Policy paralysis catapults Vision for Reforms in India
Current Affairs Quiz - new
The big debate in India is whether there is crisis of leadership or there is crisis of vision and mission to run the country. While there can be endless debate on the leadership issue, there exists a consensus on policy paralysis and India is in dire need of reforms at various levels to redeem itself.
An interesting book "Reforms to Save India" by S. Gokulraj lists out number of suggestions that need attention, although some may be laughing stock and quite out of context. Notwithstanding the facts, the author wants to convey the message that India needs systemic change in order to gallop on the highway of progress.
Attacking on the electoral system of India the author makes some pointed reference towards electoral reforms. He says the solution for general elections is to have a Single Transfer Direct Preferential voting system as it is followed to select the President of India. This will empower the people to select the person they want directly as they cast a primary vote for a person of their choice and a secondary vote for their second choice. He suggests that there should be provision for recall of the representative after two-and-a-half-years, if he fails to perform.
The author also sees problem in the way our Parliament functions. He finds it lethargic procedural and slow in operation. As part of Parliamentary reforms, he suggests the President of India should be made the speaker of the Lok Sabha and the question hour should be at the start of the proceedings and not in the end.
He also likes to see reforms in the system of Cabinet of Ministers, which constitute the government. He suggests that at the ministerial level, there should be three ministers for every Ministry. A Ministry should have an executive minister with the specific background of the portfolio he holds, and he should be selected by the UPSC. Then there should be a shadow minister from the opposition party, the third be an elected representative from the ruling party. He insists that proper educational qualification should be mandatory for handling the ministry.
Getting down on the issue of accountability, the author demands that the employees in Government offices should be made accountable. There should be monthly targets of work and this has to be audited on monthly basis. In finance and administration, he recommends, a self-sufficient revenue model.
He wants to see municipal reforms and likes each municipal corporation maintain a treasury and use 50 per cent of the money for developmental activities. He also mentions introduction of EVCC (Electronic Voting and Complaint Registration Card) which can be used as an ATM card to register complaints on bad roads and drains. The author is of the view that this model would help faster implementation of development activities in the cities towns and districts of India.
Turning his attention to the villages that is sulking in penury, he advocates Corporate Cluster Cooperative Farming in agriculture, where corporate houses adopt villages, invest money in agriculture, and buy the produce from the farmers in bulk.
He wants reforms in the employment exchange level and likes the government to help the economically weaker sections of the society. As a means to rehabilitate such people, he suggests attaching them to the agencies such as the employment exchange that may generate jobs for them in the Government or in Corporate Sectors.
Coming to judicial reforms, he wants a compounded court system for the entire judicial apparatus. Such complex should have multiple of courts to deal with crime, social issues, family problems, business and corruption. There should deadlines for the judges to clear the cases and their progress should be audited.
S. Gokulraj also wants reforms in the UPSC that selects officers under a complex examination pattern to govern India. He rebukes on the current selection system saying one exam selects officers for 24 postings and because of the ranking system; a qualified doctor is posted to look after the revenue department. He is of the view that the best of the talent can be put to use in the respective fields by conducting individual exams in that particular field. The selected candidates should then be given appointment in the respective departments.
Even though, there may be many shortcomings in the prognosis of Reforms to Save India, one thing that stands out is the author is able to provoke that there is in need of reform at various levels, if our country is to run like a well oiled machine.
The policy paralysis is apparent. At the corporate level the policy is to make rich, richer, so that a white and blue collared class is develop to live as hangers on. We protected our industries for forty years since independence and in the process created our own capitalist class. When we opened our economy in the 90s, it is same the class which benefited from the liberalized policies. Those who made cycles in the protected regime started making motor cycles in the liberalized environment.
Here one needs to understand the operational dynamics of democracy that works on party system and parties need money for contest the mammoth elections. A corporate class is essential to finance such democracy and to distract is being touted as growth engines of the nation. Even though being very small and electorally insignificant, this class holds leverage over the systems of governance in the country.
While at the urban setup, at the corporate level, the parasite policy is at work, in the rural level where the actual vote bank exits, a different policy is being followed. Here the policy is to make the large farmers poorer, robbing their holdings and conditions being created to push them out from farming. This plan has succeeded to an extent, having its own repercussions, the plan to uplift the marginalized section in the farming sector remains in fits and starts.
Now there is the talk is to bring corporate sector into farming and develop the same parasite model in the rural areas as well. What is this? Is this not policy paralysis?
What this discussion has brought to fore is that our country needs reforms that has to be well thought out. The current method of our plans and policies is ridden with deficiencies and has done no good to our country.
If the book 'Reforms to Save India' is of any worth, it is only in the realm of to raise the consciousness of the people to long for reforms. This aspiration has to grow thick and fast, if we want to make our country a true functional democracy.