Mahatma Gandhi suggested a way: “Democracy is an impossible thing until power is shared by all... Even ... a labourer, who makes it possible for you to earn your living, will have his share in self-government.”
India needs a system that throws up parties and politicians whose primary goal is public service, not power.
Recent events yet again highlight the need for electoral reforms.
The primary goal of political parties is to capture power, and they use all the means at their disposal to obtain power.
Power brings money, privileges, and control of the treasury.
Political parties in power are supposed to deliver good governance and serve the public, but usually power becomes an end in itself.
Freebies: public funds are being used by those in power to lure voters. There are two factors that strengthen the growing deterioration in the quality of campaigns.
Rapidly increasing criminalisation of politics
Widespread use of social media to spread fake news during an election campaign. Money also fuels much of what we see today.
Who is elected or which party wins does not seem to matter any longer. In this game, those with money and the ability to engineer defections can always come to power.
2 factors contribute to this open use of money to topple governments.
One is the total lack of transparency in the funding of political parties.
Electoral bonds have made it even more difficult to trace the source of funds of political parties.
The second is that political parties in power have complete hold over law and order.
A corporate scamster is arrested when the money trail is discovered, but no effort is taken to trace the money trail during massive defections.
Good governance needs democracy. But today, hardly any political party in India is internally democratic.
Finances are raised and used in a completely opaque way.
Root cause of the problem: the goal of political power without adequate transparency and accountability.
All governments, whether Central or State, are in financial difficulty.
More than 25% of the Central Budget is spent on paying interest on money borrowed by the government.
India’s fiscal deficit is among the highest in the developing world, with the IMF estimating it to be 7.5% of the GDP in 2019.
State government finances are worse: a substantial amount is spent on salaries and pensions.
Then we have the huge problem in the financial sector.
How can we really expect good services for the taxes we pay if 43% of MPs have criminal cases against them?
For now, we need democratic, accountable and transparent political parties. We need to check the use of muscle and money power.
Police follows the orders of their political masters.
Those who can reform the system do not want to. Voters are no doubt getting educated rapidly, but they are not in a position to bring about inner change in the electoral and political system merely through voting.
When every line in the book is violated
After a violent riot, teachers of young children have a difficult time deciding what to say in their classes when children ask awkward questions.
Little effort has been made to study the response of children to such occurrences and the dilemma that teachers face when classes resume after a riot.
A violent riot is normally seen as a breakdown of law and order.
A weakening of the state’s moral authority and people’s trust in it.
In the context of education, however, the impact of a riot goes much deeper.
As an institution of the state, a school — whether privately run or managed directly by the government — enables the young to imbibe the moral principle underlying the state’s authority.
During the Delhi riots, a private school was set on fire and its property looted.
Every core value of education is injured by the violence that breaks out among citizens during a riot. Even a specific topic such as respect for someone else’s property and publicly owned infrastructure takes a long time to teach in a manner that it would make sense to children.
Any explanation would necessarily involve telling children why the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 has proved controversial.
Melania Trump, was scheduled to witness how a government school transacts a so-called ‘happiness’ curriculum.
It was terribly ironical that she was attending a ‘happiness’ class in south Delhi while violence and fire raged in the north-eastern part of the city.
Textbooks, teachers and principals routinely tell children that India’s religious diversity is a matter of pride.
Education must deal with the deeper anxieties of the young in order to retain its own sanctity and credibility.
In a post-conflict phase, officers and teachers must decide what they will tell the young and how.
Way to go
Farooq Abdullah released after 7 months in detention Political possibilities in the troubled region
Backchannels were open between him and the Centre before the release.
PM Modi assured a delegation of the newly formed Apni Party that he would work towards the restoration of statehood for J&K.
There is a considerable trust deficit between its people and New Delhi.
Centre must allow all opinions to be articulated.
The recent situation of Afghanistan should be taken as a warning signal for India.
India’s approach towards J&K must be people centric and guided by a resolute commitment to its diversity and religious pluralism.
Uttar Pradesh government has appealed against the Allahabad High Court.
High Court: erection of the hoardings lacked statutory backing and that it was a gross violation of citizens’ privacy.
UP Govt. has approved an ordinance that provides for recovery of compensation from those suspected of involvement in rioting for any damage to property.
Supreme Court’s vacation judges have referred it to a larger Bench.
Choosing a small group among hundreds arrested in connection with the violence during the protests for the public display was a “colourable exercise” of power.
Applying the tests laid down in K.S. Puttaswamy verdict, he top court ruled that there was no necessity for a democratic government to disclose anyone’s identity and particulars without a legitimate purpose.
A dam of contention in Africa
As the July deadline draws closer for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the river Nile to become functional, the dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt, with Sudan caught in between, has escalated into a diplomatic stand-off.
Differences were laid bare recently when Ethiopia skipped the latest round of tripartite negotiations with Egypt and Sudan in Washington, being mediated by the U.S. and the World Bank.
The contentious issue around the GERD, Africa’s biggest hydropower project, concerns control of the flow of water in the world’s longest river among the riparian states.