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India@65: I have a Plan
India is a 65 year old, under-developed baby with rich ancestry! It is crying for attention in every dimension – mind, body and soul! Good governance is at an abysmal level, Graft is at its Mt. Everest heights, National discipline is stuck in a Peter Benchley “Abyss” and the traffic in every sphere of the common man’s life is so thick & dense that everyone is looking for the smallest possible opening to charge into - despite flashing red lights! Elected representatives are abdicating their responsibilities the moment they seize power –branding all of us as Maoists (including simple-minded Farmers) and we in turn look at them as Nazists or Fascists or weird Dictators. Believe me, Hitler and Mussolini (& others of the kind) never actually died!
Good honest citizens, such as me, have tirelessly ‘twittered’, ‘facebooked’, goolge-plussed’ and blogged our fertilizer-rich, power-grid hungry ideas in the ‘windows of time’. Gandhian Anna’s (elder Brother), Baba’s & Yoga Guru’s are giving their best possible twists & postures and indulging in various ‘fast’ techniques to enlighten and ‘rub-on’ all of us. I guess we are listening and perhaps many ideas are ‘breaking’ and ‘streaking nude’ across that wonderful mind of ours!
I have a plan, I have a dream:
The President of India, the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Ministers of all States should be directly elected by the people, in addition to the MP’s and MLA’s - but in a party-less fashion. Yes! There will be no Parties and Party (and Symbol) based Elections and everyone will have to ‘cat-walk the ramp of India, strutting their valuable assets’ to get noticed! Allow only like-mined ideas ‘to party together’ after the Elections. Every candidate should win an election on the strength of his/her character, skill and ability to govern and get things done.
The President shall remain the ‘monitoring’ Head of State and will be responsible for making a “minimum” India Development Programme/Plan (IDP) – taking into consideration all fundamental ‘sine-quo-non’ aspects of the Country – Defense, External Affairs, Economics & Commerce, Sport etc. The IDP shall be made, in the manner of a Budget, with inputs from various technocrat arms of the Govt. such as Planning Commission, DRDO, CAG etc and various Citizen Forums and Private Industry Captains. The President shall discuss with such teams and finalize the minimum IDP, which shall be handed over to the elected PM to implement as the ‘executing’ Head of the Govt. The PM should necessarily, over and above the minimum IDP, make his own plan, after discussing will like-minded elected MP’s to evolve a consensus and hand over the same to the President for monitoring. The President shall have a 6 year term (to overlap Govt terms) and it shall be his task to ensure that at least the minimum IDP is 100% executed in letter & spirit. He shall be assisted by the Judiciary, Lok Pal (If an when it ever comes into being), CBI etc., in monitoring.
Likewise, the State Governors shall follow the work-break-down of the IDP and hand over a “minimum” state-level, State Development Plans (SDP) and monitor the CM’s.
The PM and the CM’s shall have fixed terms whereas the MP’s & MLA’s may be recalled if found to be under-performing or not – cooperating with the PM or CM on baseless reasons or being parochial or corrupt. The MP’s and MLA shall constantly engage the people of their constituencies and ensure that dialogue, discussion and participation by the people happen on a continuous, ever-evolving basis.
The basic structure of the Constitution, Parliament and powers of the President, PM, Governors, CM remains unchanged. The ‘basic Political Party’ may remain, at best, as a loose circle of influence over the MP’s & MLA’s.
I now leave it to all of you to put forth your ideas, deliberate, discuss and provide further insights and carry forward, if worthwhile!
To end on a positive note, from my Facebook page (I am not a Fareed Zakaria!!) on Lessons from the recent London Olympics: Of course India got the (hockey) " twelfth stick", but beware, we have bearded, mustached, burly Wrestlers, ace silver (& gold eyed) Shooters, Mary mom 'twin-kid' Boxers and sleek 'Gopi-fed' lady Shuttlers! (Maybe a few loudmouthed, 'gorgeous & curvy' Tennis players - will come around eventually). Yes, we are arriving - a few more Olympics, perhaps, but we will get there in 2016 or 2020! Jai Hind! Happy Independence Day! Live with the energy of the mind!