The HINDU Notes – 14th September 2019 - VISION

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 14th September 2019

📰 312 Sikh foreigners removed from post-militancy ‘adverse list’

312 Sikh foreigners removed from post-militancy ‘adverse list’
Home Ministry’s list had debarred persons and kin from applying for Indian visa

•At least 312 Indian-origin Sikhs living in foreign countries have been removed from a Ministry of Home Affairs “adverse list”, enabling them to apply for Indian visa and visit the country, a senior Ministry official said on Friday. Only two persons from the list have been excluded.

•The official said that in future, Sikhs mentioned in the list could eventually apply for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) after they have applied for and held normal visa for a period of two years.

•The Congress-led government in Punjab and the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) both claimed credit for the Centre’s move.

Two still on list

•“The Government of India has reviewed the ‘adverse list’ containing 314 foreign nationals belonging to the Sikh community and brought it down to just two,” the Home Ministry official said. The two cases where individuals are still on the adverse list pertain to overstaying of visa.

•An official explained that in the 1980s, when Sikh militancy was at its peak, many members of the community in India and abroad were influenced by anti-India propaganda.

•“Some Sikhs fled India to escape the authorities, acquired foreign nationality and took asylum outside the country. They were placed in the adverse list till 2016, making them ineligible to avail visa services to visit India,” said the official.

•The list prepared by the intelligence agencies was available with all Indian missions and it was a major roadblock for persons seeking visa even for their family members who were not on the list.

•“This practice has also been discontinued. Consequently, all Indian missions have been advised to grant appropriate visa to all categories of asylees and derivative asylees (family members) whose names do not figure in the Central Adverse List, in line with the procedure followed for other categories of applicants of that nationality,” said the official.

•“This review is a continuous and dynamic process and part of a regular exercise. Such a review will afford an opportunity to such Sikh foreign nationals to visit India, meet their family members and reconnect to their roots,” said the official.

Amarinder’s welcome

•Responding to the Centre’s decision, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh said his government had worked actively with the Centre for scrapping the list.

•“Every Sikh has the right to visit Punjab and Darbar Sahib, including those who had gone astray in the surcharged atmosphere of the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in the wake of the Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots,” he said.

•“Conceding the demand and argument of the State government, the Centre has virtually done away with the list that comprised 314 Sikh foreign nationals, with only two names of men not connected with Punjab now left on it. The Central government has also discontinued the practice of maintenance of local adverse lists by the respective Indian missions in various countries,” Capt. Singh said.

•Appreciating the Centre’s decision, the Shiromani Akali Dal said the efforts of the party and its president Sukhbir Singh Badal had yielded positive results.

•“We welcome the decision. Our party president had taken up the issue with the Centre and we are happy that the demand has been accepted,” said Daljeet Singh Cheema, former Minister and Akali Dal spokesperson. “We request that the names of the remaining two should also be dropped from the list,” he added.

•On August 10, 2016, the then home minister Rajnath Singh told the Parliament in a written reply that “government reviewed cases of foreign nationals of Indian origin in the negative list and decided to delete the names of 225 such persons from it.”

📰 Rajasthan launches information portal

In a first for a State, citizens can access details pertaining to 13 departments.

•In a pioneering step, the first-ever public information portal was launched in Rajasthan on Friday promising to provide information about government authorities and departments suo motu to the public in the true spirit of the Right To Information Act. The portal has brought yet another distinction to Rajasthan, where the RTI movement had started in 1990s.

•Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the portal at B.M. Birla Auditorium here in the presence of former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, former Law Commission chairman Justice A.P. Shah and a galaxy of RTI activists, including Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy.

•The State government has collaborated with the civil society groups to develop the portal, the first of its kind in the country, initially giving information pertaining to 13 departments on a single platform. With different sections divided into districts, blocks and panchayats, the portal empowers the common people with access to useful information.

