Sunday, February 1, 2015

AAP's 70-point action plan for Delhi

1.  Delhi Janlokpal Bill: Aam Aadmi Party resolves to legislate the Delhi Jan Lokpal 
Bill after coming to power. This will ensure a time-bound investigation in matters of 
corruption. The Delhi Lokpal will have the power to initiate investigations and 
prosecution against those charged with corruption. A Citizens' Charter shall be 
introduced in all government offices in Delhi. Whistleblowers will be provided 
protection and awarded for their contribution toward creating a just system.

2.  Swaraj Bill: Aam Aadmi Party will legislate the Swaraj Act to devolve power directly 
to the people. Decisions affecting the local community will be taken by citizens and 
implemented by their Secretariat. A Citizen Local Area Development (C-LAD) Fund 
will be given to every Mohalla Sabha and Resident Welfare Association, ensuring 
funds and functions in the hands of the community. 

3.  Full Statehood for Delhi: Acting within the constitutional framework our
government will use its moral and political authority to push for full statehood for 
Delhi. This will ensure that institutions such as the DDA, MCD and Delhi Police will 
be accountable to the elected government of Delhi. This way land will be made 
available for the common man, there will be greater synchronization and shared 
purpose among civic services with regard to service delivery and the law and order 
machinery will be accountable to the citizens. 

4.  Electricity Bills to be reduced by half: An Aam Aadmi Party government will keep 
its promise of reducing electricity bills by half. A more efficient, transparent and 
accountable system to regulate and audit the power generation and distribution 
companies is the need of the hour and AAP will do everything within its command to 
achieve that. Discoms should purchase power from economical sources and wriggle 
out of expensive and unsustainable Power Purchase Agreements. AAP will take 
measures to provide relief from rising power bills, namely generating cheaper 
electricity, improving transmission efficiency, fixing billing defects and correcting 
meter defects.

5.  CAG Audit of Power Discoms: We will conduct a comprehensive performance 
audit of discoms by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Discoms shall 
also be brought within the ambit of the RTI act. We will ensure that the citizens of 
Delhi do not have to bear the burden of soaring power tariffs. Initially we will provide 
subsidy that would go not to the power discoms but to Delhi Transco, a state-owned 
transmission company which has unpaid bills of Rs 3,500 crore to be paid by the
discoms. This money will help Delhi Transco upgrade and augment its transmission 
capacity, which is in a bad state at present. The lack of funds at Transco's disposal 
is one of the main reasons for the frequent power outages in the state.  After the 
audit results are tabled in the assembly, power tariffs will be restructured. 

6.  Delhi's Own Power Station: We will put up Delhi's own power station at the 
pithead and comprehensively solve Delhi's electricity problem in the long run by 
being able to meet peak power consumption of 6200MW. We will also ensure that 
the Rajghat and Bawana plant are efficiently utilized. 

7.  Introduce Competition Amongst Discoms: AAP reiterates the promise made in 
its December 2013 Delhi manifesto of providing consumers the right to choose 
between electricity providers. We will introduce competitive distribution, which will 
provide better services and lead to lower tariffs. 

8.  Delhi To Be Made A Solar City: AAP will facilitate a phased shift to renewable and 
alternate sources of energy. Incentives will be given to households, housing 
societies, enterprise and industry to gradually switch over to renewable energy. We 
are committed to ensuring that 20 percent of Delhi's energy needs are met through 
solar energy by 2025. 

9.  Water As A Right: AAP will provide Water as a Right. It will provide universal 
access to clean drinking water to all citizens of Delhi at an affordable price. The 
Delhi Jal Board Act will be amended to make clean drinking water a right of the 
people. AAP will make a time bound plan of action for covering all residents of Delhi 
with piped water and sewage network in all parts irrespective of their legal status. 
There will be no discrimination between planned/non-planned; authorized/ non-authorized; 
regularized/ non-regularized; city or village. Within five years piped 
water connections will be made available to as many as 14 lakh households (50
lakh people) in Delhi that do not have a piped water connection at present.  

10. Free Lifeline Water: AAP will ensure free lifeline water of up to 20 kiloliters (20,000 
liters) to every household per month through a Delhi Jal Board's (DJB) metered 
water connection. This scheme will be extended to group-housing societies.

11. Fair and Transparent Water Pricing: AAP will provide universal access to potable 
water to all its citizens of Delhi at a sustainable and affordable price. The mandatory 
annual 10 percent hike in water tariffs will be abolished and any further hike will be 
made only after due consideration.  The AAP government will abolish the C-1A (B)
category to provide relief to households that run small shops from their residence 
(less than 100 square feet) for their livelihood for which they are charge commercial 
rates in spite of the fact that they are not using water for commercial purposes.

12. Water From Munak Canal: AAP will ensure the firm implementation of the High 
Court order that says Delhi is entitled to extra raw water from Haryana in the Munak 
canal, an issue on which the BJP government in Haryana and at the Centre have
been dithering.

13. Augmenting Water Resources: Our government will preserve and replenish local 
and decentralized water resources, will initiate schemes for rainwater harvesting, 
recharge of wells, watershed development and soil-water conservation. AAP will 
revive Delhi's water bodies like lakes, ponds and baolis, among others, by rainwater 
recharging and maintaining them in partnership with Mohalla Sabhas.

14. Crackdown On Water Mafia: AAP is committed to clamping down on Delhi's 
powerful water mafia working under the patronage of political leaders. AAP will put 
in place a transparent tanker water distribution system by implementing state-of-the-
art techniques. The schedule of tankers operating in different localities would be 
made available online and on mobile phone. Private tankers will be allowed to 
operate under the guidelines framed by our government. This will protect the 
consumers from exorbitant pricing and illegal practices of private tanker operators.

15. Revive The Yamuna: The Yamuna River has been part of the collective memory of 
Delhi for a long time but this lifeline is dying. We will ensure 100 percent collection 
and treatment of Delhi's sewage through an extensive sewer network and 
construction of new functional sewage treatment plants. Discharge of untreated 
water and industrial effluents into the river Yamuna will be strictly prohibited.

16. Promote Rainwater Harvesting: The AAP government will throw its weight behind 
rainwater harvesting and strongly push it in a top-down manner. Families that adopt 
rainwater harvesting shall be termed water- friendly families. The government will 
provide incentives to families who do so. 

17. Build 2,00,000 Public Toilets: AAP will build two lakh toilets across Delhi: about 
1.5 lakh toilets in slums and JJ clusters and 50,000 toilets in public spaces, of which 
1 lakh toilets will be for women. These toilets will be concentrated in public spaces 
and slum areas. We will construct eco-toilets to save water. 

18. Better Waste Management: AAP will adopt and encourage the use of good
practices in waste management techniques from across the world. We will 
encourage recycling by segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste 
at the household level. Littering or disposal of construction debris in public places 
will attract a heavy fine.  We will enforce the ban on plastic bags in the city. 

19. Five Hundred New Government Schools: AAP will build 500 new schools with a 
special focus on secondary and senior secondary schools to ensure that every 
Delhi child has easy access to quality education. 

