From the Editor

Cover- 17jan18

Ten years is not a long period in the life of a Think Tank National Magazine. Power Politics has, however, already carved out a special space in the Indian media scene, with its deep insight into what makes India grab attention in sunshine and on a dark night.

For us this journey has been arduous and challenging, both in resources generation and for creating a marketplace of ideas and informed opinions. In the pursuit of an independent and objective line of thinking on issues and problems, we are guided by the spirit of inquiry, and not by political angularities, casteist biases and religious jingoism. Our basic focus is on the development of common men and against any miscarriage of social and economic justice, from the grassroots upwards.

To mark its tenth anniversary, Power Politics has come out with a Special Number which, while looking at the years gone by from “I said so” perspective, takes stock of problems confronting the nation of 1.2 billion people and their rising expectations.

Good Governance is the leitmotif of the broad spectrum of advocacy for a Vibrant India — India of Gandhi and Nehru, Buddha and Mahavir, Ram and Krishna, Kabir and Guru Nanak, which is equally at home with Jesus and the Prophet. Our crusading zeal is meant to enable people at the nukkad level to breathe pluralism and practise tolerance, unmindful of the currents and cross-currents at play.

Good governance is the key to the people’s heart. Human Development Report looks at it as a democratic exigency and promoter of people’s human rights as well as their means and capacity to participate effectively in the decisions that affect their lives.

Minimizing corruption in the system apart, good governance is expected to give due weightage in decision-making to the views of minorities, tribals as well as to the voices of dissent and the most vulnerable sections of society.

Good governance encompasses the rule of law, transparent and accountable institutions and the system. It ensures access to knowledge, information, quality education, health care and good environment. Equally critical are its areas of gender equality, empowerment of women, consensus-oriented policy-making and effective and equitable of management of power and decision-making.

Looking beyond the 1989 World Bank concept of good governance, our entire exercise in the Anniversary Special is India-centric. After 71 years of Independence, the country is still struggling to find the right answers to come out of “long gap” between “verbalization” and implementation of policies and reforms aimed at fostering the development of all people. Even “decentralization” of power in the rural sector has not produced the desired results. If anything, it has led to concentration of power in the hands of “petty plutocracy.”

As it is, the social sector is the Orphan in India, as my colleague Malladi Rama Rao puts it. Both education and health have been privatized through the backdoor over the years. This has put good schools and hospitals virtually out of the reach of the underprivileged.

Small wonder, there are signs of restlessness in every segment of society. Young India feels cheated in the absence of promised generation of millions of the jobs. The latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) suggests that gender disparities and lack of skills to match young persons’ aspirations could upset India’s demographic dividend. India, by tradition, looks down upon in-house skill upgradation practices. This must change. It can change only if the government takes the initiative.

Should India look to the West for good governance models ? Not necessarily. In fact, it should explore its intellectual and managerial roots that are found in abundance in Kautilya’s rules of administration and take a fresh look at the people’s problems with their ever-changing and rising aspirational quotient and the politics of one-upmanship that are often an excuse to reinvent the wheel of status quo for short term political gains.

To the ruling class, I wish to remind it of King Vikramaditya and his famous throne. He ruled well and acted justly. Unless the rulers follow the Vikramaditya creed of justice and fair play in conducting affairs of the nation and the states, the people’s faith in them and their policies cannot be revived or sustained.

Indian rulers have only to be true to themselves and the people, discover traditional roots and move on to the modern path of logic and reason to regain the nation’s greatness and make it shine in a true form which goes far above the narrow canvas of caste, creed, religion and community. India needs to be rejuvenated from the current mess by pursuing forward-looking tools of good governance for a faster politico-social and economic uplift of all sections of society.

Warning signals are clear : employment generation, better health services and quality education have to be given the top national priority, both in rural and urban India. Poor health care and low education standards could dash India’s hopes of becoming a leading power. The Prime Minister and State Chief Ministers must look at these issues urgently in a wider national perspective.

What the country needs is a balanced vision of Modern the country which should hold all communities together. India is too large to be moved by short-cuts and over-simplifications of sensitive issues. “Clay has a tendency to be moulded but it requires a porter’s hand to take shape and form”, to quote P.N. Haksar from his book Reflections on our Times. Well, more than the porter’s skills, only men of courage and convictions leave the imprint on the pages of history.

We are a great nation, inheriting an ancient civilization. We cannot settle for a second place in the comity of nations. Just look into the eyes of our youngsters. They have a lot to convey about their hopes and aspirations. We cannot throttle their revolutionary impulses for changes and reforms for a corruption-free, transparent and accountable system of governance at all levels, for improving the life of citizens and ensuring safety and honour of women and children.

The 10th Anniversary Special of Power Politics presents you the widest possible spectrum of thoughts and analysis by some of India’s brightest minds on good governance. Diversity and richness of ideas are not just ornaments of democracy. They are rather essential elements for its survival and taking the country forward, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

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