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Sat 1Nov2014

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Urgent need for political party reforms

By Nripendra Misra and Tannu Singh

An RTI application unearthed the fact that only 8% of 1,196 registered political parties have submitted annual reports regarding contributions above Rs 20,000 to the Election Commission. And only 15% have submitted their audited financial statements!

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Six steps to a more effective parliament

Arvind Kejriwal’s outburst on parliamentarians is only the latest display of the disdain we have for our MPs. Nripendra Misra & Tannu Singh suggest ways to remedy the governance and financial setbacks caused by disruptions, logjams and standoffs in parliament, and bring in parliamentary reform

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MGNREGA in UP Bundelkhand: Regular irregularities

By Ashok Gopal

The modalities of fraud detected in one village, Kolawal Raipur, in Banda district of UP Bundelkhand, reveal how the national rural employment guarantee scheme is systematically subverted for private gain

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Batulan Khatoon's farming advisors wear khaki

By Alka Pande

In poor and underdeveloped Sonebhadra district of UP, plagued by extremism and crime, the men in khaki are giving the concept of community policing a new meaning. They are taking on everything from water management to livelihood-generation and healthcare

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The cost of India's MPs

India’s MPs have given themselves a threefold hike in salary, now earning 68 times the country’s average salary. But no conditions of service have changed. In the USA, for example, members of Congress cannot earn more than 15% from outside of their Congressional salary. In India, the average assets of 304 MPs who contested in 2004 and then re-contested in 2009 grew 300%!

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The case of the disappearing ponds

By Pradeep Baisakh

An RTI inquiry in Kusmal village in Orissa’s Nuapada district revealed that though in official records seven farm ponds have been built under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, not a single pond exists in reality. Across this district, which has high levels of migration, Rs 77 lakh has been misappropriated under the job guarantee scheme by unscrupulous administration officials at all levels

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Who gains from the Games?

Viewers of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa see only the multimillion-dollar stadiums constructed, not the poor who were displaced by them in Cape Town. Similarly, the Rs 20,000-crore Commonwealth Games jamboree will benefit only the posh heart of New Delhi, not its poorest citizens who are being evicted, says a new report from the Housing and Land Rights Network

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The dry well of UPA promises

By Anosh Malekar

The Wada Na Todo people’s movement for governance accountability assessed the UPA government’s achievements on livelihood, education, health and social exclusion one year into its second term and concluded that the government was focused more on image-building than people’s welfare

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Why does India condone corruption?

China recently executed two people involved in the melamine-adulterated milk powder scam. In India, thousands of lives are endangered by spurious drugs and adulterated food, and yet no action seems to be taken. Why, asks Suman Sahai

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The adivasi voice

By KS Subramanian

In the frequent debates on government and civil society response to Maoist violence in central India where Operation Green Hunt has been launched, the views of the adivasi communities themselves are missing. A recent people’s hearing in New Delhi on the impact of land acquisition and resource grab on adivasis allowed their voices to be heard

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