Sunday, April 25, 2010

Concept Paper How to use Social Media in Indian Elections. Focus - A Legislative Assembly constit

Concept Paper

How to use Social Media in Indian Elections.

Focus - A Legislative Assembly constituency (MLA)

Introduction: Growing awareness and melting boundaries make it difficult for the public managers, leaders and actors to connect, engage, and communicate with the voters and public to the level of satisfaction that they desire. For the politicians, voters are all-in-all who decide their fate on ‘election day’ and provide them the mandate to represent them at all forums. In this light, a voter plays the role of king maker (it’s like Bhagya Vidhata in Indian context). Two aspects are very important to be a successful politician. First, how a political leader/ manager can be in constant and effective touch with voters and public by using social media in addition to all existing tools, and second, how to provide free, fast, effective and satisfactory services to them.

The objective of this paper is to understand how the lessons of Mr. Obama’s social media use can be implemented and programmed in India. How voters, politicians and government officials can engage and communicate with each other effectively by using a new additional tool of social media during the election process and after election to gather feedback, share information, solve problem , seek opinions and suggestions from public and to meet the growing expectations and demands of public.

The US president Mr. Barack Obama did something unique by using social media tools, so, he is known as new-media president. But it’s not his nimble use of Facebook and Twitter that makes him so. It’s the fact that he is the first president who has grasped the possibilities of today’s high-velocity, high-density, highly variegated media landscape. He was very successful with this tool and it is now a model for other campaigns. His management skills and campaign methods are model for the politicians around the world1. Mr Obama hired the services of Blue State Digital (BSD) which utilized the potentials of this new tool in managing his election. In 2004, it was a teenage novelty; four years later it has become the main way friends and family communicate online2.

The BSD and Mr. Obama have set a precedent for using social media tools in elections. Inspired by Mr. Obama, UK PM Tony Blair has hired the BSD’s services as part of his effort to help Labor win a fourth term in office3. After election, President Obama is using this well-tested tool-- social media- for running his government, and here too he is successful like in the election.

Social media as a new tool in India is required for a number of reasons: Growing awareness among masses has increased many folds which have increased public demands and expectations from politicians. This requires a lot of patience, time and efforts and is difficult to do with existing tools and outdated procedures. The fast pace of increasing competition in politics is another big challenge for the public managers. Seeing the unfaithfulness of the middle stage actors, voters and public prefer personal communication with their representatives. In the present scenario, the public neither has time nor is willing to wait. This psychological change in public perception needs new methods to deal with the changing situations, challenges and demands. Organizing a public meeting and getting a large public gathering with the help of office bearers, authorized and designated people and party workers, is becoming increasingly tough. To prove this point, we can take the example of railways reservation in India. Is it possible to do it manually now like in the past? The answer is no. Similar is the situation for the current politicians, public managers and representatives from whom public is expecting more as compared to the past.

Furthermore, the Indian election process is time-bound with limited time and resources. In a limited time frame, a political actor has to manage all the activities to the satisfaction level of the public, government, election commission of India (ECI), and other stakeholders. This is a tough task to accomplish and manage now. Winning the election is the trailer; the real story begins after the election, how to run the government successfully to satisfy the public. How to be in touch with the constituents is a big issue, which must be addressed. Fund raising and its management during the election is also a great concern. Compliance to rules and regulations and furnishing of information required by the election authorities have increased considerably. It is in this context that the promotion of e-Governance in the political arena for achieving success becomes relevant. If our political actors wish to satisfy the public and get reelected, there is an urgent need to think seriously what that tool should be that could serve the purpose.

Current situation: Generally, most Indian elections are contested on local and regional issues, instead of big national issues. As a result door-to-door canvassing, election rallies supplemented by local hoardings and print ads in local languages are the traditional ways of election campaign. In 2004, the incumbent BJP broke away from this pattern with its aggressive nation-wide India Shining Campaign. First time it allocated 5% of campaign budget for e-campaign. Though BJP’s new approach didn’t fetch victory, but they took the lead in this new experiment. This set a new trend in Indian politics and resulted in allocation of 5-10% of election budget for e-campaign in later elections. Since then, internet and mobile penetration has increased from 26 to 365 million for mobile and from 16 to 80 million for internet4. In 2009 election, both Congress and BJP targeted urban youth. While congress focused on youthful appeal of Rahul Gandhi, BJP adopted 360 campaigns inspired by the Barack Obama campaign. At national level political leaders and political parties are trying to catch the benefits of social media, but they are not yet able to harness its benefits. Leaders have their own sites and accounts on different social media networks. Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh is active on Facebook (FB) with 21,000 fans5. Likewise Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi6 (55,000 fans to date) is also on FB. From BJP, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee7, Mr. L. K. Advani and Mr. Rajnath Singh have unverified accounts on FB. Similarly, many national leaders have their personal and fan accounts on different social media locations. There is a strong inclination and increased involvement towards social media use, particularly among young leaders of the political parties and it is increasing every day. Journalists, citizens, opinion makers and NGOs are using facebook and other social media sites.

In the state of Uttar Pradesh the major parties BSP, SP, BJP and Congress are active and enjoying the confidences of public. Currently BSP, led by Ms Mayawati is the ruling party in UP. She has some unverified accounts on FB and Orkut. UP president of SP Mr. Akilesh Yadav is active on FB with 1,600 friends8. UP BJP ex-youth President Mr. Ashok Kataria is a social network beginner, and is on FB9. UP congress president Dr. Rita Bahuguna Joshi is active on FB10. There are two other official accounts of Congress on FB. One is Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee11(UPCC) and the other is Uttar Pradesh Youth Congress12. All the four major parties in UP have started using social media as an additional tool and youth wings of the political parties and their youth leaders are fond of this tool. Personally they are using different sites for social and political interaction and networking.

Stakeholders and their Benefits: There are a number of stakeholders who stand to benefit from the use of social media: The union government, state governments, local governments, Election Commission of India ( ECI)13, Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs)14, registered national and regional parties, their candidates along with their supporters, voters, workers, office bearers, and independent candidates, computer and IT industries, media, national and international NGOs (NASCOM)15, and different categories of internet users and public. These stakeholders can be broadly classified into four categories:

1) Governments and related offices engaged in election: Governments and its offices associated with election process need fast and mass communication frequently. ECI sends messages and directions to government of India (GoI), state governments and states’ CEOs. They in turn forward it to divisional commissioners and district magistrates/ District Election Officers (DEO). From there it is sent to the field officials,

Additional District Magistrates/Sub-Divisional Magistrates who are playing the statuary role of Returning Officer/ Assistant Returning Officers in different locations of the district. They are the real executor of the directions and orders. These field officials contact the party workers, candidates, government workers and voters to disseminate the information and gather the required and desired inputs, data and information. This information is rerouted to reach state capital and New Delhi. In past, it was easy and manageable as information was limited and infrequent. But now its frequency has increased many folds, and reply is demanded in a very short time. Any delay will invite severe punishment with wide publicity--social defamation. Therefore, public officials engaged in managing free, fair, fearless, and timely elections need this new tool to cope with the growing demands and challenging situations. Social media tools can fulfill this need of public officials.

