Lowdown of Simultaneous Election

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When it comes to the celebration of festivals, probably no other country in the world can beat us in terms of sheer numbers which we have here in India. The dates of our annual calendar are always filled with colours, signifying one festival or the other. Festivals are generally a cultural and historical attribute of the society. But they are not only restricted to these aspects. Like other democracies, we have political festivals too in the form of elections, but here also we outnumber the other democracies.

We have adopted three tier of government in our polity. First at Central level, next at state level and third at local level. To elect the representatives of all three levels we have separate elections of Parliament, state legislature and to the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Panchayats. In recent years, on an average we had two elections each year and many ULB elections. To conduct an election is a massive exercise in India, reasons are: humongous size of country as a whole as well as states (many of them are large than many European Countries), diverse population, administrative and infrastructural cost and many more.

 So the idea to conduct simultaneous election has been in and around in past also. But recent aggressive push by current government under the stewardship of Prime Minister has made the pitch higher. The only difference in the demand of holding simultaneous election is that the PM has pitched to hold the election of all three elections at one shot including Panchayats.

What’s the history?

Simultaneous Election is not a new concept to India. We had first general election in 1951-52. After the first Parliamentary Election, we had the simultaneous election to the parliament and state legislature till next three times also i.e. in 1957, 1962 and 1967. After 1967 general election, the stronghold of single party domination in India got loosened in few states and it gave the space to the regional parties. But at few occasions regional parties formed coalition government which did not complet its full terms and resulted in premature dissolution. Same thing happened to the Central Government in 1970 and due to lack of majority the Parliament, it got dissolved and fresh elections were held in 1971. Since then the sync which has prevailed over the Parliament and state election finally broken and we reached at point where every year we have more than one elections.

Argument for Simultaneous Election:

The proponent of the joint election rightly points out several benefits. One of the major flaws of having multiple elections, they say, is that it always keeps the government in “Election Mode” and they are hardly able focus on governance. Every election to the state is seen by the political analysts and commentators as the litmus test and they term them as quarter final, semi final to the General Election. In democracy no party wants to lose the momentum, hence government indulges themselves to the populism leaving space of prudence in governance.

When election dates are declared, Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes in to force, where there are several restrictions on government to announce or materialize the schemes for the welfare of the people. Having multiple elections means several MCC and government find themselves hamstrung.

Conducting various elections means administrative as well as financial burden on the limited resource of the country. Requirement of the relocation of police force, election equipments, and mobilization of district administration is cumbersome as well as costly.

Government Teacher plays a very crucial role in conducting the election. But this is not their primary task. It affects the education of the students of the government schools who are already at the disadvantaged side due to several limitations when compared to their counter part of private schools.

There is no doubt that election commission as well as government is trying very hard to reduce the corruption in the election, but despite of several measures, corruption is rampant in election. Money power speaks loudly during the election. Hence more election means more use of dirty money and more loss to democratic ethos.

Frequent Elections also disrupts the normal life by suspending or affecting the supplies of the essential commodities, by jamming the traffic for election rallies, huge rise in noise pollution etc.

One of the debilitating features of the Indian election is that many parties tries to divide the society on  caste, communal, gender line etc. for their vested interest of winning the election, which is highly undesirable for the social fabric of life. When more election happens there are more chances of division in the society.

So keeping all these points in mind, holding simultaneous election seems plausible and desirable thing to ponder upon.

Ideas against it:

Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi has notably mentioned that “Having simultaneous election is desirable but not feasible”. There are multiple constitutional, practical and administrative restriction prevents this idea from materializing. Indeed, the concerns are genuine.

The first concern is that it negates the principle of Parliamentary Democracy (PD) and Constitution. In Indian PD a government at center is entitled for five year of governance if they secure majority and can dissolve it according to the whim of the ruling party and can be removed by passing no confidence motion. This idea is true as well for the state legislature. So when holding both election will be materialize, this principle has to die down.