20. Higher Education Guarantee Scheme: Students who wish to pursue any diploma 
or degree course after finishing Class 12 from any school in Delhi will be given bank 
loans with the government standing as a guarantor. Students will not be required to 
furnish any collateral and the scheme will be universal in nature regardless of a 
student's financial background. The loan will cover both tuition fees and living 
expenses. The loan repayment schedule will carry a moratorium period covering the 
years required to finish the course and one year thereafter to find a job. Under this 
scheme no loan request will be rejected. 

21. Twenty New Degree Colleges: AAP will open 20 new colleges under Delhi 
administration on the outskirts of the city in partnership with the villages of Delhi.
Further we will double the existing seat capacity of the Delhi government 
administered colleges including Delhi's flagship university, the Ambedkar University. 

22. Regulate Private School Fees: We will regulate private school fees by publishing 
the fee structures and accounts online. Capitation fee will be abolished. 

23. Transparency in Schools Admissions: AAP will bring in complete transparency in 
Nursery and KG admissions. To streamline the admission process, we will use a 
centralized online system for nursery admissions, removing avenues for corruption.

24. Ramp Up Government Schools to Provide Quality Education: AAP is committed 
to improving the standard of government schools so that all citizens of Delhi have 
access to high quality of education. Every school will have sufficient functional 
toilets built, especially for girls. A sufficient budget will be given at the discretion of 
the principal for lights, fans, blackboards and other essential infrastructure. 
Teaching and learning infrastructure including computers and high-speed Internet 
connectivity will be made fully functional in every school. Number of DTC buses will 
be increased in order to service private schools so that it cuts down on the wait 
times at regular DTC bus stops. Seventeen thousand new teachers will be hired to 
maintain full staff strength at government schools.

25. Increased Spending on Education and Healthcare: Education and Health will be
AAP's top priority. The total budgetary allocation will be increased accordingly. 

26. Expand Healthcare Infrastructure: We will create 900 new Primary Health 
Centers (PHCs) and 30,000 more beds in Delhi hospitals, out of which 4,000 will be 
in maternity wards. We will ensure that Delhi conforms to the international norm of 
five beds for every 1000 people. 

27. Quality Drugs For All At Affordable Price: Pharmaceutical drug and equipment 
procurement will be centralized to ensure zero corruption. Generic, affordable and 
high quality drugs will be made available to the public.

28. Adequate Street Lighting: Seventy percent of Delhi's streetlights do not work. Unlit
streets become scenes of crimes particularly against women. AAP will ensure a100
percent lighting of streets across the city so that no miscreant or anti-social activity 
goes unnoticed.

29. Effective Last Mile Connectivity: AAP will provide effective last mile connectivity 
in Delhi's public transit system, which will play a role in reducing the number of 
crimes against women. An effective combination of shared autos, metro feeder 
services and e-rickshaws will be used to provide efficient last mile connectivity by 
fixing and delimiting routes. This will be synced with metro and bus timings so that 
there is a working connection to each neighborhood from nodal points.
30. CCTVs in Public Spaces and Buses: AAP plans to install CCTV cameras in DTC 
buses, bus stands and in crowded places as a deterrent against crime. AAP will 
ensure that women can go about their jobs in the city free of stress while travelling 
by public transport.

31. Speedy Justice through 47 Fast-Track Courts: AAP will strongly push for the 
creation and completion of fast-track courts, which are dedicated to handling cases 
of sexual assault and other crimes against women. AAP will operationalize 47 new 
courts that it had commissioned in January 2014 to ensure speedy justice. If 
required, the courts will be run in two shifts so that the cases involving crimes 
against women are heard and trials completed within six months.

32. Empower Delhi Lawyers and Judiciary: New judges will be appointed. We will 
make provisions for affordable housing for government counsels and lawyers 
practising in lower courts. The government will streamline existing government
medical schemes to ensure maximum coverage of legal functionaries. 

33. Women's Security Force: AAP will set up Mahila Suraksha Dal or Women's 
Security Force made up of a 10,000 strong Home Guard who are currently forced to 
work as servants, drivers and cooks at the residences of senior officers and 
ministers. AAP will also use 5,000 bus marshals to prevent and deter crime on 
public transport.

34. Suraksha Button: Our government will provide a Suraksha/SOS button on every 
mobile phone. We will work towards its connectivity to the police, nearest PCR van, 
relatives and volunteer community.

35. Governance On The Mobile Phone: All government services and forms will be 
made available online and on the phone. Data on government projects, 
performance, accounts and personnel will be posted online. This will bring 
transparency and accountability in governance.

36. Delhi's Villages To Receive Special Attention: Decisions regarding the
development of Delhi's villages will be taken by Gram Sabhas, which will be granted 
special untied Village Development Funds to be utilized according to their priorities. 
Those engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry will receive incentives and 
infrastructural support as is done in neighbouring states. We will provide sports 
facilities in villages to encourage young adults to pursue sports. Connectivity to rural 
Delhi will be enhanced through increased bus and metro services.

37. Pro-Farmer Land Reform: Section 33 and 81 of the Delhi Land Reform Act, which 
put unjust restrictions on farmers' rights over their land, will be removed. No land 
will be acquired in Delhi's villages without the consent of the Gram Sabha. Strong 
pressure would be exerted on the Central government to remove unnecessary 
restrictions regarding land use in villages.

38. Wi-Fi Delhi: We will make Wi-Fi freely available in public spaces across Delhi. 
Citywide Wi-Fi can help in bridging the digital divide. It will also provide an impetus 
to education, entrepreneurship, business, employment, and also tie in with women's 
safety initiatives. 

39. Delhi To Be Made A Trade And Retail Hub: AAP will formulate trader-friendly 
policies and streamline rules and regulations for setting up and running businesses. 
We will simplify compliance and licensing for traders and put in place a system of 
single window clearance. We will also ensure that starting a trade or business in 
Delhi takes a maximum time of one week. As vital stakeholders the participation of 
traders in the framing of trade policies will be encouraged. 

40. No FDI In Retail: Our government will continue with its decision of not allowing FDI 
in retail in Delhi. 

41. Lowest VAT Regime: Delhi will have the lowest VAT regime in India. We will 
simplify VAT and other tax structures. One portion of the VAT collected from every 
locality and market will be used for the maintenance and upgradation of that market 
to foster business and trade.

42. End of VAT Raids And Inspector Raj: We will put an end to raid culture and 
inspector raj. Only under exceptional circumstances will a raid be permitted with the 
prior approval of senior officials. 

43. Simplifying VAT Rules: AAP will simplify VAT rules, processes and forms. The 30 
page long VAT form will be crunched into one page for traders. All communication 
with the concerned department will be online. Licenses will be applied for and 
received at home. 

44. Delhi Skill Mission: AAP will promote vocational education and skill development 
of Delhi's youth in schools and colleges, to bridge the real skill gap in Delhi. We will 
create the first ever Delhi Skill Mission to train and enable one lakh youth per year 
for the first 2 years, ramping up to five lakh youth per year for the next 3 years.
45. Create 8 Lakh Jobs: AAP will create eight lakh new jobs in the next five years. 
AAP will facilitate innovative and private startup accelerators to provide support to 
entrepreneurs. We will create an ecosystem that enables private industry to create 
more jobs.

