Sunday, March 22, 2015

11th Annual National Conference on Electoral and Political Reforms: Day 1

The 11th ADR Annual National Conference commenced today at Ramakrishna Mission Institute of culture Kolkata with the inaugural speech of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Shri H.S. Brahma.

Address by Shri H.S. Brahma

While addressing the Conference on the issue of electoral and political reforms, CEC Shri Brahma translated the meaning of electoral reforms for the citizens by stating that "Electoral reforms for citizens means to vote responsibly and to vote for good candidates"

CEC Shri Brahma unequivocally stressed on the importance of reforms in the functioning of the Political Parties. He said that the reforms in Political Parties are quintessential to electoral reforms in India.

Shri Brahma elaborated in length on the ECI';s National E-Services Project. He explained to the audience the main features of the project such as roll out of e-services, National Voter Services Portal (NVSP), e-Voting, Encyclopedia of Election Information, GIS based planning system etc. He explained in detail the use of technology by ECI to tackle the issues regarding voter registration.

Shri Brahma exhorted the citizens not to just caste their vote once in every 5 years, but  also monitor the working of their MPs and MLAs after elections on a regular basis.

Making flow of money in politics transparent: a case for good governance
[Panelists: Shri Shailesh Gandhi (Former Information Commissioner), Shri P. K. Dash (Director General – Expenditure, ECI), Shri Paranjoy Guha Thakurta (Journalist and political commentator), Shri Subhash Chandra Agrawal (RTI Activist), Shri Nikhil Dey (NCPRI/MKSS); Chairperson: Prof. Trilochan Sastry]
Commenting on the nature of electoral spending, Shri Nikhil Dey of MKSS said that the election spending by candidates and parties is being done like an investment in order to earn huge returns after the elections, when they are part of the government.

Senior journalist Shri Pranjoy Guha Thakurta said that the Politico-business nexus is the Gangotri of corruption. He suggested that the Political Parties should not be free to have their own auditors to audit their annual accounts.

Shri PK Dash said that there is a minimal legislation in field of monitoring of donations received by Political Parties, he added that the present mechanism of monitoring of parties funds is replete with loopholes. He said that when sources of 90% of funds received by Political Parties are not known, it is impossible to monitor these funds.

Shri PK Dash informed that countries such as United Kingdom have tackled the issue of transparency in money in politics through a series of legislations.

RTI Activists Shri SC Agrawal said that the RTI responses have revealed that the electoral reforms recommended by several government commissions have been pending for decades. Shri Agrawal recommended that the Political Parties must be audited by CAG.

Shri Shailesh Gandhi, while lambasting the election spending disclosures submitted by candidates in Lok Sabha 2014 elections, proposed that if limits on electoral spending by candidates are removed then a few candidates may end up revealing their actual spending in elections. Shri Gandhi recommended that the self-sworn affidavits of at-least winners and runners up candidates should be verified by Income Tax Department.

Time to build a functional democracy: Empowering local body institutions
[Panelists: Shri Subhasis Batabyal (AITC, Parliamentary Secretary, ex officio, Dept. Minister for Agriculture, West Bengal), Dr. Gouri P. Dutta (WBEW, former member, State Planning Board, former MLA), Shri Nikhil Dey (NCPRI/MKSS), Shri Sudhir Pal (Manthan Yuva Sansthaan, Jharkhand), Ms. Pankti Jog (MAGP), Shri Chandan Dutta (WBEW); Chairperson – Shri M.N.Roy]
While speaking on the local body elections and empowerment of local bodies, Shri Nikhil Dey (of MKSS Rajasthan) termed the recent Rajasthan Government’s Ordinance of minimum mandatory educational qualification for candidates contesting in Panchayat elections as “undemocratic”. He also stressed on the need for Social Audit of Panchayat funds & delivery of services by Panchayats.

Pankti Jog (of MAGP Gujarat) gave a powerful presentation of how RTI is being used at Panchayat level in Gujarat and how such practices of using RTI are bringing about a positive culture in villages.

Sudhir Pal (of Manthan Jharkhand) shared his experiences of how Panchayats have become instrumental in implementation of State and Central schemes.

Shri MN Roy stressed on the need to provide more power and resources to the local bodies so that they can work efficiently.

