People’s panel for monitoring govt programmes

By Pervez Bari,

Bhopal: A People’s Monitoring Committee for tracking the implementation of Central Government’s pro-weak programmes was formed at a meeting of lawyers, academics, journalists and rights activists held in New Delhi today.

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According to a Press release the committee chaired by former Chief Justice of India, Justice A. M. Ahmadi, would have Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam as member secretary. The committee will focus on government programmes related to minorities, Dalits, tribals and women.

Some of the leading members of the committee will be: Dr. Charan Wadhwa, former director Centre for Policy Research; Dr. Doel Mukherjee, consultant on police reforms; Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, economist; Mr. R. S. Chatwal, ex-Wing Commander IAF; Mr. Gurdeep Singh, journalist; Mr. Ravi Nayar, Human Rights activist and Mr Qayamuddin, a lawyer.

The decision to form the committee was taken at a meeting of a select group at India Islamic Culture Centre in New Delhi. Later, the member secretary Dr. Alam said the members of the committee, who represent different disciplines, would in future form sub-committees to look into specialised areas of policy implementation.

Dr. Alam said a report would be published on government performance at the end of each 100 days. Mr. Nayar was of the opinion that for the effort to be fruitful the committee would have to network with groups that are working on basics like right to food, right to work and human rights and civil liberties.
Mr. Nayar, who heads the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre, said the nature of the Indian state and its archaic laws like Official Secrets Act generally hindered transparency, foster corruption and curtail people’s rights. He advocated closer cooperation with law-makers at the centre and in the states.

Justice Ahmadi, who chaired the meeting, said in his presidential remarks that it was going to be an arduous task requiring some kind of a grassroots movement. He said it would take a lot of patience and painstaking work to make a change.

The committee would meet every month. ([email protected])