Nation
Delhi elections bring to the fore governance issues again
Both, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, will be under pressure to deliver better governance and be accountable
 
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) tsunami that swept the Delhi assembly elections has refocused everybody’s attention on governance and accountability. This focus will only increase because Arvind Kejriwal has national ambitions. He is also a skilled communicator who enjoys enormous media support and has positioned himself as the earnest David to prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s Goliath image. AAP will ensure that India’s Delhi-centric media plays out comparisons between Mr Kejriwal and the PM everyday. So, unless Mr Kejriwal trips on his own promises, the AAP in Delhi will keep BJP on its toes nationally. 
 
The beaten and fragmented opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also trying to latch on to the AAP victory as a rallying point against the Modi juggernaut. However, this could soon fizzle out, since none of them shows signs of understanding the changed public expectations and aspirations. AAP is unlikely to make the blunder of denting its image by aligning with them, right now.
 
So what should we expect from AAP and the BJP in the coming months? BJP’s big test will be the Union Budget. India needs drastic changes before the much-touted Make in India slogan turns into a reality. Business and industry is impatient and another lacklustre, UPA-like, Budget will be disastrous. Modi sarkar, which resorted to a spate of ordinances to push policy decisions earlier, also faces the tougher challenge of a re-invigorated Opposition in getting the legislation passed. The only silver lining for BJP is that the Congress shows no signs, yet, of fixing its leadership crisis and emerging as a threat. If anything, the revolt by Jayanthi Natarajan and a wipe-out in the Delhi assembly has seen it sink to such a low that even its apologists on television debates seem embarrassed to defend it. 
 
The AAP, too, has to deliver on its promise of free water, sharp cuts in electricity charges, housing for slum-dwellers, free wifi and installation of a massive 1.5 million CCTV cameras (strangely, nobody seems worried about the Orwellian implications of being watched all the time by cameras monitored by the government). Hopefully, AAP’s think tank has a plan; because nobody else can figure out how the freebies will be funded from the tiny state budget. Mr Kejriwal himself has set the stage for confrontation with the Central government by raising the issue of full statehood for Delhi in his first meeting with the home minister and demanding government land for public spaces.
 
AAP’s website lists four policy priorities: one, the ‘Right to Reject’ (it is the next logical step to the ‘None of the Above’ button on voting machines); two, ‘Right to Recall’ candidates (a mid-term referendum to recall candidates who do not perform); three, a Jan Lokpal; and, four, the idea of swaraj
 
The first two require a national presence; but AAP is in a position to demonstrate that its version of the “powerful anti corruption law, Jan Lokpal, to remove corruption from our system” is workable. We will have the opportunity to watch how “people will be able to complain directly and imprison corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.” Arvind Kejriwal’s dream of decentralised governance, or swaraj, will also be on display. Fortunately, the nation will be able to watch these experiments unfold in Delhi and decide whether it is something for the rest of India to aspire to, and in what form. 
 
For the BJP, the challenges are significantly higher. This column will not delve into political challenges but stick to issues of perception, governance and business. Here are a few observations.
 
The PM was hailed as a great orator, communicator and nifty dresser, but it is all wearing thin. The spate of new yojanas (schemes) and slogans is tiring; people want visible action. There has been no dialogue or explanation about key decisions (Aadhaar and lack of clarity about subsidies through JanDhan, LPG, etc) and no reduction in corruption and red-tape that angers and hurts the ordinary person on a daily basis. The Maharashtra government’s Right to Services Act holds a lot of promise. If it is not derailed and diluted by bureaucrats, this could be Mr Modi’s answer to the Jan Lokpal. It should be made into a Central legislation with proper teeth and clear timelines for delivery of services and penalties for failure to do so. 
 
