Perspective | Oped


A Tribune Special
And quiet flows the Ganga
The Centre is caught in a dilemma over projects, says our Roving Editor Man Mohan

WHEN Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs the first meeting of the Ganga River Basin Authority in New Delhi on October 5, he will be dealing with an important issue: development versus religious sentiments.

Freedom of expression
Regulating media against democratic tenets
by N.K. Singh

would rather have a completely free Press, with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom, than a suppressed or regulated Press.
— Jawaharlal Nehru


Justice on the doorstep
October 3, 2009
Terrorism with ISI-mark
October 2, 2009
End ambiguity
October 1, 2009
End ambiguity
September 30, 2009
End the extortion
September 29, 2009
G20 is here to stay
September 28, 2009
Of Jinnah and Partition
September 27, 2009
US arm-twisting 
September 26, 2009
Pilots and planes
September 25, 2009
Return of FIIs
September 24, 2009
Why is Saeed sacred?
September 23, 2009


Tough in action but tender at heart
by Harihar Swarup
ohammed ElBaradei, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a friend of India and a lover of world peace. It was, therefore, an occasion for pride for India when he was decorated with Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development by President Pratibha Patil.

On Record
Plans will succeed only by involving people: Aruna Roy
by Perneet Singh

NOTED social activist Aruna Roy left the IAS to join her husband in social work at Tilonia in Rajasthan. She was awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2000 and her continuous campaigns were instrumental in the enactment of the Right to Information Act. She talks to The Tribune in Jaipur about her struggle for minimum wages, RTI and the road ahead.



A Tribune Special
And quiet flows the Ganga
The Centre is caught in a dilemma over projects, says our Roving Editor Man Mohan

WHEN Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs the first meeting of the Ganga River Basin Authority in New Delhi on October 5, he will be dealing with an important issue: development versus religious sentiments.

At stake are Uttarakhand’s three mega hydro-electric projects worth Rs 6,700 crore. Work on these projects has been suspended following pressure from Hindu religious leaders and environmentalists.

The BJP and the Sangh Parivar now want “to flow with the Ganga issue” after failing to win the people’s mandate on the Ayodhya Ram temple and Ram Sethu issues.

On February 17, 2009, the Prime Minister approved the notification for setting up the National Ganga River Basin Authority to replace piecemeal efforts to clean up the Ganga with an integrated approach that sees the river as an ecological entity and handle issues of water flows.

The Authority, chaired by the Prime Minister, consists of the Chief Ministers of the Ganga basin states (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal) as members along with related Union Ministries.

On October 5, the Prime Minister will have a tough decision at hand:

lShould he stop permanently all hydro power projects at the Ganga, the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda rivers in Uttarakhand as is being demanded by Hindu religious organisations, Sangh Parivar and some environmentalists; or

lShould the Prime Minister accept other environmentalist and social activists’ view that hydel energy production units are directly related to Uttarakhand’s development as they believe: “The right to development is a human right.” Uttarakhand’s about 1,220 villages are still waiting for electrification.

A virtual “holy war” in the name of the Ganga began when the Union Power Ministry on February 19, 2009, suspended work on the NTPC’s Loharinag-Pala barrage project (600 MW) on the Bhagirathi. Development activists felt that the government, two months before the Lok Sabha polls, succumbed to the pressure of Hindu saints and the Sangh Parivar. The mega project’s revised cost estimate is Rs 2,775 crore of which about Rs. 500 crore has already been spent and an expenditure of about Rs 1,800 crore has been committed.

In June 2008, the B.C. Khanduri government suspended work on state-owned Pala-Maneri (480 MW) and Bhairon Ghati phase I and II hydel projects (381 MW) on the Bhagirathi river.

Surprisingly, work on all the three projects was suspended when G. D. Agarwal, a retired professor of IIT Kanpur, described as an environment scientist by the Hindu saints, started a fast unto death. The Rural Litigation Empowerment Kendra (RLEK), a noted Dehradun-based NGO, filed two PILs in the Uttarakhand High Court, Nainital, this year, challenging the Centre’s decision and urged the government to fulfill its commitment: Power to All by 2012. Led by its chairman, Avdhash Kaushal, villagers staged a dharna in Dehradun and demanded resumption of work on the projects.