2) IT and associated industries: IT and associated industry will get huge domestic business. If leaders and political parties benefit from the use of social media in elections then they will use it in running the governments as it is done in US by Mr. Obama, and in other areas of interest to them. As a result, this will penetrate into almost all government sectors. It is a large scale untapped domestic market for the IT industry. National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM)15 can play a catalytic role.

3) Political parties and politicians: It is a low cost and fast intervention tool. It is flexible and easy to handle. Young politicians are using this tool, so they don’t need to invest a huge amount in harnessing the benefits of this tool. It provides visual conversation so it is more effective and has greater impact as compared to other existing tools. Social media networks are fast, so coverage will be more in terms of areas and number of persons, and cost will be less.

4) Overall public and society: If not able to attend the event in person, the public are able to watch the entire political event, at home or at nearby homes that have net connectivity at their own convenience, and would feel as if they were a part of the event. It will save public money and time and will result in better impact. It will generate employment for IT people and increase digital literacy. It will remove the middle man who cheats and befools the voters and public. So the effect of asymmetric information and Principal-client will be reduced considerably. It is environmentally friendly. Hence, it will help in maintaining a healthy environment and will reduce harm to the public. It will increase transparency, accountability, and will result in reduction of public expenditure and corruption leading to good governance.

Constraints: 1) Cultural: Old and veteran politicians who are not using social media will not be of much help to promote this tool. Only about 3.8% of Indian population is using internet16 as compared to 58.1% of USA17. From this, we infer that we need a change in attitude and behavior of public and user. UN data says that USA is fourth after Sweden, Denmark and Norway in the 2008 e-Government Readiness Index18. Due to low penetration, coverage by internet is low in rural areas and limited in urban areas. There is a big gap in terms of internet use in rural and urban areas—the digital divide. Digital literacy is very low and internet user density is poor. Rumor mongers may create problems regarding these new tools. Spreading of false information is a great concern from a security angle as such information spreads very fast. There is lack of awareness regarding its benefit hence cultural change is needed for its acceptance in the society. Voters and supporters may often expect personalized email responses from candidates, or at least some level of email response. Given the number of voters involved in Indian elections, just handling email may need to be outsourced to a customer service firm! Further, online discussions often require monitoring to prevent abuse and flame wars. And passions, once expended online, may not result in voters trudging to the polling booth on Election Day19. To overcome this constraint, we need to engage voter, public, and politicians during the elections process by frequent exchange of ideas and information. To achieve this we need to make them aware about its benefits through NGOs, IT industry, media, and government officials as we did in case of EVM. We need to educate all stakeholders by applying different methods e.g. meetings, demonstrations and publicity through media and local methods. In these NGOs like NASCOM, ADR20, National Election Watch21 etc can play a vital role. Digital and social media education of students-digitally educating people with a focus on students- will be an effective step. Over time, public behavior will change as they will experience its benefit, and they will gradually adopt it by replacing existing tools.

2) Technological: There is lack of user friendly software for the digitally illiterate. Non availability of software in different Indian languages is another limitation. Unreliable electricity supply is the other main obstacle. Use of battery and electric generators as electric options will make it expensive. Paucity of IT personnel locally is also a constraint. Required legal framework is not in place to support this tool. In multilingual India, it would be imperative to maintain a web presence in at least two languages to avoid being characterized as elitist19.

Involvement of stakeholders and Implementation strategy: To harness the benefit of social media tools efficiently, effectively and successfully in a MLA constituency we need net-points data of each constituency. Survey and categorization of MLA needs to be done based on three types of general criteria: Least internet penetration- deep rural; medium penetration- mix of rural and urban area; high penetration- Urban area. In the survey for internet points, we need to enlist individuals, cyber caf├ęs, computer and internet training institutes and groups, institutions and companies having internet facilities, IT service providers, personnel and establishments. Most schools and colleges will have this facility as Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Government of India Kapil Sibal said, "We have now a policy. All schools will have an ICT (Information and Communications Technology) teacher. We will pay their salary, which is Rs 10,000 per month22.

As Deputy DEO Muzzafarnagar experienced in the 2007 UP assembly election, we need to do net mapping and make of small constituencies with respect to net facilities and points on the pattern of vulnerable mapping done then. In 2007election this new concept of vulnerable mapping was introduced. Concentrated efforts are required to mobilize the IT industry to associate and experiment with voters in this initiative in constituencies to demonstrate to the users as part of their marketing or R & D strategy. The involvement and mobilization of Youth wings/ morcha of all political parties is crucial for its success, as they are familiar with its uses, benefits and importance. The party functionaries play very important role in elections so their mobilization and motivations is very important for the promotion of this new tool. By connecting and making teams of NGOs with IT company personnel and fixing their responsibilities will help in demonstrating its impact in each constituency and will make the work systematic and easy to handle. NASSCOM can play a vital role here. National Informatics Centers (NIC)23 will train the trainers with the help of IT professionals and NGOs.

The role of NICs at center, state, and district level to act as focal point and nodal agency is vital. They will play the role of coordinator, facilitator and moderator at their respective levels. A monthly review and monitoring meetings at state by CEO and in district by DEO to watch progress are needed. All stakeholders will participate in the meetings including the youth heads of the parties. Aware of the benefits from this new concept they will actively participate, coordinate and cooperate with each other to accomplish the mission, vision and goal of the program. Each MP constituency in UP is made of five MLA segments. Initially, out of five MLA segments, one of the most densely internet populated MLA segments from each of the MP constituencies will be taken up for implementation. Thus there will be uniformity across the whole state and it will help the other four MLA segments in each MP seats to understand the methods of implementation.

We have experience of implementing such programs like switching over from paper ballot to Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and providing Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC). At the time of the election, DEO has the mandate to acquire needed services for the conduct of fair, free and fearless election. Under this provision, internet services will be acquired and, according to plan, it will be used during the elections. In each MLA constituency the carved out net constituencies will have the net points to which all candidates and recognized parties will appoint an IT savvy coordinator along with a government official- a revenue official. These Coordinators will act as link between the public/ voters of that area and the net points. These net points will be fed with information by respective candidates, parties, and government officials. The net operator/owner will manage the to and fro message during the elections. For example if a village has only one net point the entire village area will be carved into one net constituency. Villagers will collect to the net point or appointed coordinator will convey the message. This will help in fast flow of information, change in cultural resistance, and increased awareness. This net point will act as a turning point for social media use in politics and elections. At net point a local group for each candidate can be created on different social media sites. In case of individual net points, they will be directly in touch with their connections, candidates, and official information.

Costs: Social media provides costless space. The training, publicity and net owners cost is met by ECI as part of promoting social media in elections. The co-coordinators’ expenses will be met by respective political parties and candidates. With social media, more people can be contacted with lesser cost so overall cost will be less compared to use of traditional methods.


1. Jennifer Senior (2009) The Message Is the Message,


3. ( March31,2010)















18. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, United Nations, e-Government Survey 2008






Author and Researcher:

Heera Lal

EMPA -10, Maxwell School ofCitizenship and Public affairs

Of Syracuse University , Syracuse .