•In his inaugural address, Mr. Gehlot said the new web portal, named the Jan Soochna Portal-2019, would ensure compliance with Section 4(2) of the RTI Act mandating the public authorities to disclose information in the public domain, so that the people need not file applications under the law to obtain information. “I have a sentimental attachment with the RTI Act... I attended the first dharna seeking this right 20 years ago,” he said.

•In a veiled reference to the RTI Amendment Bill passed by the Parliament recently, Mr. Gehlot said attempts to weaken the statute would only erode the resolve to bring transparency and accountability in administration. “We will not let this happen and will never allow this path-breaking law to lose its teeth. This portal displays our government's resolve for strict enforcement of RTI Act.”

•Ms. Roy said the portal would eventually turn out to be an effective medium for “digital dialogue” with the people as well as a strong instrument for ensuring transparency in governance. She applauded the State government's action to combine technology, justice and information and said the civil society would take the RTI movement to the masses.

•The State government will set up information kiosks in village panchayats and self-service e-mitra centres in the towns to enable the people to access the information useful for them. Initially, the information pertaining to 13 government departments — such as the number of beneficiaries of schemes, works undertaken in different areas, land records and social security pensions — will be available on the portal.

•A message of Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also telecast on the occasion. Ms. Gandhi praised the initiative and expressed the hope that it would strengthen the spirit of the RTI Act and inspire other States to follow suit.

📰 Government has failed to bring in Uniform Civil Code, says Supreme Court

Constitution framers had hoped for uniform set of rules

•The Supreme Court said the nation has still not endeavoured to secure for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code. The government has till date taken no action, a Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose observed in a judgment delivered on Friday.

•Justice Gupta, who wrote the 31-page judgment, said the founders of the Constitution had expressed their hope that one day the State would fulfil expectations of a Uniform Civil Code.

Hopes of founders

•The founders had penned their hope that a uniform set of rules would replace the distinct personal laws of marriage, divorce, etc. based on customs of each religion.

•“Whereas the founders of the Constitution in Article 44 in Part IV dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy had hoped and expected that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territories of India, till date no action has been taken in this regard,” the Supreme Court wrote.

•The court said though the “Hindu laws were codified in the year 1956, there has been no attempt to frame a Uniform Civil Code applicable to all citizens of the country”.

•The judgment said, “Despite exhortations of this Court in the case of Shah Bano in 1985, the government has done nothing to bring the Uniform Civil Code...”

•The Supreme Court hailed the State of Goa as a “shining example” where “uniform civil code applicable to all, regardless of religion except while protecting certain limited rights”.

•Under this Code practised in Goa, a Muslim man whose marriage is registered in the State cannot practice polygamy, a married couple share property equally, pre-nuptial agreements are the order of the day and assets are divided equally between the man and woman on divorce.

•The judgment came in a case concerning the question whether succession and inheritance of a Goan domicile is governed by the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 or the Indian Succession Act of 1925.

•Goa was once a Portuguese colony until it was made part of India. “Portuguese law, which may have had foreign origin, became a part of the India laws, and in sum and substance, is an Indian law,” the court held.

Law panel’s stand

•In 2018, a Law Commission of India consultation paper had however said the Uniform Civil Code is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage” in the country. The Commission said secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.

📰 Govt review plea in top court against SC/ST Act verdict goes to 3-judge Bench

Court order allowed anticipatory bail to persons accused of committing atrocities on SCs, STs.

•The Supreme Court on Friday referred a review petition filed by the government against a March 20, 2018 judgment of the court to a three-judge Bench.

•The verdict allowed anticipatory bail to persons accused of committing atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It had reasoned that the anti-atrocities law was misused by some members of the community as a means for “blackmail”. It saw a huge public backlash. Several people died in the protests that followed and crores worth property were destroyed. The government reacted by filing the review petition and subsequently amended the 1989 Act back to its original form last year.

•The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018 nullified the March 20 judgment. The original 1989 Act bars anticipatory bail.

•Several petitions were filed last year challenging the Amendment Act. The lead petitioner, advocate Prithvi Raj Chauhan, even called the amendments a “blunder” and a violation of the fundamental right to equality and personal liberty. The Supreme Court, however, refused to stay the implementation of the amendments.

