Tuesday, July 27, 2010

5th Pillar US Team takes part in FeTNA 2010 Tamil convention

5th Pillar team in US, took part in the FeTNA 2010 Tamil Event that took place in Waterbury, Connecticut from 3rd July-5th July, 2010. FeTNA is an umbrella organization of all the Tamil Sangams in North America. Film industry dignitaries, Tamil literary scholars, folk dancers and so on graced the occasion. We put up a table and distributed the Zero Rupee Note to the participants of the convention. Creating awareness is the key to tackle corruption. Some approached us with questions regarding the services provided by our organization. All the NRI's have encountered bribery in some form or the other. Some retold the experiences they face when they buy real estate property in India, starting from the registration to getting the electricity connection and so on. They had interesting stories, like when the corrupt official learns that the client is an NRI the demand increases multi-fold. We encouraged the participants to contact our offices in India when they or their relatives encounter delayed services.

RTI awareness campaign at Puliyanoor village in Dindivanam

Orientation program about 5th Pillar and the RTI Act was conducted by Mr. Jayaselvan on 25th July at Puliyanoor Village in Dindivanam. Tamizh Studio organized the screening of their short film in the village and had invited us to give an introductory session of the anti-corruption mission we have embarked on. The audience were excited to see the Zero Rupee Note, although some had already seen it in the newspapers and TV. Mr. Jayaselvan spoke about the successes achieved by handing in the Zero currency to the corrupt official demanding bribe. Formulating the right questions to get the best outcome was emphasized in his speech. His disclosure of the successes achieved by filing RTI petitions, motivated people to approach him after the presentation with the problems they were facing. Some of them mentioned to visit the Chennai office to proceed further on their pending issues by taking our help in filing an RTI petition.

5th Pillar campaign's on RTI at Sirkali

Social activists in Sirkali, Mr.Sudhakar and Mr. Thillai Natarajan organized a public event on 4th July at Sri Vanivilas Primary school in Sirkali to sensitize the public on the role of corruption in our society and effective strategies to be adopted to tackle corruption. Director Operations of 5th Pillar, Mr. Subramani spoke on the topic of corruption, and RTI Act. His speech opened the forum for discussion, of all the corrupt practices prevalent in our society, and the participants were eager to share their encounters. People encountering delay in obtaining services due to reluctance to pay bribe, were thrilled to learn ways of approaching the issue placidly. Zero Rupee Note, a novice tool adopted by our organization is used by the public when they are demanded to pay money. Every participant were encouraged to hand in the Zero currency instead of actual money to the demanding personnel. Mr. Baskaran, a member from Kumbakonam chapter of 5th Pillar, spoke on the successes of filing an RTI. He explained in detail about filing the RTI petition, expected processing time and the fee involved. When the audience comprising of agriculturists, students, businessmen, NGO's were made aware of how simple it is to file a petition demanding the answers for delayed services, they were very enthused to adopt the same route. Participants joined hands with our organization by becoming members, and some were interested in initiating a local chapter of 5th Pillar in their hometown.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mr. Vijay Anand addresses the Indian community in Seattle

Mr. Vijay Anand was invited by the AID ( Association for India's Development) foundation of Portland, to address a public gathering at the Intel JF Campus on 18th June, 2010. The topic of Mr. Anand's speech was “ Freedom from corruption and RTI Act” His descriptive speech on all aspects of functioning of the organization and the adoption of RTI Act to facilitate quick services was appreciated and encouraged by the software elites. They were very eager to learn more about the details of various scenarios to better understand the extend of corruption prevailing in our country. Some of them had interesting stories to share of the problems encountered by their relatives in India and were eager to know if it could be tackled. It was a very interesting group discussion, that always paves way to new ideas and implementation.

5th Pillar conducts awareness campaign at wedding receptions

At the wedding reception of Murali( Vice President of Bank of America, New York) and Kiruthika, on 20th and 21 st June, in Coimbatore 5th Pillar volunteers distributed Zero Rupee note and RTI information pamphlet to all the attendees of the wedding. Weddings are attended by people from various cities and towns and hence serves as a good backdrop for propaganda.

At the wedding reception of Kalaiselvan and Renuga, on 2nd July 2010, at KSR Sakarapani Chettiyar Mahal, Panruti, 5th Pillar volunteers were provided a table to distribute informational materials to all the attendees of the marriage. The volunteers were welcomed and many guests showed great interest and some of them joined as members in our organization. One of the guests who was very positive about our mission encouraged us by tying our banner in full visibility for all the guests arriving for the reception.

Mr. Vijay Anand speaks at the Fifth Summer University for Democracy at Strasbourg, France

President of 5th Pillar Mr. Vijay Anand was invited as a guest speaker by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, for The Fifth Summer University for Democracy - “The Crisis of Leadership” conference held in Strasbourg, France from 28th June to 2nd July. He addressed a gathering of 650 participants from the Council of Europe network of 16 school of Political studies, as well as experts and guests from all over the world, on the topic of “ Civil Resistance and accountable governance: role of citizens in the fight against corruption and social and economic injustice democratization and democratic sustainability”. He elaborated on the operational strategies of 5th Pillar, and the ongoing field activities in curtailing corruption. The novice tool adopted by 5th Pillar, the Zero Rupee Note, irked the interest of all present, and many have requested to adopt the Zero currency in their respective country to empower their countrymen. As most of the participants attending the conference were from the political science background, their passion for good governance by way of transparency by curtailing corruption served as focal point of discussion.

5th Pillar stall at the Coimbatore Exhibition

Coimbatore chapter of 5th Pillar opened a stall at the annual exhibition in Coimbatore. The exhibition is visited by throngs of people that houses diverse stores, games and other attractions. The exhibition commenced on 21st May and closed on 27th June, and served as popular outdoor recreation during the summer months. 5th Pillar stall manned by dedicated volunteers on rotational basis, was a great way to reach thousands of people visiting the fair. The volunteers in the store educated the people on ways of tackling corruption in day to day life and explained about attaining basic services by adopting RTI Act. Services provided by our organization was highlighted and the public were encouraged to approach us if they faced a dire situation pertaining to bribery and stalled services. The exhibition was attended by people from neighboring small towns and villages and so it served as a good venue for the best propaganda. Nearly 550 people enrolled to attend the weekly meetings, and 215 people enrolled as paid members in our organization. Some of them subscribed for our monthly Tamil magazine, MAATTRAM. Public support and encouragement is vital to provide better services to them in return. The stall in the exhibition created good visibility for our organization.