Apts-220, Building No. 2

121 Lafayette Road, Syracuse,NY,USA-13205

315-214-5558( landline); 315-395-0291( Mobile ) ;

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Study Progress Report- Send on March 31, 2010


The Principal Secretary


Annexe Bhawan

Lucknow, UP.

Respected Sir,

I was nominated by Department of Personnel & Training, Government of India for one year program of Executive Master of Public Administration at Maxwell School. I came here with your kind permission on 19th August 2009. After reaching here, I found that there are three main streams of study:

  1. International relations.
  2. Public health.
  3. International organizations.

I have experiences in international organizations management as they are working in close association with different levels of governments in UP. Hence, I decided to select courses accordingly. I have to take ten courses of which three are compulsory and the rest is to be selected as per the job requirement. I selected courses as listed below:

EMPA 2009-2010: Heera Lal

Sl No.

Course No.

Name of the course





International Public and NGO Management

Fall 2009




Public Budgeting

Fall 2009

Sharon N. Kioko



Humanitarian actions: Challenges, Response, Results

Fall 2009




Fundamental of policy analysis

Fall 2009




Executive Education Seminar: Managerial leadership

Fall 2009

Catherine M. Gerard



Business and Government in Global Economy

Winter 2009

George Abonyi



Master project course

Spring 2009




Information Management -2- Government 2.0

Spring 2009




UN organizations :Managing changes

Spring 2009




Political Economy of Policy Reform

Spring 2009

George Abonyi

I took five courses in fall, one in winter and four in spring semester. The course contents included delivery of government services in emergencies and during natural calamities, nature and functioning of international organizations, civil society organizations and the necessity for public private partnership.

Some basic reasons for adopting PPP are:

  1. Provides pooling of financial resources
  2. Brings latest knowledge and technology which are in practice around the world
  3. Government management is reduced.
  4. Brings competitiveness in the organizations.
  5. Provides know-how and expertise to improve skills
  6. Offers an alternative to privatization.
  7. Offers opportunity for socially responsible and progressive private sector organizations to contribute to development.
  8. Combines the advantages of both public and the private sector.

What is the role of United Nations and how it is managing the international affairs was detailed to us. Trip to UN headquarter was organized to expose us to the UN system and procedures. Different roles played by the UN was briefed with focus on the role of CSOs, It was taught that with the help of Civil Society Organizations, and Not for profit organizations we can deliver public services and goods more effectively and efficiently . CSOs, NGOs are actively involved in almost all fields from program implementation to policy advocacy. Oxfam International is good example of it.

It is inferred that we should utilize the capacities of the domestic, national and international CSOs, NGOs for bringing benefits and delivering services to the public.

These organizations are very important stakeholders in framing public policy and its reform. Above all we have seen their leading roles in policies and programs implementations. PPP model is widely used in India at different level of governments. We can take help of domestic, national and international CSOs in implementing PPP. We learned how to harness the capacities of these non-governmental organizations in public service delivery in normal as well as emergency situations.

In developed countries on line services delivery is very common. Government-2 was initially used for the networking but latter on it became effective tool for public service delivery. It is in use in federal, state, and local governments to provide benefits to public. In India government-2 and social media is used, but at a very low scale. It is a challenge for us how to use this in India in conditions of low penetration of internet and lack of basic infrastructures like electricity.

As practical requirement of the course Government-2, I have created a group on social media FaceBook How to Accelerate the Development of District-BASTI, UP, India-272001 . I chose Basti as it is a backward district of UP. The selection was made in consultation with the professor and she is advisor to the group. Implementation of any project will be easy in District Basti because I know the facts and figures of the district as it is my home district. I do have a registered society PPK (with government information) which is required as implementation platform on the line of PPP model. I discussed the project with professors, who advised to adopt an ICT or computer literacy related students’ projects for the schools based on social media. The main steps would be- learn- connect-communicate-engage-get result.

Prof Ines Mergel sent advice on mail which is as follows:

From: Ines Mergel
To: heera lal
Sent: Sun, 7 March, 2010 3:17:47 PM
Subject: RE: How to get finance- a new small projcet

Good afternoon,

unfortunately, I don't have any experience with funding projects in India. Did you look into programs from the WorldBank or the One Laptop Per Child initiative? It was just last week covered in the news that India has ordered 250,000 additional laptops for children. Here is a link to it:

Good luck for your project!
Ines Mergel

Ines Mergel
Assistant Professor of Public Administration
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Administration
Syracuse University
400H Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13210
phone: 315-443-5100

Skype: inesmergel
Twitter: InesMergel

I am now in the process of implementing it. Prof Ines told me to present this in class. The project conceptualization and planning part is almost complete. Implementation in the field will be done in district BASTI with the assistance from group, my own NGOs and other organizations interested in participating in the project. Prof. has promised her support in formalizing of the project for implementation. Program will be first implemented in Basti and will be extended to other areas based on the experience of Basti pilot project. The project will be managed by a knowledge committee at the school level and I will be the advisor of this committee on behalf of my own registered society and school head will be its president. Representative of teachers, students, donors and others associated with the project will be its members. All activities of the project will be properly documented and will have the signature of all stakeholders. The project will be implemented by NGOs and private organizations. Later on if government is convinced of the relevance and impact of the project they can consider its implementation under the PPP model.

I met and discussed with many NRIs from Uttar Pradesh. After these discussions I found that NRIs need some forum to get help at some point of time. Being outside the country and getting the work done in India is a difficult task. Such situation creates disappointment. To find a solution this problem, I discussed this with the professor and our colleagues. Social media is the best tool to facilitate the NRIs as almost all NRIs are net users. After much deliberation, I mustered courage to take this responsibility voluntarily. To bring all UP NRIs together into a group, I created a group on facebook social media with title “Uttar Pradesh Non-Resident Indians (UP-NRI Group)”

and link :

Prof Ines is an advisor to this group. She is guiding me how to use social media to solve the public problems. It is a new field in public service delivery so initially difficulties will appear time to time.

This is my interim report regarding my study progress as per the direction of the DoPT letter issued to us to apprise about study progress.

Thanks and Regards,

( Heera Lal )

EMPA -09, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public affairs

Of Syracuse University, Syracuse.

Apts-220, Building No. 2

121 Lafayette Road, Syracuse, NY,USA-13205

315-214-5558( landline); 315-395-0291( Mobile) ;

CC: Mr. Naresh Wadhwa Under Secretary DoPT, GoI New Delhi.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reform in department of Political Affairs (DPA) United Nations

In this,I will review DPA’s organization, key roles and achievements as well as consider areas for reform. Then I will highlight recommendations and rationale for creating five regional peace councils.


The United Nations established the DPA in 1992. DPA is headed by an Under-Secretary who manages the department, advises the Secretary-General on matters affecting global peace and security, and provides guidance to his envoys and political missions in the field. Currently, DPA has roughly 250 staff at U.N. headquarters in New York. DPA draws from the work of Special Political Missions and Peace-Building Support Offices under its supervision. They have more than 1,700 national and international staff in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Field offices of DPA contribute substantially to its political analysis. They also provide a forward platform for good office missions and other preventive initiatives – the latter is often developed in conjunction with U.N. development, humanitarian and human rights entities and the civil society. The peace-building support offices managed by DPA are an illustration of the Department’s role since 1997 as the United Nations designated focal point for peace building.

