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Lokpal Bill to curb corruption

Existing System

System Proposed by civil society

No politician or senior officer ever goes to jail despite huge evidence because Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) and CBI directly come under the government. Before starting investigation or prosecution in any case, they have to take permission from the same bosses, against whom the case has to be investigated.

Lokpal at centre andLokayukta at state level will be independent bodies.ACB and CBI will be merged into these bodies. They will have power to initiate investigations and prosecution against any officer or politician without needing anyone’s permission. Investigation should be completed within 1 year and trial to get over in next 1 year. Within two years, the corrupt should go to jail.

No corrupt officer is dismissed from the job because Central Vigilance Commission, which is supposed to dismiss corrupt officers, is only an advisory body. Whenever it advises government to dismiss any senior corrupt officer, its advice is never implemented.

Lokpal andLokayukta will have complete powers to order dismissal of a corrupt officer. CVC and all departmental vigilance will be merged intoLokpal and state vigilance will be merged into Lokayukta.

No action is taken against corrupt judges because permission is required from the Chief Justice of India to even register an FIR against corrupt judges.

Lokpal &Lokayukta shall have powers to investigate and prosecute any judge without needing anyone’s permission.

Nowhere to go - People expose corruption but no action is taken on their complaints.

Lokpal &Lokayukta will have to enquire into and hear every complaint.

There is so much corruption within CBI and vigilance departments . Their functioning is so secret that it encourages corruption within these agencies.

All investigations inLokpal &Lokayukta shall be transparent. After completion of investigation, all case records shall be open to public. Complaint against any staff ofLokpal &Lokayukta shall be enquired and punishment announced within two months.

Weak and corrupt people are appointed as heads of anti-corruption agencies.

Politicians will have absolutely no say in selections of Chairperson and members ofLokpal & Lokayukta. Selections will take place through a transparent and public participatory process.

Citizens face harassment in government offices. Sometimes they are forced to pay bribes. One can only complaint to senior officers. No action is taken on complaints because senior officers also get their cut.

Lokpal &Lokayukta will get public grievances resolved in time bound manner , impose a penalty ofRs 250 per day of delay to be deducted from the salary of guilty officer and award that amount as compensation to the aggrieved citizen.

Nothing in law to recover ill gotten wealth. A corrupt person can come out of jail and enjoy that money.

Loss caused to the government due to corruption will be recovered from all accused.

Small punishment for corruption- Punishment for corruption is minimum 6 months and maximum 7 years.

Enhanced punishment - The punishment would be minimum 5 years and maximum of life imprisonment.

Lokpal Bill to curb corruption

Jan Lokpal Bill

Read the incredible life story of Anna Hazare, how a little boy in poverty selling flowers on Dadar station became the leader of nation

These past few months seem to have turned into the season of revolutions. Political revolution in Tunisia, Syria, Egypt and other Middle East countries; where everyone knew what was wrong with their current political climate but no-one did anything until the masses decided to do something. Images of police in riot-gear, violence on the street and bloodied men and women fighting for democracy have become a staple in the newspapers.

For those of you who may not know, there is a quiet revolution going on in India as well. And as with the struggle for freedom, this revolution is taking place in a very non-violent way. Lead by an Army veteran turned social worker and a true Gandhian, Anna Hazare; he is joined at the leadership by several well known and respected personalities including Kiran Bedi, the fearless IPS lady cop, Yogi guru Ramdev Baba, the spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living fame and several other prominent personalities. But the strength of the movement does not Anna Hazarecome from these stalwarts or popular Bollywood personalities lending their support and voice to the movement, it comes from the common man who fills in the Ramlila Maidan to capacity and who participates in the numerous gatherings all across several cities in India..

So, what is the movement trying to achieve? Corruption in India is not a secret at all; everyone knows about corruption and each one of us have participated in it as well, on one level or the other. The corruption has spread to the highest level and now encompasses the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Judiciary. These are the three pillars of democracy and the quiet revolution is trying to make these executive branches of democracy accountable.

The passage of Right to Information or the RTI, made it difficult to hide information. In the recent past, RTI has been instrumental in unraveling several recent corruption scandals in India. Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI) was formulated in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, which includes both the Centre and the State Governments. Citizens of India can request for information, which has to be replied from the concerned authorities within 30 days.

Arvind KejriwalThe Jan Lokpal bill tries to go to the next level, it aims to effectively deter corruption, redress grievances of citizens, and protect whistle-blowers(a person who tells the public or someone in authority about dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, public or a private organization or a company). If made into law, the bill would create an independent ombudsman body similar to the Election Commission of India called the Lokpal (Sanskrit: protector of the people). It would be empowered to register and investigate complaints of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats without prior government approval. First introduced in 1968, the bill has failed to become law for over four decades.

