The inherent perils in Indian Democracy. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-c4
Abraham Paul. P.
This is an extract of the initial part of part of my blog ‘The Bitter Pills for India Reprieve’. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-5I
Introduction: Individuality in thoughts, unrelenting desire and self centric ambition to gain superiority over other at any cost and ever growing insatiable greed being the basic instincts that differentiate the human race, a political setup that envisages a country be ruled by a government of the people, by the People and for the People, is more an Utopian myth than a realizable reality. It is too ambitious to wish that India, a very young Federal nation made from scratch, inheriting long embedded ethnic variations, diverse cultures, social structures, linguistic differences, and highly dominating regional beliefs and interests, and disparate disputes of harmful consequences right from the time of its creation, to become such an Utopian democratic nation too soon.
1.1. The myth of ‘Right to Rule’ in democracy: In the Indian context, about 50% of the total population only have voting rights. Of that, only about 50% cast their votes. Considering a vote split among three major contestants, parties that get between 9 to 11% of the total population get absolute majority and the party that can get 7 to 8 % of votes could become the largest single party. A one percent shift can tilt the scale either way. The type of people representation that can be attained with this sort of arithmetic of people’s representation in the democratic set up is anybody’s guess. This is one of the major perils of our type of democratic process.
1.2. Responsibility of the opposition parties in Governance:
Notwithstanding the above mentioned problems in democracy, it is only fair for every Indian to aspire to have sober and stable governments at Federal level that could take care of the needs of all the people in the country irrespective of their Socio-economic levels, faith order / religious beliefs or political leaning and their representative strength in the Federal system. For this, it is imperative that the representatives of the factions outside the ruling parties realize that they are next majority stake holders based on the overall percentage of votes polled, behave with responsibility and cooperate with the progressive programs of the democratically elected ruling coalition government, to push the country forward instead making themselves of mere nuisance value by blindly opposing all policies and obstruct governance for frivolous reasons.
Opposition should act as a shadow ministry: The way out for the opposition to make themselves responsible and their actions visible to their voters is to make them positively participate in the process of governance by its designated leaders acting as shadow ministers of every portfolio to give suggestions, solutions, alternatives and their opinion in the floor of the house; as to how they would have approached issues if they were in power, for every issues and proposals put forth by the corresponding ministries.
1.3. Claim of ownership of governance solely by the elected representatives is more a myth than reality.
By definition, in a Democracy the ownership of Government ‘of the people’, ‘by the people’ and ‘for the people’ shall rest with people. The claim of ownership of government by a fraction group of elected representatives is illogical and a nothing but a myth made up by the political class to elevate themselves to the level with erstwhile rulers.
1.4. The Executive/ Bureaucracy /Judiciary are the custodians of Governance.
The prime requirement in Governance is that it can be done or got done only by the right persons who have the right knowledge. Since it is impractical to to have the right people with right knowledge for the right job through current form of electoral process, governance need to be handled only by well experienced people who are exclusively trained for that. India had inherited a system of well defined hierarchy that could take care of the needs of governance. The system comprise adequately trained and experience Executives and Bureaucrats who are deemed to be appointed on behalf of the ‘people” by their elected representatives in the Governments and therefore, shall be the custodian of governance.
1.5. Governance is a continuous process: Irrespective of the nature of ever varying political set up in the Government, Governance shall be a continuous process that cannot be ensured with the musical chairing Ayaram -Gayaram political masters.
Continuity of governance is the prime need for planning and implementation of country’s time consuming programs based on a predefined policies and that can be achieved only by the uninterrupted system made up of Executive / Bureaucracy.
1.6. Politicians are just middlemen between the people and Government.
People being the owner of government and the Executives / bureaucrats its custodians, need the the elected representatives to interact and to take the needs of the people to the Executives and Bureaucrats who are the custodians of governance, and to see that these are rightly implemented by them. Therefore, it logically makes the position of the elected representatives just middlemen between the people and the government. representatives from various political parties mere middle men between people and the government through whom people interact with its government.
Other important function of the elected representatives is to jointly make or amend laws and rules that are required to enable smooth governance. Please see my blog: Deviation from the right process of governance is the reason for most our woes. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-cV
1.7. Political class in India had reversed the process of governance.
The form of well established hierarchical form of governance we once had only can make it governance functional, responsible and answerable. Unfortunately, the situation prevailing is no where near the above mentioned hierarchical process. The political class who are there as elected representatives on a short term basis have entirely reversed the process making themselves as both owners and custodians of governance and made the Executive / Bureaucracy irrelevant and ineffective.
If we closely analyze the issues concerning the nation as a whole, it could be seen that the main cause of most of our problems being experienced in India, both in the federal system and in the States are due to fact that the political masters have made the Executive and Bureaucracy ineffective, non-functional and irrelevant and then use it as a scapegoat for their own failures. What is the use of crying hearse about systemic failures in every ministries and departments when the system itself is made non-functional. It is high time to put back the hierarchical way of governance back on tract if the nation has to survive.
Unless we look look into the real reasons of our failures, any amount of agitations, Anushans and Andolans, Lokpal /Lok aukths etc., cannot set right the country. The root cause of the problems such as corruption, Black money abroad, Price rise/inflation, growth of ethnic violence etc are mainly due to the systemic failures as any government however politically strong it could be cannot directly handle the governance by it’s political masters without the right systems in place.
2. Politics is about being Pragmatic.
Politics is via media between ‘Perfect’ and ‘Practical’. The discretion between the Political heads and the Executive is that while Bureaucrats have the tendency to act like horses with blinds which are supposed to view matters pertaining to their own area with singular viewpoint while the Politician has the responsibility to have a birds eye view of various aspects related individual areas of governance and take decisions accordingly in more cohesive manner. However, what they should learn is to use the right machinery for the right job at the right place at the right time instead trying to do everything by themselves.
Please see my blogs ‘The Bitter Pills for India Reprieve’. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-5I
An apolitical Government will do far better for India. wp.me/p1ZsI2-4I
Author: Abraham Paul. e-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @PA_Paul