Home Masterplan Charter of CIU Strategies Vision 2020
Confederation of Indian Universities (CIU)

Care for Democracy

Philosophy & Origins
Inaugural Address
VIP Quotes
Employment Generation
Universities & National Development
Teaching for 21st Century
Contact Information
Policy Maker's View

Care for Democracy : Constiutional Reform, Local Government, Community Participation

Constitutional Reform
1.1 Principles
We believe that:
a) Parliament is the central authority of representative and responsible government;
b) each person should have one vote, that all votes should be of equal value, and that proportional representation best reflects the wishes of the electorate in the composition of Parliament and State Assemblies;
c) each citizen has both the right and the responsibility to participate in the processes of government;
d) India’s constitution and democratic structures should help to build an ecologically sustainable and socially just society, with a global consciousness and a long term perspective;
e) India’s constitution should express our aspirations as a community and define our rights and responsibilities as individuals and as members of the community, as well as establish the powers and duties of government; and
f) India’s constitution and public institutions need some changed, which should be brought about through an ongoing participatory process.
1.2 Goals
We propose that the following areas be enshrined in the constitution more clearly :
a) Civil and Political Issues
l life, liberty and security;
l legal recognition and equality;
l voting and standing for election;
l privacy;
l police custody;
l that relating to an alleged offender;
l standard of criminal procedure;
l that relating to the victim;
l property;
l procedural fairness;
l that particular to a child;
l freedom;
l of religion;
l of thought, conscience and belief;
l of speech and other expression;
l of association;
l to peaceful assembly;
l of movement and residence;
l from discrimination;
l from slavery; and
l from torture, experimentation and treatment;
b) Economic and Social Issues
l education;
l adequate standard of living;
l work;
l legal assistance;
l freedom of family structure; and
l adequate child care.
c) Community and Cultural Issues
l living in a safe society;
l collective and individual development;
l culture;
l environmental protection and conservation; and
l ecologically sustainable
1.3 Short Term Goals
We will:
a) propose the development of an international Framework Convention on Sustainable Development which is made more precise by the addition of protocols, for example dealing with environmental health and environmental due process;
b) oppose attempts to undermine the domestic implementation of India’s international obligations arising from the ratification of treaties, whilst working towards a process for domestic ratification of international treaties;
c) support the right of people from the age of 16 years to vote and to hold public office, in recognition of the increasing awareness of and responsibility towards current issues of young people;
d) introduce rules such that people who are found to have acted in a corrupt way be barred from ever holding public office again and as well, that they forfeit any superannuation payments they may have made while holding that office and that they lose the right to any termination payments for which they would otherwise have been eligible; and
e) work for appropriate and adequate consultation to better gauge opinions on issues of concern.