The PM understands the significance of image and message—his sartorial flamboyance and the monogrammed pinstripe that drew gasps of disbelief, brackets him with the super-rich and sends the wrong signal. This will now be sharply juxtaposed against Mr Kejriwal’s muffler-bound simplicity, even as both face the challenge of delivering on their promises. People don’t want their PM to be a fashion icon, especially when he won hearts by taking pride in his humble origins. It is also important to remember 2004, when BJP lost an election by forgetting that a large swathe of people had remained in abject poverty while it went to town with the India Shining campaign. 
 
So far, the only real positives for the economy have been manna from heaven—the collapse of crude oil and commodity prices and its consequent impact on inflation. Even the PM, at a rally, attributed it to his good luck. We see no signs of a cut in government expenditure for delivery on his promise to be a chowkidar who declared, “I don’t take bribes nor will I allow others to accept bribes either.” 
 
The arrogance and disconnect of government officials and regulators with the ordinary person continues. This is manifest in the mindless paperwork that government agencies demand from people as well as tiny non-governmental organisations. The coordinator of a standing committee of parliament for the Railways asked a tiny NGO to come with 25 copies of their submission to be handed over to each member and support staff. Is this how government seeks public feedback, especially when the deliberations are held in a five-star hotel at taxpayers’ money? Fortunately, the chairman of the standing committee set things right when he heard about it. India’s capital market regulator refuses accreditation to NGOs that are legally constituted as public trusts without logic or explanation. Does one fight this ridiculous battle or focus on the objectives of the NGO? The Reserve Bank of India asks NGOs to submit enough paper work to merit a full-fledged banking licence for mere accreditation. The BJP and the Congress government have both revelled in bashing the NGO sector. But do the government and its regulators, all living off taxpayers’ money, understand the constraints of resource-starved NGOs involved in public service that would be unnecessary if they delivered proper governance and grievance redress? Such travails are no different from the indignities and battles that ordinary people fight everyday. 
 
Finally, there is social media. From being a wonderful tool of direct communication, this government, starting with the President of India, has converted it into a mindless publicity tool to click and post photographs of their endless meetings and visitors. Maybe, it is time for the PM to conduct a social media workshop and advise against bludgeoning people with one-way communication handled by clueless social-media experts. 
 
The government’s biggest challenge in the coming days will be perception and delivery—and both need urgent fixing. Mr Modi is still India’s tallest leader and one who is most likely to deliver better governance; but the Delhi election has signalled that people want to see real change and they want it now. Will the PM deliver?
 

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COMMENTS

Kiran Aggarwal

2 years ago

Modi is not focussed .
I am skeptical on his performance .
Arun jaitley is poor choice for FM .

and
Health
Education
Finance Minsitry

are drivers of economy and they are in wrong hands in BJP- 2014 Govt.

PRAKASH D. BASRUR

2 years ago

It is too early , i.e. 6 months against 60 years given to Congress , to judge NaMo's work at national level ! Give him at least 2 years , one to clean the 60 years' Congress mess and another to put in place the electronic processes that are being developed feverishly behind the scene!
If our electorate wants results in 100 days and generated antiincumbancy wave at frequent intervals then , I am afraid, they are sowing the seeds of "people's war" in streets which Kejriwal showed them how to do !

REPLY

Suketu Shah

In Reply to PRAKASH D. BASRUR 2 years ago

100% correct.There are 2 main points to consider:-
1)As respected Mr Amit Shah said BJP has inherited the 10 yrs disastrous Congress mess.You have to give thenm atleast 3-4 yrs befgore judging them.An example is for 60 yrs Congress never built railways in north east India which Mr Modi,Mr Prabhu and Co are going to start now(What did congress do for 60 yrs?)

2)Due to Mr Modi being elected with clean majority 16 May 2014,we have the best CM ever in Maharashtra.This would not have happened if Mr Modi didnot come into power.Ache din ki shurvat hain.

As regards AAP,lets not forget Delhi is not even a state.Lets wait and see who wins the Bengal,UP and Bihar battles(big states) next 2 yrs.

