TOI has learnt that the panel headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has recommended that former MPs should also be entitled for 20-25 free domestic air travel in a year and increase in pension from Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000 per month.
There is another recommendation that each sitting MP should get an additional free air conditioned first class railway pass for their companion, such as private secretary. At present, only the MPs and their spouses are entitled for first class AC travel. Moreover, there is a proposal that the MPs should get an amount equal to first class rail ticket, which is informally known as pocket money. Parliamentarians now get allowance equivalent to fare of one second class AC ticket.
Similarly, for air travel the panel has recommended that the allowance should be equal to one full ticket fare. Sources said some the recommendations are exorbitant and all issues would be looked into before taking any decision.
The panel has also reportedly batted for better facilities for MPs at airports where they can be facilitated. The committee has suggested that the health benefits that MPs get under the Central Government Health Scheme should be extended to their children and grand children as well.
ECONOMIC TIMES, JUL 03, 2015
Parliamentarians want an independent body like pay commission to decide on their salaries
By Rakesh Mohan Chaturvedi The MPs ET talked to insisted that they have to spend a good sum on visitors from their constituency and other visitors.
NEW DELHI: Several MPs, cutting across party lines, feel they are lowly paid in comparison to their counterparts in western democracies and have suggested an institutional mechanism like the Pay Commission to address the issue.
All MPs ET talked to maintained that their salaries were not enough as they have to incur miscellaneous expenses while extending basic courtesies to people from their constituency, when asked whether they deserved a hike as they are entitled to free air tickets, accommodation, power and a pension after serving a five-year term.
The MPs ET talked to insisted that they have to spend a good sum on visitors from their constituency and other visitors. MPs also have to pay salaries of additional support staff. The last increase in salary and emoluments for MPs was done in 2010.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "most MPs do feel that an independent institution or an established commission should look into increasing their salaries and perks automatically at a fixed time gap as is done for government employees by the Pay Commission. It is logical and practical to hike the salaries of Indian lawmakers. Being public figures, they have to bear several expenses."
SAD's Naresh Gujral said, "there should be some institutional mechanism to deal with rise of salaries of MPs as it is a shame that in a democracy whenever the salary of an MP is increased there is a hue and cry." SP's Naresh Agarwal was categorical that there is a definite need to increase the salary: "If you expect MPs to be honest and want probity in lawmakers then their salaries should be fixed on the same pattern as that of other Commonwealth countries."
However, unlike most MPs, he feels the parliamentarians should not give up their right to decide their salaries. Bartuhari Mahtab of BJD recalled that when the issue of increasing salaries of MPs came up for discussion during Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's tenure it was suggested that the hike should be automatic.
"It looks very odd that MPs themselves decide their salaries. A system should be put in place as done in other democracies," he said. NCP's DP Tripathi maintained that a comparison should be made with the salaries of MPs in European nations, US, Canada, Australia and other nations and a commensurate hike be given to Indian MPs.
POLICE TRIBUNE, JUL 03, 2015
Towards a healthy police organisation In police departments, supervision is usually based upon a pattern of downward communication — from higher ranking members to lower ranking members. There is less opportunity for lower ranking members to communicate upowards Boosting the morale of a force that is psychologically deprived and physically fatigued is tough. Supervision in police is based upon a well-entrenched hierarchy.
The recent incident of killing of a senior police officer by his subordinate in Mumbai set the alarm bell ringing and made the police leadership to assess the psychological state of policemen in the city. Though such surveys are rare to police in India, Singapore Police Force continually sense the motivation and morale of their officers through the Organisational Health Survey (OHS). The OHS is a regular staff feedback exercise so as to ensure that officers remain passionate in their work.
