(In this article, Mr. Gopal Krishna, an activist and public policy analyst, is trying to shed some light on the crucial issue of foreign funding in the Indian legislative process. Several foreign agencies like Ford Foundation,WALMART, ebay are trying to influence the Indian legislative process by funding Research Assistants who help MPs improve their parliamentary skills.
The home ministry has already ordered a probe into the matter.)
Here is the full statement:
This is regarding funding from imperialists. I want to draw your attention towards the news report ‘When American money lights LAMPs in our House’ and ‘Foreign hand in Parliament cut’ (Aug 5, 2012, The New Indian Express).
The news report reveals that Union Home Ministry is probing their role in trying to influence the Indian legislative process by funding Research Assistants who help MPs.
It has come to light that Minister of State for Home has objected to MPs including likes of Moinul Hassan, D Raja, Rajeev Shukla, Jay Panda, Derek O’Brien, Manish Tiwari, Asaduddin Owaisi, Meenakshi Natarajan, Naveen Jindal, Rajeev Pratap Rudy, Shahnawaz Hussain, Prakash Javadekar, N K Singh, Anurag Thakur, Dushyant Singh, Bijayant Panda and hundreds of others for taking help of Research Assistants funded by foreign agencies like Ford Foundation, WALMART, eBay etc to improve their parliamentary skills.
About 300 MPs are part of various programmes of PRS Legislative Research—an NGO that is sponsored by the Ford foundation and other domestic agencies and comes under the ambit of the Centre of Policy Research Studies (CPRS). Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship was conceptualised by PRS to address the research needs of MPs. PRS also has a Legislators knowledge network which is engaging the MLAs.
It appears that ‘We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity’. Supreme Court of USA on January 21, 2010 in the Citizens United case considered whether there could be a ban on corporations using their general treasury funds for elections-related expenditure. A majority (5-4) of the Court ruled that such a ban was violative of the right to free speech. Companies Bill, 2011 which is scheduled to be re-introduced in the current Monsoon Session of the Parliament provides for corporate funding of political parties and NGOs.
If one does not mind funds from likes of WALMART, eBay, Ford Foundation and World Resources Institute, then both US Court’s order and the Companies Bill are quite benign acts which must be celebrated. Is it surprising then that when even progressive MPs can get funded LAMPs, researchers from these parties are leaving?
“The division of labour among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing” reads the opening sentence of Eduardo Galeano’s book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.
If the imperative is indeed to win at any cost the battles of ideas, are we to abandon the battle and join the winning side or funding side of ‘so-called’ imperial sources to be counted as tactically and politically mature and pragmatic as some have suggested.
This issue is important because it always emerges in discussions on all the issues including in the matter of corporatisation of water. It merits honest appraisal.