Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lokpal in Delhi,Lokayukta in Gujarat

Today at 10am,Anna Hazare broke his 13 day long fast for a strong Lokpal bill to fight corruption.It was on April 11, that government agreed for a joint draft with team Anna.Then govt went back and came out with its own draft which was rejected by team Anna and everyone else.Hence this fast and hence its calling off today.
Now we need to mark this date 28th August 2011 and wait for the day on which the first case of corruption is filed against a politician or a public servant.That will be the proof of the pudding.
On 26th August, Governor of Gujarat unilaterally appointed the Lokayukta [ Mr R A Mehta] in state of Gujarat[ ruled by BJP] to probe the cases of corruption against the govt of Gujarat,.Governor took this decision on the premise that this appointment was kept pending by the state govt since last 7 years.State govt stated that this was due to the games that the Congress party in the opposition was playing all these years.Governor's decision has been challenged by the BJP govt in SC.BJP's state govt in Gujarat,headed by Narendra Modi has been the least corrupt govt in the entire country.Yet a Lokayukta has been unilaterally appointed for policial reasons.Congress party wants to fix Narendra Modi.Why?
Congress does not expect to win Gujarat assembly elections to be held in 2012.It also does not expect to win the Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2014 or earlier.Congress party presumes that BJP with its allies will project Narendra Modi as their PM candidate.If that happens Congress and other left liberals entrenched in Delhi since the time of Pt Nehru may find it hard to survive,in Delhi.They have been so dependent on so many favours from the state all these years.So this is the question of their survival.Hence very proactively, they have tried to rein in Narendra Modi with false corruption charges through Lokayukta, who is their own appointee.
This raises the question of appointing the Lok Pal, once the said bill is turned in to a law.If Congress or any other party which is ruling at the center is to behave the way, Congress in Gujarat has behaved,what is the use of such an instituion?
In the case of Lokayukta, there needs to be the consensus between the ruling party and the opposition on a name.Yet, Gujarat Governor has done it in the name of expediency.Can we expect similar " expediency" in cases of Lokpal at the center? For reasons of power politics?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Governance Part II

Today is 15th August,India's 64th independence day.PM has addressed the nation from Red Fort.He appears very phlegmatic,helpless and worried.Worried because of Anna Hazaare's fast from 16th August for an effective Lok Pal to fight corruption.Worried also because of the drift that has set in.
Whoever comes to power in 2014, should look afresh at issues of governance.If we follow the same old ways, we will continue to get the same results. In my previous blog,I discussed some of the issues of governance.Here are some more, dedicated to all those who laid down their lives to make us free.Justify Full
[1].Ministries of Defense & Home should be merged to create one ministry for SECURITY, headed by a senior leader.Under this minister, there should be ministers for [a] Defense [b]Internal Security [c] Judiciary [d] Constitutional rights.[ including Parliamentary affairs]A holistic security architecture should be developed and managed by this single ministry.
[2].All ministries dealing with economy should be merged in to a single minstry of ECONOMY,headed by an Economist.Under this minister,there should be ministers for [ a] Finance [b]Revenue,[c] Commerce, [ Industry, internal/external trades][d] Energy [ all sources of energy] ,[e] Transportation [ different ministries for Air,sea,rail and road transports should be merged to create a single Transport ministry] [f] Agriculture [ irrigation, food,horticulture & civil supply ministries should be merged in to a single Agriculture ministry] and [g] Labour
[3].HUMAN RESOURCES, minister here should be a proven educationist, responsible for education, training, employment, R & D [ no need for separate minister for Science & Technology, R & D can oversee all aspects of scientific development ] and Human Rights.
[4].ENVIRONMENT ,ministry should be headed by a PHD, responsible for Forests,water pollution,air pollution,coastal zones across entire geography of the nation
[5] EXTERNAL AFFAIRS , ministry should be headed by a senior ,energetic, charismatic and very articulate person.He/she should head a very large ministry with desks for continents and important countries and adequate staffing in foreign consulates.Country can afford to have younger minsters of State here to handle specific policy issues/countries.This ministry needs complete make over in the light of our growing international influence.
The PRIME MINISTER should head the cabinet comprising of above five key ministers, while retaining sensitive portfolios related to security [ nukes].He should also keep General administration and Personnel depts under him.He should replace present I & B ministry with Ministry of COMMUNICATION and retain the same with him.He should be aided by NSA and an effective PMO as at present.
Such a small and effective government should be aided by several regulators, such as ,
CAG,CBI,ED, RI,TRAI,NIA,PLANNING COMMISSION,CVC,LOK AYUKTA ... all responsible to Parliament and not to any ministry.
This way , we can eliminate several ministries, many of which are redundant due to liberalisation[ eg ministry of steels, heavy Industry,Chemical....], We don't need independent ministries for Power, Petrochemicals, Telecom [!],Shipping,Corpotate affairs, minorities etc.Aforesaid five ministries can have junior ministers for such functions if required.
Governments at the center and in the states should follow this model.Then expand IAS,IPS,IFS cadres and start out sourcing clerical work with the aim of reducing/eliminating armies of clerks.
Time has come for all political parties to agree for abolition of the posts of Governors.We don't need them.Political parties should find other vocations for their superannuated leaders.High Court judges in the states are most qualified to double as representatives of the President, to report consitutional issues through a small cell of constitutional experts.After doing away with Governors, the Raj Bhavans with their lands and assets should be auctioned off and money placed with respective state exchequers.