Address by the President on the occasion of conferment of outstanding parliamentarian awards for the years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Significance of Developmental Politics
I am indeed delighted to participate and stand here this morning in this historic Central Hall of the Parliament to congratulate and felicitate Distinguished Parliamentarians, Shri L.K. Advaniji, Shri Arjun Singhji, Shri Jaswant Singhji and Dr.Manmohan Singhji on their being conferred Outstanding Parliamentarian Awards for the years 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002. I congratulate the outstanding parliamentarians. I feel particularly happy, when I infer that a function like this, is a manifestation of the innate desire of our Parliamentarians, to maintain the highest traditions, and honour those who live up to them. It certainly augurs well for the future.
Freedom and democracy have all along been an integral part of India’s culture. In fact, its history can be traced back to the very ancient period when Sabha and Samiti were two, highly respected institutions in our village republics which performed functions similar to those of the popular representative bodies of today. Our choice of a democratic political system, on achieving Independence was therefore, an automatic continuation of the ethos that had always been there, innately ingrained in India’s culture.
We have been proud at the unparalleled distinction of India being the world’s largest thriving Parliamentary democracy of multi-religious, multi-languages and multi-cultures. We have completed 55 years of our Republic, with a flourishing democratic edifice, that is the envy of many other countries. What amazes the world perhaps is the sagacity and maturity of the Indian voters who have always tried to exercise their mandate con-sen-ces-ly and enthusiastically proving once again that as envisaged in our Constitution, the people are sovereign and the power flows from them. People have a right and urge to live in a developed India. In this gathering I would like to discuss the topic "Significance of Developmental Politics".
Political Politics and Developmental Politics
When I see, in front of me, the outstanding parliamentarians, a thought comes to me, which I would like to share with you. As you are all aware, in politics there are two dimensions, the first one is the political politics and the other is the developmental politics. Political politics was essential during the time of independence movement. Today, what is needed for India? With its 260 million people living below poverty line and the illiteracy rate being of the order of 34%, the employment seekers of more than 36 million, our mission has to be, to make India a developed nation that is free from poverty, illiteracy and unemployment. This situation necessitates developmental politics.
I would like to visualize a situation in which the political parties perform in the environment of developmental politics in our country, competing with each other, in putting forth their political vision through their manifesto. It goes like this; let me narrate the sample scenarios:
1. Suppose Party A will say, within 15 years, we will lead India into a developed nation and also give a development growth plan for every five years and execute it. Party B says, we will lead India into a developed nation within 15-X years through a clear cut action plan. Party C may unveil a new strategy for national development with different indicators and excel in ideas related to our role in the global arena. It may give a road map to ensure that India becomes a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council within a period of X years.
2. In my scenario two, Party A says, that we will create a nation where there is no unemployment. They suggest achieving this, through a mechanism of generating more employment providers rather than employment seekers. Party B will say we will provide an environment and mechanism where no cases are pending in the courts and ensure that law & order problems are minimized and people live in a harmonious environment. Party C says that no Indian will go to sleep hungry. It has a vision to make sure that all the nations look up to India to provide the intellectual leadership to make the world peaceful, stable and a beautiful planet to live in. World peace will be India’s target.
3. In scenario three, Party A will say, we will ensure that all our border conflicts between neighbouring countries are resolved within a period of 10 years. Party B will say, we will resolve all the border conflicts and create a harmonious relationship among the neighbouring countries within a period of 5 years. Party C may say border trade will become borderless. Commerce brings prosperity and prosperity brings peace.
When the opportunity is given for a particular party by the people to implement the development plan and it becomes a reality with the support of all members, the country and the people will be blessed by the noble act of the Parliamentarians. Democracy provides an opportunity to everyone to prove himself or herself how better he or she can perform in realizing the vision of the nation.
The need for removal of poverty totally, the need for providing opportunities for all our people in the fiercely competitive and knowledge based world and the need for providing security to the people and nation in the complex world of today, these multiple needs would lead to the necessity of our graduation from Political politics to Developmental politics.
There are many national issues, which have to be pursued by the Parliament beyond party ideologies. These include, the march towards developed nation, providing safe water, uninterrupted electricity, healthcare and shelter to every citizen of the country, the plans for communication and computer penetration and national security. The discussions, debates, generation of alternative ideas and consensus arrived at, towards these goals through the parliamentary process will certainly lead India towards the path of reaching a developed India even before 2020. Hence, Parliament has to spend, all the time with competitive spirit to carry out the developmental tasks in time.
Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) as presented in this year’s Finance Bill has to be started on a mission mode, since it will bring prosperity to six hundred thousand villages through connectivities. Parliamentarians have to contribute in a big way, in progressing this mission.
Role of Parliament Members
The Parliament is a pivotal institution of democracy. The Parliament has to revitalize itself, making it a vibrant, progressive and an ever-growing fortress of democracy. The Parliamentarians’ role, therefore, assumes tremendous significance and it is essential that each one of the Members of Parliament lives up to the aspirations and ideals for which they have been elected.
I am sure, I have your permission to speak some bare truths which we all know, are a fact but would refuse to acknowledge. I have no hesitation in talking to you about them, because I am part of you; I am as much part of the Parliament, as you all are, and I am as much concerned about the success of our Parliamentary system, as you all are. Our Polling processes have been, of late, under severe strain with certain fatal violences. Let us be honest to ourselves. The arithmetical compulsions of incremental numbers and the alleged tradability of certain legislative seats, won perhaps through means allegedly dubious and undemocratic, have many a time created doubts on our democratic system in the public eye. When politics degrades itself to political adventurism the nation would be on the calamitous road to inevitable disaster and ruination. Let us not risk it. It is time all of us did an introspection and grew up to the expectations that were enshrined so diligently and optimistically by the founding fathers in our Constitution so that India sustained itself and grew as a mature, healthy, vibrant, democratic nation.
In every action of Parliament Members, our 540 million youth who are below 25 years of age should see in you great leaders, who can be their role models who are going to bring a dynamic change in politics and the developmental missions. We owe it to the voters to fulfill their expectations due to which we are here. The ascending trajectory of the nation’s progress cannot be ensured, unless we put the nation above ourselves.
People are yearning for a life-style change by preserving the cultural heritage, values and ethos of the Indian civilization. Only you, Hon’ble Members of Parliament, can bring the smiles on their faces, by enacting appropriate policies, laws and facilitating societal transformation. We have been working with the policies and procedures which are mostly based on mistrust. As a result, motivation and empowerment are dampened and suppressed, whereas Indian people have shown enormous achievement when provided an environment of trust and working space.
The Parliament needs to mount a mission to identify and scrap the complex old laws and administrative procedures which are hindering the growth oriented development economy. This will give scope and a hope to a large section of the people who are honest, to flower and flourish. India must move to a trust-based system and only the members of this great Parliament can bring about this change. Your name is waiting to be written in the important pages of the history of India, to transform the nation into a developed India.
Let us show to ourselves, and the world, the maturity in our politics which we have gained and how we can utilize that for the sustained development of our nation. We will strive to build an India that is vibrant, vigilant, safe and secular. I am sure that this is well within our capability and we can achieve it if we really want to.