Minutes of the FTI’s Fourth Annual Conference,
February 16 and 17, 2013 (Delhi)
Venue – ISTD Hq, B-23, New Mehrauli Road, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi – 16
Preliminary dinner (February 15 evening)
The general accommodations were arranged at DSOI, Dhaula Kuan for the participants coming from outstation. In the evening get together to know each other, four members joined the meeting – Akshay Shah, Anil Sharma (both residing at DSOI guest house), KK Verma and Sureshan. Later Mr Ram K Atri along with Mr Anil from Mumbai also stayed in the guest house. KK Verma and Anil Sharma had a quiet dinner in the DSOI restaurant.
Day 1 (February 16)
Participants: Akshay Shah, Aman Tiwari, Anil Sharma, Arvind Ilamaran, Dipinder Sekhon, K.K. Verma,
LK Kandpal, Rahul Pandit, Rajan Mehta, Saurabh Shekhar, Sudip Shetty, Sureshan, Swapnil Khandelwal, Vidyut Jain, Ram K. Atri
Dipinder welcomed the participants and explained rules of conversation along with the housekeeping. Those present introduced themselves and reiterated their commitment towards nation building. Sanjeev Sabhlok welcomed all the participants of this year conference on Skype. He emphasized the critical role of building the Sone Ki Chidiya movement this year as key part of FTI’s next stage of development. A few salient points covered were –
· This is an exciting time for FTI. We should maximise this opportunity for reforms. We are glad that BST is broadly supportive of the reform agenda we wish to see in India.
· We need to define SKC and make an action plan to execute this people’s movement.
· There are 200 of us, and we must aim for 2000 this year. We should aim for 50 chapters by year end.
· We have to “occupy the internet”, showing the country a vision for reform.
Review of FTI actions in 2012
Moderated by Arvind
Arvind took quick snapshots of the actions taken in 2012. PowerPoint presentation with projector was used for viewing the point by point actions. Arvind informed and explained participants about the following –
Internal FTI processes
- New logo approved by General Body
- New FTI website – awaited, some action needed.
- Membership process/fee – ready for implementation, some have deposited; others were requested to deposit Rs 1500 for 2012-2013. Anybody needs waive off, may send request on forum.
- Elections to Secretary position – It was done as per the FTI rules.
- Significant increase in FTI chapter activity/ new chapters – some successes has been achieved but still more work to be done in this regard.
- Public annual report for three years – done; publication awaited
Participation in seminars/conferences
- Asia Liberty Forum – FTI members must involve themselves in various activities related to achieving FTI goals. Collaboration with other institutions or group must be done on regular basis. The similar effort was done with Asia Liberty Forum. It gives exposure to FTI members
- Policy on Lokpal approved and published in April 2012
- Electoral reforms “cause”. Policy published in late 2012
- Policy competition – Rs. 5 lakhs raised, competition launched. Last date 28 Feb 2013. Most of the activities are done by Sanjeev and other designated group of FTI members. All members are to be involved in assessment of good policy entries.
Engagement with other organisations
- Team Anna including meeting with Anna (Delhi chapter) – FTI members like Dipinder Sekhon, Sureshan and KK Verma met with Anna in Delhi to work on future strategies.
- Swami Ramdev including extensive discussions in Haridwar (many FTI members) – Sanjeev Sabhlok had personal meeting with Ramdev for many days and shared the plateform to address the people. The same was available to woder audiences through Astha Channel. Subsequetly, Dipinder, Shantanu, Sureshan, Supratim also visited Haridwar and made some collaborative discussion.
- Arvind Kejriwal by Sanjeev in Feb 2012 – There have been regular discussion with AAP and their leaders on various issues. Somnath worked as active member to ensure smooth collaboration.
- JP of Lok Satta by Sanjeev in Feb 2012
- Sharad Joshi of Swatantra Bharat Party by phone/email
- CCS/Liberty Institute, etc.- Arvind and Dipinder are working to enhance collaboration useful to FTI and its members to achieve its objectives.
