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This Bill Seeks To Dismantle The Art Of Bhrashtachar Perfected By Politicians Over Years

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India, a country with extensive diversity, is the largest country to follow the democratic form of governance. Being the largest country to follow this form of governance, the country is bound to have its own set of ambiguities and dilemmas, too. One such ambiguity came up when the people of this diversified nation felt that the Representation of People’s Act had certain loopholes in an article included in this act.

The Representation of People’s Act is an act which was enacted by the Indian provincial Parliament prior to the first general elections in 1951. The People’s Representation Act provides for the conduct of elections in India, and was enacted to keep a check on unwanted practices that happen during the time of Indian elections.

As per clause 75A of this act, elected candidates of the two Houses of Parliament have to declare their assets and liabilities within 90 days of them taking their seats. What remains unresolved here though, is the fact that no such provision exists for the time when their term ends. This is a precarious ladder, which is bound to fall, if not set up in the right manner.

The misuse of power and position by very many politicians to make personal monetary gains is not hidden from the public. Huge amounts of money paid by taxpayers for the development of this country, as a result, are going into the pockets of corrupt individuals.

It was noticed and recorded that there were several politicians whose assets had taken a notable jump since the time they had taken charge of their offices. There are in fact statistics, which were stated by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) previously on the demanded enquiry by the Supreme Court. The CBDT presented that there had been a substantial hike in the assets of 7 Lok Sabha MPs and 98 MLAs and that several ‘discrepancies’ were found.

To avoid such discrepancies and establish a rational system where accountability and transparency are prioritised, I, as a member of Parliament from Arunachal East, introduced an amendment bill in September 2017 which proposes that Members of Parliament declare their assets within 90 days of the end of their tenure. This provision is to be inserted as subsection 75B(1) in the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.

The reason I placed this bill was to bring consciousness to our colleagues that after elections, win or lose, one should not be harassed for his assets and property. If there is a justified increase in one’s property or assets the question of victimisation would not be there. I have been twice MLA including Minister and Deputy Speaker also twice MP and Union Minister but my assets can be verified practically through the net. Hence this bill is being placed so that no ill will or misunderstanding prevails if in power or not. We must come above politics and take it sportingly.

The proposal hasn’t faced much flak, but neither has it received much support. Certain media houses circulated reports explaining the pros and cons of this amendment bill, but it did not receive much attention and the whole agenda died before it could even surface properly. Most people still remain ignorant about what the amendment proposes. And in no democracy should people be allowed to remain ignorant about their own laws and surroundings. Therefore, it is important for the public to know why this amendment needs to be passed and the effect it will have on India’s political environment.

The reasons to support this amendment are many. If passed, it will keep a check on corrupt practices and will castigate politicians with assets attained from unidentified and illegitimate sources. It will also help prevent victimisation of politicians with assets from justified sources. It will further help people to hold their leaders accountable. It also adds to the transparency in the functioning of the government.

It is definitely a possible end to the misuse of power and position for monetary gains from the money that was to be invested for the country’s development.

It is none other than the people of India who form the government. Hence, it is the utmost right of the people to be informed of the choices they have made or will make in the near future. It is necessary that the people of this nation know their leaders and can hold them accountable.

With inputs from Abhishek Ranjan, Sharvi Saxena and Pragya Tyagi.

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  1. Ninong Ering

    I am very thankful to my team, Mr. Abhishek Ranjan for assisting in the draft of the bill while Ms. Pragya Tyagi and Ms. Sharvi Saxena for providing research inputs.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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