Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Please Sign Online Petition for Absentee Voting for NRI's

Dear Friends,
Hope you are aware of NRI Voting rights draft bill, passed in Rajya Sabha on Aug 30th 2010, and is to be introduced in Lok Sabha 2010(Nov) of the Indian Parliament.

Good News is - This extends Voting Rights to NRIs.

Bad News is - You need to be physically present on election day in India to cast your vote.

Please think how practical this is for about 2.5 crore NRIs to excercise their franchise by being present in India at the same time. For 10 lakh NRIs, it takes 100 days with all flights booked to India . What about 2.5 crores? Impossible.

Please support extending "Absentee Voting" for NRIs by signing online petition (takes less than 15 sec, but adds infinite value to the cause and no donations required.)

Online Petition :

Note: No need to donate. You can close the web page once you sign and submit the petetion.

Current Activity: Besides getting support from NRIs thru online petition, We are reaching all MPs and other concerned officials to make our voice heard. If you want to volunteer, please visit to learn more.

"Vote is our Right, Let us not to be denied"

Thanking You

Raghava R Solipuram, PMP
- A Responsible Citizen
Ph: 781 367 9367

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meet & Interact With Whistleblower & Anti- Corruption Crusader

5th Pillar_Logo.jpg

Invites you with family & friends to meet and
Interact with
Whistleblower & Anti-Corruption Crusader

Umashankar IAS

Mr. C. Umashankar, IAS
MD of TANSI, Chennai

Mr. C.Umashankar, I.A.S accompanied by his wife Ms.Suryakala Umashankar, will share his 20 years of Indian Administrative Service experience in various departments.

Talk on "E-governance, Democracy & Anti-Corruption"
In the US


Mr. Umashankar, a tireless crusader against corruption and abuse of power, is a 1990 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre and an e-governance specialist. When he  was Additional Collector (Development) and Project officer, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Madurai, there was misuse of funds allotted for construction of Cremation Sheds for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes. He refused to obey the illegal order of the then District Collector to award the contract to a private contractor. A Public Interest litigation came to be filed in the Madras High Court which ordered a CBI enquiry. During 1996, the DMK was voted to power and appointed him as Joint Vigilance Commissioner to peruse the files pertaining to high level corruption. He submitted several reports and indicted several IAS officers for corruption and abuse of power.
In 1999, he was appointed as District Collector, Tiruvarur where he introduced e-governance in the district administration. This was the first of its kind in the whole of India. Tiruvarur was rated 20 years ahead of rest of India by India’s leading newspaper The Times of India. The Week, a weekly magazine chose him as the Best Bureaucrat from all over India who can make the life of Indians better in the new millennium. He was sidelined when the AIADMK came to power.When the DMK was voted back to power again in May, 2006, he was appointed as Managing Director of ELCOT, a state owned company where he introduced total transparency in the award of contracts by introducing e-tender and also by a new method of tender evaluation by the bidding contractors themselves. He also introduced the use of large scale free and open source software in Government offices.
He also probed the scam - the mysterious disappearance of ETL Infrastructure Limited worth more than Rs.700 crores and he was abruptly removed from the post of MD, ELCOT. When he was working as managing director of TIIC, he got caught in the family crossfire and was sent as managing director of Arasu Cable TV Corporation, a Government owned company.
When he questioned the role of some powerful people, he was again shunted out of Arasu Cable TV Corporation and posted as Commissioner of Small Savings, an ex cadre post. The Arasu Cable TV Corporation Limited is now almost dead. The vindictive state government issued a charge memo to prevent his empanelment as Joint Secretary, Government of India.

He was denied even a car loan and allotment of housing plot by the Government of Tamil Nadu. He moved the Central Administrative Tribunal, Chennai and obtained stay against the Charge Memo. The state government then ordered a vigilance inquiry on his alleged assets disproportionate to known sources of income. The government ultimately suspended him on charges of producing fake community certificate to get into civil service. There were protests all over the country against victimizing a honest officer and the government was forced to revoke the suspension order and reinstated him as the Managing Director of TANSI. His crusade continues..


Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Call to register for Legislative Council elections- Make use of the Opportunity

It has been a long wait, expecting that good Governance will happen, Change has to be created, let us all be a part of  one of world's largest democracy, with elections fast approaching in Tamil Nadu join hands and vote for a change. Register your names in voter list by downloading the forms and turning it in by Nov 6th.

November 6, 2010 will be the last date for the receipt of applications by the designated officers for inclusion of the names of electors eligible for voting in the forthcoming election to the various constituencies of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council, according to C.R. Brahmam, Consultant to the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, on the election of members to the Legislative Council, which has been revived by the Tamil Nadu government.

All states have a Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly), popularly elected for terms of up to five years, while a small (and declining) number of states also have an upper house, the Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council), roughly comparable to the Rajya Sabha, with memberships that may not be more than one-third the size of the assemblies. In these councils, one-sixth of the members are nominated...