Public interface and mass movement
- Outreach events (e.g. speeches at Patanjali/ Aastha by Sanjeev/ in Dec 2012 plus others, speech by Sanjeev at Jantar Mantar)
- Media coverage of FTI (e.g. Business standard article/ TOI blog – by Shantanu)
Action plan for FTI
Moderated by KK Verma
KK Verma explained Kurzweil’s Law and Singularity (a situation when machine become equal to human brain, probable time of such phenomena is 2045) to emphasize the need of bringing a change through well orchestrated movement. The intricacies of such movements must be thought extensively by all FTI members (top brains of the country to save the nation). We need to do this with convictions and without fear.
Objective: To expand FTI dramatically in 2013, support SKC and find people to contest in 2013/14. Target of 2000 members by end-2013 (we are currently about 200).
It was reiterated that the person who raises an issue must (generally speaking) lead or participate in the project to resolve the issue.
1) Raising Rs.5 crores– for full time office and general increase in activities. Discussed by Dipinder. He explained the need of fund raising. The responsibility of different activities taken up by FTI members is given below.
- Membership fee from 2012-13 [Status update] – need to be followed up by Supratim and Sachin
- Projects to raise funds (e.g. Holding policy conferences in Haridwar [to help/organise] – Arvind, KK Verma, Sureshan
- Commercial consultancy by FTI members — Sureshan, Akshay, Varshaa
- Donations (with information pack, and easy method to donate by internet) – this need to be taken by someone but it could not be decided. Arvind may assist.
- Micro-donations from thousands of people of Rs.100-500 each through internet – task need to be taken by some. Akshay Shah need to monitor.
- Public appeals to be launched by end February [the sooner the better] – Arvind, Sureshan
- Have FTI members explored all their contacts? – Arvind to follow up with other FTI members and motivate them for taking up these tasks.
- Generating fund through Leadership Training – K K Verma, Dipinder
- Generating fund through CSR – Akshay Shah (Ram Atri explained that organizations are to spend around 2% of their revenue on CSR totaling more than 500 crores. In big or medium level organization including public sector, CSR money can be used to raise funds.)
2) Full time office to be operational from March. It needs funds.
- Funding to be part of the public appeal – It was felt that full time office is necessary to take the FTI causes further. Arvind and Swapnil are to work for this.
3) Policy competition. 3 entries received to date. About 350 registered participants.
- On 1 March, all entries will be acknowledged (by Sanjeev) and copies forwarded to entire FTI team on Google group.
- Members can read and provide comments. – Arvind, KK Verma
- Shortlisted (with multiple recommendations) will be into final round in which General Body will vote. Number of entries for final round to be decided. Sanjeev, Vikram
- Publication of winning policies / informing donors- Sanjeev
- Event for winners? Publicity/ press release for results? Getting the winners interested in joining FTI? Sanjeev, Sureshan, Dipinder, KK Verma
4) Key FTI documents for 2013
- Publication of best policies – Arvind
- Policy Handbook that consolidates and improves policies. Arvind to coordinate and try to complete the task by 15th Aug 2013. Dipinder, Rajan, KK Verma agreed to provide support.
- Public report on FTI (by June 2013): Summary of what FTI has done since inception, including crediting all key people for their contributions? – Sanjeev
- “What Freedom Means to Me” FTI publication? – Vikram
5) Outreach efforts – It was felt necessary that outreach efforts are streamlined to achieve FTI objectives. To achieve real impact, we need professional touch to our website, media management. So a professional media manager needed.Anil and Rajan are to find this person. Overall media/outreach in charge will be Anil.
· Possibly budgeted as part of fixed-monthly-expense in the office
· Need to bring out an ‘overall outreach/media strategy’ (eg. Which #tag to use)
· Website [Improved website awaited] – Supratim, Vishal, Anil, Anubhava to give feedback and propose next steps. Most agreed to outsourcing
- Social media [Massive increase in FTI’s social media presence] – Vishal Swapnil, Dipinder, K K Verma, V Srikanth
- Public events [talks about FTI] – eg. In colleges – Shantanu, Swapnil (125 colleges + 10-15 new/month)
- Print Media, TV Channels, Online Media – Rahul Pandit, Varshaa, Suneeta Dhariwal (Press Conferences), Rajan
- Leverage Freedom First via Arvind to brief other members and invite entries. Arvind will talk to SV Raju and get articles from FTI members to publish.
