Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The CNN IBN Report

The report..

An other form of the report,

I am thinking of the followup action....

Use RTI!!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Farmer Suicides - The Hidden Truth Uncovered!!!

Lot of people asked me and even raised questions about the usefulness of the information obtained from the government. 6 long months of running around and about 600 pages of data. What is it worth? Well, I have ideas. I wanted to do a social audit to know what all is happening on ground. If at all anything that’s written in Government GO’s is actually happening. I knew I would come across shocking stories, some very emotional and heart wrenching. But it had to be done for the information has to be used for the larger good. To at least make people aware of what is happening with the “Annadaatha” and India after all is not shining for them. I toured 3 districts of telangana and captured some stories on video in their own words. I did not pick and choose villages. It was random. I came across villages and found cases.

GO 421spells out the procedures laid down and details of the compensation and other welfare measures to be undertaken for the suicide hit families.

What does G.O.Ms No 421 say?

1. 3-member committee consisting of

  • RDO/Sub collector
  • DSP
  • Asst.Director of Agriculture

2. Verify each case and establish correlation between

· Farm related operations
· Economic distress
· Social Humiliation

3. Compensation of Rs 1,50,000/-

· Ex gratia of Rs 1,00,000/-
· One time loan settlement up to a ceiling of Rs 50,000/-

4. Other Measures

· Admission of children in social welfare schools and hostels
· Allotment of houses under I.A.Y scheme
· Economic support under Government schemes
· Widow Pensions etc

Place: Medak District
Village: Chelmada

Case 1:

In this case, the suicide was declared non genuine without proper investigation. Some one in the village told the committee that the suicide was due to land disputes and the committee believed. No discussions with the family took place. They were not even given a chance to explain their stand. The fact being, suicide was because of mounting debt and failing bore wells. One fine day, one official came to the widow with the news of the rejection. This is how our system works. There are two small kids and fortunately the grand father is taking care of them and the kids are continuing their studies. They did not even know the magnitude of the tragedy. The debts are still there and I am still wondering who will repay them and how!!!

Case 2:

In this case, it’s not entirely a farm related suicide. The deceased had debts primarily because of the marriages in the family. But can you disassociate politics? Since the deceased was a former MPTC(Local representative) and close to the ruling politicians, compensation was granted in 2 months which is considered fast. And there is no one-time settlement of the loans. Off camera, the son agreed that their compensation was granted primarily because he was a former politician and has very little to do with farm related distress. This is the other side of the dark story. What a contrast to the first one!!!

Case 3:

In this case, the age-old problem of corruption. The widow of the deceased paid a bribe of Rs 20000 to get her compensation. Everything was crystal clear that it was a suicide driven by distress and debt. Yet she had to run from pillar to post and had to shell out Rs 20000 that is sometimes their Annual Income. She is not being given the widow pension she is entitled to for reasons better known only to the bureaucrats. There was no one time settlement made and so all the compensation amount was robbed by the moneylenders leaving her penniless. She was very frightened to talk to us thinking us to be some officials. She has two children. One of them has dropped out of School for obvious reason and the other one is studying. And from the list of other welfare measures, nothing was granted to her. Bribe for a farmer suicide compensation!!!

Place: Nalgonda District
Village: Yadavalli (The worst fluoride affected village in the state)

In this case, the widow is yet to receive compensation even after 2.5 years from when the suicide took place. She has already spent Rs 10000 in bribes. The deceased farmer has a very good name in the village and he once lived a very comfortable life only for successive droughts, debts and govt apathy lead him to take the ultimate step. The sad part is I have her bank details and account number and she is not aware of the same. 2.5 years and counting!!! In the mean time, all tragedy that has to happen will have happened and the govt can compensate the future generations. The delay is unreasonable.
An other dark side to the never-ending story.

Place: Mahboobnagar District
Village: Timmasaanipalli

In this case, the deceased raised debts of about 4 lakhs to dig bore wells and other farm related expenses. The only mistake of his is that the land is not in his name. The land is in his father’s name and of all the sons, he is the only one still in farming and is the only one taking all the risks. The other sons are all engaged daily wage labour. And unable to bear the pressure of the lenders, he committed suicide. Interestingly, my list showed that the suicide was not genuine and the case is rejected. But the widow tells me that no one came to her village to do any kind of investigation and she is still hopeful that something will be given to her. I did not want to disappoint her and tell her that the case is categorized as non-genuine. The reason for rejection being, he does not have land in his name and hence does not qualify to be a farmer. If he does not qualify to be a farmer, who else will? The widow has two little children ( 2 years and 4 years ). She is now working as a daily wage laborer in a local cotton mill. She too was contemplating the ultimate step, as she does not see any meaning in her being alive but for the two little children. This is the state of investigation and this is the procedure!!!!

