Good Governance – The need of the hour

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 | by

A country’s progress – economic, social, cultural and spiritual – would depend, to some extent, upon the kind of Government. Though most industrial countries are democratic, most of the Islamic countries are dictators. Others like China, North Korea and Cuba are Communist countries. A protagonist of democracy has stated “democracy is the worst kind of Government until one discovers something worse”.  Independent India seems to have adopted the worst kind, which is totally inappropriate for our conditions. In Western countries, Parliamentary democracy functions well because they are mono-culture societies, with same religion and language, like Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, etc. India is a plural country, with a highly diversified culture, with innumerable divisive factors, such as religion, caste, language, ethnicity, etc.   In western countries, government concentrates on governing and public administration, along with conventional functions of the government. Economic development is largely left to the private sector with government acting only as a regulator and controller.

In India, however, we have a mixed economy, where government actively participates in economic and social development as entrepreneur, manager, lender, insurer, regulator, controller, etc.  Because of this, India today is in a dangerous situation – politically and economically. The country is divided emotionally along linguistic, castes and communal lines.  India’s emotional unity has been nourished for 5000 years by the ideals of Indian civilization and the overwhelming influence of the four religions born in India.  It has now been largely eroded because of the inappropriate political economy model.

Government is so busy with its business functions, which are massive and widespread.  Ministers are CEOs of PSUs with lakhs of crores of investment and lakhs of employees.  Railway is the largest organization in the world under one management.  For recruiting junior officials and managers, the selection process is elaborate.  But these CEOs, except a few exceptions, have no qualification except gathering votes with money, liquor, mafia power and caste charisma.  They decide the economic destiny of a large nation.  Nothing can be more absurd than this situation.  Ministers have no time to govern.  Since government is in business, naturally those who stand for election are mostly those who wish to make money by manipulating the governmental system.  Thus, instead of social service-oriented personalities, business-oriented segments of society enter politics. Since a lot of money can be made in government by manipulating the governmental system, elections have become very costly.  A candidate has to spend at least Rs. 10 crores in election expenses. Naturally he has to recover the Rs. 10 crores, which is easy, since Rs. 100 crores can be made per day in government. During the last two years, scams by politicians are of the order of thousands of crores of rupees.

It is essential that the system should be so changed that honest people can compete in the elections without spending much money. The system should promote parties, and not individuals as at present. We had proposed Electoral reforms, which would encourage formation of parties and give them stability. Also, competent people with character would be able to enter and strengthen the political system.

The main function of the government is Governance. Maintenance of law and order are the most important ones. But our government is so involved in hundred other unnecessary responsibilities that it has no time or resource to take care of vital functions. State governments themselves are launching bandhs to protest against the Centre and other States. Police are becoming ineffective as they are misused for political purposes. Their time and energy are being wasted on trivial functions like bandobust duties, escorting prisoners to courts, guarding ministers etc. Media portray them as clowns and buffoons or as brutes who torture people.  Their morale is going down.  They would soon become inactive and ineffective.  People would lose.

Democracy does not mean freedom and license to loot or create public disorder and unleash violence, as has been going on for the last 40 years. We have the obvious example of China to study how they have been able to grow much faster and eliminate the curse of poverty, illiteracy, privation, etc.  Shanghai is one of the cleanest cities in the world. We have not been able to clean the garbage in our cities. Thus, our journals remind citizens that dramatic and drastic changes are required to bring about order and harmony in India.

Though 70% of Indians live in villages, it is the 30% in urban areas, who mould public opinion and influence policies.  People look at the Government not by factors, such as, “whether we are a super power or whether we get a seat in the UNSC or whether we are respected for our military might”, etc. The one hundred cities in India influence public policy.  People will judge the Government by the way the Municipal Corporation, Water supply, Electric supply, Sewage system, Educational Institutions, Hospitals, Development Authorities, etc function. The most inefficient segments in India are the Public Utilities and the Services in the cities. If they are improved, public opinion in favor of democracy would become favorable. Today, people curse the Government, as they are not even able to clear garbage. Utilities and Services are to be improved by making them managerial and commercial, and not as simple Government Departments with obsolete systems and lethargic officials and employees.

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