Action plan for SKC
Moderated by Anil Sharma/Dipinder
Anil Sharma explained the necessity of SKC and discussed various issues. Dipinder talked about his visits to Haridwar and his experience. He suggested we put emphasis on this movement as support is likely to be available.
Objective of session: To fully understand SKC movement and prepare an Action Plan
a) Time frames and deliverables
– internet presence by end-April (website/key docs)
– networking from March onwards (summit, but also direct)
– ground level outreach from May (synchronized commencement through standardized script)
b) Who's going to do what
– While FTI will be the backbone we'd want to achieve extensive involvement from the people of India.
(1) Liberal vision:
1. The vision document has already been published.
2. SKC’s agenda for change – first draft circulated among a few FTI members for comment. Should be ready for Forum soon.
3. Detailed policies (Policy anHanHandbook) –if possible publish this year or else in 2014.
SKC is a people’s platform and federation of nation building organizations the sole mission of which is to bring about total reforms in governance to bring security, justice, integrity and prosperity to India. (Sureshan, Akshay)
SKC’s mission is to bring about total reforms in governance to bring security, justice, integrity and prosperity to India by building a people’s platform and federation of nation building organisations. (Anil, Kandpal ji (if it stops at “…. prosperity to India”)).
SKC is a platform for nation building with the sole purpose of bringing about total reforms in governance for delivery of freedom, dignity and prosperity to India. (Aman, Vidyut, Saurabh)
To create a platform to bring about reforms in governance by way of transparency and delivery of justice. (Kandpal ji)
To safeguard freedom by providing security and justice through good governance by leaders with integrity.
Mission- To create a federation of nation building organisations. (Arvind, Dipinder, Sudeep)
Most agreed that we should split into vision and mission statements
(3) Key strategies for the movement:
Strategy 1: FTI to be a catalyst and secretary to a new India
· After 5 years of internet preparation we are now ready to move to the ground
· Our job is to organise, lead, and empower
· We are largely back-end support, but in due course will come to the front
· India needs solid brainpower to establish systems to awaken and unite India
Strategy 2: 99 per cent of the leaders of SKC will be from outside FTI
· Grow the SKC-main Google group (only 83 members as at 13 February). We should aim for at least 10,000 by April.
· Grow the SKC Facebook page (only 390 “likes” as at 13 February. Target 50,000 by April) – Aman Tiwari took responsibility to work on this.
· Grow SKC twitter handle skcindia. Aman Tiwari to handle.
· Expand Citizens’ Government platform for IT savvy people (about 500 members to start with)
· Reach out to NRIs/PIOs/OCIs – both IT experts and others
Tasks/ projects will be lead by FTI members – Anil (Overall lead and coordination), Dipinder to support.
1. SKC website management – Akshay to look into SKC website management. Most of the members suggested to outsource it to someone professional freelancer. Vidyut suggested to add a form (or missed call service to collect this info) to capture Name, Voter ID#, phone, email, address etc of supporters. This is to create a database which can be useful for elections in case FTI members contest in future.
2. Google group management – Arvind to get in touch with some Adharshila applications to train for this exercise.
3. Twitter & Facebook account management – Vishal Singh, Arvind, Aman and Sureshan to manage Facebook, Akshay Shah to manage Twitter account.
4. How to reach out to NRIs/OCIs/PIOs – Anil and Vikram to work out the strategies. Need to focus on getting Budget Projection, finalizing the vision document and making eBrochures.
5. CGOV website management –
6. Citizens’ government google group management – Arvind to manage
7. Information pack (FAQ) to explain SKC – Sanjeev to prepare the final document.
- Team feels we need to do a fund raising exercise for making SKC website professional. – Fund raising team – FTI fund raising team to coordinate this.
- Budgeting to be done in the next 1 week. Total preparation for promotion. Arvind, Anil to manage it. – Arvind, Anil – 23rd Feb 2013
- Anil to approach experts for branding. He need to update FTI members on this by 3rd week of March.
- SKC trust registered and opening a bank account. Finalization of draft trust deed. Check in the legal document, compare the FTI Trust Deed. Sureshan to update.
- For online payments (donations) we could look at integrating SKC website with Paypal. Akshaya Shah and Swapnil agreed to find the intricacies and provide updates.