Key Roles: The DPA works on the philosophy of “prevention is better than cure”. Hence it has a central and important role to play to keep the world peaceful. This begins with sound and timely information and analysis. The roles played by DPA are monitoring and assessing global political developments; advising the U.N. Secretary-General on actions that could advance the cause of peace; providing support and guidance to U.N. peace envoys and political missions in the field; and serving Member States directly through electoral assistance and through the support of DPA staff to the work of the Security Council and other U.N. bodies. DPA contributes to U.N. efforts worldwide .It extends from conflict prevention to peacemaking to post- conflict peace building. Through the work of its regional divisions, DPA regularly provides the Secretary-General with analytical reports and briefing notes to aid him in making informed decisions and shape his continuous diplomatic initiatives with U.N. Member States, non-governmental organizations and others.

DPA strives to help the Secretary-General to detect and respond to potential crises. The head of DPA also serves on the Secretary-General’s Policy Committee, which is the highest decision-making body within the U.N. Secretariat, and chairs the Executive Committee on Peace and Security, a high-level body for interagency and interdepartmental coordination. Where complex crises require contributions from a range of U.N. entities, DPA is often called upon to establish an overarching political framework within which political, developmental and humanitarian action can go forth. DPA provides other important services to U.N. Member States. The U.N. Security Council, in carrying out its crucial functions, relies on staff of the DPA Affairs for substantive and secretariat support. DPA provides similar the staff support to two standing committees established by the General Assembly, concerning the rights of Palestine and decolonization.

Achievements and need for further reform: So far DPA has been very successful in accomplishing of our task by changing and improving the department and its activities from time to time to meet demands. The revival of a strong international push for nuclear non-proliferation, and productive meetings and bilateral discussions on the Middle East peace process, Somalia, Pakistan, Sudan, Myanmar, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Honduras and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea have increased our responsibilities .The demand for our services is increasing. Member states expressions of support for our efforts to strengthen the entire menu of UN crisis response options, from peacemaking and preventive diplomacy to peacekeeping and post conflict peace-building compel us to devise ways to meet the everyday changing expectations of member states. These expectations along with our past and routine activities can’t be met without additional resources and some changes in organization and methodology.

We are making an effort to enhance our cooperation with the regional organizations to cope with the new situations. But it is not sufficient in the light of increasing demand of our services and limited resources as regional organizations have their own limitations and are formed for specific purposes. We are getting their cooperation, but not yet at the desired level. We don’t have any regional forum where countries can sit together and help each other to resolve national and transnational issues which may take the shape of a conflict.

It is seen now that regional economic integration is taking place. Countries are coming together for economic gains and growths. In light of this it is possible for us to bring them together for the significant gains in peace. From any point of view, peace is more valuable and bigger than economic gains. Local co-operation on the basis of mutual understanding and sharing will reduce the burden on the UN. It will also be cost effective as problems will get addressed at the regional level. Based on these issues it is imperative to reform our department.

Reforms- Create a Regional Peace Council: In field, we have five regions worldwide: Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific Europe and Middle East. Our special political missions and peace-building support offices are located in ten places in Africa, South and Central Asia and the Middle East. All are engaged in conflict prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peace building.

To provide local forum to resolve issues that arise from time to time, we need to create five regional peace councils. All countries in the region will have membership. The president will be on the basis of rotation and the secretary will be the regional head of the DPA. There will be a coordinator in the regional office to coordinate the work of the council and all its expenditures will be shared by the members. To coordinate the work of the councils, there will be two council coordinators, one under each assistant secretary general at headquarters. Their expenses will be shared by their respective member states in the council. The councils will have a meeting of all the members once every six months. Venue will be the country capitals and rotate among the countries. Each country will designate a senior officer who will be responsible for coordination with council coordinator in the regional office and council coordinator at headquarters, NY. In case of emergency, meetings will be called by regional heads at any place decided with the consent of members. In case of conflict meeting decisions of Under Secretary General of DPA will be final and binding. This type of functioning will result in cost as well as time savings. The services will be more effective and efficient as everything can be done within the region itself. It will lead to reduction in travel time and transportation cost.

The role of council will be to persuade the countries to bring issues which they are not able to solve themselves before the council for better solution. Council will foster and help the countries to develop better ties for economic integration and cooperation. The routine and past services will be provided by the council through shared responsibilities of the members’ countries. If need be with the help of USG, DPA will coordinate among the councils to provide the required help and support.

The expense in this proposed arrangement is just for seven posts, five in each council and two at head office. To reduce the cost further we must choose these coordinators locally. Since their job is to coordinate and manage meetings, we must take experienced persons having such expertise as a matter of practice and not giving much emphasis on higher education as it is not required in this case. This criterion will help in reducing the cost. The cost incurred will be divided among the members, so financial burden on each member will be very small. It will prevent conflicts from arising and happening. If we compare the loss in case of any conflict it will be many times more than what is needed to prevent it. In case of war inside the country or among the countries the aftermath continues for years. This costs very dearly that is why it is called prevent is better than the cure. This saying justifies the cost saving is much more than the expense incurred in its prevention. Transportation and travel cost will be reduced considerably. Time lost in traveling will be saved. The cost in terms of time saving will be the additional indirect benefit of proposed new arrangement.

The cost analysis of the proposed arrangements shows that cost saving will be more than the new expenses to be incurred. Thus the change in proposed set up and procedures will enable us to resolve the issues faster and with lower cost. This will also lead to meeting the increasing demand

Electoral reforms Proposal

Executive Summary:

India is a vast and diverse country and it is one of the biggest democracies in the world. The constitution of India creates basically three basic pillars who work in very close coordination and cooperation with each other: legislature, executive and judiciary. All are having well defined and well demarcated roles to play. While legislature is responsible for enacting the laws, executives are responsible to execute it and judiciary comes in picture when executives violate it during implementation.

Out of these three pillars the most powerful is the legislature as they have power to enact and amend laws, according to the need. In India, elected legislatures form the multilevel governments: the union government, states governments and local governments. Each level of the government is formed by the elected representatives (legislature) who are directly elected by the public. Political parties are the main pillars to provide forum for playing politics to the politicians and political actors. All political parties are registered with designated institutions and authorities (ECI). There are three types of parties in India: national, regional and unregistered. The election commission of India (ECI) conducts election of parliament and states assembly at an interval of five years and is the registering authority for the political parties. While states Local body election commissions conducts elections for local urban and rural governments. s

India has a multi political party system. Each party has its own constitutions and accordingly they run their parties. Parties have their own policy, agenda and supporters. To organized party and run it political leader and actors manage the party affairs and its activities. Traditionally most of the political actors and leaders don’t join the politics as profession by design, but in majority of the cases it is by default. Politics in India in not taken as profession expect few dynastic and family leaders. There is no specific law for the political party management. There is no established system, no prescribed minimum educational qualification and no screening test for joining politics like executives and judiciary. There are only two very normal and simple criteria for joining the politics: sound mind and age. For contesting elections, taking party positions and doing politics no much restriction and conditions are in place in India. In India, pursuing politics is very easy as it is a field requires no much effort to enter into, no minimum prescribed educational qualification and no much botheration to start with.