Allocation of seats in Tamil Nadu:
Out of the 78 seats in the council, seven seats are allocated to the Graduates' Constituencies (one seat for each of the seven constituencies), seven seats for the Teachers' Constituencies (one seat for each of the seven constituencies), and 26 seats for the Local Authorities' Constituencies.
26 seats would be filled by the MLAs, while candidates nominated by the Governor would fill 12 seats. The Graduates, Teachers and Local Authorities Constituencies (LACs) would cover all the districts in the State.

We are more easily reachable now ...

Communication in time is the essence of everything in this world. The communication must reach the desired parties in time, accurately and without any delays. Towards achieving the superfast communication speeds, we are easily reachable now on your favorite communities. Stay tuned us with updates from us on both FaceBook and Twitter. You can choose the links in 'Follow us on...' section for more updates...

Drop us a comment if you would need more info or assistance reaching us on our channels.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sat 9 Oct, 10.00 am- Electoral Integrity Open House in Chennai

Hello friends, 

We need all of you(in Chennai and vicinity) to attend this open house tomorrow, Sat the 9th Oct 2010, as we are at a very critical juncture in terms of saving democracy and restoring people's faith in the election system. The top officials of this department will be in attendance tomorrow and we need to show to them that there are a good number of socially responsible citizens who are wanting these undemocratic acts to stop...Please forward to all your contacts and make tomorrow's event a full house....

STOP CASH for VOTE!(huh!) Tomorrow 9 Oct 10, 10.30 am at Chennai-5th Pillar and allies hold Open House on "FREE & FAIR ELECTIONS- Combating Money & Muscle Power in 2011 TN Elections"- P.S.Higher Sec.School, R.K.Mutt Road, Mylapore- Chief Election Commissioner, Dr. S.Y. Quraishi presides. Other panelists include former ...CEC, Mr.Gopalaswami, former TN Election Commissioner Mr.Naresh Gupta. All are welcome- Let us RESTORE PEOPLE'S FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND ELECTIONS- More details on (Help spread the word by re-posting on your facebook wall, orkut or blog..Thanks. :)

In solidarity, 
Vijay Anand. 

President- 5th Pillar
41, Circular Road, United India Colony, 
Kodambakkam, Chennai- 600 024. 

Corruption Free India!-

Thursday, October 7, 2010

ECI - Civil Society Interaction 09 October 2010

       Election Commission of India – Civil Society Interaction

                                               Open House on
 “Free and Fair Elections – Combating Money/Muscle Power”

        Chennai:  Saturday, 09 October, 2010 - 10.30 AM to 1.30 PM
  [Dakshinamurthy Auditorium; PS Higher Sec. School, R.K.Mutt Road, Mylapore]

[Jointly organised byRajaji Centre for Public Affairs; Transparency International India (TN Chapter);  Catalyst Trust; 5th Pillar; Nandini Voice; Institute of Public Auditors and Forum for Electoral Integrity]

Chair: Mr. N.Gopalaswami, former Chief Election Commissioner of India

Chief Guest: Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India
 Special Guest: Mr. Praveen Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu
Invocation – Thamizh thai vazhthu
Welcome & Introducing the Theme: M.G.Devasahayam, Convener, Forum for
                                                                                                Electoral Integrity
Address: Vijay Anand, President, 5th Pillar
                 R. Chandran, Student Representative
                 N.L. Rajah, Trustee, Catalyst Trust
                 Era Sezhian, former Member of Parliament
Interactive Session with the Participants

Address: Dr. S.Y. Quraishi

Address and Concluding remarks: Mr. N.Gopalaswami

Vote of Thanks: N.S. Venkataraman, Nandini Voice

National Anthem
                                        YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED

RSVP: A. Subramani: 9940514317                        K.Bhanu Kumar: 9444901910

Monday, October 4, 2010

Recommendations - "Electoral Integrity- Need of the hour" Sat 9th Oct 2010"

Open House to be held on Oct 09, 2010, flier for the event on

Memorandum to Chief Election Commissioner that is to be submitted will have the following Recommendations:

1.       Combating Money-Power and Bribing of Voters
a.       Mechanism for effective monitoring & accounting of election expenditure by candidates and time-bound remedial action
It is necessary to put in place a mechanism for closer monitoring, better accounting and book keeping of election expenses incurred by candidates/ parties. This has to be followed to its logical conclusion by disqualification of candidates who either do not maintain accounts
properly or incur expenses in excess of the ceiling limit.

b.      Making ‘Observers of the Election Commission’ as an effective instrument to combat money-power
The Observers act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Commission during the period of the election and provide direct inputs to the Commission from the field. Generally, the Election Commission of India appoints senior officers of the Government from the I.A.S, I.F.S and other Central Services like IRS, IC & CES as Observers.

