Friday, 4 October 2013
A Dysfunctional Government for a Disinterested People: Made For Each Other
India is supposed to be a Democracy - for the people, of the people and by the people. The people, through the Parliament, are supposedly in control of their own destinies in our opted system of Governance. Every Indian would do well to remember these lines - and remind him or herself of these words whenever any criticism comes to mind. Unfortunately, what happens is in reality, in complete divergence to this optimal or ideal scenario! The status of Governance in our country is there for all to see. And by that, I dont mean our much-maligned UPA-2 governance alone. The ills that are manifest in front of us are not the sole result of a set of 60-odd people running the county, as I have pointed out in my post : http://reflectionsvvk.blogspot.in/2013/06/usne-kiyaa-he-did-it-he-did-it.html. And neither are they the result of 10 short years of misgovernance.
All it takes is one cursory glance at the corruption index, or the HDI Index to see that the ills plaguing our country have their roots far deeper than just 10 years. In 66 years of independent existence, we have not been able to improve the lot of our rural poor to a significant degree. Not only that, our recent economic growth has also not had an appreciable impact on the poorer and weaker sections of our society. Further, we are now in a situation wherein no section of the people-government interface is healthy and functional; no area of our economy is free from the scourge of crony capitalism and corruption, and no part of our country is free from the ills alluded to above.
It can be argued that the Governance of our country is dysfunctional, especially of late. And the arguments in favour of such a position would be very convincing and effective. For example, anything of even the slightest importance has to come from the Supreme Court, which has intervened in areas ranging from Helmets all the way upto barring of convicts in Parliament. The full range of interventions makes for very interesting reading:
Control over automobile emissions
Air, noise and traffic pollution
Cleanliness in housing colonies
Disposal of garbage
Control of traffic in New Delhi
Made compulsory seat belts
Ordering action plans to control monkey menace
Ordered measures to prevent accidents at unmanned crossings
Prevent ragging in colleges
Collection and storage of blood banks
Control of loudspeakers and firecrackers
Baba Ramdev Eviction from Ramlila grounds
Exclusion of tourists from core areas of tiger reserves
Investigation and prosecution of ministers and officers in the Jain Hawala case
Taj Corridor case
2G telecom case
Distribution of food grains to persons below poverty line was monitored
One question that comes to mind is What is the Government Of India doing? And what are the various State Governments doing - if traffic, food grains, helmets, ragging, tiger reserves etc all are monitored by the Judiciary? Just who is running this country? And precisely what are the various government agencies, IAS lobby, State and Central Government departments, Governments etc doing? It is obvious from the above list that ipso-facto, the country is being run by the Judiciary and the Army, the only 2 relatively clean organisations in our society. This above list is hard evidence of official apathy and governmental neglect. This is a testimony of a total breakdown of governance... And most critically, we, the people, are blissfully silent and going on with our lives... mindless of the mayhem all around us.
It is relatively easy to decry the above as a failure of a particular elected government. This argument would also be bolstered by the list of non-performance - HDI parameters, poverty, infrastructure bottlenecks, policy paralysis etc. Taken together, this makes a very powerful anti-incumbent argument against UPA-2. But that would be a superficial observation, one that misses the core issues - all of them.
The reason is simple: not one of these problems is new. Not one of these problems has arisen in the past few years. Not one of these problems is unknown to us. Not one of these problems is something that we could not have done something about. Helmets, Garbage, Ragging, Bloodbanks etc are all relatively minor issues of an administrative nature. Yet, the administrative machinery failed to tackle them - just as the very same administrative machinery failed to ensure attendance of teachers and doctors in Schools and Hospitals. The politico-administrative machinery failed to recognise and act upon genuine areas of concern.
The fundamental reason for the apathy of the politico-administrative machinery lies elsewhere. And the proof of this is not far to be had: all the above stated problems can be traced back decades. The lack of attendance of teachers is not a new phenomenon, for example. The problem of garbage is our cities is ages old. Ditto corruption, which was present before UPA-2.
Furthermore, most of these judicial decisions have been either self-motivated, or in response to public interest litigations. And that means, that only 1 or 2, or at best a few people care enough about these critical matters to do something about it. Why didnt these people approach the Government? Because they knew they lacked the support, the vocal and vociferous support of the people; because they knew that had not the power to move the behemoth that is the Government. All these decisions are for our sake - we will reap the benefits, without doing anything to deserve those benefits.
As regards official apathy, it did not come to life suddenly on the 2nd of March 2006 at 11:23 AM in New Delhi. The official apathy is a direct result of the same uncaring attitude that is evident from the PIL example stated above. Neither was corruption born to Mr Political Crime and Mrs Apathetic Citizen-Crime on the 1st of May 2007 at 16:28 PM! Both are the direct descendants of our deeds - our uncaring attitude, our I-Me-Myselfism and our apathy. They came about slowly, over a period of time, when more and more politicians found out that we dont care about the real problems, that we will pay up bribe money like fools to get what is ours by right, and that we will vote like idiots without analysing the manifesto and intentions.
The hopeless scenario we see today is a result of our deeds. Over the years, we have used every short-cut possible to achieve our own ends, we have broken every single law for our own self-interest, we have turned a blind eye on our community property and people, we have done everything for ourselves, and precisely nothing for our nation. Frankly, not one of us has the right to ask what the nation has done for us - for we ourselves have done nothing. The educated among us have not tried to educate the others on political matters, and have instead colluded with the administrative machinery for self-interest. We have not even stopped from crime to get at what we need: take a look at the list of scams, and look at the silence and active collusion of the normal men and women - the bystanders, the silent observers, the clerk who makes false reports (an intrinsic part of scams) for the sake of saving a job etc.
Nateeja sabke saamne hai.
It is not the UPA-2 which is the culprit. If anyone is looking for a culprit, the majority have to look no further than a mirror. A Dysfunctional Government for a Disinterested People: Made For Each Other. Please dont expect it to be any different in 2014; not if we dont change ourselves, our attitudes and our habits!