Archive for the 'Citizen Engagement' Category

Resign Before Jan 26th

Here is a chance to do something concrete to send a signal that crime against women will not be tolerated. There is a petition to get 2 sitting MPs and 42 MLAs, accused of crime against women, to resign before 26th Jan.

Please do support if you feel this is a good first step.

Resign before Jan 26th

The myth of the astute voter

Business standard has an interesting article co-authored by Praveen around the achilles heel of democracy – an informed voter.

Constituency level education data

Politics anywhere is fiercely competitive. As we have seen over these past few days, it appears to be especially so in Karnataka! But the competition in our politics is a raw quest for power. And we all know there is something fundamentally wrong with this.

What if we are able to get politicians to compete on real issues? What if they are forced to refer to facts and figures in specific terms when they reach out to the people for re-election? The work of IndiaGoverns really focuses on this core idea.

As a starting point, we have taken the data from government sources in Karnataka at the local level, and organised it along MLA constituency boundaries. Based on this, we have prepared one page reports on Education Indicators, and have sent it to MLA in the state. (Pl see to access the reports.) We have chosen data for education for a year which is even before this set of MLAs was elected in 2008. Our next report on education will be current, and will show the progress during his tenure.

The real challenge for us is to reach such data to citizens, NGOs, local journalists. And even to politicians in the state who have lost elections. Such data should become useful for all stakeholders to take up progress in the constituency using tangible data. And the MLA should defend his record of progress in various sectors during his tenure as MLA. Of course, the MLA can also use such data to ask for more government allocations if his constituency has a poor track record on any development issue.

We are working on similar reports for health, water, etc.

We invite your suggestions, but also any concrete steps you can take in helping with dissemination of such information widely.

Why is it important for youth to engage in politics?

Checkout recording of “live web debate” at

More info, below:


“We are happy to organise a town hall with folks who have been actively trying to engage youth of India and making them more informed about the political process and choices to make.
The format of the debate would be 1 hour of panel discussion followed by half an hour of audience discussion and the last 30 minutes Q & A with the panelists.
All rules of civility expected. Please login with your twitter or facebook email ids to login to participate in the townhall.

*** Panelists ***

offstumped live session

Dr. Akalpita Paranjpe
Dr Akalpita Paranjpe is a retired scientist from the BARC. She has a long record of community service and involvement. Her interest in politics grew out of her belief that the country was being run unprofessionally. In her own words, “We were going from a country run by freedom fighters and patriots to one where a majority of politicians were uneducated and corrupt people who had entered into politics to serve themselves, not the country.” Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, she decided to be the change she wanted in the country. A few years ago, she quit her job and decided to work full-time on the task of nation building. She is actively involved in Bharat Uday Mission.  More about her here.

Dipinder Sekhon
Dipinder Sekhon (30) is a member of The Freedom Team of India ( – a platform for liberal political leaders committed to mass-scale reform in India’s political and governance systems. A passout from the London School of Economics & Political Science (London, 2009), Sciences Po (Paris, 2009) and IIT (Delhi, 2002), Dipinder is an entrepreneur and works with his enterprise KritiKal Solutions in Noida. More about him here

Ashwin Kumar Kumaraswamy
Ashwin Kumaraswamy (29) is an eternal optimist, one who strongly believes that there is a need for a strong and efficient political leadership for India’s future. He is currently working as a Technology Venture Capitalist in UK. He has been associated with Karnataka politics and has seen politics from very close quarters – cutting across party lines. He aspires to enter active electoral politics in the near future to serve the people of India and to shoulder the responsibility of providing an efficient and effective leadership for India in this 21st century. In his words “Politics is the defining purpose of his life and also a medium through which he can be the voice of the generation next of India”. Ashwin shares his political thoughts and views on his blog and was till recently one of the moderators of Indian Politics community on social networking website – Orkut!

Amit Malviya
Amit is a management graduate and a career banker. Besides his professional commitments, his other interests include contemporary Indian and world politics. A proponent of ideology based governance; Amit spends time meeting and ideating with people from varied backgrounds. He is widely traveled both within India and globally, which has helped shape his views on various issues. Amit co founded Friends of BJP.

B Shantanu
A political activist by choice and an engineer by training, Shantanu Bhagwat (aka B Shantanu) is also a one-time diplomat and a venture investor. These days he divides his time between UK and India, working on raising political consciousness and improving political processes with a view to bring about systemic reform in India. A major part of his present activities relates to building networks and relationships across nascent political movements in India. In a career spanning two decades, Shantanu has worked across geographies and industries, including several years in Japan and in the UK. Until recently a Partner at a venture capital firm, he has also worked at Monitor Co. in London. Prior to that, spent several years in the Indian Foreign Service, working in New Delhi and Tokyo. He is the author/publisher of a popular blog on Indian politics, history and religion at More about his journey into political activism here.