The second concern is that this is against the idea of Federalism. Imagine a situation when no party will be able to secure majority in the state election and neither nay coalition government is formed, then according to prevailing procedure President Rule will be applied. So will the President rule be for the entire five year period when the next election will be held? And what if the Central Government falls in mid way? All the 29 state would have to go in for the election again, even when there is a stable government in states?

The next concern is that, state and national issues are different and hence the elections are held differently. But according to IDFC, a research institute, there has been a tendency with the voter that they increasingly vote for the same party if the elections are held together. In recent times that number is about 77% percent which is huge. Keeping this figure in mind, it appears that it will only help the national party and the regional party will be seriously disadvantaged and which is against Democratic Principle which provides level playing field for other.

The other advantage of the separate election is that it keeps the government at toes all the time and prevents them from being despotic through the exercise of their voting power. Last but not the least is the concern of “Political Consensus” on such a contentious issue which needs Constitutional Amendment.

Expert and Panels opinion:

Way back in 1999 Law Commission in its 170th report on “Electoral Reform” has suggested the idea of Simultaneous Election. Though, it was kept in cold storage since then. Recently Parliamentary Standing committee setup for the specific purpose also suggested the holding up simultaneous election but with some modification and further suggestions. Out of many, one is of having state election twice, one with parliament and other in midterm of it. Former President Shri Pranab Mukharjee, while addressing joint session of parliament, also opined in favour of simultaneous election.

So overall we can see that there are numerous benefits lies in holding all the elections at one go, but there are genuine and serious challenges occupies in its implementation which certainly can’t be ignored. The most serious challenge is the constitutional, challenge to the idea of Parliamentary Democracy and Federalism. But looking as a whole, the benefits outnumber the challenges. Prior to GST, Centre had different tax means and the state had different ones. Post implementation GST is touted as “One Nation, One Tax and One Market”, which apparently can be seen as from being a federal subject to Central Subject. Now both are clubbed together for the benefit of both and all party came to consensus along with states,  what we call it a greatest example of co-operative federalism.

Same idea and principle should be applied here. A rigorous discussion and deliberation should be held inviting all the stake holders which includes all the political parties (including regional ones), member from the academia, civil societies, expert from the constitutional realm and if needed foreign experience should also be taken in account. Finally, to quote Victor Hugo “no force on earth can stop an idea, whose time has come” seems quite reasonable here. The whole idea of democracy hinges on consensus, we have to see that are we able to reach to consensus on this idea or not?

शुभकामनायें!

मेरी तरफ से आप सभी को हिंदी दिवस की असीम शुभकामनायें. चुनौतियों से भरा प्रहर है. आज जब भारत में अंग्रेजी भाषा बुद्धिजीवी व्यक्तियों का परिचायक बन चुकी है, तो अन्य भाषाओं में विचार व्यक्त करना एक चुनौती है इस विषम परिस्थिति में दृढ विश्वास और गर्व के संग हिंदी भाषा का ध्वज वाहक बने रहिये और स्मरण रहे कि यह विश्वास काल्पनिक न हो, हिंदी रचनाओं का यदि हम अध्ययन संवेदनशीलता के साथ करेंगे तो, तो इसकी महानता अनायास ही दृष्टि में आएगी…

मातृभाषा हमारी अलग हो सकती है (मेरी भी अलग है, हिंदी नहीं) पर राष्ट्र को एकीकृत करने में हिंदी से श्रेष्ठ और कोई नहीं. तब जब कि आने वाले कुछ दशकों में हम विश्व की दूसरी सबसे बड़ी अर्थव्यवस्था बनाने के कगार पर हैं, तो स्मरण रहे की हमारी बोल-चाल की भाषा उधार की न रहे. क्योंकि उधार ली गयी चीजें सर्वदा बोझ ही रहती हैं

 