The Govt proposed a Lokpal bill that the social activists have rejected as “Jokepal” bill without any teeth and is seen as not empowered to combat rampant corruption. The critics of Jan Lokpal bill argue that the bill proposes to create another institute with sweeping powers that supersedes the existing constitutional bodies and could endanger democracy in the long run.

The Lokpal bill was first proposed in 1968 by Shanti Bhushan but was not passed in the last 40 years. The bill targets to reign in the corruption by the very people with powers to pass the bill and hence the stalemate for the last four decades. Social activist Anna Hazare has begun an indefinite fast and agitation from August 16 to force the Government to pass Jan Lokpal bill into law. After 12 days of fasting, the Indian Govt passed a resolution on Lokpal bill on Aug 27, 2011. This is history in the making and will be a milestone, remembered by generations to come. Millions of Indians across the world support the cause. Click here to see the events organized by volunteers of this movement all across the world. Social MediaFB badge has played an important role in mobilizing masses, organizing the events and showing support by sporting a badge against corruption on the profile picture.

The other important player in the success of the movement is Arvind Kejriwal. A graduate from IIT Kharagpur, Arvind’s organizational skills are instrumental in the amazing mobilization of masses. He, along with Aruna Roy, had also campaigned for the Right to Information from 2001. It soon became a silent movement and the RTI was successfully passed in 2005.

 Click here to read more on the differences between the activists draft called the Jan Lokpal and the first draft proposed by Govt.

Click here to read more on how the Jan Lokpal bill aims to curb corruption.

Anna Hazare - His incredible story

Anna Hazare hailed from a very poor family and moved from his ancestral village of Ralegaon Siddhi to Mumbai. Poverty ended his education after grade 7 and he was selling flowers at Dadar railway station in Mumbai.  Eventually he owned 2 flower shops in Mumbai. In these early years, he became involved in..... Click here to read the story


Jan Lokpal Bill

Hyderabadi Baataan (Tales of Hyderabad)

Charminar

Read Hyderabadi Baataan - Part 2 here!

Hyderabad!! The city of Nizams, Charminar, Golconda, Salarjung museum, Ravindra Bharati, Birla Mandir, Dakkhani boli, mouthwatering Biryani, spicy Mirchi ka Saalan, Gokul chaat and sweet Khubani ka Meetha. It’s been well over a decade since I left Hyderabad (and India) behind. Time and distance are starting to work their magic on my psyche. But the myriad memories of Hyderabad are still fresh and vivid, just like from the day they were born.

I associate Hyderabad with two distinctive characteristics – the leisurely Nizami lifestyle,
unlike other metros in India, and the quintessential Dakkhani or Hyderabadi language. It is no secret that we Indians are fiercely loyal to the Indian Standard Time (aka being fashionably late and many a times really late). But true Hyderabadis take it a notch higher. The concept of time is almost non-existent in this city. I remember the handymen, plumbers, electricians etc., who would come to fix things at our house. They would tell my dad - “Ekdum subbah subbah aatun saab kal”. With great anticipation, we would all be ready early the next morning. And as promised, “janaab” would make an appearance at our front door at 10 am. Then it was time to down a few cups of chai and an effort to do some khitpit for a couple of hours. By then it would be lunch time. Now my mom would be told – “Khaana khaane jaaroon amma, abbhi aatun”. Little did
we know that "abbhi" meant 3 pm and sometimes even the next couple of days.

Hyderabadis have a unique style of greeting their friends. For a long long time, I was convinced that “Kya bay howle!” was the coolest way to say hello. All the boys in my school were very proficient at such highly creative expressions, many of which I can’t share here. The girls were a little less imaginative with their “Kyaaa re…kya karri tu?” Speaking of “Howle”, once, while on a vacation tour to Srirangapatnam, I heard a street vendor shouting “Howle leyo!!” The bewilderment on my face must have been very evident as I was thinking “Howle? Howle kaisa bechte??” For the less enlightened creatures, “Howle” is a popular Hyderabadi term of endearment that means “Crazy” or “Paagal”. Sensing my eagerness to solve the mystery, my parents quickly led the way towards the direction of the sound. As we turned the corner, we saw a woman sitting behind a huge pile of “Awle”, the sour Indian  gooseberry. We must have looked like “Pakka Howle” that day as we laughed till our cheeks ached.