46. Delhi To Be Startup Hub: The government will encourage startups by setting up 
business and technology incubators in universities and colleges. As a pilot project, 
we will also create three million square feet of affordable business incubation space.
47. Contractual Posts To Be Regularized: AAP will fill 55,000 vacancies in the Delhi 
government and autonomous bodies of the Delhi Government on an immediate 
basis. 4,000 doctors and 15,000 nurses and paramedics will be made permanent. 

48. Emphasis On Social Security: AAP will implement a flexible and fair labour policy. 
Our policy will ensure social security for workers in the unorganized sector; regulate
wages, services and working hours of domestic workers and improve work 
conditions of rag pickers. Local Mohalla Sabhas will provide licences to street 
vendors and hawkers in designated spaces. 

49. Reducing Pollution: Delhi Ridge, the lung of the city, will be protected from 
encroachment and deforestation. Environmentally appropriate afforestation would 
be carried out in all parts of Delhi in collaboration with the local Mohalla Sabhas. We 
will acquire mechanized vacuum cleaning vehicles to clean the city. Public transport 
will be improved to reduce the number of cars on the road. Additionally, incentives 
will be provided for low emission fuels like CNG and electricity. Government will 
encourage car-pooling and will crackdown on fuel adulteration to reduce pollution. 

50. Unified Transport Authority: AAP will formulate holistic transport policies for all 
forms of transport including the metro, buses, auto rickshaws, rickshaws and 
e-rickshaws. A 'Unified Transport Authority' will be established for this purpose.

51. Large Scale Expansion in Bus Services: We will expand bus services in the city 
on a massive scale, adding at least 5,000 new buses to the city fleet in five years. 
This will reduce the cost of transportation and pollution in the city. 

52. Just And Fair Policy For E-Rickshaws:  E-rickshaw drivers of Delhi spent many 
months mired in confusion. They lost their livelihood for months due to the BJP's 
policy paralysis. AAP will formulate a clear policy and standards for the ownership 
and operation of e-rickshaws, keeping safety aspects in mind. 

53. Metro Rail 2.0: We will collaborate with the Indian Railways to extend and develop 
the Ring Rail service in Delhi. AAP will also work towards large-scale expansion of 
the Delhi metro, especially in rural areas. Senior citizens, students and persons with 
disability will be provided concessional passes on buses and in the metro. 

54. Fair Arrangement for Auto Drivers: The number of auto rickshaw stands will be 
increased. We will facilitate fast bank loans for the purchase of auto-rickshaws. 
Special trainings will be conducted for auto drivers to improve their overall conduct. 
The interests of commuters will be protected by taking strict action against auto 
drivers in case of violation of laws or misbehaviour. At the same time, we will 
prevent harassment of auto rickshaw drivers by the police. 

55. Freehold Of Resettlement Colonies: The Aam Aadmi Party proposes a simple 
solution of conferring freehold rights to resettlement colonies. Original allottees will 
receive ownership of their plots for just Rs. 10,000. Those who are not original 
allottees will get the ownership rights of their plots for less than Rs. 50,000
depending on their plot size. The cumbersome multi-page form will be simplified 
and condensed into a single page form.

56. Regularization And Transformation Of Unauthorized Colonies: We will provide 
registration rights with regard to property and sales deeds in resettlement colonies. 
Further, we will provide water and sewer lines, electricity, schools and hospitals in a 
systematic and phased manner. Multi-pronged action to make available these basic 
necessities is the only way of empowering unauthorized colonies, which is 
something that has never been attempted by the BJP or the Congress. Within one 
year of our government formation, these unauthorized colonies will be regularized 
and residents will be given ownership rights.

57. Affordable Housing For All: We will construct affordable housing for lower income 
groups. Over 200 acres of land is currently lying vacant with the Delhi Urban Shelter 
Improvement Board that can be used for affordable housing. 

58. In Situ Development of Slums: Slum dwellers will be provided plots or flats in the 
same location as the existing slums. If that is not possible, they will be rehabilitated 
in the closest possible location. The Mohalla Sabha will plan the rehabilitation 
process and monitor its implementation. Until such rehabilitation is completed, the 
slums will not be demolished under any circumstances. Facilities for drinking water, 
sanitation and cleaning of sewage canals will be provided in all slums. Streets and 
lanes in slums will be repaired and converted into pucca roads.

59. Taking Care Of Our Senior Citizens: The government will initiate a universal and 
non-contributory old age pension system immediately. A minimum dignified amount 
indexed to inflation will be provided. Delays in disbursement and arbitrary decisions 
regarding pensions will be eliminated. 

60. Controlling Price Rise: In the retail and wholesale business, stringent measures 
will be taken to prevent hoarding and profiteering. Our government will use the its 
full strength to stop black market operations, hoarding and speculative trading to 
curb the rising prices of vegetables, fruits and other essential commodities. Ration 
shops and the public distribution system will be corruption-free and shield the Aam 
Aadmi from rising costs.

61. Drug-Free Delhi: AAP wishes to make Delhi a completely drug-free state. We will 
prevent drug trafficking by means of tight monitoring and ensuring strict punishment
for the guilty. The number of de-addiction centers shall be increased and mental 
and psychiatric support for rehabilitation purposes will be provided. We will also 
ensure that effective counseling is easily available in schools for adolescents.

62. Empowering The Disabled: We are committed to protecting the rights of Persons 
with Disability (PwD), and hope to make Delhi an exemplar for the rest of India. AAP 
will ensure implementation of the 3 percent reservation for persons with disability. 
We will strive to make education truly inclusive by hiring special educators in 
government schools. AAP will help children with disability get admission into 
schools and colleges and ensure financial support to institutions working especially 
for their needs.

63. Justice For Victims Of Anti-Sikh 1984 Carnage: The 1984 anti-Sikh carnage was
one of the lowest points in the history of Delhi. Those responsible continue to roam 
scot-free. The Aam Aadmi Party understands the feeling widespread in the Sikh 
community that they have been denied justice. Further, the fact that the BJP-led 
government at the Centre still feels the need to constitute a committee to decide 
whether an SIT is needed or not on this issue is mystifying. We promise to notify the 
SIT that we had ordered in January 2014 to reinvestigate the 1984 anti-Sikh killings, 
particularly the involvement of high profile Congress leaders. Cases where 
investigations were not carried out properly or witness testimonies not recorded will 
be reopened. 

64. Respecting Our Ex-Servicemen: Delhi is home to a large number of ex-servicemen 
and women from the Armed Forces. AAP will stand by the nation's ex-servicemen in 
their fight for "One Rank, One Pension". We will ensure the existing quota in 
government jobs for ex-servicemen is filled up. 