Need to enhance transparency and accountability in political parties
[Panelists: Shri T. S. Krishnamurthy (Former CEC), Shri Sukhvilas Verma (INC), Shri Manoj Bhattacharya (RSP), Shri Prabodh Chandra Panda (State Secretary, CPI), Shri Asim Dasgupta (CPI (M)), Shri Amit Choudhary (CPI(ML)(L)), Shri Ravindra Kumar (M.D. & Editor – in – Chief, The Statesman); Chairperson – Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar]
The representatives of Political Parties shared their views regarding transparency and accountability in Political Parties. Shri Asim Dasgupta of CPM while speaking on the issue stated that the meaning of transparency for a party essentially means that the ideology of the party should be stated clearly and not hidden. He recommended the need for state funding of elections and estimated the cost to the state exchequer of being less than 1% of India’s GDP

Shri. Prabodh Panda of CPI said that parties are spending crores of rupees but the source of their donations is not known.

Shri Bhattacharya of RSP opined that with 442 crorepati MPs in the Lok Sabha, it is this "miniscule minority" that rules the country.

Shri Ravindra Kumar, Editor of The Statesman submitted that the Political Parties are guilty of preserving the lack of transparency and further added that the Political Parties should come under RTI until the CIC order is not set aside by a court of law.

Former CEC Shri TS Krishnamurthy said that the Political Parties are the weak links in Indian democracy, and surmised that all the major electoral reforms till date have only been brought by the Supreme Court.

Shri Krishnamurthy recommended the state funding of elections with setting up of National Election Fund (NEF) to which corporates and citizens can donate funds and get 100% tax exemption.

Shri Krishnamurthy also stressed on the need for a separate law for regulating Political Parties functioning and their finances.


Media and Journalist Helpline

+91 80103 94248
Maj. Gen. Anil Verma (Retd.)
National Election Watch,
Association for Democratic Reforms
011 4165 4200,
+91 88264 79910
Prof Jagdeep Chhokar
IIM Ahmedabad (Retd.)
Founder Member,
National Election Watch, Association for Democratic
+91 99996 20944

Prof Trilochan Sastry
IIM Bangalore
Founder Member,
National Election Watch,
Association for Democratic Reforms
+91 94483 53285

Association for Democratic Reforms
T-95A, C.L. House, 1st Floor,
(Near Gulmohar Commercial Complex)
Gautam Nagar
New Delhi-110 049
To win the Mrs. Earth Crown, Mrs. India “Priyanka Khurana Goyal” visited Ahmedabad for her ‘Gujarati’ photoshoot
The portfolio was shot and conducted by Famous Fashion Photographer Vijay Kabra
Ahmedabad, 19th March 2015: Mrs. India 2015 Priyanka Khurana Goyal visited Ahmedabad to create her portfolio in the run up to win the next Mrs. Earth Contest. The pageant will be held in October2015 in Jamaica. Well known Fashion Photographer Vijay Kabra shot the portfolio at traditional locations of the city. The two days there were spent in different outdoor and indoor photo shoots. Furthermore Priyanka visited hospitals and participated in social activities and organized awareness for the “Save Girl Child” campaign, to inspire married Gujarati women. She also addressed the audience to inspire a sense of doing innovative work after marriage. About the Mrs. India crown, she says this is an unbelievable victory for me; my real inspiration is my two year old baby, who is always ready to do something new.”
Priyanka also mentions that before representing India at the global platform of Mrs. Earth, she would like to get a first-hand experience of the diverse cultures of India and visit places of historic and traditional value, in different states, starting with Gujarat, Rajasthan and Bihar.
Priyanka Khurana Goyal, an IIM-C alumna of the batch of 2006 won the Mrs. India 2015 pageant. Priyanka, Vice President, Nomura Securities, became the first Investment Banker to win the pageant. The pageant was organized by Handicap Children and Women’s Aid which promotes community service for Women Empowerment. Priyanka, mother of a 2 year old child, was also awarded as Mrs. Popular by the fellow contestants. Priyanka will now walk down the ramp at the prestigious Mrs. Earth title in October in Jamaica.
Mrs. India Priyanka Khurana Goyal says, "The Mrs. India 2015 title was a keenly fought competition with 7 rounds - interview, talent, introduction, bridal, traditional, evening gown, tennis wear and question-answer round. Winning the title gives me a voice and a platform to express my views on social issues that I strongly feel about. I want to be an inspiration to all the women who wish to pursue their aspirations of being an all-round personality with multi-facetted interests and hobbies."

