JP - 19th Century Politics & 21st Century Economics

Can they co-exist?

  • Economics and Politics cannot be de-linked.
  • In the 20th century, Human kind has discovered what works best in Politics.

Role of State?

  • Public Order, Justice, Rule of Law
  • Accident of the womb doesn't determine the fate of a child.
    • Education
    • Health care
  • Infrastructure
    • Transportation etc.
  • Natural Resource Development
  • Social security

India

  • 2% of global economy

Politics

Success Story

  • Universal Adult Franchise on Day-1
    • a great adventure
    • an enormous expression of faith
    • US, Britain took ages
  • Retianed political freedoms
  • intense electoral competition
  • winners do not punish losers
  • elected governement is truly in authority
  • Maturity of federalism

India is a truly vibrant functioning democracy. Moderate growth of economy, and influencing the global economy

Dark Corners

  • Vote buying
    • Poverty, Illiteracy
    • Power struggle without reference to Ideologies/outcomes
    • Only change in players, no change of outcomes
  • Freebies after election
  • Dividing based on primordial loyalties
    • No sense that any party would make any difference
      • Emotional Purchase is only available

Argument

19th Century Politics, Medieval Politics and Modern Economics cannot co-exist. One of them will have to give way.

  • Comparison with China
    • Argument against Democracy is detrimental to economies
      • Autocracy - everything bad that happened
      • Democratization - everything good that happened
        • it's more than just voting
        • in some respects China is perhaps more democratic than India
  • What India needs
    • Art of democratization of our society
      • even after we have 7700 words in the constitution on this issue
      • We created over structured under powered local governments.
      • recognize the merit of de-centralization
        • link between authority and accountability
        • understanding of link between vote and public good
        • link between taxes and services rendered
          • tax avoidance is a national sport!
    • Rule of Law
      • impeccable system of law normative-ly
      • weak, in practice
      • simple elegant answers exist.
        • administrative forms comission
      • Culture of VIPs, cronyism, …
    • Fight Corruption
      • corruption in India is Ubiquitous!
      • answers are self-evident
        • institutional mechanisms
    • Electoral System
      • Proportional Representation
      • Presidential system
      • Old fashioned - first past the post system needs to go
        • One vote can change things
        • Vote buying will continue

Challenge

  • We need to set the house in order today
  • What happens to one-sixth the humanity cannot but impact the rest of the world!

Questions

Answer-ability of administrators

Vicious cycle of politicians (get purchase) trying to change the system

bad politics drives away good politics

young people recognizing the centrality of politics

deep engagement of middle class

pursuit of personal goals along with pursuit of public good

politics - improved only by better and more politics, not revulsion

Telangana issue

Our federalism has matured remarkably

neither a cure nor a catastrophe

it's a practical solution some people are seeking

if language is not a marker, what's the new marker?

  • there's nothing wrong with having markers
  • some uniform principle

big city is seeking a separate state-hood

  • could happen with another state
  • how do we resolve it?

Once these things are resolved, it doesn't matter what happens.

  • the real answer lies in de-centralization

Rule of Law and Democracy

over-centralization has been our bane

decentralization is a tool of democracy

delivery of rule of law is weak

  • we have to set that right

freedom and economic growth are compatible - show this to the world!

Maoist insurgency

the only form of dissent is within the bounds of the constitution

state and the people have every right and duty to control it

hierarchy of principles - preserving of constitutional order

Positive experiences during your term as legislator

politicians are just another set of human beings. period.

  • do whatever it takes to stay in power
  • they are not villians
    • political framework

Conclusion

We have the technology. The world is truly flat. We have the resources, to be able to fulfil all the basic needs of all the people and the potential of the country.

We lack are institutions, right kind of politics. They take a lot of nurturing. Let us be engaged. It is our future that's on the line. Economic growth is spurring changes in the country. Communications revolution is helping bring change. The question is, What direction of change? I ask of you, to make a difference to the way the Indian political trajectory takes shape.