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Committee for People's Empowerment

We have been in 'touch' with the Committee on People's Empowerment for
some time. e.g., see messages at




It appears that the CPE effort has 'fructified' into a more solid
effort. I am sending in their letter sent to Madhu. Madhu: clearly, IPI
is a completely open forum, and completely free, and no inivitation is
needed to join. However, please request Prof. Seth to unhesitatingly
send us the memorandum that he has prepared. We want to move forward on
the basis of work already done. But everyone must be willing to defend
their viewpoint openly and debate; since we want all of us to understand
the key 'good' policies we are pushing for, and why.

Definitely we should put up their memorandum in the 'publications/
notes' section and we can debate its merits/ demerits.


---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 15:27:05 +200
From: P.K.  Madhu <madhu@wis.weizmann.ac.il>

Please find a mail from Bharath who is the convenor of CPE (Committee for 
People's Empowerment) below. He likes to know whether IP would like to add 
the memorandum of CPE to the web site of IP. He and a few colleagues of 
him have agreed to join IP and take part in the discussions soon after 
going through the material in the archives. They are also in the process 
of creating a web page and associated things.


Dear Madhu,

I am enclosing a copy of the introductory brochure of Committee for
People's Empowerment. In case any of you would like to become members, the
suggested donation for NRIs is US$ 120 (but as the brochure says the
actual donation can be more or less depending on your own situation).

I was able to reach the indiapolicy web page. It is nicely done. Of course
the blue print was missing. But I am not surprised, as the blueprint can
only emerge after thrashing out the issues in as wide and open forum
as possible. I have not gone through all the material. I will certainly
like to send my views as and when I can put them down clearly.

At the present we are raising the issue of electoral reforms. As you may
be knowing, earlier this year the Government had constituted a committee
consisting of members from major political parties under the chairmanship
of Mr. Indrajit Gupta to consider reforms to the electoral process.
However, the only recommendation that the committee came out with was that
"Govt should finance the election expenses of major recognised political
parties". This is extremely disappointing that the serious flaws that have
become clear to all, such as the fact that there is not accountability to
the polity in the system of representation and many other, have not been
addressed by this committee; neither has the committee made any serious
attempt to get feedback from the various enlightened and concerned
individuals and collectives on this question, crucial to renewal of Indian
polity. CPE feels that an important matter can not be left to
representatives of these self serving parties alone.

CPE has been seriously studying the issues connected with electoral and
political reforms and has a sent a memorandum to the parliamentary
committee with its views. We also want to conduct a signature campaign on
this issue. In this regard, I would like to know if indiapolicy would like
to add the memorandum to its web site. If so, I will be happy to send a
copy of the memorandum to you.

Bharat Seth
*| Dr. B. Seth                            Indian Institute of Technology  |*
*| Convener, Systems and Controls         Powai, Bombay 400 076, India    |*
*| Professor of Mechanical Engineering    Phone: (022) 576 7504           |*
*| Email : seth@me.iitb.ernet.in          Fax  : (022) 579 6875           |*

                                      Committee for People's Empowerment
           (Engaged in developing the economic and political alternative 
                               to end the marginalisation of the people)

Towards People's Empowerment

With each passing day, the anarchy and criminalisation of politics is
getting more and more exposed. Various political parties are seen openly
indulging in the politics of violence and corruption. More and more people
are feeling that the country can never be safe in the hands of such
criminals. It is obvious that the people and their problems are the last
concern in this sordid game of power and money.

Most political parties only serve as an instrument of this or that vested
interest. They all wax eloquent about the people and their problems. They
promise that they will get rid of poverty and ignorance and build for the
people a heaven on earth.  Yet in spite of such tall claims, the rich in
India have grown richer while the poor have grown poorer.