- Vision Document & ePhamphlet to be translated into local languages. Content of ePhamplet – What? Why? Who? Aims and Objectives? How to contribute? Contact numbers (region wise) Put on forum to ask / check. All to contribute.
- Rahul – Telugu, Sudeep – Kannada, Stalin – Tamil, Mr Kandpal – Hindi, Dr Akalpita – Marathi, Sureshan – Malayalam, Akshay – Gujarati and Urdu, Sudeep – Bangla, Oriya, Dipender – Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri.
- Pamphlet Distribution can be done to offices, societies. Adhar Kendras, Ration shops etc.
- Advertise in Magazines / Newspapers / Online. Huge fund may be needed for this.
- Region team leaders have to lead the printing and distribution.
- SKC micro adverts on Aastha Channel to start from a couple of weeks from now – 17th Feb 2013. – Arvind to work out strategies.
Project for the workshop: Key questions for FAQ and draft answers.
(e.g. what is SKC? Why is it different to other movements? How can people join? What can they do? Etc.
Arvind is to prepare these with help of other FTI members and submit to Forum by April first week.
Strategy 3: Phase 1: Most of SKC’s initial leaders will be internet savvy
· Due to cost limitations (time/ money) of connecting individually over phone, focus must be internet based
· Local chapters with grassroots links to be established in Phase 2.
· We must have plans to implement synchronised activity on the ground from May
Strategy 4: Internet based service of people/ accountability of government
· Preparing info pack/s for citizens (e.g. drivers license, Election Cards, Aadhar cards etc.) or links for government services (most government websites have something; need to consolidate on cgov.in/skc website)
· Developing mobile phone systems of accountability
· Holding government to account (citizens' government/ shout.do type effort) – Lalatendu Dash is team leader. Some work underway. More help needed. Proposal to link with BST at grassroots level to pilot/test. Anil to work on this further.
Arvind to monitor and remind (not just this but all?)
Strategy 5: Preparation of script/plans for town hall type events from May
· Logistics pack: How to organise (raise local funds/ book hall/ invite, etc.)
· Tips for successful event.
· Document pack: Invitation, speeches, press release
Arvind and Dipinder to initiate.
Strategy 6: Preparation of governance reform pack (vyavastha parivartan) before May
· Electoral/administrative/judicial/police reforms including Bills
· This pack to be distributed at grassroots meetings along with agenda for reform
Comment – Not enough time to build in detail, can make policy briefs. Dipinder to prepare and update members.
Strategy 7: Building SKC Federation by around April-May
· Federation draft documents prepared
· Connecting with key groups and preparing potential membership
· Eminent citizens’ meeting on 2 and 3 March (about 3 FTI members to participate)
· Reform Summit in Haridwar, 5-8 April is the key.
1. Liberalism and Bharat Swabhiman Trust: common points (Dipinder briefed participants).
2. Dealing with many public concerns re: Swami Ramdev. Due diligence at a personal level.
Sureshan and Sanjeev are to start working on these and brief members subsequently.
Strategy 8: Develop media strategy and prepare spokespersons
1. E.g alternative budget by April – Media manager as discussed earlier along with Delhi office need to be tasked with media strategy.
2. Preparing list of spokesperson from among vast group of SKC members
Will SKC become political?
No one can say, but let’s keep preparing.
1. SKC party constitution – draft under preparation
2. Party formation process – details of how this is done being investigated
3. Public face/image of key FTI members – Sanjeev, Shantanu, Anil, Akalpita, Akshay, etc.
4. Who will contest elections? What support is needed? – The discussion to start on forum and members need to volunteer. Update to be prepared by Arvind.
5. Public rallies, etc. need to be planned – Shantanu, Dpinder, Sanjeev.
Plan B: What if the SKC movement doesn't take off?
If after 4 months SKC movement uptake is low, it will continue as FTI’s vehicle for 2019. Plan B was discussed briefly, but the major discussion was postponed till at least June 2013. FTI members should remain alert and focused on SKC for now.
