The 100-day ‘Jawabdehi Yatra’ comes to an end

March 10, 2016, marked the last day of the 100-day Jawaabdehi Yatra. Thousands of people participated in the concluding march in Jaipur from the Albert Hall to the Vidhan Sabha, demanding a strong Accountability Law. DEF Founder-Director Osama Manzar, who participated in the Yatra on multiple occasions, was also in the rally. He said, “The Yatra has generated almost 9,000 grievances from people across all strata of lives in the villages, putting tremendous pressure on the government and emphasizing that without an Accountability Law, optimum delivery of entitlements and services to citizens may never be possible.”

Leaders across political parties came to support the rally. General Secretary of the Community Party of India-backed National Federation of Indian Women Annie Raja demanded greater amount of accountability and transparency from the government, and spoke about the crackdown on dissent and freedom of speech and expression in the country. She said people face oppositional attack when they raise uncomfortable but pertinent questions related to farmers, poverty, education, health and youth.

The discussion on the restriction to freedom of expression and speech has been widespread across the nation in the last one month on account of the events that happened in JNU. However, the restriction to freedom of speech was also witnessed by the members of the Yatra as well when they were attacked by goons in Aklera on January 16, 2016. Rajasthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot condemned the attack on the Yatra and said, “We will work together wherever you need us, not just with the Congress party but with all other parties, and give you full support inside and outside Parliament.” The Jawabdehi Kanoon is a strong mechanism to help the poor who do not get benefits of ration, pension and other welfare schemes despite schemes and polices for the same being in place. Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) Founder Aruna Roy said, that a strong Accountability Law would be a mean to achieve good governance, and the government must pass it.

In the last 100 days, the Yatra collected about 8,500 complaints out of which 2,551 have been uploaded on the Rajasthan Sampark portal, and the rest are in process or disposed (1,554). The achievement of the Yatra can be seen in the fact that the government has already resolved more than 250 registered complaints. Out of the total complaints received, more than 1,500 were addressed to the department of food and civil supplies.

Dungerpur and Udaipur districts, meanwhile, were centres of most complaints with both the locations registering 1,359 and 1,200 complaints, respectively.

In Jaipur, on the last day of the Yatra, MKSS Founder Nikhil Dey said that the demand for a strong accountability law is a demand made by the people of the state. And if their grievances are not addressed or the government does not fulfill their demands, they will return to Jaipur after two months and sit on an indefinite protest. Sawaal Hai! Jawaab Do! Zindabad