LOK SATTA NATIONAL CAMPAIGN
144. There shall be a Lok Satta National Campaign. The National Campaign shall have membership as follows:
i) State campaigns of all states and union territories shall have one elected member each represented in the National Campaign.
ii) Individuals who fulfill the conditions of membership may be directly enrolled as members of the National Campaign.
iii) The National Campaign may invite eminent individuals of outstanding record of service and nation- wide recognition for their achievements to be its members. Such invited members shall not exceed 50 in number.
145. All representative members of State Campaign territories shall have together 2/3 of the total voting strength. If the total voting strength is presumed to be 100, then the representatives of State Campaigns together will have a voting strength of 67. This voting strength shall be distributed among representatives of State Campaigns in proportion to the number of Lok Satta primary units operating in each state or union territory. All the other members together shall have the voting strength of 33, each member having a voting strength of 33/x, x being the total number of the other members.
Membership fee and other contributions
146. i) Each State Campaign shall pay to the National Campaign a membership fee equal to 25% of the membership fee received by it.
ii) Each directly enrolled member shall pay to the National Campaign a membership fee of Rs.1,000 per month or Rs.10,000 a year if paid in lump sum at the beginning of the year.
iii) Invited members need not pay any membership fee.
The National Campaign may raise funds from all Indian individuals and institutions in furtherance of the objectives of Lok Satta. All contributions shall be acknowledged publicly under receipt and annual statement of accounts shall be submitted to the National Campaign. A true statement of accounts shall be available for public scrutiny.
147. Functioning of national campaign
The National Campaign shall elect a President,a Vice President, a Secretary and a Treasurer and such other number of office bearers as are required in a limited number for effective functioning.The National Campaign shall have an elected Executive Committee, in which all office-bearers shall be ex-officio members, with the President of the National Campaign as the Chairman of the Executive Committee. The National Campaign shall have an office of its own with a secretariat to support its activities. The National Campaign shall coordinate and monitor the activities of all State Campaigns and all Lok Satta organizations in the whole country.
The National Campaign shall closely monitor the national level institutions of state and their functioning and continuously bring pressure to correct the deficiencies and distortions. The National Campaign will work to build a national consensus around the agenda for the rejuvenation of our republic.
The National Campaign shall create a body of literature in all languages of the country to facilitate easy replication and distribution in order to promote public understanding of state institutions and the need for reform. It will launch a nation-wide media campaign in favour of the national agenda by constantly focussing attention on lessons drawn from contemporary events, pointing out deficiencies and distortions in the functioning of the state institutions and promoting consensus for the larger constitutional reform.
The National Campaign shall also prepare appropriate campaign literature in the form of audio visual communication to facilitate mass education and wide-spread public debate.
The National Campaign shall also enlist the support of the media - both print and electronic-at every level, and all other influential individuals and institutions in favour of the reform agenda.
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LOK SATTA MOVEMENT -
FIRST PHASE - ORGANIZATION BUILDING
149. In the first phase of the Lok Satta movement for national transformation, over a period of about 2 to 4 years, the nation-wide network of stake holders' groups would have been created with the generic name of Lok Satta. Wherever existing voluntary organizations broadly agree with the objectives of the movement, they would have been integrated with the Lok Satta network for the period of the movement, even as they retain their identity, structure and concerns. As each Lok Satta primary unit is expected to have a membership of 25 to 50 and there will be about 50 to 100 such primary units in every district of India depending on its size and response, it is expected that about 2000 to 3000 individual members would be participating in Lok Satta in every district. In the more than 500 districts in India,there will thus be a total member-ship of 10 lakhs to 15 lakhs.In effect, there will be one member for atleast every 1000 population on an average.Thus, Lok Satta primary units would have been well-spread through out the length and breadth of India, giving it enormous reach and influence.
150. Lok Satta primary units, along with the District, State and National Campaigns, would have expended enormous energy and effort to understand the nature of failure of the institutions of state by constant monitoring and relentless application of pressure along with effective nation-wide media campaign. There would be some tangible improvement in the delivery of services to the people. People would be encouraged to transcend their local and narrow loyalties, thus paving way for democratic consciousness based on enlightened collective self-interest. Most of all, members, through their own experience, would have broadly understood the need for comprehensive reform and the logic of each element of reform advocated.