In fact, It is felt that politics and politicians have a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of all the citizens of the country, and so it is all the more important for the politicians to undergo capacity development, training on the basics of government functioning and of the conduct of the various democratic institutions of the country. One sees that there are different types of professional programs for medicine, engineering, pharmacy, management and other professions. There are comprehensive training programs for administrative and judiciary services. If someone desires to make politics as a career and a profession, why not have a systematic program for the same. In Indian context, in light of unrestricted entry criteria into politics, it is highly imperative in order to improve the good governance. Since neither there is a systematic way of screening before the entry nor any exclusive program for capacity development after the entry. Therefore, the existing political parties and political leaders, actors and managers- particularly the young leaders- need skill development and knowledge enhancement to meet the newly posed challenges due to fast developing technologies, growing awareness in masses and melting boundaries at different levels.


Political process: Political parties are indispensable to any democratic system and play the most crucial role in the electoral process – in putting up candidates and conducting election campaigns. Political parties and the party system in India have been greatly influenced by cultural diversity, social, ethnic, caste, community and religious pluralism, traditions of the nationalist movement, contrasting style of party leadership, and clashing ideological perspectives. The two major categories of political parties in India are National and State, and are so recognized by the Election Commission of India on the basis of certain specified criteria.

Constitutional and Legal Position:

Worldwide scene: The legal and constitutional position of political parties varies from country to country. In most democratic countries, however, there is neither any direct constitutional provision regulating the functioning of political parties, nor any legal sanction establishing political parties as a necessary governmental institution, although there are some governmental systems which try to prescribe some conditions for the operation of party system. A very good example is furnished by the Constitution of the Fifth French Republic, which prescribes that Parliament (The French National Assembly) cannot make a law that may abridge the right of the political parties to carry on their activities freely. This is perhaps a tacit recognition of the existence of political parties as a sine qua non of a democratic system. Similarly, the basic law of Germany's Constitution includes political parties in its purview. Art. 21 of the Law guarantee the legitimacy of parties and their right to exist, if they accept the principle of democratic government. The Federal Government of Germany has thoroughly institutionalized the structure of political parties, by introducing the 5% clause, which makes it extremely difficult for minority or splinter parties to form and flourish.

The Canadian practice of Registration of Party or Party foundation is very comprehensive. Parties are registered on certain conditions and party leaders are selected through a national leadership convention composed of provincial party delegates voting as individuals rather than as a bloc.

Closer home, Nepalese Constitution (Art.12) provides freedom to form union and association, which has been enshrined as a fundamental right. Art. 112 deals specifically with the prohibition to ban political parties. Any law, arrangement or decision which allows for participation or involvement of only a single political organization or party or persons having a single political ideology in the elections or in the political system of the country shall be inconsistent with the Constitution.

India’s Position: Political parties do not as such find any direct mention in the Constitution of India. However, there is one provision in the Constitution which is directly relevant to the functioning of political parties: the Tenth Schedule. The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution was added by the Constitution (Fifty-second Amendment) Act, 1985. It deals with the disqualification of a person for being a member of either House of Parliament [Art. 102(2)] or the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State [Art.191(2)], on ground of defection.

In the absence of a sufficiently detailed constitutional provisions, the major onus of framing and administering the rules and regulations governing political parties in India has fallen on the Election Commission, a constitutional body responsible for the conduct of elections. The Election Commission of India has the ultimate power to accord recognition and status of political parties to “the association or body of citizens of India". The Election Commission has the power to decide whether or not to register an association or body of individuals as a political party.

The recognized political parties are accorded the status of a National or State political party in accordance with the provisions of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 as amended from time to time. It may be noted that political parties in India are also sometimes categorized by observers, academics and political analysts on the basis of their territorial or geographical representation, such as: All India parties, Regional parties and Local parties.

Recent Trends in the Growth of Parties:

The history of origin and growth of political parties in India can be traced to the days of India's struggle for freedom. The Indian National Congress was perhaps our first political party; it came into existence in the year 1885. There were some groups formed by patriotic Indians before that, but they did not converge into becoming a political party. The Indian National Congress was the natural and inevitable outcome of a national awakening. The evolution of the party system after Independence presents a study of transformation from one-party dominant system to a complex of multi-party configuration, in which presently strong trends of fragmentation, factionalism, and regionalism, coupled with the desire to form alliances for seeking a share in the pie of power (irrespective of any strong ideological or programmatic commitments) are being increasingly witnessed.

The present phase in the evolution of the party system is noted for two features. One, the general trend amongst both the national and regional parties to move away from the strict ideological framework of the party of the left and the right. Although in general, they do profess to stick to their party ideology or at least are known by certain ideological labels. But in their actual programmatic support they seem to be more pragmatic inasmuch as they are not reluctant to give up their ideological instance or put it on back burner, if that helps gain them a share of political power. Such trend has been witnessed both at the national as well as at the State level and parties are less inhibited to share power or coalesce in government formation with the groups, who till the other day were their bitter political opponents. Two, since the resultant coalition alliances are neither 'ideological' nor have any common objective to cement them together, they are merely short term tactical arrangements established by ambitious politicians that are rooted in the exchange of mutual benefits and compulsions of power, the mobilization of electorate is done through a strategy of support to regional cum segmental or ethnic issues without giving overriding support either to national or primarily local issues.

The last decade of the 20th century saw a sharp rise in political mobilization on the basis of social cleavages based on ascriptive identities, in particular of religion and caste. Casteism, communalism and personality domination have been the main planks around which the fragmentation of political parties has taken place, which has resulted in more caste and class-based political violence in the society. Political parties have invariably exploited these sentiments for gaining electoral support and political mobilization of the voters.

There was another significant development after the 1989 elections affecting the party system. The coalition politics gained a new trend: Parties' tended to lend support to Government from outside without formally joining it, thus ostensibly sharing power without assuming any responsibility.

Problems in the Working of Parties:

1. Absence of Inner Party Democracy: Over the last fifty years of Independence, no political party has been able to observe the basic norms of inner party democracy. The authority in organizational matters has always been from the top to the bottom through successive layers of party structures. Leaders of political parties in Independent India have not always emerged through a process of democratic elections and promotion from the lower levels to the higher and the top. Thus leadership in most political parties in India may be democratic in appearance but highly oligarchic in reality. Undemocratic parties cannot contribute to constitutional and democratic government.

2. Representation of Women: Political parties cannot remain indifferent towards women who constitute nearly 50% of the electorate. Although almost all parties have attempted to build women organizations to secure their support and make their organization more broad -based, but in practice they have failed. Recently, India passed a bill to reserve 33% seats in parliament, state legislative assemblies and local bodies.

3. Training of Members: Training and orientation of new members is one of the important functions of political parties. The parties which are organized on the model of cadre party systematically develop appropriate agencies of training for members. But most Indian parties, except for the Communist parties and the BJP have not followed this model. Parties in India do not have a permanent system of training of their members, and whatever arrangements for training are done is done on ad-hoc basis by national or state level organization.

