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Happy Pongal

Happy Pongal




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I wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas...
Have a Lovely,peaceful and warmth Christmas!!!

Lokpal - A New Tool to Make Real India

Lokpal - A New Tool to Make Real India
Why do we need Jan Lokpal?
There are several deficiencies in our anti-corruption systems because of which despite overwhelming evidence against the corrupt, no honest investigation and prosecution takes place and the corrupt are hardly punished. The whole anti-corruption set up ends up protecting the corrupt.
Our anti-corruption agencies have basic structural deficiencies because of which they are incapable of doing any honest investigations:

The following four deficiencies stand out in our anti-corruption system.
a.    Lack of Independence
Most of our agencies like CBI, state vigilance departments, internal vigilance wings of various departments, Anti-corruption Branch of state police etc are not independent. In many cases, they have to report to the same people who are either themselves accused or are likely to be influenced by the accused. For instance,
·         The Chief Minister of Punjab is the Minister in charge of Vigilance Department of Punjab. Interestingly, the same vigilance department is also investigating charges of corruption against himself and his family and is prosecuting them. Can we expect the vigilance department to do any honest investigations or prosecution?
·         Please read detailed report in Annexure 2 to see how despite huge unaccounted cash being recovered from the house of a top NHAI officer, Kamal Nath denied permission to register a case of corruption against him. Coal Ministry just sat on CBI’s repeated requests to prosecute the officer who was to become the CMD. Railways just sat on CBI’s request to prosecute one of its top employees involved in railway recruitment scam.
b.   Powerless
Some bodies like CVC or Lokayuktas are independent, but they do not have any powers. They have been made advisory bodies. They give two kinds of advise to the governments – to either impose departmental penalties on any officer or to prosecute him in court. Experience shows that whenever any minister or a senior officer is involved, their advice is rarely followed.
c.    Multiplicity of agencies
Governments have deliberately created plethora of anti-corruption agencies and given them fractured mandates. This has been done to render them ineffective. For instance,
·         At central government level, in the same case of corruption, CVC is supposed to look into the vigilance angle of senior bureaucrats and departmental vigilance is supposed to look into the role of junior bureaucrats. As if junior and senior bureaucrats indulge in corruption separately.
·         Again in the same case, whereas these two agencies enquire into the matter from vigilance angle, CBI investigates into the same matter from criminal angle i.e corruption angle. Now, the vigilance and corruption angles are almost the same. The two agencies broadly do the same enquiries and investigations.
·         According to the Lokpal model proposed by Government of India, CVC will enquire into the role of bureaucrats and Lokpal will look into the role of politicians, as if politicians and bureaucrats indulge in corruption separately.

Firstly, this kind of fractured mandate creates confusion. Secondly, enquiries and investigations into any case go on and on for years. For instance, in street lighting case of Common Wealth Games, first an enquiry was done by CVC, then CBI investigated into the same case and then it was again enquired into by Shunglu committee. Thirdly, if two agencies arrive at conflicting conclusions on the same case, it only weakens the case against corrupt people. The final beneficiaries of this confusing system are the corrupt people who never get punished.
d.   Lack of Transparency and internal accountability
In addition, there is the problem of internal transparency and accountability of these anti-corruption agencies. Presently, there isn’t any separate and effective mechanism to check if the staff of these anti-corruption agencies turns corrupt.
That is why, despite so many agencies, corrupt people rarely go to jail. Corruption has become a high profit zero risk business. There is absolutely no deterrence against corruption.

Our anti-corruption laws also have several critical deficiencies, which end up protecting the corrupt.
For instance,
·         Even if a corrupt person is sent to jail, there is no provision in law to confiscate his ill gotten wealth or to recover the loss caused by him to the government due to his corrupt practices.
·         Before initiating investigations or prosecution into any case, permission has to be taken from some officer or minister in charge of the same department. In many cases, they themselves are directly or indirectly involved in that case.
Therefore, there seems to be too much protection for the corrupt people. There are many other deficiencies in our anti-corruption laws. The above have been mentioned only by way of illustration.
Jan Lokpal Bill seeks to address these deficiencies in anti-corruption agencies and the law.
Structure of Lokpal
Jan Lokpal Bill proposes that at the level of Central Government, an institution called Jan Lokpal should be set up. Likewise, in each state, Jan Lokayukta should be set up. Jan Lokpal will accept corruption complaints against Central government departments and Jan Lokayukta will accept complaints against departments of respective state government.

