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India: AIDWA condemns the move by the Modi Government to dismiss the heads, and members of autonomous institutions

21 June 2014

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Press Statement

The reports that have appeared in the media about the Modi Government taking measures to ease out the heads of various institutions, including the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, is an undemocratic act which thoroughly exposes the intention of the BJP to bring all structures within its political power. Similar measures were adopted by the Congress Government also when in power. AIDWA condemns this approach, which undermines the autonomous character of many important institutions, and seeks to subjugate them to the interests of the ruling Government.
We would like to point out that such a step also violates the spirit of the Prime Minister Shri Modi’s frequently quoted slogan for ‘minimum government and maximum governance’. In actual fact we find that from the day that the new PM took over, he has been engaged in centralizing the powers of the PMO by bringing around him in important posts only those people who are likely to carry out his commands unquestioningly. This was evident in the manner in which the principal cabinet secretary was appointed.
A few days back, the Modi Government started making precipitous efforts to remove the Governors appointed by the UPA government in various states. Now we hear that the untimely overhauling of the National Commission for Women is also being contemplated.

AIDWA has always been vocal in opposing the sub-clause unfairly added during the UPA-1 regime to the National Commission for Women Act whereby the Chairperson and the members were mandated to serve for a term of 3 years or until the Government wishes otherwise. This amendment prevents the Commission from acting independently by giving the Government arbitrary power over it. Now it would seem that the BJP Government, impatient to have its own people everywhere, is bent on using the same arbitrary power against the Commission. We strongly reiterate our demand to the Modi Government that any statutory Commission should be allowed to be in office for its full term. We also urge that the offending sub-clause in the NCW Act should be removed forthwith.

Sd/- Malini Bhattacharya (President)
Sd/- Sudha Sundararaman (Vice President)
Sd/- Jagmati Sangwan (General Secretary)