Cycle rickshaws were a very popular mode of transport in Hyderabad in the 80s. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, it is a 3 wheeled carriage, pedaled manually by the “rikshawallah”. I will never ever sit in another one of those. It seems way too inhuman now. But in those days, it was either the rickshaw, ride your own cycle or walk. For many years, my evenings would begin with a standard dialogue with the rickshawallahs outside our school
premises. As my little brother would wearily tug at my skirt, urging me to take him back home quickly, I would begin the negotiations.

Me - “Chalte rickshaw? Kachiguda? Kitta lete?”

Rickshawallah – “Dedh rupiya (Rs.1.50)”

Me – “Dedh rupiya kaiku? Roj savva rupiya (Rs.1.25) me jaate na”

Eventually, I would be successful in finding “The One” that would take us home in “Savva rupiya”. I think “Savva rupiya” is now extinct, to be found only in museums and the rickshawallahs have pretty much disappeared too.

The memories of Hyderabad are innumerable - some funny, some touching, but mostly simple ones, those of the daily grind. Normally, they stay “Parde ke peeche” but once in a while something comes along that brings them to the surface, just like the serene waves of Hussain Sagar. Alas! As they would say in Hyderabad, “Baataan bahut ho gaye, ab thoda kaam karo miyaan!”

Read Hyderabadi Baataan - Part 2 here!

Hyderabadi Baataan (Tales of Hyderabad)

Facebook Communications

Facebook CommunicationsToday, the easiest way to express your self is not through pen and paper, but online portals. Facebook has become such a popular medium to transport your feeling and thoughts. It is definitely a greener way to communicate. No paper, ink, or postage required. You can type away your excitement, sorrow, elation, compassion, pity, frustration and a whole package of emotions with your keyboard.


You buy a new electronic device and there are 15 people who ‘Like’ it; a new baby and 25 more people comment on the status. Your child takes his first steps and there are cheers and thumbs up signs posted on your page. You might have lost your job, but there’s a dozen who can feel your pain – online! The first thing you do when you buy a new pet is to put his pictures online. The oohs and aahs will appear immediately in reply to your status. There will definitely be someone who will like the fact that you just fed the chickens, pigs, and cows and also planted a mystery seed on your virtual farm! Talk about multitasking!!!
There are yet others who express their frustrations about bad movies, local eateries, traffic jams, TV shows, child rearing, books they read, a celebrity, exams, weather, outdated computers, price of food, and so much more. And if you ‘like’ this status (though it doesn’t make sense to like what they seem to dislike) they will understand that you are sympathetic towards them. In fact they will all get together to form a group which demands Facebook to introduce the dislike button. That is also in the near future, folks. I see a button which can express anything!


Your friend’s daughter has a dance recital – Your button can say – Congrats! (Yes, with the exclamation too). A new dog? Your button can say ‘Woof’. 


Latest movie – ‘not too bad’ sick in bed – ‘Oh! No!’  A big birthday?  Say ‘Hooray’


Just got engaged to my boyfriend – ‘Awwwww’ (you can add as many w’s you feel like).


Lost weight? Type ‘Way to go’.  A celebrity changes her hairstyle and you can join the ‘Where did you get that?’ clicks.


Someone stuck in traffic jam and is updating their status? You can sympathize by typing something like ‘Frustrating, right?’. You can get so creative, there’s no end to it.


But look at what happens to some people who have so many friends and being active on social networks. The same people who ‘like’ your status and comment on your pictures will act like total strangers when you meet them in person. There are people who have nothing to talk to you when you meet them in public. It’s almost like they have exhausted their friendliness on the portal. They have so much time at work and during the day to check on Facebook and twitter, but cannot actually find the time to socialize – the real way!  The entire meet & greet happens online. And many are satisfied with this method. It’s easy to just click away your opinions.


There is of course, the nice part of being able to connect with people thousands of miles away from you. It is exciting when you ‘meet’ long lost friends on these pages. It is heartening to see many using these portals to spread awareness about social causes. It is interesting to see bits and pieces of news travel all around the world and reach you. It is motivating to read about people who have gone through hardships and become successful. It is indeed a wonderful way to keep yourself updated with the ‘happening’ world of today.


But do take some time off from the online hustle and bustle…meet someone. Talk with your mouth, not fingers.  Use more words and fewer keyboards. Make more friends in real life too! If there comes a day when you are stuck somewhere without a computer or a phone or an ipad, you should at least know how to communicate with the friend next to you!

