Human Ills - A few Solutions
By Mamachan Daniel

People’s Samitis - A way out
Do we require supervising our powers being handled by our representatives on our behalf? Because, it is taken for granted that until and unless we get united so as to undertake such an exercise, we (perhaps, all our coming generations, too) have been condemned to live in the ever-increasing menace of corruption, injustice etc., making every day life a nigh impossible. As many upheavals we may make, as many Isms we may experiment and as many governments we may elect and oust, all except our coming together and subsequent close supervision on our powers are mere farce.

This article is a humble attempt to suggest a system in this regard i.e. THE PEOPLE’S SAMITIS, which can incidentally solve many of our other major issues as well. Though I have tried my level best to present it in a quite practicable manner, I wonder how our people will respond to it!

Structure:
A People’s Samiti is an association of a group of citizens- the whole Country is supposed to be filled-up by such associations- who are the residents of immediate neighborhood. This association is designed as their Direct Mini-Parliament where they may not only be at liberty to introduce/debate and discuss all issues pertaining to their social, political, economic, religious and cultural spheres but also take appropriate decisions on them so as to put them in full practice of the Country.

The population of a Samiti may be determined as per its convenience, though it may preferably be around 500 members, who are qualified to cast their votes in the general elections. The participant houses of every Samiti may be structured, accordingly.

Today, newspapers reach all nooks and corners of our Country and their significant role in educating our people on various current issues as well as in greatly influencing their political decisions is beyond doubt. They can, similarly, play a crucial role in effectively coordinating and operating these Samitis smoothly, perhaps within no time. The hot news they bring every day on various burning issues put these Samitis in operation at once with effective remedial action.

Although direct participation of around 500 citizens belonging to immediate neighborhood is envisaged as the basis of a Samiti and, there are, surely, effective ways of its smooth operation subject to the precautions as mentioned else where in this chapter, yet Samitis may also consider delegating many of their functions to either of the following for the sake of convenience, however, on their own terms and conditions.

Option No.1
Delegating to all the elected members of every Panchayat Council,       which is constituted under the Panchayat Raj Act.Also to one council       to be set up at every District level with the participation of all           Panchayat Presidents of the District.

Features:
1.         The members of both Panchayat Council and District Council may be at liberty to       pursue their political career, if any, although they are expected to be strictly apolitical on all aspects related to People’s Samitis.

2.         Samitis, normally, do not intervene in the day-to-day functioning of these Councils in any manner and thus the Councils may have total independence in their affairs.

 3.        Nevertheless, on all decisions of disciplinary actions as detailed herunder, the Councils may preferably seek the ratification of Samitis as a token of public approval on such decisions.

 4.        Every six months, the Samitis may undertake the exercise of assessing the performance of every member both at Panchayat and District levels. In case any member is found not coming upto their expectations, they (i.e. all the Samitis belonging to such a Panchayat) can collectively pass a resolution withdrawing their support to him and also convey their decision to appropriate authorities so as to hold election for his vacated post for the remaining period of the tenure of the Council.

5.         Although the Samitis delegate their primary functions to both the above Houses, they will still be at liberty to take proper initiative on any issue they find good for the betterment of their Country/Society.

 Option No.2.
Delegating to a Council comprised of 10-15 members who are elected collectively by all the Samitis of a Panchayat. All these Councils, in turn, elect one representative each from every Panchayat to a council constituted at every district level.

 Features:

1.         The tenure of both the Councils may be perhaps two years.

2.         All the members of the Council may be strictly apolitical, beyond caste, creed prejudices and bearing a proven record of selfless services to the people.

3.         All the decisions of both Panchayat and District councils may be subjected to the ratification of their respective Samitis and thus their independence is limited in nature.

 4.         The Samitis are at liberty to recall all or any of the members of both the Councils before the expiry of their term provided their performance is found not up to the mark.

 (Perhaps the people may find the former ideal for them, for once people begin to assert themselves through their Mini-Parliaments called Samitis coupled with their mighty weapon of recalling their representatives at any time on dissatisfactory performance, will, undoubtedly, make them (representatives) to put in their all-out efforts for the cause of the people. And once, thus they are on the right track, we all will certainly be surprised by their excellent performance!).

Now let us examine as to how the Samitis are functioning:

1.            Supervision of Public/Private Institutions:
a.         Check on Corruption etc.:

                        All the Government Institutions situated within the jurisdiction of every Panchayat may be under the direct supervision of its respective Panchayat Council. In the normal course, the Council would not like to interfere in the functioning of any institutions in any manner, however, in case there are complaints of irregularities like callousness, corruption, undue delay in taking decisions etc., it begins to exercise its author

Wherever the charges are not quite serious in nature, it may summon the concerned employee before it and seek his sincere apology in the matter. It may also consider recovering suitable compensation from such an employee so as to make good the loss suffered by the complainant.