Local Government
2.1 Principles
We believe that fundamental changes to the structure of government are vital if we are to achieve true democracy in this country. If government is to be of, for and by the people, it must start at the local level and it is at this level that the power must remain.
Whatever the final shape of the reorganisation of the Indian system of government, we recognise and support the preservation of a system of local government which reflects the desire for local community identity and self-determination. We believe that power should reside in the most localised sphere of government that is able to deal with the issue.
2.2 Goals
While we support local autonomy, we also acknowledge that giving unbridled power to local councils could lead to further problems, especially irreversible environmental ones.
We propose:
a) a Code of Ethics and a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities based on green principles to ensure that, among other things, local activities are socially advantageous and environmentally benign;
b) a review of local government electoral processes, with a view to recommending proportional representation;
c) a review of the revenue base of local government; and
d) better coordination with other levels of government to avoid duplication and unnecessary waste of resources.
2.3 Short Term Targets
In recognising that local government must play an expanded and more autonomous role while maintaining its accountability if we are to achieve a truly democratic system of government in India, we propose:
a) financial support for those elected to local government, in recognition of the part they must play in decision-making;
b) increased involvement of local government at other levels of government;
c) that State of the Environment reporting includes criteria for measuring the environmental impact of developments;
d) that those people who are found to have acted in a corrupt way be barred from ever holding public office again and as well, that they forfeit any superannuation payments they may have made while holding that office and that they lose the right to any termination payments for which they would otherwise have been eligible;
e) that local councils require all new buildings, subdivisions and developments to conform to Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) principles;
f) a regular flow of information to the community via community radio, newsletters and noticeboards to give equal voice to a range of ideas and to encourage community participation in local government;
g) that all spheres of government take immediate steps to familiarise all citizens with their rights and with all aspects of the present electoral system; and
h) that there be appropriate and adequate consultation to better gauge opinions on issues of concern.
Community Participation in Government
3.1 Principles
We are working according to these principles:
a) the legitimacy of community participation in the making of law and policy should be established as an underpinning principle of all actions of governments;
b) all individuals and community groups should be given the opportunity to participate in decisions which affect them;
c) the contribution of diverse groups provides a valuable addition to available information;
d) the needs of future generations should be recognised in contemporary decision-making;
e) decisions should be made at the most appropriate level; in some cases this will include groupings not currently given decision-making status, such as the neighbourhood;
f) policies, strategies and frameworks should be developed which enable civic infrastructure to facilitate community participation in the business of government;
g) every effort should be made to give marginalised groups opportunities to be effectively involved in decision-making. This will entail longer timelines and the introduction and strengthening of community development practices. Outreach beyond written submissions and public forum techniques will be required;
h) involvement in community consultations should be recognised as work. Support should be provided to community organisations to participate in consultative processes;
i) community participation in decision-making should be an ongoing process, rather than a one-off event which leaves communities out of reviews and changes to policies;
j) the ability of community groups and individuals to gain access to information which will empower them to participate effectively is crucial to meaningful participation; and
k) governments, of all spheres, should produce and follow guidelines to ensure that the community representatives whom they consult on a day to day basis reflect accurately the views of their constituencies.
3.2 Goals
The following goals are set by :
a) in the long term, wherever possible, decision-making should be based on bio-regional considerations and patterns of social interaction;
b) because of the importance of everybody taking part in political life, for the principle that leave without pay is automatically granted for anybody standing in an election for public office;
c) community services and local environmental policy should be provided by the closest possible sphere to the consumers of the services;
d) the central government’s domestic role should be to ensure equitable distribution of resources and information, to coordinate services which cut across state boundaries and to ensure that principles of ecological and social sustainability are followed by local governments; and
e) less formal organisations at the level of neighbourhoods country towns, particular interests and issues, etc, should have access to all spheres of government through formal and informal consultative and review procedures.
3.3 Short Term Targets
We set the following targets:
a) the move towards a new form of government should be based on wide information-sharing and consultation with all constituencies of India’s population;
b) processes of policy review and decision-making by government and its institutions should be made more open and accessible to the public;
c) freedom of Information legislation should be widened to make relevant information more accessible and to reduce the cost of attaining information by community groups;
d) those public servants and journalists, etc, who publicise sensitive information of benefit to the community should be encouraged rather than disadvantaged for efforts to inform the public of actions which are not in the community interest;
e) democratically constituted groups which work on behalf of the wider community, or identified constituencies within it, should be adequately resourced to enable them to fulfill their functions;
f) consultative periods should be well advertised and of sufficient length to enable all those interested to participate;
g) relevant documents should be available in places accessible to all members of the public; shopfronts should be set up for this purpose;
h) public meetings should be held at varying times in appropriate places to enable attendance by all affected. In many cases it will be important to provide childcare and transport, as well as access for the disabled for maximum involvement of all constituencies; in some cases, it will be preferable to talk to people in their homes or habitual meeting places rather than to set up a meeting and expect them to attend;
i) information should be presented clearly, graphically and free of jargons;
j) the development of a free-access citizen information and governance participation facility on the Internet should be promoted;
k) existing community networks should be identified and strengthened through community development.

Home | Philosophy & Origins | Cosponsors | Inaugural Address | VIP Quotes | Employment Generation | Universities & National Development | Teaching for 21st Century | Form | Contact Information | Policy Maker's View

© Confederation of Indian Universities 2004-2014
For any queries or information please send email to [email protected]