4. Need for Funds: To perform various functions and contest elections in an effective manner, every political party requires huge funds. Apart from expenditure of office establishment, full time-workers, agitations, propaganda and travel, parties have to organize election campaigns. But the financial matters of party are kept secret while other aspects of organization are known to people. Many political parties and candidates have been found to be using dubious methods in raising funds, like kickbacks, funds from foreign countries and even from donations by mafia gangs and other non-desirable elements. Transparent sources of party finances are a must.

5. Lack of Ideology and Values in Politics: There has been very sharp erosion in the ideological orientation of political parties. Party dynamics in India has led to the emergence of valueless politics much against the ideals of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who suggested that the Congress party should be disbanded after the achievement of Independence and its members should engage themselves in the service of the people. While Gandhiji taught us tremendous selflessness, self sacrifice and service to the people, such inspirational values, the democratic norms and institutions have been destroyed systematically over the last fifty years of the working of the Constitution.

In amoral pursuit of power politics, every major player seems to be playing a no holds barred game. Astronomical sums of tainted money have come to play an important role both in the pre and post-election scenario. The entry of criminal elements within the folds of political parties and later their elevation to the portals of peoples representative chambers and the executive positions of ministers have resulted in an environment of declining moral standards of public life and the emergence of value-less politics for personal gains. Unfortunately this trend has penetrated to all walks of public life and no political leader or political party seems to care for value-based politics and upholding of moral standards.

6. Leadership Quality: The older political leadership had risen from the ranks. The rise was neither sudden nor irrational, and their adherence and commitment to party ideals and ideology was unflinching. They respected party discipline. The present day political leadership seems to be in a tremendous hurry to reach up to the top, and is not averse to use short cuts, dubious methods, money or muscle power to achieve their objective.

7. Campaign methods: The campaign methods used by parties in the days of electronic media, high-tech advertisement, projecting images through the glamour of models and the film / TV idols have taken away the element of serenity and the spirit of public service from the political leadership. The election campaigns both at the regional and national levels these days have become kinds of stage shows in which the matinee idols are paraded to attract voters in support of their candidates by the rival parties without seriously discussing or educating the electorate about the issues at stake in the election.

8. Regionalization: The regionalization of political parties has compelled many of the parties to orient their highly centralized organization and decision-making structure to suit the new demands of party at the state level, thus adopting a confederation like approach for the party organization. This has resulted in a lesser assertion of national control over state units.

9. Casteism: Although there is hardly any instance in India of a political party being totally identified with any particular caste group, yet there are cases of certain castes lending strong support to particular political parties.

10. Communalism: The partition of the former united India in 1947 in two independent nations had its origin in the forces of communalism that swept the sub-continent during the first half of the last century. Despite the emergence of India as a 'secular ' state, the politics of communalism and religious fundamentalism in the post independence period has led to a number of separate movements in various states and regions of the country. Communal polarization, rather multi-polarization, has posed a threat to the Indian political ethos of pluralism, parliamentarianism and federalism.

11. Criminalization: Although the influence of muscle power in Indian politics has long been a fact of political life since the First General Elections of 1952, when some feeble allegations were made about the use of outlaws by the politicians to further their electoral prospects, the intensity and frequency of such allegations, have increased in more recent times, and the criminalization of politics and the persons known to have criminal past becoming legislators and ministers has not only become very common but is being openly defended by the party leaders.

12. Growing Violence: There are some sections of the population and highly organized political groups and parties, who do not like to remain within the orbit of the Indian Constitution and work outside the existing political apparatus and party norms, and in the process, have taken to political violence and terrorism in a big way, as the only method for political participation. .

13. Fractionalization and coalitions: A spate of minority and coalition governments at the Center due to the fragmentation of the party system has laid bare the vulnerability of the process of governance due to political uncertainty and instability of governments

14. Political Parties and Governance: The four major factors have influenced the nature of political change in India: (1) the de-institutionalizing role of national and regional leaders; (2) the impact of weak political parties; (3) the undisciplined political mobilization of various caste, ethnic, religious, and other types of groups; and (4) the increasing conflicts between the haves and have-nots in the civil society. If these trends continue unchecked, India's political crisis is likely to get worse.

15. Jumbo Council of Ministers: The experience of minority and coalition governments has also resulted in the practice of creating abnormally large or what is known as jumbo size council of ministers in order to accommodate the coalition partners in the government.

3. Indian development position in Global context:

UN agenda for the capacity Development of leaders and political actors: On 4 July 2005, then UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, announced the creation of the UN Democracy Fund at the African Union summit. The 2005 World Summit reaffirmed democracy as “a universal value”, indicating that “there is no single model of democracy, that it does not belong to any country or region”, and welcomed “the establishment of a Democracy Fund at the United Nations”. In his statement to the press on 31 August 2006, Mr. Annan called on all Members States to support the UN Democracy Fund and use it as an innovative and flexible mechanism for advancing the UN democracy agenda. In April 2007, at the UN Democracy Fund’s fourth Advisory Board meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that promotion of democracy is inseparable for UN’s broader work for security, development and human rights.

UNDEF was established by the Secretary-General in July 2005 as a United Nations General Trust Fund, with the primary purpose of supporting democratization around the world. It supports projects that strengthen all groups in democratic processes and consolidation phases of democratization. In this way, UNDEF plays a new and distinct role in complementing the UN's work with Governments to strengthen democratic governance around the world.

The Asia Young Leaders in Governance Initiative

The Asia Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) initiative addresses the need to build a critical mass of young leaders in the Asia region, who will be trained as leaders in democratic governance processes. It recognizes that young leaders are an important constituency that requires further attention and investments to enable them to serve as more effective leaders for the future. The AYLG project strategy supports building the leadership values and capacities of young leaders towards further enhancing their knowledge and skills in their various areas of expertise and influence; and in turn strengthening democratic governance processes in the region.
The initiative was launched in 2005 through a partnership between the UNDP Regional Centers in Bangkok (RCB) and Colombo (RCC) through the regional programmes – Capacity 2015 Asia, Asia Regional Governance Programme (ARGP), the Regional Indigenous Peoples’ Programme (RIPP), and the Asia Pacific Gender Mainstreaming Programme (APGMP). Participation in AYLG leadership courses follows a strict criteria as follows: a) between 25 to 35 years old; b) proven track record and active participation in leadership and/or governance issues in their respective countries and/or the region;
c) willingness and commitment to take and apply the leadership skills to be learned during the training; d) has exhibited a sphere of influence in their respective areas to make a difference; e) has working knowledge of the English language.

Efforts have been made to ensure there are at least 50% women in the trainings, including those representing indigenous peoples.

Two other features of this initiative worth highlighting are: 1) the actual delivery and in-country convening is done by alumni of the programme. 2) four thematic teams of UNDP contribute to management and content development of the programme bringing their area of expertise to bear on its outcome.