•A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit had finally reserved the case for judgment on May 1.

•The Centre had argued in the court that the amendments were necessary as SC/STs would continue to face the same social stigma, poverty and humiliation that they had been subjected to for centuries.

•The government said there was no decrease in the atrocities committed on members of SC/ST communities despite the laws meant to protect their civil rights. It said the sad state of affairs was prevalent despite the existence of 195 special courts across 14 States to exclusively try PoA cases. As per the National Crime Records Bureau statistics, there is no decrease in the crimes against SC/ST members. The number of cases registered under the PoA in 2014 was 47124, while in 2015 it was 44839 and 47,338 in 2016.

•In 2014, 28.8% of the cases were convicted, there were 71.2% acquittals and 85.3% cases are pending. The next year saw 25.8% convictions, 74.2% acquittals and 87.3% pendency. In 2016, there was 24.9% convictions, 75.1% acquittals and 89.3% pendency.

•“The SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 is the least which the country owes to this section of society who have been denied several civil rights since generations and have been subjected to indignities, humiliations and harassment,” the government had argued.

📰 Supreme Court asks government whether it plans to link social media and Aadhaar

A Bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said “at this stage we do not know whether we could decide this issue or the High Court will decide”.

•The Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear a plea by Facebook to call forth petitions pending in various high courts concerning the linking of social media accounts of users with their Aadhaar numbers.

•A Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose scheduled the case for hearing on September 24.

•“We will only be hearing on the question of transfer and will not look into the merits,” Justice Gupta said.

•Facebook wants the apex court to transfer the pending petitions to itself and decide them finally. The company has contended that any rule to enforce the linking of Aadhaar with social media accounts would be an invasion of privacy, which has been affirmed as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court.

•The Bench made the Centre a party to the proceedings. Justice Gupta said the court wants to know whether the Centre was working on any law on linking Aadhaar or an authentic government identity proof with social media accounts. It would decide the transfer with an eye on the government’s plans in this regard. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, hinted that the apex court itself should decide the case. Mr. Mehta said the high courts were taking too long.

•The court informed Tamil Nadu Additional Advocate General Balaji Srinivasan that the State’s application to modify an August 20 stay of proceedings in the Madras High Court regarding Aadhaar-social media accounts linking would be tagged with the transfer petition and heard along with it on September 24.

•The Tamil Nadu government, in a written response to Facebook’s plea, went on the offensive against the social media company, contending that the concerns voiced by the company in the Supreme Court about citizen’s privacy flew in the face of its own “primary business model” to commercialise users’ data.

•Facebook and WhatsApp have strongly objected to Aadhaar linkage, asserting that it would affect the privacy of its users. It said a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court had upheld privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.

•But Tamil Nadu has countered that the “whole attempt” of Facebook was to “evade compliance with Indian law”.

•As proof, the State sought to show how the Chennai Police’s Cyber Cell had sent social media companies 1,940 requests for information in connection with various investigations between 2016-18. Among these, 885 requests were sent to Facebook, 155 to YouTube and 11 to WhatsApp.

•All that the State Police got in reply was the IP (Internet Protocol) log details on 484 requests including 211 sent by Facebook, four by YouTube, one by Twitter and none by WhatsApp. Tamil Nadu said that the companies had refused to part with information in 1,456 cases.

📰 Big leap for Naval variant of LCA Tejas

Big leap for Naval variant of LCA Tejas
This is a big step forward in the delayed project for the LCA to eventually operate from an aircraft carrier

•The naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas made a successful short arrested landing on the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) in Goa on Friday. This is a big step forward in the delayed project for the LCA to eventually operate from an aircraft carrier.

•“Today, the first-ever arrested landing of LCA [Navy] at the shore-based test facility, INS Hansa Goa, which will pave the way for this indigenous platform to undertake aircraft carrier landing demonstration on board INS Vikramaditya,” the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said in a statement.

Successful trap

•The LCA made its maiden successful trap on the SBTF with the tail hook of the aircraft connecting with the arrestor wire on the deck and coming to halt within a short distance, a defence source explained.

