Thursday, February 27, 2014

5 CAN NOTS' and 5 CANS' for -More governance, less government

More 'Governance and less Government' has been integral part of Mr Narendra Modi’s public statements.   
Every time I hear this, it makes me think how will/can he ensure what he truly wants? (If he gets to be in that position nationally) Where does he begin from? Is it possible without few essential corrections? What are those basics without which he can-not achieve which he wants to?
 In other words what are the 'can-not’s which he can-not carry along, if he has to make the breakthroughs.
Similarly what are the 'cans’ which Mr Modi as a Prime Minister can/must do, to provide more governance?
These are my select five thought-through-thoughts in both the categories--the ‘can-not’s and the ‘cans’
First the 'can-not’s to provide, “more Governance and less Government”--

1) More Governance can-not begin without the elected members of parliament observe a 365 days of code of conduct. This means re-writing of the oath of office as MPs. They do not only take an oath of secrecy and allegiance to India’s constitution but also of a solemn pledge to ensure Lok Sabha does not become a ‘Lock’-Sabha and the Rajya Sabha not a ‘Rage’- Sabha. This means elected representatives set the right example of civility and decorum in parliament proceedings. Members may oppose if they need to, but without obstruction and destruction; without pepper sprays, tearing papers, pulling out mikes or indulging in unruly behaviour.
Unless the elected political class sets the right example of good governance how will they be able command moral authority, respect and trust to get citizens participation for good governance? Will Mr Modi be able to make some breakthrough in this?

2) There cannot be maximum governance with minimum government without right-bright-upright officers in the right places. And the critical positions to begin with are: cabinet secretary which overseas union secretaries and providing the critical link between prime minister's office, rest of the secretaries, at the centre and even the states. Other key positions being chief secretaries, director generals of police and the revenue commissioners! These officers’ cannot but be the best. That is if the goals of good governance have to be achieved.

3) Mr Modi (and PM in position, if wants to) can-not keep transferring saved or borrowed moneys into leaking buckets without plugging holes. This is reference to several social welfare schemes, which are money guzzlers, doled out with an eye on vote banks.

4) He can-not ignore nearly 2 Crore government employees across the country, which are the real governance to the last mile, for the poorest of the poor in the remotest corner of the country.

5) Mr Modi also can-not govern systems with 19 century mind-set, with 20 century government processes for meeting 21 century needs.
Now from these 5 challenges of can-not, I wish to share the 5 can-s which Mr Modi can ensure.
a) With the backing of his party and right minded people he can put in place systems which enable identifying right officers for postings, transfers and promotion for key positions as mentioned, such as cabinet secretary, chief secretaries, director generals of police and revenue commissioners. By chief secretaries effective coordination is ensured: with capable police chiefs, law and order is made possible, and with revenue officials, enough revenue is generated for moneys available for equitable development.
b) Mr Modi can create policies to involve education and research institutes to objectively evaluate performance of government schemes and or government department’s performance at no- cost to the exchequer. This ensures transparency, accountability through objective analysis and regular feedback, along with practical learning for students as part of their project writing.
c) All contracts above a certain amount can be on site to ensure a level playing field for business and entrepreneurial community. This will restore faith in government, while providing good governance. Most of all it will restore integrity.
d) Cooling off period for all civil servants including the judiciary for at least two years will ensure some insulation from temptations of immediate post retirement appointments. It will also enable assimilation in normal public life devoid of official trappings. This will generate re-sensitisation, essential before re-engagement with government in power.
e) Retrain and align the 2crore public servants towards citizen charter and grievance redressal issues through greater use of technology and easy access to helplines with assured timelines. This is a must for sensitive governance. Or how else will the country as a whole feel the change. Retraining, constant sensitisation of public servants can be integrated in the governance systems itself. “Old tools do not create new carvings”. They will need to be kept updated and relevant.

Mr Narendra Modi may like to remember what William Gladstone, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, four separate times said; it is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong.                                 It is the duty of governance to make it easy for people to do right.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We can expect governance from the BJP

Social activist Anna Hazare's key aide Kiran Bedi says that the people of Delhi are disillusioned by the Aam Aadmi Party, and  that she herself would go with her inner ‘nod’ and not invitation or a go ahead from others to contest elections.
Bedi spoke to's Upasna Pandey-
How do you rate the performance of the 49 days of the AAP government in Delhi?
They themselves say they were in a hurry. The AAP leadership adopted a most confrontational and hostile approach towards everything and everybody as they needed to move on to campaigning for the General Elections. All their decisions were impulsive and for increasing vote banks.
This approach in fact has divided Delhi for the first time on class lines. It clearly isolated institutions such as the Delhi police and others. They displayed no skills not the intention to work around with the system, they wanted only its exposure and to punish and gain media engagement all the time.

Delhi will go for fresh polls in the next six months. How do you view this scenario? Do you see things to be any different next time around with the promise of the AAP returning with a majority?

Six months is both long and short for such politics! If Delhi remains in a confrontational and impulsive mode, then we are heading for massive disturbance in the peace quotient of the city.  
There is mass anxiety about it. Anywhere one goes, the question being asked is, how long? And when will Delhi settle down; clearly people are feeling disillusioned.
Hazare has been critical of former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the way he quit from Delhi. He (Hazare) has now also promised support to West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as ‘the most suitable prime ministerial candidate of India’. Do you agree with him?

Anna is an institution by himself and has his very personal views on certain matters. It is best therefore to respect his views and keep yours.

What is your view on the role of the third front in the upcoming elections?

