Indian Politics: Dance of Democracy

Democracy is a complex concept, but it is also the best possible available to us. For the world, India is arguably one of the most vibrant of democratic nations existing in today’s times. The preamble, the Directive Principles of State Policy and the Fundamental Rights and Duties adumbrated in our unique Constitution clearly demonstrate the democratic spirit and goal of our Nation. However, if we look at it objectively, the concept of democracy is still phifty-phifty. When it comes to freedom of expressions or holding an election among a cluster of 250 political parties the flag of democracy flies high. But when it comes to functioning of politicians and political institutions, the very fundamentals of democracy are being violated and mocked.

Let me highlight the problem from the grass- root level. India is a land of numerous castes, religions and languages. Quite evidently there are a lot many political parties which are functional at the regional level. As a result of this the National parties fail to secure a majority in the general elections and a coalition government is formed. The pressure exerted by small regional- and caste-oriented parties on coalition governments has resulted in decisions that have sacrificed national interests in favour of local interest. This type of functioning needs to be checked and improved. Democracy can flourish only when local self-governments are strengthened with proper financial and administrative autonomy.

Democracy can be truly achieved only if rule of law and equality before law is implemented for every citizen of India. The task is difficult and many incremental reforms of all shapes and sizes have been introduced over the past few decades.  But a bitter fact still holds ground. The reforms have been agonizingly slow in implementation. To survive the global competition and to meet the expectations of a billion people  the mantra should be “ no more Reforms, but a  need to Transform totally.” We need to transform our procedures and policies in all sectors of governance for a healthy survival of democracy.  The immediate focus is primarily required in three sectors:

1) Civil Service Transformation

2) Police Transformation

3) Judicial Transformation

Under the umbrella of civil services the government should concentrate on improving the delivery of services in the core sectors which include food, health, sanitation, education, water supply, electric power, roads and housing.  The highly bureaucratic and rigid system should be replaced with transparent, accountable and people-friendly governance. The line between the politicians and bureaucracy  should be clearly demarcated. A civil servant ought to assert his allegiance to the Constitution rather than obeying the whims of a corrupt politician. The administration of Police cries for urgent attention. A biased law and order situation has resulted in total loss of credibility of the people especially the youth and the women. Next important area is the judiciary which requires streamlining of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code. There should be steady disposal of cases in the court at lower levels. Also, the completion of Corporate insolvency proceedings with in a period of one year should be made a law.

India is one of the few nations of the world where you will find a 70-year-old Prime Minister running the country with an 80-year-old President. The influx of young blood and new ideas into politics is a serious need of the hour. Our country needs to understand the definition of a Leader in true sense of the word. One person can view the leader as a person who is highly educated with good oratory skills. Other can envisage him to be an Economist who can take the country to the path of economic development. A third person may want to see a leader who is an ex-bureaucrat having past experience of administration and insights on the internal problems. The permutation and combinations of the types of possible leaders is huge. And there is no single individual who can fit into all the above possible templates.  If citizens expect a leader to solve all their problems, they will always face disappointment.  Citizens have their limitations and so does their leader. Thus, people should search for a leader who humbly ac
cepts his limitations and do not make tall claims. Instead he should act like a mentor who motivates the people of India to overcome their limitations individually and collectively by following an uncompromising path of positive action.

Himanshu Singhal