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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Governing India

Atanu Dey holds nerve of this country and analyze correctly about hurdles in the path of development of this country. In his article : The Perverse “Right to Information” , he pointed that information should be routinely available rather than being exceptionally provided.

All information of public interest should be available to the public as the default. No special effort should be necessary for a citizen to know what the government is doing with his or her money.

It is time we stopped congratulating ourselves about how wonderful the RTI is and started realizing that we have degraded ourselves to the point where we are actually grateful for the few scraps of information that is thrown our way in response to considerable groveling in front of those whose salaries we pay.

Atanu Dey continue further his roar in the article: "What Holds India Back " , that the Indian government is the greatest barrier to India’s development.

To summarize: Control of the economy does two things. First, it reduces economic activity and consequently growth. Second, it gives rise to rent, which then attracts the most criminally corrupt to gain control of the government. Rent-seeking rather than good governance becomes the sole aim of those in government. The criminally corrupt are not competent to make good policy given that it was not their public policy brilliance that brought them to power. Besides, good policy generally entails a reduction in government power and control of the economy. So why would they do it even if they were advised by others who know better.

I agreed with him. There is a huge rhetoric implementation gap while following grow first build later model that is widely followed in India.  Looking back at the history , we observe that there were labour reforms with industrial revolution; 16 hour workdays, unsafe food, little education for the poor, and working conditions has brought communism today in the world. Also, capitalism came to Europe before democracy and in India its reverse.

As the economist Pranab Bardhab pointed out, the left in India while taking aim at the dictatorship of proletariat has given us the dictatorship of salariat. Protections and job safeguards of the worst sort - the kind without accountability are looting government offices. Take example of our schools only. Government policies have funded schools, not schooling. The child issues are neglected as they can't vote or raise their problem. The biggest barrier in decentralizing the power over to local bodies has been teachers union.

I am not opposed to the free economy in India. We have a first wave of pro business reforms in 1991 rather than pro market ones. Indian citizens has not got economic rights only few rare opportunities. Still, the micro and macro economics of a nation converge via its culture; this cultural convergence within nations causes economic divergence among them.

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong but not quite agreeable methods are adapted in confronting bad habits by government. Our institutions and conditions rest upon deep-seated ideas. To change those conditions and at the same time leave the underlying ideas and values intact means only a superficial transformation, one that cannot be permanent or bring real betterment. It is a change of form only, not of substance, as so tragically proven by Russia. We have to develop mentality that pitches reason and debate rather than organized hooliganism to challenge those ideas with minimum violence.

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