These are just sample cases and I don’t even have to generalize. I was disturbed mentally after the stories. But this will not help. We have use this info now to set the system right!!!

Was the information useful and is it reaching the logical conclusion? You have to tell me this.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Holiday, Pleasure and a lil bit of "STUDY" !!!!

When our politicians and bureaucrats go on foreign "STUDY" tours, I often wonder if there is any study happening at all. After all their trips are funded by you and me, by public money.

As usual my instinct said, why not file an RTI on this. I filed an RTI with the General Administration Department (GAD), AP secretariat seeking information on how much public money was spent on foreign tours of MLA's, MP's, Politicians and bureaucrats from 2004 to 2007.

As usual, there was no reply. With my ever increasing pressure on the secretariat on other matters pertaining to RTI, they woke up. After about 3 months, they gave me part of the info (only for All india service officers). Would you believe, One secretariat employee came driving on a motor bike from secretariat to hi tech city to give me the 40 page information. (RTI works u see)

In the mean time, i had an hour long interesting discussion with a senior IAS officer Mr Krishnaiah in the GAD. He was happy that i am doing this. But expressed his inability in expediting the process of giving the information. Anyways coming to the point of discussion

Some interetsing statistics follow,

Year: 2004

Number of Officers who went on foreign 'STUDY' tours: 22
Public Money Spent: Rs 63,11,820

Year: 2005

Number of Officers who went on foreign 'STUDY' tours: 40
Public Money Spent: Rs 76,93,562

Year: 2006

Number of Officers who went on foreign 'STUDY' tours: 91
Public Money Spent: Data not available with GAD

Year: 2007 (till June)

Number of Officers who went on foreign 'STUDY' tours: 27
Public Money Spent: Data not available with GAD

Whats Interesting?

1. 'STUDY' tours generally happen in summer and that too mostly to european countries where the climate is cooler ( Perfect Holiday destination)
2. No one knows what they study in a few days (apart from the site seeing )

So all in all, A good holiday , lot of pleasure and a little bit 'STUDY' may be!!!!

Information for MLA's,MP's , Corporation chairmans etc is still to come. That will have mamy more interesting facts. I am much more curious to know what the politicians could have "STUDIED" on the "STUDY" tour !!!

The delay seems inevitable. One more hearing in the state commission. Some more arguments. Hopefully some fine and compensation.

Use RTI !!!


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Updating the blog...

i know i have been lazy :) No excuses..but i am a little short on time...expect a couple of "interesting" additions in the next week.....

Saturday, July 28, 2007

SARKAR Wages a Battle!!!!!!

Place: Andhra Pradesh

The injustice continues. Annadata is suffering.
Some chilling facts..From the analysis of the RTI info for 10 districts...
No of Genuine Suicides : 723
No of Non Genuine Suicides: 888
Even if a farmer falls ill and borrows money for medical expenses only because he has no other source of Livelihood, that debt not considered. The death will be counted as Non Genuine.

A rather disturbing revelation, Non genuine suicides have overtaken Genuine ones in the last couple of years!!!!!!!

A deceased farmer's Family has to wait for about 8 months on an average to get the compensation!!!!!

85% of the farmer's debts are with Money lenders. Banks are nowhere to be seen!!!!!!!!

For 60 farmers in Mahabubnagar district alone, it took over ONE year to give the relief fund, out of which 18 farmers got it after 1 1/2 Year and 5 farmers got it only after 2 years!!!!

Average percentage of money owed by farmer to private Money lender Vs nationalized bank and cooperatives is 85% to 15%.

Download the analysis from here...

The Hindu Story...


Join me in my journey to know the annadaata's woes...
Its time we act....
Use RTI !!!!!


Saturday, June 09, 2007

SARKAR "IMPACT"!!!! YSR , Do u have an answer?

Finally, the ultimatum works. I was given the entire file copy of GO 938. And as expected, it has the Chief Minister YS Rajashekar Reddy's approval....
He agreed that he infact signed the GO draft. Opposition parties have criticized him and are planning to move a previlege motion for lying to the state assembly.

YSR and congress, Do u have an answer now?
Watch the Hindu article,ETV report, reactions, and Eenadu story here...
http://www.eenadu.net/archives/archive-28-5-2007/panelhtml.asp?qrystr=htm/panel5.htm http://youtube.com/watch?v=VmBVVbEe4Kg

Know more about GO 938 and my petition here..


RTI rocks......