65. Development And Equality For All Minorities: The recent communal tension 
witnessed in Delhi is totally out of sync with the social fabric of the city. We stand 
firmly against attacks on places of worship and inflammatory speeches across 
Delhi. Upholding the spirit of Swaraj, Mohalla Sabhas will set up peace committees 
to ensure harmony in their respective neighborhoods. We will bring transparency in 
the functioning of Delhi Waqf Board and ensure that encroachments on Waqf 
property by private parties as well as the government are removed.

66. Dignity To The Safai Karamchari: AAP will end contractualisation in "safai 
karamchari" posts and will regularize existing employees. Workers who enter 
sewers will be provided with protective gear, masks and appropriate equipment. 
Like fire fighters, they will receive medical insurance. To help in their career 
advancement, safai karamcharis will be provided assistance in education and 
training. On the death of a "safai karamchari" on duty, Rs. 50 lakh will be given to 
the bereaved family. 

67. Ensuring The Rights Of The Marginalized: We will ensure that policies of 
reservation concerning the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other 
Backward Caste sections are enforced in Delhi government jobs. Entrepreneurs 
from Scheduled Castes will be provided zero or low-interest loans to set up 
businesses. Procedures for obtaining caste certificates will be simplified. We will 
take steps to end the discrimination against and harassment of denotified and 
nomadic communities in Delhi. The long neglected transgender community will be 
provided access to health, education and appropriate identity cards that will ease 
their engagement with institutions.

68. Promote Sports Culture: We will create new sports facilities, improve the existing 
infrastructure and provide coaching assistance to sportspersons. We will open for 
the youth Delhi's sports stadiums and complexes that at present are lying 
underutilized. More than 3000 government school playgrounds will also be made 
available to the local community after school hours.

69. Promoting Punjabi, Sanskrit And Urdu: We will provide second-language status 
to Urdu and Punjabi. An adequate number of teachers will be employed for teaching 
Urdu and Punjabi. Research in Urdu and Punjabi shall be encouraged in various 
Delhi state universities. Study and research in Sanskrit will also be encouraged. 

70. Preserving Our Heritage and Literature: The Delhi Public Library Network, which
presented a vibrant public space accessible to all and encouraged a culture of 
reading and curiosity about one's social context, will be enhanced. A public library 
or community-reading space will be created in every constituency of Delhi.  

Your comments on the points' specific details? Maybe just the points covering your work domain? (And not your abstract overall commentary on the whole thing, or your personal speculation on whether it will get any votes, please..)

Contrast between Terrorism+Security and Satyagraha

Contrast between Terrorism+Security and Satyagraha, coming as a refreshing rejoinder after I saw the movie "Gandhi" one more time recently.


...But there was a second piece of drama which was relevant to the themes of the visit. Mr. Obama was searching for a new compact to fight terror. The second event challenged the security discourse he was urging by talking of peace in a different language. This was Irom Sharmila's decision to continue her fast after the High Court had cleared her of charges of suicide.

Sharmila's fast, one of the classic acts of satyagraha in history, has often been read as a local event. For all its drama, it is seen as a footnote to the problems of the so-called North East, a local struggle in Manipur. Yet, politics has a way of transforming itself from a local anecdote to a national symbol. Sharmila's years of fasting, protesting against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is relevant for a world which is combating terror. Terror today is not an act confined to rebels and insurgents. Terror is also a part of the policy of the state. AFSPA, formalised by Parliament in 1958, has destroyed the normalcy of Manipur. Sharmila's fast began as a simple, naive act of protest by a young girl who decides to refuse food till AFSPA is repealed. She was protesting against the rape and murder of Manipuri women by an Army which used the law to commit atrocities with impunity. Over the years, the simple message of courage has made Sharmila's act, a major message of non-violence today.

Terror and satyagraha

Terror today dominates state politics, immobilising democracies which are addicted to the security discourse. When the state mirrors the violence of the terrorists, a political impasse is born. Sharmila shows that satyagraha might be an answer to the indignity of terror. Satyagraha can fight terror and shame it into civility. Let us first examine the contrast.

Terror is contemptuous of the body, indifferent to the suffering of the victim. Satyagraha uses the body as the vehicle of truth and uses suffering to create compassion. It offers the dignity of vulnerability to the indifference of terrorism.

Terror paralyses through anonymity. It is always masked. Satyagraha is always a face which seeks to communicate. Terror paralyses discourse while satyagraha opens up conversation. A Gandhi would always talk to his oppressors while IS would at most "telegram" its ownership of the act of violence. Satyagraha seeks the ethics of responsibility. Terror owns the act of violence but disowns the responsibility for it.

Terror emphasises invulnerability. Satayagraha begins from vulnerability. Terror paralyses agency and satyagraha seeks to revive it. Watching Sharmila, one senses the vulnerability of a fragile woman and yet the strength of agency which has survived over decades.

Terror creates shock but no surprise. It fuses politics and technology into repetitive acts of cannibalising bodies. The satyagrahi is constantly inventing. Terror destroys normalcy while the satyagrahi seeks to restore normalcy and in pondering over its delights. Irom Sharmila insists that when AFSPA is repealed, she will marry a man she loves and live an ordinary life.

The satyagraha speaks truth to power while terror seeks to challenge power through violence. The women of Manipur know that insurgence is no answer to development. They are not looking for mock heroics but the ordinariness and everydayness of life and its rituals.

Satyagraha seeks justice. Terror, at the most, can speak the language of revenge. In fact, terror depoliticises politics by invoking the redundancy of security discourse, while satyagraha is an invitation to politics, to its constant reinventions. The satyagrahi summons speech while terror invites the constant noise of violence.

In terms of drama, satyagraha is the politics of theatre, but terror has no real sense of dialogue, drama or spectatorship. The protests of the women of Manipur standing naked before the Assam Rifles headquarters saying, "Rape us too" conveys drama while bin Laden, for all the publicity, conveys no sense of speech, no inventiveness of language, no sense of surprise. The redundancy and the excess of terror elude drama. Terror destroys storytelling while satyagraha unfolds as an epic story.

The message of Irom Sharmila is the message of Václav Havel, of Mahatma Gandhi, of Martin Luther King; that out of vulnerability can come the agency which emancipates, which understands the other as it battles him.

No understanding

Our terrorists and our security discourses seek only dominance and control, not understanding. The discourse that Mr. Obama spouts shows little understanding of the evils enacted by the U.S. Narendra Modi shows little sense of the suffering of the North East. In fact the term North East is itself a violence to the diversity of communities in the area. The women of Manipur are asking for the gift of normalcy, the right to everydayness which allows a citizen to pursue life and liberty.

[...] At this moment one realises the voyeurism of India in seeking the same securitarian pomposity as the U.S. Yet, as spectacles, Mr. Obama will be forgotten while Sharmila's acts of conscience prompt us to rethink history.

Sharmila too talks of development but it is the story of village and family, of craft and biomass societies confronting the new developmentalist state.