भारतेन्दु हरिश्चन्द्र ने लिखा था, जो आज भी प्रासंगिक है:-

निज भाषा उन्नति अहै, सब उन्नति को मूल।
बिन निज भाषा-ज्ञान के, मिटत न हिय को सूल।।
विविध कला शिक्षा अमित, ज्ञान अनेक प्रकार।
सब देसन से लै करहू, भाषा माहि प्रचार।।

भावार्थ:
निज यानी अपनी भाषा से ही उन्नति सम्भव है, क्योंकि यही सारी उन्नतियों का मूलाधार है।
मातृभाषा के ज्ञान के बिना हृदय की पीड़ा का निवारण सम्भव नहीं है।
विभिन्न प्रकार की कलाएँ, असीमित शिक्षा तथा अनेक प्रकार का ज्ञान,
सभी देशों से जरूर लेने चाहिये, परन्तु उनका प्रचार मातृभाषा में ही करना चाहिये

मुर्दों की बस्ती..

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मुर्दों की बस्ती

मोल लगा लो पैसे हों तो

यहाँ ईमान बहुत ही सस्ती है

ये मुर्दों की बस्ती है

 

शुचिता के सब स्वांग रचे हैं

पर, बिकी हुई हर हस्ती है

ये मुर्दों की बस्ती है

 

कलंक का डर अब किसे यहाँ पर

स्वाभिमान गर्त तक धसती है

ये मुर्दों की बस्ती है

 

पीड़ित जन हैं, वे सांत्वना भी देंगे

पर उनके ह्रदय में घोर मस्ती है

ये मुर्दों की बस्ती है

 

देखता मैं भी महल-अट्टालिका,

झोपड़पट्टी पर ही नज़र टिकती है

हाँ, ये मुर्दों की ही तो बस्ती है

……..अभय…….

 

शब्द सहयोग:

शुचिता: Chastity, Purity

 

Pass it on..

A good leader is one, who doesn’t always leads from the front, but when the time demands he is ready to operate from the back as well. Those leaders, who are insecure about their position never wants to relinquish his frontal space, as they always have a doubt in back of their mind that if they will give up the position now, then they will never be able to regain it in future. Robert Mugabe, present president of Zimbabwe could fall in this category. He was the one of the chief architect of the independence of Zimbabwe from British Rule. Yet, when England freed Zimbabwe in 1980 to till now, he is holding the office, just as a dictator. I can give the example of “power grip” from Indian domestic politics also, but that would have made this post political. Anyway you all know it, Won’t you?

One more special quality of the bet of the leaders is that they never take credit to the achievements rather they pass it on to those who worked under their guidance. Now I would like to give a very fresh and recent example of this.

India has just secured a spectacular diplomatic achievement by sending its one of the Jurist, Dalveer Bhandari to International Court of Justice (ICJ). The International Court is the prime judicial branch of the United Nations (UN) which settles the legal disputes between the various states. Such as the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav. The victory is sweet because India wrestled the seat from one of the P5 member i.e. Britain, who once colonized it for more than 150 years or so.

Social Media was on buzz. Everyone congratulated each other. But what made me feel good is the response of three personality which were directly or indirectly involved in the process. One is Prime Minister, other was the External Affairs Minister and the last  but most important was the Permanent Representative of India at United Nations.

When the result became evident Prime Minister gave credit to the External Affairs Minister and each and every staff to MEA.

Then what did External Affairs minister do, she pass the credit to Syed Akbaruddin by  mentioning special reference of him

And lastly the permanent representative shared a tweet along with his team who tirelessly worked to achieve this feet.

This is how team should be lead where each and every one should feel that they are part of the story.

What Say…?

She shines

Who motivates us?

When someone achieves some extraordinary feat, even when they face a lot of hurdles and pains in their way, in my opinion, those persons motivate us. Isn’t it?

But, it is true that this is not the case for all of us, as many claims that they are self motivated. Many argue that no humans can be their motivation as they are only motivated through divine aspect of the nature.

Have you ever been in any situation in your life where you have felt that you are alone amidst the mob? Yes, No.

