A physician turned IAS officer turned president of Lok Satta party, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is a person who's inspired and inspires all who know him through his modern ideas, logical solutions to problems, his knowledge, clarity of thought and expression. He is a personality to emulate. In his speeches on politics and governance that I recently came across, he explains the problems of our country, how they have originated and how they should be solved with a scientific and logical approach. He says, today, people complain, people are angry with the government more than at any other time after India became an independent country. India sure has made progress along the way after independence but with the potential that we have, we can do much more than that. Compared to what we can do, what we have done is very less though significant. This makes us angry and complain so much today, he says. And more awareness among us today also surely contributes to it. We are going through a second freedom struggle for a true democracy with new politics, he says.
I'd like to present some of his ideas here.
1. Local Self-Governments and decentralization of power: If the per capita amount that the government is supposedly spending on each citizen today is given to locally elected bodies, who are given all powers to use this money for their local development issues, without the interference of the state or the centre or some far away minister, the development work would happen at an accelerated efficiency. This simply means a power shift from ministers to citizens. No longer would citizens need to depend on some far away government and go through all the red tape or indulge in bribery to get things done. This is a solution that can be practiced effectively to prevent corruption or in other words, remove it from its roots. We have Local Self Governments in a couple of places in India like Kerala and Jalandhar.
2. Autonomous public service organizations: The police services or the municipalities, for example, should have autonomous powers to carry out their jobs. They shouldn't be puppets of the ministers anymore. They should only be accountable to the people they serve.
3. Participation of Industries: Industries have a role to play, to encourage healthy politics, not looking for easy short-cut solutions, he says.
4. His take on sops: He has expressed his anger against those who offer sops as if public money was their own money, making beggars out of people.
5. Education and empowerment: The poor, instead of being treated as a burden, should be empowered and given a chance to contribute to the economy. This can be done by proper facilities for education, employment and credit for farmers and small entrepreneurs. On reservations based on caste, he said, today, reservations are dividing people further and the original objective is lost. Instead of reserving seats for people based on their caste, these people considered to be backward should be made capable to achieve these positions through relevant facilities, providing proper education and training. He also suggested establishment of 10000 small towns in the villages of India with urban amenities and infrastructure.
6. On civil society organizations: Today, a large no. of civil society organizations can be found all around and they're doing what the government should be doing. The proper way of addressing the problems we have is to act from within the government and take part in the politics of our country.
Dr. JP is optimistic. He says, we need new politics for a new generation. And the party, which was actually a civil society organization, established 10 years back, was made a political party in 2006. Lok Satta Party is contesting the elections for the second time(the first time, it contested in the by-elections in Telangana) now with more awareness among people about it.
Lok Satta Party is the only one of its kind in many ways. It is democratically run. Elections are conducted at various localities for positions in the party through secret ballot. Also, within the party, elections are conducted through secret ballot. In this context, Dr. JP says, he doesn't own Lok Satta Party. LSP is the only political party in India to which one can make donations with 100% tax exemption. Recently, a Mumbai chapter of Lok Satta Party was also started. The symbol of Lok Satta Party is a blue star against white background. Its detailed agenda can be found on its website.
For more details, log onto www.loksatta.org
Also, you may listen to his speeches on politics and governance on you tube, the first part of which can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MPl-ayS-7E
Here, you can find an interview of Dr. JP: http://www.loksatta.org/images/The%20first%20completely%20customisable%20news%20site%20on%20the%20web.pdf