Mahendra Hipparagi0 20-POINT MEMORANDUM OF APPEAL ON ELECTIONEERING AND PROTOCOL FOR CANDIDATES
The Honorable PM of India
Honorable Members of Parliament of India
Honorable Election Commission of India
20-POINT MEMORANDUM OF APPEAL ON ELECTIONEERING AND
PROTOCOL FOR CANDIDATES
This 20-point Memorandum of Appeal is on behalf of the Citizens of India and for your attention and necessary action in the interest of the nation.
Corruption erodes trust :Corruption is the biggest threat and enemy of the country’s progress needs no stressing . Despite the rapid strides India is making in recent years ,the scourge of corruption has only grown .The Union Government ,to its credit ,has been taking measures to reduce and prevent corruption at various levels among the elected in the Government and the appointed in the bureaucracy .Corruption erodes trust in Government and undermines the social contract .
Offer an enduring and abiding solution .Yet there is no change .This Memorandum of Appeal is the work of many citizen leaders representing the people of India who have at heart the country’s progress .Our sincere hope is that the remedial measures listed here to root out corruption at various levels will not only secure your discerning attention , but also bring additional inputs and dimensions that you offer as leaders for an enduring and abiding solution to this daunting challenge.
Inspire other nations into directions that will weed out corruption.The relationship between campaign financing and political corruption has not been studied in India .Even worldwide ,there are very few studies .India as the largest democracy in the world has a significant role to play to inspire other nations into directions that will weed out corruption in the process of election campaigns. One Stockholm study undertook a cross -country analysis of 83 countries and found that there is less political corruption in countries:
Where elections are not funded with public resources;
Where the impact of legal campaign financing on public policy outcomes is lower;
Where regulations impose ceilings on election expenses and on the amount of money that parties/candidates can raise in each election ;and
Where regulations make the public disclosure of campaign expenditures compulsory .
Build the sinews of the nation. While it is everyone’s right to benefit from strong anti-corruption efforts ,misconduct and wrong doing is stealing away valuable resources at a time when they are most needed to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 crisis and to build the sinews of the nation .
Engage all in the tackling corruption .This Memorandum seeks to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone -including elected and appointed members at the Centre , in the States ,Government officials ,civil servants ,laws enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector , civil society , academia , the public and youth – In tacking corruption .
Unite with shared responsibilities .It is imperative that not only all elected members of parliament need to unite and face this national problem with shared responsibility. Every single person-young and old-has a role to play to prevent and counter corruption , in order to promote resilience and integrity at all levels of society .
Help create effective , accountable and transparent Institutions .It is importance that policies, systems and measures need to be in place for people to be able speak up and Say No to corruption .The United Nations Convention against Corruption emphasizes the responsibility of Government to put in place effective whistle-blower protection to ensure that persons who speak up are protected from retaliation . Such measures will contribute to effective , accountable and transparent institutions towards a culture of integrity and fareness ,and for elected governments and elected leaders who are not under undue pressure to ‘return favours’ for those who abetted the crime of corruption in the process of electioneering.
Adopt a Political Declaration to accelerate action against corruption. With the Monsoon Session of the Parliament 2022 set to commence in July .it will be a rare opportune moment for all Parliamentarians to unite and adopt a Political Declaration as a roadmap to halt corruption and accelerate action against corruption in the immediate run-up to elections , especially in areas inhabited by vulnerable communities like slums which have become the hunting ground for all contenders who display no scruples at the hustings.
Best Practies to counter corruption at the hustings in the crucial run-up days. The citizen leaders who have orchestrated this Memorandum of Appeal as well as many discerning political leaders will know how to present case studies of good practices and examples of preventing and countering such corruption at the hustings in the crucial run-up days and hours of election dates in constituencies .There will be more suggestions on identifying and tackling the unholy linkages in the network of such corruption and blatant offering of ‘gifts’ and ‘favours’ as well as ‘threats’ in those hours and days before the vote is cast ,especially by the poor and vulnerable communities ,who do not realise that corruption has a disproportionate impact on them ,by increasing costs and reducing access to services , including health ,education and justice.
Develop innovative solutions .This Memorandum also hopes that a united political declaration in the Monsoon Session of Parliament will also help in developing innovative solutions ,advancing prevention through education ,leveraging youth engagement ,and mobilizing allis in civil society ,academia ,and other thinking and responsible quarters of citizenry in every constituency .
