Saturday, March 19, 2011

Road Map for Bringing About Changed System of Governance in India

In the inaugural post on the topic “A Vital and Essential Step for Emergence of a New India” (published on 2 October 2010) under the Blog titled Emergence of a New India, it was brought out that all vital problems increasingly afflicting India since independence such as degradation of political morality, corruption in public life, poverty and economic disparity, and social unrest and insurgency emanate from adopting highly incongruous system of governance, which was designed and used for systematically exploiting and degrading a colony, for a free and developing nation having democratic aspirations. Hence it was argued that change of the system of governance was the vital and essential step for emergence of a new India. In the second post titled “System of Governance for a New India” (published 18 November 2010), the broad outline and the basic features of the changed system of governance for India were indicated, derived from Gandhi’s concept of Swaraj for India based upon which he inspired millions of Indians to participate in the freedom struggle, from the experience of framing the Indian constitution which betrayed Gandhi and short changed the masses of India as well as from the eye opening example of the system of governance of a functioning democracy like that of the USA. A vision of India as will logically emerge under the changed system of governance was indicated in the third post titled “Vision of India with the Changed System of Governance in Place” (published on 3 January 2011). How this change can be brought about and the road map for the same will be the subject matter of the current blog post.

In this regard, the first and the foremost point we have to keep in mind is that the changed system of governance is conceptually and fundamentally different from the existing system of governance which is essentially a continuation of the century old colonial system. While in this system, authority of governance flowed from the sovereign monarch in London to the level of its subjects living in the villages and towns of India, in the desired system, the ultimate authority, i.e., sovereignty lies with the people, a source from which it emanates to various levels of governance. Thus, the desired system of governance can never be brought about by reforming the existing one. It has to be conceptually changed. Thus, what is being envisaged is a revolutionary change.

A revolutionary change need not necessarily be brought about by violent revolutions as has been done or attempted in various parts of the world. However, in India which has evolved through thousands of years of cultural growth and is the inheritor, in blood and psyche, of a rich civilization uninterrupted even by and through politico-economic upheavals, revolutionary changes in knowledge, science, religion, politics or even economics have occurred by non-violent and peaceful methods, such as what has been achieved by Gautam Buddha, Chanakya, Mahatma Gandhi and Jai Prakash Narain. On the other hand, there is hardly an example in the long history and experience of India where any fundamental or revolutionary change has been achieved through violence or violent means. On the basis of this historical experience and cultural characteristics of India and its people, a road map for bringing about the desired change in the system of governance of India can be chartered as follows.

The existing system of governance is prescribed in the Constitution of India, and hence the desired change can be brought about by the constitutional exercise of suitably amending the constitution. The distinguished makers of the Constitution have provided for ample scope for such amendments, realizing the limits of values and vision prevailing at any given time including the time of making the constitution. The Parliament, apart from its legislative powers, has also been vested with constituent powers for which two third, rather than simple, majorities in each house of the Parliament is required. Exercising this power, the Parliament can bring about any amendment in the Constitution subject to its ‘basic features’ being maintained. While legal debates about what constitutes ‘basic features’ of the Constitution have been going on, there is unanimity about the Preamble of the Constitution expressing the aspirations of the people of India and thus containing and defining the basic features of the Constitution. A system of governance is an instrument to realize the aspirations of the people as expressed in the Preamble. Through six decades long constitutional journey, the incompatibility and inappropriateness of this instrument adopted in the Constitution have been grossly demonstrated. All the aspirations of the people, including those of the architect of India’s freedom, Mahatma Gandhi, of the freedom fighters and, most of all, of the masses of India have remained utterly unfulfilled. India has been groaning under the illusions of being a democratic, socialist, secular, sovereign, republic in which justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation are ensured. India’s groan has been getting louder and louder since inception of the Indian Republic, which has been moving off-track from day one. It has to be brought to the right track by the right instrument, i.e. an appropriate system of governance by enshrining it in the Constitution through suitably amending it, using the constituent power vested with the Parliament.

The two houses of the Parliament, i. e., Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are constituted by members elected by the people. While the Lok Sabha consists of 550 members elected directly by the people on the basis of universal adult suffrage normally every five years, the Rajya Sabha consists of 238 members elected indirectly by the people through the directly elected members of the state legislatures for a duration of 6 years with one third of members retiring every two years.

Thus to ensure that the Parliament amends the Constitution suitably in order to bring in the desired system of governance, the people of India have to be educated and motivated about the change of the system of governance. Apolitical party committed to this change of the system of governance with this being its dominant agenda and manifesto has to be brought into being. The Indian people, educated and motivated as indicated above, will surely bring such a political party into power at the centre as well in the states. The parliament and state assemblies so constituted will suitably amend the Constitution to bring the changed system of governance into being. Transformation of the entire structure of government, from the village to the centre, will take place through legislative and administrative actions as per the system of governance enshrined in the amended Constitution. Under this system of governance, the political party that will be instrumental in bringing about this transformation of governance along with the existing political parties in the country will lose its relevance and significance and must be disbanded and reorganized, as Gandhi had willed for the Congress Party on attaining India’s political freedom. A new polity in conformity with the new system of governance will emerge in the country.

Thus, the task of changing the system of governance of India has to be carried out in two distinct, sequent and interacting phases. Education and motivation of the people of India will essentially be done in the first phase. At a suitable stage in going through the first phase, the second phase of the task, which comprises political action and activities, will be launched, culminating into the constitutional amendment and establishment of the changed system of governance.

The task is no doubt challenging but there are many facilitating factors which will ensure its successful accomplishment, given the rationale, logic and soundness of the underlying idea. Among these factors are; (i) sturdy common sense, receptiveness and responsiveness of the Indian masses, which have been demonstrated to come into play on several historical occasions, (ii) general acceptance of democracy as the guiding principle of governance, (iii) firmly established universal suffrage, (iv) a reliable, efficient and effective election authority and (v) explosive and revolutionary advances in information and communication technologies along with their widespread mass penetration and uses.

Facilitated by these and allied factors, the road map outlined above will lead to the destination of emergence of a new India, a vision which was indicated in the previous post published on January 11, 2011 under this blog.