Today I hAve read inflation is all time low of last 5 yrs and still heading lower.Ache din ki shurvat hain.

Kiran Aggarwal

In Reply to Suketu Shah 2 years ago

Common man life is still not changed.
Massive corruption going on in all public related departments and PSU s.
Reforms are needed 360 degree .
This bits n pieces measures won't lead India anywhere .
Plus
Communal divisiveness is very bad for nation .
Ok Lets give Namo - 2 years
9 months has passed .
--------------------
DElhi -has suffered a lot due to mis governance in 2nd congress CM - sheila dixit rule.
Pothles . slum due to non ffordable housing , Law and order - poor
Electricity rates very high .
Where as Lutyens Delhi is occupied by Ex MLA s and MPs where monthly rent is rs 20- 25 lakh due to govt .

Suketu Shah

In Reply to Suketu Shah 2 years ago

Also without removing majority of the "Congress" babus(used to bribes etc) in govt offices ,you wl not notice much change.To remove the babus and replace them with honest govt servants is an unenvialble task for Modi govt.I would say even if this task is done by 2019,it wl be a commendable achivement of Modi govt.The process has started.

PRAKASH D. BASRUR

In Reply to Suketu Shah 2 years ago

Yes indeed ! The army of corrupt Babus in Delhi has voted en-masse AAP because the new NDA govt. is desciplining them in their attendance and work methods which the Babus have revolted against NDA by voting AAP ! Imagine this army of lifelong corrupt Babus dictating terms with Kejriwal on going slow on latter's so called ant-corruption crusade ! Besides the army is ever loyal to Congress for participating and allowing corruption in last 65 years ! So , the Babus , in spite of change in ruling party at the centre , is going to help Congress with documents by being inside the government ! Digitising and computerising as much of Babu paperwork as possible is one of the best solutions and , I am sure , NaMo is considering doing that at this moment. However , developing the huge tailormade computer software , testing it , implementing it in stages till it stabilises takes quite some time. One Indian Railway ticketing software took CMC 5 years and another 5 for making it bug free ! Whereas , here we are talking about 100 or more such computerised systems ! Can that be done in 100 days or 6 monhs or even 1 year ? Not possible ! Hurrying up with the process would be asking for system disasters like the one that happened with Barrak Obama's MediCare system sometime back in USA. Fortunately , however , it was fixed in 6 months time and ir rolling effortlessly. Let us , thus , have a year or two's patience to get proper solution to the 65 years old problems which cannot be fixed in 65 or 100 or 365 days !

Anil Agashe

2 years ago

Very well articulated.
In spite of apprehension I wish AAP does succeed. If they can at least force transparency in system of political funding it will be a great contribution.
I am sure that many of their promises are difficult to deliver but if they can control corruption that impacts men on the street it will be a huge success.

Ravindra Bhosale

2 years ago

I don't think Modi can deliver good governance. His publicity stunts and Marketing politics has made him PM and he got the advantage of anti congress waive. His style of functioning is self centered an his ministers have no value, they just hold the post. The huge money spent for prelection and post election campaign collected from the industrial houses is to be repaid for their benefits and not for the peoples benefit.

B. Yerram Raju

2 years ago

Governance reforms as you rightly addressed are the key to action. But which are these areas? First Agriculture: Sustained technology interventions with amendment to the APMC Act that should provide for the farmers to have direct market access in the place of brokers and politicians do not brook delay. Second, Education - right from primary to technical and higher education should all come under one umbrella and one Ministry. Institutional reforms hold the key.Budgetary allocations appropriate to the task would be also extremely important. manufacturing sector: Ease of doing business is getting attention that is due, no doubt. The Land laws are a soaring point. This has to be addressed with a sense of proportion. In the services sector, finance and insurance sectors need a thorough review. Responsible and responsive public sector in these two sectors require good governance code and effective monitoring. Capital refurbishment has to be dome with accountability. Computer centrality should move to customer centrality.

