringent quality checks and export controls) and by in-house quality control by manufacturers or solving the problem in transportation and/or storage at Distribution/retail levels. (Para 15.4) By the time a sample is tested, a large number of packs get sold out with undeterminable injury to patients. There is no effective method of recalling unsold stocks lying in the distribution network. This cannot be allowed to go on. (Para 15.5) The Committee feels that there should be severe punishment for manufacturing and for allowing sub-standard drugs to enter the distribution chain. Products with severe deficiencies should be penalized the same way as producers of spurious drugs by amending rules. There is also a case to incorporate penal provisions for manufacturing misbranded and adulterated drugs. (Para 15.6) It is known that retail chemists also stock and sell items other than drugs including chocolates, cold drinks etc. During summer these items are stored in the refrigerator while due to paucity of space temperature-sensitive medicines may be lying outside. When samples are picked up, tested and found to be sub-standard, the State Drug Authorities blame and prosecute manufacturers. Therefore the Committee recommends that specifically in the case of temperature sensitive products such as insulins, due consideration should be given to the reference samples of the same batch preserved by the manufacturers. (Para 15.7) The Committee is extremely anxious on both counts: such hugely costly imported drugs losing their potency before use and the possibility of fakes entering the chain. It is strange that multinational drug companies that have well staffed marketing offices in India, instead of importing drugs from their overseas affiliates and selling them are using traders to handle this activity. Apart from risk to patients, there is leakage of revenue to income tax. While the promotional expenses on imported formulations are being paid by the Indian branch of MNCs thus reducing income tax liability, there is no corresponding income since traders are paying directly to overseas offices of MNCs. The Committee would like the Ministry to ensure that in cases where MNCs have offices in India, traders are not permitted to import formulations of such companies. The Committee would like to be kept informed of the steps taken on this issue. (Para 15.9) The Committee recommends that once a batch of a drug is found to be sub-standard and reported to CDSCO, it should issue a press release forthwith and even insert paid advertisements in the newspapers apart from uploading the information on the CDSCO website. Retail chemists should be advised to stop selling unsold stocks and return the same to local Drugs Inspectors as per rules. The Committee understands that at least two State Drug Authorities, that of Maharashtra and Kerala, have taken the initiative to upload information on spurious and sub-standard drugs on their websites on a monthly basis. These are welcome measures worth emulating by other states and the Centre. (Para 15.11) ADVERTISING OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN THE LAY MEDIA The Committee would like the Ministry to take appropriate action against the companies that have advertised the above Schedule H drugs in the lay press. The provisions in the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act are not stringent enough with the result that manufacturers violate them at will. It also recommends that apart from giving sharper teeth to the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, a provision should also be incorporated in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules to ban such practices and penalize offenders. The Committee would like to be informed of the action taken to implement these recommendations. (Para 16.2) CONSUMER INFORMATION The Committee is of the firm opinion that accurate information on drugs for patients is absolutely essential to prevent inappropriate use more particularly in children, elderly, during pregnancy and lactation. The Committee recommends that the matter may be looked into to ensure that consumers have the required information to use medicines safely. Given the widespread internet connectivity, it is advisable to devise a system where patients can get unbiased information on drugs at the click of the mouse in any language. (Para 17.3) CLINICAL TRIALS ON NEW DRUGS Due to the sensitive nature of clinical trials in which foreign companies are involved in a big way and a wide spectrum of ethical issues and legal angles, different aspects of Clinical trials need a thorough and in-depth review. This Committee has, accordingly, taken it up as a subject for detailed examination separately under the heading ‘Clinical Trials of Drugs’. (Para 18.2) Source:- 1. 64.100.47.5/newcommittee/reports/EnglishCommittees/.../59.pdf 2. http://ijme.in/articles/standing-committee-report-on-cdsco-hard-facts-confirm-an-open-secret/?galley=html
  12. ashakantasharma

    Timebound Justice

    Timebound Justice 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: Main suggestions: 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. Secondary suggestions: 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. Shailesh Gandhi Former Central Information Commissioner. http://satyamevajayate.info/2017/08/30/timebound-justice/
  13. ashakantasharma

    The Times of India (Delhi) - 70K Judges

    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 SHAILESH GANDHI 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: MYTH 1: 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. FACT: 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. MYTH 2: 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 . FACT: 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. MYTH 3: We need 70,000 judges instead of the sanctioned 21,542 to clear the backlog. FACT: 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. MYTH 4: The government is solely at fault for not appointing enough judges. FACT: 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. MYTH 5: Unless major judicial reforms take place, the backlog will remain. FACT: Judicial reforms will help, but a simple, doable solution exists already . All it takes is will. MYTH 6: The judiciary cannot force the government to fill vacancies. FACT: 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. SHAILESH GANDHI The writer is a former central information commissioner http://satyamevajayate.info/2017/08/30/toi-70k-judges/
  14. ashakantasharma

