Inviting Active Participation of Citizens in Governance


The ultimate objective of our democracy is not to be content with the rule by the representatives; it is the participation of the empowered citizens more actively in the governance of all spheres of life. Mr. Subhash Chandra Agarwal is one such prolific thinker who proposes many appropriate changes in policies and procedures. The readers who agree with any of his proposals may pick them up to pursue them further on their own and campaign for their adoption by the competent decision-makers.

1.                  Ban service-charges by restaurants and hotels: Tips should be totally banned. Refer to highly irresponsible Guidelines No. J-24-9-2014-CPU(pt.) dated 21.04.2017 issued by Dept. of Consumer Affairs, GoI wherein consumers going to hotels and restaurants for enjoying food are advised to approach Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum against the malpractice of certain restaurants and hotels charging compulsory service-charge in their invoices and even providing a column for tip in the invoice; Instead, the Department should impose ban on such levying of service-charges. If eateries are really sincere for the staff-welfare, they can increase their wages on their own. Also since there is no limit on served food-prices, they can increase prices rather than adopting back-door route to fool consumers through unfair service-charge.  

2.                  Bureau of Indian Standards, BIS should call a meeting of printer-manufacturers including representatives of foreign companies to minimise types of ink-cartridges. Presently, HP has too many types of ink-cartridges of similar shape and size for their vast range of inkjet and laser printers. It is not difficult to standardise so many ink-cartridges to a limited number to be used uniformly in different models of inkjet and laser printers. Such standardisation will heavily bring down the cost, as well as reduce the wastage of natural resources.

3.                  RTI online portals of Central and all state governments should be designed uniformly, adding auto-emailing of RTI responses and orders of First Appellate Authority. Presently, there are only a few departments like Income Tax Dept. which informs online RTI applicants about disposal of their RTI applications through emails and SMS-alerts. But most public-authorities like banks do not have such a user-friendly practice, requiring many RTI applicants to again and again go to the RTI online portal for checking status of online filed RTI applications. Instead, there should be a system for auto email of RTI responses and orders of First appellate Authority without at all requiring the citizen to go to RTI online portal to check status.

4.                  Simultaneous elections for President and Vice President are necessary at a time when there is a thinking of holding of simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state-assemblies. The rank of the Lok Sabha Speaker should be upgraded to that of a second Vice President. The President and two Vice Presidents should be elected simultaneously in the same manner as President, by all MPs and MLAs. In case of a mid-term vacancy caused to the post of President, the senior Vice President may be made President for rest of the term. Interim Vice President can be elected by all MPs only (not MLAs) for rest of the term.  

5.                  Corona-freebies necessary but should be limited to small families. Delhi government has announced several cash-reliefs for families of corona-victims, like rupees 50,000 for death of earning member, rupees 2,500 monthly pension for families of earning corona-victims, free education to children, ten kgs. of free ration to all families irrespective of having ration cards or not. Already, many freebies like water, electricity, bus-ride for ladies, corona cash-relief to construction workers and auto drivers are in existence. It is unfair to burden sensible tax-payers mostly from middle-income class having small families by taxing them unnecessarily and heavily by freebies to those having large families.  

6.                  Scope of form 26AS under Income Tax Act should be widened by abolishing or grouping together the misused exemptions. The Central Board of Direct Taxes had widened the scope of form 26AS of Income Tax Act by auto-inclusion of investments made in approved securities, cash withdrawals or deposited, etc. apart from earlier only TDS (Tax-Deducted-At-Source). But this form should be made more user-friendly by auto-inclusion of allowable deductions like investment in Public Provident Fund, LIC policies, government-securities, mutual funds, etc., and spending on Medical-Insurance, etc. etc. Insurance companies should be directed to incorporate compulsorily PAN number and Aadhar number on policies.

7.                  Amend the rules for packaged commodities. The Dept. of Consumer Affairs should amend the rules whereby it may be compulsory to pack all commodities in true metric-spirit in units of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 gms. or mltrs. or ltrs. or kgs. only so that consumer may judge comparative prices of a commodity marketed by different companies.

8.                  Write-To-Prime-Minister’ portal is to be modified. Better to club this with www. helpline. and and similar portal at website of President of India with  www. with provision to entertain suggestions. Dept. of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances deserves compliments for  introducing a provision for filing appeal against the status at

9.                  Legal-size paper should be banned with all government-offices. The High Courts should be asked to follow Supreme Court in using both-sides of A-4 paper with 1.5 spacing. Just replacing legal-size paper with A-4 size paper with reduced margins and 1.5 spacing will reduce the paper usage by around 45 lakh tons annually. The Supreme Court has also done away with practice of printing and distribution of hard copies. Also, it is time to discontinue any further manufacture of legal-sized paper to reduce hardships of common people in trying to get photocopiers.

10.              Considering the ever increasing space-crunch and rising land-prices in cities, smaller houses may be provided for those having ministerial status both at the Centre and in states. System of allotting post-retirement official bungalows may be retained only for former President and Prime Minister (not even for former Vice President). It is significant that even a former US President just gets half of last drawn salary as post-retirement benefit.

11.              Give NOTA (None-Of-The-Above) effective teeth to ensure good candidates in the coming 2022-elections for five state-assemblies. All candidates who get less votes than NOTA should be disqualified to contest any election or their being nominated to any legislative body for the next six years. A person must not be allowed to contest from more than one constituency for both Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha. Rather a sitting MP or MLA must resign from earlier seat before filing nomination for the other, and persons who resign mid-way from any legislative body should also be disqualified to be a member of it for next six years. 

12.              National Anti-Profiteering Authority, NAA should accept submissions for general improvements to check anti-consumer practices, which may result in removing malpractices and excessive profiteering at root-level. Such suggestions include fixing maximum trade-margin between ex-factory price and printed Maximum-Retail-Price of commodities. Further, it can be made mandatory to print invitation to the consumers to make suggestions, on the back of every invoice.

13.              Time in India should be shifted to GMT+6 Hours Time-Zone. India should also advance its time-zone by half an hour to make it GMT+6 hours rather than present haphazard GMT+5.30 hours as also recommended by the National Institute of Advanced Studies. Making Indian Time at GMT+6 hours will fulfil long-pending and genuine demand of people from north-east India.

14.              India should also take the lead in taking up matter of metric-measure of time, as all other measures are already converted into metric-system from earlier haphazard systems. Metric unit of time should be introduced with a whole day divided in 10 metric hours, instead of present 24 hours. Each metric hour may have 100 metric minutes with a metric minute having 100 metric seconds, thereby making a complete day of 1,00,000 metric seconds instead of present 86,400 seconds.

15.              Too many variants of a car-model must not be allowed and to Standardize consumables in car-industry. (I). There may be just two variants apart from the third with automatic gears, one basic Lx for economy customers and the other Vx, all company-fitted with extra accessories and luxuries for affording customers. There is no sense in having too many confusing variants like Lx, Lxi, Vx, Vxi for same model.

(ii). The Union Government should induce standardization of common accessories like tyres and batteries so that same parts may be used in different models of cars produced by various car-manufacturers. It will heavily bring down cost of consumables through their large production in some limited sizes and specifications.

 ------ From Mr. Madhu Agrawal or Mr. Subhash Chandra Agarwal.1775 Kucha Lattushah, Dariba, Chandni Chowk, Delhi-110006. Mo: 98100 80011 Fax: 23254036. email: subhashchandra

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