Citizens and politicians to come together to deliberate policies for a post-Covid future
When the pandemic has fundamentally affected every sector of the economy and section of society, with limited resources citizens show that it is possible to hold a Parliament session to discuss the myriad of problems the nation is facing and possible solutions.
25 August 2020
This is to invite you to participate in the concluding session of the Janta Parliament being organised by a large number of social movements, civil society organisation networks and peoples’ campaigns on 26th August from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. As you may have heard, the initial phase of the Janta Parliament was held from 16th to 21st August and deliberated on several issues of immediate national concern. We would now like to present a summary of these discussions to all political party representatives and answer any questions they might have regarding them. We are also keen to hear how parties could take this process forward and use this to inform proceedings in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament when it is convened.
The Janta Parliament concluded the initial phase of its session last Friday on 21st August 2020. Ever since the lockdown was announced earlier this year in March, the Indian Parliament has not been in session even though the legislative bodies in many other countries severely affected by Covid-19 have been functioning. The Budget Session of Parliament was prematurely curtailed in March and, normally, the Monsoon Session should have been well underway by now. As a result, there has been no legislative oversight of the executive’s functioning since the pandemic began to spread in India.
Under such circumstances, citizens came together to hold a Janta Parliament to show that, if the government was so willing, Parliament could have been convened. When ordinary citizens with very limited resources can hold extensive deliberations, surely the state also can. The pandemic and the lockdown has left no individual or organisation unaffected and it is critical that people’s representatives get the opportunity to present the perspectives of their respective constituents.
During the phase that has just concluded, the 6 day Janta Parliament held 11 discussions on 10 themes for a combined duration of almost 40 hours. There were almost 2,500 registrations to participate across all sessions. Each discussion had on average 20 people speaking with another 100 to 400 people participating and culminated into voting on resolutions and in total more than 100 resolutions were passed. All discussions were live streamed and engaged more than one lakh people across different social media platforms.
Speakers included women, men, members of the LGBTQIA++ community, sex workers, migrant workers, domestic workers as well as workers from other industries, trade unionists, entrepreneurs, dalits, adivasis, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, children, elderly, persons with disabilities, farmers, street vendors, lawyers, teachers, experts, activists and politicians, among others. Participants in Janta Parliament came from different parts of the country right from Kashmir to Kerala and from Gujarat to Tripura. The Janta Parliament had participation from a wide spectrum of political parties including the All India Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian National Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and the Shiv Sena. Some prominent speakers include former judges Justice A. P. Shah and Justice Madan Lokur, Dr. T. M. Thomas Isaac, Kerala’s Minister of Finance and K. K. Shailaja, Kerala’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare and Chief Information Commissioner Bimal Julka. All discussions were simultaneously translated into English and Hindi and, in some sessions, into sign language as well.
We invite you to watch the interaction with politicians tomorrow at 11:00 am. Details to join us on Zoom are following:
- Link – https://zoom.us/j/96115088102?pwd=ZG1rL2VoQmw3MCsyZWM1WGpwbzRTdz09
- Meeting ID: 961 1508 8102
- Passcode: 586462
Details about past sessions of the Janta Parliament may be found at: jantaparliament.wordpress.com/schedule