    Right to Information and Good Governance

    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. (1) Participation 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. (2) Accessibility 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. (3) Transparency 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. (4) Accountability 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. (5) Empowerment 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.
  15. What are the powers and functions of Information Commissions? Complaints 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. Appeals Section-19 - (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 Commission: 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 officials; (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. Penalties Section-20 - (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 Information Officer. (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. http://www.cic.gov.in/who-are-we
  16. ashakantasharma

    Who introduced RTI?

    Who was the main person behind the idea of introduction of RTI in India ?
  17. Which was the first country in the world to adopt a law giving individuals the right to access information held by public bodies?
  18. ashakantasharma

    RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT: CHALLENGES

    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 ACT: CHALLENGES Since came into force on 15th June, 2005 Right to Information act has been successfully working in most of the Indian states. The act is enacted by the state government of Tamilnadu (1997), Rajasthan (2000), Delhi (2001), Maharashtra (2002), Karnataka (2002), Assam (2002), Madhya Pradesh (2003), and Jammu & Kashmir (2004). Research studies shows that in their operation area the Right to Information act has been facing many severe challenges. These are as follows:- (a) Low level of awareness among people is the major challenge before successful implementation of Right to Information act. People, particularly in remote areas are not concerned with the Right to Information act. The research studies observe that the major sources of awareness are - (1) Mass media like- television channels, newspapers, magazines, journals etc. (2) Word of mouth. The nodal agency specifically the state government has not taken any potential step to promote Right to Information act. (b) Illiteracy and poverty is another major challenge before successful implementation of Right to Information act. Right to Information act has does not have any meaning for a Persons who does not have enough money to live, who is not educated and who does not have freedom. In fact, their first requirement is the right to live (right to eat, right to work and right to shelter) and then Right to Information. (c) Most of the uneducated even educated peoples do not have the proper knowledge about public Information officers, the procedure of paying fees and to get information. (d) Non-availability of user guide is another main challenge before successful RTI act implementation. Absence of user guide creates difficulty on the part of the Information seekers to gather knowledge about the process for submitting a RTI request. (e) Lack of commitment in efficient record management both state and central government instructions posing challenge before successful implementation of RTI act. (f) Due to the lack of efficient record management system, the public Information Officers face difficulty to get accurate and easy access of information from the concerned department, so that it can be provided to information seekers. (g) The non-cooperation from the part of bureaucracy is another major hurdle before RTI act implementation in India. The ―Babu type mentality (colonial mindset) makes them to use information as their own prerogative. Sometimes for their vested interest or to show their superiority, the bureaucrats do not want to disclose the basic information to citizens. (h) Bureaucracy also hides information for fear of criticism and to give a good image of them before public. (i) Lack of effective coordination and cooperation among state information commissioners and the non cooperation of departments with PIO hinder the process of smooth implementation of RTI act. (j) Lack of monitoring and review mechanism also hampers in successful implementation of RTI act in India. (k) The limited use of technology has hindered effective implementation of RTI act. Except in a few states no effective IT system have been establish to monitor and report on the disposal of application by public authorities. (l) The implementation of RTI act is uneven. It is not equally implemented to all the states. Therefore, awareness level also differs from state to state. In states like Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab the awareness level about RTI act is high, on the other hand awareness of people in Gujrat, Madhyapradesh, Jharkhand and UP is not high. Moreover different rules for different states especially on fees and costs make the RTI filing ineffective. (m) Generally, it is observed that retired bureaucrats are being appointed for the post of highest level of RTI officials i.e. the information commission at the central and state levels. These commissions are the independent of the government. Activists are of the opinion that these officials often show sympathetic attitude towards their fellow babus. (n) Non-availability of basic infrastructure is another serious hurdle before RTI implementation. The smooth implementation of RTI act requires the Public Information Officers (PIO) to provide information to the applicant through photocopies, soft copies etc. Though these facilities are easily accessible at districts level, but it is a challenge to get information form the block/Panchayat level. PIO claims that lack of infrastructure blockade RTI implementation at block level. Recommendations/Suggestions for effective implementation of RTI act- (a) As stated above due to ignorance, most of people have not heard about RTI act. To tackle this issue government should allocate huge fund for publicity budget of RTI act. However, this fund should be spent through central Information commission. (b) Publicity is very essential for RTI implementation. NGO‘s and civil society groups can take initiative to make massive awareness campaign to educate citizen about RTI act. This awareness programme may be at national, state and block level. Before making awareness programmes, the NGO‘s and CSC groups must identify the target i.e. vulnerable categories of citizens specifically- women, farmers and families, middle and working class. In this regard media and newspaper can play an effective role. (c) Children are considered resources for the future health of a nation. Therefore, RTI act should be added in the school syllabus to arouse curiosity of children about RTI at the grass-root level. (d) As the nodal administrative authority at the district level, every deputy commissioner and district collectors must be given responsibility of monitoring and implementation of RTI act by various departmental authorities within the respective district. (e) State Administrative Training institute can organize appropriate training intervention for the stakeholders. (f) There should be efficient and scientific record keeping agency so that applicants can get accurate information. Without modernizing and digitizing management of information and record providing information would take several days often exceeding the legal deadlines. (g) Government departments should be entrusted responsibility to make the implementation of RTI easy for applicants seeking information rather than tough procedures. (h) Inculcation of political will is necessary for judicious working of RTI act. The Bureaucrats must come forward to help the aggrieved citizens. (i) It is the moral responsibility of the government to protect RTI activists and users and to take legal action against the attackers. (j) There is also need strong and robust monitoring and evaluation system. It will help periodically review implementation of the law and provide feedback to government agencies to address the shortcomings. (k) There should be proper coordination among state information commissioner and departments for the effective implementation of RTI act. (l) It is a recognized fact that for enabling and effective implementation of RTI act, the central and state information commissions need to strengthen their technical and IT capability. (m) Fast action to be taken to integrate different websites of all information commissions through a common IT gateway or national portal on RTI. This will prove to be grateful to common citizens. (n) Chief information commissioners should have frequent interaction with all information commissioners so that approach of all information commissioners may be similar in dealing with appeals/complaints before them. (o) According to the act it is mandatory to provide the information in the given time frame of 30 days. Since the information system is not integrated, therefore it becomes difficult to provide information in the given time. Moreover, many departments could not prepare themselves to respond according to the act. (p) Exemption provides under section 24 to the security and intelligence agencies are irrational and contrary to national interest. This exemption should be removed not by amendment of the act but by withdrawing the list of notified agencies in the 2nd schedule of the RTI act. (q) Training of officials of all departments and representatives of public authorities is essentially required so that they are made aware of their duties and obligations under the act. (r) Government of India should set up a National RTI council, which has members, people from various states, so that problems in implementation the RTI can be monitored regularly. (s) Last but not the least, political influence may anomalies in the functions of high level officials, so they have to maintain integrity by ignoring the vested interest. CONCLUSION Thus it can be rightly mentioned that Right to Information act is an agent of good governance. It makes administration more accountable to the people. It makes people aware of administration and gives them an opportunity to take part in decision making process. It promoted democratic ideology by promoting openness and transparency in the administration. It reduces the chances of corruption and abuse of authority by public servants. Since the act is prepared for people‘s interest, hence it success also depends on how they exercise the act. Moreover, there is need active participation from people, NGO‘s, civil society groups, coordination among RTI officials, integrity among government departments and political will from government and elected leaders.
  19. ashakantasharma

