Monday, February 22, 2010

An Innovative approach to improve The Good Governance in India By focusing young Indian Leaders

The fate of India’ economic development is basically in the hands of two wings: elected leaders and permanent bureaucracy. They are two sides of a coin one is making policy and the other is implementing it. This is a very broad picture of a complex situation. One without other is incomplete and insignificant. Judiciary plays a key role of monitoring and sometimes providing suggestive directions to legislature and bureaucracy.

India is regarded world wide as an emerging strong country along with China. There is a reason for this. Indian economy was opened up in 1991 when our Dr Manmohan Singh was finance minister. Fortunately after that even with change of power in Delhi there were no drastic changes in economic liberalization policy. This implies a consensus on this across political parties. When Dr. Singh became prime minister pushed the country forward with greater speed on the path of economic development. Being an well renowned economist, he had clarity about the path of development the country has to take. To ensure success he took in his team Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, another renowned economist. Together they have proved to the world India’s emergence as an economically strong nation. This is the result of foresight ness and better management of the development of the country. He is not a politician but a professional turn politician. What he proved to the world is amazing. India is now moving on the road of fast economic growth to reach the destination of a developed country. Now big challenge is how to increase the momentum. Above that challenge is how to sustain it is a question that is to be deliberated on.

Before 1991, India lived in a cocoon with out any outside competition. But now the situation is just opposite. National boundaries are melting; right to information has made everyone more accountable and has brought a big constituency in cautious mode; internet has made paperless offices and unlimited access to the world of knowledge. Currently we are in a situation where no country can progress in isolation. Interconnectivity has become the norm of life. To face the new set of situations and challenges India has to mold itself accordingly to keep and enhance the current pace of economic growth. To achieve this, we have to reorient two main and basic wing of the country that plays the vital role in shaping the fate of the nation. These together are so might that they can change anything even the country at least for time being.

Permanent bureaucracy gets opportunities time to time to learn tactics, techniques and acquire knowledge on how to face new challenges from the highly competitive environment which are from inside as well outside the country and how to succeed. Training required to handle different situations are given at different levels of the service span. Though, in my opinion, they are not adequate but still such a system is in place. These opportunities provide chances to the bureaucracy to imbibe the best practices of public policy and public administration which are prevailing and are in practice worldwide and are delivering results. This helps them to reorient to meet new demands from their changed role from administrator to manager. Their exposure-inside and outside the country by means of training and different such activities - make them understand the actual reality of our backwardness in different fields in world economic and development race. These realizations compel them to act to remain competitive and provide energy and support to reorient them to face the emerging challenges. There in need to make it more comprehensive but satisfaction can be derived to a certain extent from the fact that something is better than nothing.

This is the story of one side of the coin.

But what about the other side of the coin, are there any systems in place to equip and prepare our politicians to reorient themselves to face new challenges faced by them by different factors like bureaucracy? As I see, there is no such system. Can we win the battle of developed country without such a system? A natural answer will be no and it is the truth. Now politics is leaving its old and traditional style and is adopting and using new methods e.g. use of SMS, Internet, websites, new printing mediums etc in order not to lag behind in the new competitive environment. As we are aware, the use of internet is penetrating every aspect of life including politics. President Obama’s election is a good example and the best lesson to learn for the political parties all over the world. He did a new successful experiment and it is an example to others in this field to emulate.

In my opinion, blaming our politicians- as we usually do- for bad governance, slow economic growth, high unemployment, non development of infrastructure, high corruption level, poverty, lack of basic amenities etc. without offering them any opportunity of learning and reorienting is a great injustice to them. To prove my point, I would give the example of our Prime Minister Dr Singh and his trusted lieutenant Mr Ahluwalia . They had the opportunity to upgrade their skills through relevant educations, international exposure and this is proved in their performance. There is no serious thinking under consideration to provide political leaders managerial inputs to tackle the challenges of a new seamless world. The required exposure, a few have that are their personal and family’s efforts. There is no system in place to improve the political managerial (How to run the government and party efficiently to make the country number one in the world) quality of future architects of our nation. Almost all national and regional registered parties (registered with Election Commission of India) make an all out effort to win elections to various tiers of our governance structure. But nothing is done after they are elected to enhance their capability to perform and manage better. Winning election is only the trailer of the picture. It means our picture is not going to a success, a hit. To make it a hit picture, we have to think and start something new and innovative. To equip our leaders to face new challenges and to have better coordination with bureaucracy and public and other stakeholders they need exposure of the best practices of the world in the field of party, public and economic management. To achieve this, I am suggesting a new and innovative program for the politicians of my country. Since, it is new and innovative a reputed international organization has to take the lead. I would suggest that UNDP India own this responsibility. There are great possibilities that after some time of the initiative it may be made an integral part of the activities of the political parties. A rule can be framed on this latter on. Initially to set this agenda in motion we have to take the pain.