Each of these bodies will have 10 members and one Chairperson.
a. Independence of Jan Lokpal and Jan LokayuktaJan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta would be completely independent of the governments. Their independence would be ensured through following measures:
(i)   Administrative independence
They will be independent agencies like Central Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor general of India and Supreme Court. Therefore, no politician or a bureaucrat will be able to interfere with its functioning.
(ii)  Financial independence
Their expenses will be charged to the Consolidated Fund of India/State. They will be provided whatever expenses they require.
(iii)  Manpower
They will have powers to assess their manpower requirements and employ them either from existing government servants (who can come on deputation basis) or directly from the market.
b. Single anti-corruption agency
Anti-corruption branch of CBI, CVC and departmental vigilance wings will be merged into Lokpal. Anti-Corruption Branch of Police, state vigilance departments would be merged into Jan Lokayuktas. In 1986, when Karnataka Lokayukta was created, all existing anti-corruption and vigilance agencies in the state were merged into Lokayukta.

Presently, we have institutions of Lokayuktas in 18 states. They are merely advisory bodies. They neither have resources nor powers. They will be replaced with Jan Lokayuktas through Jan Lokpal Bills.
c. No more advisory bodies
Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta will not be advisory bodies. They will have powers to start investigation or prosecution in any case. For that, they will not need permission from any government agency.

Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta will also have powers to impose departmental penalties on bureaucrats.
What action will be taken by Lokpal against corrupt people?
There is corruption at all levels – in panchayat works, in construction of roads, in NREGA, mid day meals, rations, 2G spectrum, leasing of mines, Common Wealth Games etc. Jan Lokpal will ensure that corrupt people are punished through the following provisions.
a. Time bound investigations
Investigation in any case of corruption will have to be completed within one year. Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will have powers to employ more officers, if required, to complete investigations in time. After investigations, Lokpal or Lokayukta shall take two actions:
·         Dismiss corrupt officers: After investigations, if adequate evidence is found, then after giving an opportunity of being heard, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will have powers to remove a government officer from job or to impose any other departmental penalties like reduction in rank, stopping promotion etc. These orders could be challenged in High Court.
·         Time bound trial: In addition to imposing departmental penalties, if a case is made out, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will file a case in trial court. The court will have to complete the trial and announce punishment within next one year. If required, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will have powers to direct the government to set up additional courts to complete the trial in time.
b. Recovery of loss caused to government
During investigations,if there is strong evidence against corruption, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta shall ban the transfer of assets of the accused or the assets of those who would have benefitted from the accused. At the time of conviction, the court will assess the loss caused by the accused to the government. This loss will be recovered from these assets and as land revenue. (Currently, there is no provision in our law to recover the bribes earned by corrupt people or the loss caused by them to the government).
c. Confiscation of assets
Each bureaucrat, politician and judge would be required to submit a statement of moveable and immoveable assets owned by him and his family on an annual basis, which will be put on the official website. If an asset is subsequently found to be owned by a public servant, it would be deemed to have been obtained through corrupt means and would be confiscated. Prosecution proceedings would be initiated against the accused.