151. Thus, within a period of about two to four years, literature and campaign material would have been fully developed, a nation-wide well-spread out network would be in place and an army of more than a million concerned citizens with considerable experience and conviction would be available for launching the next phase of Lok Satta movement. Efforts of Lok Satta network would have already prepared large segments of the country and given them the insights into the nature of each state institution and the logic of reform contemplated. It is reasonable to assume that the million-strong Lok Satta would have had an impact on about 20 to 30 million people in turn during these years of building of Lok Satta organization.
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LOK SATTA MOVEMENT -
SECOND PHASE - INTENSIVE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR REFORMS
152. Once the network as contemplated in Phase I is fully in place,a vigorous national movement will be launched in favour of the comprehensive national agenda for reform. This phase will be of a few months' duration, not exceeding about one year. The vast network of Lok Satta family throughout the country will be fully involved in concerted action to effectively communicate with and mobilize the citizens to exert pressure on all political parties, governments, parliament and state legislatures to bring about the necessary reform.
153. While demanding comprehensive national reform,thefollowing key elements of the strategy shall be strictly adhered to:
1. The movement shall be totally non-partisan and shall neither support nor oppose any party or group in or out of power.
2. The movement shall not single out any group or class of persons as villains, but will emphasize that all segments of population including those in power are victims of a vicious cycle in varying degrees.
3. People in power or in legislatures shall not be attacked and their right to continue in office while people's mandate lasts shall be recognized and respected.
4. The movement shall apply all democratic and constitutional methods without taking recourse to violence.
5. The movement shall neither aspire for,nor seek power or public office.
6. Lok Satta movement will only emphasize the obvious by exposing the crisis of the Indian state,and wide-spread disenchantment with the instruments of governance. This will be done by articulating the reform agenda, utilizing the nation-wide base and appealing to the general national yearning for transformation. LOK SATTA will unequivocally demand implementation of the reform agenda without threatening the survival of the governments and the legislatures.
154. Lok Satta, during this short,intensive campaign and mass
mobilization, will certainly hope that those in power will have
the wisdom, will and vision to recognize the failure of the
Indian state and work for the transformation of the Republic in
accordance with the will of the people as demonstrated by the
broad consensus around the national agenda. Even if those in
power prove to be short-sighted and unconcerned about the future
of the nation, the purpose of the movement would be well-served
by capturing the imagination of the people and making them aware
of the need for comprehensive reform.
155. One of the saddest feature of modern India is that the youngsters are increasingly bereft of hope. Large sections of our population have little to look forward to and are falling prey to despair and cynicism. Even as many individuals are concerned about the future, they are all passive and paralyzed into inaction by the fear that no one else cares and there is no way out. The second phase of the movement would be able to convince millions of such Indians that citizens throughout the country are equally concerned and that there is a viable national agenda with broad consensus in place. Such wide-spread awareness, coupled with the confidence that millions are working for the agenda will have an electrifying impact, which will make the transformation of our governance structure imminent and inevitable.
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LOK SATTA MOVEMENT -
FINAL PHASE - REFERENDUM
156. We hope that the governing classes including political parties, will have the wisdom and vision to listen to the voice of the people and implement the agenda for national reform during the second Phase of the movement. If, however, they continue to be obsessed with power games unrelated to public good and prefer to preside over the liquidation of the Republic, unconcerned by the magnitude of the crisis and the popular demand for reform, then we have to directly appeal to the ultimate sovereign in a democracy,viz., the people. As is well-recognized, sovereign power in a democracy vests in the people. This power is exercised by the elected government and legislatures on behalf of the people, to the limited extent that the people transfer such power to them. It necessarily follows that the people always retain the power to directly express their will on any issue fundamental to governance. Such expression of will can be in the form of a call for referendum, whereby all the people directly participate and decide on the proper course of action on vital national issues. The referendum on `Proposition 209' in the state of California in the United States in 1996, the referendum in Austria in 1980s on the use of nuclear energy, many referendums in the Western Europe on the issue of joining European Economic Community -- in the UK in the 1970s, in Norway and France in the 1990s and several other such exercises of people's power at local or national levels, bear ample testimony to such inherent power of the people irrespective of constitutional provisions, and its frequent recourse in mature democracies.
