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| @KushalNandwani | March 29,2019

A group of concerned citizens, headed by Justice AP Shah, has issued a 19-point charter, expressing concern at the increased instance of mob-led violence, threats to institutional integrity and the pervasive role of large sections of the media in creating tension in the country.

“We have seen the rise of something that was practically unknown in India – lynch mobs, caste violence and hate-mongering enjoying what seems like immunity from the law of a kind that only comes from state patronage,” the charter said.

Calling for restoring the independence of institutions, transparency in election funding and a renewed constitutional commitment to social welfare and social justice, the charter titled ‘Reclaiming the Republic” criticised the current regime for inflicting serious damage to democratic institutions in the country where institutional violence, false propaganda and manipulations have become the order of the day. It recommended “reforms and measures for recovery, reconstruction and reorientation” of the Republic, including welfare state reforms, social justice reforms and reforms for strengthening transparent and accountable governance.

“Reclaiming the Republic” was released on March 25, 2019 at an event organised by the Jan Manch, an umbrella, grouping among others,  the National Alliance of People’s Movement, Right to Food Campaign, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, NCPRI, and Satark Nagrik Sangathan. It was attended by representatives from the Communist Party of India, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and the Congress party.

 

 

Proposed reforms

 

A summary of the reforms proposed by the group include:

  • The reversal of the recent electoral bond scheme and the setting up of a National Election Fund for state funding of elections.
  • Welfare measures such as the right to education, social security for all citizens, affordable public health care, guaranteed minimum days of employment under MNREGA.
  • A ‘new deal’ for farmers that not only includes loan waivers, but timely relief from disaster related stress, emphasis on sustainable farm practices and focus on tenant farmers and more.
  • Representation of women in decision making bodies.
  • Comprehensive anti-discrimination laws,
  • Immediate end to manual scavenging.

The charter suggests measures that could be taken to generate additional revenues to fund these welfare proposals.

Other measures proposed include ensuring a free and fair judiciary, ensuring independence of institutions like CBI, CAG etc., and a strong independent commission for laying down strict environmental norms.

 

Institutional pillars being dismantled

 

“The Republic of India was founded on our Constitution’s resolve to secure justice, liberty, equality and fraternity for all its citizens. While over the last seven decades, we cannot claim to have succeeded in redeeming this pledge, we were strengthened by the conviction that the foundations for the realisation of these goals were being laid. Over the last five years, however, we have witnessed and indeed have felt in our experience of public life and in our personal preoccupations, an onslaught at full throttle on these foundational and core principles of citizenship. We have seen clearly and unmistakably, the institutional pillars of the republic being dismantled,” the document warns.

 

 

Read the official document.

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