The First Regional Leadership Training Course was successfully held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in November 2006 with 76 participants from 20 countries representing national government (including six Members of Parliament and nine national Ministry officials/staff), local government, non-government organizations, private organizations, and regional/international organizations. A conscious effort was made to include women. These produced an additional 55 Leadership Fellows (i.e., those who had completed the leadership courses) from 20 countries, among which nine (9) Fellows were trained as trainers and were involved in the rollout of the sub-regional courses. In 2006, Leadership Fellows from the Philippines and Bangladesh, partnered with their local organizations to adapt and deliver the Leadership Course in national level roll-outs, designed and managed by them with support from UNDP. In 2007, a training of trainers (TOT) was held in Laos where six (6) leadership graduates were trained as trainers followed immediately by the South East and East Asia sub-regional course where 33 young leaders from civil society organizations, parliaments, government ministries and national agencies, private sector.

The UNDP Oslo Governance Centre in consultation with UNDP country offices (CO) and the Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy, New York has prepared a report. This report, which is intended for UNDP democratic governance practitioners, analyses and summarizes a mapping of UNDP’s engagement with political parties that was conducted in October 2003 and updated in May 2005. The information contained in the mapping is indicative rather than exhaustive and reflects the various ways UNDP Country Offices are currently working and engaging with political parties. The aim of the mapping is to strengthen UNDP’s programme and policy staff understands of UNDP’s engagement with political parties. The mapping will serve as a key reference for informing the development of UNDP’s corporate policies and practices concerning political parties.

The report is divided into two principal parts:

(i) a detailed analysis of UNDP’s engagement with political parties by focus area

(ii) a detailed analysis of UNDP’s engagement with political parties by region.

The information gathered as part of the mapping comes from the following sources:

(i) A survey that was completed by UNDP country offices in October 2003

on the various ways that UNDP may engage with political parties in programme countries. (ii) An analysis of queries, consolidated replies and e-discussions that have

taken place on UNDP’s democratic governance practice network (DGPN) as well as the e-discussion on the topic of ‘UNDP’s engagement with political parties’ that took place in September 2004.

UNDP works with or supports political parties through three service lines: 1: electoral systems and processes (16 COs). 2: parliamentary development (13 COs). 3: policy support for democratic governance (16 COs)


USAID political party development assistance is designed to facilitate the democratic process in newly democratizing countries, rather than to influence specific political outcomes. Promoting and strengthening the broader political process through political party development assistance require long-term support for specific organizational, behavioral, and governance aspects of democratic parties, rather than the pursuit of short-term electoral goals. Within this long-term, process-oriented framework, USAID political party assistance has three goals: 1) the establishment and organizational development of viable, competing democratic parties at national, regional, and local levels. 2) the provision of organized electoral choices to citizens through political parties. 3) the democratic governance of societies facilitated by political parties in government and opposition.

These aims fall within USAID’s democracy assistance mandate and represent manageable, neutral, and efficacious objectives for political party development support. During the past decade of USAID political party development assistance, political parties and their leaders in more than 50 countries have benefited from technical assistance and training activities provided principally by USAID’s key implementing partners, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).

As USAID experiences in political party development assistance have multiplied, patterns of support have emerged. Reflecting the aforementioned goals, the three core areas of political party assistance programming include organizational development/institutional capacity building, development and mobilization of citizen support for political parties and their candidates, and the strengthening of political parties in government..

The Office of Democracy and Governance (the DG Office) is committed to political party development assistance as a crucial element in developing and sustaining democratic societies throughout the world. In light of past assistance programming, this technical publication is offered to USAID personnel as well as to the wider audience that shares USAID’s interest in and support of political party development assistance. Whatever efforts are made in India that are to meet immediate needs. Private sector is also not doing much. For the first time, MIT School of Government (MIT-SOG), Pune-India, is the first of its kind premier institute in Asia, which creates dynamic leaders, empowering them with the knowledge and expertise for managing politics and social scenarios through a comprehensive training and practical approach to governance. This is for the developing new leaders. There in no arrangement for those who are in political arena without any such inputs. UNDP, USAID and other NGO have done nothing exclusively to develop Indian young leaders. Therefore, we need international interventions to set a trend and systematize such activities in it in India.

India: policy agenda and reform:

Reform Options

Areas of Concern: In the background of the foregoing analysis of the functioning of the party system in India, it is evident that the parties in India face a number of challenges. Not only they have declined in terms of their ideological orientations and commitment to the welfare of the masses, but in the recent past they have shown tendencies of factionalism, doggedness in terms of opposition for opposition sake, and agitational politics. Many of their leaders have been affected by communalism, caste, community or religious biases and have known to have links with mafia groups, criminals, senas, and militant or fundamentalist organizations. Changing of party or group loyalty is endemic in party organizations in India, and almost everyone is willing to defect at the drop of the hat, if the grass seems to be greener on the other side. Parties make and break political alliances to maintain their influence within the party and government, and to remain in power with the aim to keep the rivals out.

The political parties in India face organizational problems in regard to discipline, defections, intra-party organizations, elections within the parties, and splits in the party. Raising of adequate funds for party organizations and activities by legitimate means and their appropriate and effective utilization during non-election and election periods is a perennial problem. Criminalization of politics and politicization of criminals and the maintenance of public ethics is another area of concern in respect of party functioning.

Areas of Reform: Thus in the perspective of the evolution of political parties in India during the last fifty years as described above, the following are some of the areas of reform which should be of immediate concern:

1) Institutionalization of Political Parties - Need for a Comprehensive Legislation to regulate party activities. Criteria for Registration as a National or State Party - De-recognition of Parties. 2) Structural and organizational Reforms - Party organizations – National, State and local levels - Inner Party democracy - Regular Party Elections, recruitment of party cadres, socialization, development and training, research, thinking and policy planning activities of the party. 3) Problems of Party Funding -Need for a Legislation to regulate party funds - distribution and spending of party funds during non-election and election times. 4) Maintenance of Regular Accounts by the Political Parties-Auditing and publishing – making audited accounts available for open inspection. 5) Party system and Electoral system - To what extent and in what way the electoral system could be reformed so as to pave the way for the establishment of stable governments based on the concept of two party system or dual party alliance system - Do we need to change the system of single member constituencies to a mixed system or a proportional method of representation along with the simple majority system? 6) Steps to check criminalization of political parties. 7) Steps to curb the role of casteism and communalism.8) Problem of proliferation of independent candidates. 9) Strengthening of Anti-Defection Measures- Amendments in Anti- defection Law. 10) Party system and governance - How to make parties as viable instruments for good governance? 11) Restoration of values and morality in public life.

Suggestions for Reform: A number of academic and research Institutions, political observers and analysts, Committees and Commissions appointed by the Government of India from time to time and concerned scholars, journalists and academicians in their individual capacities have made a number of proposals for reforms in the party system in India. Some of the most significant of these are culled here in order to provide a perspective for framing recommendations for party reforms.

Center for Policy Research Study (Lok Raj Baral) on Party Reforms (2000):

1. Reforming the first-past-the-post system of election. The German model that accepts a preferential voting system can be examined for insuring proportionate representation of parties in parliament.

2. Since all parties work in tandem with unscrupulous business lobbies and gangsters or use state power for determining the outcome of elections, these cancerous trends need to be checked for good governance.