The Ganga River Basin Authority has nine ex-officio members. They are Ravi Chopra, People’s Science Institute, Dehradun; Mahant Prof Veerbhadra Mishra, Sankat Mochan Ashram, Varanasi; Ms Sunita Narayan, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi; Prof. K.J. Nath, Arsenic Task Force, Government of West Bengal; Rama Rauta, Convener, Save Ganga Movement, Pune; Rajendra Singh, Jaipur; Dr R.H. Siddiqi, Dare Hasan, Aligarh; Prof R.K. Sinha, Environmental Biology Laboratory, Patna University; Prof B.D. Tripathi, Coordinator, Centre for Environment Science and Technology, Benaras Hindu University.

A group called ‘Friends of the Ganga’ has petitioned the government, expressing concern over “indiscriminate exploitation of the rivers for generation of hydropower”. It stressed the need for revisiting making of barrages on the Ganga and its tributaries. While checking pollution in the plains, it wants to preserve the higher qualities of the river in the hills.

The problem, it says, is the government’s decision to plan a series of hydro projects on the entire hill flow of Ganga and its tributaries. “Barrages are proposed bumper-to-bumper on the Bhagirathi between Kaudiyala and Gangotri; and Alaknanda between Dev Prayag and Badrinath,” says environment activist Bharat Jhunjhunwala who lives in Lakshmoli.

He told The Tribune, “The Ganga will flow only through tunnels and reservoirs in the entire hill stretch…not an inch of free flow will remain”, pointing out that this would impact the spiritual, ecological and social functions of this national river and it will not be economically beneficial. He and the Friends of Ganga have sent an appeal, ‘Save the Ganga’, to the Prime Minister listing out various aspects influencing their thinking that reservoirs and barrages at the Ganga and its tributaries will damage them permanently. These are:


lThe Ganga has unique spiritual power to remove the imprints residing in our unconscious and to provide us salvation. For this, the Ganga requires the water quality to be maintained in its pristine form, continuous flow and friction with stones, earth, air, plants and living organisms. The four Shankaracharyas have stated that no obstruction to the free flow of the Ganga should be made.


lThe Gangotri glacier is rapidly retreating at about 23 meters an year. NASA has predicted that it may disappear by 2030-40. Construction activities will increase the rate of retreat of the glaciers.

No studies have been done of the impact of barrages on the glaciers. Many endangered species like the leopard, Himalayan black bear, snow trout, Himalyan trout and smooth-coated Otter would suffer loss of natural habitat due to intensive construction and blasting in the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda valleys, which fall in the seismic zone 5.


lAssessment of whether the hydropower projects are beneficial for the economy has to include costs incurred by society, not rest on costs and benefits incurred only by the project developer. Increased generation and cheap electricity is assumed to be beneficial for the economy. But cheap electricity to power looms has led to the closure of handlooms, causing unemployment.


lThe villagers have reported cracks in their houses due to blasting, loss of water sources, forest and grazing land. These projects provide temporary employment to the local people but deprive them of long-term flow of income from forests and agricultural land. The economic potential of the hill states lies in the development of the service sector: schools, hospitals, call centres and research institutions along free flowing rivers.

Carrying capacity:

lA study of optimum capacity of water for generating electricity from the Ganga and cumulative impact of series of different barrages is imperative. The carrying capacity of our rivers is much less than the hydropower projects’ estimated targets.

Eco flows:

lCurrently, the government’s proposal is to leave a certain minimum flow of water in the riverbed to meet ecological considerations. Often, the amount suggested is about two feet of water in a 10 feet wide riverbed. This is not enough. The pilgrims will be deprived of the aesthetic value of free-flowing rivers. The trapping of sediments that impart the spiritual quality to the water and also “renourish” our coasts will continue to be trapped in the barrages.