157. Therefore, in the final Phase of Lok Satta movement, we must advocate and achieve a national referendum on the need for comprehensive reform. The people can be given a simple and easily understood choice between status quo and fundamental reform. If they are happy with the existing state institutions and their functioning, then they can opt for maintaining the status quo. If they believe that the situation warrants a fundamental reform, then they may opt for such transformation. Depending on the timing, the referendum can be combined with a national general election, or it can be independent of the election process. Either way, Lok Satta movement must powerfully articulate and achieve such a referendum using all mass mobilization techniques available in a democracy, and harnessing the people's yearning for change and deep dissatisfaction with the failure of the institutions of governance. The ever-increasing instability at various levels, increasing paralysis in most governments,decreasing room for manoeuvring on the part of those in power, mounting public anger on account of perceived failure of institutions of state and the obvious unsustainability of status quo -- will all ensure that a national referendum will be the only logical, viable, peaceful and democratic way to transform and rejuvenate our republic.
158. Even today, if a referendum is held, the majority of Indians will no doubt seek fundamental change. However, we need time to achieve two objectives. First, the conditions must be created for going to the people in the form of a referendum. Second, there must be a broad consensus on the essential elements of national reform agenda. Otherwise, while most of the people seek change, few understand the nature of the transformation needed,and it is impossible to bring cohesion into such a cacophony. Once a referendum is held in the final phase of Lok Satta movement, the result will be a conclusive and emphatic endorsement of the call for transformation of the Indian state, the practical meaning of which will be the creation of the Second Indian Republic. In such an event, either the existing parliament will have to convert itself into a new Constituent Assembly or the parliament elected along with the referendum will function as the Constituent Assembly.
159. Once the basic objectives of transformation of the Indian state and creation of the new republic based on the first principles of democratic governance are achieved, Lok Satta movement will have no further goals. Individual units of Lok Satta at the primary, district, state and national levels may continue to function as permanent watchdogs over the state institutions. Such a powerful body with clarity of purpose, democratic functioning, and adherence to the first principles of true self-governance and empowerment, will be an effective bulwark against abuse of authority. In effect, Lok Satta will act as a permanent citizens' campaign for constant improvement and reforms. The voluntary organizations, which decided temporarily to integrate with Lok Satta, using the same name even as they retained their own local identity and goals, may all decide individually their future course of action. Depending on their choice, they may continue to be a part of the family of Lok Satta, or dissociate themselves from it and pursue their organizational objectives, as they deem fit.
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OF THE HOUR
160. Any effort to rejuvenate the Indian Republic demands the concerted and well-coordinated action of all concerned individuals and groups throughout the length and breadth of the country. The inchoate discontent of millions of concerned citizens must be channelized constructively and creatively for the larger national goal of comprehensive governance reform. There are many disparate individuals and institutions throughout the country with a clear perception of our problems and potential, unblemished integrity, proven record of service, passion to reform our governance structure and courage to face adversity. However, most such people are working in splendid isolation, even though their concerns are broadly similar.
From Isolated Action to Pan-Indian Movement
161. In order to accomplish peaceful, democratic, holistic reform of Indian democratic institutions, the first task should be to bring all these concerned and dedicated individuals and groups together in a non-partisan manner. The present limited concerns of these groups must be enlarged by establishing the nexus between their immediate goals and larger national reform agenda. These individuals and groups must be persuaded to work together and launch step-by-step action in furtherance of the over all objective of holistic reform of institutions of governance. The millions of concerned Indians must be invited to participate in this endeavour without having to pay an unacceptably high price in personal terms. They must be encouraged to devote their surplus energy, time, talent and resources in a sustained and productive manner effectively. Such an organized effort should have clearly defined goals, and the day to day activities must be chalked out with meticulous precision.
162. The launching of such a pan-national democratic reform movement must necessarily be non-partisan. The agenda must be broadly acceptable to all segments of the country without alienating any group. In other words, every segment of society must recognize its own stakes in the national agenda as advocated. In order to give impetus to the movement, facilitate participation of all Indians and generate the necessary synergies, the reform movement must have an easily understood and recognizable name applicable throughout the country, which broadly expresses the objective of the movement. The organization must have a network from grassroots to national level, allowing sufficient flexibility to suit the local needs and conditions. The organization must be totally democratic and transparent.