Anyway, Skip this question and face a new one.

Have you ever been really alone and secluded, where no one is besides you and the closet person are physically situated miles apart from you? I think most us wouldn’t have experienced this kind of situation.

Six girls decided the fate that they are going to place themselves in the same situation and that too willingly. They are Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi , Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lieutenants P Swathi, Vijaya Devi, Payal Gupta and B Aishwarya.

snk
Credit: Internet

Do you know them? Yes, No. Doesn’t matter, even I were oblivious of them till recently.

I think they are worth knowing. That is why I decided to write about them.

All of them, whose name I have mentioned, are officers of Indian Navy and they have decided to circumnavigate the earth without any assistance of their male counterpart. This means that all women crew, for the first time in the History of India, have decided to have a complete a circle around the earth in a ship called INS Tarini. They have already started the journey and has reached the first leg of it.

 

 

 

The mission is termed as Navika Sagar Parkirama. This mission was flagged by, first full time female Defence Minister of India, Nirmala Sitaraman.

Few facts about the mission:

  • INSV Tarini is 55 foot sailing vessel built indigenously in India by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa.
  • The expedition will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa) for replenishment of ration and repairs as necessary.
  • It will circumnavigate globe in approximately 165 days and is expected to return to Goa in April 2018.
  • The ship will promote Make in India, as it is indigenously built.
  • The crew will check and collect the data for marine pollution.

Many of you would be aware that in ancient time, Indians were not supposed to cross over the oceans, because it was termed as inauspicious. That was the day and this is the day, when only women crew has started a voyage to break the shackles of the idea that women are subordinate to men and they can’t venture alone in life. Imagine the journey, it will not be easy. There will be dark nights, and that too in ocean. There may be no humans in their sight for miles. The sound of the ripples of the ocean may be horrific.  Some waves will be huge. They may encounter some pirates in their journey. The ship is not too big and waves and thunderstorm may test their mettle in mid way. But they are prepared for it. They have already faced the waves of prejudice and subjugation by male dominated society, probably their voyage will be easier than the voyage that women has had over the centuries in India. They have decided to lost in joy of the journey, and when they will return back to Indian Coast, probably many Indians will discover a new perspective.

These all  girls inspired me, and I hope they will also inspire you!!!

 

 

Propagate the Good

I recently observed a phenomenon that people like to propagate the ideology which they are professing, practicing and have allegiance to it.

From Capitalism to Socialism, from Autocracy to Democracy, from Secularism to Communalism, from Barbarism/Terrorism to Humanism, from Atheist to Theist and from Lover to Hater, one desire is common in all these groups that they want to increase their number.

Purpose behind mounting the number, in my view, is that they feel safe, secure and superior with like-minded people. We have heard from one of our ancient scripture/ Upanishad that “Satyamev Jayate” means “Truth alone Triumph”, but now this believe is only used for the decorative purposes and have taken a back seat as “Truth” is being adjudicated by the majority’s view.

Anyway, purpose of my writing is that, I believe that whatever good we are doing we should continue but proliferate, disseminate and transmit it to the other people. If we don’t broadcast it, surely negative vibes and action will occupy the vacuum.

If  peace will not be propagated, agitation will fill the void.

#ShubhRatri

 

China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Hello Doston!!

Today’s article is concerned with a Geo-Political topic  which is currently a buzz in world of diplomacy. Its a bit lengthy as compared  to my general write ups, but the gravity of the subject prompted me to write long. Hope you would enjoy reading.

In past quarter century, if one thing which has  caught the imagination of the world, it would surely be the phenomenal rise of China. For almost 30 years double digit growth, China’s incremental jump in the economic dimension has reshaped the world order and now we are moving towards a multi-polar world, where America or Russia is not the sole dominant power.

With the rise of China comes its desire to influence the world order. There are several tools to influence it. Such as by showing technological advancement, increasing the influence on other countries, by enhancing the infrastructural aspects, by increasing trade with other nations etc. So in 2013, its president came up with an ambitious project called One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which China claims that it is one of the most ambitious project of 21st century and it is having potential to reshape the world.