Abhijit Gosavi

2 years ago

And here is Nana Patekar, who doesn't pull any punches, in his own words. That photo also sent many wrong messages.

http://www.ibnlokmat.tv/archives/158001

krishna

2 years ago

Amongst all the issues listed the NGO issue will not cut Ice. It continues to be a Bad word as there are enough and more evidence of its misuse.

Trusts or missions continue to do honorable service without complaining even when they are put to task on many regulations.

Whereas PM will rise upto the occasion on both perception and delivery , Budget is not the last hope.

Dont read too much into the Delhi Election as a National Narrative. It is absolutely local and not on delivery.

Abhijit Gosavi

2 years ago

Second bullet point, so on the mark.

SuchindranathAiyerS

2 years ago

It is unlikely that anything will change in Indian Governance until: (1) Inequality under law and exceptions to the rule of law are expurgated from the Constitution and laws of India. (2) Bribe Taking is defined as criminal extortion or treason and made a capital offense with special rules of evidence and special courts with summary powers (akin to a Military Court Martial). (3) All court proceedings are video graphed and archived for public viewing and can be used as evidence to prosecute Judges and Magistrates at all levels under special laws and special courts with summary powers akin to a military Court Martial, for insouciance, negligence, tardiness, disregard for law and propriety, behaviour unbecoming of a Judge such as lack of etiquette and manners, (4) every job on the "Public" i.e. Government Pay Roll has specific and unique Key Responsibility Areas, Key Performance Parameters and Objectives for which they are held accountable on pain of summary dismissal for non-performance or life imprisonment for treason for sabotage under special laws and special courts with summary powers akin to a military Court Martial and (5) India creates an Ombudsman Service of reemployed and retrained military officers (Colonel and Below, JCOs and NCOs) who retire before 50 to serve as presiding officers, investigating/prosecuting and enforcement officers at the afore mentioned "Special Courts", one for every taluk with powers to arrest, incarcerate, try and punish any and all from the President of India to a peon in accordance with the Special Laws framed therefor.

uttamkumar dubey

2 years ago

Short simple and to the point article.Finding an unbiased writing/article is getting difficult day by day.

But Kejriwal has surely proved himself as the catalyst for the economy and governance.Lets see how long the vigour continues.

No doubt this is also much learning for our PM.Hope all of us banefit their enlightenment!!!

PRAKASH D. BASRUR

2 years ago

AAP's victory in Delhi against two stalwarts , i.e. BJP & Congress , has clearly pointed out one single point and that is people ( particularly the illiterate oldies and educated youngsters both ) have become teribly impatient and want results in 100 days ! They waited for BJP to do that and now they might wait for AAP to do the same ! Strangely enough the uneducated oldies amongst the voters waited for 60 long years to dislodge Congress Party out of Indian politics but does not want to give NDA even a year or two ! If this 100 days' incumbency and throwing out game continues then the very fabric of Democracy will be disturbed giving way to either a Revolution or a Civil War situation in India ! Was this what was expected at the end of rooting out 60 years' Gandhi-Nehru rule ?

MG Warrier

2 years ago

Interesting views and analysis. AK plus NAMO have proved that India is not heading to a DEAD END and diversions, yes diversions which are safe and 'motorable', are available. PEOPLE should take the responsibility of ensuring that GOVERNANCE IS ON TRACK. If Delhi is any indication, INDIA has matured to entrust that responsibility to the PEOPLE.
GenNAMO(post-independence) and GenAK(Now below 50) are capable of moving forward with confidence.My generation(born before independence) is proud of them.

Maharashtra has just one FDA officer for 1.35 lakh people
Food and Drug Administration is the only department directly related to the health of a common man, and yet 31% of the posts in this department are vacant, reveals RTI query
 
As many as 365 posts of the total 1,176 sanctioned by the Maharashtra government in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are vacant, a query filed under Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed.
 
