Twenty years after the Constitution of India mandated setting up of metropolitan planning committees to give more powers to urban local bodies, the State government has issued a draft rule indicating the shape of the panel and its responsibilities.
‘Money does not grow on trees,’ pointed out prime minister Manmohan Singh in his recent address to the nation, with the tacit exhortation to citizens to tighten belts.
But money seems to be readily available for plucking off trees in sackfuls when it comes to giving largesse of lakhs of crores to the rich corporates looting natural resources; to gamblers on the stock-market by loosening tax-laws; and to the nexus of politicians-bureaucrats-contractors sharing spoils from huge infrastructure projects.
The Election Commission is briskly at work readying the electoral rolls for the Assembly elections due in Karnataka this year. But will voters really find their names on the roll on election day or will they come back disappointed without being able to exercise their fundamental right to vote – the very first step to participate in a democracy?