Consensus - Building Minimal Reform Agenda
163. The Strategy outlined in the preceding chapters is merely a model which can serve as a starting point to stimulate further discussion and concrete action. The agenda advocated has the twin advantages of the broadest measure of public support and minimal intervention, even as it addresses the fundamental crisis in our democracy. Highly contentious and divisive issues have been deliberately excluded from the national agenda despite their obvious importance. This exclusion is necessary because a consensus around such issues is not possible on account of conflicting interests of various groups and significant irreconcilable differences. All such contentious issues must be left to the normal competitive political process, so that the government of the day can take decisions in the light of its best judgement, keeping in view the prevailing public opinion, and the political and economic imperatives as on that day.
164. With this objective of identifying the minimal, consensus-building reforms capable of rejuvenating our republic, six essential items are emphasized in the agenda. They are democratization of our political parties to make them transparent, accountable and inclusive; clear separation of executive from legislature; effective checks and safeguards to prevent abuse of executive authority at all levels; genuine decentralization of local self-governance system to facilitate fusion of authority with accountability and to establish a clear nexus between the vote and welfare of the citizens; bureaucratic reform to make administration truly responsive and accountable; and measures to make speedy, efficient, affordable and accessible justice a reality.
165. Already a broad measure of consensus is available among all political parties, social activists and thinkers in our country on most of the reforms outlined. Since the essential theme of these reforms is to make governance citizen-centered, and to ensure empowerment and effective participation of the people, the name LOK SATTA which signifies the meaning "POWER TO PEOPLE" is suggested for this movement as well as the organization. Such a national movement requires the participation of all sections of people from the grassroots level, federalizing at district, state and national levels. Accordingly, an appropriate organizational structure is advocated to suit the twin requirements of democratic functioning and local flexibility.
166. The National Campaign of LOK SATTA for democratic reforms involving all sections of people must be spearheaded by a nucleus comprising of five groups.These groups are the LOK SATTA groups federalizing at the national level; the voluntary social action groups with well-established reputation throughout the country, the eminent and highly respected leaders of contemporary democratic reform movements in the country; the surviving members of the Constituent Assembly; and eminent thinkers and public opinion makers in various walks of life.
Lok Satta Campaign
167. It is proposed to organize LOK SATTA Campaign in selected states initially. There is a certain spread of these ideas among the intellectuals and enlightened sections in Andhra Pradesh. Suitable base exists in most districts of Andhra Pradesh to launch the District Campaigns by April, 1997. It is proposed to register LOK SATTA as a society by March, 1997 and to launch the District Campaigns, followed immediately by Three day work shops in each district. These workshops will facilitate intensive interaction among all the members with a view to understand the precise nature of the agenda advocated, the organizational structure contemplated and the most suitable method of functioning at the local level. The work shops will be followed by organization of LOK SATTA primary units at grassroots level. The critical mass required is about 50-100 grassroots primary units in every district, involving about one person in every thousand population. Initially, as many primary units as possible will be launched. It is expected that on an average there will be about 5-10 primary units in each district in the initial phase. There will be a State Campaign for Andhra Pradesh coordinating the functioning of LOK SATTA in the state. All LOK SATTA units will function on sound democratic principles.
168. In the months of May and June, 1997, it is proposed to work with voluntary social action groups and eminent individuals in five targeted states, namely Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. In these states the appeal will be made to the local groups to launch respective State Campaigns of LOK SATTA if they are broadly in agreement with national agenda. This will be followed by a National Convention of LOK SATTA in the month of July.
Voluntary Social Action Groups
169. There are many voluntary organizations throughout the country with proven track record of distinguished public service. Many of them have brought about significant improvement in the lives of the local people. They have considerable experience at the grassroots level and high credibility. However, after achieving impressive results in pursuance of their chosen objectives, many such voluntary organizations are in a quandary. They realize that the positive results achieved by them are necessary, but not sufficient to improve the quality of life of the people to the desire extent. Many such voluntary organizations are broadly convinced that larger governance reform is critical for improved delivery of services, better quality of life, and most of all, genuine democratic participation.
170. LOK SATTA movement should enlist the support and participation of these voluntary movements in the country. It should appeal to all the voluntary organizations to retain their existing identity, organizational structure, local status, funding pattern and goals. If they broadly agree with the National Agenda articulated by LOK SATTA, these voluntary organizations may be requested to consider accepting the additional identity of LOK SATTA, without giving up their original identity.
