DailyPost 2013

The constitution of India lays down a framework of governance for this country. On face of it, it seems that one framework can provide only one variety of governance and the model is etched in stone. Democracy as a system of governance has grown in different formats in different countries. Then why can’t the same framework end up with variants radically different from each other. There has been no effort ever made in the history of independent India to bring the political class on the same page. Rest everybody has been recruited and trained professionally and provided hard targets and goals to be delivered. Nothing is required for them, not even a basic course in constitution of which the legislature and the political executive form the most important parts. Starting from the Mahalanobis model, the models of growth have been consistently changing.

Might be the only concept on which there is a consensus is that growth is a must and that is the government’s main task. There is no consensus on the modalities of it. If the difference was with economic thought process and growth models, it would have been different, here it is exigent in nature and slowly the political under threads start getting connected to it. It can also be an inbuilt design in a large number of cases. As it stands, the beneficiary happens to be at the receiving end of governance, all that the government stands for? It has been there for a long time, government after government, reaching a stage where it has become synonymous with government and governance.

Where everything is political, transforming them into a vote bank has brought them into the vortex of governance. Why and how did they become beneficiaries? Has the number of beneficiaries increased? Having been kept devoid of health, education, employment and any chance of improvement in life, what does a citizen do? Human Development Indices gives us a peep into the dark underbelly of governance. When the normal fruits of governance does not reach him, what does an urban poor or the vast majority of the countryside folks do? They become or are made beneficiaries and they are told so, and that they should feel obliged. They have also been reciprocating so, to political parties treating them as governments. From Democracy to Beneficracy has been the change. This is the best way they can keep serving the country’s political class.

Philanthropy on taxpayers’ money is the name of the game. Vast majority of the taxpayers are also in a pitiable state of affairs. But governance gets bouquets. With direct cash transfer of benefits, the government becomes another money transfer app. The government machinery can breathe easy. Conversely, this can be touted as a major development as well, a break from the past. Delivery transformation and what not. World remains as it is, for all, but all the tasks of the government are rated commendable. Or so it is made out to be. The constitution makers did not define development for us and gave no parameters for it, so we will have to take whatever is dished out to us in the name of development. It has always been so, and continues to be the same.

Sanjay Sahay

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