DAY 2 (February 17)
Participants: Akshay Shah, Aman Tiwari, Anil Sharma, Arvind Ilamaran, Dipinder Sekhon, K.K. Verma,
LK Kandpal, Rahul Pandit, Rajan Mehta(joined in the afternoon), Saurabh Shekhar, Sudip Shetty, Sureshan, Vidyut Jain, Ram K. Atri (only in afternoon),
Joined on Day 2: Shantanu, Somenath Bharti (after 11.30am)
Apology on Day 2: Swapnil Khandelwal
Guests who joined after 2.30pm
– Mohan Philip, Col Bijender Khokhar, Alok Kumar Singh, Nisha SinghAction plan for SKC
Moderated by Anil Sharma
This session discussed in detail about SKC movement and allocatedkey action items/questions/ issues.
Specific points on SKC action plan discussions
Participants had a long discussion on the idea of SKC as a lot of unanswered questions still exist. Here are the key points raised:
- How are FTI and SKC related? In broad terms SKC is a project that has been launched by FTI. FTI should drive tangible milestones in April summit.
- SKC might succeed or fail but FTI will keep on going.
- Political implications (if any) of SKC are not up for discussion at this stage
- SKC is an opportunity for FTI to influence policies in India.
- Dipinder explained his discussions with BST. FTI should continue to build trust with key partners.
Focus is to create a buzz in next month and half so that people start talking about SKC. Majority of action will be online.
Update on meeting between Shanatanu and Arvind Kejriwal
Shantanu Bhagwat and Somnath Bharti joined the conference at 11.30 am after meeting Arvind Kejriwal at Kaushambi. Sanjeev heard about the update on Skype.
More than 200 people and various organizations are meeting Arvind every day. AAP party is working hard for Delhi 2013 Election. Somnath Bharti also provided his input. In Sanjeev’s view, it is incorrect for AAP to think that Swami Ramdev is aligned with BJP. He wants good governance and dislikes corruption by any organization. Somnath assured that liberal ideas are developing on AAP.
The Haridwar conference is aimed at creating an umbrella organisation first, to set up the secretariat for the reform movement. Once established, further thinking/action will occur from Delhi. And that will be done by the entity (SKC Federation?), not by FTI. We hope to be the secretaries of SKC and therefore influence its decisions to the extent possible. But none of this is given. It is something to be tried and achieved. These are only hopes and plans at this stage.
Engagements with other national reform groups
The following participants joined this session.
- Adarsha Rashtriya Vikas Party Mr Mohan Philip
- Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Mr Somnath Bharti
- Bharat Uday Mission Mr. Akshay Shah
- Team Anna – Col. Bijender Khokhar
- Loksatta Party Mr. Alok Kumar Singh
- Nisha Singh – Independent Councillor (Gurgaon)
Shantanu moderated. Invitees were given ten minutes to speak.
Briefed about the SKC movement.
After his retirement from Indian Air Force, he worked actively to bring the change in society. He is passionate to work for social upliftment. He is so pained that even after more than 60 years of independent India many citizens are unable to get two time proper meal in this country. Our youth are unemployable and that is the biggest curse to humanity. Because of his passion, he has formed a party named Adarsha Rashtriya Vikas Party (ARVP). He sees himself as a ‘reluctant politician’ but with a mission and has vision. He wants to bring change in India and its villages through his noble work. He strongly feels that our children should get proper education and only good governance can provide these in remote areas. He strongly feels that corruption is a symptom not a disease so we must try to eradicate disease. The corruption can be removed through awareness and development.
If you worship ‘Neem’ tree, you cannot get the fruit of ‘mango’ from it. No change has taken place in India at ground level after British left around 60 years back. The system makes everyone guilty and guilty person can never be part of positive movement. We have weak judicial system in the country and because of which Manmohan Singh could win Rajya Sabha election on forged address of Assam. If there is a strong legal system, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could have been in jail. He felt the need of a strong movement and in such situations; all groups should come forward without being abusive to each other. Movement will weaken and existing parties will take benefit from the divide in movement. However it is important to remember that movement will not solve problems, electoral politics is the alternative. He requested all to join hands with Arvind Kejriwal and bring a change in 2013 Delhi assembly election. Arvind is very serious in his endeavor and working very hard sometime 15-18 hours a day to achieve his goal. We all should support him.
