The Blog

Towards Positive Change

It's always heartening to read concrete suggestions rather than incessant whining and hand-wringing. Ram Guha, as usual, comes up with some clear-headed thinking on what might be done to make "the political process more efficient and more sensitive to the needs of the citizens:
First, promote bipartisanship on issues of national security and foreign policy.

Second, promote lateral entry into government -- encourage talented professionals to enter government

Third, restore Parliament as a theatre for reasoned debate

Fourth, put pressure on political parties to voluntarily adopt a retirement age.

Fifth, act on the EC’s suggestion and add, to the right to vote, the right not to vote as well.
Read the full article here.

Off-hand, I'd like to add one more to the above, something which I have long wished to emphasise:
Sixth, stop the 'permanent election mode' in the country -- revive the demand to synchronise the Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections".
It's always heartening to read concrete suggestions rather than incessant whining and hand-wringing. Ram Guha, as usual, comes up with some clear-headed thinking on what might be done to make "the political process more efficient and more sensitive to the needs of the citizens:
First, promote bipartisanship on issues of national security and foreign policy.

Second, promote lateral entry into government -- encourage talented professionals to enter government

Third, restore Parliament as a theatre for reasoned debate

Fourth, put pressure on political parties to voluntarily adopt a retirement age.

Fifth, act on the EC’s suggestion and add, to the right to vote, the right not to vote as well.
Read the full article here.

Off-hand, I'd like to add one more to the above, something which I have long wished to emphasise:
Sixth, stop the 'permanent election mode' in the country -- revive the demand to synchronise the Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections".
That is the way it used to be until 1969. And then came the mid-term elections for some State Assembles. Which were followed by the mid-term election for the Lok Sabha in 1971 --- and the separation was thus complete. With creation of new states and other reasons, Assembly elections have gotten more and more scattered. As a result, since at least 1989, when the coalition era finally arrived to stay, the country has been in a `permanent election mode'.

Because some election or the other is always round the corner, compulsive competitive populism takes over. Serious, hard-decisions on even basic reforms on which there should not be any differences are put off and every one is busy playing to the galleries.

This is not a novel or original insight as it has been articulated by many over the years, but we are caught in a Catch 22 -- the need is well understood but because some or the other election is round the corner, the suggestion gets buried in the din of populism. And it isn't as if it is an impractical suggestion. either -- if the major political parties agree, a consensus can easily be evolved as to how to go about achieving this.

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