Democracy: Report Card of Executive, A Recuperating Diseased Juvenile [Part 3]

Posted on April 24, 2012 in Politics

By Ashish Kumar:

Executive is the epitome of strength and government is the face of the democracy that common people encounter. It is at the helm of many vital functions and hence is the weakest link, failure of which leads to dysfunction of the entire democratic machinery. The snowballing juggernaut of corruption at all government desks has been the most credible threat to our democracy because it promotes the welfare of one at the cost of many. The exchequers’ money goes to the scammer’s pocket instead of going into avenues of mass welfare. Luckily, the menace of corruption has slowed down but not terminated the executive machinery.

The government has come out with holistic MGNREGA scheme for poverty alleviation, invested heavily in urban infrastructure like Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, metro-rail for local transport, world class international airports, UID and has managed to keep most of the PSU’s accounts in money. The governments in recent times have to be credited for realising the importance of trade, both international and inter-state, and entering into trade agreements for enhancing trade. Inking of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements with many countries promise to keep a check on money laundering to a large extent, but a lot still remains to be done.

Another heartening aspect of our executive is the retention and in fact bolstering of faith of people in institution of election. The increasingly high turnout of voters in recently concluded assembly elections suggests that voter is no more apathetic towards the politics of the country. They want to make every opportunity of participation in governance which comes their way count. Adult suffrage, provided to every adult citizen of India irrespective of caste, creed, religion and sex is the most potent handle provided to them to steer the directions of country’s governance. This handle gives people the power to elect their executive head i.e. Prime Minister directly as opposed to that in USA where President is chosen indirectly by an electoral college. That this tool is being used to its extent is evidence of a live democracy.

People have started shirking off their allegiance towards their caste and religion and have started voting for the most apt candidate, the one who is committed to the development of the constituency. Re-election of Nitish Kumar in Bihar and Narendra Modi in Gujarat has been outcome of nothing but the massive rejuvenation they had done of their respectivestates during their tenure. At the same time, the voter has been shrewd enough to show exit gates to the nonperforming like Mayawati in UP and left rule in Bengal and Kerala. Single party domination is no more the order of the day. A multitude of regional parties have also sprung-up each representing their state and issues. Regional parties like Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress and Akali Dal are strongholds in their respective states and are giving true sense to Indian federation. Another heart warming trend these days is that people have started understanding the importance of stable governments and are giving clear mandates.

The proposed electoral reforms are yet another corroboration of our juvenile, kicking democracy. The reforms like right to choose no one and mandatory divulging of criminal records and assets would make sure that only the deserving and the most suitable candidate wins and if there is no such candidate, no one wins. Recent state assembly elections have shown that the power of ballet reigns supremacy over bullet and muscles. None other than Indian masses know it better that it is good to be with good.

Mahatma Gandhi had said that the local governments are at the core of Indian democracy because they empower the masses at the lower echelons of society by bringing the semblance of governance in their reach. Working of local governments involves them in their governance. With 74th amendment of Constitution in 1992-93, we institutionalised the local governments in both rural and urban areas.

Till now, apart from a minor hiatus in states like Bihar, these local governments have been elected regularly through elections held every six years. Indian villages now have working Mukhiyas, Ward counsellor etc. and they play the important role of liaising between village people state authorities and channelling of money for village development from the state government. Municipal governments in metros like Mumbai have become so enormous, sturdy and vital that their election is followed with rapt attention by all. These elected representatives have plenty of say in city-governance and infrastructure development-policies.

The office of independent authorities like CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) and Lokpal in states has helped in unearthing of scams of Kafkaesque proportions. Election Commission’s endeavours for fair elections are praiseworthy.