Thursday, February 25, 2010

7th Day of Honest Politics Course on 13th February 2010

Under the title of Democratic Principles and Status Quo of Political System, the electoral process and all the rules and regulations followed by the state electoral commission was explained by the instructor. A systematic description of the functionality of the commission and the term of the chief election commissioner was detailed. This commission was formed exclusively to give complete autonomy to the officer in charge and create an immunity from the governing political parties. To maintain the commissions integrity the term of the chief election commissioner is only for 2 years and can be renewed to a maximum of 3 terms only. Roles and duties of the electoral personell and the proper code of conduct for conducting and declaring a fair election was described. Inspite of all these regulations we still encounter corruption and malpractice in the form of paying money to secure votes. As long as corruption is a standard norm it is very hard to weed out corrupt practices to have a fair election process. Step by step procedure and rules followed to conduct a fair election was revealed to give a clear insight of the entire electoral process.
In the afternoon session, the instructor spoke about other social issues like corruption, that affects democracy. The Vohra Report submitted by the Union Home Secretary N.M.Vohra on October 1993, gave a detailed description of corruption in politics, and some of the findings were highly explosive of highest officials, bureaucrats and politicians. According to the study conducted by Transparency International in 2005, Kerala is the least corrupt state, and Bihar is the most corrupt state in India. Himachal Pradesh followed by Gujarat are ranked second and third after Kerala. The study was carried across eleven public services and Kerala was found to be least corrupt in all the services, whereas Gujarat was highly corrupted than other states in education, Judiciary and land administration. In July 2008, Washington Post reported than nearly one fourth of the 540 parliament members faced criminal charges, including human trafficking, embezzlement, rape and even murder. In 2002 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections candidates with criminal records won majority of seats.
Corruption prevails in all the departments and has affected the citizens, some very drastically. In government hospitals, corruption leads to issue of duplicate medicines, unable to avail diagnostic procedures, and so on. The poor who cannot afford private health care come to government hospitals and it is very pathetic to demand money from the poor. It shows the desperation of the so called educated elite in some cases. Most sad part of all this is sometimes the ward nurses and other labourers working in the hospitals extort money from other poor patients who come there. 
Corruption in the Police and Judiciary  department completely derails the faith in democracy. To rectify this there is vigilance and anti-corruption cell in every department, but the paradox is that there is corruption in these cells also.
The evening session conducted by Mr. James, mainly focused on the political opportunities for youth in India. The main highlight of the course is to give a clear understanding of good governance and to encourage the participants to play an active role in remodelling the current political layout. Young students have joined together and contested as a party or independently. It is very encouraging to see students take an active role in politics.

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