DailyPost 2443

Indian citizen’s tryst with democracy has been a litany of unfulfilled promises of endless types; shapes, sizes and dimensions, durations – short, medium or long, constitutional guarantees to poll manifestoes to the current day guarantees. The genre is endless, the personas are wide and varied, the situations demanding to the easy, even cajoling and the achievement timelines generally not on the agenda. Democracy so to say is a hope and promise, that elevates life even if does not happen, or if it happens even minimally. Even some dignity might at times suffice. The promise and its time duration imbroglio has been endemic to our democracy.

There are promises which our political executive and the permanent bureaucracy, might not have even given a thought. The aim of universalisation of education has an inbuilt of a quality of education promise, which is sufficient enough to get him a job or stand on his own feet, and make it known to the world by the expertise and competence that he carries grey matter above his shoulders. If education as tool for overall transformation does not happen, then what is the purpose of the education being imparted; to add to frustration. The promise of good health through a slew of schemes and above all the non-existent quality health infra in large parts of the country. Is it even treated as Indian democracy’s eternal unfulfilled promise? All stakeholders enjoy but for the hapless citizen.

The ruling dispensation is not an issue, it is endemic to them all, is the issue. And we keep changing parties to rule us. To cover legally mandated promises, new promises are thrown up to cover that gap. Either it is patchy or it does not happen at all. Added to that the main issue remains the same and there are no timelines too. Schemes have a start date and not end date based on goal / target achieved. Is the unemployment dole connected with the timeline for employment? Where is the accountability? Or does it hang in mid-air. Leave aside everything else, how far have we reached in our direction to provide responsive governments in last 75 years. The tragic state today is that anyone can promise anything and get away with it. Certainly, he will make good with your vote in the process.

Are promises just tools to entice the voters? Poll manifestoes have no legal value. When governments are created out of poll manifestoes, it is strange that manifesto does not have a legal mandate. Promises fly thick and fast during the election season. No blueprints and no planning. The emanating financial liability is no one’s baby. Who would be held accountable for lack of financial prudence? If the whole concept of cash hitting your bank account is welfare, then what does the monumental government machinery do? It can be done by a software and much more efficiently. The basic question is; are these promises even aligned to each other? Are they able to differentiate between promises and freebies? What happens to the unfulfilled promises? Is it thrown in the dustbin of democracy never to resurrect? Good, bad or ugly, detrimental, regressive, financial viability being whatever, the tax payer has to foot the bill. Only the voter and taxpayer have to carry the cross of Indian democracy.

Sanjay Sahay

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