Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why I Want Narendra Modi To Win and Why It Has Nothing To Do With The Man Himself

There are thousands of articles floating in the media about the Gujurat CM and about his PMO ambitions. Such atmosphere of debate about our PM candidate itself is an achievement for India and promises of a much more informed voting population than ever before.

In this article I am not going to act like a NaMo fan boy nor am I going to be super secular and talk about him being a mass murderer. I will try to explain why the 2014 election is not just about Modi or Rahuls of the world, why the results will have a long lasting impact with much more at stake than party politics. 

There is more to it than just UPA vs NDA

Lets concentrate for a second on the things stressed upon by the NaMo campaigns. He has turned no stone unturned to inform us about the improvements he has done in Gujurat. There are efficient Public relations companies monitoring each and every post on social media. Millions is spent on managing FB pages and generating content for all forms of media. Gujurati societies around the world are lobbying hard to get him some international acceptance to flaunt back home. Consulting firms are sweating day and night to create a perfect manifesto and great video presentations for him. To back all this up he has the fact and figures supporting him. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the development in Gujarat  has been nothing short of exemplary. 

In such a scenario, if NaMo becomes the PM and rules for a long time, his strategy will start to become considered as a success mantra. Politicians around the country will try to replicate his strategy. Chief Ministers in all states will drive growths in their states to help their cause of becoming national leaders. MPs an MLAs will try to make their constituencies excel in order to gain attention of party leaders and media. The Kejriwals of the country will get encouragement and a hope that growth coupled with publicity in the most lethal combination in Indian politics. We will move towards a country where elections are fought based on development agenda and not false promises of upliftment of Dalits. And with this change in the mindset we will see, maybe, the next election fought between Modi and another leader who is as pro-development as he is secular. We will get a PM candidate who has the track record and the vision to lead a country and still is acceptable to the minorities as well. 

And in a scenario where NaMo loses, try imagining what will go into the minds of his fellow politicians. To them it won't be the defeat of a mass murderer, to them it will be a defeat of an ideology of growth. They will think of a man who did not give free electricity to the farmers and instead tried to give them an economic environment where they will be able to afford electricity. They will think of a man who instead of giving reservations for females, gave them the schools and safety where they would themselves excel and get into the work force. They would think about a man who tried giving more cotton mills and dairies for employment instead of starting NREGA. They would think of man who was more concerned about his image in the public than his image in the party. And they will think of a man who lost the elections badly. They will get reassured that Raja Bhaiya can get them election victories not Ex Mckinsey employees. They will be reassured that distributing liquor gets votes not some fancy presentation by an international ad agency. They will get reassurance that development does not sell in India. 

For the next 15 years we will never again see elections fought on development agenda. No politician would dare to touch it again. We will again have the same manifestos, same reservations, same state of mismanagement which we have started to loathe. You me or the country can not afford that to happen. Inspite of all the shortcomings that he has, Inspite of him not being the perfect man to be in PMO, India can not afford to let Modi loose. 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Business of Politics- Capitalist View

Can we make political parties work like companies??

Very often we hear talks about politics in office and politics in business. I am curious as to how we can apply business sense to politics (governance to be precise). I have been seeing this battle between the civil society and the government. The whole idea of creating a lokpal which has complete authority and making it answerable to none, and hoping that this body will remain incorruptible and will act in public interest and not for personal gains, does not instill much confidence. I wont go into the details of this overly discussed topic, but frankly, i dont want to fight again after a few years for a Lok-lokpal ( an independent body to monitor lokpal ). We should keep in mind that most of today's problems are the results of yesterdays short sighted solutions.

Coming back to the topic, We dont see as many monitoring bodies in corporate sector, nor do we see such lengthy debates on the rules and regulations. But still we consumers keep on getting better services and products every other day. The life style of an avg Indian has improved drastically in last few years. This is not because of exceptional governance, but because of a very competitive and active corporate sector.

Can we take cues from the corporate sector and make our govt more efficient as well?? After all political parties can always be seen as companies with politicians as employees while the citizens of the country being customers. Like companies fighting for customers' money, the political parties fight for our votes.

I have always been a firm supporter of capitalism and believe that an open market place can solve most problems of modern times. So what do we have to do to make our govt more efficient?? The answer is the same as to what we do to make companies produce better products at cheaper rate. We make political parties compete for our votes. But we already have a system to do this. After all democracy means different parties competing for public approval to rule a nation. So we already have a market place. Then how do we make it 'open' or more competitive. We do this by being a more aware consumer. The moment our 'parties' realise that their customer responds sharply to any change in the quality of product, they will start giving us better product/services. 