c.       Citizen’s Observers to supplement ‘Official Observers’
In addition to the ‘Official Observers’ appointed by the Commission, there is a need to have ‘Citizens’ Observers’ to perform the same role except they will not have statutory powers but can still function as the eyes and ears of the Election Commission and provide direct inputs from the field to the Election Commission/ CEO/ Observers/ DEO/ RO on the violations of the Model Code and distribution of cash and gifts (including tokens) or/ and the possible likely violations/ distribution and also on whether action was taken or not taken to check it.

d.      [Countermanding/] postponement of elections in constituencies wherein Model Code of Conduct has been blatantly violated.
In constituencies where massive money power was deployed and where there is large- scale distribution of cash or other gifts, because of which ‘result of the election is likely to be affected’, the Election Commission should [countermand or] postpone the elections. This will send a strong message to the ‘cash-and-carry candidates’ who are destroying the credibility of the electoral process.

e.      Ensuring impartial ‘command & control’ over the State police force.
Combating of money/muscle-power and strict enforcement of Model Code of Conduct during elections depends in large measure on the way the State electoral machinery including the police force performs its duty. The members of Civil Services should be free from political control, but in actual practice, a number of senior officers sub-serve the political interests of their political masters, either with a view to seek a posting in plum posts or to retain themselves in these posts. They lack the intellectual integrity expected of civil servants in important positions. The Commission should obtain intelligence on the functioning of the election related officers.

f.        Effective intelligence gathering and surveillance to detect large-scale distribution of cash or other gifts

2.       Information, Education and Communication [IEC]
a.       One of the most effective ways of checking the adverse effects of bribing of voters and changing their mindset is by taking up an intensive IEC campaign. Making use of the Media (Internet, television, radio etc to its full capacity) and involve the Non Profit organizations, corporate etc to assist in such efforts.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

5th Pillar participates at the Joy Of Giving Week at Valluvar Kottam, Chennai on 26&27 Sep 2010

5th Pillar was one of the 70 stalls instituted at the Valluvar Kottam complex on the 2 day event. The event was inaugurated by Mr. Gnani, famous writer, Padmashri Dr. Bakthavatchalam and Mr.Murali, owner of Krishna Sweets. There were many attendees for this event and many schools kids and college kids came in groups to take part in the event.

We had displayed our 30 x 10 feet banner and asked all the attendees to sign on the banner to show their solidarity against corruption. Volunteers of 5th Pillar manned the stalls in shifts and played an active role in promoting the anti-corruption message to all the participants of the event. Continuous display of videos of Mr. Vijay Anand's speech at various colleges, promotional anti-corruption videos, and pictures of our past events in varied institutions were on continuous display in TV monitor.

President of 5th Pillar, Mr. Vijay Anand addressed the visitors of the mela who were of various age groups and after his speech on Freedom from Corruption, he asked all the participants to raise their hands with the Zero Rupee Note and asked them totake a pledge, to neither accept nor give bribe.
We had a box in our stall to collect the grievances of the public. We received many grievances and some are listen below:
  1. Denial of job because of not being able to pay a bribe.
  2. Delay in getting jobs on compassionate grounds.
  3. Indifferent attitudes of Banks in granting educational loan.
  4. One person wanted an RTI training in her area.
  5. Drinking water and sand quarrying problem.
Many of the visitors became members of our organization and also subscribed to our monthly Tamil magazine MAATTRAM. The event was a fun get together for many NGO's whose common ideology was service to the public.

5th Pillar conducts door to door campaign at Mudivaithanentha Village in Tuiticorin District on 26.09.2010

Tuiticorin chapter coordinator, Mr. Adi Narayanan and 2 other 5th Pillar members Prabhakaran and Samuel conducted a door to door campaign in the Mudivaithanentha village, by distributing 5th Pillar notices, RTI fliers and Zero Rupee Notes to nearly 300 households in the village. They took time to explain the role of 5th Pillar in helping the public to attain denied governmental services. The village was mostly habited by the ex servicemen and policemen. In one of the household our representatives met a public information officer who mentioned that our crusade was noble and our mission to empower the citizens on anti-corruption is very crucial in the current society. The villagers were very happy to learn about our organization and they have requested us for an RTI training session. The main idea of this campaign was to sensitize the public on anti-corruption and to emphasize and boost the morale of people by educating them that they can obtain services without having to pay an extra fee as bribe.