    Delivery Of Justice

    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[1]. 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.[2] The summary of this analysis is tabulated below[3]. 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. Shailesh Gandhi Former Central Information Commissioner, shaileshgan@gmail.com +91-89762-40798 http://satyamevajayate.info/2017/08/30/delivery-of-justice/
  20. ashakantasharma

    Why Is India So Obsessed with GDP Growth?

    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? https://socialissuesindia.wordpress.com/india-needs-real-development-not-gdp-growth/
  21. 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 Demographic Transition 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. Acknowledgement 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. https://soapboxie.com/world-politics/Population-Development-What-Kerala-can-Teach-India-and-China
  22. 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. Sahayog 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. Summary 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! https://hubpages.com/politics/Population-of-India-Womens-Empowerment-is-the-Best-Contraceptive
  23. 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. Cultural Norms 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. Economics 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.” Health 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. Violence 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 Promote Education 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. Strengthen Laws 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. https://hubpages.com/politics/child-marriages-sustain-poverty
  24. 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! Income Poverty Health poverty Education Poverty Moral Poverty Ethical Poverty Environmental Poverty Relationship Poverty Emotional Poverty 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? Human Development 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. https://hubpages.com/education/Poverty-is-Multidimensional-So-should-be-Development
  25. ashakantasharma

    8 Reasons Why India Is so Poor

    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. 2. Illiteracy 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. 3. Population 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. 7. Corruption 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. Conclusion 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. https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Reasons-Why-India-is-So-Poor
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