171. There are many advantages in this approach. The strength, experience, insights and credibility of these organizations will be harnessed for the larger national cause. The synergies brought out on account of their participation in the larger national movement will give the individual organizations greater strength and protection derived from the larger nation-wide network with the same name. As LOK SATTA will be a democratic and flexible body, the voluntary organizations will be able to make a meaningful contribution to the evolution of LOK SATTA movement without compromising their own identity. The participation of voluntary organizations in LOK SATTA movement will not impose on them any reciprocal obligation of accepting LOK SATTA's intervention in their functioning. Finally the voluntary organizations will always retain their right to withdraw from the LOK SATTA movement whenever they feel it is necessary.
Eminent Activists and Leaders of Various Reform Movements
172. There are many eminent, highly visible, respected and dedicated leaders in India, whose non-partisan functioning and record of service made them symbols of national struggle for democratic reform. The concerns of these eminent leaders are directly or indirectly linked to the quality of our governance and the nature of our democracy. LOK SATTA must humbly and earnestly solicit their leadership, guidance, support and participation in the movement for the rejuvenation of the republic.
We must appeal to these leaders to come together and give a direction to the movement. If they agree, they will launch the National Campaign of LOK SATTA along with the other groups and provide democratic leadership and direction to it. The National Campaign will decide finally the name of the organization and the movement, the agenda and the organizational structure and method of functioning.
Surviving Members of the Constituent Assembly
173. The people of India are fortunate to have in our midst several surviving members of the Constituent Assembly, who are among the tallest Indians alive. These great Indians have led exemplary lives of dedication to the public cause, sacrificed for the freedom of the country and significantly contributed to the evolution of modern India. All of them are deeply distressed with the distortions of contemporary India and the enormous chasm between the hopes of our founding fathers and the reality today. The nation needs the leadership, vision and wisdom of these great Indians in launching the National Campaign for reform, which in effect will be the Second Freedom Struggle for the rejuvenation of our republic. The moral authority of these elder statesmen, combined with their enormous experience, insights and knowledge will galvanize the Indian people into meaningful, well-directed, cohesive action for democratic reform.
Eminent Public Opinion Makers
174. There are many eminent Indians, whose contributions in various walks of life over the years, clarity of thought, and intellectual accomplishments have given them the national stature which transcends ideological barriers, and linguistic and regional differences. All such eminent Indians must be relentlessly persuaded to give direction to the National Campaign and to participate in it vigorously.
175. The National Convention proposed in July must involve as many individuals and organizations from these five groups as possible. This National Convention must finalize an unambiguous agenda, and a name and structure for the organization as well as the movement. Such a National Convention should be followed by the formal launching of the National Campaign on the 15th August, 1997. Completion of fifty years as an independent nation is a momentous occasion that calls for both celebration and introspection. Given the comprehensive failure of institutions of governance and the deep discontent in almost all segments of our population, the Golden Jubilee of Indian Independence will be a fitting occasion to launch the people's National Campaign for democratic reform of our institutions of governance.
176. on 15th August 1997, there can be a suitable celebration in one of the major cities of India with the participation of all the groups, and a call from the finest Indians to the nation to join hands in the Second Freedom Struggle. The National Campaign will be launched with a nationally-recognized name applicable everywhere, a clearly defined agenda which is approved at the National Convention in July'97, and an organizational structure which is accessible to all concerned Indians who desire to contribute their mite to the national cause. Such a celebration and introspection, with the tallest Indians participating, will be a fitting launching pad for the movement, and will galvanize all concerned Indians into purposive, cohesive, well-directed action to rejuvenate the republic.
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C O N
C L U S I O N
The task is difficult, but vital. The struggle is hard, but necessary. The risks are high,but cannot be avoided. The effort will demand all our courage, resourcefulness and endurance. We must work for such a movement with the sure knowledge that people want reform, and if we fail to translate their frustration and anger into a constructive reform movement, the nation will have to forsake peace,freedom and unity, and at least a generation or more will needlessly suffer pain, anguish and misery on a scale unprecedented in human history. If we attempt reform earnestly and design institutions wisely, the reform movement will surely succeed in a few years' time and the Indian people will build a nation of peace,freedom and unity, a nation that will play its rightful role globally in keeping with its size, history and civilization, and will promote happiness of its citizens internally. As some one said with prescience, there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. This is the time for a holistic reform of our governance structure,to build a strong, democratic, self-governing India, with all its citizens enjoying peace, freedom and harmony. History beckons us.
Jaya Prakash Narayan
E-mail @ - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit @ - www.loksatta.org
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