Dec 19, 2013
The report was released by Jagadananda, former Information Commissioner of East Indian state of Odisha.
New Delhi: Larger Civil Society in association with Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA) and other partners released a review report assessing the performance of the nine years rule of the UPA government and principal opposition party on Wednesday (December 18, 2013).
The report was released by Jagadananda, former Information Commissioner of Odisha, Biraj Patnaik, Advisor to Supreme Court Commission on Right to Food, Venkatesh Nayak, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Paul Divakar, Convener, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan and Richa Singh, Co-Convener, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan.
Paul Divakar lamented the laid-back attitude of the central government on the bringing about and passage of the SCO and TSP legislation. Richa Singh pointed out the governance deficit of the current government. Jagadananda highlighted the need for course correction in the implementation of the welfare schemes. Biraj Patnaik stressed on the need for redefining the role of citizen in democracy in the changing political scenario. Ventatesh Nayak criticized the plan of the government to cut down spending on the welfare schemes.
A panel discussion consisting politicians from various parties, Journalist and NAC member was moderated by Amitabh Behar of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, which took stock of the performance of the UPA I and II. Ramdas Athawale, President of Republican Party of India, Urmilesh, Former ED of Rajya Sabha TV, A K Shiva Kumar, a member of National Advisory Council (NAC), S Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary of Communist Part of India and Pradeep Tamta, Member of Parliament (Congress) put forward their points of view on governance and government accountability.
Amitabh Behar stressed that civil society and people at large had many hopes from the UPA government but the government has failed in fulfilling its promises. People are angry and disappointed with the performance of government and also with the role of the opposition party. He added that the government had introduced many effective bills and but failed to implement.
Urmilesh suggested that the WNTA must have covered untouched issues too for a holistic assessment of government’s performance. He said that labour laws in India are in bad shape and ironically, even media persons are outside its ambit.
Pradeep Tamta, Member of Parliament from the Congress party, said, “we are living in troubled times but everything is not disappointing. UPA has passed many people centric bills such as RTI, RTE, Right to Food, etc for the welfare of the marginalized. Tamta assured that he would write a letter to the UPA chairperson to push the recommendations in the review report.
“There are many laws in the country but the problem lies in the implementation,” said Ram Das Athawale. “The Parliament has passed the Lokpal Bill. But it is to see that how far it is effective. People are afraid after the introduction of RTI but the corruption has not stopped. It is still thriving.” He said that the government must give reservation to the SCs and STs in private sector too.
A K Shiva Kumar agreed with the outcomes of the review report. He underlined that the budgetary allocation to welfare scheme is a major hurdle in reaching out to the last person in the country. He said that budgetary allocation is not an economical issue but a political issue. He questioned why there is not enough funding for the social sector.
Highlighting the problems with the UPA I and I, Sudhakar Reddy said, “the biggest problem of UPA I was non-corporation of bureaucracy. Many important leaders of the UPA I were not in favour of common minimum program. And when they got free hand in the UPA II as they made government without Left’s support; it created mess. Corruption became the biggest problem in UPA II.”
The discussion ended with a note that the government should be accountable to people at large and the responsibility of the government does not end with introducing a law but it is their responsibility to ensure effective implementation of those laws or schemes.