Facebook Communications

Keeping Yourself Fit and Safe as You Age

Today we know a lot more about older adults and their need to exercise. Regardless of their health and physical abilities, older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. Even if you have difficulty standing or walking, you can still exercise and benefit from it. In fact, in most cases, you have more to lose by not doing anything.Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. You can still exercise if you have a health condition like heart disease or diabetes. In fact, physical activity may help. For older adults, brisk walking, riding a bike, swimming, weight lifting, and gardening are safe, especially if you build up slowly.

 

The benefits you gain from physical activity will depend on your starting point and how much effort you put into it. You will need to match your physical activity to your own needs and abilities. For example some people can swim a mile without thinking about it and for others a slow walk to the mailbox is a big achievement. Exercise and physical activity benefit every area of your life. Following are some of the benefits:

  • Help maintain and improve your physical strength and fitness so you can stay independent.
  • Help improve your ability to do the things you want to do
  • Help improve your balance
  • Help manage and prevent diseases
  • Help reduce feelings of depression: it improves mood and overall well- being
  • May improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function: many people find that their ability to concentrate, solving problems, and planning improve with exercises. It helps them to think clearly.

There are four types of exercises

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility

Let’s see how each of this will be helpful.

 

Physical activities that build endurance are brisk walking, yard work (mowing, raking, and gardening), dancing, jogging, swimming, biking, climbing stairs or hills, playing tennis, playing basket ball.

 

These activities help keep you healthy, improve your fitness, and help you to the tasks you need to do every day. They will improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. They will delay or prevent many diseases. They will help you to build your energy level and your staying power.

 

Try to build up to at least 30 minutes of activity that makes you breathe hard on most or all days of week. You don’t have to be active for the 30 minutes all at once. Ten minutes at a time is fine. Push yourself enough that you can still talk but not without a little trouble.

 

Exercises to improve your balance are standing on one foot, heel to toe walk, Tai Chi, Yoga, Wii Fit, and lower body strength exercises. Balance exercises help to prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Balance exercises can help you stand on the tiptoes to reach something on the top shelf, walk up and down steps, and walk on uneven surfaces without falling. They can also help you to be safer out in the community, you will be better able to negotiate ramps and curbs, and develop good balance reactions.

 

Flexibility:

 

Stretching can help your body stay flexible. It gives you more freedom of movement for regular physical activities and also helps keeping your joints healthy. For example, moving more freely will help make it easier to reach down to tie your shoes, make up the bed, or look over your shoulder when you back the car out of the driveway.

Stretch all the major muscle groups: neck, shoulders, back, hips, Hamstrings, ankles. Stretch when your muscles are warmed up. Do each exercise 3-5 times at each session. Slowly stretch into desired position, as far as possible without pain and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Don’t bounce when you stretch and don’t stretch so far that it hurts.

 

Strength:

 

Strengthening exercises can be done as lifting weights, using a resistance band, and using your body weight for resistance. Try to do strength exercise for all major muscle groups on 2 or more days/week. Don’t exercise the same group two days in a row. Even small increases in muscle strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries.

 

Before You Get Started

 

Talk to your doctor: It’s a good idea to check with your physician if you are over 50 and aren’t used to energetic activity. It is also important to discuss with your doctor about any other new symptoms you haven’t previously felt Such as tingling/ numbness, back pain or knee pain. It is also necessary to discuss symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, the feeling that your heart is skipping, racing or fluttering. Also make sure that your preventative care is up to date and you haven’t had any unplanned weight loss, foot or ankle sores that won’t heal, joint swelling, a bleeding or detached retina, eye surgery or laser treatment, or a hernia. If you have had a recent back or hip surgery make sure you know what you can safely do.

 

Get the right shoes: Choose shoes that are made for the activity you want to do (walking, running, dancing, bowling, tennis). It is a good idea that you have shoes that fit well and provide support for your feet. Make sure you have flat, non skid soles, good heel support, and enough room for your toes, a cushioned arch that’s not too high or thick.

Set some goals:  Many people find that having a firm goal in mind motivates them to move ahead on a project. If you are not active yet, aim for a modest beginning and build from there. Your success depends on setting goals that really matter to you. Write down your goals, put them where you can see them, and review them regularly. For each goal you reach, treat yourself to something special.

 

Three keys to success

  • Include physical activity in your everyday life
  • Try all four types of activity
  • Plan for breaks in the routine

Make it easy. If it is difficult or costs too much, you probably won’t be active.

Walk the entire mall or every aisle of the grocery store when you go shopping.

Make it social by enlisting a friend or family member to exercise with you.

Take a class or join a walking club, walk during lunch with a co-worker.

Make it interesting and make it fun. Do things you enjoy.

 

Being active is one of the most important things you can do each day to improve and maintain your health.

Keeping Yourself Fit and Safe as You Age

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