Indians have often tried to convince themselves that India remains a largely tolerant and secular country. But several surveys and polls have proved that much of India remains conservative, undemocratic and intolerant. Liberal parties must build grassroots presence to change this reality.
Posts tagged as “participatory governance”
The president and the governors should transcend politics. The president must be allowed to prepare his own address to Parliament, rather than behave as a spokesperson for the prime minister. Governors must act as independent links between the Union and states rather than as partisan appointees.
Questions from MPs are now widely brushed aside by the government. Meanwhile, in recent years, more Bills have been passed without debate, fewer Bills have been referred to parliamentary committees and an increased number of ordinances have been passed in order to sidestep Parliament altogether.
The burden of upholding democracy rests on three pillars: government, institutions and civil society. In India, while the former two have received attention from researchers and the media, the third pillar is scantily discussed. In recent years, civil society organisations have increasingly come under attack.
Centralisation might seem at first glance to improve efficiency. But that isn’t always the case. Centralisation of power by the Union government has undermined the fiscal and policy autonomy of states, and altogether weakened governance in India. The Opposition must fight to reverse the trend.
Breakdown in communication and trust between the government and citizens resulted in heavy hardship as citizens lost access to basic services. There are lessons to be learnt from Punjab, Kerala and Odisha. We need to build enabling infrastructure that helps communities to act freely to meet their own needs.
The objective of the electoral bonds scheme was to infuse ‘white money’ into the political system. But its provisions, along with other amendments, open up Indian politics to opaque and undetectable influence from the corporate sector, while giving the ruling party undue advantage. There are alternatives.
The number of lawmakers facing criminal charges has increased significantly in recent years. The Supreme Court has tried to counter this in many ways, including by asking parties to publicise the criminal records of their candidates. But why do voters actively vote for criminal candidates?
During COVID-19, larger centralised rice mills have been shut down due to transportation restrictions and lack of diesel. But smaller decentralised rice mills have been running and keeping farmers alive. There are many lessons for rural development from this experience.