New kind of democracy

Security, and its sibling, terror, create spectacles while satyagraha unfolds as a drama. Imagine for a moment that one narrowed such drama to a spectacle of tableaux on Republic Day. Imagine a Republic Day without the military, the uniforms and the preening aircraft. Think of our satyagrahis as a tableau of events beginning with Gandhi and Ghaffar Khan. Add to it Mahasweta Devi, the Bengali writer, talking of bonded labour like a sad old aunt. Think of Aruna Roy leading the protest of the poor of Rajasthan, demanding a right to information. Imagine the displaced survivors of the Narmada Dam sitting immersed in water to remind India that development is a kind of amnesia. Think of Ela Bhatt of SEWA claiming that world peace begins with women's work. Add to it the protest of Manipur and of Irom Sharmila sitting quietly, giggling over one of her drawings and surrounded by security guards. Such tableaux make words like security, development, sovereignty empty. They seek to create a new kind of democracy.

The juxtaposition of two news events this week showed us the possibility of two kinds of politics. Thereports of Irom Sharmila hardly extended to a paragraph; an indifferent footnote in some newspapers. The Modi-Obama serenade, with its chorus of commentary, swallowed our newspapers, where even attention went into First Lady Michelle Obama's dress. I do not think there was a photograph of Irom in any newspaper. I think The Telegraph was possibly the one newspaper that reported the struggle in detail.

As I sat and wrote this article on a cold winter's day, while roads all over Delhi were blocked in a display of efficiency, I wondered who would survive as history; who would be the greater exemplar of politics and the politics of hope that democracy creates.

Would it be Narendra Modi and his dreams of India as Prussian state? Was it Mr. Obama, the President, who promised so much and offered so little, desperate to create a few crumbs of history by clinching a nuclear deal with India? Or would it be Irom Sharmila and her craft of peace, seeking normalcy, an ordinariness in a society which prefers the state as a constant spectacle, and where politics is a continuous act of conspicuous consumption in terms of security, luxury and the pomposity of power? To me, the quietness of Sharmila wins over the noise of the Modi-Obama political machine.

As a satyagrahi, I am sure Sharmila would have liked to send them a greeting card, inviting them to come to Manipur. I think it is the Irom Sharmilas, the Mahasweta Devis and the Ela Bhatts who have to colour the imagination of India and take it beyond the triteness of state politics. The storyteller has to return to narrate these events, for what goes as news today is a travesty of peace and history.

(Shiv Visvanathan is a professor at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy.)

Aam Aadmi Aaye Hai

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A view of EBHLE

Click below in case you couldn't see the embedded viewers above.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fwd: Press Note: Apex Court directs GRAs to dispose 3000 Narmada (SSP) cases by 28, Feb, 2015


Supreme Court Social Justice Bench directs GRAs to dispose of all pending complaints of Sardar Sarovar Oustees by 28th February,  2015

M.P. appoints 5 judges, Guj commits to appoint 2 judges on GRA

M.P. Maha and Guj to file Compliance Report on about 3000 complaints on 10th March : Next Hearing on 13th March

16th Jan, 2015: In a significant development with regard to the rehabilitation of thousands of families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada River, the Supreme Court today issued a clear directive to the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) of the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat to dispose of all pending cases by 28th February, 2015. Delivering the Order, the Division Bench of Hon'ble Justice Madan Lokur and Justice U.U. Lalit directed the States to submit compliance reports by 10th March and has listed the matter for further hearing on the 13th March, 2015.

In compliance with the previous Order of the same Bench dated 9th January, the Govt. of M.P filed an affidavit conveying appointment of Jst. (Retd) A.K. Sharma; Jst. (Retd) S.S. Dwivedi, Jst. (Retd) Indrani Dutta, Jst. (Retd) I.S. Shrivastava and Jst. (Retd) G.D. Saxena - 5 Retired Judges of the High Court to work full time as GRA, M.P. Govt. of Guj has committed to appoint 2 Judges for grievance redressal. Govt. of Maharashtra has committed that the present GRA, Jst. Bagga would dedicate more time to hear all cases. It was also directed that the GRAs would be assisted by one Retd. Dist. Judge, 1 Addl. Collector and 2 Deputy Collectors in each state. The GRAs are also required to make filed visits, wherever necessary.

The Order was issued, by the Bench, while hearing applications filed by oustees from various affected villages and Narmada Bachao Andolan, challenging the recent decision of the Narmada Control Authority dt. 12th June, 2014 to raise the height of the dam from 121.92 mts to 138.68 mts as unconstitutional and in violation of the Narmada Tribunal's Award, previous judgements of the Supreme Court, which mandated that raise in dam height shall only be after rehabilitation of all the oustees upto full height and its back water. The Applications also challenged the false claims that there would be no 'additional submergence'.

Pleading for the oustees, Counsel Sanjay Parikh informed the Court that even as on date, the rehabilitation of thousands of oustees as per law, is pending, while the dam height has been increased and construction has commenced, leading to grave violation of the fundamental rights of the oustees. He informed the Court that the procedure for dam height raise laid down by the 2000 and 2005 judgements has been grossly violated by the Environment and Rehabilitation Sub Groups of the NCA and the NCA itself. He also questioned the legality of the ongoing dam work, when it is already proved that the conditional clearance to raise the dam height from 110.64 to 121.92 mts has been violated and thousands of oustees, already thrown in the submergence zone are not yet rehabilitated and have been defrauded by a nexus of officials and agents, whose acts are being inquired into by a Judicial Commission in M.P.

Applicant-in-person, Medha Patkar submitted that there are already hundreds of orders of the GRAs, where compliance is pending and oustees have already faced impacts of unlawful submergence. She pointed out NCA's Annual Report of 2013 which admitted more than 2300 families are yet to get land in M.P alone, more than 1000 adivasi oustees in Maharashtra and a few hundred in Gujarat are without land, civic amenities; thousands of landless, fish workers, potters are yet to be ensured alternative livelihood, as per law in M.P. The Hon'ble Supreme has assured the applicants that it would afford full hearing and deal with all substantive questions of legal violations, including the legality of raise in dam height on 13th March, 2015.

  Yogini Khanolkar         Kamla Yadav          Bilal Khan                 Bhagirath

Ph: 09179148973 / 09423965153 / 09818905316

National Alliance of People's Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 24374535 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : | napmindia [at]
Twitter : @napmindia

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Video: Difference Between Judaism and Zionism; and Zionist domination of the Obama administration

David Icke Exposes the Difference Between Judaism and Zionism, Between
War and Genocide, and Between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

I'm only noticing this right now : Obama did not bring any other
people of colour in his staff. All the main positions are held by
people nearly identical to Bush's administration. Including people who
are publicly steadfasts zionists. It's just been a nominal
black-placement in the President's seat. If a genuinely multiracial
regime had come to Washngton, as people believed at the 2008 US
elections, we'd be seeing a totally different kind of administration
in Washington.

Exposing colleges' tactics of attaching the glorified pursuit of knowledge, to their high cost programs
(you'll have to watch it full, or you might misconstrue this video to
be a racist/sexist rant or so)

I liked the fact that he cut through the tactic that latches a
glorified pursuit of knowledge with spending huge amounts of money and
getting into lifelong debt, and introduced the idea that these things
can be pursued equally or even better outside of the colleges' walls.