The voters today have an option of choosing one of the two national parties, the BJP, and to reject the Congress which has caused many scams. We can expect governance from the BJP since its being led by an experienced and tested leadership. We as voters will decide what we truly want. Currently, it is time to move on towards solutions and not to look for scapegoats.
Good governance and sound leadership will make corruption difficult and also with Lokpal Act, in which there is now an independence of the Central Bureau of Investigation, punishment of guilty is possible.
I don’t think that the coming together of several parties under the banner of the third front can provide the much-needed political stability; it can only result in poor governance, no progress and decline in all indices. 
There are reports that Hazare has given a nod for you to contest elections. Please share your plan ahead and the role you would play during the elections, in case you choose not to contest.

I don't seek others’ 'nod,' I go by my own inner 'nod'. I don’t know politics! I know public service, and so I willingly remained a cop for 35 years. I wish to remain who I am.

As a former associate of Kejriwal, do you and other members of the Jan Lokpal movement feel that he has become larger than the movement and perhaps Hazare himself?  Some believe that Kejriwal has hijacked the movement for political gains. Your view?

The last fast of July 2012, which he and his team undertook was not with Anna’s prior approval and the rest of the team. It was thrust upon us and the end game was pre-decided. They had said in one of their meetings that if Anna did not support them they would go without him.  Anna joined them for the sake of unity of the movement, without knowing what was in store. That is the reason he dissolved the group immediately after.

How do you think issues such as corruption, law and order, safety of women, apart from economic growth fare in an election which is witnessing strong undercurrents of communal polarisation across party lines?

Those who are interested in vote bank politics would only talk about issues such as communal polarisation. The country is not interested in this. We are looking for development and prosperity and those who do this will save the country and work for India first. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What Kejriwal isn't telling people

Kejriwal is not telling people that Lokpal Bill which he has used (or over-used) as the reason to quit Delhi Government in just 49 days, is National Act today!  (Delhi only needed an amended Delhi Lokayukta!

When confronted by this, he says "oh its a jokepal! He belittles it. He rubbishes it. Because if he respects it he loses the agenda for the political chaos he needs for electoral gains! He is in a political arena and whatever he says and does has a political self interest in the garb of public interest!
Therefore to mislead and get votes on this account he is compelled to keep this diversion alive!
Which is why he does not explain to people the key empowering-added-new provisions of the National Act which is equally applicable to Delhi! People need to know and focus on it to ensure it takes off correctly! And becomes the much needed institution country has been waiting for! (This is the much amended one from the kinds offered by Government during and post anti corruption movement)
 Here are the key elements of the National  Lokpal which Kejriwal does not tell his vote bank, lest he loses his key agenda----
* The CBI's director appointment: In the new Act it's by a collegium comprising of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India. (People wanted this and got it)
* The Selection Committee for lokpal members, comprises of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Leader of the Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker,and an eminent jurist to be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the selection committee
* The lokpal would have eight members: four from the judiciary and the others with expertise of law, investigation, finance, vigilance, anti-corruption etc. Also, with due representation from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and women.
Overseeing CBI
* The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will be overseen by the lokpal in relation to cases referred by the lokpal. In all matters referred by the lokpal to the CBI, the latter will be directly reporting to the lokpal only. Hence, it stands insulated from any political interference in Lokpal referred cases. (no more law ministers' interference of the kind witnessed earlier).
* CBI officers investigating lokpal cases will be transferred by the government only with the prior approval of lokpal 
* CBI will also be free to appoint its own team of lawyers with the lokpal's consent. Currently, it's a very bureaucratic route.
* CBI shall have directorate of prosecution under a director who shall be under the CBI director. (This, too, is a major improvement. Law officers come from the law ministry
* The government shall provide all such expenditure, which in the opinion of the CBI director is necessary to conduct a fair investigation. The CBI director will be responsible for all expenditure sanctioned and spent on the conduct of such investigations. (It cuts out all existing red tape, and makes the CBI director the head of his own organisation, which he has been seeking for a long time)
Inquiry wing
* There shall be an inquiry and an investigative wing too, which enables the lokpal on receipt of a complaint to decide whether to get the complaint inquired into, or order an investigation by any investigation agency, even besides the CBI!
* The government, however, has proposed that prior to this, the government official may give a hearing before filing charges! (Within norms of natural justice)
* Another important change is the issue of sanction from the government before proceeding with the complaint concerning a government servant (not needed now). 
* The Prime Minister is included with certain exceptions such as public order, space, defence matters etc. but not the Prime Minister's office!
* The lokpal can be removed by the President after a Supreme Court inquiry on a reference from the President on a petition signed by at least 100 MPs.
* In case of a false or frivolous complaint, those made in good faith should not be penalised.
* The lokpal Act to be a model Act for all the states to pass lokayukts within a year. Many states till now do not have one.

We may at least begin with this Lokpal Act and Improve it as we proceed!
 It is finally providing for an independent anti-corruption system and opens the cage of the 'caged parrot' (CBI). .The country is finally getting a mini Supreme Court for Anti Corruption matters. It now needs few other bills such as Whistle blower and Grievance Redressal Bills! Hope a stable Government, post elections, provides for these! As these are pending in Parliament. 
Orissa assembly has become the first State to pass a Lokayukta on the lines as National Act. It ought to have made good news! But Alas! 

Mr Kejriwal needed to work on Delhi Lokayukta and improve it. He would have for the support of all! Most of all the Central Government. Delhi would have gained! 

But did Kejriwal government want it? If it did it could have done what Orissa Government did! Pass an amended Delhi Lokayukta Act with due process!

The intention of Kejriwal was suspect from day one due to several lawless acts of his and some of his party members! It was not governance from day one, but disruption, chaos, blame games,vote banks, fear and threats! 

This is not Administration but abuse of it! A serious breach of trust! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is not every indian a brand ambassador for India to the rest of the world?

Every CM is a Brand Ambassador? Rather every indian is a brand ambassador. How can we restrict it to the select few?