•The naval LCA made its maiden flight in April 2012 and two prototypes have been flying as part of the development. The first prototype (NP1) made a successful first flight from the SBTF in 2014.

•“The flight lasted about 40 mins and the aircraft carried out arrested landing on the SBTF within 90m as required,” another defence source said. The aircraft, Naval Prototype (NP)-1, is a twin seater but was piloted only by chief test pilot Commodore JA Maolankar, the source added.

Tough landing gears

•The SBTF, which replicates the flight deck of an aircraft carrier was specifically built to train naval pilots in the complex manoeuvres of landing on the short flight deck of an aircraft carrier before they move on to the actual carrier.

•The naval LCA is designed with stronger landing gears to absorb forces exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off, to be airborne within 200m and land within 100m, as against 1,000m required for normal runways. Its special flight control law mode allows hands-free take-off, relieving the pilot workload, as the aircraft leaps from the ramp and automatically puts the aircraft in an ascending trajectory, sources had stated.

•In December 2016, then Navy Chief Adm Sunil Lanba stated that the LCA in the present form “does not meet the carrier capability which is required by the Navy” but added that they would continue to support the development programme. The current weight of the naval LCA with the underpowered engine did not allow it to fly from a carrier, he said.

•The Navy currently operates Russian MiG-29K fighters from INS Vikramaditya. They will also fly from the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant once it enters service.

📰 In Afghan peace derailment, a wagon of hope

The suspension of U.S.-Taliban talks has opened the space for the global community and India to reset the peace process.

•In a characteristically mercurial tweet on September 9 morning (Indian Standard Time), U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off ‘peace’ talks with the Taliban — led directly by the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad — citing the killing of an American soldier just days before in a suicide bomb attack for which the Taliban claimed credit. He also revealed that he had secretly invited the Taliban and the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, separately to Camp David over the weekend to clinch a deal personally. The agreement had been in the making over nine rounds of talks, largely in Doha, Qatar, of which the Afghan government was not a part on account of a Taliban veto that the U.S. implicitly accepted, ostensibly to bring peace to Afghanistan.

•The tweet capped a turbulent week during which Mr. Khalilzad briefed Mr. Ghani and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah on the interim agreement over several rounds of talks. They were shown but not given a copy of this. The salient details of the agreement were revealed on a private television channel on the evening of September 2. They centered primarily on an initial timetable for the withdrawal of around 5,400 out of nearly 14,000 U.S. troops from five Afghan bases in 135 days. Also included was a tight timeline of two weeks to kick-start intra-Afghan talks before the Afghan presidential elections scheduled on September 28.

•The announcement was accompanied by a wave of violence that included offensives against strategic provincial capitals in the north and suicide bombings in Kabul, including one just as Mr. Khalilzad was wrapping up his TV interview. They were clearly intended to sabotage the elections. These were not allowed to affect the agreement.

•The deal as negotiated was one-sided, partial and highly flawed. It was loaded heavily towards Mr. Trump’s goal of a withdrawal of all U.S. troops by November 2020, weak in guarantees against terrorism aimed at the U.S., and lacking safeguards for the security and stability for Afghanistan. Unresolved differences over the withdrawal of the remaining troops (8,600) amid U.S. insistence on a residual counter-terrorism (CT) and intelligence presence, and a lack of trust in the Taliban at critical levels in the U.S., were among the reasons for Mr. Trump’s decision.

•Other elements of what the U.S. maintained was a composite agreement, were also seriously compromised. The comprehensive ceasefire was watered down to a limited ‘reduction’ in violence (observed more in its escalation). And, the intra-Afghan government talks effectively downgraded, under Taliban pressure, to talks with a non-official delegation. The Afghan government with which the U.S. has bilateral strategic partnership and security agreements, was sidelined and powerless, contributing to a public sense of helplessness that decisions regarding Afghanistan were being taken by foreigners. The government has gained from the backlash.