For more details contact Nikita 9833986610
India Has Good Elections : CEC
Political Parties in India need Reforms

New Delhi, 19th March 2015 : The Election Commissioner of India Shri. H.S. Brahma was honored and felicitated for recommending direct voting rights to Non Resident Indians by President Delhi Study Group Shri. Vijay Jolly. The CEC was presented with a shawl and a trophy. The program was conducted by social media activist Mrs. Ritu Rathaur.
Speaking on electoral reforms CEC H.S. Brahma stated that India is a vibrant democracy. There are 194 democracies in the world. But India has more than 1600 political parties including 60 recognized state parties. Of these, 164 political parties including 6 recognized national parties in India are active. In the 2014 parliamentary elections out of total 834 million voters nearly 520 million voted. The Indian elections had 1.2 million electronic voting machines and nearly more than 11 million personnel managed this gigantic task claimed Mr. Brahma.
E-voting is no more a distant dream claimed CEC Brahma. India has the capacity to implement electronic voting within a span of three to four weeks. But the safety & security of the technology has to be ensured. Gujarat has already done it. Designated e-voting centers is one of the options. Technology changes every 10 to 20 years. So there is a need for us to change as well. The future elections in India will be tech savvy. Political parties also must reform.       
Delhi Study Group President Vijay Jolly in his welcome address strongly advocated “One candidate to stand from Only One Constituency”. This shall save expenditure, time, efforts & harassment to the voters he stated. He  also demanded a permanent secretariat for the Election Commission. The independent candidates should not be disbarred. Common electoral rolls for parliamentary, assembly and local body elections, power to disqualify on ground of defection should be with the President or the Governor who shall act on the advise of the ECI instead of the Speaker or the Chairman. Jolly also spoke in favour of introduction of compulsory votingLok Sabha and State Assemblies to have fixed 5 years term.
Pinky Anand Additional Solicitor General commended the work of Shri. H.S. Brahma in bringing about NRI voting in consulates. She stressed the importance of facilitating the valuable participation of 27 million of NRI in the democratic process. She lauded the initiative of the government in simplifying rules for NRI making it convenient & congenial.  
Prominent NRIs namely Vijay Nahata from Vietnam, Raman Chopra from Canada attended. Dy. Mayor Ravinder Gupta called for re-evaluation of rotational system in MCD elections. Surjit Gupta Editor Swaraj Magazine, Rahul Malik Advocate Supreme Court, O.P. Mishra Project Director NDMC and young turk Alok Gupta CMD Graphicads also spoke on the occasion. A lively question & answer session with the CEC was successfully conducted by Mrs. Ritu Rathaur. 

National Office : 6/6 Jangpura B, New Delhi – 110 014 . Phone : 011 2437 4535 | 9818905316
E-mail: | Web :

  • नितिन गडकरीजी, भूमि अधिग्रहण व किसानी पर ज़रूर ज़ाहिर बहस करें…
  • जन आन्दोलनों के हम साथी तैयार हैं |
केंद्र सरकार की ओर से नितिन गड्करीजी ने ‘भू-अधिग्रहण कानून, 2013’ में संशोधन के लिए लाये अध्यादेश को विधेयक में तब्दील करने के बाद अभी तक, जनाक्रोश के सामने कुछ झुकाव बताते हुए फिर कुछ बदलाव लोक-सभा में पेश किये | लेकिन इनमें न कोई दम है और न कोई तथ्य | प्रधानमंत्री मोदीजी के नेतृत्व में पर्यावरण से लेकर रक्षा मंत्रालय तक के कई बयान झूठे या खोखले साबित होते आये है, उसी का यह एक और नमूना है | संशोधन के मुद्दों से अध्यादेश और विधेयक के मसौदे पर 2013 कानून में जो किसान विरोधी बदलाव लाये गए हैं, उन पर कोई असर नहीं है | 13 नए कानूनों को 2013 के कानून के दायरे में लेने का दावा है | लेकिन 2013 के कानून से अब मूल किसानों के पक्ष में रखे गए प्रावधानों को बाहर क्यों किया गया, इसपर मोदी सरकार चुप हो | इसलिए भाजपा की नयी सरकार किसानों से धोखा-धड़ी ज़ाहिर है |
देश-भर के किसान संगठन और आन्दोलन जबकि अपनी बुलंद आवाज़ जगह-जगह उठा रहे हैं और रास्ते पर उतर आयें है तब कई सारे विरोधी दल भी किसानों के पक्ष में खड़े हुए हैं | लोक-सभा में बहुमत के जोर पर भाजपा के अन्दर हो रहे सवालों को भी दबा कर विधेयक को मंज़ूर करवाया गया है तो भी ना केवल ‘राज्य-सभा’ में पर देश की अधिकांश ग्राम-सभाओं का तो इसे सख्त विरोध है, यह बात ज़ाहिर है |
इस परिप्रेक्ष में कांग्रेस भी रास्ते पर उतर आई तो भाजपा के वर्त्तमान परिवहन मंत्री तथा भूतपूर्व ग्रामीण विकास मंत्री एवं अध्यादेश के रचनाकर्ता श्री नितिन गडकरी ने सोनिया गांधी और अन्ना हजारे जी को ज़ाहिर बहस की चुनौती दी है | यह न्योता इन दो व्यक्तियों को ही क्यों? इसके कुछ कारण तो हमें ज्ञात हैं ! इसलिए हम ज़ाहिर रूप से गडकरी जी से कहना चाहते हैं की सही, गंभीर और गहरी बहस, अध्यादेश/विधेयक, 2013 कानून और किसानी के मुद्दों पर करनी है तो आइये, हम जनआन्दोलनों के साथी तैयार है | आप तैयार हों तो आने वाले सप्ताह भर में सुविधाजनक दिन तय करके, हम स्थल सुनिश्चित करें |
आप इस निमंत्रण को ना टालते हुए सकारात्मक प्रतिसाद देंगे, तो यह केवल चुनौती न रह कर एक सबसे महत्वपूर्ण मुद्दे पर राष्ट्रीय बहस बनेगी, जिससे हो सकता है, इस देश के वंचित, शोषित, विस्थापित किसान-मजदूरों को ‘भूमि’ और सम्बंधित समस्याओं पर राहत मिल पायेगी | इससे न केवल देश, समाज का प्रबोधन होगा किन्तु अधिक विचारशील भूमिका लेने के लिए देश के श्रमजीवी एवं बुद्धिजीवी तैयार हो पाएंगे |
जवाब की अपेक्षा करते हैं |
मेधा पाटकर
और जनआन्दोलनों का राष्ट्रीय समन्वय के साथी
Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,
Navalpura, Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: ;
Twitter:     @medhanarmada

