What is wrong with Indian polity; what can be done about it?

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By Manu Doshi

Via e-mail

During the days of struggle for independence Jawaharlal Nehru was set at the heart of almost every Indian. But after he became the Prime Minister, it was noticed that he was more of a dreamer than a realist. His concept of socialistic pattern of society was utopian, and the realm of control and regulations that he introduced stifled the economic growth of the country. The situation got worse when Indira Gandhi and her colleagues started using the controls for personal ends. The corruption that she gave vent to has been continually growing like cancer. It has crossed all bounds and we are now witnessing  the politicians unashamedly accumulating property by indulging in large-scale corruption.

But corruption is not the only ailment of the country. The policy initiated by Nehru and perpetuated by the followers has given rise to various other ills that have been deeply affecting the social fabric. While pondering over the conditions prevailing at present I feel that India has been rushing towards catastrophe in political and social realms. Unless the engine is put in reverse gear, we are going to face the devastation. I am, therefore, putting below some suggestions that can help in preventing the same.

1) Introduction of Presiden-tial System: We are having the Parliamentary system of govt. that was adopted because of our association with the British rule. It was, however, overlooked that the system needs vigilant public opinion and presence of two strong parties that can take over the administration. These conditions did not exist in India.

The problems arising from the absence of two capable parties did not come to the notice so long as there was one party strong enough to continue at the helm. The weakness of the system became evident after the fall of the Congress Party from the hegemony. Corruption is a cancer that cannot be rooted out so long as there are chances for getting corrupted. The only way to control it is to reduce the chances. Our Parliamentary system has been conducive to its growth. In order to avoid, it we need to adopt the Presidential system under which the administration can be carried on by the President at the Center and Governors at the State levels elected to govern for four or five years irrespective of the majority.

2) Scraping controls and regulations: Another aspect that gives rise to corruption is the regime of controls and regulations. Influenced by the Soviet model, Nehru was enthused to lead the country towards economic development by wielding the state authority. He ignored the fact that Soviet Union had failed to achieve any measurable degree of economic growth even while exercising total authority over the life of people.

The result is the large scale corruption prevailing at the administration levels. The Commonwealth games and 2G Spectrum provide the recent examples thereof. With the inauguration of liberalization some controls have been removed and the rigors of some have been modified. What is, however, required is to do away with the controls to the extent possible. For instance, with the comfortable foreign exchange reserve no control is necessary on foreign exchange and the rupee should be made fully convertible. Similarly there is no  need for measures like Industries (Development and Regulation) Act.

3) Financial: The concept of preparing annual budget was evolved with the intention to adjust expenditure to the level of revenue. If it was necessary to spend more than the estimated revenue, the budget would propose the measures for raising more revenue. If, however, the shortfall was negligible, it was left as uncovered deficit. Expansion of currency without justifiable basis results in effective devaluation of rupee, which becomes evident in the form of rise in prices.

The Planning Commission has lost its track and it has been virtually planning for inflation without growth.

4) English as official language: English language now occupies the international status. Its importance can hardly be exaggerated, when millions of our countrymen have been living abroad. Its importance for scientific studies also is indisputable. No wonder that many families have been sending their children to English medium schools. Time for treating English as a foreign element has long been past.

Adoption of regional language as the medium of state administration has given rise to all sorts of fissiparous tendencies. That needs to be put to an end  to in the interest of unity.

5) Common Civil code: Though our Constitution forbids discrimination on the ground of race, religion etc. we happen to have a Hindu Civil Code. The Supreme Court has directed the government to approach it with a Common Civil Code. The administration has, however, ignored it in order to avert displeasing the Muslim voters.

6) Communal Reservation: The reservations based on backwardness have created a rift within the society. There was justification for reservation in favor of scheduled castes, because they were kept backward by the society. But they can surely be encouraged to come forward by providing incentives in the form of scholarships etc. but reservations for them in administration or educational institutions can in no way be justified.

7) Population control: We have been facing the population explosion. The population has grown almost fourfold since the independence. The measures taken so far have failed in restricting the growth, because majority of the people refrain from adopting birth control.The growth in population sets at naught the progress in every other field. We should, therefore, be willing to adopt an effective policy for containing the population.

The above measures may work as panacea to the ills that India is facing now.

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