•The most insidious aspect of the announcement was its timing and attempt to rush intra-Afghan talks just days before the presidential elections with the aim of undermining the elections and rendering them meaningless. The fear was that if successful, they could have undercut plans to instal an interim, transitional or power-sharing arrangement that could provide the fig-leaf of a mechanism and an illusion of peace to pull out U.S. forces. It would have paved the way for a dominant position for the Taliban in any future dispensation before they took over power altogether and pushed Afghanistan towards instability and even a civil war worse than the intra-Mujahideen fighting of the 1990s with unpredictable consequences.

•More fundamentally, the agreement was also widely criticised in the U.S. and elsewhere. It was seen as a “negotiated withdrawal”, “abdication”, and even a “surrender” rather than a peace agreement, sacrificing the political, military and economic investments and civic gains of the last 18 years including democracy and the advancement of women, and creating the conditions for a likely descent into civil war, fanning radical extremism. In Afghanistan, the agreement was widely perceived as a sell-out and a betrayal of Afghanistan to the Taliban and Pakistan. These are concerns Indians share deeply.

•Under the circumstances, notwithstanding the manner and reasons for calling off the talks for which Mr. Trump has been rightly lampooned — particularly the shocking invitation to the Taliban to Camp David just days before the 9/11 anniversary— his tweet at least had the virtue of pulling Afghanistan away from the brink of disaster foretold. Behind the decision was an instinct that it was a bad deal for the U.S. and exasperation with the Taliban’s attempts to extract maximum advantage for the meeting; the Taliban’s insistence on the announcement of the deal before the visit, deprived him of the limelight for sealing the deal.

•However, while Afghansitan and the world may breathe a sigh of relief that the Khalilzad deal has been aborted for now, this may be short-lived. The mindset of a unilateral pullout unmindful of its consequences for Afghanistan and the region and the danger of Trumpian swings, remains. For now, Mr. Trump has proclaimed the talks to be “dead” and ordered offensive operations. But he still needs a counter-terrorism strategy for which he would have to look for options. The demand for a peace process will also remain. Things could change again in a few months.

•Nevertheless, the suspension of U.S.-Taliban talks has opened the space for the holding of Afghan presidential elections and a window of opportunity for the international community and India to reset their approach to peace and withdrawal.

•First, the Afghan election authorities and security forces should be supported in every way to conduct free and fair elections as an exercise of Afghan sovereignty. Concerns about misuse of government apparatus should be addressed. The Taliban will try to disrupt it. But a reasonably good turnout even if elections are held only in secure areas would be a barometer of support elsewhere, victory for the constitutional order and ‘Islamic Republic’, and a repudiation of the ‘Islamic Emirates’ of the Taliban.

•Second, its outcome could provide a stronger foundation for talks with the Taliban that are Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, and not as dictated from Washington, Islamabad, Doha or Moscow. India should be able to support such talks.

•Third, free from elections, the Afghan government should take the lead in forging a national consensus behind talks with the Taliban that it has failed to do until now.

•Fourth, the international community should support this process and focus its efforts on the Taliban to demonstrate their ‘nationalism’ by distancing themselves from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, halting attacks against fellow Afghans, agreeing to a ceasefire, and negotiating directly with a representative Afghan delegation.

•Fifth, resumed U.S. military pressure on the Taliban is not enough. The Doha talks dispel any doubt that the route to peace in Afghanistan is through Pakistan even though it was the U.S. that was making the concessions. Every possible instrument should be brought to bear on Pakistan to deliver on this. Crucial to Afghanistan’s future is its ability to stand on its own feet economically, through investment in Afghanistan’s mineral sector to generate revenues, and militarily, through a progressive ‘Afghanisation’ of security forces at a lower budget. India should be able to help in this.

•Finally, India should be able to use Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rapport with Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to influence their policies and play a larger international diplomatic role in Afghanistan.