Alternatives to barrages:

lThe present barrages that obstruct the flow across the entire river should be modified to make an unobstructed opening like in the Katha Bund at Haridwar. Only 25 per cent water may be diverted for generation of hydropower. The remaining water will fulfill the spiritual, ecological and social functions of the Ganga.

lThe tunnels must be replaced by open canals like at the Chila barrage at Rishikesh. This will allow the developers to harness the gradient while the water will continue to be in contact with air and sun except near the power house. Then water can be used for irrigation in fields lying below the canal.

The Friends of Ganga has claimed that the Union Power Ministry has assured that no new project will be made on the Bhagirathi-Ganga. “In view of this,” it has demanded, “the Loharinag-Pala, Pala Maneri, Bhairon Ghati 1&2, Kotlibhel 1A and Kotlibhel 2 projects may be scrapped permanently. Also, the Koteshwar project on Bhagirathi may be stopped as its position is same as that of Loharinag-Pala, and “no new obstruction” whatsoever be permitted on the Ganga, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers.”


The pro-hydel projects and development camp led by the RLEK’s chairman Avdhash Kaushal fears that scrapping of these projects will hit Uttarakhand’s growth. “Religious sentiments have prevailed over development in the case of suspension of work in the three projects,” he says. The villagers living along the Bhagirathi, Ganga and Alaknanda rivers are upset over the suspension of the NTPC’s Loharinag-Pala (600 MW) and Uttarakhand owned Pala-Maneri (480 MW) and Bhairon Ghati phase I and II (381 MW) hydel projects.

In Uttarakhand, of 15,667 villages, 14,447 have been electrified. In the case of Narmada Bachao Andolan vs. Union of India and others ((2000) 10 SCC 664), the Supreme Court ruled that “one of the indicators of the living standard of people is the per capita consumption of electricity.”

The RLEK has been working in the Himalayan region for over three decades as a pioneer in raising environment and panchayati raj issues. In July 2008, The United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) accredited the RLEK with an “NGO in Special Consultative Status” on the rights of indigenous groups, marginalised population and women and children.

“The Uttarakhand government took an arbitrary decision to suspend the work on the Pala-Manari and Bhaiaron Ghati projects in June 2008. Similarly, the Centre arbitrarily suspended work on the Loharinag-Pala project in February 2009,” he said in two PILs.

“In both cases, the Hindu organsiations like VHP and RSS Parivar fielded a retired IIT-Kanpur professor G. D. Agarwal, who twice sat on fast unto death demanding the scrapping of these hydel projects. Both times, the BJP-ruled state government and the Congress-led UPA government succumbed to religious and political pressure, without bothering about crores spent on them and incalculable loss to the development of the region,” said Kaushal.

A young husband-wife team of advocates, Kartikey Hari Gupta and Pallavi Bahuguna, who presented the RLEK’s case in the Nainital High Court, told The Tribune that Uttarakhand has tremendous scope for hydro power projects. The NTPC assessed the state’s hydro potential at about 18175 MW, of which only 6 per cent has so far been developed. The existing installed generating capacity in Uttarakhand is about 1109 MW, wholly contributed by hydro power.

The Loharinag-Pala project was conceived in 1987 by the then UP government. On December 31, 2002, the Uttarakhand government and the Central Government signed an MOU to establish this project. It is a run of the river scheme across the Bhagirathi in Bhatwari tehsil of Uttarkashi district. It involves construction of a barrage near Loharinag village and an underground power house near Pala village. The power house and barrage sites are close to the National Highway 108, about 32 km and 50 km respectively from Uttarkashi town.

In the Loharinag-Pal project, according to Kartikey Hari Gupta and Pallavi Bahuguna, there is negligible submergence and barrage, the water retention time is only about 20 minutes and, thereafter, the diverted water has a travel time of about 40 minutes through the tunnel. The diverted water is ploughed back to the river as there is no consumptive use of the water for the project.