Similarly, after each election, the Jan Lokpal will verify the assets declared by each candidate. If undeclared assets are found, a case will be registered and investigations started.
d. Increased punishment for corruption
Presently, the maximum punishment for corruption is seven years, which is believed to be very less. This is proposed to be increased to life sentence.
e. Illegally obtained benefits are deemed to be obtained through corruption
In the current system, if anyone obtains any benefit from the government illegally, it is difficult to prove that he did so by paying bribes. Therefore, it has been provided in Jan Lokpal Bill that if a person obtains any benefit from the government in violation of a law or rules and regulations, that person along with concerned public servants shall be deemed to have indulged in corrupt practice.
f. Power to punish if its orders are not followed
If orders of the Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta are not obeyed, it will have the powers to impose financial penalties and also initiate contempt proceedings against the guilty officials.
How will Lokpal provide relief to a common man against bribery?
Today, a common man has to pay bribe to get any work done in any government department like making ration card or passport or getting income tax refund or old age pension etc. Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta will provide relief to a common man against such day to day corruption.
Ø  Each government department will have to make a Citizen’s Charter telling who does what job and in how much time. For instance, the charter will have to mention which officer will make ration card and in what time, which officer will make a passport and in how much time etc.
Ø  If Charter is not followed, then people can complain to the Head of that department who will be designated as the Public Grievance Officer (PGO)
Ø  PGO will redress the complaint within 30 days maximum
Ø  If PGO doesn’t satisfy the complainant, then a complaint can be made to the vigilance officer of Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta. Lokpve will have a vigilance officer in each district and Lokayukta will have it in each block.
Ø  When a complaint of violation of citizens charter reaches a Vigilance Officer, it will be deemed to have corruption angle.
Ø  The Vigilance Officer will have to
o   Solve the grievance in 30 days
o   Impose penalty on the guilty officers which will be given to the Complainant as compensation
o   Start investigations of corruption against guilty officers.
Ø  If a citizen is not satisfied with the action taken by Vigilance officer, he could appeal to the Chief Vigilance officer in Lokpal or Lokayukta.
Ø  The officers of any department against whom financial and departmental penalties have been imposed may appeal against it in High Court.
Ø  We believe that as soon as a few penalties get imposed upon the Head of any Department, he will put adequate systems in place and ensure that no grievances take place in future
How to ensure that there is no corruption within Jan Lokpal
a. Firstly, by ensuring that the right person is selected for this role!
Selection process for the members and Chairperson of Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta has been kept transparent, broad based and participatory.
Ø  The 10 members and the chairperson of Jan Lokpal will be selected by a Selection Committee that would comprise of the PM, Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, two youngest judges of Supreme Court (SC), two youngest Chief Justices of High Courts, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The Selection Committee will make the above appointment from a pool of shortlisted candidates that has been identified by a “Search Committee”.
Ø  The “Search Committee” is a 10-member committee formed as follows:  First, the Selection Committee selects five members from retired Chief Election Commissioners and retired CAGs. However those CECs and CAGs who have any substantive allegation of corruption against them or who have joined any political party after retirement or who are still in any government appointment shall not be eligible. These 5 members will then select another 5 members from the civil society to make the 10-member Search Committee.
Ø  The Search Committee will invite recommendations from various eminent people (like journalists, academics, etc). These names will be put up on a website and public feedback invited. The search committee will then, by consensus, choose 3 times the number of vacancies.  This list will be forwarded to the Selection Committee which will then make final selections through consensus.
Ø  All meetings of the Search Committee and Selection Committee shall be video recorded and will be made public.
Ø  Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta will then select and appoint its own officers and staff.
b. Secondly, by ensuring that they work well!
Ø  Every complaint to Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta shall have to be compulsorily disposed. No complaint could be rejected without giving a hearing to the complainant. If any case is closed, all records related thereto shall be made public
Ø  The functioning of Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta will be completely transparent. All records will be open to the public, barring those which will affect national security or security of the whistle blower. Those which will impede the process of investigation, may be withheld during investigations but these records will also have to be disclosed after conclusion of investigations. 
Ø  Lokpal will publish every month on its website the status of cases received, disposed, closed, reasons for closure and the list of cases pending
c. Thirdly, by ensuring that Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukt are not influenced!
The Chairperson and members will not be eligible for appointment to any position in the government or for contesting elections after they leave office.
d. Fourthly, by ensuring that if not working well, they can be removed!
(i)   Removal of corrupt staff in Lokpal or Lokayukta
Complaints of corruption against the staff could be made to an independent platform, which will be set up in each Commissionerate or at the level of each state and at national level. These complaints will be enquired into within a month. If the allegations are proved, the corrupt staff will be dismissed from the job in the next one month and a criminal case will be registered under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.
(ii) Removal of Lokpal or Lokayukta members or Chairperson
Complaints against members and chair person could be made to Supreme Court or respective High Court. A bench of respective Court, after hearing, may order the formation of a Special Investigation Team that will conduct an inquiry and submit its report within 3 months. On the basis of this enquiry report, the respective Court may order removal of the member or Chairperson.

