All this nation needs is good governance

The higher the peak you climb the more peaks there are in front of you, stately and magnificent but challenging.
India is surmounting every challenge thrown up by the model of parliamentary democracy it has chosen to live with. It may be presumed that this effort is facilitated by the government of the day. Unfortunately, the present government’s attitude, its repeated omissions and commissions are themselves becoming challenges for the nation today.
That the nation is facing a governance paralysis has been voiced by eminent citizens from all corners of our country. Political parties of different hues are cautioning the government that it is answerable to Parliament. Constitutionally endowed institutions such as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) are dispassionately raising issues of accountability. The media is relentlessly questioning the government on many of its contentious decisions. Notwithstanding all this we are getting nowhere.
There is an absence of timely policy-making. Policies made with foresight can fuel growth. Conversely, their absence can result in critical sectors of the economy being left clueless. The escalating crisis in power sector came to a flashpoint when large parts of the country went without electricity for days. A few states such as Gujarat have surplus power, and would you believe it, are unable to sell it to their neighbour Rajasthan or Delhi. Even more blatant is the neglect of agriculture. Marginal farmers are hopelessly seeking fatal solution to end the crisis in their lives. In recent past, shortsighted tweaking of export and import policy, particularly of cotton and sugar has adversely affected both the farmer and the consumer. The same goes for the crisis in health, finance, education labour, infrastructure and the media.
Complete cacophony prevails when industries to set up business, seek clearances; every ministry has its say, together they do not facilitate!
The party that came to power assuring “inclusive growth” is yet to determine even after eight years who should be included. Audaciously, however, taking the moral high ground on poverty eradication since the “Garibi Hatao” days, the Congress believes in dumping money in the name of the poor. However, it hasn’t faced the truth on why poverty continues, nor does it worry about the rising fiscal deficit. In recent past, its flagship programmes have been designed to remain outside the CAG’s oversight, and charges of rampant misuse are everywhere.
The Congress adopted an ingenious model to govern the nation by splitting the centre of power between the Prime Minister and the chairperson of the ruling alliance. Manmohan Singh and his Cabinet on the one hand and Sonia Gandhi with her National Advisory Council on the other formed the two rails on which the engine of governance will move forward. The Indian Constitution has not envisaged such a setup. The two rails are not aligned and as a result the engine is unable to move forward. There is, however, a risk that the engine can move backward. The absence of alignment of the two tracks is manifested in many instances — Planning Commission vs the NAC, the Cabinet vs the NAC, the government vs the party, regulatory commissions vs the minister, ministry vs the minister, minister vs minister… Is it a surprise, then, if the Prime Minister remains silent most often? What and how much can he say?
However, how long can he maintain his deafening silence and can he indeed? Even on grave and scandalous matters in a department directly under him, Isro — concerning the deal with Devas — the Prime Minister has not spoken. The government is being compelled to answer in the courts of law. The Supreme Court is not only demanding answers but on several matters observed that the government was on the wrong side. Three instances within this term of the UPA being knocked down by the Supreme Court are significant — the appointment of CVC, seeking an affidavit from the Prime Minister’s Office and the latest and most stunning blow, the cancellation of the 122 2G spectrum licences. The matter related to the Army Chief has shown how for want of statesmanship the government is getting dragged to the courts even on administrative matters.
People elect parties to govern and to be governed. Several parties may come together to govern but govern they must. Because they are together in an alliance and they have been voted to be there, they cannot abandon governance. Abandoning governance can’t be justified as a compulsion of coalition nor can it be glorified in the name of abiding by “coalition dharma”. It may be a compulsion for the chairperson of the UPA to keep the coalition afloat at any cost, but the government cannot pay for it — both through loss to the treasury and its credibility. Unfortunately, both have happened and there is no one responsible!
The Congress may or may not learn any lessons from this phase of its history. The people of this country should debate the developments of recent past to understand how we can surmount such challenges, which are created by the very people who are elected to govern us. How do we, the people of India, understand coalition compulsions? Is “collective responsibility” a term only to be left in civics textbooks? Is the Prime Minister a first among equals in the Cabinet or just a mute spectator like the aam aadmi waiting only for the next general elections? How do we deal with a government that refuses to shake itself up? Are costs deterring us from holding elections when governments fail us and, if they are, then what is the trade-off? Questions we need to debate.
These are challenging time for us. A few nations in the neighbourhood are on the verge of collapse. We cannot allow our institutions to be ruined. We cannot let ourselves down. As people, we have time and again shown that we do not suffer arrogance or autocratic tendencies. It is time again for us to state unequivocally that we want to be well governed, whether under coalition governments or otherwise.

The writer is spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The views expressed in this column are her own.

Comments

Not only governance but also

Not only governance but also a leader of the caliber . . Like narendra modi.

Dear Nirmalaji, the INC which

Dear Nirmalaji, the INC which led the freedom movement lost its vision long ago and those great men who fought under its flag might be feeling sorry for where it is leading the nation.Scams one after the other involving mammoth figures makes us wondering of those values for which our forefathers stood.Those in power can boast of taking the country a few points higher in Corruption index where our nation stands at 95th.

well said ma'am.,

well said ma'am., they treated our people like bondage.

Madam, Agree with what you

Madam, Agree with what you say about the UPA coalition and the Congress.

Seeking the mandate part, is where I see you shirk the real issue.

It is not a toss off between poll expenses, The BJP is not ready for a mid term poll. Even if the situation stagnates and poll held in 2014, can the BJP get an absolute majority?

Eight years in opposition, have not been used by the BJP constructively to consolidate its position.

Has the BJP gone out and persuaded the electorate that you have better alternatives by spelling them out. You have let all the pseudo seculars drown you in their rhetoric.

My own feeling is that the BJP is exploiting short term gains as against long term goals.

I have admired you as the best spokesperson for the BJP.

Please look inward too.

Thank you

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