A high-power NTPC expert group examined people’s sentimental issues related to the Bhagirathi and technical aspects involved in ensuring the required flow “to keep the river alive.” In a report (February 2009), it recommended that only 35 cusec discharge is sufficient to ensure the required flow in the Bhagirathi to keep the river alive and to ensure perennial environmental flow in the river. They suggested that 70 cusecs is adequate to meet the environmental flow requirements. To maintain upper bend of good environmental conditions, 106 cusecs was recommended.

The Centre’s Policy on Hydro-Power Development has suggested exploitation of the vast hydro-electric potential at a faster pace and promotion of small and mini hydel projects.

Hydro-electricity projects are worldwide recognised for multi-purpose use: irrigation, water supply, navigation, reservoir for industrial units, recreation and habitat for fish and wildlife, flood control and containing effluent from mines and factories.

Hydropower provides one-fifth of the world’s electricity, second only to fossil fuels. Worldwide, the capacity is 776 gigawatts (GW), with 12 per cent in the US, 9 per cent in Canada, and 8 per cent in Brazil. When completed, China’s Three Gorges Dam, poised to become the world’s largest hydroelectric project (18.2 GW), will surpass Brazil.

Globally, hydroelectric capacity has more than doubled since 1970. Another 100 GW is currently under construction in many countries. In India, the share of hydel power in the total power generated was 50 per cent in 1962-63. However, it started declining rapidly after 1980. There is more reliance now on thermal power projects using fossil fuels which are depleting fast and causing environmental pollution.

The World Bank has started restricting funds for thermal power projects. The hydel power’s contribution in the Greenhouse effect is negligible and is termed as ecology-friendly. There is an increasing growth of small hydro projects worldwide. According to the World Energy Council, under current policies, the installed capacity of small hydro projects will increase from about 48 GW today to 55 GW by 2010, with the largest increase coming from China. More than half of the current global small hydropower installed capacity is in China, with plans to develop a further 10,000 MW in the next decade.

“The religious significance of rivers is a well known phenomenon but this has not deterred the construction of electricity generation plants the world over,” says Mr Kaushal. “We want to keep the Ganga alive but we will have to decide the course: religious sentiment or development. Don’t forget, the right to development is also a human right.”



Freedom of expression
Regulating media against democratic tenets
by N.K. Singh

I would rather have a completely free Press, with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom, than a suppressed or regulated Press.

— Jawaharlal Nehru

Contrast this sublime view of the first Prime Minister of independent India with renewed move of the Congress-led Union Government to ‘regulate’ broadcast media. ‘Consultations’ with various stakeholders including civil society organisations besides, of course, various bodies of the industry are underway.

The justification for this move that the government offers is “the issue of setting up a regulator for broadcasting services and prescription of a content code has been the subject matter of various Parliamentary Committee reports, judicial pronouncements, request from the state government(s) and the civil society organisations over the past several years”.

Again, in order not to be seen on the wrong side of liberal democratic practices, it prescribes in its draft Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill the process of setting up a Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI).

Section 15(1) (Ch-3) of the draft bill reads: “The Chairperson and the members of the Authority shall be appointed by the Central Government (emphasis added) on the recommendations of a committee consisting of the Chairman of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), the Speaker of the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and the Leader of the opposition in the House of the People (Lok Sabha).

Now who will control the BRAI? Its chairman and members will be appointees of the government and by the government (all the members of the committee are from the political class — a class whose own credibility in public perception is no better than that of the media. Section 18 of the chapter under sub-heading Removal, Suspension or Resignation of Chairperson and members reads: “The Central Government may remove from office or suspend the chairperson or any member of the Authority who ….(g) abuses his position so as to render his continuance in office prejudical to public interest.

The entire draft gives an impression that in India the government is the only custodian of public interest, and the politicians in the top niche the real upholders of virtue. While creating a façade of an independent ‘regulator’ it also ensures that the bureaucracy remains the main agency to punish the ‘erring’ and ‘defaulting’ broadcasting media.

Section 25 of the proposed Act empowers the SPs (in districts) or Commissioners of Police besides SDMs to inspect, search and seize equipment etc. and to prosecute, on a written compliant by the concerned Licensing Authority … to receive and enquire into complaints from consumer groups or individual consumers or others regarding content or quality of service and report to the Licensing Authority for appropriate action”.