📰 A milestone in greater transparency, accountability

The launch of the Jan Soochna Portal in Rajasthan is a vital cog in access to the right to information

•The Jan Soochna Portal (JSP) launched by the government of Rajasthan yesterday is a remarkable achievement in furtherance of the right to information (RTI) — especially Section 4 of the RTI Act — that deals with proactive disclosure of information. Transparency must be accompanied by accountability, and that is where the JSP has great value and significance since it places the power of making the State government accountable to everyone who accesses the information made available on the portal.

•Has transparency accompanied by accountability brought about transformation in any system? During my association with the eCommittee of the Supreme Court of India, and keeping transparency in the justice delivery system in mind, a National Judicial Data Grid was launched. This gave information about all pending cases across the country. Some time back, a year-wise breakup of pending cases was given on the grid and it was found that more than 70,000 cases were pending for over 30 years. These figures meant nothing until the justice delivery system was asked to account for the enormous delay in such a large number of cases. Chief Justices and Registrars in many courts appreciated the fact that they needed to answer questions relating to such enormous delays; now many courts have begun to concentrate on the disposal of old cases with considerable success. This is a good example of transparency accompanied by accountability brought about by civil society.

Several access points

•I had the privilege of a sneak preview of the JSP. Details of every activity of the government such as availability of food grains and ration shops and their distribution, implementation of various schemes and their beneficiaries and a variety of other information are available on a real-time basis virtually making it a Janta Information System. The portal has been arrived at through a regular and rigorous consultative process between government officials, IT professionals and civil society. Such a process of dialogue should be practised in all spheres to genuinely harness the benefits of information technology. Digital divide is indeed a serious problem in India. To bridge this, care should be taken to ensure that access points are open and free.

•Since the information is available on the Internet, every citizen, right down to the municipal ward and panchayat, has access to the information. For example, I saw that on a random basis, a number of identified persons in a particular area had not availed themselves of any rations for several months. Such persons can be easily contacted and if they do not want to avail the benefits available to them, they can surrender it in favour of some other deserving person. Similarly, the government of Rajasthan, like some other States, has waived farmers’ loans. The portal gives the details of every farmer in every bank branch whose loans have been waived, along with the amounts. Another significant piece of information is about mining leases. Illegal mining has been a major issue in different parts of the country, with people unable to determine the details of clearances given. This portal gives the list of mines in every district, provides geographical coordinates, and the area where mining has been permitted, including the land deed identifiers. It also provides details about pollution and environment clearances. Finally, the portal provides details of production and royalties and taxes paid. This kind of information can facilitate a progressive partnership between government and citizens for a cleaner society.

•What is important is that a tremendous amount of information is available on the files of the government of Rajasthan, which till date could only be accessed through the filing of RTI applications. However, with the use of technology and digitisation of records and information, this information is made freely available on the JSP. To this extent, there is no need for anyone to take recourse to the RTI Act and await a response. All information can be accessed immediately, free of cost.

Key challenges

•The mere launch of the JSP is not enough. There are huge challenges with regard to maintenance issues and ensuring that there is no let-up in the availability of information. With this in mind, draft guidelines have been framed for the development and maintenance of the JSP. Once implemented, this will ensure that the information system continues uninterrupted. Various departments of the government of Rajasthan, called Line Departments, have been given a set of obligations that they are expected to fulfil. For example, they are expected to ensure digitisation of records. In addition, the Department of Information Technology will serve as the nodal department for the development, operationalisation and maintenance of the JSP.

•This department has been informed of its obligations, which includes adherence to the norms and standards laid down by a digital dialogue advisory group. To ensure that the responsibilities are carried out, the advisory group will be the monitoring agency. Grievance redressal officers will be appointed so that citizens can make the State government truly accountable.

Training for citizens

•The government of Rajasthan has also taken steps to train citizens so that they are aware of the facilities available. This by itself may not be enough. Therefore, it has been decided to host the JSP in decentralised locations, right down to the municipal ward and panchayat levels. They will have access to welfare schemes, revenue activities such as mining, and other service delivery issues such as health and education.

•It would be wonderful if all other State governments follow the Rajasthan government’s initiative, which aims to make people, including the marginalised sections, a part of the governance process.