[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Here is food for thought and reflection on the manifesto



---------------------------------------------------------------------
[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
___Help make this manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!___
---------------------------------------------------------------------
>                        The Manifesto   PART I
>                        GOOD GOVERNANCE
>Today, India neither has good governance nor good economic policy.

--- why is this statement here?   what is its exact purpose?  can it not
be
said of any country at any time? e.g. the USA, Switzerland, Japan,
Nigeria,
South Africa etc etc.  I.e. my point is that it is a pointless
rhetorical
statement which could be made about all countries at all times.


We >need
>to provide good governance first, which will be made possible by
>implementing good economic policies simultaneously.
>
1.      Individual Autonomy and Participative Democracy
>We believe that a radical democratization of government in India is the

>need
>of the hour.

--- why the need of the hour?  is it so urgent?  why not the need of
e.g.
the decade?

The challenge before us, the citizens, is the creation of a
>system of governance where the interests of all, rich and poor, the
>educated >as well as the illiterate, are protected, and everyone gets a

platform>to
>raise his/her concerns.

-- this is platitudinous, i.e. nobody will disagree

Our government needs to protect the freedom and
>autonomy of individuals and, by implication, that of all organizations
>of
>the people.

A government that limits itself to fulfilling the basic >mandate
>that it is entrusted to, by the ordinary citizens, the masters of our
>democracy. The mandate that is limited to protecting individual
freedom,
>liberty, right to choice of enterprise, opportunity to earn a dignified

>living, and order in the society to insure peaceful coexistence of all,

>without regard to individual differences.
>
--- this is good above, draws upon the French and American revolutionary

ideals


In order to achieve the above mentioned objective,
>
a) Individuals willing
-- why not wishing/wanting  to be?


to become politicians and represent the people in
>the
>government, must state clearly their stand on specific critical policy
>issues that are important for the citizen's day-to-day life. This
>specific
>information about the views of the candidates, along with a, published,

>detailed background information of the candidate's recent past, must be

>used
>by the citizens to elect their best representative for the government.



>b) All government control of the media must be released back to the
>people.

-- this is a touch of the concrete .. now debate is on going in India
about
Prashar Bharati... the IPI statement seems to be unaware that Indian
newspapers are as free as anywhere else, that there are numerous foreign
and
domestic alternative newschannels today, and have been for five years
or
so...  .

>c) Anything more then absolutely essential personal information on
>private >citizens

-- what does this mean, if anything?

cannot be kept by the government, and the citizen would be
>entitled
>to receive a copy of any information about him/her, that the government

>wants to keep.

-- there is a long and ongoing debate in India on a Freedom of
Information
Act... why not refer to it concretely... the leading light is CR Irani.
editor of the Statesman...
>
>d) Unless clearly defined and approved otherwise, every public office,
>which
>is essentially, by definition, created to serve the public, would have
>to
>have local control via a local board of representative(s),
>selected/elected
>from among the community of people such an organization claims to
serve.

--- what does this mean in practice in India, if anything?


>e) Local bodies and groups which involve debate on public policy, to be

>encouraged.

--  to be encouraged by whom?  by the Union Government?  why?  how?
using
public funds?
>


>2.      National Reconciliation


>The creation of a sense of fraternity amongst peoples of India is a
task
>long overdue.

--- in what sense?   do we have Bengal at war with Bihar, Telegus at war

with Kannadigas?  Maharathis at war with Gujaratis?  of course not...
we
have, in a country of subcontinental size, local civil conflicts and
disturbances and insurgencies...  the statement makes it sound as if
what is
needed is a Saviour of India...



The task of sitting down together and discussing things
>out
>has to be carried out very seriously. this can be done by


>a) Fostering civic institutions and think tanks in all fields, which
>will
>interact with the people as well as with counterparts in other
>countries.

--- is this to be done with public money?   why?  seems to be a recipe
for
over-intellectualismand rent-seeking...

>b) Promoting the spirit of volunteerism and thus enhancing social
>capital.

>3.      Electoral Reform
>A legislation needs to be enacted that strictly requires individuals to

>show
>proof of no criminal record

-- what does this mean, if anything?   no jail-time?  no charge-sheets?
no
FIRs?   a lot of people have spent time a little time in jail... as I
recall
for example Smt. Sheila Dixit was arrested by the BJP Govt in UP for a
while
in 1990... is that a criminal record?

involving conviction of the candidate,

-- this is even worse now... nobody gets convicted in India... certainly
not
political criminals... so by this criterion, no progress would have been

made...

as a
>precondition for qualification to run for any elected public office.



>Election Commission also needs a legislation requiring a mandatory
>accounts
>audit of every individual political campaign committee accounts.

-- what is the present position?  What would Shri Gill say about this?


