Success Stories

Empowerment of Local Governments

Little Republics' and '10-million signatures campaign' (2003 onwards) - The year 2003 was celebrated by Lok Satta​ as the year of local governments. In January 2003, a Federation for the Empowerment of Local Governments (FELG) was formed by the elected local government representatives cutting across traditional party lines. Lok Satta and FELG led a sustained advocacy and people's campaign in 2003, culminating in the '10 million signature campaign' (August 9 - October 2, 2003) that secured 1,06,32,816 endorsements from the citizens of Andhra Pradesh who unequivocally demanded the empowerment of their local governments.

 

Grassroots-level Voter Awareness Campaigns were conducted in 2001, during the run up the elections to Panchayats (rural local governments) and in 2005, for Municipal elections (urban local governments) with the aim of mobilizing public opinion against the influence of money power and criminals in electoral politics.

Date: Fri, 01/01/1999 (All day)

Establishing Instruments of Public Accountability

Citizen's Charters in Andhra Pradesh Municipalities (since inception-2001): Lok Satta​ launched the 'Swarajya' movement in 1998 with the objective of empowering citizens and prompting authorities towards improved public service delivery. This movement led to the then Andhra Pradesh State government establishing Citizen's Charters in nine departments in 2001. There are over 700 charters in various government departments in the country. Lok Satta is currently advocating the strengthening of redressal-compensation mechanisms in those charters.

 

Right to Information Act (since inception - 2005): Lok Satta's research, advocacy and citizens' campaign efforts in collaboration with other leading civil society organization notably, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS) and National Campaign for Promotion of Right to Information (NCPRTI), helped achieve a comprehensive and universal right to access public information, in June 2005. This was preceded by a 'postcard campaign' (in 2004) initiated by Lok Satta; more than 163,000 citizens wrote directly to the Prime Minister​'s Office demanding the immediate implementation of the RTI. With the successful enactment of the RTI bill, Lok Satta, in collaboration with the print and electronic media is currently conducting grassroots campaigns for improving citizen awareness on effectively using the provisions of this law.

 

Date: Fri, 01/01/1999 (All day) - Thu, 12/31/2009 (All day)

Electoral Reforms

Verification of Electoral Rolls (1999 onwards): Lok Satta​ conducted pilot studies (1999-2002; Phase I) to systematically verify the authenticity of electoral rolls. Following these findings, the Election Commission (in 2004) has established simpler and citizen-friendly procedures for accessing, verifying and updating electoral rolls. The Phase II survey initiated in 2004 (and continuing) has shown a dramatic decline in the electoral list flaws, following the establishment of these procedural reform measures.

 

Post Office as Nodal Agency for Voters' Registration (1998 - 2004):

 

imgimgFollowing six-year long advocacy campaign by Lok Satta, the Election Commission and the Department of Posts have agreed to make over 150,000 post offices across the country the nodal agencies for ensuring citizen-friendly and permanent access to electoral rolls.

 

The Election Watch programme started in 1998 (Parliamentary Elections) as a 'know your electoral candidate' initiative and evolved as a campaign to promote citizens' participation for prevention of polling irregularities. The Screening of Candidates for Criminal Record (1999 onwards) effort involved the public and impartial screening of (potential) candidates to highlight those with established criminal records. Also, as a part of the Election Watch activities, the electoral candidates in constituencies were brought together on a single platform in a moderated debate format, with participation from the constituents. This programme had later been taken up in many other states including Delhi (2003), Maharashtra (2004), West Bengal (2001) and Gujarat (2001) and has been successfully adopted by the electronic media across the country.

The Delhi High Court​ judgment of Nov. 2000 directed the Election Commission to collect and disclose to the public, criminal records of candidates. This was largely based on Lok Satta's documentation of candidates' profile in 1999.

 

Campaign for Candidate Disclosures - Supreme Court Judgment (1999-2003): Following a sustained advocacy campaign led by Lok Satta, the Supreme Court of India​ upheld Lok Satta's (and co-petitioners PUCL and ADR) contention and ruled that all candidates for legislative offices in India should file a sworn statement disclosing their criminal and financial antecedents at the time of their nomination.

 

Political Funding Reform (since inception - 2003): Lok Satta effectively and quietly lobbied with the government and major political parties for political funding reform providing for disclosure, tax incentives and free broadcast time in media. A progressive law to this effect was enacted in September 2003, with multi-partisan support in the Parliament.

 

Campaigns for Electoral and Political Reforms (2002 onwards): The campaign for Electoral Reforms was launched in 2002 and has spread across several major states in India, involving several like-minded organizations and groups. It now has taken the shape of a campaign for Political Reforms that was launched in April, 2005.

 

Date: Fri, 01/01/1999 (All day) - Thu, 12/31/2009 (All day)

Procedural Improvements

First-of-its-kind initiative for reforming indirect taxes holds promise for both government and the industry

imgSmall and medium enterprises are subjected to enormous harassment and extortion in the name of tax administration. Vast amounts of time and energy is wasted dealing with such problems, which invariably affects production, productivity and competitivenes s. Improvement of tax administration alone could

Swarajya Movement

Certain local goals for governance reform were identified on the following criteria:

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