RTI activist Anil Galgali had sought information regarding the total posts that were allotted to FDA, along with the ones occupied and the ones that have been left vacant.
 
"31% of the posts have been lying vacant. For a population of 11 crores of Maharashtra, 1,176 posts that have been allotted for the FDA, only 811 posts have been occupied which means that against 1.35 lakh people, there is only one FDA officer in the state," he said.
 
According to Galgali, FDA was the only department that is directly related to the health of a common man.
 
The headquarters of the department is in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) area of Mumbai along with divisions at Thane, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Sangli, Satara, Nagpur and Latur comprising 31 districts of Maharashtra.
 
In all these offices, only 265 posts of Food Security Officers (FSOs) and 161 posts of Drug Inspectors have been sanctioned by the government. But 78 posts of FSOs and 37 of Drug Inspectors posts still lie vacant, the RTI filed this year, revealed.
 
In the Food Department, 22 Joint Commissioners' posts lay vacant as compared to the 62 posts sanctioned.
 
In the Drugs Department of the FDA, 13 out of 35 posts that of technical officers, four out of eight senior Technical Officers, 22 out of 52 posts sanctioned for the Joint Commissioners, nine out of the 12 posts that of the Administrative heads, 23 out of 60 posts that of Sample Assistants and two out of three Plant Operators remain vacant, it further said.
 

 

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Nifty, Sensex continue to head higher – Weekly closing report

Nifty is putting in a pre-budget rally. Likely to target 8,950 next week

 
The S&P BSE Sensex closed the week that ended on 13th February at 29,095 (up 377 points or 1.31%), while the NSE’s CNX Nifty closed at 8,806 (up 145 points or 1.67%). In the previous week, we had mentioned that further move on the Nifty will be determined by the outcome of the Delhi assembly election on Tuesday.
 
Exit polls released by several media had showed that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will get a majority and will be able to form the next government in Delhi. After a range bound session on Monday, the Nifty closed at 8,526 (down 135 points or 1.56%).
 
The Ministry of Finance, on last Saturday, said that the government has decided to infuse Rs6,990 crore in nine public sector banks during the current fiscal year based on efficiency parameters for individual banks.
 
On Tuesday, Nifty broke the trend of consecutive losses for seven days and closed at 8,566 (up 39 points or 0.46%), after a volatile session. Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP got a sweeping majority in the Delhi Assembly elections.
 
According to Indian government’s advance estimates for GDP based on the new calculation methodology, the economy is likely to grow at a faster pace of 7.4% in the current fiscal as against 6.9% in 2013-14.
 
As anticipated, on Wednesday, Nifty continued to book gains. Nifty closed at 8,627 (up 62 points or 0.72%). Rating agency Moody's Investors Service said the lower oil prices are expected to alleviate India's high inflation and spur economic growth.
 
On Thursday, Nifty closed at 8,712 (up 84 points or 0.98%). It closed near to the day’s high. After market hours, the Indian government announced CPI data for January 2015 and industrial production data for December 2014. Indian inflation rose marginally to 5.11% in January, according to the new base year for calculating prices. December inflation now stands revised to 4.28% as per the new series. Industrial output grew 1.7% in December, slower than November's 3.9%.
 
Further support of $2 million provided by World Bank after International Monetary Fund (IMG) agreed to bail Ukraine out of economic crisis, and Germany logging better-than-expected fourth-quarter growth, helped sentiments in Indian markets. State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s biggest lender, too posted improved December 2014 quarter result, which added momentum to the past three days of positive up move. On Friday, Nifty closed at 8,806 (up 94 points or 1.08%) in what looked like a strong pre-budget rally. The market mood was lifted by quarterly results of State Bank of India.
 
Out of the 27 main sectors tracked by Moneylife, top five and the bottom five sectors for this week were:
 

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