The orientation of the economy is leading to increasing insecurity of
livelihood for the majority of people. The access of the people at large
to food, jobs, education, health and other basic necessities is becoming
more and more restricted. Unemployment, inflation and price rise have
become fellow travellers of this system. Peasants are being faced with
ruination, and many are being driven to suicide.  At the same time, the
big monopolies, big landowners and other vested interests are flourishing.

The long cherished ethos of our people- "all for one and one for all" - is
being abandoned by those in power in favour of alien rthos of "each one
for himself or herself"

The question on the top of everyone's mind is "can this situation be
changed?" Committee for People's Empowerment believes it can be.

There is an alternative -a people's alternative -and it must be developed.

Our Beliefs

Committee for People's Empowerment believes that the existing
political process excludes the majority of people in numerous ways.
The power to make decisions that affect everyone's fate is in the
hand of a priveleged and self-perpetuating elite. Committee for
People's Empowerment believes that our people can and must take
control of their destiny. Only this will change the course of
developments and enable our country to take its rightful place as one
of the great and enlightened countries of the world. Whatever changes
are needed in the political system to empower the people must be
taken, and it is up to all of us to ensure this. 

Committee for People's Empowerment believes that the striving for the
empowerment of the people is at the heart of all people's movements. 

CPE has organised many successful seminars, discussions and other
activities in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Aligarh, etc on various issues
concerning people's emppowerment. We invite all enlightened and
active minds to contribute to finding well-considered solutions to
the problems of people's empowerment. 

People's Initiative

The mindless violence that was unleashed in the country in the
aftermath of the demolition of the Babru Masjid left all thinking
people of the country benumbed. People detested the barbaric communal
violence and the role played by the major political parties, the
police and the authorities. However, they found themselves completely
powerless in stopping the carnage. Even then, people in various
places did their bit by taking various initiatives. Founding the
Preparatory Committee for People's Empowerment was one such
initiative. Started in 1993, CPE has since then caught the
imagination of people in many places across the country.  


CPE believes in a strictly non-partisan and non-sectarian approach to
organising for our cause.  The situation in India is such that a very wide
cross-section of people, with varying ideological beliefs and political
affiliations, are eager to contribute their energies and talents to the
cause of the empowerment of the people. The CPE believes in the need to
draw together all these forces to strengthen our cause. 

In keeping with these organizational objectives and principles, the CPE
has a large and representative General Council, consisting of judges and
lawyers, teachers and academics, workers, scientists and doctors,
political and social activists and students, which is its main
policy-making body. The General Council has the responsibility of
establishing and strengthening the branches of CPE all across the country
and making it a countrywide movement.  The Executive Council of CPE is
responsible for the implementation of the decisions of the General Council
and takes initiatives between two meetings of the General Council. 

The national conference of CPE held at Pune in May 1998 elected the
following office bearers: 

Honarary Chairpersons: Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer
                       Prof Rajni Kothari

President:             T.S. Sankaran

Vice Presidents:       Justice H. Suresh
                       Justice S.M. Daud
                       Justice A S Bains                     
                       Prof Dalip Singh
                       Prof M H Hirani
                       Chennaveera Kanavi

Convenor:              Madhavi Thampi

Treasurer:             Dr. Sreemati Chakrabarti


  * Any Indian citizen or person of Indian origin, who is above 18 years
    of age and subscribes to the aims and objectives of CPE can become a
    member of the CPE.  

  * The members of the CPE have the responsibility to work for the cause 
    of the empowerment of the common people.

  * While all members are expected to make a minimum contribution of
    Rs.1200 annually towards the work, the amount can be more or less
    depending on the individual's financial capacity. Larger contributions
    are welcome.

Contributions by account payee DD/cheque payable at Delhi in the name of
Committee for People's Empowerment and to be sent to Convenor, Committee
for People's Empowerment, 17 Qutab View Apts, Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi

The Times are Calling for Your Participation

If you agree with CPE's basic premise that all thinking people have a role
to play in the future of our society through serious thought, discussion
and action, please contact us.

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