In the Police Departments in India, supervision is usually based upon a pattern of downward communication, from higher ranking members to lower ranking members, with less opportunity for lower ranking members to communicate upwards. Furthermore, in event of any crisis or incidents of malpractices coming to light, typical response of the senior officers has been to shift the decision making power upwards and thereby further curtailing authority at the cutting edge. Psychological deprivation The ironic fact is that the police departments have power, authority, influence, status, prestige, and privilege, but the policeman who symbolises power and authority to the man on the street may find little of this in his own department. Rather the rank and file members are often psychologically deprived persons who would like to have more say in what goes on in the Police Department. The basic paradox of police hierarchy is that discretionary authority tends to be greatest at the bottom of the police organization. This is where patrol officers apply laws, policy, and regulations to situations that do not fit neatly into the rulebook. Further, these discretionary choices are made in the field, removed from the direct scrutiny of senior officers. Their psychological deprivation, combined with long duty hour, lack of rest and little time for family and social affairs, can be a significant factor for workplace stress, leading to frequent police misconduct and resulting public outcry. If we want policemen to respect the people they deal with, they need to be themselves treated with respect, trust and sensitivity within their own department. In the changed times, typical sub culture of parent-child relationship between supervisors and lower ranks of police officers has to give way to a more matured relationship of mutual respect, clarity and understanding of each other's roles in the department. Like many of the government organisations, there exists a culture of mistrust and suspicion in the police organisations which is further reinforced by the nature of police duties. However, too much of mistrust kills initiative and is counterproductive for any organisation. The key is trust, but verify - and hold policemen accountable for results. Another practice that is strongly ingrained in the Indian Police is the culture of highlighting the mistakes, more to unsettle the subordinates than to provide them with constructive criticism. Even the supervisory inspection notes are full of negative clichés, with few remarks of encouragement for the field officers. Whereas in the new promising & emerging field of positive psychology, ''strengths-based'' approach involves focusing on the strengths - selecting employees based on their talents, and placing them where they get to do what they do best every day. By conducting positive activities such as Good Policing Competitions among police stations/sub divisions based on their yearly performance, police department can implement the priority policing activities in an energised and less stressful work environment. The competition activities could be chosen to lay emphasis on different aspects of field policing like- excellence in investigation & operations, traffic & police station management excellence, record maintenance and building community relations. Empowering frontline officers Frontline officers' empowerment may offer significant advantages over the existing top-down police administration. To empower the front line policemen would mean- to give them authority that goes with their responsibility, allow them a say in the affairs of the police department, provide an organisational environment where they can recognise, care about, and tend to citizen needs. Japanese police underwent such restructuring in 1954 of its traditional paramilitary organizational structure and transformed its 'oppressive' image and is rated as the "best" in the world today. A spillover effect of authoritarian functioning is the extension of this pattern on expression of grievances & suggestions from lower ranks in police. Police departments in India are plagued with an absence of a flexible mechanism by which communication from lower ranks to higher police officers can occur with the ease and frequency often needed. Grievances in police departments exist because of the absence of appropriate informal and inadequate formal mediation procedures between superiors and subordinates. Along with this, there is also a need to give policemen a formal mechanism for sharing with top officers their ideas about how to improve functioning of the police department, as some of the best ideas for improvement and public service come from the cutting edge employees. This would not only make the policemen feel more valued but also help in improving performance and in eliminating unnecessary rules and practices. Policing in not just a profession but a way of life. While the police departments are engaged day and night in activities that affect the lives of millions of citizens in this country, police officers should be able to derive great satisfaction from the realisation that they are contributing towards making the society a safer place to live in, rather than just working for solving cases or reducing crime to keep their job. This kind of inspired working was one of the key reasons for the unparalled fight of Punjab Police against the terrorist movement from mid 80's and early 90's. The young Indian Police Service officers who were in charge of the districts, putting their lives at stake and families at risk, worked for a bigger vision, a greater national cause and as a hope for the distressed citizens, in a seemingly hopeless situation running out of hand. What triggered them would also work for the police officers at the lowest rung who are the most important asset of the Police Department.
The writer is ADG Punjab
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT TELEGRAPH, JUL 03, 2014
Least resistance: A question about the Emergency left unaddressed
At a function in New Delhi to mark the 40th anniversary of the Emergency, the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, recounted a conversation he had with the former Supreme Court judge, H.R. Khanna - the dissenting judge in the infamous habeas corpus case - during the course of a leisurely morning walk sometime in the late-1990s. Khanna apparently told him that the astonishing admission of the attorney general, Niren De, that the Emergency regulations meant that the right to life was at the mercy of the State was prompted by a leading question he asked from the bench.
To drive home the point that natural justice was above the suspension of fundamental rights, Khanna asked the government counsel whether the Emergency could deny someone the right to life as also mentioned in Article 21. The question was as much aimed at the attorney general as the brother judges. However, as Khanna lamented, the rest of the bench headed by the then chief justice, A.N. Ray, sat there stony-faced and expressionless. "It was at that point I knew which way the verdict would go."
The 4-1 judgment of the Supreme Court in 1976 legitimizing the suspension of all human rights during the term of the Emergency has often been described as the "darkest chapter" of India's judicial history. The alacrity with which the Supreme Court went out of its way to ingratiate itself to the political executive was shameful, and may explain why the institution has subsequently been so anxious to bend the stick in the other direction as an act of atonement. That this was a bespoke judgment has been confirmed by the subsequent, post-retirement admissions of grave error by the former judges, Y.V. Chandrachud and P.N. Bhagwati, the luminaries from whom a show of spinelessness was not expected.
The question that inevitably arises from the conduct of the judges in the habeas corpuscase has often been asked in the context of the larger national experience with the Emergency. Why did India cave in so easily? Why was there no meaningful resistance to the complete subversion of democracy for 20 months?
The admirers of Indira Gandhi believe that the overall experience with the Emergency wasn't entirely negative. Apart from the trains-ran-on-time and era-of-discipline arguments that were translated into slogans, the sweeping victory of the Congress in the southern states and a mixed performance in western India in the 1977 election are cited as evidence that the Emergency wasn't an unmitigated disaster, as is now made out to be. The electoral rout of the Congress in northern and eastern India is sought to be explained by a combination of two factors: the en masse desertion of the Muslims and Dalit voters as a result of the excesses of the sterilization programme and the consolidation of non-Congress votes. The moment the non-Congress votes fractured once again in 1980, Indira Gandhi was back in power with a conclusive majority.