However, wherever the charges are found grave, it may immediately forward the case to the attention of higher authorities as well as to Police, and ensure that the concerned     employee is removed from office forthwith, though strictly as per law.

b.            Redressal of Grievances of Employees etc.

In case any sections of employees have any genuine demands/grievances but fail to get them redressed from the government, they may directly appeal to the Samitis (through any of the District Samiti Councils) so as to intervene and effectively sort out the issue. On receipt of such an appeal, the concerned District Council in consultation with other District Councils may jointly appoint a committee of experts to look into the matter. If this Committee on its investigation find their demands/grievances genuine; on the basis of its report, the Councils may ask the government to accept and implement them forthwith or within a certain time period.

Similarly, all the genuine demands/grievances of employees of Private Sector may also be redressed through Samitis.

If the management of a Private Institution is found unwilling to accept the demands of its employees/workers, they can bring the matter to the attention of District Council to which the Institution belongs. If the District Council is satisfied with the genuineness of their demands, they may, in turn, either write to the institution concerned or summon the representatives of its management so as to have their views in the matter. If the management is found deliberately refusing to accept the demands, all the members of the District Council may jointly pass a resolution certifying the genuineness of the demands/grievances of the employees and advise the management concerned to accept and implement them forthwith.

The District Councils can also keep a constant close watch on the following and ensure that the management of every organization is functioning strictly as per the existing Rules in their conduct:

a.         The working atmosphere in every Institution;
b.         Wage determination;

c.            Recruitment and promotion policies; 
d.            Termination of services of employees;

Moreover, they may also make surprise visits to any Private Institution within their respective areas, though on suspicious grounds. In such an eventuality, they will be at liberty not only to question all or any of the officials of such an Institution but also to inspect all or any of its records.

They can also monitor measures being taken by a firm on the prevention of Pollution, and directly handle quality complaints, if any, of products being manufactured by it.

c.         Check on Loss Making Units:

The Samitis may intervene and enquire about if a Public Institution is:

a.         Running in consecutive loss;
b.         Failed miserably to meet the target set for;
c.            Incurred much heavier expenditure than that allocated.

On occurrence of all or any of the above, the District Councils may jointly institute a Committee of enquiry (either from themselves or by involving experts of the line) to look into the matter. This commission may be at liberty to question any official of such an institution and also in scrutinizing any of its record.

If such a Committee of Inquiry finds the reasons of loss etc., as exclusively attributed to corrupt practices, gross inefficiency, idleness etc., of its Officials, all the District Councils of that State may, in turn, collectively decide not only to seek the recovery of the loss from them but also their immediate removal from office.

If may also ascertain the role of Politicians in this regard. If any of them is found involved in it in any manner, all or any of the following course of action could be contemplated against them, on the basis of seriousness of the issue, though with the concurrence of the concerned people.

i.          They may be strongly warned.
ii.          To recover the loss incurred by the Institution from them
iii.         To temporarily or permanently ban them from contesting any general elections from any constituencies.
iv.         To temporarily or permanently ban them from holding any office of the public.

2.            Supervision of Government /MLAs/MPs etc.

a.         Check on Corrupt Practices:
If there are allegations levelled against the functioning of a government, the Councils may enquire about it-of course, through the institution of a committee of experts. If the charges are found true, the concerned minister or even the ministry as a whole may be sacked, as the seriousness of the situation warrants, but with the consent of the people. The loss due to the State/Nation may also be recovered from them, if the people so decide. Further, they may also be temporarily or permanently banned from holding any office of the public and from contesting any general elections of the Country, as per the nature of the case.

b.         Check on anti-people Budgets:-
Samitis can scrutinize and modify the annual budgets being introduced by governments in the Assemblies/National Parliament if:

i.          People are found unnecessarily burdened with heavy doses of taxes though there were adequate other sources before the government.
ii.            Government fund is being used for unproductive purposes;
iii.         Less or, rather, no allocation is being made where higher allocation was essential.

In the event of any of the above, the District Councils may collectively study the budget proposals through the institution of a Commission of eminent Economists etc; and on the basis of their suggestions, request the Samitis of the State/Country to respond on them. If the Samitis give their ratification to the suggestions, the government partly or wholly modifies the entire budget, accordingly.

c.            Performance Evaluation:

Samitis may yearly evaluate the performance of governments both at National and State levels. If any of the government is, thus, found a total failure, or fail to fulfill the promises made to the people during elections through manifesto etc., they may decide to seek their justification in the matter. If the justification submitted by them is found without any substance, they can initiate steps for the immediate ouster of the concerned government.