The preamble of the draft bill further reads: “Whereas airwaves are public property and it is felt necessary to regulate the use of such airwaves in national and public interest, particularly with a view to ensuing proper dissemination of content…” Intentions are loud and clear. The Government will decide what is proper and what is in national and public interest — an unacceptable formulation in a free democracy.

The government in its enthusiasm to shackle “powerful purveyor of ideas and values” (its own admission in the preamble) into submission forgot the constitutional mandate. Article 19(1) (a) makes people’s right to know a fundamental right with some limits to this right under some specified heads in 19 (2). The heads are sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

Ironically, public or national interest does not figure in that and therefore the state cannot restrict freedom of expression “in the interests of the general public”. The same restriction under 19 (6)) limits the right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

The government must understand this finer difference of the constitutional provisions. Freedom of express unlike other fundamental rights has been put on a different pedestal by the founding fathers of the Constitution.

Consider another example of intended arbitrariness. Section 4 (2) of the draft bill titled “Registration of Channels and compliance with the content code” reads: The Authority may refuse to register a channel, if it is of the considered opinion that the content of the channel is likely to threaten (emphasis added) the security and integrity of the state or threaten peace and harmony or public order in the whole or part of the country, or threaten relations with foreign countries”. Thus just on an ‘apprehension’ an individual can be disallowed registration for launching a channel.

While the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting did express her views saying, her government has no intentions to control the media, the text of the draft bill and subsequent “consultations with stakeholders” clearly show the intentions of the powers-that-be. Chapter 6 of the Bill titled Miscellaneous under Sec 50 reads “The Central Government may, from time to time, issue to the Authority such directions as it may deem necessary in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order” and next section makes it binding on the BRAI.

Surprisingly, there are a dozen laws which restrict media including the Cable Television Network Act, 1995. But the government seems more interested in creating a regulator so as to control news content.

Thomas Jefferson , the American President had said in 1786, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”



Tough in action but tender at heart
by Harihar Swarup

Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a friend of India and a lover of world peace. It was, therefore, an occasion for pride for India when he was decorated with Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development by President Pratibha Patil.

He supports India’s view on the vexed question of signing the NPT. During his brief visit to New Delhi last week, he was quoted as saying: “I don’t expect India to sign the NPT in its present form. May be the CTBT would be more acceptable”.

ElBaradei played a key role to enable India to clinch the Safeguards Agreement with IAEA. It was a prerequisite for New Delhi’s entry in nuclear commerce. As Director General of IAEA, Vienna, ElBaradei has been outspoken on nuclear proliferation and international security issues. He led the IAEA in carving out an independent approach, free from bias and reflective of a wider balance in tune with today’s world.

Trait of sincerity and resoluteness instantly impresses a first-time caller on ElBaradei or those who have seen him in action for the first time. The rugged-looking DG of IAEA is known to be tough in action but tender at heart. The humane side of his personality is well known. In normal situation all his utterances manifest that he was a friend of India and his career graph showed that he was not totally pro-US as some believe. He fully subscribed to the UPA government’s objective that India badly needed nuclear energy for development.

An Egyptian diplomat, ElBaradei has been serving as the Director-General of the IAEA from December 1997, and is now well into his third, four-year term. Election to his third term was opposed by the United States, primarily because he had stoutly questioned the US rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

ElBaradei, along with Hans Blix, led a team of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq seeking evidence that Saddam Hussein had revived his efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The team could not find hard evidence of WMD in Baghdad and its vicinity. The US used several diplomatic channels in an attempt to remove him from his position as IAEA director but was unable to identify sufficient number of other countries willing to support ElBaradei’s ouster.

The IAEA Director has also been accused by the US of having a lenient approach in dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme. He and IAEA have also been criticised for failing to detect the “nuclear supermarket” run by Pakistan scientist A.Q.Khan.

His response to the French government’s warning that world had to be prepared for the possibility of war if Iran acquired atomic weapons was quite forthright. “I would not talk about any use of force. There are rules on how to use force, and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation where 70,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons”.

