According to our electoral system, once the election dates are announced, model code of conduct sets in. The model code of conduct is essentially a framework which lists down dos and don'ts for those who are in power as well as those who are contesting elections. The Election Commission of India not only conducts the elections but also ensures its fairness. Therefore it monitors behaviour of various stakeholders. If any party breaks the code of conduct, it is answerable as well accountable to the Election Commission (EC).
The model code of conduct has been put in place to maintain a level playing field as well as to ensure that the outgoing government does not try to subvert the legislative and the democratic process. Rest assured, during election time, there is no other job as important as the job of the Chief Election Commissioner and their deputies. During the time Model Code of Conduct is in effect, any legislative changes, appointment of a high ranking official, changes in commodity price, laying of foundation stone or signing agreements for multi million and billion dollar projects as well as approving anything controversial needs a clearance from the EC.
For example, when the government wanted to appoint a new Naval Chief because the previous one resigned, it had to seek clearance from the EC. While some clearances are usually granted, some are not. An example of a clearance that was not given involved Reliance and increase in natural gas price. The important ones which can be justified and urgent are the ones that usually receive clearance.
But since the last few days, attempts are being made to approve controversial GM field trials that could have an adverse impact on the future of our food and farming, and bypass the supplier liability clause of the nuclear liability Act. The two most important pieces of work that a lot of us have been doing for the last five years.
Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), motivated with Veerappa Moily's decision to approve over 200 field trials, recently approved field trials of 10 GM crop including crops like rice, maize and wheat which will have a huge impact on food security as well as seed sovereignty. Similarly, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) granted Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) financial clearance for two additional reactors to be built at Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
It's the last few days of the UPA government and they are hell bent on undermining all that we've fought for and accomplished over the last five years. They want to poison our food, enslave the farmers while multinational corporations rake in billions of profit. They want to bypass and dilute the nuclear liability act that all of us fought so hard for. We fought for the principal "polluter pays" and finally made the nuclear reactor suppliers liable, but now the government wants to bypass the liability clause and wants a clearance for Kudankulam reactor 3 & 4 without making public any information about the Russian liability.
The only thing holding the GM field trials as well as the Kudankulam reactors back is the Election Commission. We don't want Election Commission to approve these projects because they not only go against the Model code of conduct, but also go against the best interest of this country and its people. We need you to fight for your rights again.
You can sign this petition now and show the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), VS Sampath that you are against GM field trials as well as the clearances for Kudankulam 3 & 4. Every time you sign this petition, an email is sent to the CEC registering your concerns. The more people sign the petition the more chances we have of winning. Do sign this petition and get your friends to sign as well.
Both Hozefa Merchant & Neha Saigal are campaigners with Greenpeace.