By Mayank Jain:
When was the last time you cursed the government, state, or the whole ‘system’? We can safely assume that it happens quite frequently and yet, when it comes to acting on your complaint, everything goes to the drain. When it comes to registering the complaint and following it up at the right desk to take home a solution, we don’t just step forward.
A part of it can be attributed to the incomplete knowledge of legislature and governance which makes us question our conviction when we think of lodging our dissatisfaction with the government. The importance of knowing the right person who is responsible for different services we obtain from government can never be overemphasized. It is only the weak who don’t seek change and one who hopes for the country to become a better place in the future, totally should.
Youth Ki Awaaz, based on data and analyses supplied by “AskHow”, would like to discuss a few important concepts which can clarify the confusions and provide answers to haunting questions including “Who’s responsible for my high electricity bill?” and “Who should be contacted to obtain a cleaner water supply?”
The Constitution: Root of all confusion?
India has three levels of governance and law making, namely: Central government, State government and Municipal bodies. The representatives in these bodies can range from Ministers of Parliament for central government, Ministers of Legislative Assembly for state government and Corporators for municipal corporations.
The ‘subjects’, which are essentially the issues for which you would want to approach the bodies, are notified in three lists called the Central, State and Concurrent lists. As the name suggests, Central and State lists contain subjects which are in the purview of central and state governments respectively while concurrent list contain the topics which are common to both central and state government’s purview. One should keep this list in mind before approaching a representative.
Who should you approach?
Anything that pertains to things around you or your city/town concerns the Corporator. Queries about potholes, electricity, street lights, and drinking water etc. should be provided to Corporator. If you are worried about electricity then you should approach state government as they are responsible for supplying electricity but central government policies on coal and procurement do have a considerable effect too.
The concerns on Law are handled by Central government on the issues of infiltration while policing is the responsibility of state government and judiciary works largely independent of the two.
The prices are a result of mostly central government’s policies and the central bank’s decision which directly affect the retail price including the excise taxes that government levies. State government can affect the prices through their control of the local food markets.
Job creation is a function of central government’s policies. State government also plays a role through providing incentivesÂ for the companies to set up offices and plants while the necessary infrastructure is created by both governments.
Education is an important issue that concerns us all and it is crucial to know who is responsible for what. Central government decides the high level policy that applies to the country as a whole and works as a guideline for the state governments to act on. The state governments, on the other hand run most of the government school and colleges. Corporation do this task in some cities.
Roads and transportation in the city are the area of local authority or corporation. State government looks over repair and maintenance of state highways and central government concerns itself with national highways and other projects like the golden quadrilateral.
AskHow India is a group of Indian citizens that aims to raise the quality of debate before the 2014 elections. They believe that a simple way of improving public discussion is to ask the question ‘How’. They think that the citizens should ask political parties how their challenges would be tackled rather than request them to grant their wishes. For example, they think that “How can the next Prime Minister of India lower food prices?” is a superior question to “Can the next Prime Minister of India reduce food prices? Like AskHow India on Facebook here.