A brief outline of my new and innovative idea which is in my thought process is as under:

It is basically capacity development approach in a new field in a systematic way.

Program: Preparing young and future Indian leaders for the 21st century’s challenges through building their capacity by providing them opportunity to learn the best national and international practices about party, economic and public management.

Partners: UNDP, Government of India(GoI), Election Commission of India(ECI), Institutions active in this filed, NGO working for good governance, all national and regional parties registered with ECI and national and international donor agencies.

Duration of training: Two months, one month in India and one month outside the country

(Foreign training)

Subject of training: (Changeable) Very broadly it can be divided into two categories:

Making ready for party and election management (When on holding any mandated authority)

  1. How to manage political parties efficiently. What are and were the best practices and examples is this regards e.g use of internet by Mr. Obama. Lectures of past and present heads of nations and successful political performers in the field of politics and its management should be an integral part of the program.
  2. How to manage elections. How coordinate with election process and associated officials. How to prevent entry and remove bad practices form the election and election. E.g. how to check malpractices in the election, how to enhance poll percentage, how to act to help in electoral rolls preparation, how to reduce election expenditure, how to prevent entry of bad characters in politics and how to promote good persons to join the etc. In this are best national and transnational best practices should be part of the program.
  3. How to serve and meet the expectations of the general public and voters with limited time and resources. How to use new invented technological tools to be more successful.
  4. Who are and were 20 best leaders in the world at each level of management. Their study will sharpen the acumen and the best practice of one will be the tool for others.

Making ready for the role of Government actors (MP, MLA, Minister, Mayer,--- Village head man)

1. The main focus in the role is how to make a balance among government, public, bureaucracy, party etc. It is a multidimensional task and really challenging.

2. Policy formulation, reform and its efficient and successful implementation. How to make and implement pubic policy (demand driven policy and supply driven policy): theory and practices with case studies.

3. Which are the 20 best economically performing countries in the world. Why they are performing well? What are main factors of their performance? Which leader did what, how and why and when (time of policy implementation and reform plays a major role)? It will be better if leaders’ interactive sessions are organized to make the program more effective useful and fruitful.

4. Who are and were 20 best leaders in the world who perform superb at each level of government in government official capacity. Their study will sharpen the acumen and the best practice of one will be the rule for others without experimentation.

Participants: To begin with, young leaders up to the age of 45 years should be get the chance to learn. It can be later extended to include older leaders. Every national and regional party has youth wings. In each training batch parties will nominate their young leaders up to the age of 45 years. The number will be fixed according to resources and strength of the batch with national party’s nomination more than regional one in each batch.

Financing: Whole expense on each participant can be shared: contribution by the parties (5% - token amount to make them serious towards the program and awareness generation), contribution of central government (30%) and state governments (15%) and 50% donations from donors and NGOs in the leadership of UNDP.

Key actor, Co coordinator, owner of the program: The election commission of India as all registered political parties is its clients.

Implementation strategy: There are institute doing research and imparting training in good governance. With the collaboration we can get tailor the program according to our need.

Additional benefit:

  1. It is a form of the best effective political reform.
  2. If such systemization is practiced in politics in a professional manner it will attract the educated youth to join politics which is not he trend now.
  3. It may change the trend in reverse direction. Then choosing politics would be by design and not by default. As a result the problem of criminalization of politics will be addressed to some extent.
  4. It may prove a boon to Indian politics as it aims at professionalizing the political management. It will reduce the economic wastes of money during the elections and in other activities.
  5. It will bring good competitions among the politicians which may lead to over all enhancement of efficiency.
  6. It will reduce the usual friction and conflict used to develop between political actors and bureaucracy.
  7. It will be a model and can be implemented in other countries with similar situations.
  8. It will be increasing the constituency of UNDP and enhancing the number of its supporters.