Thursday, March 24, 2016

We all need a Citizens' Charter

I belong to a very interesting Whatsapp Group, that was formed to debate issues important to the Indian Nation, and to share ideas and suggestions on Policy that could work towards the betterment of some aspect of public life. 

This group called Illuminati, had tasked me with the drafting of a Citizens Charter, which would list out some critical behavior expectations from an enlightened citizen, which all the members would debate and adopt or revise as per majority vote. I reproduce the first draft here, and I would love to receive comments and suggestions to make the same more useful or robust.

Illuminati Citizens Charter

We, the members of this movement to encourage an ever increasing number of Indian Citizens to agree to voluntarily submit themselves to a Citizens Charter defining the ideal standards of Ethical, Democratic and Egalitarian behavior expected of a Citizen of India. 

I, the undersigned, having appended my signature to this Charter, do pledge to abide by this Citizens Charter in letter and spirit, and shall do my utmost to encourage my family and friends to similarly abide by the same. 

1. Franchise. 

I solemnly swear that I shall always exercise my Right of Franchise. I shall unfailingly cast my considered vote for the most suitable candidate in all elections that I am eligible to vote in, whether they be for the Local Body, the State Legislature or the Parliament. I shall do my utmost to encourage such Candidates who I sincerely believe support Meritocracy, are Patriotic, and place the Nation and the Indian Constitution above narrow Self Interest and abhor considerations of Caste, Creed, Community or Religion based politics. 

2. Abhor Corruption. 

I pledge to do my utmost to discourage corruption in public life in any form. Whether it be a low level act to escape a traffic infraction or a high level one involving Corporates and Governments and, everything in between. I promise to never be personally involved in any corrupt act and also counsel others to abhor such practices if it comes to my knowledge and information. 

3. No Discrimination.

I will never practice discrimination of any sort and I will oppose, with all the vehemence at my disposal, any discrimination on the basis of Religion, Caste, Gender, Color, Race, Place of Origin or Sexual Orientation. If I come across anyone indulging in discrimination in word or deed, I promise not to be a mute spectator, and shall endeavor to educate and prevent or report such individuals. 

4. No Animal Cruelty

I shall never indulge in any act of cruelty towards animals and undertake to actively work towards the prevention of any act of cruelty to animals, whether they be pets, beasts of burden or wild animals. If I do consume animal products, I shall restrict myself to food products and avoid fashion and Fur products that are obtained by inflicting cruelty. I assure that I will make every effort to ensure that the products I consume are obtained humanely and I shall restrict my consumption to only permitted animals and avoid products obtained from Protected, Exotic or Wild animals and Birds. 

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

I swear that I shall responsibly consume scarce resources or products that have a deleterious effect on the environment. I shall be prudent in my use of Electricity, Fossil Fuels, Disposable Plastics and products manufactured using fuels and methods that add large quantum of carbon into the atmosphere, such as burnt bricks, etc. I shall actively promote the planting and nurturing of trees and prevent any wanton or irresponsible tree felling. Thus, I shall strive to minimize my Carbon Footprint and aim to achieve a Carbon Neutral existence for my family and myself. 

6. Civilized Drivers

I undertake to always drive my vehicles in a responsible and courteous manner. I promise to follow all the traffic rules and also adopt a civil and the Right-of-Way principle of driving, and strive to drive on public roads causing a minimum of inconvenience to other users. In the event that I am involved in any accident, I promise not to bolt from the scene, and shall make every effort to provide medical assistance to anyone injured in the accident. I also promise that I will report all accidents to the jurisdictional Traffic Police and undertake to assist them in their investigations. I shall endeavor to be a Good Samaritan on the roads and offer assistance to victims of vehicle accidents, and inform the authorities about the incident and assist them in their attempt to provide Medical Attention and to bring the guilty party to book. I will never permit my under aged children to drive a vehicle, and shall inculcate the highest standards of safety and courtesy in my children who are licensed to drive.  

7. Local Body Rules

I promise to help make my city, town or village more livable by following all the Bylaws and Civic Amenity Rules. I promise not to deviate from Sanctioned Plans and default on Setbacks and FSI regulations, and ensure that Light, Ventilation, Privacy and Safety are not denied to my neighbors due to my transgressions, as I expect my neighbors to care for my hygiene aspects. I undertake to also not tolerate others for their deviations from the bylaws and shall bring such deviations to the notice of the concerned authorities. I also promise to practice all mandated aspects of Good Urban Citizenry like Rain Water Harvesting, Waste Segregation at Source, Not Dumping of Waste in public areas and Never Littering or Spitting on the streets of my city. 

8. Athithi Devo Bhava

I promise to make my country welcoming to tourists and visitors both from within India and from outside. I will try to be Pleasant, Warm, Helpful and Accommodating of the needs of our guests and will try to ensure that all others do so too. I will try and prevent anyone from taking undue advantage of our guests in any manner and do my utmost to present a positive picture of our country and culture that expects us to treat our guests like God. 

9. Taxes and Duties

I solemnly pledge to truthfully and dutifully pay all the taxes and duties that are payable by me towards the Local, State and Central Governments. I will not take recourse to any illegal or questionable methods for assessing my taxes and undertake to do so only by using the legally permitted provisions and exemptions in a fair and transparent manner. I realize that taxes are my way of contributing to the development of my nation and I shall do my utmost to get everyone I know to similarly comply and contribute.

Place:                                                Name:

Date:                                                 Signature:


  1. I don't live in India, but if I did and if you stood, you'd get my vote!!

    1. Dear Paul, wherever you do live, you certainly made my day with your kind words back there!

      Who knows where life takes one - someday, you may have a chance to vote for one of my principles (I do not have any plans to Stand, currently) and then, I will count on your support.