Here I will have to discuss something called the 'elasticity'. If we respond very sharply to a corruption scam by voting out the ruling party in the next election, they we will be considered very elastic. Being elastic and being aware are the best ways to increase the sense of competition among political parties.

So the answer to the problem of corruption is not to create new rules. The answer is to respond sharply by using the power that we already have. By being an informed voter. This may sound cliche, but the truth is, Tata tea's jaago re campaign did more good to the country than Anna Hazare's fasts.  

Risk-Return Mechanism of Netas- An economist's View

Any one who has read even a little bit finance or economics will know that the amount of returns you expect is directly proportional to the amount of risk that you take . Greater the risk..greater the returns. Similarly, more the effort..greater the returns( keeping the skill and capability factor constant). So how does this apply to our expectations from a particular profession?? Obviously we accept that a bollywood superstar will be paid ( in terms of financial or other gains ) much more than an IT engineer with modest capabilities. This is because the risk of failure for Shahrukh Khan was much more than the risk faced by an IT engineer. The other factor which determines the compensation benefits for a profession is the demand supply equation. You expect a premium when the supply of a professiopnal service is much less than the demand for it.

Lets say you want to become an engineer. You work hard in your eleventh twelve. Spend a certain amount of your money on tuition and college fees. Study( though not much ;) ) during your engineering days. And then expect a well paying job. During your engineering days your parents can proudly say "mera beta engineering college me hai". Your family, more often than not, supports your ambitions and wants you to dedicate yourself fully to your studies. The risks that you face are negligible. coz if you dont clear IIT-JEE you will atleast get into some other college. Worst case scenario is that you take a drop and get yourself into the worst engineering college in the country. But you will atleast be an engineer with a respected professional degree and a hope to become something in life after doing you MBA.

 Now imagine that you want to be a politician( MP, MLA or PM depending upon how ambitious you are).  
You have to start as a vella volunteer after which you will graduate to chhutbhayya neta or a struggling youth leader. You spend most of your prime days totally broke, walking in rallies which mean nothing, without any respect in the society, ogling at groups of  women with not so manly men, dealing with thugs and gundas, licking the ass of senior leaders, begging for votes for some other leader who you know is an asshole.
The risks that you face in this " dad is ashamed of you " passion of yours is immensely high. You can either end up in jail for few years, or end your political career after you no longer have a chance to enter any other professional education or struggle all your life as chhutbhayya neta helping colony waala uncle in avoiding transfer in his govt job( most people fall in this category).  Also include the tons of money that you spend all this while in hope of reaping a harvest some day. The best case is that you become successful and get a 'ticket' from some leading party and spend the rest of your life fighting media, party leaders, opposition and god knows who.

What do you expect against all this effort and risk( I am stressing on this here bcoz the chances of failure are quite high(like in bollywood) and the downside is immense) ?? A white ambassador and few lakhs which you most probably will end up loosing after your five years tenure?? It makes sense for any rational being to amass as much wealth as possible during the five years of his office so that the future of his family is secured and at the same time he is compensated for loosing the golden years of his life.

Secondly, we never read in newspapers, complains about scarcity of good engineers as often as we do about good leaders. The fact that we always think there are no good leaders in the country suggests that there is a huge demand and supply gap in this profession with demand exceeding the supply by a huge margin. In such a case our Netas do deserve a huge premium over other professions when it comes to financial compensation.

Considering all this, its but natural for a Neta be corrupt and acquire money which he is denied inspite of deserving it. So by expecting  our leaders to be totally honest are we asking for too much??  In the past, kings ruled in the interest of people and dedicated their life for the welfare of the society. But the amount of love , respect, and wealth that they got in return was immense. Are we doing anything for our leaders to command the honesty that we are demanding??

True that the country is lacking good leaders in political structure. But the fact is, we are not doing much to change this. We are not giving enough incentives to well qualified and honest people to take this great risk of entering politics. We have to either lower the entry barrier to this profession and offer more incentives( legal incentives, not the money through scams route). Preferably we should do both so that our leaders don't feel the need of being corrupt and feel the pinch of guilt while engaging in any malpractice.

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