Sunday, October 9, 2011

Goodbye to Democracy, We need Election Reforms!

  • Our democracy is an old hat which has just a symbolic value
  • If we want to change the dirty side of India's face, we need a change
  • The change that we, the people of India can bring......
  • As a tribute to the martyrs who fought and gave up their lives...
  • For the glory of our nation....
After reading this article, if you feel AT LEAST ONE of my suggestions is good and needed for our country please SHARE it to your WALL..or make it your status...Remember in the e-era...revolution doesn't need a person as a's the massive support to an idea that wins.......!

            The movement Anna Hazare and his team put before us has given a momentum for all Indians to think strongly about the drawbacks of our system. One of the many placards extending support of Anna Hazare was read “Change the system”. Immediately after breaking his fast, one of the key things Anna reiterated was the need for election reforms.

            The election process in India is pivoted around the commonwealth concept of representative democracy which was once thought to save the world from monarchy and autocracy. Even though the representative form of democracy has succeeded in driving the nation for the past 60 years, can we completely acknowledge the practical side of it? What we see today is that an elected representative enjoys all privileges and takes his duties for granted. They go unasked for the dereliction of duty, influence peddling, nepotism, cronyism and willful negligence. They walk scot-free, have no qualms about wrongdoing and again get elected which bears testimony to their denigration of the democracy of our country. Of the 64 years of post-Independence era, almost 60% of time in office was directly owned by prime ministers belonging to one family and 12% of the time in office is being owned currently when the power of ruling is indirectly vesting in the person from the same family, neglecting hundreds of other eligible, efficient but unfortunate political activists. What is the term that suits the perquisite of owning a country’s political system, is it democracy or oligarchy? These criticisms take us to the need of strong election reforms in India.

            The reforms must touch all levels of election- Submission of candidature, protocols in office, performance of governance and a scrutiny of administration. The candidate must have an experience of social service for at least 10 years where social service doesn’t mean political party service. This field should be made mandatory in the submission form and the election commission should be given the right to cancel the candidature of people providing faux pas information. This will reduce the number of dummy candidates. People having criminal background, sordid history and convicted for criminal offences must be made ineligible. People accused of corruption and criminal offences can be made ineligible for election depending on whether High Court or Supreme Court finds him prima facie guilty or not. A chart may be prepared to distinguish between petty and heinous criminal cases to decide whether a person is eligible or not. A specific number of seats must be reserved for women as well.
            India has seen power being made a hereditary title in various states and in the centre. There should be a rule which states that if a person is the Chief Minister or holding the power of any of the five major ministries of any state, his son or daughter can not take part in the elections in THAT STATE. Similarly if a person is the Prime Minister or holding the power of any of the five major ministries of India, his son or daughter should be made ineligible for participating in the elections in the CENTRE. This will not totally take away the chance of hairs who wish to pursue politics as their career since they have options in other states. Such a rule will give other eligible people an opportunity which otherwise was denied to them due to greed, selfishness and nepotism of the rulers.

            The election campaigns should be made as silent as possible. Posters, fluxes, wall graffiti and clamorous loud speaker speeches must be banned. The election commission can use the candidate fund to prepare formal notices which include name, qualification, number of years of social service, significant contributions in the field of experience and more importantly the bucket list of developments and policies he assures to bring in his constituency in case he gets elected. The national television may be used for open debates, speeches and public campaign. Open ground talks between candidates may be conducted under the vigilance of election commission or a mediator entrusted by the same. Such changes can retrench the huge amount of black and white money fled in the name of elections. It will also put stringent control over freebies and money canvassing often preferred by political parties as a method of persuading the gullible and impoverished.

            While in office, each MLA and minister should provide the details of duties he/ she has undertaken along with the deadline. If he/she fails to perform the action by the d-day he/she should be penalized with a fine amounting to a specific percentage of his income. The details of duties undertaken should be made public through an open website. Every year, the governors of each state and the president should conduct an administrative audit to decide the performance of each minister. They should be given the power to penalize all lackadaisical and delinquent ministers. If an MLA or minister is found to be failing time and again to meet his deadlines the governor should impeach him with the consent of Honourable High court. They should also be given the power to decide whether he stay in office or step down and face the investigation if one is found to be corrupt or involved in criminal offences while in office. A yearly referendum may be conducted to analyse the performance of the ruling government. Internet and mobile phones can be used for this purpose. If the governor finds the ruling government a big failure in terms of the policies and developments and if the referendum goes against the ruling government by a large ratio he may opt for mid-term election with the consent of High Court, Supreme Court and the President of India. This is a proposed method of Electronic direct democracy which has been attempted in several countries, for instance, Sweden and Switzerland which fall in the list of top 10 least corrupted countries in the world has attempted it in their political system.

            There was proposal to include a ‘None of the above’ button in the voting machine. A disadvantage of this proposal is that using this button is equivalent to not attending the election since a negative vote for all candidates never makes any difference in the final calculation. A good idea would be to add positive and negative votes for each candidate (The same LIKE and DISLIKE idea of social networking sites). If a citizen finds two persons eligible, he can opt both and if he finds none he can cast negative votes for all. This wouldn’t be a lengthy and time consuming process provided all dummy candidates are warded off based on the qualification described above. After choosing positive and negative votes by pressing a POST button at the bottom he can submit his choice.

            At present we do not have the right to elect ministers. We have the privilege to elect an MLA only and the ministers are elected by the winning party. For instance, the incumbent Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh has never won a Lok Sabha seat which literally means that we have not elected him. It was Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s decision that sworn him in as the Prime Minister of India. Is it justifiable that a person who has not been balloted by a majority of citizens be handed over the supreme power of a country just because he fell in the wish list of five or six members of the high command of the victorious party? The primary election may be followed by a secondary election for electing the Chief Minister and some of the other ministers (holding the power of significant ministries which may directly affect people) with a minimum of three candidates chosen by the winning party or coalition. This might consume another important day, time, human work and additional expense, but think, which will cost us more? Leaving our country to some unscrupulous politicians and lethargic representatives for a protracted five year term or contributing one additional day for our country? It needs only a simple calculation but the result of which would be a big figure in economics.