5th Pillar conducts awareness campaign to the Madurai Dies & Chemicals Merchant Association

In the annual General Body meeting of the Madurai Dies & Chemicals held on 26.09.2010 at AKR Kalyana Mahal in Madurai, they invited 5th Pillar to address their staff about the RTI Act. Mr. Balaji, 5th Pillar, Madurai chapter coordinator addressed the audience about RTI Act and its effective implementation to retrieve denied services and revert back corruptive losses. He explained in depth about the ways to frame the right kind of question to make the petition effective such that when they provide the answer they would be exposing corruption. This was an interactive session were many from the audience had interesting queries about different situations they faced and are facing currently. Many from the audience subscribed to our Monthly Tamil magazine MAATTRAM to be best informed about latest news in corruption.

Awareness campaign at Vallipuram, Kancheepuram District on 26.09.2010

Twenty IITians of Madras conducted a camp at Vallipuram, a remote village, 20 kms from Chengalpet in Kancheepuram District. The students of IIT conducted this camp to educate the public in this area about overall adaptation to trending society. They invited 5th Pillar on 6th September to conduct an awareness campaign on anti-corruption. Mr. Subramani, Director of Operations, 5th Pillar participated in this program and addressed the villagers on various aspects. He spoke to them about the services in health, sanitation, education and other infrastructures that are in place to uplift their life. In most cases the rural people are unaware of the services that they are entitled to and so they suffer. Mr. Subramani spoke to them about the various schemes and projects that are formulated for the rural society and also explained in detail about the procedures to follow to avail the opportunity. He also encouraged them to approach our organization for guidance and help in availing their rights and services from the government. His detailed account of all the services provided by us to the public was very much appreciated by the villagers. He gave examples of successes achieved by filing RTI petitions and by handing the Zero Rupee Note to the corrupt official demanding bribe. Zero Rupee Note and 5th Pillar flier with relevant information was distributed to all the participants. He emphasized on the duties of each citizen to dissociate from the corruptive practices in order to develop a strong powerful stress free society.

5th Pillar fliers and Zero Rupee Note were distributed in Tuticorin Collectorate on Grievance day, 20.09.2010

Mr. Adi Narayanan, Chapter coordinator of 5th Pillar in Tuticorin distributed 5th Pillar fliers, Zero Rupee Note and RTI information pamphlet to all the visitors of the Tuticorin Collectorate and encouraged them to accost us when faced with corruption. Public approach the collectorate to file their petitions to address their grievances. This is a good venue to distribute informational materials to the public to empower and educate them about the services available out there that they can avail to alleviate their situation.

5th Pillar conducts awareness campaign in Fishermen camp at Idinthakarai, Tirunelveli District

Mr. Thiruselvam of Manitha Urimai Makkal Padukappu Iyakkam, invited 5th Pillar to conduct an awareness campaign about anti-corruption in the fishermen sector of Idinthakarai village. This beautiful coastal village which is serene and tranquil is infested with corruption and the 150 participants had volumes of issues and grievances which they shared in hope of emancipation. Mr. Adi Narayanan, 5th Pillar chapter coordinator of Tuiticorin participated in this event and addressed the participants about the goals and mission of our organization and highlighted the services provided to the public. The participants who were mainly fishermen had realms of afflictions to narrate to our coordinator, who documented the issues to be published in our monthly Tamil magazine MAATTRAM.
Manitha Urimai Makkal Padukappu Iyakkam were very eager to join hands with our organization to fight corruption as we have the same ideologies.

5th Pillar Pondicherry member participates in an RTI program on EYE TV PONDY

5th Pillar Pondicherry member Mr. Rajendran took part in an interactive program on EYE TV PONDY on 18 September 2010. This is a live program were he was interviewed about the salient features of the RTI Act itself and the practicality in adopting this Act to file RTI petitions to solve their issues, like delayed Ration card, passport, electricity connection and so on. Being an Advocate by profession, he was able to answer the queries of all the callers who wanted answers for their individual troubling situations. He answered all the callers and gave guidance as to how to approach each of their cases. The program was very interesting as each callers had varied situations and the viewers had a spectrum of situations and solutions.

5th Pillar takes part in Chakravyuha 10 organized by SRM University

Chakravyuha 10 is yet another techno fest organized by the Mechanical Engineering Department of SRM University, Chennai. In the 3 day event that extended from 26 September to 28th September, 5th Pillar was invited for a presentation on 28th September. Mr. Vijay Anand, President of 5th Pillar addressed the attendees on the topic, “Freedom from Corruption” and explained about the endeavors undertaken by our organization to tackle corruption and help the public. Detailed explanation of the successes of adopting RTI Act to receive delayed services was very interesting to the student audience as they are beginning their journey into the real world of maze of corruption. The Zero Rupee Note which is the trademark tool of our organization that depicts our reluctance to take part in the act of bribery, was distributed to all the students and an oath proclaiming to neither accept nor give bribe was taken. 5th Pillar information pamphlet was also distributed to emphasize the mission and activities of our organization. As many as 20 students approached our team to register their name as volunteers in our organization to abet us in our mission to eradicate corruption. Students active participation will drive the mission farther and stronger.