Pyasa Gujarat – River Linking Failed

March22, 2015 (C) Ravinder Singh
There are just two major dams in Saurashtra & Kutchh regions with 188
mcm [S.No.9] and 299 MCM Live Storages [S.No.8] Bhadar & Shetrunji
respectively are practically dry with gross storages of just 44 MCM
and 61 MCM and no water is released in Canals and water in storages is
not enough for even drinking water supply.
Against Narmada Main Canal Capacity of 40,000 Cusecs water released in
to Canal is barely 7501 cusecs when 8457 Cusecs is wasted to sea.
All Gujarat canal releases are barely 11570 cusec but more water –
14785 cusec is wasted to sea.
Three Largest Regions Have Practically No Water in Dams
Regions of Gujarat
Live Storage Capacity All
Dams MCM    Present Live Storage Capacity MCM
1    NORTH GUJARAT    1774.77    275.39
2    Kachchh Region    300.66    3.93
3    Saurashtra Region    2369.87    329.02
Total    4445.30    608.34
Ravinder Singh, Inventor & Consultant, INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND PROJECTS
Y-77, Hauz Khas, New Delhi-110016, India. Ph; 091- 9718280435, 9650421857

Dun and Bradstreet hosts the 3rd India e-Governance Forum

Digital India is a very strategic initiative for India – Mr. Shree Parthasarathy, National Leader – Cyber Security, Senior Director – Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte India
New Delhi, 21st March, 2015:As a part of its on-going efforts to enhance the knowledge on various economic aspects of domestic as well as global market, Dun & Bradstreet, the world’s leading provider of business information, knowledge and insight organized the 3rd India e-Governance Forum in association withEntrust DatacardinNew Delhi today.
The progress of e-governance has been one of the most striking developments of the web and e-governance initiatives have come a long way since then. E-Governance in India is transforming government functions for increased citizen participation in its day-to-day activities by opening up new channels for government-citizen collaboration. Today, the government’s major focus area is the rollout of citizen services, using IT and the Internet as platforms.
India, overall, has taken significant steps in the area of e-governance, with almost all States in the country launching e-services in some way or the other. Although efforts have been made in the creation of infrastructure and internal information handling by government bodies as well as public services, the diffusion of technologies in moving towards e-governance have been slow and it is now imperative to overcome the identified challenges affecting the evolution of e-Governance to enable efficient governance & administration.
Giving the welcome address, Ms. Preeta Misra, Director – Learning Solutions, Dun & Bradstreet India said, “In this dynamic VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, complex & Ambiguous) world of new age risks, the challenge always remains on how well we anticipate and then mitigate these risks. With use of technology, the issue of data security is also an area of concern for a project like Digital India.
Highlighting on secure identities and e- Governance facilitates Information to drive decisions on how to improve Citizen experience and Government efficiency,Mr. David Belchick, VP-GovernmentVertical, Entrust Datacard mentioned, “This was a very thought provoking session with leaders from the Government of India on best practices and current programs aimed at driving towards an accountable, efficient and responsive government strategy for both the National Government and State Governments within India. ”
Elaborating on the theme of the panel discussion, Security in Citizen ID – The need of the hour,    Prof. K. Subramanian, Founder Director, Advanced Center for Informatics and Innovative Learning, IGNOU & Former Sr. DDG, NIC, Ministry of Communication & IT & IT Adviser to CAG of India said, “Securing Citizen Identity is a must for Digital India and Good Governance and it is doable. Strong Integration, coordination, techno- neutrality, Cross Validated Identity Databases, agility, mobility, Legal support, Political Commitment and strong committed Leadership with a sole aim of India Development at Center/state is essential.