3. Political parties should have minimum principles for forming a coalition government rather than forge alliances only to be in government. Unprincipled political alignment should be discouraged by law urging political parties to be more homogenous in their joint endeavours of running the coalition government.

4. Support to be rendered to any government from "outside", i.e. without joining the coalition government, should be legally barred. Only a party having at least 25 per cent seats in the Lower House of parliament or Assembly should have a chance to form the government.

5. No government should be removed from office if the opposition parties or others involved in the toppling game fail to come out with a clear alternative arrangement and programme.

6. The kind of coalitional arrangements that the parties make should be clear before forming the government. Developments so far show that the big parties themselves prefer to play second fiddle to the regional and smaller parties whose immediate interests are determined by 'regional and parochial' issues rather than long term national programmes.

7. Parties need to strengthen their managerial and crisis management capacity. If the party organizations are better managed and democratized, their efficiency would increase. More autonomy to all layers and more inner-party democracy would help circulate leaders on the basis of their qualities. The criterion of achievement rather than ascription should be accepted by all parties. Unless parties are broad based in accommodating all segments of society, they continue to become status quoist, exclusivist, regional and sectarian.

8. Parties' own code of conduct and self-initiated reforms, rather than state-imposed reforms are likely to improve the working of parties. [Lok Raj Baral, "Political Parties and Governance in South Asia" in V. A. Pai Panandikar, Problems of Governance in South Asia ( Delhi, Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd.,2000), pp. 155-199.]

Law Commission's Report (1998)

The recommendations of the Law Commission could be summed up as follows:

1) Independent candidates are barred from contesting elections to the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies. 2) Full five year term for the legislatures. 3) In order to contain defections, a “pre-poll coalition” or front of political parties should be treated as a “political party”. 4) Inclusion in the RPA to regulate the formation, functioning and income-expenditure accounts of political parties and to avoid their splintering and ensure internal democracy. 5) Scrapping of explanation I to section 77(1) of the RPA to make the electoral system more representative, fair and transparent - making it obligatory for every candidate to declare his/her assets and of his/ her spouse and dependent relations as well as provide particulars regarding criminal cases pending against them. 6) On state of funding of political parties, recommendations of the Indrajit Gupta Committee subject to certain changes, be adopted.

Under the Indian system, where everyone from a poor peon to the secretary in the ministry, has to possess some minimum qualification, from a mere matriculation to a degree, the honorable members of Parliament are an exception. So are the ministers. And despite this, they are acceptable. Today, a person can be a Law Minister without even a nodding familiarity with law and an Education Minister without any formal education. During the last 60 years, there have been several such instances all over the country. Should we not lay down some qualifications: Impeccable integrity, Proven ability, Academic standards in consonance with the requirements of the job, otherwise leaders can be a liability. And surely, rule of the majority does not mean rule by the illiterate. [Jawaharlal Gupta, while the worst are full of passion, in the Hindustan Times, 28 June 2000.]

Stakeholders: The main stake holders involved in the process of reform are:

1. UNDP, USAID, NGO, CSO and national, international institutions active in this filed, working for good governance. 2. Government of India (GoI). 3. States government, Election Commission of India (ECI). 4. All national and regional parties registered with ECI and national and international donor agencies. 5. Media. 6. Judiciary

Based on above discussion proposed Reforms are:

1. Long term reform: It is evident that India neither has any direct constitutional provision regulating the functioning of political parties, nor any legal sanction establishing political parties as a necessary governmental regulation for the political parties. Moreover no specific laws are enacted to control and regulate the parties in India. In view of the international practice some countries are having specific laws while others are not having like India.

The Federal Government of Germany has thoroughly institutionalized the structure of political parties, by introducing the 5% clause, which makes it extremely difficult for minority or splinter parties to form and flourish. The Canadian practice of Registration of Party or Party foundation is very comprehensive. Parties are registered on certain conditions and party leaders are selected through a national leadership convention composed of provincial party delegates voting as individuals rather than as a bloc.

Like Germany and Canada, India needs a detail specific law. It will discipline the parties and they will get directions for different activities from such available legal frame. In the absence of any such law they are managing according to their short term gains and keeping political ethics and values aside. Above all they are not taking into account the public interest utmost. This is the reason criminals and illegal money is dominating the Indian politics in disguise. If law will mandate that only clean person without criminal records can be candidate in the elections then criminals will not be fielded as candidates by the parties. In non existence of any such law it is very difficult even for the parties to avoid fielding such persons having criminal background under different types of pressures, situations and circumstances.

The other most glaring evil with which Indian political system is highly infected is misuse of illegal money- particularly in elections and in forming the government in case of lack of required majority. Its role is like black money of the Indian economy. In case of clauses in proposed specific laws on all such issues things will be better than now on different fronts related to Indian politics. Indian political parties are the holy mother of political leaders and actors and political system. Unfortunately, India doesn’t have any specific and comprehensive law to regulate and discipline the holy mother.

Short term reforms: Indian politics is open to any one with a very minor restriction of age and sound mind. No screening test is taken before entry and no systematic capacity development practice is in place after joining it. Under these circumstances, our politicians are lacking required knowledge and skills. This in tern is affecting the good governance. Irony is that all departments, sectors and fields are having such program in place except political field. Why it is so. It is very difficult to find its reasoning. UNDP, USAID and other international donors and institutions are active in this area. UNDP initiated the Asia Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) initiative addresses the need to build a critical mass of young leaders in the Asia region, who will be trained as leaders in democratic governance processes. It recognizes that young leaders are an important constituency that requires further attention and investments to enable them to serve as more effective leaders for the future, but it is not exclusively for the political leaders. It is a mix of different groups. To develop political leaders, managers and actors for the first time a private institute MIT School of Government Pune (Maharastra) has created a platform for such young men and women to assimilate and adopt the intricacies of government functioning. Yet, no public institute is started and no public intervention. Fortunately, at least some private initiative has been started to train young leader before they enter into the politics. There is no exclusive program for the capacity development for political actors who are in this field. All initiatives are, in places, are adhoc arrangements. International organizations are also not having any exclusive program for the young leaders.

Therefore, under this situation, India needs to have an exclusive training program for the young leaders. It is a basically capacity development approach as 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. UNDP, Government of India (GoI), Election Commission of India (ECI), Institutions active in this filed, NGO -National Election Watch (NEW) and the Association for Democratic Reforms) for good governance, all national and regional parties registered with ECI and national and international donor agencies will be involved. The proposed duration of training will be for two months, one month in India and one month outside the country. The program of training will be designed with keeping the following in focus:

Making ready for the role of Government actors (For MP, MLA, Minister, Mayer, to 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 and reasons 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 getting 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.

Funding: 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.

Additional benefits:

1) It is a form of the one 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 a trend now and 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.

3) 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 political activities.

4) It will bring good competitions among the politicians which may lead to over all enhancement of efficiency.

5) It will reduce the usual frictions and conflicts which develop between political actors and bureaucracy.

6) It will be a model and can be implemented in other countries with similar situations.


  4. UNDP – Democratic Governance Group - Oslo Governance Centre, July 2005