Greetings and best wishes for a Happy Navaratra and Responsible Voting!
The year 2014 will go down in the history of Indian Democracy as the year of a watershed election. The whole world is observing this election with a keen eye including the Indian people, who expect positive change and development from their political leaders, Will the political parties be able to deliver good governance and development?
The effective delivery of governance services by any government is influenced by their vision of development. This vision of an aspiring political party is generally reflected in its electoral manifesto. Therefore, it is desirable to assess the manifestoes to assess their vision of development, in terms of practicality.
Before we assess the manifesto, it is essential to develop a framework to assess the practicality of implementation of the manifesto. The framework I advocate is based on a simple principle that JUSTICE DELIVERY is pre-requisite and foundation for delivery of all other governance and development services including Education, Health etc. This is based on long established theory that any human community has an inherent power to develop itself, if it is provided with JUSTICE and SECURITY (both internal and external).
In India, Criminal Justice System (Judicial and Police Systems), play the key roles for ensuring delivery of justice and internal security. Both these systems are working at their lowest level of effectiveness since decades with an astronomical number of more than three crores of pending cases at various courts, making delivery ofjustice in time in India almost non-existent.
It is commonly known that governance services at both central and state level is marred by massive corruption and leakage in service delivery. The cases filed by the aggrieved citizens against the government are pending in courts for decades, making the corrupt and inefficient service delivery system more inefficient and corrupt.
This situation automatically demands that strengthening the Judiciary and police system be the first priority of the elected government, if it is at all serious about its responsibility of delivery of governance services like education, health, livelihood etc. This is similar to the situation of the Canal Irrigation department repairing the canalfirst before releasing water in the canal,failing which water may reach fields not intended and not reach, where it is intended, may be affecting both the fields. In Governance situation, the limited few people who get more resources than they deserve, become richer , powerful and at times difficult for the government to control them and the rest become poorer and weaker, increasing the rich-poor divide.
Therefore, a visionary leader and a politi cal party with vision for making positive change in the development systems of India shouldgivefirst priority to Judicial and Police Reforms.
Is it a part of the vision of leading political parties? A study of the Manifestoes of the key political parties indicates other-wise. AAP in its Delhi Election manifesto mentioned, Swift and Fair Dispensation of Justice as a part of its manifesto, though not as a top order priority. It could not achieve anything substantial on this front as it could not continue in office beyond 49 days. Congress Party Election Manifestos for 2014 Election has Legal and Judicial Reform at serial number 18 in a 21 part manifesto, reflecting the degree of seriousness. The condition of other political parties is not different. They have put judicial and police reform in the list other manifestos, which indicates lack of appreciation of the importance of this manifesto.
The common feature of all the manifestos referred indicate a clear vote bank orientation, targeting youth, women, SC/ST. Disabled, and development activities like education, health ,job creation etc., based on popular demands and common public perceptions. The common public perceptions about development needs are based on common understandings, not in-depth understanding of the development as a critical, inter-dependent system, where justice plays a key role and a pre-requisite for other development —governance services, as discussed above.
Now, why are the political parties not prioritizing JUSTICE Delivery? This is a very big question. To my mind it is simply because Justice if made available, it would block their freedom to act irresponsibly as a government and at the same time the VOTER is unaware about the importance of JUSTICE, as it is not demanded as an urgent a need as food-employment, Bijli (power), Sadak (Road) and Paani ( water). The voters in India fail to realize that their expected development services including employment, power, road, water etc cannot reach them, untilJustice delivery is in place.
Justice delivery is like a container and other governance services are the content. Therefore, the container need be repaired first to ensure delivery of the contents.
Therefore, a responsible political party need to put JUSTICE delivery as the top priority item in its manifesto.
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