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Manifesto - Para 15 Electoral Reforms. COMMENTS

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
Para 15 (Electoral reforms) . Sub Para 1 of the Manifesto reads as =
"Representatives of the people will be paid liberally to attract the =
best and most experienced people from India into governance. An MP would =
get about Rs.20 lakhs per year, and an MLA about Rs.5 lakhs per year, =
fully taxable. Apart from free housing at the state capital, no other =
perquisite will be provided."
My comments:
First, I would like to clarify this. When we say "Public =
Representatives" and "Governance", are we talking only about the =
Legislature or also about the Executive?  I assume that since this =
section deals with electoral reform, we are dealing with the legislative =
bodies. In my opinion, it is the executive branch of Govt which should =
be paid well to attract the best talent. The legislature is a whole =
different ball game.

For one, I do not subscribe to the view that paying a person well is =
enough to prevent him from being corrupt. This is because greed does not =
have limits. Besides, corruption has its roots in power more than in =
want. The legislative bodies should consist of people who are (a) =
qualified by virtue of their experience and intellectual abilities to =
contribute to the process of legislation (b) people of integrity and =
stature (c) people who are not looking to make a career out of politics. =
They should be persons who have achieved a degree of success in their =
respective fields and have the time and the inclination to contribute to =
the law making process of the country.

I also firmly believe that we should not cram our legislative bodies =
with ruffians, buffoons and generally undesireable types under cover of =
a farcial democracy. Are the goondas and history sheeters true =
representatives of the people? I am not trying to be elitist here but =
can we really leave the law making process to unlettered people who do =
not respect the law in the first place? Does it make any sense that =
while we have such a rigorous selection process for those who implement =
the law, we let just any "lallu-panju" (no pun intended) frame those =
very laws. If this is democracy, God help us!=20

How do we achieve this? By making the post of MP or MLA unattractive to =
the gold digger and the criminal by taking away a lot of unnecessary =
perks and powers. By having a rigorous vetting and selection procedure =
before a person can contest elections. Does this subvert democracy? In a =
manner of speaking, yes. But that is a small price to pay for the =
resultant clean up. The catch? All this reform needs the support of =
those very MP's and MLA's that we are seeking to throw out. So, fat =

Taking the liberty of shooting off at a tangent here, I would also like =
to add that Ministers should not necessarily be elected representatives. =
They should be the best people for the job and should be appointed by =
the peoples' representatives to run their respective departments much =
like the board of a corporation hires executives to run a company. They =
should again be people who have achieved success in their respective =
fields. Their CV's and a declaration of their assets should be made =
public. Besides, they should undergo performance reviews. Pay them the =
moon but make them accountable.

This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
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