Such
>accounts must document every small

-- I gave Rs 20 to a volunteer from the extreme leftist SUCI the other
day... because they re-introduced English into CPM run Bengal's schools;
are
you saying you want them to account for it?

as well as large donation from
>citizens
>as well as organizations.


Such political donation records containing
>information about donors as well as the amounts donated, should
>automatically become a public property accessible to all.
>
>Election Commission must impose a strict upper ceiling on the amount of

>money a single individual or organizational donor can donate to a
>political
>campaign.

--- what is the present practice of the Election Commission?  does
anyone
know?
Such limit should be revised every ten years in order to
>adjust
>the limit with inflation.
>
>Elected representatives of the people in the government need to be
>rewarded
>with good remuneration. Public service should be made attractive enough

>to
>retain talented and people of honor in its fold. However, the
>compensation
>needs to be strictly defined without any loopholes for the politicians
>to
>exploit for their benefits. Transparency needs  to be the norm here
>rather
>then exception.
>
>Summary information totaling Income from all sources, including gifts
>etc.,
>and the taxes paid by the people holding elected public offices, should

>become public property accessible to all. This step can help reduce the

>amount of corruption in politics.
>
>
 Bureaucrats would be given  incentives to document corruption by
elected
>representatives (including taped evidence).

--- what does this mean if anything?  elected representatives are the
masters of bureaucrats I am afraid in a democratic system, like it or
not...


They would have the power to
>present such  evidence to the Lok Pal who, in turn, would have the
power
>to
>protect the bureaucrat as well as to reward such effort if found to be
>true.

-- why has the Lok Pal suddenly appeared beside rthe Election
Commissioner?
these are two distinct jobs...>
>
>
>Law regarding State & National Political Parties :
>
>Nominations of the official candidates of individual political parties
>for
>contesting elections, should be democratically done by conducting
>preliminary rounds of elections, where only the party members residing
>in
>the constituency under consideration would be eligible to vote. This
>should
>be done no sooner then four months and no later then six weeks before
>actual
>elections to the constituency are due.
>

-- I have already stated in a previous message that this is based ona
muddle:There are in India and
elsewhere political formations which would normally be called
dictatorial
and/or totalitarian.   The basis of the dictatorship may be ideology or
religion or merely personality cult.   Such a party might subjectively
consider itself democratic (while considering one another
anti-democratic),
and even have some semblance of intra party voting.    Political
philosophy
has known and defined the "paradox of democracy" for a long time, by
which
democratic institutions are used to bring an anti-democratic party into
power.    The task of public policy would be not to chatter on about
intra-party democracy but rather to see that all political parties,
whether
democratic or not, play by democratic rules against one another, and
further
that the paradox of democracy be recognised and countered to the extent
possible.



>4.         Parliamentary Reform
>
>Voting records of each and every MP/MLA on each and every Bill would be

>publicly available

-- they already are

on the internet,

-- not necessary if they are already available

so that citizens could determine how
>well their interests were represented by the said representative.


>5.      Defence
>Constant preparedness is needed to keep our defense forces in the state

>of
>readiness to defend our borders. Availability of sufficient funding has

>to
>be ensured for investment in personnel, modern weaponry, and suitable
>technology in accordance with current military needs.


--- this is platitudinous... like saying all Indians would like India to
win
at cricket.

>6.        Foreign Policy
>
>We should try to find common interests with nations that have similar
>democratic norms of government.

--  does this mean we may not ally with e.g. Russia and China regarding
Kosovo?
Remember Lord Palmerston:  nations do not have permanent friends, but
permanent interests...


This would include extraditing criminals
>from other nations who are sought by their police, shutting down
>operations
>of foreign terrorists on Indian soil, signing extradition treaties with

>more
>nations.

-- extradition is the main plank of foreign policy?
>
>We advocate the goal of global disarmament by all nations and the
>banning of
>all weapons of mass destruction. The sole purpose of creating a nuclear

>weapon must be to help the world understand the futility of trying to
>hold
>on to existing power structures in perpetuity, and to insist that
>everyone
>in the world will be better off with complete disarmament. India would
>never
>be the first to use nuclear weapons in the event of a conflict with
>another
>country.
>

-- this is all standard policy now...



>With over 20% of the world's population, India deserves a place in the
>permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Indian foreign policy
>must
>mature with the aim of leading the international community in the 21st
>century. India must work with friends and supporters in the United
>Nation to
>make it happen. Indian foreign policy needs to focus on protecting
>Indian
>interests abroad, as well as better promoting/protecting Indian
business
>and
>trade interests.
>

---  I can go on and on... my point would be to show that this, while a
worthwhile endeavour, is far from being a mature, well-thought out
document
at professional standards.


Subroto Roy




--------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/
-------------------------------------------------------------------------