India Uncut

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Governance on an empty stomach

Not possible, no? I find from the Times of India that the chief minister of Bihar gets a basic salary of Rs 2000 per month -- less than that of a government peon -- though with perks it goes up to around Rs 25,000. You combine that relatively low salary with immense power and discretion -- and therefore opportunities to be corrupt -- and it's virtually a guarantee that the field of politics will attract either losers or thugs. And obviously the thugs will beat the losers.

So the kind of politicians we get is entirely the fault of the political system we have in place. How can we change it? Two steps:

One, strip the government of power and discretion from any field where it is not required. Most of our ministries, like that of Information and Broadcasting, are utterly redundant. And come on, state governments don't require 93 ministers, as the UP government once had.

Two, raise the salaries of the functionaries concerned to match with industry standards, and put safeguards in place to make them accountable. The safeguards would include greater local self-governance, as well as more transparent governance, which the wonderful Right to Information Act enables.

Sadly, the only people who can make this happen is the people who will be adversely affected by it. We're trapped!
amit varma, 4:12 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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