The second part (the money and the debt!) is very casually forgotten
in many debates about liberal arts /social studies vs engineering,
medicine etc. We need to learn how to cut through the divide.

I have more to share at length; kept it after the links below.
Warning: May be uncomfortable for some.

Another film that I would recommend especially to members of the
homeschooling community who aren't yet extending their critical focus
beyond higher secondary schools:

Scholarslip: A documentary about the student debt crisis

For further more detailed investigation into the college myth, I'd
recommend the "Disciplined Minds" audiobook listed here: (free) (the other
books there are also awesome)


Nikhil's personal, practical and no-holds-barred opinion:

I feel that parents, especially in the homsechooling community, who
want to dispute the traditional domination of
engineering/medicine/finance, are very susceptible to these programs.
In many cases, they come as a relief; as something that we can finally
show to our peers as proof that the decision to homeschool/unschool
our children was a right one. It portrays as a viable step to enable
our child's transition to being part of the real, mainstream world.

Of course, facilitating our kids to pursue their passions is
important. But I just want to point out that you don't need to spend a
lifetime's worth of savings on it; the institutions that take all this
money are NOT delivering the value you think they will, and you really
need to do the detective work and investigate exactly what kind of
damage they're causing to the children entrusted to them. Their
interests are not aligned with your children's best interests. There
ARE other ways, and just because they don't glitter as much doesn't
mean they're not good enough for your child.

And those who think that it's ok as they can afford it : that they can
afford to send their child to a liberal arts program or the like at so
and so university in US or New Zealand or UWC or wherever: I'm sorry,
but you're doing all the other parents not as rich as you a great
disservice, because you are giving credibility to the scam, and they
are getting pressured to mimic you.

Let's be practical here: If you just took all the money you're
planning on spending on your child's college and put it into an FD or
something similar that starts to give a basic monthly payout in three
or four years time (when you would expect your child to start earning
for self), and let it take care of part or all of the basic living
expenses of your child for her/his whole life, then THAT would truly
liberate your child to pursue her/his passions and find a meaningful,
fulfilling way to live their life. And the "investment" remains with
you; it's not vanished into someone else's pockets. Your kid is not
left with a lifelong burden of recovering this investment. When they
start to be financially self-sustaining, they can just return that sum
back to you.. heck, it was never gone. (Now don't get too greedy about
interest and all.. the college wouldn't even have returned you your

If that thing your child wants to do, is just not available in a
proper quality locally or in your country, then that's actually an
opportunity for entrepreneurship. Or, maybe you're not looking in the
right places. It might not be being taught here, but it might be
getting practiced, and an apprenticeship could be on the cards. Or,
maybe your kid has a multitude of interests, including things that are
locally available, and this is just one single petal in that flower
that you've fixated upon and hyped up as an adoring parent who thinks
their child is oh-so unique. (Ouch! "Jab dil pe lagegi, tabhi toh baat
banegi" :D)

And as to what all that amazing program offers : Yes, it's possible
now (maybe not in 1990 but definitely now) to find that peer group and
"exposure" and opportunities that the glitzy university program is
promising. Yes, you can let your child travel to other places that
aren't big colleges, intern with people doing the work she/he is
interested in, and learn on-the-job. And Yes, you CAN let your
children explore their sexuality closer to home, so they don't need to
take the cover of a far-away college program just to get away from you
and seek out the autonomy over their bodies that they want at this

Oh, you think that's not a primary motivating factor for an 18 year
old on par with "more learning" and "greater opportunities"? It looks
ridiculous, but we live in ridiculous and desperate times. We do spend
multiple lakhs of our parents' money just so we can get a proper
chance to explore our sexuality and the phenomenon of being in love
with someone. If we get that chance, we jump for it and cool-ly play
along and agree whole-heartedly with all the other reasonings, taking
great care that this aspect never enters the discussion. Let's admit
to it. And I hope this gets taken as a practical feedback on what's
really important in life, rather than being decried.

We're already refuting so many false assumptions of what human beings
are.. why don't we just take it logically forward and apply it to our
own children? NO, they're NOT going to become lazy bums if they know
that their basic survival needs are guaranteed. That will only bring
them closer to a state that every living being on this planet is
supposed to be in anyway : there is enough in this world for
everyone's needs but not for everyone's greed, remember? Our
conventional value of "earning a living" : which wasn't in existence
100 years ago : is what is killing our planet.That's not the primary
function, or motive, of living beings. Please do some research on this
"value" : who introduced it into popular culture and with what
motives. (The audiobook on Debt listed at that unwelcomeguests link is
a great resource in this topic)

To sum up hastily, No, human beings do not need to attend extremely
expensive college courses in order to be successful or happy or more
knowledgeable or more experienced or "exposed" in life; in simple
practical terms there's a world of better things you'd rather do with
that money / absence of debt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On the decision that Delhi's citizens have to make on 7 February 2015

First filter that citizens need to apply to list of possible choices in elections :

Uses Black Money for Election Campaign? -> No.

Results after applying filter :

1 entry remaining: AAP.
That's it, no more comparisons possible.

Whatever else you throw up for one or against the other, this basic critical criteria has been met by one party and not the others.

"Strong leadership" >> Then why use black money? If really strong leadership then why not fight fair and honest? Only a coward cheats.

"Stable government" >> Meaning you want to preserve the hell of a life that presently is for most people? Stably continue to let your leaders keep looting you? Don't demand any accountability? Don't punish corrupt leaderships? Didn't you want change?

"Will do dharna again" >> By what logic? Are you saying that the Central govt, ie, Modi Sarkar, is going to continue to let crimes against women : rapes, bride-burning, killing etc happen and will continue to order Delhi Police to look the other way and not do its duty? Because it was THIS situation that caused the dharna the last time. Police were kept too busy collecting bribes and facilitating black money collection, and were actively prevented from doing their real jobs. To say that this will happen again, means to say that Modi Sarkar is going to continue making Delhi unsafe for women. What would that imply about the character of the Central govt? What are you trying to imply?

"Will resign again" >> So this means you are already 100% sure these guys will be non-corrupt and very reliable and trustworthy in their job. Only in such a circumstance would you be afraid of a government resigning. Otherwise the normal concern with any leader is "Will never step out once put into power". And that was for upholding a promise made in public well in advance.

There's no point getting into any of these. The nature of funding is going to call the shots on what the elected representative does. Simple.

There's no need to over-complicate things.

Sort out what's more important to you. And bloody hell, stop over-complicating, stop over-speculating, evaluate efficiently and close the matter.

Friday, January 9, 2015

honest technical pointing-out : Modi Sarkar is already there in Delhi

Just FYI, the state of Delhi has been operating under Modi Sarkar
since he took office as PM this year.

Because Delhi state has been under direct Central rule since February 2013.
It can get confusing when we consider the nitty gritties of Presidents
Rule, governors etc, but here's a delineator : The President of India
does NOT have the kind of autonomy from the Prime Minister's Office as
the Chief Ministers of the various States of India do.