Recently China has organized a summit called Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), in which high level participants from more than 120 countries arrived, including nearly 30 head of the states. India was a conspicuous absentee, even though China, on multiple occasions, requested India to be a participant of this initiative. Since we are witnessing a potential watershed event in the world history, hence I thought of bringing some details about it.

What is Belt and Road Initiative?

This initiative is brought to fore by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. From the inspiration of Old Silk Route, Belt and Road Initiative or One Belt One Road initiative is a connectivity project which aims to connect  mainland China to the parts of Asia, Europe and some parts of Africa as well. There are 60 countries through which this project will run. China is willing to finance these infrastructural project as a loan to the host nation. Once these areas will be connected, a whole new wave of globalization can emerge. It will have a positive impact on trade, commerce, integration of economy, cultural connectivity, integration of the least connected area, increasing the living standards of millions etc.

BRI
Red Line Indicates the Land Connectivity, where as Blue Line Indicates Maritime connectivity. Image Credit: Internet

 

This initiative is having two limbs; one is connecting the Land Area through rail and road and the other is maritime connectivity by building ports and supplementary infrastructures.

Land connectivity scheme is known as Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime connectivity project is known as 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Plausible intentions of China Behind this project:

  1. By implementing this, China will emerge as a dominant player in the world order as this project will cover the 63% of the world population, 30% of the current world GDP, and 35% of the trade happens in these area.
  2. China has vast cash reserve in Renminbi (Chinese currency) which is equivalent to US $ 21 trillion approx twice its GDP. So by financing these infrastructural projects these cash deposits, which is presently lying ideal, can bring revenues through interests. It will also help in internationalization of its currency.
  3. China is having strategic leverage over manufacturing sector, so by integrating the Eurasian regions it will enhance its market where it can sell its product.
  4. It can win few allies, which it lacks as compare to its rival US by financing infrastructure.
  5. It will have a strategic and military advantage as compare to US, which also sees these regions very significant in terms of Geo Politics.
  6. It will help China to bring its least developed Western Provinces in direct contact with the other nations through infrastructure, which in turn, will benefit its balanced regional growth.

India did not take part in this initiative, which is criticized by many both at home and in China. They argue, India which is struggling in infrastructures should have embraced Chinese proposal as it will help via financing. By remaining out India is secluding itself from the new world order which is emerging. It will have a deleterious impact in the  to its economy in long term. The Indian subcontinent which is least integrated can get an impetus from the Chinese sponsored scheme and will be win-win situation for all.

However, Indian government firmly articulated its reservations to this project.

India’s concerns:

  • Infringing Sovereignty: One part of the project, China Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through Gilgit Baltistan, which lies in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, amd claimed by India. Since it is a disputed region and China did not had a deliberations with India with this respect, India thinks it as a infringement on its sovereignty.
  • Since the details of the project are not in the public domain, India is skeptic about it.
  • India does not see it as a mere economic initiative, as nearly 30,000 security personnel will be deployed to protect the infrastructure. Hence it sees a threat to its security.
  • India sees the high interest rates to finance the project as a Chinese “web trap”.
  • Along with this the assessment of project cost is not transparent, in the absence of transparency India is unwilling to be a part of this project.
  • China recently has behaved as an obstructionists in two cases which was concerned with India one in NSG and other in declaring Jash-e-Mohamed leader Mashod Azhar as a terrorists. So India gave the Chinese the taste of its own medicine. And gave a strong signal that India is not going to be an easy ride if its concerned is ignored.

Conclusion: In my view India rightly opted out from the Belt and Road Initiative as infringement upon sovereignty is a very serious concern. Along with this the benefit which China tries to put is not as clear as of the investment. But India should work in the field of regional connectivity firstly by focusing on its internal infrastructure and then after the infrastructure of the South East region.