The performance of MLAs/MPs can also, likewise, be reviewed every year; if any of them is thus found not upto the mark, all the People’s Samitis of the constituency which elected him may jointly initiate steps to recall him. However, if he is found a total failure during the term he held the office, he may be permanently debarred from contesting any general elections from the particular constituency.

d.         People Deciding their own Destiny:

People’s Samitis can take proper initiative for new legislation through Assemblies or parliament or for amending any of the existing laws of the Country, which they find good for the welfare of the People.

Samitis can also review the functioning of Multi-Party System in our Country. It can decide the number of Political Parties required in the Country, the model codes to be pursued by the oppositions and governments, the role of parties based on caste, creed, religion, region etc.; internal democracy within parties, on permanent political leaders (who stick to their position through unfair means and also by blocking the growth of others in the party) etc.

Through the expertise of eminent personalities of the Country, Samitis may collectively evolve the basic policies and programmers meant for our Nation conforming to our own varied conditions, ensuring just and equitable growth of all sections of the people. They can also ensure that all governments, irrespective of whichever party they belong to-strictly follow them in letter and spirit.

3.         Check on Black Money:

The functioning of Samitis can perhaps eliminate black money to a great extent.

If any person belonging to a Samiti is found possessing excessive wealth disproportionate to his income, he may be asked to give justifications in this regard. If he is unable to submit enough reasons, the case may be immediately brought to the attention of appropriate authorities so that the excessive wealth found in his possession is confiscated to the exchequer. Samitis may make such investigations on all suspicious persons within each Samiti on a regular basis.

4.         Check on Crimes:

A majority of the crimes, which originate from our villages, can be traced back to minor incidents of dispute, difference etc. and People’s Samitis can perhaps play a significant role in containing them to a great deal.

Whenever there is a dispute or quarrel within a family or between two families and which is found detrimental to peace and harmony, the immediate neighbors of the family/families may be at liberty to intervene and mediate in it. Any decision taken by them in this regard is to be strictly accepted by all in dispute and any attempt to disrespect them/their decisions in any way may attract heavy fines based on their financial positions. Such persons may even be subjected to social boycott, if so collectively decided later, by their concerned Samiti. However, if the aggrieved are not satisfied with the neighbor’s mediation/decisions, they may be at liberty to approach their concerned Samiti Executive/Panchayat Council for a lasting but amicable settlement of the issue. All those cases, which cannot even be resolved by Panchayat Councils, are immediately referred to the Police.

The number of persons going astray is increasing rapidly in the society and here too, the Samitis can perhaps play a significant role.

Samitis may locate such erring persons and as an initial step, impress upon the need of refraining from such activities. If persuasions do not bear fruit, Samitis may directly go in for fining them and on every repetition of the act; the fine imposed on them may be doubled or trebled. Calumny, excessive drinking (as well as the attendant evils of beating wife and children and starving them by spending the entire daily income on arracks etc.), adultery, sorcery, idleness, illegal sexual relations, illicit distillation of arrack, etc., may perhaps largely be contained in this manner.

Precautions:
A majority of our people are divided on petty caste, religious, party or regional lines and they are even ready to die for them. This trend assumes a very dangerous dimension as far as the functioning of Samitis are concerned. However, the following precautions can effectively check our fears:

All the Samitis are supposed to pass a resolution unanimously at its very initial session swearing in their full faith in the Unity and Integrity of the Nation and also affirming that they would completely rise above caste, creed, party and parochial feelings in all spheres of its activities, failing which they may be ready to be subjected to severe fines/punishment, as per the laws of the nation. Until and unless such a resolution is passed unanimously, no Samiti may have the legal right to operate.

However, the moment a Samiti is found flouting its unanimous Commitment in any way, it may automatically cease to exist. Further, it may also attract heavy fines on all those initiated, spoken ofrvoted for such an act, on the basis of their financial status, Until such a Samiti unanimously apologizes for its mideed and get arrested all those who have taken initiative for such an action directly or indirectly, it may have no legal right to exist.

How the system of People’s Samitis will work in a Country as ours? Indeed, most of our people still remain illiterate, ignorant and superstitious. But an assessment of their political behavior during the post-independence era by electing and ousting many a government-both at National and State levels does demonstrate amply what do they want and how they are capable of handling their powers through their own Mini-Parliament, GIVEN A CHANCE (?)

(The above is a partial chapter taken  from  the Book: ‘HUMAN ILLS: A FEW SOLUTIONS’.  Author: Mamachan Daniel   (Please send your comments to:  md205@usa.net ).

Publisher: M/s Aravali Books International (P) Ltd., New Delhi, Email: Aravali@nde.vsnl.net.in  Website:  www.Aravalibooks.com)

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