Which means, in comparison with a time when there was a Chief Minister
in charge of Delhi, today, it is under Central government rule. No,
the arrangement isn't such that no one is in charge : someone IS in
charge, someone IS to be held accountable for the day to day issues of
the state even if exactly WHO that someone is may be shrouded in
legalese. And as of today, those in charge of Delhi, ultimately have
to report to the Central Government.. the PMO. Such is not the case in
State governments. Though at an informal level such has been made the
case in all the states where BJP has recently won state elections by
promising Modi Sarkar.. essentially turning them into an informal kind
of Presidential Rule. Where the Chief Ministers are acting more as
Governors, where they will owe their seat's occupancy to whether the
PM approves of them or not and not to whether the people of that Sate
approve of them or not.

So whoever talks about bringing Modi Sarkar in Delhi, just a polite
reminder : It's already there. It is physically impossible to bring
something to Delhi that has already snuck in by default.

And whoever believes something great and good will happen by bringing
Modi Sarkar to Delhi, newsflash : Something in that direction should
have already begun by now.

So, do you notice anything different in Delhi?

In matters of life and death, such as safety of women or survival of
the poorest of the poor during the winter, to allege that Modi Sarkar
will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for them till after the elections happen,
and combined with the fact that the Central govt, both past and
present, and the BJP party, has very clearly had a role to play in
indefinitely delaying of elections all this time, would amount to an
act of holding the people of Delhi to ransom, and abandoning of duties
of leadership in favour of electoral politicking. In comparison,
during its 49-day stint, the AAP initiated a slew of far-reaching
measures despite having a 100% guarantee that they will not complete
their term and need a re-election to secure their position. The AAP
chose to do whatever could be done in the time given, rather than
holding the people of Delhi to ransom. So yeah, I'd caution anyone who
tries to defend the Central govt's role in Delhi so far : by giving
the election reason they'll actually be asserting something much more

In fact, the best way to keep Modi Sarkar in Delhi is to eliminate any
chance of elections forever. They've managed to get delayed
indefinitely since almost an year now through the confusing inactions
of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung who, in accordance with the
on-the-ground reality of completely messing up the mandate of the
Constitution, should have lost his position by now but remains in
office without any enquiry or reprimand whatsoever : an anomaly that
years on people are going to point out and ask what the heck was that
all about! The rule of Constitution in that region should be
suspended; India's independent status at least over the territory of
Delhi should be revoked and it should be declared as a colony of the
Central Govt. That would be the best way to maintain "Modi Sarkar" in
Delhi. Again, just to point out to readers : The ongoing BJP campaign
(if they're campaigning then surely they know the election dates?) is
no longer a campaign to bring in something new : It is a campaign to
maintain, and strengthen, the status quo.

Disclaimer : Facts as they are on the ground are much more important
than anybody's for- or against- opinion.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


A little glimpse at what I'm up to.. the following is for Pune, in Rs. crores:

Created here:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

in defense of and in gratitude to amir khan


आमिर खान ने जब मँगल पाँडे बनकर अंग्रेजों के खिलाफ बगावत किया था ,जब अजय सिँह राठौड़ बनकर पाकिस्तानी आतँकवादी गुलफाम हसन को मारा था.जब आमिर ने फुन्सुक वाँगड़ू (रैंचो) बनकर पढ़ने और जीने का तरीका सिखाया था.जब भुवन बनकर ब्रिटिश सरकार से लड़कर अपने गाँव का लगान माफ कराया था। जब टीचर बनकर बच्चों की प्रतिभा कैसे निखारी जाए सिखाया था। सत्यमेव जयते । जिसको देख कर काफी जागरूकता आई तब आमिर एक देशभक्त और जिम्मेदार नागरिक था।..पर जब आमिर ने pk फिल्म से धर्म के नाम पर पाखण्ड और अंधविश्वास को उजागर किया है। तो एक देशभक्त और मंझा हुआ कलाकार मुसलमान हो गया। आमिर का मुसलमान के नाम पर विरोध वही कर रहे है जो चाहते है धर्म का धंधा चलता रहे। चढ़ोत्तरी आती रहे। लोग धर्म के नाम पर मरते कटते रहे ! OMG में भगवान पर मुक़दमा ठोकने वाले परेश रावल को तो संसद बना दिया और अब PK का विरोध , कुछ समझ नहीं आया।

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Diaspora declaration

A Translation of the Declaration by Nathalie to English

(The original declaration is in German. As I did not write the original document, but only translated, I can only answer questions about the translation and cannot speak as the author.)

(I'd also like to extend a "Thank you" to #diaspora-de for ensuring that I retain the original meaning of each sentence to the highest degree we could.)

EDIT: Original translation was deleted because I needed to fix some bad mistakes. Sorry! Hopefully I fixed them all.

A declaration,

It makes me very happy that the amount of Diaspora users is currently increasing so quickly. The network is finally getting the attention that it deserves.

The problem is only that many who come from Facebook to escape its shamelessness bring along quite false expectations. They expect a social network in which they can read what their friends are doing, how they are, and where they are meeting. They are searching for an uncomplicated method of communication, that is more direct and faster than an email and less binding than a telephone conversation. An instrument to reach all contacts. They want to know what is happening in their social circle and what impels their friends in America. Through facebook they want to feel good and connected with their loved ones.

They will not find that on Diaspora. Here, strangers post their (usually politically left-leaning) ideals, philosophical text, calls for change, and evidence of unjust activity. And of course pictures of baby kittens.

The Facebook refugee is initially surprised by the alternative network and explains to himself the differences come from the still too small amount of members.

But in the end the foundational difference does not lie in the amount, but in the type of user. To the majority of the current active Diaspora users, it is not about the "social" in the network. They want an exchange of thoughts. That which Facebook does not provide. They don't want to see, twice per week, half-successful Instagram photos of half-botched cupcakes. And they also don't want to see photos of shit-faced people who are "enjoying" life in its full glory. And they also are not interested in whether unimportant person A is in an open relationship with unimportant person B.

All of that is not classy enough for Diaspora. But that is exactly what the upcoming converts will miss. In order to lure a large part of the now Facebook users here, and keep them permanently, it will be necessary to add exactly these things that do not fit Diaspora.

One could say that Facebook is a social network and Diaspora is a thought network. In Facebook it is about the relationships between people who post things. In Diaspora it is about what they posted.

If one takes "social network" literally, then ultimately Diaspora matches the phrase better than Facebook with its always-respectful interactions between users and the genuine interest in text that was written with blood, sweat, and tears. Here the people do not want to portray themselves as first in line, but want to share their thoughts with others. Everyone wins: One shares his convictions, gives thought-out Feedback, and gets new thoughts, new knowledge and answers, that can only come from collaborative thinking.

I believe that Diaspora should stay different and non-conforming like it is. Even if that means that, due to a lack of users, it can never be a new, better Facebook. Who cares?

#Diaspora #Liebesbrief #German #English #Translation

Join us, on the truly decentralized, non-commercialized and free social/thought network : (one pod among many.. see to find out about this all from the beginning)

Who caused World War 2 ?