Hope, this could have made you clear the Basic Concepts in “Jan Lokpal”, as suggested by Anna Hazare has a Stronger Criteria to Fight against “Corruption”. I’m too hoping for the best with the People of India, that the Government would come out with “Stronger” Bill and not the with the “Other” Version of it.JAI HIND! VANDE MATARAM!!!

Green Cleaning

Cleaning will definitely never make my list of favorite pastimes. I hope this could be the case for many others too.But to me the worst part about cleaning is the cleaning product companies that constantly bombard us with ads of the latest chemical filled products. The worst are the ones that try to sugar coat the chemicals by adding one natural ingredient or pine smell. Their packages may be eye catchingly bright, but underneath the usually long list of chemicals and additives are the not so eye catching warnings. The plain truth is commercial cleaning products are packed with chemicals that are bad for our bodies and horrible for the oceans. Using only lemon, baking soda and vinegar, you can clean almost anything in your home while saving money, your health, and the environment!
Lemons are acidic, using lemons adds antibacterial and antiseptic properties and is also a natural bleaching agent, use it for:
  • dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits
  • clean & shine brass and copper with lemon juice. A lemon cut in half and dipped in salt is good for cleaning spots off copper fixtures
  • put a whole lemon peel through the garbage disposal to freshen the drain and kitchen
  • pour lemon juice on white linens & clothes and allow them to dry in the sun to bleach away stains 
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer and is a great all purpose cleaner, on anything but marble. The strong smell will disappear when it dries. Use it by:
  • mix 1 part water to 1 part vinegar for an all purpose cleaner that you can use on the stove, appliances, & counter tops, stone and brick surfaces
  • add ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener
  • pour vinegar around the inside rim of the toilet bowl and scrub to get rid of rings
  • mop the flour in the bathroom with a vinegar diluted with water
  • add a couple teaspoons to a spray bottle filled with water for window cleaner
BAKING SODA                                                                                         Baking soda is abrasive cleanser that is excellent at dissolving dirt, mildew, grease, and even wax. It also acts as a natural deodorizer, use it for:
  • paste, baking soda is great for removing dirt and grime
  • 4 tablespoons baking mixed with 1 quart warm water and shaken makes a great all purpose spray you can use on anything from the bathtub to the fridge
  • add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle instead of fabric softeners as well as help remove odors from clothes.
  • wet stains on the oven and then shake baking soda over them, scrub with steel wool and watch even old rust stains disappear
  • place a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odor
  • sprinkle it your carpet before vacuuming to eliminate food and pet odors.
  • neutralize food and cat litter odors by sprinkling it at the bottom of the garbage and litter box
  • use it to clean and polish metals and plastics
Lemon juice mixed with vinegar and or baking soda make great cleaning pastes. A lemon cut in half and sprinkled with baking soda makes a great abrasive cleaner you can use to scrub stubborn dishes, surfaces, and stains
  • Pour ½ cup baking soda down drain, add ½ cup white vinegar, and cover the drain. Wait 15 minutes and then pour 1 gallon of hot water down the drain to get rid of build up.
  • make a super toilet cleaner with ¼ cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour it into toilet and let sit for 5 min. before scrubbing with a brush
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda with 2 Tablespoons of Borax mixed together can replace automatic dishwasher detergent.
  • 1 cup olive oil blended with ½ cup lemon juice makes a furniture polish for your hardwood furniture.
Have a Smiley Cleaning
For more better information on House cleaning Tips,please refer the site given below as I found it very interesting and useful

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