There is an associated belief, internalized by the 'progressive' intellectuals in the pro-Soviet ecosystem, that still feel that India was in the cusp of a counter-revolution led by the forces of "right reaction". The political and social turbulence in India between 1974 and the declaration of Emergency on June 26, 1975 have been linked to a global offensive that led to the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile and the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in August 1975. The Emergency, by this logic, was a pre-emptive strike to safeguard the gains of Indira Gandhi's post-1969 socialist turn. Debunking the Jayaprakash Narayan-led movement's "rhetoric of revolution and of extra-legal and extra-constitutional and often violent agitational methods", the Left historians, Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee and Aditya Mukherjee in India After Independence (1999), for example, have concluded that "Historically, such a mix has been the hallmark... of a counter-revolution, as the history of the rise of fascism in Europe and dictatorial regimes in Latin America indicates".
Yet, for the moment and convoluted Marxism notwithstanding, the Emergency apologists have few takers. The Janata Party may have squandered the mandate it received in 1977 in a remarkably short time through internal feuding but the euphoria that was evident when the election results were declared in March 1977 still persists in the public memory. In spite of the somewhat inchoate fears expressed by the Bharatiya Janata Party veteran, L.K. Advani, Emergency has been deemed a 'Never Again' moment for India. With time and India's overall disinclination to imbibe history, the details of the tyranny have receded from public memory but, like 'British rule', 'Emergency' has come to be equated with the unpalatable.
There is, however, a question that is tantalizingly left unaddressed. Why was the public mood marked by either acquiescence or passivity? Why, for that matter, did the entire Indian Establishment (with few exceptions) genuflect at the altar of what has now come to be recognized as tyranny?
Fear, quite obviously, is one explanation. When he courted arrest in the Delhi University campus on June 26, 1975, Jaitley felt that it was one of those routine arrests. No one had a clue as to what Emergency implied. Once this was clear, many of the Opposition activists either retreated carefully into private life or even signed the 20-point programme as a declaration of surrender. Others, less political, chose to stay away from trouble. Aware of the high-handedness of Congress activists who now walked the streets with a swagger, individuals devised their own strategies of survival. IAS officers expediently forgot the rule book and signed blank forms to be used for arrests under the draconian Maintenance of Internal Security Act, editors forgot their dharma and meekly adhered to the censorship guidelines and the more artistic took refuge in the self-serving conviction that high-minded devotion to culture implied a detachment from low-brow politics. Most people just looked the other way.
The phenomenon wasn't specifically Indian although, historically, India has a richer experience of surviving in the face of awkward statecraft. Any honest history of the German occupation of France between 1940 and 1944 will reveal that the Resistance was a fringe phenomenon and that most French citizens accorded a grudging welcome to Marshal Pétain's Vichy regime, at least till mid-1943 when it was increasingly clear that German defeat was only a matter of time. The options exercised by ordinary citizens - many of whom looked the other way as the deportation of Jews got underway - were determined by the choices available: active collaboration with Vichy, passivity and resistance. Only the very brave, the very motivated and those personally singed by a venal regime could afford the last.
There is a disconcerting conclusion that flows from experiences with authoritarian or illegitimate regimes: the people in general are respectful to authority. Occasionally, and only occasionally, there is a tipping point when inhibitions are shed. In democratic societies, elections are an in-built safety valve that allows for pent-up feelings to be expressed with a measure of passion. However, it is not automatic. Most of those released from jail when Indira Gandhi announced elections in January 1977 hardly believed that the Congress would be defeated. At best they wanted to put up a fight. It was only after Jagjivan Ram's defection that simmering discontent over petty, institutionalized tyranny became a surge of anger.
The people, it is romanticized, saved Indian democracy. But it was by no means pre-determined. Had it not been for a few missteps of those intoxicated by unchallenged power, the voters may well have legitimized authoritarian governance. In the end, politics is less about heroism than human frailties
Gujarat CM calls for paper-less government offices Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Monday called for convergence of various computer and mobile technologies to connect all the government offices and make them paperless in the next one or two years.
Speaking at the state-level function of Digital India Week organised in Gandhinagar, Patel said that paperless offices are necessary to provide easy, economical and transparent governance to the people using platforms like eGovernance and mGovernance, said an official press release.
She further stated that the application of technology had helped Gujarat establish its unique identity in sectors like agriculture, education and health, stated the release.
Efforts are already on for the simplification of the entire administrative process, and the government aims to provide online services to the people in 18,000-odd villages in 250 tehsils in 33 districts, she said.
Patel also asked the administration to start working towards providing internet connectivity to GSWAN network used by government offices.
Her government has already started taking steps towards Digital India by announcing a new electronic policy, she said.
As per a June-2015 report, Gujarat leads in the country with 139.23 crore e-transactions, amounting to over 23,000 transactions per 1000 persons, said the release.