Whoa, just had a realization when I started reading this article :

Just remembered a part of world history... the years before World War 2...
The appeasement of Hitler's Germany

Why did the US, Britain and France appease Hitler so much?

Doing so, they allowed the Nazis to grow into the threat to the world that they eventually became.

So why did they appease them?

Because they wanted the Nazis to take out the Russians/Soviets. This was just post the Communist revolution in Russia.

It was the Western powers' desire to destroy the Soviets that cause the Second World War, that caused death and destruction on a scale never witnessed before.

Only when this Frankenstein turned on them, did they get moved to finally act against it.

The conventional line of thinking is that it was the Western powers, primarily the US, that ended WW2. What we don't read and hear as often, is that in their haste to torment an older enemy, they're the ones who made WW2 happen!

My underlying assumptions

This flowed out while writing another post.. I think it's a good, quick explanation of where I stand, and what the underlying assumptions are in what I say and do.

This author's perspective focuses on transitioning society to a more sustainable state from a relative, doable standpoint rather than an absolutist, impossible one.

The author refutes the self-righteous delusion of criminalizing individual persons for the corruption present in society; rather he sees them as co-sufferers on the same boat, and there is a systemic phenomena that needs to be addressed at systemic, collective level.

The author also refutes the zero-sum-game hypothesis and insists that the much-misquoted 2nd Law of Thermodynamics does not apply to systems that have living beings in them; that it IS possible to increase order over time as exemplified by planet Earth's biosphere; to have win-win situations and increase prosperity for all.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Kerala to go fully organic by 2016; Kasargod has already switched over

[Kerala] To make State fully organic by 2016

The government has initiated efforts to promote organic farming in all Assembly constituencies.

Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan said here on Thursday that the initiative was designed to encourage farmers to switch over to organic methods of cultivation, under a project to convert Kerala into a fully organic State by 2016. Kasaragod district had already switched over to organic farming in the pilot phase of the project.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting to review the performance of public sector undertakings, Mr. Mohanan said the agriculture sector in the State had registered a Gross State Domestic Product growth of 5.26 per cent over the last year. The production of paddy went up to 5.376 lakh tonnes though the acreage of 2.148 hectares showed little increase. The productivity of other crops such as coconut, cassava, mango, pineapple and other fruits and spices, including pepper, ginger, and turmeric, also registered an impressive growth. The domestic vegetable production had gone up to 11.9 metric tonnes.

The Minister said efforts were on to procure vegetables from farmers through Krishi Bhavans and market them through outlets of Horticorp and Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam. Simultaneously, Kerala Agricultural University and the Agriculture Department were involved in a drive to promote processing of agricultural products under the "Safe to Eat" brand.

Vending machines

The government, he said, was planning to install vending machines in every panchayat to dispense neera, vegetable seeds and products manufactured by Kerafed. The project would be implemented by the departments of Agriculture and Panchayats. The daily production of neera was expected to go up to 20,000 litres by February with the commissioning of new plants by the Coconut Development Corporation at Aralam and Elathur and the KAU campuses at Vellanikara and Vellayani.

Mr. Mohanan said Kerala was expected to become self-sufficient in milk production in another three years. "By that time, we will have added 6,00,000 milch cows to the domestic bovine population, raising the milk production potential to 60 lakh litres."

Officials from 20 public sector units participated in the review.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Corruption for Sustainability

This idea has been making the rounds in my head ever since I started
getting glimpses at the extreme amounts of money being spent in
otherwise innocuous infrastructure development.
Example: The road and footpath on an average road in this city.. costs
more money than needed to feed, clothe and rehabilitate all the poor
people who will pass by that road and footpath.

Another example: Channeling a "nallah" or river with straight-line
cement embankments costs much more money than it takes to form a
living ecosystem with grassy, bushy soil gently merging into the
water-stream along a curving length, plus the ecosystem embankment
purifies the water flowing by, hence covering the cost of sewage
treatment plants; as well as slows it down during monsoons, thus
preventing drowning deaths.

The textbook assumption is that governments choose the cheapest
possible ways to accomplish things as budget is very limited. Another
textbook assumption is that the more proper solutions are more
expensive than the improper solutions. We know from real life
experience now that it is not so : There's actually huge quantities of
money in these treasuries, and the corrupt nature of our system
ensures that actually quite wasteful projects get sanctioned... all
because they yield a higher margin. This ground reality came out
incredibly in Satyamev Jayate's episode on waste management.
( The
amazing, totally eco-friendly project that can heal huge landfills
permanently and sustainably.. owing to its dirt-cheap cost, got
rejected in favour of an unsustainable, cover-up solution that costed
ten times more money.

A common refrain I hear is that the ecologically damaging projects are
being done as they give a good "margin".

On the other hand, eco-friendly alternatives are being shown again and
again to have much lower expenses than the cement/concrete/etc
standard models.

(Disclaimer: Advocates of expensive solutions like electric vehicles
and solar streetlights and complex patented materials that require
high-tech to fabricate, please walk elsewhere.. there's nothing for
you here. Sustainable means easy-to-make, locally sourced. And it
means adapting needs and ways to suit what's available rather than
stubbornly sticking to unsustainable practices disguised as needs. If
you don't get that then you don't understand sustainability.)

Well, HELLO! If it's cheaper, then why don't we make the eco-friendly,
pro-sustainability projects such that they fetch the deciding powers
even higher margin?

Example: You have a citywide urban farming project that'll cost, say,
Rs.10 lakhs. And the output looks awesome.. like most of the
sustainable solutions it's something that looks like it's grand but
actually has very simple and hence cheap origins. You take the project
to the administration, and bill it at Rs.50 Lakh, and tell them they
can keep the extra Rs.40 Lakh.
That's a freakin' 80% margin right there! Way better than most
road-concretization projects!

So, how about it! Use sustainability's cheapness to make it even more
lucrative for the fat cats; get pilot, proof-of-concept projects off
the website and on the ground. Later when there is enquiry and
exposure of the gap between cost price and list price, the project
will have already proved its usefulness through its existence smack
inside the city, within easy reach of all inquisitive minds, and the
message that carries through will be : "Shit, this is so damn cheap,
AND it works! Let's do this!"

So, calling out to the regular and would-be isshmaart contractors :
Change the materials and designs you use to make an even bigger
fortune, AND build a brighter future for your children; both at the
same time!

Disclaimer : This author's perspective focuses on transitioning
society to a more sustainable state from a relative, doable
standpoint rather than an absolutist, impossible one. The author
refutes the self-righteous delusion of criminalizing individual
persons for the corruption present in society; rather he sees them as
co-sufferers on the same boat, and there is a systemic phenomena that
needs to be addressed at systemic, collective level. The author also
refutes the zero-sum-game hypothesis and insists that the
much-misquoted 2nd Law of Thermodynamics does not apply to systems
that have living beings in them; that it IS possible to increase order
over time as exemplified by planet Earth's biosphere; to have win-win
situations and increase prosperity for all. If you dispute the
solutions proposed then please provide something in exchange that is
even more easily doable, not less; and also provide your underlying
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