Prologue: I first wrote this Essay in the year 2012, when India turned 65. I’ve kept the age the same and tweaked it a bit to publish it again this year – 2017. Have we improved? Be my guest!
Over the years it has been a personal, and perhaps a public one too, revelation that the best ideas pop out while in the shower or simply resting in the ‘Rest Room’, managing the in’s & out’s – mostly the latter – of the human body. Archimedes got ‘his water-floating’ idea in the bath-tub and went ‘virally naked’ with it – getting truly well deserved attention. I got mine this morning, sitting on the WC and am coming to you with clothes ‘fully-on’. Einstein said imagination is what really matters. Well, I do not disagree.
India is a 65 year old, under-developed baby with rich ancestry and cultural traditions. It is crying for attention in every dimension: mind, body and soul. Good governance is at an abysmal level, graft is at 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 Nazis, or Fascists, or weird Dictators. Believe me, Hitler and Mussolini – and others of the clan – never actually died!
Good honest citizens, such as me, have tirelessly ‘tweeted’, posted on Facebook, and blogged fertiliser, power-grid hungry ideas in the ‘windows of time’. Gandhian Annas (elder Brother), Babas & Yoga Gurus are giving their best possible twists & turns 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!
Well, I have a dream; I have a plan, for a Great India; read on.
The President of India, the Prime Minister (PM) and the Chief Ministers (CM) of all States should be elected directly by the people, in addition to the Members of Parliament (MP) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLA), in a party-less manner. Yes, there will be no Parties and Party (and Symbol) based Elections and everyone will have to ‘cat-walk the mighty ramp of India, strutting their valuable assets’ to get noticed. Only like-mined ideas should be allowed ‘to party together’ after the Elections. Every candidate should win an Election on the strength of his/her character, integrity, skill and ability to govern and get things done.
The President shall remain the fundamental monitoring Head of State, owning the Government, and shall be responsible for making a comprehensive ‘minimum’ achievable India Development Plan (IDP) – taking into consideration all fundamental ‘sine-quo-non’ aspects of the Country: Defence, 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 Government, such as, Planning Commission, Defence Research and Development Organization, Indian Space Research Organization, Comptroller and Auditor General of India etc and various Citizen Forums and Private Industry Captains. The President shall discuss with such teams and finalise the IDP, which shall be handed over to the elected PM to implement as the ‘executing’ Head of the Government. The PM should necessarily, over and above the IDP – and in addition, make his own plan, after discussing with like-minded elected MPs and obtaining a consensus, to achieve greater development heights, and hand over the same to the President for vetting and monitoring. The President shall have a six-year term (to overlap the five year term of elected Governments) and it shall be his responsibility to ensure that the IDP is 100% executed in letter & spirit. He shall be assisted by the Planning Commission, and other Central & State Government Departments in project progress tracking and monitoring. He shall knock the Government on its head, if he finds things are going astray.
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 CMs, reporting to the President.
The PM and the CM’s shall have fixed terms whereas the MPs & MLAs may be recalled if found to be under-performing or not cooperating with the PM or CM – on baseless reasons or parochialism, or chauvinism. The MP’s and MLA shall constantly engage the people of their constituencies, in Town-hall type meetings, and ensure dialogue, discussion and participation, which shall happen on a continuous, ever-evolving basis. They should be able to sense the pulse of the people at all times.
The basic structure of the Constitution, Parliament and powers of the President, PM, Governors, CM remains unchanged – with minor tweaks. The ‘Political Party’ may remain, at best, a loose circle of like-minded, ‘benign influence’ over the MPs & MLAs from a particular State or Region.
I now leave it to you to expand, deliberate, discuss, provide further insights and carry forward, if worthwhile.