Do not accept corruption as a ‘way of life’. The UNODC and UNDP have come out firmly worldwide in this fight against corruption .We have to act against corruption today , and without any loss of time .People often accept that corruption is a ‘way of life’ but everyone will benefit from saying No to this crime. Here are some examples that the honorabe Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies across states under the direction of the Parliament ,can takeup .
Ratify and enact a simple law against Corruption that is easy to implement .If we can successfully attack corruption political parties and Government will gain respect in the eyes of citizens, creating stability and trust .
Educate the public about the Government’s responsibility to be corruption -free
Raise awareness among the public ,the media and Governments about he costs of corruption for key services such as health and education .
Educate the youth about ethical behaviour, what corruption is and how to fight it , and encourage them to demand their right to education .Ensuring that future generations of citizens are brought up to expect corruption-free elections is one of the best tools to ensure a brighter future.
Report incidents of corruption .Create an environment where the rule of law prevails.
India needs to increase both domestic and fpreign investment if it has to grow socially and economically .Worldwide investors are more willing when they see funds are not being siphoned off into the pockets of corrupt officials.
Foster economic stability by enforcing zero tolerance practices towards corruption .A transparent and open business community is the cornerstone of any strong democracy.
The ban of can canvassing in the last week of elections ,and a law that prevents party workers to visit communities en masse to canvas will ensure avoidance of noise and disturbance during those days preceding the ballot days.
Encourage honest candidates .It is sad to see candidates -even if they do not have resources-either borrowing or selling their personal assets; and this is not possible for honest candidates who want to serve the Nation.
Candidates should come clean on their police record and contribution to communities. This Memorandum of Appeal therefore strongly urges that aspirants who are interested to stand for elections, at the time of filling their nominations are mandated to file crime record and balances ,their past achievements and contributions to communities.
Estop Candidates from canvassing and meeting communities .Candidates should be mandated to not move out of their respective houses for canvassing or to have any public activit and to not employ any persons on their behalf to go for door to door canvassing , or for distribution of handouts with any gifts in kind or in cash or otherwise to have people vote for them.
EC should Inform ,educate, communicate .The Election Commission has a key role, and should take the responsibility of informing voters in every constituency of the candidates vying for the seat, with ‘know your candidate’ campaigns that EC offers with dispassion , the entire Government machinery is used for the process of informing -educating -communicating to voters on the candidates competing.
Candidates should foot EC’s bill ,not tax payer. The Election commission spends man crores of rupees. The Parliament must debate and offer a roadmap for the expenses to be charged/accounted to each of the candidates in some fair and equitable proportion, and the candidates have to be required to deposit the amount along with the nomination papers.
Candidates can inform voters ,not ‘meet’ them .There will be resistance to this important shift in governance that India needs. Political parties will ‘fight’ for their right to reach the electorate with their manifesto . Each party may be allowed to conduct TV debates and other constructive use of social media ,with such demands being met without the need for meeting people in slums and other sections of the poor.
Regulation to have voter exercise franchise. Voting should be made mandatory with very few expectations. If the turnout of the voters in a family falls below 75 percent , such families shall be penalized after verifying the records .Suitable penalty may be imposed . Voters are offered holidays at work, and yet turnout is less than 50 percent in most places.
Voter Right to Recall non-performance. Last nut not the least ,the voters shall be given power to recall the non working candidates after winning the election.
Nurture Leaders who give of their best t Nation .Honorable members should legislate law suitably for the successful implementation of the above suggestions. By doing so,the elected representatives shall not only be honest but will give of their best for nation building.
The Signatories to this Memorandum sincerely believe this is only the beginning of the campaign against corruption . The brutality of public expenditure and the corruption it breeds is a serious threat to the vitals of the nation .Large chunks of tax payer monies are spent on salaries of the bureaucracy who have the responsibility to spend judiciously on large projects.
Public consultations are held only on paper .The honorable Parliament of India should enact a law to -----ensure every single public project is taken up only after threadbare ,and transparent consultations in large numbers by virtual or physical consultations with the public who are impacted by such projects. Corruption at the Government level is largely at the time of allotment of work, and the tender process.
We fervently appeal to all Honorable Members of Parliament and the Election Commission India , to reflect on this Memorandum, and adopt after due consulting with experts before this is placed before the Monsoon session of Parliament in July 2022.