Bharat Uday Mission don’t feel that system is bad, but people are bad. We do not want professional politicians but we want professionals in politics. He narrated his experience with Mumbai 77 and listed difficulties in contesting election as independent and without money. He invited people to get united and not allow wrong people get elected.
He retired from Indian Army in 2011 and joined team Anna with a sole purpose to do something good for the country. He likes to be part of bringing a change in India. He claimed that FTI like activities are in fashion in India. Politics is a place for the people with gut feelings. Weak people should not try to join politics. He felt that fat people talk hot like we do in FTI. There is a real market for good politics in India however he termed FTI members as pop-corn people. He agreed with few of the FTI policies. He likes some SSB kind of selection for leader as used in the selection of defense officers in armed forces. Unemployment is a curse to society and because of this we have many social ills. So movement like SKC may have no impact but we should try to address burning issues like unemployment to raise movement.
She feels that coming together is impossible and may not be required. As her experience demonstrates that 20-25% voters are required to win election, we all need to focus on small group to win election. She gave example of her village in Gurgaon where she does not speak against illegal construction and allow people to construct. To bring change, we have to change the system which is done at higher level like MLA and MPs.
Alok Kumar Singh
People want Anna and Arvind should come together. India will get benefitted from this joint movement and we shall be able to get some real change. He feels that leftism is in our blood and it’s in our DNA. We must set two types of goals – for immediate impact and for long term.
Shantanu summarized the discussion and asked FTI members to speak their views. On his request, members spoke their mind and a healthy discussion proceeded. KK Verma strongly presented that all small groups should come together without seeing weaknesses or drawback in individuals and start a strong movement. Strong public movement will bring a change in the mind set of Indians. Society will become prosperous and citizens will fight for their human rights.
The meeting ended with note of starting a strong movement in India to bring necessary change to eradicate ills from Indian system and societies.
Shantanu along with Dipinder summed up the conference and noted that this was an extremely successful and crucial conference. We are ready to take FTI to the next level. Our dreams can become reality if actions arising from this two days conference are implemented.
All participants promised to devote significant time to ensure movement a success.
Dipinder asked participants to write about how much they would like to devote which varied from 10-20% to 100%. KK Verma confirmed that he is already devoting 100% of his time for social upliftment through his research and writing. Many members agreed to devote more time this coming years. They agreed that once momentum is build, it will be easy to work.
The conference went well in spite of few absences. All felt that FTI needs to move beyond the internet and the time is ripe. We all have to enhance momentum.
Following steps need to be initiated by FTI members, to the extent possible:
1. Decide your constituency, nurture it and work on ground to bring change.
2. Let’s bring 2000 leaders into FTI by end of this year.
3. We need regular meetings and training of new members in leadership. Senior members should groom new leaders. New members should be given a chance and responsibility to grow.
4. Maintain high quality leadership and imbibe in new members too. This must be demonstrated in thinking, action and reactions.
5. Initiate extensive work to make SKC a successful movement. This is not a political movement, this is people’s movement. Mass movement is necessary to bring significant change. No system has ever changed without a mass movement. India needs a movement today much bigger than America’s revolution, lets us make SKC becomes bigger than American’s revolution.
6. Prepare necessary policies and documents. Volunteer wherever you can contribute.
7. Collaborate with other like minded groups to ensure that a potent force can be formed for 2014 elections. Collaborations of good people is a necessary to eradicate bad leaders.
8. Ensure fund raising of the tune of Rs 5 crores.
9. Test drive in Delhi 2013 elections and join parties to ensure good candidates.
On FTI all leaders are at same level. As Sanjeev said during his comments, “all of us should want to become PM”. Today India is waiting for good and strong leaders. FTI leaders have tremendous responsibility and opportunity.
Vote of thanks
Participants gave a round of applause to the Delhi team for organizing the wonderful conference. Special thanks goes to Mr Vijay Mohan who contributed Rs 10,000/- for this conference and KK Verma for organizing accommodation for outside members, venue arrangements at Indian Society for Training and Development (ISTD Hq) and other administrative functions.
The support of Dipinder and Swapnil to bring arrange Skype was well appreciated.
All appreciated the efforts of Sureshan, KK Verma and Dipinder to bring outside group members for future fruitful collaboration.