Monday, February 16, 2009

India Today (cover story, 23 Feb'09): Weighing the elected representatives on the money scale

Here’s a glance at the people's representatives, who are to work for people’s betterment, through the money glasses. The amount of money the report talks about is unfathomable, the zeroes eye-widening, and a feeling arising within you - ‘How come India is still poor?’
India Today's cover story of the 23th February carried an analysis on the richest MPs and MLAs in India.

“In a country where over 77 per cent of the populace, or an estimated 836 million people, earn an income of Rs 20 per day and over 300 million are living below the poverty line, nearly half the Rajya Sabha members and nearly a third of those from the Lok Sabha are worth a crore and more. Just the top ten Rajya Sabha members and the top ten Lok Sabha members have reported a cumulative net asset worth Rs 1,500 crore. The 10 top losers in the last Lok Sabha polls — including Nyimthungo of Nagaland who reported total assets of Rs 9,005 crore — is Rs 9,329 crore. Members of legislative assemblies seem wealthier than many MPs. The top five MLAs across the 30 states are worth Rs 2,042 crore. Of these 150 crorepati MLAs, 59 don’t even have a PAN card,” says the cover story of India Today.

The story used the data available on the to conduct the analyses about the elected representatives.

Read the full story here:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grievance forum: Courtesy Government of India

If you are walking to the passport office for the 'n'th time and the gentleman behind the desk is giving you a hard time, just because he doesn’t like your face or perhaps he expects you to stuff his pockets, and you feel frustrated. You just wish you could tell someone who could do something about it. But, alas you think, when will this happen in India? Well, your prayers are answered. The Government of India has just made a provision for similar complaints/grievances through this online Grievance forum on

Go right ahead and speak about the issues you faced. And someone will be held accountable. The government wants you to use this tool to highlight the problems they faced while dealing with Government officials or departments like Passport Office, Electricity board, BSNL/MTNL, Railways etc.

Then, you will say, that the complaints remain on paper and hardly ever anything is done about it. Well, here is an example to prove the contrary: Couple of months back, the Faridabad Municipal Corporation laid new roads in his area and the residents were very happy about it. But 2 weeks later, BSNL dug up the newly laid roads to install new cables which annoyed all the residents. A resident used the above listed grievance forum to highlight his concern. To his surprise, BSNL and Municipal Corporation of Faridabad were served a show-cause notice and the resident received a copy of the notice in one week. The government has asked the MC and BSNL about the goof up as it's clear that both the government departments were not in sync at all.

Use this grievance forum and educate others who don't know about this facility. This way we can at least raise our concerns instead of just talking about the 'system' in India. This is the first step to changing the system. Do your bit and then leave the rest to the government to act. Invite your friends to contribute for such issues and complaints.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Volunteer Orientation in Mumbai

Dear friends,

We at Empowering India are planning to an orientation programme for our volunteers and supporters who are helping us in collating and entering the data on the EI website. To take the interaction to the next level from entering data, we want to engage with new political parties, electoral intervention groups, grass roots organisations for information dissemination, etc.

Following is the agenda of the programme:

  • The various features of (different types of data, election results, the analysis), and its uses.
  • General discussion on democracy and electoral reforms
  • Election affidavits and data entry
  • Dissemination of the information,
  • Technological aspects about the website
  • Brief introduction to the Liberty ideology, IDL and other websites

The volunteers will begin by helping EmpoweringIndia to collate the data of the local electoral representatives for the upcoming Loksabha elections.

The venue (Mumbai) and dates (end of Feb or beginning March) for the programme will be finalised soon.

Looking forward to your enthusiastic participation,

For any queries do write at