Further Dr. Kamlesh Bajaj, CEO, Data Security Council of India added, “It is very unlikely that people will have a single digital identity. Like, in the physical world they will carry multiple identities in cyberspace through different technologies which may be used for authenticating them for various applications including role based access and entitlement to services. Nations will have to address privacy concerns and assure citizens that identification technologies are not used as proofing and tracking tool.”
Discussing during the panel discussion, Mr. Shree Parthasarathy, National Leader – Cyber Security, Senior Director – Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte India said, “Digital India is a very strategic initiative for India. Providing secure services and gaining trust of the citizen is at the heart of this and will be enabled by the creation of a unique digital identity. Access Governance through technologies I.e PKI, etc. and principles of multifactor authentication will further enhance trust and maximize the availing of digital services by the common man.
While stressing on the importance of e-governance, Mr.Ajay Kumar, Entrust Datacard, Head of Marketing, South Asia,said, “The event successfully laid emphasis on the fact that secure identities and e-Governance facilitates information which is provided in an interesting and appealing manner. A vision document has been prepared for e-Governance by the Government of India and the state government where the e-Governance forum has been well appreciated in explaining the benefits of more informed citizens.”
This seminar witnessed participants from the Government and Industry together discussing the need for latest technologies, products & services and suggested a holistic approach to effectively maximize the adoption of e-Governance in India. Other eminent speakers present at the forum were Dr. Gulshan Rai, Director General, CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) and Group Coordinator of E-Security and Cyber Law Division in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, Mr. Henry Leung, Sr. Marketing Manager, Govt. Solutions, Entrust Datacard, Mr. Daniel Zatz, Technical Sales Consultant, Entrust Datacard, Mr. P. K. Swain, Post Master General, Department of Post, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India and Mr. JagdeepKochar, Ex-Executive Director, N-Code Solutions.
About Dun & Bradstreet (D&B):
Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) grows the most valuable relationships in business. By uncovering truth and meaning from data, we connect customers with the prospects, suppliers, clients and partners that matter most, and have since 1841. Nearly ninety percent of the Fortune 500, and companies of every size around the world, rely on our data, insights and analytics.
Customers use D&B Risk Management Solutions to mitigate risk, increase cash flow and drive increased profitability, D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions to analyse markets, locate prospects and increase revenue from new and existing customers; D&B Learning Solutions to facilitate professional growth and excellence among their executives and D&B Economic Analysis Group to derive pragmatic and solution-oriented analyses of strategic economic and business developments, thereby aiding informed decision making.
In 2015, D&B featured on the World’s Most Ethical Companies list in the Business Services category by Ethisphere, for the seventh consecutive year. The World’s Most Ethical Companies designation recognizes companies that truly go beyond making statements about doing business “ethically” and translate those words into action.
About Entrust Datacard
Consumers, citizens and employees increasingly expect anywhere-anytime experiences — whether they are making purchases, crossing borders, accessing e-gov services or logging onto corporate networks. Entrust Datacard offers the trusted identity and secure transaction technologies that make those experiences reliable and secure. Our solutions range from the physical world of financial cards, passports and ID cards to the digital realm of authentication, certificates and secure communications. More than 2,000 Entrust Datacard employees serve customers in 150 countries worldwide. For more information,
Media RSVP:
Blue Lotus Communications
Ms. Sukriti Kumar: +91 9833252547

Competitiveness, climate, security Finn’s priorities Ministry of Finance release Finnish road map of EU presidency. Finland i...