agni.
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AGNI ( Action for Good governance and Networking in India ) came into being as an answer to the degeneration of human values as prevalent all over the country. Corruption in public life, and lack of law and order has led to a great deal of dissatisfaction and feeling of helplessness in a common man. Dissatisfaction is one of the most important ingredients of change, the other two being vision of the future and that crucial first step.

AGNI believes that the spark of righteousness exists in everybody. It is this ray of hope that enables us to attempt changes in our governance systems. AGNI's vision is to develop a paradigm shift amongst citizens from sectarian to holistic solutions, adhering to its core values of non-sectarian, non- political, fairness, equity and selfless service.

Democracy means a govt. of the people, for the people, and by the people.

However, we seem to be going more and more distant from democracy. Elections, which are the very soul of democracy, are no longer free and fair. Governance, which results from an unfair system of elections, cannot function effectively in the democratic framework. It will only serve the interests of a selected few.

Our democratic system provides for representation of citizens' grievances through the people's representatives viz. corporators at the Municipal level, MLAs at the State level and MPs at the national level. However, corruption and criminalisation have entered the political system to such an extent that people have lost faith in the system. Every facet of our governance is laced with corruption. In the absence of an effectively functioning system, even a decent and honest citizen has to often resort to dishonest means to survive. This leaves a common man feeling utterly helpless and confused, where even his mere existence becomes a struggle. This feeling is now not restricted to the common man only. It has reached all strata of society including those in authority, be they the bureaucracy or politicians. The uprights among them are now victims of these phenomena.

Basic governance starts at the local or corporation level, which is the real grass root level of governance. The key to resolving today's deteriorating situation is to start here i.e. to tackle the civic elections, which are due in Feb 2002. . Our analysis reveals that the educated class is indifferent towards these elections. Most of us have never participated in the corporation election process and this needs to be corrected. It is imperative to act now, if not we would have probably missed our best opportunity to set things right. The beginning has to be made in Mumbai and the effect will diffuse throughout the country to change the entire scenario in times to come.

Election Watch

AGNI has taken that crucial first step to bring about a change. It has launched an election watch, which will include

  1. Updating of voters lists -With the invaluable assistance of NSS students, the electoral rolls will be updated to include eligible voters, not found in the voters' lists. Form 6 for registration of new names will be distributed to them to facilitate the inclusion of their names.
  2. Voter Awareness Programme - Wide publicity will aim at making citizens realise the importance of exercising their franchise. A door to door campaign will appeal to people to come out and vote.
  3. Dialogue with Political Parties - To impress upon them that they should respond to peoples needs by fielding candidates who are receptive to citizens problems and will look for the common good of people rather than amassing wealth and power for themselves, party or sectarian interests.
  4. Candidate Evaluation Programme -information both on the sitting corporators and the candidates standing for elections will be made public, to help people in making an intelligent and responsible decision while voting.

AGNI has had meetings with various groups who share the same concerns including media, students, NGOs, NSS and spiritual leaders. They have promised active support for the Election Watch Campaign.

What Citizens' can do

The most valuable contribution you can make is to join the Election Watch team in your ward and help in spreading the message. This is probably the best opportunity to come together and transform our governance into a truly democratic one.

For details contact AGNI office at 3611327, 3622492 (telefax) or

E mail agni@bom8.vsnl.net.in

Website www.agni-india.com


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