His sternest warning came in a BBC interview on a possible misadventure in Iran. “…You do not want to give additional argument to some of the ‘new crazies’ who want to say let us go and bomb Iran”. Earlier, the New York Times quoted him as saying “We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction, yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security —and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use”.

ElBaradei’s high water-mark was in October 2005 when he and IAEA were declared as joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He donated the prize money for building orphanages in his home city of Cairo. His sister-in-law works in an orphanage there.

The IAEA’s prize money is being spent on training scientists from developing countries to use nuclear techniques in combating cancer and malnutrition.

In India, eight new nuclear plants are designed to provide clean electricity to a growing nation. ElBaradei says, “these projects, and a thousand others, exemplify the IAEA idea: Atoms for Peace”.



On Record
Plans will succeed only by involving people: Aruna Roy
by Perneet Singh

NOTED social activist Aruna Roy left the IAS to join her husband in social work at Tilonia in Rajasthan. She was awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2000 and her continuous campaigns were instrumental in the enactment of the Right to Information Act. She talks to The Tribune in Jaipur about her struggle for minimum wages, RTI and the road ahead.


Q: Why did you quit IAS?

A: I worked for seven years in the IAS (1968-75) and resigned because I felt no bureaucracy really works for change; it merely maintains status quo. If you want to work for change, the action lies outside bureaucracy. Power is not defined by your chair but by strength of your ideas and your commitment to put them into action.

Q: You formed the Majdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in 1990. What was the aim?

A: I worked with my husband Bunkar Sen for nine years but I wanted to get involved in people’s politics and form a non-party people’s organisation. That’s how the MKSS came into being. It was formed by scores of people who joined us in a huge land struggle at Songarh in 1988 which we won. In 1991, we also fought for minimum wages for labourers.

Q: What about your campaign for RTI?

A: We launched a huge RTI campaign in 1996 which later blossomed into a full-fledged movement. We set on dharna for 40 days at Beawar in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. The campaign slogan, Hamara Paisa, Hamara Hisab (our money, our account), spurred others to raise the issue in different states. Our efforts bore fruit in 2005 when Parliament enacted the RTI Act.

Q: How did RTI help the common man?

A: A random study in 10 states shows that about four lakh people in villages have already used the Act. This shatters the myth that only urban people make use of it. RTI fights corruption which implies misappropriation of money and arbitrary use of power. Without RTI you cannot expose the contradictions of the government and its failure to live up to its own principles.

Q: What is your idea of growth and social change?

A: Any programme in which people are not involved in planning would not work in India. For instance, the RTI is working because the people fashioned the Act. The RTI had a touch with grassroot reality and also the wisdom of people. If the wisdom of people gets involved in the process of thinking then something phenomenal comes out.

Development has failed us in many ways because it is not planned with people. Therefore, what we really need is participatory democracy. For social change, we need a principled government which itself obeys the rule of law.

Q: How has been your experience with political leaders and bureaucrats?

A: The bureaucracy has no thoughts of its own. One government does one thing while the next will contradict it. Though the political process may change, the integrity of the concept of a plan or a process must stay as it is. There are a lot of problems in our political parties. There is neither internal democracy nor transparency in party funds. We want political parties to have integrity of stating and adhering to their own ideology. They should go public with their funds as we want to know how they raise the money.

Q: Has the NREGA transformed the lives of rural poor?

A: The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has checked distress migration and increased spending on food — the best method to stop malnutrition. Now, more money is being spent on education and there is liquidity in families. The rural poor never had so much cash before. Due to the NREGA, the rural economy has bounced. The scheme has given livelihood to those who used to beg alms for survival. There are anomalies and these can be rectified. To check corruption, all states should emulate Andhra Pradesh’s social audit model.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: RTI Phase II is high on our agenda. Section 4 of the RTI Act provides for voluntary disclosure of government. It will be a huge campaign. Then we will think of strengthening and building more resources in the NREGA. I also wish to impart political education to our youth in future.



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