27th March 2010, Saturday, 7pm IST

India needs you! – An introduction to the Freedom Team of India, 27 February New Delhi

India FNF Alumni Network (IFAN)

in partnership with

Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit

Invites you to a discussion on

India needs you! – An introduction to the Freedom Team of India

27 February 2010, New Delhi


Resource Person: Sanjeev Sabhlok, Freedom Team of India
Moderator: Barun Mitra, Liberty Institute


Registration: 1530 hrs onwards
Discussion: 1600 hrs – 1800 hrs
Hi-Tea: 1800 hrs –1900 hrs

Venue: DLF Room, ASSOCHAM House, 47 Prithviraj Road, New Delhi 110 003

RSVP: India FNF Alumni Network, New Delhi
Mobile nos.: 9899258440 (Dipinder Sekhon, FTI Delhi) &
9818499293 (Nupur Hasija, FNF New Delhi)

The Freedom Team of India (FTI), a not-for-profit trust created in 2009, is a forum for policy, strategy, and leadership development to promote freedom in India. Members of FTI are committed in principle to contest elections in India with appropriate preparation. They will offer their leadership to India along with a platform of world-best policies, hoping to directly reform India’s governance. FTI is not a political party. Proposed electoral activity will be conducted under a separate banner or platform. For more information on FTI visit

Sanjeev Sabhlok has a doctorate in economics from the University of Southern California. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1982 and resigned in January 2001to pursue possible political and other goals. Presently he works in Victoria (Australia) in regulatory policy. His 2008 book, “Breaking Free of Nehru” (Anthem Press) highlighted India’s expensive but disastrous experiment with socialism. It also offered a way forward for India to become a great nation with freedom and ethical governance. The Freedom Team of India is a major step forward in the proposed solution

Sanjeev is visiting India after a gap of two and a half years primarily to attend FTI’s first conference (in Mumbai) and to extend his search for leaders. He is keen to get meet those who believe in the principles and policies of liberty and have contemplated the possibility of participating in electoral politics to reform India’s governance.

Internship opportunity with CIC

There is an opportunity for two young people to intern with Central Information Commissioner Mr. Shailesh Gandhi. These positions need very bright persons who are interested in an exciting experience of working in a Government office (but not as a sarkari babu!) to further the Right to Information. RTI is slowly changing the governance structure and our Democracy by empowering individual Citizens. Since it is a new law and the Information Commissions are also evolving, it presents a good possibility of contributing new and better ideas to get effective implementation. The work involves reading many communications from Citizens, drafting suitable responses and also interacting with Government officers and Citizens. It is a vibrant office to work in, since the average age of the staff is around 25 years and new and better ways of working are evolving continuously.

Stipend: Peanuts!- Rs. 10000 (+free tea and coffee)

Essential Requirements: Fluency in English and Hindi; ability to draft letters; willingness to work hard for six days a week

You can get some idea of the work by looking up ‘Workpractises at an Information Commission’ at

If you are willing to commit over six months for a different experience to understand some of the issues ailing our democracy and wish to contribute to bring about a change, send an email with your CV to

Shibani Ghosh
Legal Consultant
Central Information Commission
Old JNU Campus, Opp. Ber Sarai MKt.
Delhi 110067

Provide Feedback on Direct Taxes Code

Ministry of Finance has recently published the Direct Taxes Code proposal, which aims to simplify direct taxes, increase the coverage, and bring uniformity to direct taxes. It has also published a Discussion Paper on the same, and is soliciting rating and feedback from public.

It is creditable that there is an open consultative process that is being adopted here. Make sure you give in your feedback!

Vote on Right to Education Bill 2008

Right to Education Bill 2008 was passed in parliament last week. PRS provides MPs with legislative briefs on bills being introduced in the parliament, and I am happy to attach the brief here. Take a look at the key issues surrounding the bill, and tell us which way would you have voted, or your comments?

In future, we will put out some bills that are yet to come to the parliament, and hopefully pass back some of your feedback back to the MPs!

So vote and comment now!

Vote here:

Please feel free to leave any qualitative comments below.

Grievance Registration System – Government Of India

I would like to share , discuss and invite opinions of all the readers of this article. Every state & UT in India has its own Grievance Registration System. Where a complainant or any one who thinks that the system to be challenged to work for them, as they have the right to do so because they pay taxes to the government.  In the coming weeks i will be posting the processes of all the State & UT ( Mentioned Below in alphabetical Order ) where one can get the information. Firstly i will be focusing on the National Capital Territory – Delhi.

Andaman & Nicobar (UT)
Andhra Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh
Chandigarh (UT)
Dadra and Nagar Haveli (UT)
Daman and Diu (UT)
Delhi (UT)
Himachal Pradesh
Jammu and Kashmir
Lakshadweep (UT)
Madhya Pradesh
Puducherry (UT)
Tamil Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal

West Bengal

What you see is not what you get :-(

Yesterday I got a call from a PIO  who lives  in the Silicon Valley for the past 23 years and serving one of the most prestigious airline company in North America for 22 years. He was referred by one of our common acquaintance. I asked him the usual question (many a times a dip test  !!) – how has his experience been while being in India for the past few days.  And out in a ziffy was his reply – What you see is not what you get. !!

I see a lot of opportunity in what he remarked. My belief is that the awakening needs to happen from the within.

Can we initiate a few baby steps like encourage a queue system for whatever it takes and learn to drive our 2/4-wheeler in lanes and respecting the traffic rules wherever possible. Can we take the pain of cleaning our almirahs at home and desks at office and their orderliness at the end of each day instead of postponing the same around our convenience.

Instead of deliberating on the have nots and endorsing negative vibrations – the same time and energy can be used to complete some orderliness as cited above. We do have time – what we dont is awareness of consequences of the choices we make.

Sounds cliched but are there more simpler practises than these that can help us inch towards rebuilding our credibility.